Having been interviewed and also interviewed many programmers over the years, nothing impresses quite like actually knowing something about the company ...
...that shows initiative (I'm sure one job I interviewed for was helped tremendously by that -- well, that and answering a question which referred to a technique I knew could be done in calculus, even though I didn't remember what it was)...at the time, there was no Web, there was barely an Internet -- I had to do my research at the library.
They needed embedded system programmers for something called a "line width measuring machine" (used -- at the time -- in the semiconductor industry.)
And I know at another company (with a whole slew of MIT folks) -- we turned down a recent MIT grad and I remember it having a LOT to do with her really not knowing what our company did. (Interestingly, before I interviewed, I did research on them ... but considering one of the managers called me up at 7:00am in the morning, and my phone was ringing off the hook ... [dot com days, gotta love 'em] -- and I also had an interview and then offer from Microsoft -- they were more interested in my interest in the specific position, as it wasn't formally a development position.
In fact, i really didn't understand what a line-width measuring machine was at the time, either! But I did know what both companies did, even if I didn't understand it ...and enough to act interested and ask questions!