Just So You’ll Know

The history teacher in me caught hold of this post from Next Web.  I never do get all that deep into my RSS reader.  Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten captured the information from a Neatorama post, The Wonderful World of Early Computing.  What drew Zanten’s attention was the first computer bug.

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Apparently we call them bugs because Grace Hopper found the first computer “bug”: a moth stuck between the relays on the Harvard Mark II on September 9, 1945. These early computers were attracting lost of moths who got stuck between the light-bulbs inside the machines. At times there were so many relays malfunctioning that they had a fill time bulb changer working to fix find all the ‘Bugs’ stuck between relays.

Read the Next Web post to learn more about Hoper and the Early Computing post for a lot of information about the early days.

I must confess that I miss talking about abacuses and Jacquard’s Loom in computer literacy.

It seems that Grace Hoper is also credited with coining the phrase…

It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.

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2 thoughts on “Just So You’ll Know”

  1. Interesting about “computer bug.” This got me thinking of the origin of the word “glitch” as in “computer glitch.” Wikipedia says: Canadian Oxford lists it as a 20th century word of unknown origin. Some reference books, including Random House’s American Slang, say it comes from the German word glitschen (“to slip”) and the Yiddish word gletshn (“to slide or skid”). Either way it’s fairly new. So new, in fact, that on July 23, 1965, Time magazine felt it necessary to define it in an article: “Glitches — a spaceman’s word for irritating disturbances.”

    In 1970, as a freshman electrical engineering student, in computer programming class we called the @ sign a glitch and just about everything else we could not explain.

    I was hoping for something more romantic like the real bug in the machine.

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