first actual computer bug

Also: heisenbug, Bohr bug, mandelbug, schroedinbug

David Marusek, Getting to Know You (Asimov’s Mar 1998) About a woman and her new computerized personal assistant, or ‘bug’, that quickly learns more about her tastes, habits, and motives than she anticipates. Marusek made a splash with his 1995 novella We Were Out of Minds with Joy; this new story is smaller in scope but just as dazzling in detail. (Locus, Mar 98)

The Times (London), letters to the editor, 1999-06-12

Bug in the System

From Mr Simon Montagu


The modern use of the term “bug” has been around for more than 100 years (letters, May 26 and June 1).

In Hawkin’s New Catechism of Electricity (Theo. Audel & Co, 1896) the following definition appears:

The term ‘bug’ is used to a limited extent to designate any fault or trouble in the connections or working of electric apparatus.”

It has been suggested that the word originated in a popular belief that interference in telephone calls was caused by bugs in the cables.

Yours faithfully, SIMON MONTAGU, Maalot Elram 523/2 Jerusalem 93785, Israel. June 2.

See Also:

Hitchhickers Guide: Deep Thought 42

2001: Hal 9000

Bug, n. (OE. bugge, fr. W. bwg, bwgan, hobgoblin, scarecrow, bugbear. Cf. Bogey, Boggle.)

  1. A bugbear; anything which terrifies. (Obs.)

Sir, spare your threats: The bug which you would fright me with I seek.
— Shak.