[A] computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart
things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to
do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a perfect match.
A computer cuts your work in half and gives you back the bloody stumps.
A computer is only as good as the people who are employed to replace the
people who were made redundant by the computer.
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in
human history with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.-(If
Error Messages Were Haiku, www.pcpoetry.com)
A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you
didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable.
A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological
A successful technology creates problems that only it can solve.
All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.
All scientifically possible technology and social change predicted in
science fiction will come to pass, but none of it will work properly.
All technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.
An idiot with a computer is a faster, better idiot.
Any idiot can use a computer. Many do.
Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of
indirection. But that usually will create another problem.
Any research done on how to efficiently use computers has been long lost
in the mad rush to upgrade systems to do things that aren't needed by
people who don't understand what they are really supposed to do with
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged
Artificial intelligence is the study of how to make real computers act
like the ones in movies.
As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error.
As practiced by computer science, the study of programming is an unholy
mixture of mathematics, literary criticism, and folklore.
Asking if computers can think is like asking if submarines can swim.
At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will
find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the
Bad command or file name. Good typing, though.
Bad things come in threes. However, when dealing with computers, the
fourth thing is always the start of the next group of three.
Cheese in an aerosol can is the greatest advance in technology since
Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about
Computer Science: A study akin to numerology and astrology, but lacking
the precision of the former and the success of the latter.
Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
Computers are man's attempt at designing a cat: it does whatever it
wants, whenever it wants, and rarely ever at the right time.
Computers are such time-saving devices. In fact, I've just spent the
last three years trying to print out an envelope.
Computers can do better than ever what needn't be done at all. Making
sense is still a human monopoly.
Computers can now keep a man's every transgression recorded in a
permanent memory bank, duplicating with complex programming and
intricate wiring a feat his wife handles quite well without fuss or
Computers can still barely open a printer port, much less the pod bay
Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things
they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
Don't anthropomorphize computers. They hate it when you do that.
Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to virgins.
Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human
relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from
customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the
-Unattributed (From Engineers Explained)
Enter any eleven-digit prime number to continue.
-Unattributed (Computer command
Even though today's technology provides us with mountains of data, it is
useless without judgment.
-Felix G. Rohatyn
Every time you turn on your new car, you're turning on 20
microprocessors. Every time you use an ATM, you're using a computer.
Every time I use a set top box or game machine, I'm using a computer.
The only computer you don't know how to work is your Microsoft computer,
For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality
of life, please press three.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public
relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
-Richard P. Feynman,
his analysis of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. Academy Award
winner William Hurt portrays Dr. Feynman in "The
Challnger Disaster," a drama based on the late Nobel
Prize-winning theoretical physicist's final book, "What
Do You Care What Other People Think?" If you missed last
night's premiere, it will be rebroadcast again tonight at 9 pm on The
Having a computer is like having a small, silicon version of Gary Busey
on your desk. You never know what's going to happen.
Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.
I have a computer, a vibrator and pizza delivery. Why should I leave the
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
I may be just an empty flesh terminal relying on technology for all my
ideas, memories and relationships, but I am confident that all of that,
everything that makes me a unique human being, is still out there,
somewhere, safe in the theoretical storage space owned by giant
I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something
about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is
purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.
I think everyone in this country should learn to program a computer.
Everyone should learn a computer language because it teaches you how to
think. I think of computer science as a liberal art.
I think it is time we learned the lesson of our century: that the
progress of the human spirit must keep pace with technological and
scientific progress, or that spirit will die. It is incumbent on our
educators to remember this; and music is at the top of the spiritual
I was shocked upon viewing Internet porn while surfing the Web last
night. Then I realized my wife must have wired the mouse on our computer.
Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)
If moral behavior were simply following rules, we could program a
computer to be moral.
-Samuel P. Ginder
If the Catholic church couldn't stop Galileo, then governments won't be
able to stop things now.
de Benedetti (re: regulation of information technology.)
If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be
easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough
ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself
with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is
gambling in human lives.
If you can't beat your computer at chess, try kickboxing.
If you don't know how to do something, you don't know how to do it with
If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery.
But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is
somehow ennobled, and no one dares to criticize it.
Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual
way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks
In a way, staring into a computer screen is like staring into an
eclipse. It's brilliant and you don't realize the damage until it's too
In all technologically 'advanced' countries, fashion has replaced
tradition, so that involuntary membership in a society can no longer
provide a feeling of community.
In computer science, we stand on each other's feet.
-Brian K. Reid
In the computer business, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned
lies, and benchmarks.
In the long run, everything is a toaster.
Greenwald (on innovative technologies)
In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare
out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent
technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are
now the same thing.
It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that
it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers
Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atomic bomb, and then
puts its hands over its eyes and says, "My God, what have I done?"
It's a truism in technological development that no silver lining comes
without its cloud.
Let's be frank, the Italians' technological contribution to humankind
stopped with the pizza oven.
Levitt's First Law of Information Technology: If it's free, adopt it.
Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft... and the only
one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.
Memory is like an orgasm. It's a lot better if you don't have to fake
-Seymour Cray (re: computer virtual memory)
Misuse of reason might yet return the world to pre-technological night;
plenty of religious zealots hunger for just such a result, and are happy
to use the latest technology to effect it.
Most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically
Java vocational training.
My perception was/is that while the rest of the computer world was
striving for Fault Tolerant Software, Microsoft was working on Fault
Never let a computer know you're in a hurry.
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the
steamroller, you're part of the road.
Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization
generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological
Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently
programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.
PCMCIA stands for either Personal Computer Memory Card International
Association or People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.
Read, read, read and put away computers. Forget the Internet, that's all
Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as
reading sex manuals without the software. In both cases the cure is
simple though usually very expensive.
-Arthur C. Clarke
Science is everything we understand well enough to explain to a
computer. Art is everything else.
Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.
Some technologies do their job perfectly and tend to stick around. The
spoon is one example, the lawn-roller another. Paper may well be a third.
(From The Economist)
Technological man can't believe in anything that can't be measured,
taped, or put into a computer.
-Clare Boothe Luce
Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means
for going backwards.
Technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we need not
Technology frightens me to death. It's designed by engineers to impress
other engineers, and they always come with instruction booklets that are
written by engineers for other engineers- which is why almost no
technology ever works.
Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born.
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand
what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not
Technology is not in itself opposed to spirituality and to religion. But
it presents a great temptation.
Technology is really civilization, let's face it.
-Arthur C. Clarke
Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of
information can drive out knowledge.
-Daniel J. Boorstin
Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything,
except over technology.
Technology today is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
There's this attraction to light and to this kind of power, which is
both warm and destructive.
That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they
really hate is lousy programmers.
The British don't make computers because they never figured out how to
make them leak oil.
The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer
or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain.
The computer industry has frequently borrowed from mythology: Witness
the sprites in computer graphics, the demons in artificial intelligence,
and the trolls in the marketing department.
The computer industry is a chicken on growth hormones, sloshing around
in a nutrient bath with its head cut off.
The computer is a moron.
The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't be misled by the
enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated
buyers using poor adaptations of incomplete ideas.
The computer saves man a lot of guesswork, but so does the bikini.
The difference between e-mail and regular mail is that computers handle
e-mail, and computers never decide to come to work one day and shoot all
the other computers.
The entire body of computer science can be viewed as nothing more than
the development of efficient methods for the storage, transportation,
encoding, and rendering of pornography.
The fault lies not with our technologies but with our systems.
The first time a person gets a screwdriver, he's going to go around the
house tightening all the screws, whether they need it or not. There's no
reason a computer will not be similarly abused.
-Theodore K. Robb
The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at
least until we've finished building it.
The human race has today the means for annihilating itself-either in a
fit of complete lunacy, i.e., in a big war, by a brief fit of
destruction, or by careless handling of atomic technology, through a
slow process of poisoning and of deterioration in its genetic structure.
The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural
resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was
man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was
so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by
The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree,
is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals.
We cause accidents.
The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in
the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will
be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.
The only thing God didn't do to Job was give him a computer.
The only truly portable computer language is profanity.
The power to hurt... has evolved in a direct relationship to
The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a
machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited.
The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic
emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is
terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis
The Republic of Technology where we will be living is a feedback world.
The Web brings people together because no matter what kind of a twisted
sexual mutant you happen to be, you've got millions of pals out there.
Type in "Find people that have sex with goats that are on fire" and the
computer will ask, "Specify type of goat."
The world is just filling up with more and more idiots! And the computer
is giving them access to the world! They're spreading their stupidity!
At least they were contained before- now they're on the loose everywhere!
There are more computers running Windows than VMS. There are also more
cockroaches than humans.
-Kevin G. Barkes
There are two kinds of computer users: those who have lost data and
those who will lose data.
There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows
about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the
work. The trouble with computers is that you play with them.
There is an evil tendency underlying all our technology- the tendency to
do what is reasonable even when it isn't any good.
There is no data to support that computers make business more
productive... most companies have merely found faster and cheaper ways
to do dumb things.
There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has
always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in
This computer makes me all frowny with pure nougat-filled hatred!
Unlike human beings, computers possess the truly profound stupidity of
We are reaching the stage where the problems we must solve are going to
become insoluble without computers. I do not fear computers. I fear the
lack of them.
We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that
We build our computer [systems] the way we build our cities: over time,
without a plan, on top of ruins.
We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly
depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that
almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription
for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later
this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in
While modern technology has given people powerful new communication
tools, it apparently can do nothing to alter the fact that many people
have nothing useful to say.
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?
Without software, a computer is just a lump of plastic- whereas with
software, it's a lump of plastic that can permanently destroy critical
Writing is a slow and a difficult process mentally. How you physically
render the words onto a screen or a page doesn't help you. I'll give you
this example. When words had to be carved into stone, with a chisel, you
got the Ten Commandments. When the quill pen had been invented and you
had to chase a goose around the yard and sharpen the pen and boil some
ink and so on, you got Shakespeare. When the fountain pen came along,
you got Henry James. When the typewriter came along, you got Jack
Kerouac. And now that we have the computer, we have Facebook. Are you
seeing a trend here?
Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that
Error Messages Were Haiku, www.pcpoetry.com)
NFPE- NON-FATAL PROCESSING ERROR:
ITC - IGNORING THE CONTRACTOR
that potential race condition I warned you about in the coding
implementation meetings? You know, the one you condescendingly dismissed
in front of your in-house staff of snickering, cognitively challenged
ex-baristas? The condition that could never happen 'in the real world'
and therefore could be ignored?
Guess what, Skippy? Some
other process on the system- perhaps one from that odd location called
'reality'- just changed the offset into the next available customer
acccount number table.
Fortunately for you, I ignored your
explicit refusal to authorize the time necessary to write the code to
lock and release the table offset. I did it on my own time out of a
sense of professional pride and responsibility. If I hadn't, this
application- and, through the resulting series of cascading failures,
your entire production system- would have reduced this server to a
puddle of molten silicon.
The arcane segmentation fault it would have thrown would have corrupted
the entire account number sequencing mechanism. Your crack team of
outsourced, clueless code monkeys would have taken weeks to identify the
cause, let alone correct it. And who are we kidding? You would have been
on the phone to me in under an hour, pleading- no, demanding- that I
supply a patch, immediately and at no charge, because it's in a part of
the code that I wrote and, therefore, is my fault, despite the fact it
behaved exactly in the inane manner you decreed.
have then directed you here: http://tinyurl.com/nak5n7c
a capture of that portion of the aforementioned video conference meeting
where I warned you about this problem and spent ten minutes describing
situations in which the condition could occur- and your response,
accompanied by the smirks and giggles of your obsequious minions.
message will appear in the production run log file only this one time
and will probably not be seen by anyone, since you only check log files
when something crashes and burns. You never check for non-fatal
processing errors that should be corrected but aren't because that would
be contrary to your policy of ignoring the smoke emanating from your hat
until your hair ignites.
Anyway, in the unlikely event
someone does read this, you should also check the report date function
two modules down. As written, the end of month summary publication will
at some point display a cover date of February 30. I pointed this out in
our last meeting and would have corrected it, but it required access to
another function in another module which I couldn't access. You said
you'd have Bjorn fix it. Let me tell you about Bjorn. His real name is
Walter. He changed it to Bjorn because he thought it would improve his
chances of being hired. Walter is only vaguely aware of his surroundings
and, if you look right now, is wearing mis-matched socks.
And I'm still waiting for that last check.
Quotes on a topic,
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