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.
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.