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TECHNOLOGY | 1 Year Ago By Ben Warner

‘Control Alt Delete’ And Other Tech Fails That Are Widely Accepted Now

control alt delete mistake microsoft
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Having used Windows computers for years, I never really questioned why you have to press the ‘Control Alt Delete’ buttons in order to bring up the log in screen. It was just a standard convention. However, Bill Gates recently admitted that it was a mistake. The IBM keyboard designer didn’t want to have a single button that performed this task, so they made a work around which resulted in the ‘Control Alt Delete’ key combination.

Thinking about that ‘Control Alt Delete’ occurrence almost seems ludicrous in hindsight, yet it has become a standard command that just about every computer user on the planet has ingrained in their computing thought processes. And it’s too late now to try and introduce a new command that would make more sense.

The tech world has had numerous fails or “what were they thinking?” moments when it comes to software and hardware. It’s ancient history now, but the Y2K bug, or the “Millennium Bug,” caused much hysteria in 1999. The simple and lazy shortcut of dropping the first two numbers off a year (eg “78” represents “1978”) was potentially enough to stop many computers from functioning properly when the clocks hit the year 2000. Would they recognize the year as 2000 or 1900? In the end, it was a storm in a teacup because the problem was attended to well before the changeover.

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And what about the double forward slash in web addresses? Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the world wide web, stated back in 2006 that if he had his time again, he probably wouldn’t have used the convention because it’s not necessary. We are stuck with it now, although modern browsers now hide the http convention from users.

There are many other examples of tech fails that could probably fill a book. When these fails occur, we shouldn’t be so surprised. After all, the tech industry is made up of people who, like all of us, can make mistakes or not always make the best decisions. On the flip side, those same people could end up making some amazing tech breakthroughs that can change the world.

‘Control Alt Delete’ Is Just One Tech Fail That Is Widely Accepted

control alt delete bill gates

Via: [Sydney Morning Herald] [News.com.au] Image Credits: [The Telegraph] [Think Geek]

Author Avatar Image Representation

Author: Ben Warner

Ben is an independent filmmaker, writer, and online content developer. He currently co-hosts and produces the weekly vodcast “FiST Chat,” dedicated to bringing insightful and entertaining discussions on all things film, science and technology. You can also see Ben as the co-host of the web series “Food Discoveries,” exploring various culinary experiences from around the world. Ben is the founder of production companies Digicosm and Small Wave Films, and has produced and directed numerous short films, feature films and documentaries since the late 1990s. When he’s not working, Ben indulges his love of traveling, food, technology, cinema, and music.

2 Comments

Bill Halterman

October 9th, 2013

Ctrl-Alt-Delete was IBM’s idea, true, but let’s not tell half a story — it had nothing to do initially with Windows at all or logging on! It would do a soft reboot of the DOS computer no matter what else was running (or hung), so that’s quite a good idea not to have that be a key sequence that could be accidentally hit or confused with some other sequence…. not a fail. By the time Windows reused the sequence, it was because it was well-known… hardly a fail either.

[Reply]

Randy

October 9th, 2013

This article is full of fail. lazy writer calling people lazy is the biggest FAIL.

[Reply]

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