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Bug
  • A concealed microphone or listening device or other audiosurveillance device. (JCS1-DoD) See also communications security.
  • To install means for audiosurveillance. (JCS1-DoD)
  • A semiautomatic telegraph key.
  • A mistake or malfunction. (FP)
  • n. An unwanted and unintended property of a program or piece of hardware, esp. one that causes it to malfunction. Antonym of feature. Examples "There's a bug in the editor it writes things out backwards. " "The system crashed because of a hardware bug. " "Fred is a winner, but he has a few bugs" (i. e. , Fred is a good guy, but he has a few personality problems).
  • Historical note Admiral Grace Hopper (an early computing pioneer better known for inventing COBOL) liked to tell a story in which a technician solved a glitch in the Harvard Mark II machine by pulling an actual insect out from between the contacts of one of its relays, and she subsequently promulgated bug in its hackish sense as a joke about the incident (though, as she was careful to admit, she was not there when it happened). For many years the logbook associated with the incident and the actual bug in question (a moth) sat in a display case at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC). The entire story, with a picture of the logbook and the moth taped into it, is recorded in the "Annals of the History of Computing", Vol. 3, No. 3 (July 1981), pp. 285--28The text of the log entry (from September 9, 1947), reads "1545 Relay #70 Panel F (moth) in relay. First actual case of bug being found". This wording establishes that the term was already in use at the time in its current specific sense -- and Hopper herself reports that the term `bug' was regularly applied to problems in radar electronics during WWII. Indeed, the use of `bug' to mean an industrial defect was already established in Thomas Edison's time, and a more specific and rather modern use can be found in an electrical handbook from 1896 ("Hawkin's New Catechism of Electricity", Theo. Audel & Co. ) which says "The term `bug' is used to a limited extent to designate any fault or trouble in the connections or working of electric apparatus. " It further notes that the term is "said to have originated in quadruplex telegraphy and have been transferred to all electric apparatus. " The latter observation may explain a common folk etymology of the term; that it came from telephone company usage, in which "bugs in a telephone cable" were blamed for noisy lines. Though this derivation seems to be mistaken, it may well be a distorted memory of a joke first current among *telegraph* operators more than a century ago! Ac