In the grand scheme of things, it could be argued we’re still in the infancy of the Information Age. Many of the breakthroughs and discoveries made since the advent of the transistor were simply inconceivable a century ago. Yet despite being a relative newcomer, we already have a lifetime of achievements to marvel over.
What makes tech especially interesting for some is that it’s peppered with anecdotes and fun facts that add substance to a story and make them even more compelling. Here are some of our favorites that you might not have known about.
The computer “bug” was named after a literal bug found in a computer.
In 1947, computer pioneer Grace Hopper found herself working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University. It was at this time that her associates discovered a moth had gotten trapped in one of the computer’s relays and was causing an error. The operators removed the moth and taped it in their log book, identifying it as the “first actual case of bug being found.”
Word got out that the team had “debugged” the computer, hence leading to the phrase’s use in computing and pop culture. Hopper readily admitted that she was not there when the incident occurred, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of her favorite stories. Hopper died of natural causes on January 1, 1992, at the age of 85. For those interested, the offending moth’s remains, along with the original log book, can be seen at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
And while this is the “modern” use case of finding a computer bug, the original use of the word dates further back in time to Thomas Edison, who in an 1878 letter used the term “bug” to refer to a technological glitch. While he worked on the quadruplex telegraph, he said it needed a “bug trap” to function properly.
The creator of Bitcoin remains a mystery.
Bitcoin, the decentralized digital currency that has topped financial and tech headlines for years, launched in early 2009. The first known commercial transaction took place the following year when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas.
In the more than 10 years that have since elapsed, Bitcoin’s value has gone from practically nothing to well over $50,000 per coin, with enough peaks and valleys to give even the world’s scariest roller coaster a run for its money. Yet remarkably, through it all, the cryptocurrency’s creator has remained anonymous.
There are plenty of theories about Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym used by the person or persons that created Bitcoin. Some have even gone to great lengths to uncover Nakamoto’s identity but as it stands today, there is no definitive proof in the public domain pointing to the creator’s identity. We may never know who actually created Bitcoin, and perhaps that’s not a bad thing.
CarMax was founded by (now defunct) Circuit City.