I get aggravated when the media describes a software problem as "a glitch" when it's really a defect or a bug. I recently blogged about this topic. Recall that the term "bug" for a software problem originated when a moth entered an early computer and caused it to malfunction.
I mention this because the Internet of Things is blurring the line between software and non-software even more than it already is. For years, we have described bugs with hardware just like we have done with software, and surely, this will continue. With places, things, and media becoming more "alive" by being embodied with sensors (e.g., temperature, speed, stress), actuators (i.e., motors that move them), computation, and connectivity, they will be able to respond to users and the environment on their own and communicate among themselves. As a result, the frequency of issues will only increase. So it will be safe to assume that defects, bugs, glitches, and enhancements will continue to apply for systems instead of just software.
I have 3 Dropcams in my house. Hopefully, I will never need them; however, in the event of a burglary, my goal is to have footage of the crime to help the police catch the criminals. This week I noticed that the display from my garage camera looked funny:
We recently had our windows replaced, so I assumed that sawdust from that project had an effect on the camera. Once in the garage to wipe off the lens with a cloth, I saw:
It's hard to see in the image above, but a spider had spun a web just a few inches from the camera.
Now that's a bug. Actually it's a glitch (apart from the fact that a spider is not an insect). When designing and installing a security system, I don't think it's standard practice to ask, "What if a spider spins a web in front of the camera?" but in an Internet of Things world, that is exactly the kind of question that needs to be asked. Glitches are occurrences that are unexpected. Defects and bugs are the result of inadequacies. With the Internet of Things upon us, we will need to expect the unexpected more often when designing systems. Welcome to the worldwide web.
Webs are alive in the lab.