Category: Pedant

First bug logged

Image of pages of log book with moth taped to it.Sixty six years ago today on September 9, 1947 the first *actual* computer bug was logged. A moth was lodges in a relay of a Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator computer at Harvard University.

‘Well, the entry (“First actual case of bug being found.”) shows that the term was already in use before the moth was discovered. Grace Hopper also reported that the term “bug” was used to describe problems in radar electronics during WWII.’ ~James S. Huggins

‘American engineers have been calling small flaws in machines “bugs” for over a century. Thomas Edison talked about bugs in electrical circuits in the 1870s.’ ~Smithsonian

‘A software bug is an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways. Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program’s source code or its design, or in frameworks and operating systems used by such programs, and a few are caused by compilers producing incorrect code. A program that contains a large number of bugs, and/or bugs that seriously interfere with its functionality, is said to be buggy. Reports detailing bugs in a program are commonly known as bug reports, defect reports, fault reports, problem reports, trouble reports, change requests, and so forth.’ ~Wikipedia

My first career related job was an internship in the spring of 1998 at Pacific Forestry as an Entomology Assistant working with Bill Riel on mountain pine beetle infestation and impact models in JavaScript and epidemic simulation in Delphi. Bugs don’t get any more real than beetle infestations.

My career has continued to center around quality assurance and advanced technical support (triaging severe bugs). Twelve years later I’m still incredibly satisfied by helping improve the quality of solutions and systems through early and detailed identification of technical and usability issues. It is a great outlet for my cynicism and pedanticism, helping me relax, appreciate, and enjoy the emotional natural world.

20130922 update I noticed today that lists Andrew Nacin‘s title as “Entomologist in Residence”. It’s awesome that the title tradition is being continued. While I was with Automattic, my title, given to me by Matt,  was Digital Entomologist.

Hungarian Notation in SmartOS’s pkgin

As I mentioned, the other night, was my first time logging in as root to a SmartOS instance on Joyent Public Cloud.

I immediately discovered a new package manager for me to learn, oh boy. I first used RPM in 1997. I’ve installed RPMs on AIX, used yum on Yellow Dog Linux (RDL) and much later Red Hat. On the Mac I’ve used fink, port, and most recently homebrew. There was even a time that I was very impressed by the myriad flags of ebuilds and portage — Gentoo, really was (is?) an incredible community with the best documentation.

Coming from RPM, dpkg + apt felt like magic, and it has stayed my safe place. At times I’ve been a power user, though I’ve never created or maintained my own packages except very briefly with YDL.

It felt like I had already tried them all, but here I am faced with pkgin.

# pkgin se git
[ A long list of results ordered reference ASCII. Why reversed! ]
# pkgin se git | wc -l
# pkgin se git | egrep "^git"
gitweb- Web interface for GIT repositories
gitso-0.6nb9 Gitso is to support others
gitolite-3.5.1 Gitolite allows you to host Git repositories easily and securely

In frustration, I googled, scmgit-base. Hence the title of this post. It’s going to take me some time to come to like pkgin.