Term “Bug” – Fort Myers and Thomas Edison

 

More than one year ago, I moved to Fort Myers, a small city located in southwest Florida on the Gulf Coast. The Fort Myers area is a beautiful region, with many nationally protected areas and a big variety of beaches, which makes this area a real paradise; however, this city has a lot more to offer.

In 1885, Thomas Alva Edison was cruising Florida’s west coast and stopped to visit Fort Myers. He soon bought 13 acres along the Caloosahatchee River and constructed a winter home “Seminole Lodge.”  He also built a laboratory for his continuing work.

Thomas Edison acquired a record number of more than one thousand patents. He was the driving force behind such innovations as the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb and one of the earliest motion picture cameras.

As a good enthusiastic resident of Southwest Florida, I’ve invested time looking for more information about Thomas Edison, visiting local museums, reading books, old newspapers and historical letters. To my surprise, I found some interesting facts about Edison. Thomas Edison widely made use of a term used by Software Developers, Software Engineers, QA, Test Engineers and other software industry roles. The word “Bug” in the computer world, describes an error in a software program.

Many people think the term “bug” came from the computer programmer Grace Hopper. On September 9th, 1947, a machine was experiencing problems, and Grace and her colleagues found a dead bug (literally a moth). In a Harvard University computer, Grace Hopper added, “First actual case of bug being found,” and that’s the first time anyone used the term bug to describe the issues that complicated the input of data and the writing, loading, and processing of programs in the Mark I and II computers.

 

However, almost 140 years ago, Thomas Edison coined the term to describe technical problems during the process of innovation. The term “bug” appeared in 1876 referring to his lighting invention work. One of his entries reads: “Awful lot of bugs still.”

On 1878, Edison wrote in two letters to the Western Union president and Theodore Puskas.

To Western Union President “William Orton”: [https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/who-coined-term-bug-thomas-edison]

“You were partly correct, I did find a ‘bug’ in my apparatus, but it was not in the telephone proper. It was of the genus ‘callbellum’ The insect appears to find conditions for its existence in all call apparatus of Telephones.”

To Theodore Puskas:[http://edison.rutgers.edu/NamesSearch/SingleDoc.php?DocId=LB003487]

This thing gives out and then that. ‘Bug’—as such little faults and difficulties are called—show themselves, and months of anxious watching, study, and labor are requisite before commercial success—or failure—is certainly reached.”

In 1889, a reporter for a British newspaper wrote, “Mr. Edison…had been up the two previous nights working on fixing ‘a bug’ in his phonograph.”

In 1916, in an article about Edison’s “Insomnia Squad,” a reporter noted that they worked “like fiends when they were ‘fishing for a bug.’ That means that they are searching for some missing quality, quantity, or combination that will add something toward the perfect whole.”

If you want to know more about the origin of the term “bug”, you can visit this article from the institute of IEEE. [http://theinstitute.ieee.org/tech-history/technology-history/did-you-know-edison-coined-the-term-bug]

Something I’ve read in a New York Times article said, “The most important day in Fort Myers history, many believe, was March 6, 1885, when Thomas Alva Edison landed in what was then a sleepy tropical village on Florida’s west coast”.

Inventor Thomas Edison created many of the greatest innovations in history of technology, which inspires many in the city of Fort Myers. This city now breathes new airs in technology, and there are groups looking for more technological innovations focused on software development, IT and tech start-ups. Some of these groups are:

SWFL Coders, a group for techies, developers, coders and non-coders, who wish to learn more about the fantastic world of programming. This group currently has over 470 members and meets monthly to learn something new.

SWFL-Tech, a gathering for techies, entrepreneurs, geeks, creative minds and investors around Fort Myers. This group currently has close to 400 members and meets monthly to learn about tech entrepreneur subjects, including start-ups, IT, Blockchain technologies, etc.

Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership: SWFRTP is the leading technology group in Southwest Florida, in which its main mission is to build a vibrant technology sector through strategies of catalyze, cultivate and connect.