Stories of technology and bad luck

We tell stories about bad luck in the world of technology

Today is Tuesday the 13th, for Spain and America, the right day not to go out and avoid making any important decision. For us instead a good occasion to review stories of technology and bad luck.

Of course, these stories did not occur on a Tuesday the 13th and surely their causes had more to do with incompetence, bad information and wrong decisions, but the day gives us the excuse to find out about them.

Stories of technology and bad luck

The other inventor of the telephone

For every official story there is a parallel storya, a theory that explains in great detail how the real hero was swindled by whoever took the credit. It happened with Edison and Tesla and it happens with Graham Bell and Antonio Meucci.

If Meucci's defenders are right, and he was the real inventor of the telephone, I have to swallow my claim that bad luck doesn't exist.

It is believed thatn 1830, this Italian living in Cuba had discovered that sound could be transmitted as electrical impulses through a copper wire. In the 50s he moved to New York where, when his wife was paralyzed, he installed a rudimentary telephone that connected her bedroom with the workshop. When he demonstrated this device to the press, no one was interested.

Meucci had an accident on a steamboat which caused him financial problems and his wife sold his prototypes for 6 dollars.  In the 70s, since he did not have enough money to pay for the patent, he could only pay a reservation and, when it expired, he could not even renew it.

When Graham Bell, who had shared a laboratory with Meucci, filed his own patent, Meucci sued, but died before the Supreme Court ruled. By this time, Bell had already signed a lucrative deal with Western Union.

the third founder

Almost everyone knows the story of the drummer fired just before the Beatles began their path to glory, but very few know that in addition to the two Steve Apple had a third founder.

Wosniak and Jobs were barely 20 years old and they needed someone with industry experience to keep them on track. The chosen one was Ron Wayne, an old colleague of Wozniak at Apple who was going through the quarantine, Wayne, he would also take care of the technical documentation.

His work within the new company included not only administrative tasks (Drafting of the first corporate contract detailing tasks, responsibilities and participation in the capital) but also artistic. The design of the first Apple logo (A fake engraving of Newton under the apple tree)

However, it did not last even a fortnight.  He realized that he did not get along well with the two Steves and that they were not going to take his ideas into account too much. It was also necessary to take into account that the bankrupt company was the only one that had assets that the creditors could execute. He sold his shares for $2300 to be paid in installments.

When the company went public in 1980, Wozniak and Jobs became millionaires.  Today Wayne's 10% would be around 100 billion.

It wasn't Wayne's only unfortunate sale. He sold the original contract to a collector in the 90s for $500. At an auction in 2011, 1,59 million was paid.

The true savior of the apple

Many times a person takes the credit for being at the right time and place. Other people spent a lot of time planning and executing actions that would ultimately achieve success, but because they had to leave first, it was others who got the glory.

This is the case of Steve Jobs and Gil Amelio.

Very few people remember that Apple was decades on a tightrope until Steve Jobs returned and thanks to the iPod and mobile devices he transformed it into the successful corporation that it is today. Few know that it was Amelio who did the hard work.

Amelio's first success was to prevent the sale of Apple to Sun. Sun was not even interested in the Apple brand and offered a very low price. Later it would end up bought by Oracle.

In order to get cash, he made agreements with other companies such as Microsoft, reduced the bureaucracy and, realizing that the internal development of the operating system was not on the right track, bought an innovative company called Next. Next it was Steve Jobs who, upon returning to Apple's board of directors, managed to get Amelio fired.

It's a pity that Amelio didn't think of using Linux. The story would have been different.

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  1.   SEBA said

    Isn't it true that the name "bug" was coined in informatics-computing when a bug got into the PC at Hardvar?

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      It wasn't a PC but the old computers that used lamps and relays, had no casings, and took up entire rooms. I think the bug in question is still kept in a museum.
      That is the most accepted story. However, in the NCIS Los Angeles series they commented that Thomas Edison had already coined the term in the same sense, I was not able to find confirmation of this latest version.

  2.   Rafael said

    Please change the image. It's 2022, and yet there are undiagnosed deranged people, who are called "superstitious." Those affected (especially on Halloween) are innocent animals that certain groups (as I could refer to flat earthers) continue to associate with bad luck. And you, Diego, go and put a photograph of a black cat. Surely, without thinking about it, without realizing that you continue stigmatizing the issue in this way. Could you please put a ladder against the wall? If you want, delete this message from the thread later. I knew of no other means by which to communicate this message to you.

    I have subscribed to the linuxadictos channel for a long time and the truth is that the text with that image has surprised me (unpleasantly).

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Frankly your comment surprises me. No one is going to do or stop doing something for which I write. However, it costs me nothing to change the photo. I'll do it tomorrow.