09 September, 2010

It's Debugging Day! When an editor I've worked with for a decade mentioned she wanted an article on software bugs last spring, we decided to publish it on September 9, because it's the 63rd anniversary of the "moth in the relay" incident.

Back in 1947, a team working with Harvard's Mark II computer pulled a dead moth out of the machine, and with a flash of engineer humor, taped it into the log with the caption "First actual case of bug being found."

People who don't know how to read properly assumed that this incident introduced the term "bug" to the computing world--but this old word for a monster had been used in engineering for more than a century before anyone pulled a moth out of a machine at Harvard. But even though it's not a significant day in terms of etymology (or entomology), we thought that September 9 was a good day to celebrate software errors.

We settled on 11 massive failures and a few notable mentions. Check out the article at Computerworld.com. It's called Epic Fail, for obvious reasons.

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