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(Image source: Cult of Mac)
It's a question that has baffled PC users since the early 1980s: Why the three-finger
salute of Control-Alt-Delete to log into programs? Now the man behind the company that created
it is coming clean.
In a question-and-answer session at Harvard University, Bill Gates was asked about the
keyboard shortcut.
"Why, when I want to turn on my software and computer, do I need to have three fingers?
Control-Alt-Delete. Where is that from?"
Gates then stumbled through a fairly technical response before throwing his hands up and
settling on: "It was a mistake." (Via Harvard University)
According to Gates, the company could have simply gone with a single button but was talked
out of it by the keyboard designers at IBM. (Via Sky News)
That's not exactly the way IBM designer David Bradley, who created the shortcut in 1981,
remembers it, though. In a 2001 forum with CNET, he explained: "I originally intended
for it to be what we would now call an Easter egg, just something we were using in development.
... I have to share the credit. I might have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous."
Regardless of who was to blame, the three keys were reportedly chosen to keep users
from inadvertently triggering a restart of their computers — with the delete button
far away from Control and Alt. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Sven)
Functionality aside, though, a writer for Slate still thinks the command was a bad idea,
nodding to another company that made things a little simpler.
"Can you imagine Steve Jobs requiring users to perform such a wonky key command before
they could begin to use an Apple device?"
During last Saturday's interview, Gates also touched on his philanthropy work with his
wife, Melinda; dropping out of Harvard; and even working with Apple in the 1990s, saying:
"In the Apple II era, we were kind of friendly competitors. We actually put more people on
the Mac than Apple had." (Via CNN)
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Bill Gates Calls Control-Alt-Delete Shortcut a 'Mistake'

8429 Folder Collection
Solomon Wolf published on September 28, 2013
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