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When computers go wrong

Dec 13, 2010, 20:35 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stewart Mitchell)

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"When computers go wrong, they often go spectacularly wrong.

"In most cases, catastrophic failures are blamed on "computer bugs", although human error is normally the root cause for embarrassing failures.

"No-one really knows where the term "bug" comes from. Some say it dates back to Thomas Edison's pioneering work in the 19th century; others claim it refers to a moth that was evicted from the computer of one Grace Murray Hopper at Harvard University in 1947. What we do know is that bugs can make a mess of the best-laid plans.

"Here, we look at ten IT disasters that highlight the precariously fickle nature of computers. Although our top ten mistakes may have caused lasting damage to the finances or reputations of those involved, nobody was physically harmed in the making of this list."

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