Computer Bugs

Categories:Blog Post, Computers

Do You Have Bugs in Your Computer

Programming bugs born by infected portable storage devices or the Internet may be thought of as a modern phenomena. Even considering the ruckus and non event surrounding the famous Y2K problem in the year 2000. It was then predicted the computer world would grind to a halt because of systems being unable to handle the date change at the beginning of 2000.

Bugs such as these became a problem more so with the easier communication of the Internet. Though often the vulnerability of computer software and hardware has been just as much at fault.

Computers Were Once Mechanical

In even earlier times it was more likely to be a mechanical problem since automated electronic systems often used mechanical components. In my own early days in the industrial electronics industry automatic control systems heavily used small relays. Often a problem could be tracked down to a dirty replay contact.

One of the very earliest computers built by Harvard and IBM in 1944 used electronic components as well as relays. Mechanical actions were driven from a 50 foot long rotating shaft powered by a 5 HP electric motor. Some of the systems I worked on in the 1960s used relays and stepping switches developed for telephone exchanges of the time.

Which brings us here to the finding of the first computer bug.

This was a dead moth, whose wings were preventing the reading of holes in a paper tape machine. I guess the name stuck thereafter.