The lighter side of IT history
What does the history says about IT?
Charles Babbage proposes the difference engine. It runs over budget, timescale
and fails to do what was intended, setting a precedent for all IT projects.
" I think there is a world market for about 5 computers" - Thoms J. Watson, CEO of IBM
US Navy officer Grace Hopper finds the first computer bug - a moth stuck between the
relays of a Harvard Mark II.
Doug Engelbart at SRI International invents the first computer mouse - made of wood.
Meanwhile, a nine-year-old Steve Jobs suffers a period of unexplained twitching.
Steve Wozniak sells his Hewlett Packard 65 scientific calculator for $500 to raise capital
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olsen, co-founder of
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)
A marketer at DEC, feeling that the launch of the new DEC SYSTEM 2020 was relevant
to people on the ARPANET, sent 600 people an announcement email. It was not well received.
Kevin Mackenzie invents the first emoticon:). Nobody knows how many emoticons are in
use today but some estimates exceed 100,000.
The first IT help desks are invented, ruining the lives of IT and business people alike.
"640Kb ought to be enough for anybody" - Bill Gates
"Elk Cloner" was the first computer virus to be appear "in the wild". It infected Apple DOS
3.3 and displayed poetry on screen.
The first webcam is put to good use at the Cambridge University computer lab - to
monitor a coffee maker and avoid waste trips to an empty pot.
Norton Antivirus released. Peter Norton once said that there was no such thing as a
computer virus and considered the whole ideas was "some sort of hoax".
The release of Windows 3.1 brought the plague called the blue screen of death that
elevated the stress level of Microsoft users.
Joe McCambley creates the first internet banner ad for AT&T . 44% of people who saw it
Microsoft adds Mr clippy to the MS office suite of applications, much to the annoyance of
just about everybody.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defines HTTP status code 418 as "I'm a
teapot" as an April Fools' joke.
The first video is uploaded to Youtube, opening the floodgates for billions of wasted
hours. It is entitled "Me at the zoo", lasts 18 seconds long, and is completely pointless - yet has
over 90,000 comments. Collectively, humanity has spent almost 8 years watching it.
Microsoft kills of the Mr Clippy office assistant - to worldwide relief.
It's estimated that 80% of images on the internet are of naked women - and 81% of all
emails are spam. Seemingly, the NSA is interested in all of them.