(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.
(The computer) industry is running away from us faster than we can run
to keep up with it.
A computer cuts your work in half and gives you back the bloody stumps.
A computer does not substitute for judgment any more than a pencil
substitutes for literacy. But writing without a pencil is no particular
A computer is essentially a trained squirrel: acting on reflex,
thoughtlessly running back and forth and storing away nuts until some
other stimulus makes it do something else.
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 computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick
A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a
human into believing that it was human.
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 human must turn information into intelligence or knowledge. We've
tended to forget that no computer will ever ask a new question.
-Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
A modern computer hovers between the obsolescent and the nonexistent.
A new computer printer can produce two hundred and fifty pages a minute.
It certainly cuts down on the paperwork.
All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.
All that is required for evil to triumph is... users.
-Unattributed computer systems manager
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
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. (Computer error message)
Bad things come in threes. However, when dealing with computers, the
fourth thing is always the start of the next group of three.
Being afraid of monolithic organizations, especially when they have
computers, is like being afraid of really big gorillas, especially when
they are on fire.
Brains don't manufacture thoughts in the direct ways that muscles exert
forces or ovaries make estrogens; instead, to get a good idea, one must
engage huge organizations of sub-machines that do a vast variety of
jobs. Each human cranium contains hundreds of kinds of computers,
developed over hundreds of millions of years of evolution, each with a
somewhat different structure.
Computer languages of the future will be more concerned with goals and
less with procedures specified by the programmer.
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.
Computer: a million morons working at the speed of light.
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.
Culturally speaking, mathematicians are about as close to living and
breathing aliens as you'll ever see. Weirder than stoners, weirder than
computer hackers, weirder than SF fans. My people.
Definition of expert: x as in unknown, spurt as in drip under pressure.
Don't anthropomorphize computers. They hate it when you do that.
Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to virgins.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Electronic computers are intended to carry out any definite rule of
thumb process which could have been done by a human operator working in
a disciplined but unintelligent manner.
Enter any eleven-digit prime number to continue. (Computer command
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,
Fast, fat computers breed slow, lazy programmers.
Giving a man space is like giving a dog a computer. The chances are he
will not use it wisely.
-Betty Jean Rafael
Google, Amazon, Apple. Any number of cloud providers and computer
service providers who can increasingly limit your access to your own
information, control all your processing, take away your data if they
want to, and observe everything you do; in a way, that does give them
some leverage over your own life.
-John Perry Barlow
Having a computer is like having a small, silicon version of Gary Busey
on your desk. You never know what's going to happen.
Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions,
including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within
oneself. It is wrong to expect some final satisfaction to come from
money or from a computer.
-Tenzin Gyatso (The 14th Dalai Lama)
I don't care how big and fast computers are, they're not as big and fast
as the world.
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 like computers. I like the Internet. It's a tool that can be used. But
don't be misled into thinking that these technologies are anything other
than aspects of a degenerate economic system.
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its
components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down
computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
I see a bright future for the biotechnology industry when it follows the
path of the computer industry, the path that von Neumann failed to
foresee, becoming small and domesticated rather than big and centralized.
I see the player piano as the grandfather of the computer, the ancestor
of the entire nightmare we live in, the birth of the binary world where
there is no option other than yes or no and where there is no refuge.
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'm personally convinced that computer science has a lot in common with
physics. Both are about how the world works at a rather fundamental
level. The difference, of course, is that while in physics you're
supposed to figure out how the world is made up, in computer science you
create the world. Within the confines of the computer, you're the
creator. You get to ultimately control everything that happens. If
you're good enough, you can be God. On a small scale.
If moral behavior were simply following rules, we could program a
computer to be moral.
-Samuel P. Ginder
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 computer science, we stand on each other's feet.
-Brian K. Reid
In pioneer days they used oxen for heavy pulling, and when one ox
couldn't budge a log, they didn't try to grow a larger ox. We shouldn't
be trying for bigger computers, but for more systems of computers.
-Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
In the computer business, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned
lies, and benchmarks.
In the computer field, the moment of truth is a running program; all
else is prophecy.
It might seem easy enough, but computer language design is just like a
stroll in the park. Jurassic Park, that is.
It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible
to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with
such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in five years.
-John von Neumann
It's possible to program a computer in English. It's also possible to
make an airplane controlled by reins and spurs.
Making duplicate copies and computer printouts of things no one wanted
even one of in the first place is giving America a new sense of purpose.
Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft... and the only
one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.
-Wernher von Braun
Memory is like an orgasm. It's a lot better if you don't have to fake
it. (re: computer virtual memory)
Most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically
Java vocational training.
My first impulse, when presented with any spanking-new piece of computer
hardware, is to imagine how it will look in ten years' time, gathering
dust under a card table in a thrift shop
My perception was/is that while the rest of the computer world was
striving for Fault Tolerant Software, Microsoft was working on Fault
Never ask what sort of computer a guy drives. If he's a Mac user, he'll
tell you. If not, why embarrass him?
Never let a computer know you're in a hurry.
Never tell a computer to forget it.
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.
No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it's
doing; but most of the time, we aren't either.
Not even computers will replace committees, because committees buy
-Edward Shepherd Mead
Once a computer achieves human intelligence it will necessarily roar
Once the computers got control, we might never get it back. We would
survive at their sufferance. If we're lucky, they might decide to keep
us as pets.
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.
Technological man can't believe in anything that can't be measured,
taped, or put into a computer.
-Clare Boothe Luce
Telling computer guys that they need to have permission to quote things
is like having to tell little children about Death.
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 computer should be doing the hard work. That's what it's paid to do,
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 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 idea behind digital computers may be explained by saying that these
machines are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by
a human computer.
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.
-Edward R. Murrow
The only thing God didn't do to Job was give him a computer.
The only truly portable computer language is profanity.
The personal computer... went to individuals first before it went to
corporations... The corporations are sitting, wishing this whole
friggin' thing (electric cars) to go away. Which is exactly what the
computer companies' attitude was to personal computers.
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 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 whole history of computers is rampant with cheerleading at best and
bigotry at worst.
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.
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.
-Richard P. Feynman
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.
This computer makes me all frowny with pure nougat-filled hatred!
Unlike human beings, computers possess the truly profound stupidity of
Usenet is like Tetris for people who still remember how to read. (Button
from the Computer Museum, Boston, MA)
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 build our computer (systems) the way we build our cities: over time,
without a plan, on top of ruins.
What the Internet has done is let us know how many millions of Americans
can afford a computer, but haven't yet mastered that tricky 'your-
What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd
messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code
name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval
Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.
When I see an old movie, like from the '40s or '50s or '60s, the people
look so calm. They don't have smart phones, they're not looking at
computer screens, they're taking their time. They'll sit in a chair and
just stare off into space. I think some day we'll find our way back to
that garden of Eden.
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?
XML is crap. Really. There are no excuses. XML is nasty to parse for
humans, and it's a disaster to parse even for computers. There's just no
reason for that horrible crap to exist.
You can test a person's importance in the organization by asking how
much RAM his computer has. Anyone who knows the answer to that question
is not a decision maker.
Categories: Quotes on a topic