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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

"I want you guys to look at your computer screen, imagining the worst
monster you can (the cacodeamon from Quake will do, just make him hairier
and bigger and more MEAN), and think of me. Think of me like I am when I
see a patch which isn't a pure bug-fix.

If you're whimpering just _thinking_ about sending me a new feature,
you're in the right mindframe. Keep that mindframe."

        - Linus Torvalds
"Message passing as the fundamental operation of the OS is just an
excercise in computer science masturbation. It may feel good, but you
don't actually get anything DONE."

        - Linus Torvalds
> around line mm/vmscan.c:487 that says:

Yeah, yeah, it's 7PM Christmas Eve over there, and you're in the middle of
your Christmas dinner. You might feel that it's unreasonable of me to ask
you to test out my latest crazy idea.

How selfish of you.

Get back there in front of the computer NOW. Christmas can wait.

                Linus "the Grinch" Torvalds
> I can just imagine Xmas at the Torvalds residence, with their annual
> tradition of having the kids scream... But dad, other kids have the l
> lights strung around the trees, not the computer....

I don't think you get the full picture. I suspect what gets strung up on the
trees at Christmas if Linus does too much hacking is ... Linus

        - Alan Cox
"A computer is a state machine.
Threads are for people who can't program state machines."

        - Alan Cox
You don't get out much, do you :-)?  Lighten up a little, this
is supposed to be fun.......We could argue all day, but there was
lots of computer work done before PCI and PCs.  I'm more than old
enough to know, so just leave it at that.......

        - Dan Malek on the linuxppc-embedded list
Cuba is within small boat distance. I thought it was going to be twenty
years before the direction changed, now Im not so sure

        - Alan Cox on crazy US computer security laws
Anyway, there's plenty of room for doubt.  It might seem easy enough,
but computer language design is just like a stroll in the park.

Jurassic Park, that is.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
You can prove anything by mentioning another computer language.  :-)

             -- Larry Wall in <>
The computer should be doing the hard work.  That's what it's paid to do,
after all.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
But the possibility of abuse may be a good reason for leaving
capabilities out of other computer languages, it's not a good reason for
leaving capabilities out of Perl.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
To understand this important story, you have to understand how the telephone
company works.  Your telephone is connected to a local computer, which is in
turn connected to a regional computer, which is in turn connected to a
loudspeaker the size of a garbage truck on the lawn of Edna A. Bargewater of
Lawrence, Kan.

Whenever you talk on the phone, your local computer listens in.  If it
suspects you're going to discuss an intimate topic, it notifies the computer
above it, which listens in and decides whether to alert the one above it,
until finally, if you really humiliate yourself, maybe break down in tears
and tell your closest friend about a sordid incident from your past
involving a seedy motel, a neighbor's spouse, an entire religious order, a
garden hose and six quarts of tapioca pudding, the top computer feeds your
conversation into Edna's loudspeaker, and she and her friends come out on
the porch to listen and drink gin and laugh themselves silly.
                -- Dave Barry, "Won't It Be Just Great Owning Our Own Phones?"
Missouri Town Changes Name to 'Linux'

LINUX, MO -- The small Missouri town of Linn, county seat of Osage County,
announced yesterday that it will be henceforth called 'Linux'. Mayor Bob Farrow
said, "Linn needed something to put it on the map. A few weeks ago my daughter
mentioned that she installed Linux on her computer and how great she thought it
was. I thought to myself, 'Self, changing the town's name to 'Linux' could be
an opportunity to attract attention -- and money -- to our town. We could even
hold a Linux Convention at the community center.' So I approached the city
council about the idea, and they loved it. The rest is history."

Farrow's daughter is organizing the Linux Linux User Group. She hopes to be
able to hold a Linux Convention this fall. "The Linn, er, Linux community
center probably won't be big enough, we'll probably have to hold it in nearby
Jefferson City," she said.

The mayor does have one reservation. "How the hell do you pronounce Linux?" One
of the mayor's contenders in the next election, Mr. Noah Morals, says he will
start an ad campaign calling Bob Farrow "the Incumbent Liar of LIE-nucks".
Needless to say, the mayor usually pronounces Linux as "LIH-nucks".
Linux Rally Held in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PA -- Thousands of Linux advocates gathered at the Pennsylvania
state capitol building earlier today. They were protesting the state's recent
three year deal with Microsoft to install Windows NT on all state computer
systems. "Whatever pointy haired boss made this deal ought to be shot on
sight," one protestor exclaimed. "Windows NT is a piece of [expletive] compared
to Linux. The taxpayers of Pennsylvania are going to be sorry three years from
now when this 'deal' concludes. The state has sold its soul to Satan [Bill

Brief hostilities broke out when a group of police officers armed with riot
gear descended on the protestors. After the police threatened to use tear gas,
the protestors threw thousands of Linux CDs at them. Once the supply of CDs was
depleted, the protest became peaceful again. "I saw several policemen pick up
Linux CDs and put them in their pockets," one protestor noted.

The protest broke up a few minutes later once it was realized that the state
legislature wasn't in session. "We may have wasted our time today," one
advocate said, "But we'll be back later." State and Microsoft officials were
unavailable for comment at press time. How typical.
Mad Programmer Commits Suicide

KENNETT, MO -- For two years Doug Carter toiled away in his basement computer
lab working on his own 'Dougnix' operating system. Apparently he was sick of
Windows 95 so he decided to create his own OS, based loosely on Unix. He had
developed his own 'DougUI' window manager, Doug++ compiler, DougFS filesystem,
and other integrated tools.

All was going well until last week when he hooked his computer up to the
Internet for the first time. It was then that he stumbled on to
Reports are sketchy about what happened next. We do know he committed suicide
days after, leaving behind a rambling suicide note. Part of the note says:

"I've wasted the past two years of my life... Wasted... Gone... Forever...
Never return to. [illegible] Why did I bother creating my own OS... when Linux
is exactly what I needed!?!?!?! If I had only known about Linux! Why someone
didn't tell me? [illegible] Wasted! Aggghhh!" [The rest of the note is filled
with incomprehensible assembly language ramblings.]
Linux Infiltrates Windows NT Demo

SILICON VALLEY, CA -- Attendees at the Microsoft ActiveDemo Conference held
this week in San Jose were greeted by a pleasant surprise yesterday: Linux.
Somehow a group of Linux enthusiasts were able to replace a Windows NT box with
a Linux box right before the "ActiveDemo" of Windows NT 5 beta. "I have no clue
how they were able to pull off this prank," a Microserf spokesman said. "Rest
assured, Microsoft will do everything to investigate and prosecute the Linux
nuts who did this. Our bottom line must be protected."

Bill Gates said, "I was showing off the new features in Windows NT 5 when I
noticed something odd about the demo computer. It didn't crash. Plus, the font
used on the screen wasn't MS San Serif -- trust me, I know. My suspicions were
confirmed when, instead of the "Flying Windows" screensaver, a "Don't Fear the
Penguins" screensaver appeared. The audience laughed and applauded for five
straight minutes. It was so embarrasing -- even more so than the pie incident.

One attendee said, "Wow! This Linux is cool -- it didn't crash once during the
entire demo! I'd like to see NT do that." Another asked, "You guys got any
Linux CDs? I want one. Forget about vaporware NT." Yet another remarked, "I
didn't know it was possible to hack Linux to make it look like NT. I can
install Linux on my company's computers without my boss knowing!"
Tux Penguin Beanie Baby Sales Skyrocket

Two weeks ago Ty released a 'Tux the Penguin' Beanie Baby. Sales of the stuffed
toy have exceeded expectations. All 100,000 of them have been sold, and it will
be another week before more can be produced and distributed. Tux is now the one
of the most valuable Beanie Babies, with some stores selling remaining ones for
over $500.

Tux's strong sales constrast sharply with Ty's other computer-related Beanie
Baby, 'Billy the Billionaire'. "Billy's sales are dismal. Except for the 2,000
that Bill Gates bought for himself and his daughter Jennifer, Billy has been a
failure. People just aren't responsive to toys that represent greedy,
capitalistic billionaires with bad haircuts," a member of the Church of Beanie
Baby Collecting said.

Ty is considering releasing other Beanie Babies similar to Tux. Some
possibities include 'Steve the Apple Worm' and 'Wilbur the Gimp'.
"Computer-related Beanie Babies are selling extremely well," a Ty spokesman
said. "I don't understand why people are obsessed with these stupid stuffed
toys. But as long as they're making me lots of money, I don't care! Oops...
Please don't quote me on that."
Microsoft Acquires Nothing

REDMOND, WA -- In an unprecedented move, Microsoft refrained from acquiring any
rival companies for a full week. "I can't believe it," one industry analyst
noted. "This is the first time in years that I haven't read any headlines about
Microsoft acquiring something."

The lack of Microsoft assimilation this week left a vacuum in computer industry
publications. "Microsoft acquisition stories make up 10% of our headlines," an
editor at Ziff-Slavis said. "We had to scramble to fill this void. We ran some
controversial Jessie Burst columns instead, hoping that we could recoup ad
revenue from people reading all the flames in the Talk Back forums. Jessie
Burst forums account for 15% of our total ad revenue."
Tux Penguin Boxing Match

LAS VEGAS, NV -- The unofficial Linux mascot Tux the Penguin will face his arch
rival the BSD Daemon in a boxing match this Saturday night. The match is part
of the International Computer Mascot Boxing Federation's First Annual World
Championship Series. The winner will advance to face one of the Intel "Bunny

Boxing pundits favor Tux as the winner. Last week Tux won his first match in
the Championship Series against Wilbur the Gimp. "The Gimp didn't have a
chance," one spectator said. "With Tux's ability to run at top speeds of over
100mph, I don't see how he could possibly lose." The BSD Daemon, however, is
certainly a formidible opponent. While boxing rules prohibit the Daemon from
using his patented pitchfork, his pointy horns are permitted in the ring.

Some observers think the whole Computer Mascot Boxing Federation is a fake.
"WWF is all scripted," one sports writer pointed out. "And so is this. You
actually think that a penguin is capable of boxing? The idea of a penguin
fighting a demon is patently absurd. This whole Championship Series has no
doubt been scripted. It's probably nothing more than two little kids in
penguin and demon suits duking it out in a boxing ring. What a waste of time."
Linux Ported to Homer Simpson's Brain

SPRINGFIELD -- Slashdot recently reported on Homer Simpson's brain "upgrade"
to an Intel CPU.  Intel hails the CPU transplant as the "World's Greatest
Technological Achievement".  Intel originally planned to install Microsoft
Windows CE (Cerebrum Enhanced) on Homer's new PentiumBrain II processor.
However, due to delays in releasing Windows CE, Intel decided to install
DebianBrain Linux, the new Linux port for brains.

Computer industry pundits applaud the last minute switch from Windows to
Linux. One said, "I was a bit concerned for Homer.  With Windows CE, I could
easily imagine Homer slipping into an infinite loop: "General Protection
Fault.  D'oh!  D'oh!  D'oh!  D'oh..."  Or, at the worst, the Blue Screen of
Death could have become much more than a joke."

Some pundits are more concerned about the quality of the Intel CPU.  "Linux
is certainly an improvement over Windows.  But since it's running on a
PentiumBrain chip, all bets are off.  What if the chip miscalculates the core
temperature of the power plant where Homer works?  I can just imagine the
story on the evening news: 'Springfield was obliterated into countless
subatomic particles yesterday because Homer J. Simpson, power plant
button-pusher, accidentally set the core temperature to 149.992322340948290
instead of 150...'  If anything, an Alpha chip running Linux should have been
used for Homer's new brain."
Operation Desert Slash

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- High officials in the US military are planning on putting
the  'Slashdot Effect' to use against Iraq. Pentagon computer experts think
that the Slashdot Effect could topple key Net-connected Iraqi computer
systems.  Such a Denial of Service attack could prove instrumental when the
US invades.

One Pentagon official said, "If I had a million dollars for every server that
crashed as a result of being linked on Slashdot, I'd be richer than Bill
Gates.  The Slashdot Effect is a very powerful weapon that the US military
wants to tap into."

Rob Malda has been contacted by top military brass.  According to anonymous
sources, Malda will play a key part in the so-called "Operation Desert
Slash".  Supposedly Malda will post several Slashdot articles with links to
critical Iraqi websites right when the US invasion is set to begin.
Meanwhile, Pentagon operatives will begin a series of Denial of Service
attacks on other key Iraqi computer systems. One source notes, "Since many
Iraqi systems rely on Microsoft software, this task should be relatively
Linux Dominates Academic Research

A recent survey of colleges and high school reveals that Linux, Open Source
Software, and Microsoft are favorite topics for research projects.  Internet
Censorship, a popular topic for the past two years, was supplanted by Biology
of Penguins as another of this year's most popular subjects for research

"The Internet has changed all the rules," one college professor told
Humorix.  "Nobody wants to write papers about traditional topics like the
death penalty, freedom of speech, abortion, juvenile crime, etc. Most of the
research papers I've seen the past year have been computer related, and most
of the reference material has come from the Net.  This isn't necessarily
good; there's a lot of crap on the Net.  One student tried to use 'Bob's
Totally Wicked Anti-Microsoft Homepage of Doom' and 'The Support Group for
People Used by Microsoft' as primary sources of information for his paper
about Microsoft."

A high school English teacher added, "Plagarism is a problem with the Net.
One of my students 'wrote' a brilliant piece about the free software
revolution. Upon further inspection, however, almost everything was stolen
from Eric S. Raymond's website.  I asked the student, "What does noosphere
mean?"  He responded, 'New-what?'  Needless to say, he failed the class."
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #2

Nerd Trading Cards
Price: $10/pack
Producer: Bottomms; 1-800-NRDS-ROK

Forget baseball, nerd trading cards are the future.  Now your kids can
collect and trade cards of their favorite open source hackers and computer
industry figures.  Some of the cards included feature Linus Torvalds, Richard
M. Stallman, and Larry Wall.  Also contains cards for companies (Red Hat,
Netscape, Transmeta, etc.), specific open source programs (Apache, Perl,
Mozilla, etc.), and well-known websites (Slashdot, Freshmeat, etc.).  Each
card features a full-color picture on the front and complete information and
statistics on back. Some of the cards have even been autographed.  Quit
trying to search for a Mark McGwire rookie card and collect nerd
cards instead!
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #3

iTux Penguin Computer
Price: $999.95 for base model
Producer: Orange Computer, Co.; 1-800-GET-ITUX

Based on the Slashdot comments, response to the Apple iMac from the Linux
community was lukewarm at best.  Orange Computer, Co., has picked up where
Apple left behind and produced the iTux computer specifically for Linux users
who want to "Think a lot different".

The self-contained iTux computer system is built in the shape of Tux the
Penguin.  Its 15 inch monitor (17 inch available next year) is located at
Tux's large belly.  The penguin's two feet make up the split ergonomic
keyboard (without those annoying Windows keys, of course).  A 36X CD-ROM
drive fits into Tux's mouth.  Tux's left eye is actually the reboot button
(can be reconfigured for other purposes since it is rarely used) and his
right eye is the power button.  The iTux case opens up from the back,
allowing easy access for screwdriver-wielding nerds into Tux's guts.

The US$995.95 model contains an Alpha CPU and all the usual stuff found in a
Linux-class machine.  More expensive models, to be debuted next year, will
feature dual or quad Alpha CPUs and a larger size.
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #5

AbsoluteZero(tm) Cryogenic Refrigerator
$29,999.95 for economy model at Cryo-Me-A-River, Inc.

The pundits have been hyping new technology allowing your home appliances to
have Internet access. Most people aren't too keen with the thought of their
refrigerator sharing an IP address with their can opener.

But with the new AbsoluteZero(tm) Refrigerator, that might change. This is not
a fridge for your food -- it's a fridge for your overclocked, overheating CPU.
You stick your computer inside, bolt the door shut, turn the temperature down
to 5 degrees Kelvin, and you've got the perfect environment for accelerating
your CPU to 1 Terahertz or more.

This cryogenic cooling system may not actually reach absolute zero, but it
comes mighty close. Unfortunately, the AbsoluteZero(tm) is the size of a small
house, consumes a constant stream of liquid nitrogen, and requires it's own
nuclear reactor (not included). But that's a small price to pay for the
ability to play Quake 3 at 100,000 frames per second.
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #7

Bluescreen Computer Case
US$27.97 at Bud's Beige Box Bazaar

Real Geeks may not admit to using Windows, but there's still countless geeks
out there who must suffer through the humiliation of using Windows while at
work. The patent-not-pending Bluescreen Case, though, will ease the stress of
working with Microsoft "solutions".

This computer case is very similar to other beige boxes, but with one
important difference: the reboot button is covered with a picture of Bill
Gates. When the machine bluescreens for the millionth time, all you have to do
is punch Bill Gates in the face as hard as you can, and the computer will
restart. This provides invaluable therapeutic stress relief.
Linux Advocacy Crackdown

SHERIDAN, WY -- In an unprecedented blow to Linux advocacy, Aaron McAdams, an
employee at the Sheridan Try-N-Save Discount Store, was fired last week.
According to the store's general manager, McAdams was fired because "he
constantly rearranged items on shelves so that Linux-related books and
software boxes would be displayed more prominently than Windows merchandise."
McAdams' boss added, "If he would have spent as much time actually working as
he did hiding Windows books at the back of shelves, he wouldn't have received
the pink slip."

The general manager supplied Humorix with videotapes from the store's
security cameras showing McAdams in action.  In one scene, he takes a whole
stack of "...For Dummies" books and buries them in the Cheap Romance section,
an area of the store rarely visited by computer users.  In another, McAdams
can be plainly seen setting copies of Red Hat Linux in front of a large,
eye-catching display of various Microsoft products at the front of the
store.  Finally, at one point McAdams can be seen slapping huge tags reading
"DEMO DISPLAY BOX -- NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL 1999" on boxes of Windows 98.

McAdams disputes his bosses accusations.  "If he would spend more time
actually working instead of peering over security camera footage for hours on
end, this store might actually turn a profit for a change."
Red Hat Linux 10.0

RALEIGH-DURHAM, NC -- HypeNewsWire -- Red Hat, the producer of the most
popular Linux distribution with over 25 million estimated users, is proud to
announce the availability of Red Hat Linux 10.0.  The latest version
contains the new Linux 6.2 kernel, the Z Window System 2.0, full support for
legacy Windows 3.x/9x/200x/NT software apps, and more. Copies of Red Hat
Linux 10.0 will be available in stores on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or GNUDE (GNU
Digital Encoding) disks within the next week.

Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and several other large computer manufacturers have
announced that they will offer computer systems with Red Hat 10.0
pre-installed.  "We can sell systems with Red Hat pre-installed for
considerably less than systems with Microsoft ActiveWindows 2001. Overall,
Red Hat Linux's superior quality, low price, and modest system requirements
puts Windows to shame," one Dell spokesperson said at last week's LinDex
Microsoft ActivePromo Campaign: "State Innovation Day"

Microsoft has successfully lobbied for the State of Washington to declare
August 24th as State Innovation Day.  Efforts are underway to lobby the US
Congress to decree a similar designation nationally.  Several events are
scheduled on August 24, 1999 to showcase "innovation" in the computer
industry (in other words, Microsoft), including:

* An "Innovation Day Parade" held in downtown Seattle, featuring
floats and helium-filled balloons representing various Microsoft products
(Dancing Paper Clip, Microsoft Bob, Flying Windows Logo, etc.)

* An "Innovation is Cool" essay contest for high school and
college students.  Possible topics include "Why IE Should Be Integrated in
Windows", "Why Bill Gates Is My Hero", "Government Intervention is Evil",
and "Why Monopolies Improve Product Quality and Lower Prices".

* A 24-hour "Innovation in Education" telethon on NBC to raise money for
school districts nationwide to buy new Wintel computer systems and Internet
access through the Microsoft Network.
Is Windows Antique?

SILICON VALLEY -- The first ever antique mall devoted to computers has
opened its doors deep in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Named "Stacks
of Antiqueues", the new mall features obsolete hardware, old software,
and other curiosities that only a nerd would want to buy.  The mall
also features a whole collection of Microsoft software, which, as can
be expected, has the Redmond giant up in arms.

The mall, founded by a group of Linux, FreeBSD, and BeOS users, has a whole
section devoted to Microsoft "antiques".  Offerings range from a rare
(and expensive) copy of Windows 1.0 all the way up to Windows 98.  All
versions of DOS from 1.0 up are available, in addition to such Microsoft
products as Bob, Profit, and Multiplan.

Bob Hinesdorf, one of the mall's founders, defends the decision to
include Microsoft products in its selection of antique computer stuff.
"Windows 98 is surely antique; it's based on 16 bit Windows 3.x code,
which was based on 16 bit DOS code, which was based loosely on 8 bit
New Crime Identified: "Tech Rage"

HARRISBURG, IL -- The police department in this Illinois town has coined a
new term for a growing trend in crime: "tech rage". Tech rage shares many
similarities with another modern crime, "road rage", but instead of
affecting drivers, tech rage is experienced by disgruntled computer users.

The first documented case of tech rage involves a Microsoft salesman, Bob
Glutzfield, who convinced the local TV station to "upgrade" its computer
systems from Macintosh to Wintel.  While the migration seemed successful at
first, the Blue Screen became more prevalent during the following months.

Then, in January, the entire computer system crashed in the middle of the
weather forecast during the 10 o'clock evening news. Viewers could plainly
see the Blue Screen of Death showing in the monitors behind James Roland,
the chief meteorologist. The instability of Windows 98 stretched Roland's
patience until he snapped last week and succumbed to tech rage.

Roland tracked down the Microsoft salesman and followed him one evening to
his apartment.  The weatherman yelled at the bewildered Microserf, "You
[expletive]! Because of you, I'm the [expletive] laughing stock of Southern
Illinois!" and then proceeded to beat him up.  Roland is currently out on
bond pending trial next month.
The War Against Linux

A significant obstacle on the path to Linux World Domination has emerged.  A
reactionary grass-roots movement has formed to fight, as they call it, "The
War Against Linux".  This movement, code-named "LinSux", is composed of
people (mostly Microsoft stockholders and commercial software developers)
who want to maintain the status quo.  They are fighting back against the
rise of Linux and free software which they see as a threat to their financial

The most damaging attack the LinSux folks have launched is "Three Mile
Island", a Windows macro virus designed to inflict damage on computers that
contain a partition devoted to a non-Microsoft OS.  When the victim computer
is booted into Windows, the virus activates and deletes any non-Microsoft
partitions. Ironically, the many security flaws in Windows allow the virus
to damage alternative operating systems but leave Windows unscathed.

"The War Against Linux" has also been fought in more subtle ways.
Time-tested methods of Linux advocacy have been turned into subtle forms of
anti-Linux advocacy by the LinSux crowd.  MSCEs are smuggling NT boxes into
companies that predominantly use Linux or Unix.  LinSux "freedom fighters"
are rearranging books and software boxes on store shelves so that Microsoft
offerings are displayed more prominently.
BSOD Simulator

Users of Red Hat 6.0 are discovering a new feature that hasn't been widely
advertised: a Blue Screen of Death simulator.  By default, the bsodsim
program activates when the user hits the virtually unused SysRq key (this is
customizable) causing the system to switch to a character cell console to
display a ficticious Blue Screen.

Red Hat hails the bsodsim program as the "boss key" for the Linux world. One
RH engineer said, "Workers are smuggling Linux boxes into companies that
exclusively use Windows.  This is all good and well until the PHB walks by
and comments, 'That doesn't look like Windows...' With bsodsim, that problem
is solved.  The worker can hit the emergency SysRq key, and the system will
behave just like Windows..."

The bsodsim program doesn't stop at just showing a simulated error message.
If the boss doesn't walk away, the worker can continue the illusion by
hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL, which causes a simulated reboot.  After showing the
usual boot messages, bsodsim will run a simulated SCANDISK program
indefinitely. The boss won't be able to tell the difference.  If the boss
continues to hang around, the worker can say, "SCANDISK is really taking a
long time... maybe we should upgrade our computers.  And don't you have
something better to do than watch this computer reboot for the tenth time
Dave Finton gazes into his crystal ball...

July 2000: Government Issues Update on Y2K Crisis to American Public

In a statement to all U.S. citizens, the President assured that the
repairs to the nation's infrastructure, damaged severely when the Y2K
crisis hit on January 1, is proceeding on track with the Government's
guidelines. The message was mailed to every citizen by mail carriers via
horseback. The statement itself was written on parchment with hand-made
ink written from fountain pens.

"Our technological progress since the Y2K disaster has been staggering,"
said the statement. "We have been able to fix our non-Y2K compliant horse
carriages so that commerce can once again continue. We believe that we
will be able to reinvent steam-powered engines within the next decade.
Internal combustion engines should become operational once again sometime
before the dawn of the next century."

No one knows when the technological luxuries we once enjoyed as little as
6 months ago will return. Things such as e-mail, the Internet, and all
computers were lost when the crisis showed itself for what it really was:
a disaster waiting to happen. Scholars predict the mainframe computer will
be invented again during the 24th century...
When Computers Crash

HOLLYWOOD -- The FOX TV Network has announced a new series of "reality
shows" to be aired over the summer. The series, "When Computers Crash",
will consist of five hour-long shows documenting the aftermath of serious
computer crashes, failures, and other problems. This show comes on the
heels of other FOX reality shows such as "World's Funniest Antitrust Trial
Bloopers", "When Stupid TV Network Executives Create Bad Show Ideas", and
"When Lame Fortune Files Poke Fun At FOX Reality Shows"...

To coincide with the series, FOX will sponsor a publicity gimmick called
"Crash & Win!" Contest participants will download a free Windows 9x/NT
program that keeps track of the number of Blue Screens, Illegal
Operations, or other fatal errors that force a reboot. When a crash
occurs, the program will log it in an encrypted database, which will be
periodically uploaded to the "FOX Crash & Win!" server.

Prizes such as a "Deciphering Windows Error Messages for Dummies" book, a
1999 Ford "Gasguzzler" Sport Utility Vehicle, or a lifetime supply of
stress relief medication will be awarded to participants based on the
number of crashes they log.
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#1)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 1: What is your opinion of the Microsoft antitrust trial?

A. The DoJ is wasting taxpayer's money. Now, if the DOJ were to upgrade
   all of its computer systems to Windows, then the department would be
   making wise use of tax dollars.

B. All of the Microsoft email messages that the evil government has
   presented as evidence are obviously taken out of context or have been
   completely twisted around. I mean... Bill Gates would never say "let's
   cut off their air supply" in a memo; it's an obvious fabrication.

C. Judge Jackson is obviously biased in favor of the DOJ's vigilante
   persecution of Microsoft.

D. If Microsoft loses, it will be the gravest miscarriage of justice in
   all the history of mankind.
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#3)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 3: Have you ever experimented with the freeware Linux OS created
            by a group of anarchist acne-laden teenagers via the Net?

A. No, I'd never trust my work to a piece of non-Microsoft software.

B. No, I'd never trust my computer to a piece of software that has a
   restrictive license agreement such as the GNU GPL.

C. No, I don't want to mess with the ancient command line interface Linux
   imposes on its users.

D. Yes, but I quickly migrated back to modern Windows NT after I had
   trouble figuring out how to boot the thing from the cryptic LILO
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#5)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 5: Where do you want to go today?(tm)

A. To Washington, D.C. to meet Janet Reno and cuss her out for persecuting

B. To Redmond, WA to take a tour of the Microsoft campus

C. To the software store to purchase a new piece of Microsoft software

D. To my local school district to convince the administration to upgrade
   the Macintoshes in the computer labs to Wintel systems

E. I don't know about myself, but I'd like to see so-called "consumer
   advocates" like Ralph Nader go to Hell.
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#13)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 13: Which of the following new Microsoft products do you plan on
             buying within the next 6 months?

A. Windows For Babies(tm) - Using an enhanced "click-n-drool" interface,
   babies will be able to learn how to use a Wintel computer, giving them
   a head start in living in a Microsoft-led world.

B. Where In Redmond Is Carmen Sandiego?(tm) - The archvillian Sandiego has
   stolen the Windows source code and must be stopped before she can
   publish it on the Net.

C. ActiveKeyboard 2000(tm) - An ergonomic keyboard that replaces useless
   keys like SysRq and Scroll Lock with handy keys like "Play Solitaire"
   and "Visit".

D. Visual BatchFile(tm) - An IDE and compiler for the MS-DOS batch file
   language. MSNBC calls it "better than Perl".
Jargon Coiner (#1)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* WINCURSE: Loud expletive uttered when a Linux user comes face-to-face
  with a computer containing a WinModem.

  Example: "Eric wincursed when his mother showed him the new computer she
  bought from CompUSSR... which contained a WinModem and a WinSoundCard."

* WIND'OH KEY: Nickname given to the three useless Windows keys that come
  on virtually all new keyboards. These keys are often hit by mistake
  instead of CTRL or ALT, causing the user to shout "D'oh!"

* DE-WIND'OH!ED KEYBOARD: (1) A new keyboard produced without any wind'oh!
  keys or a "Enhanced for Windows 95/98" logo. Extremely rare. (2) A
  keyboard in which the wind'oh! keys have been physically removed.
Jargon Coiner (#3)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* LILOSPLAININ': Arduous process of explaining why there's now a LILO boot
  prompt on the office computer.

  Example: "John had some lilosplainin' to do after his boss turned on the
  computer and the Windows splash screen didn't appear."

* UPTIME DOWNER: Depression that strikes a Linux sysadmin after his uptime
  is ruined. Can be caused by an extended power outtage, a pet chewing
  through the power cord, a lightning bolt striking the power line, or an
  urgent need to reboot into Windows to read a stupid Word document.

* OSTR (Off-Switch Total Recall): The sudden recollection of something
  terribly important you need to do online that occurs exactly 0.157
  seconds after you've shut down your computer.
Jargon Coiner (#7)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* O'REILLY O'WRITING: Going to a bookstore and copying down notes from an
  O'Reilly computer book that you can't afford.

* DEEP WRITE MODE: Similar to "deep hack mode", but applies to people
  writing editorials or (very rarely) Slashdot comments. The author
  of this fortune file sometimes experiences "deep humor mode".

* EDITORIAL WAR: Skirmishes between two or more parties carried out via
  strongly-worded editorials published to sites like Slashdot, Linux
  Today, etc. ESR and RMS are frequently engaged in this.

* THREENYM: Referring to someone by the first letter of their three names.
  Used by some people (RMS and ESR), but not others (has anybody ever
  tried to refer to Linus Torvalds as "LBT"?).
Jargon Coiner (#10)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* HOBTOB (Hanging Out By The O'Reilly Books): Seeking free Linux technical
  support at a bookstore by waiting near the computer books for a geek to
  come by and then casually asking them for help.

* MOOLA (Marketing Officially Organizes Linux Adoptance):  A press release
  issued by a Dot Com (or Dot Con?) heralding their "support" for Linux
  (i.e. " adopts Linux as their official operating system by
  adding five Linux-related links to their BigDirectory"); used to inflate
  their stock price and rake in moola even though none of their employees
  have ever used Linux and don't really care.
* KARMA KOLLECTOR: Slashdot user who treats the acquisition of "karma" as
  a game; often has a detailed strategy on how to sucker moderators into
  raising the score of their posts (i.e. posting a comment with a title
  like "Microsoft Sucks!!! (Score 3, Insightful)" or using "Only a fool
  would moderate this down" as a signature). See also "Karma Whore".
Jargon Coiner (#13)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* NINETY-NINERS: In 1849, a horde of people ("Forty-niners") headed to
  California to pan gold and get rich quick. In 1999, a horde of people
  ("Ninety-niners") headed to California to invest in Linux companies and
  get rich quick. Some things never change.

* ZOO: The ubiquitous shelf of O'Reilly Animal Books that many nerds keep
  next to their computer

* THEY'RE MULTIPLYING LIKE PORTALS: The proliferation of Linux portals
  that have the latest headlines from Slashdot and LinuxToday but offer
  little original content.

* YOU CAN SPELL EVIL WITHOUT vi: A curse uttered by freshman Computer
  Science students struggling with vi's insert mode for the first time.
Programming for money sucks... you have to deal with PHBs, 16 hour days,
and spending the night in your cubicle half of the time to avoid the
Commute From Hell...

I minored in Journalism, so I tried to switch into a job as an IT pundit.
You'd think they'd welcome a geek like me with open arms, but they
didn't.  Ziff-Davis wouldn't even give me an interview. I was "too
qualified" they said. Apparently my technical acumen was too much for
their organization, which employs Jesse Berst and the ilk.

It gets worse. I tried to get an entry-level reporting job for a
local-yokel paper. After the interview they gave me a "skills test": I had
to compose an article using Microsoft Word 97. Since I've never touched a
Windows box, I had no clue how to use it. When I botched the test, the
personnel manager spouted, "Your resume said you were a computer
programmer. Obviously you're a liar. Get out of my office now!"

  -- Excerpt from a horror story about geek discrimination during
     the Geek Grok '99 telethon
OPPRESSED GEEK: Everybody keeps blaming me for the Y2K problem, the
Melissa Virus, Windows crashes... you name it. When somebody finds out
you're a bona fide geek, they start bugging you about computer problems. I
frequently hear things like, "Why can't you geeks make Windows work
right?", "What kind of idiot writes a program that can't handle the year
2000?", "Geeks are evil, all they do is write viruses", and "The Internet
is the spawn of Satan".

I'm afraid to admit I have extensive computing experience. When somebody
asks what kind of job I have, I always lie. From my experience, admitting
that you're a geek is an invitation to disaster.

LARRY WALL: I know, I know. I sometimes say that I'm the founder of a
pearl harvesting company instead of admitting that I'm the founder of the
Perl programming language.

ERIC S. RAYMOND: This is tragic. We can't live in a world like this. We
need your donations to fight social oppression and ignorance against

   -- Excerpt from the Geek Grok '99 telethon      
Is Linux A Finnish Conspiracy?

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF CORRUPTION -- According to a report recently
issued by the NSA (No Such Agency), Finland is now considered a national
economic and security risk. "We don't trust the Finns... software written
by these people could potentially contain backdoors that could undermine
domestic security," the report states. In response to the news, US Senator
Fatcatte (R-WA) has proposed a bill, the It's For The Children Act of
2000, that would ban all software written by native-born Finns.

"It's time we take the Finnish threat seriously," Fatcatte said at a press
conference. "Not only is Finn software a threat to domestic tranquility,
but it could radically alter the computer industry, costing us thousands
of jobs... and, more importantly, billions in tax revenue. We must prevent
the Finns from subverting our economy with so-called 'open-source
software'." He then asked, "Is anybody thinking of the children of
programmers who will become unemployed when Finnish software overruns the
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#6)

JOHN SPLADDEN: We're back. The players have assumed their positions and
are ready to answer computer-related questions posed by referree Eric S.
Raymond. Let's listen in...

RAYMOND: Okay, men, you know the rules... And now here's the first
question: Who is the most respected, sexy, gifted, and talented spokesmen
for the Open Source movement? [Bzzz] Taco Boy, you buzzed in first.

ROB MALDA: The answer is me.

RAYMOND: No, you egomaniacal billionaire. Anybody else want to answer?
[Bzzz] Yes, Alan Cox?

ALAN COX: Well, duh, the answer has to be Eric Raymond.

RAYMOND: Correct! That answer is worth 10 million points.

ROB MALDA: Protest! Who wrote these questions?!
Freaks In Linux Houses Shouldn't Throw FUD

By Mr. Stu Poor, technology pundit for the Arkansas "Roadkill
Roundup" newspaper. [Editor's Note: He's the local equivalent of Jesse

As you all know, February 17th was the happy day that Microsoft officially
released Windows 2000. I went down to the local Paperclips computer store
and asked if they had any copies in stock.

One of the pimply-faced Linux longhairs explained that Paperclips didn't
carry Win2K because it is not intended for consumers. What FUD! I can't
believe the gall of those Linux Communists to spread such FUD (Fear,
Uncertainty, and Doubt) about Windows 2000, which is _the_ best, most
stable operating system ever produced in the history of mankind!
What I'd like to see is a prohibition on Microsoft incorporating
multi-megabyte Easter Eggs and other stupid bloatware into Windows and
Office. A typical computer with pre-installed Microsoft shoveware probably
only has about 3 megabytes of hard drive space free because of flight
simulators, pinball games, and multimedia credits Easter Eggs that nobody
wants. I predict that if Microsoft is ever forced to remove these things,
the typical user will actually be able to purchase competing software now
that they have some free space to put it on. Of course, stock in hard
drive companies might plummet...

   -- Anonymous Coward, when asked by Humorix for his reaction
      to the proposed Microsoft two-way split
Brief History Of Linux (#10)
The AnyQuack Computer

One electronic machine, Colossus, was used by the British in World War II
to decode Nazi transmissions. The code-breakers were quite successful in
their mission, except for the tiny detail that nobody knew how to read
German. They had decoded unreadable messages into... unreadable messages.

Two years later in 1945, a group of professors and students at the Univ.
of Pennsylvania were discussing computing theory. An argument ensued, in
which one professor yelled, "Any quack can build an electronic computer!
The real challenge is building one that doesn't crash every five minutes."

One graduate student, J. Presper Eckert, Jr., responded, "I'm any quack!
I'll take you up on that challenge. I'll build a device that can calculate
1,000 digits of pi in one hour... without crashing!" Several professors
laughed; "Such high-speed calculations are beyond our level of technology."

Eckert and his friends did build such a device. As a joke, he called the
machine "AnyQuack", which eventually became ENIAC -- ENIAC's Not Intended
As Crashware, the first known example of a self-referential acronym.
Brief History Of Linux (#15)
Too many hyphens: Traf-O-Data and Micro-soft

Bill Gates and Paul Allen attended an exclusive private school in Seattle.
In 1968, after raising $3,000 from a yard sale, they gained access to a
timeshare computer and became addicted. After depleting their money
learning BASIC and playing Solitaire, they convinced a company to give
them free computer time in exchange for reporting bugs -- ironically, an
early form of Open Source development!

The two then founded a small company called Traf-O-Data that collected and
analyzed traffic counts for municipalities using a crude device based on
the Intel "Pretanium" 8008 CPU. They had some success at first, but ran
into problems when they were unable to deliver their much hyped
next-generation device called "TrafficX". An engineer is quoted as saying
that "Traf-O-Data is the local leader in vaporware", the first documented
usage of the term that has come to be synonymous with Bill Gates.

Soon thereafter, the two developed their own BASIC interpreter, and sold
it to MITS for their new Altair computer. April 4, 1975 is the fateful day
that Micro-soft was founded in Albuquerque, NM as a language vendor.
Brief History Of Linux (#17)
If only Gary had been sober

When Micro-soft moved to Seattle in 1979, most of its revenue came from
sales of BASIC, a horrible language so dependant on GOTOs that spaghetti
looked more orderly than its code did. (BASIC has ruined more promising
programmers than anything else, prompting its original inventor Dartmouth
University to issue a public apology in 1986.)

However, by 1981 BASIC hit the backburner to what is now considered the
luckiest break in the history of computing: MS-DOS. (We use the term
"break" because MS-DOS was and always will be broken.) IBM was developing
a 16-bit "personal computer" and desperately needed an OS to drive it.

Their first choice was Gary Kildall's CP/M, but IBM never struck a deal
with him. We've discovered the true reason: Kildall was drunk at the time
the IBM representatives went to talk with him. A sober man would not have
insulted the reps, calling their employer an "Incredibly Bad Monopoly" and
referring to their new IBM-PC as an "Idealistically Backwards
Microcomputer for People without Clues". Needless to say, Gary "I Lost The
Deal Of The Century" Kildall was not sober.
Brief History Of Linux (#18)
The rise and rise of the Microsoft Empire

The DOS and Windows releases kept coming, and much to everyone's surprise,
Microsoft became more and more successful. This brought much frustration
to computer experts who kept predicting the demise of Microsoft and the
rise of Macintosh, Unix, and OS/2.

Nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft, which was the prime reason
that DOS and Windows prevailed. Oh, and DOS had better games as well,
which we all know is the most important feature an OS can have.

In 1986 Microsoft's continued success prompted the company to undergo a
wildly successful IPO. Afterwards, Microsoft and Chairman Bill had
accumulated enough money to acquire small countries without missing a
step, but all that money couldn't buy quality software. Gates could,
however, buy enough marketing and hype to keep MS-DOS (Maybe Some Day an
Operating System) and Windows (Will Install Needless Data On While System)
as the dominant platforms, so quality didn't matter. This fact was
demonstrated in Microsoft's short-lived slogan from 1988, "At Microsoft,
quality is job 1.1".
Brief History Of Linux (#21)
The GNU Project

Meet Richard M. Stallman, an MIT hacker who would found the GNU Project
and create Emacs, the operating-system-disguised-as-a-text-editor. RMS,
the first member of the Three Initials Club (joined by ESR and JWZ),
experienced such frustration with software wrapped in arcane license
agreements that he embarked on the GNU Project to produce free software.

His journey began when he noticed this fine print for a printer driver:

   You do not own this software. You own a license to use one copy of this
   software, a license that we can revoke at any time for any reason
   whatsoever without a refund. You may not copy, distribute, alter,
   disassemble, or hack the software. The source code is locked away in a
   vault in Cleveland. If you say anything negative about this software
   you will be in violation of this license and required to forfeit your
   soul and/or first born child to us.

The harsh wording of the license shocked RMS. The computer industry was in
it's infancy, which could only mean it was going to get much, much worse.
Brief History Of Linux (#27)

Microsoft's position as the 5,000 pound gorilla of the computer industry
didn't change during the 1990's. Indeed, this gorilla got even more
bloated with every passing Windows release. Bill Gates' business strategy
was simple:

1. Pre-announce vaporous product.
2. Hire monkeys (low-paid temps) to cruft something together in VB
3. It it compiles, ship it.
4. Launch marketing campaign for new product showcasing MS "innovation".
5. Repeat (GOTO 1).

With such a plan Microsoft couldn't fail. That is, unless some external
force popped up and ruined everything. Such as Linux and the Internet
perhaps. Both of these developments were well-known to Bill Gates in the
early and mid 1990's (a company as large as Microsoft can afford a decent
spy network, after all). He just considered both to be mere fads that
would go away when Microsoft announced some new innovation, like PDAs --
Personal Desktop Agents (i.e. Bob and Clippit).
The Linux House 1.01

Mr. Billy O'Nair knows how to build a house. The 24 year old retired
dotcom billionaire has constructed the "Linux House 1.01", a bachelor pad
built in the shape of Tux Penguin. This geek haven features a 256 foot
long computer room, along with other smaller, lesser important rooms
(kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc.).

Explained O'Nair, "Why do architects waste a bunch of space on formal
living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms, closets, foyers, and hallways
that are rarely used? In my 'Linux House', the majority of square footage
is devoted to the two rooms that I myself use the most: a computer room
and a procrastination room."

...The Linux House features a LAN (Liquor Acquisition Network) that
delivers alcohol or caffeinated beverages to any room in the house by way
of pipes that run through the ceiling. 'PANIC' buttons scattered
throughout the house activate the RAM System (Random Access Munchies), in
which candy bars and other snacks are immediately delivered by FPM (Fast
Pretzel Mode) and EDO (Extended Delicacy Output) pneumatic tubes.
Clippit Charged With Attempted Murder

Microsoft's Dancing Paper Clip turned violent last week and nearly killed
a university student testing a new Windows-based human-computer interface.
The victim is expected to make a full recovery, although psychiatrists
warn that the incident may scar him emotionally for life. "You can bet
this kid won't be using Windows or Office ever again," said one shrink.

The victim had been alpha-testing CHUG (Computer-Human Unencumbered
Groupware), a new interface in which the user controls the computer with
force-feedback gloves and voice activation.

"I was trying to write a term paper in Word," he said from his hospital
bed. "But then that damned Dancing Paper Clip came up and started annoying
me. I gave it the middle finger. It reacted by deleting my document, at
which point I screamed at it and threatened to pull the power cord. I
didn't get a chance; the force-feedback gloves started choking me."

"We told Clippit it had the right to remain silent, and so on," said a
campus police officer. "The paperclip responded, 'Hi, I'm Clippit, the
Office Assistant. Would you like to create a letter?' I said, 'Look here,
Mr. Paperclip. You're being charged with attempted murder.' At that point
the computer bluescreened."
Throwing Windows Out The Window

The Federal Bureau Of Missing Socks has banned the use of Microsoft Windows
and Office on all employee computers. But don't get too excited; they aren't
going to replace them with Linux. Instead, this government agency has decided
to go back to using abucusses, slide rules, and manual typewriters.

The banishment of Microsoft software stems from the agency's new policy
against computer games. MS Office, which contains several games in the form of
Easter Eggs, is now verboten on all agency computers. "Flight simulators,
pinball games, magic eight balls... they all violate our policy," said the
sub-adjunct administrator second-class. "So we can't use Office."

Windows is forbidden for the same reason. "We've had way too many
employees wasting time playing Solitaire," she said. "Unfortunately,
Solitaire is an integral part of Windows -- Microsoft executives said so
during the anti-trust trial. If Solitaire is removed, the operating system
won't function properly. Therefore, we have no choice but to banish all
Windows computers."

The Bureau's Assistant Technology Consultant, Mr. Reginald "Red" Taype,
asked,  "Have you ever seen an abucus crash? Have you ever seen anybody
have fun with a slide rule? Do adding machines contain undocumented easter
eggs? No! That's why we're ditching our PCs."
The Blue Screen Of Advocacy

The Federal Bureau of Investigation & Privacy Violations has issued a
national advisory warning computer stores to be on the lookout for the
"Bluescreen Bandits". These extreme Linux zealots go from store to store
and from computer to computer typing in "C:\CON\CON" and causing the demo
machines to crash and display the Blue Screen Of Death.

Efforts to apprehend the bandits have so far been unsuccessful. The
outlaws were caught on tape at a CompUSSR location in Southern California,
but in an ironic twist, the surveillance system bluescreened just before
the penguinistas came into clear view.

"We don't have many clues. It's not clear whether a small group is behind
the bluescreen vandalism, or whether hundreds or even thousands of geek
zealots are involved," said the manager of a Capacitor City store.

The manager has good reason to be upset. The bluescreen raid was the top
story in the local newspaper and quickly became a hot topic of discussion.
As a result, the local school board halted its controversial plans to
migrate their computers from Macs to PCs.
Bill Gates Receives Slap On Wrist; Carpal Tunnel Flares Up

The phrase "slap on the wrist" usually signifies an extremely minor
punishment received for a crime. In Bill Gates' case, the punishment set
forth in the tentative settlement with the Department Of Justice hasn't
been quite so minor. After receiving a slap on the wrist from the DOJ,
Bill Gates' is now suffering from a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

"Mr. Gates was slapped on the left wrist earlier today by a DOJ lawyer,"
said the chief surgeon of the mini-hospital enclosed within the Gates
Mansion. "Now he can't move that hand without extreme pain. It's obvious
that years of sitting in front of a computer plotting world domination has
caused his hands and nerves to become fragile and vulnerable to even the
slightest touch."

The Department of Justice proclaimed that the incident has vindicated
their actions. Explained the lawyer who delivered the punishment, "We've
been accused of selling out to Microsoft. We've been criticized for giving
up even though we've already won the game. But that's all wrong. It's
quite clear that the slap-on-the-wrist punishment has been anything but a
slap on the wrist. We won this case and Microsoft lost. So there!"
Insurance Company To Offer Microsoft Audit Protection Plans

LOUDON, TENNESSEE -- Companies, organizations, and government agencies all
across the world are facing a disaster of epic proportions: the impending
invasion of the Microsoft Intellectual Property Police. The counter this
menace, Loydds of Loudon, Tennessee, the prestigious insurance firm, has
started to offer "Audit Insurance" to protect against unexpected "random"
audits from everybody's favorite software monopoly.

"We've received numerous inquiries about this type of protection," company
co-founder Bob Loydds said. "Businessmen are no longer worried about
earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters. The big fear of the 21st
Century comes from Redmond."

The insurance firm is currently in negotiations with Red Hat to form the
"Red Berets", an elite squad of Linux geeks trained to rapidly install
Linux and hide all traces of Windows on every computer within an
organization. During a Defcon 95 emergency, Loydds will airlift the
squadron and a crate of Linux CDs to any position in the country within
hours. The Red Berets will wipe away all vestiges of Microsoft software so
that when the auditors show up they won't have anything to audit.
Severe Acronym Shortage Cripples Computer Industry

SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA (SVC) -- According to a recent study by the
Blartner Group, 99.5% of all possible five letter combinations have
already been appropriated for computer industry acronyms. The impending
shortage of 5LC's is casting a dark shadow over the industry, which relies
heavily on short, easy-to-remember acronyms for everything.

"Acronym namespace collisions (ANCs) are increasing at a fantastic rate
and threaten the very fabric of the computing world," explained one ZD
pundit. "For example, when somebody talks about XP, I don't know whether
they mean eXtreme Programming or Microsoft's eXceptionally Pathetic
operating system. We need to find a solution now or chaos will result."

Leaders of several SVC companies have floated the idea of an
"industry-wide acronym conservation protocol" (IWACP -- one of the few
5LCs not already appropriated). Explained Bob Smith, CTO of IBM, "If
companies would voluntarily limit the creation of new acronyms while
recycling outdated names, we could reduce much of the pollution within the
acronym namespace ourselves. The last thing we want is for Congress to get
involved and try to impose a solution for this SAS (Severe Acronym
Shortage) that would likely only create many new acronyms in the process."
Jim, it's Grace at the bank.  I checked your Christmas Club account.
You don't have five-hundred dollars.  You have fifty.  Sorry, computer foul-up!
                -- "The Rockford Files"
We the people of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, in order to form a
more perfect operating system, establish quality, insure marketplace
diversity, provide for the common needs of computer users, promote
security and privacy, overthrow monopolistic forces in the computer
software industry, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Debian
GNU/Linux System.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Internet users who spend even a few hours a week online
at home experience higher levels of depression and loneliness than if
they had used the computer network less frequently, The New York Times
reported Sunday.  The result ...  surprised both researchers and
sponsors, which included Intel Corp., Hewlett Packard, AT&T Research and
Apple Computer.
<lux> if macOS is for the computer illiterate, then windoze is for the
      computer masochists
<Knghtbrd> hardcopy is for wussies
<Topher> computer program, on HardCopy
As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.
Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as reading
sex manuals without the software.
        - Arthur C Clarke
=== This letter is the Honor System Virus ====
If you are running a Macintosh, OS/2, Unix, or
Linux computer, please randomly delete
several files from your hard disk drive and
forward this message to everyone you know.
<Electro> my computer was once one of the building blocks of a great
Don't worry, nobody really LISTENS to lectures in MOSCOW, either! ...
I'm thinking about DIGITAL READ-OUT systems and computer-generated
                        It's grad exam time...
        Inside your desk you'll find a listing of the DEC/VMS operating
system in IBM 1710 machine code. Show what changes are necessary to convert
this code into a UNIX Berkeley 7 operating system.  Prove that these fixes are
bug free and run correctly. You should gain at least 150% efficiency in the
new system.  (You should take no more than 10 minutes on this question.)

        If X equals PI times R^2, construct a formula showing how long
it would take a fire ant to drill a hole through a dill pickle, if the
length-girth ratio of the ant to the pickle were 98.17:1.

Describe the Universe.  Give three examples.
1 Billion dollars of budget deficit                = 1 Gramm-Rudman
6.023 x 10 to the 23rd power alligator pears        = Avocado's number
2 pints                                                = 1 Cavort
Basic unit of Laryngitis                        = The Hoarsepower
Shortest distance between two jokes                = A straight line
6 Curses                                        = 1 Hexahex
3500 Calories                                        = 1 Food Pound
1 Mole                                                = 007 Secret Agents
1 Mole                                                = 25 Cagey Bees
1 Dog Pound                                        = 16 oz. of Alpo
1000 beers served at a Twins game                = 1 Killibrew
2.4 statute miles of surgical tubing at Yale U. = 1 I.V.League
2000 pounds of chinese soup                        = 1 Won Ton
10 to the minus 6th power mouthwashes                = 1 Microscope
Speed of a tortoise breaking the sound barrier        = 1 Machturtle
8 Catfish                                        = 1 Octo-puss
365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer.                = 1 Lite-year
16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone                        = 1 Rod Serling
Force needed to accelerate 2.2lbs of cookies        = 1 Fig-newton
        to 1 meter per second
One half large intestine                        = 1 Semicolon
10 to the minus 6th power Movie                        = 1 Microfilm
1000 pains                                        = 1 Megahertz
1 Word                                                = 1 Millipicture
1 Sagan                                                = Billions & Billions
1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety                = 1000 nail-bytes
10 to the 12th power microphones                = 1 Megaphone
10 to the 6th power Bicycles                        = 2 megacycles
The amount of beauty required launch 1 ship        = 1 Millihelen
What to do...
    if a starship, equipped with an FTL hyperdrive lands in your backyard?
        First of all, do not run after your camera.  You will not have any
        film, and, given the state of computer animation, noone will believe
        you anyway.  Be polite.  Remember, if they have an FTL hyperdrive,
        they can probably vaporize you, should they find you to be rude.
        Direct them to the White House lawn, which is where they probably
        wanted to land, anyway.  A good road map should help.

    if you wake up in the middle of the night, and discover that your
    closet contains an alternate dimension?
        Don't walk in.  You almost certainly will not be able to get back,
        and alternate dimensions are almost never any fun.  Remain calm
        and go back to bed.  Close the door first, so that the cat does not
        wander off.  Check your closet in the morning.  If it still contains
        an alternate dimension, nail it shut.
"Multiply in your head" (ordered the compassionate Dr. Adams) "365,365,365,
365,365,365 by 365,365,365,365,365,365".  He [ten-year-old Truman Henry
Safford] flew around the room like a top, pulled his pantaloons over the
tops of his boots, bit his hands, rolled his eyes in their sockets, sometimes
smiling and talking, and then seeming to be in an agony, until, in not more
than one minute, said he, 133,491,850,208,566,925,016,658,299,941,583,225!"
An electronic computer might do the job a little faster but it wouldn't be
as much fun to watch.
                -- James R. Newman, "The World of Mathematics"
The Greatest Mathematical Error
        The Mariner I space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral on 28
July 1962 towards Venus.  After 13 minutes' flight a booster engine would
give acceleration up to 25,820 mph; after 44 minutes 9,800 solar cells
would unfold; after 80 days a computer would calculate the final course
corrections and after 100 days the craft would cirlce the unknown planet,
scanning the mysterious cloud in which it is bathed.  
        However, with an efficiency that is truly heartening, Mariner I
plunged into the Atlantic Ocean only four minutes after takeoff.
        Inquiries later revealed that a minus sign had been omitted from
the instructions fed into the computer.  "It was human error", a launch
spokesman said.
        This minus sign cost L4,280,000.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The computer can't tell you the emotional story.  It can give you the exact
mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows.
- Frank Zappa hardware progress is so fast.  No other technology since
civilization began has seen six orders of magnitude in performance-price
gain in 30 years.
- Fred Brooks, Jr.
"Any medium powerful enough to extend man's reach is powerful enough to topple
his world.  To get the medium's magic to work for one's aims rather than
against them is to attain literacy."
-- Alan Kay, "Computer Software", Scientific American, September 1984
"Computer literacy is a contact with the activity of computing deep enough to
make the computational equivalent of reading and writing fluent and enjoyable.
As in all the arts, a romance with the material must be well under way.  If
we value the lifelong learning of arts and letters as a springboard for
personal and societal growth, should any less effort be spent to make computing
a part of our lives?"
-- Alan Kay, "Computer Software", Scientific American, September 1984
Operating-system software is the program that orchestrates all the basic
functions of a computer.
- The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, September 15, 1987, page 40
My computer can beat up your computer.
- Karl Lehenbauer
I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents
become better people as a result of practicing it.
- Joe Mullally, computer salesman
We're here to give you a computer, not a religion.
- attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
- Andy Finkel, computer guy
"You know why there are so few sophisticated computer terrorists in the United
States?  Because your hackers have so much mobility into the establishment.
Here, there is no such mobility.  If you have the slightest bit of intellectual
integrity you cannot support the government.... That's why the best computer
minds belong to the opposition."
- an anonymous member of the outlawed Polish trade union, Solidarity
"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity."
-- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.
"Ada is the work of an architect, not a computer scientist."
- Jean Icbiah, inventor of Ada, weenie
"By long-standing tradition, I take this opportunity to savage other
designers in the thin disguise of good, clean fun."
-- P. J. Plauger, from his April Fool's column in April 88's "Computer Language"
"...all the good computer designs are bootlegged; the formally planned products,
if they are built at all, are dogs!"
-- David E. Lundstrom, "A Few Good Men From Univac", MIT Press, 1987
What's the difference between a computer salesman and a used car salesman?

A used car salesman knows when he's lying.
This is, of course, totally uninformed specualation that I engage in to help
support my bias against such meddling... but there you have it.
-- Peter da Silva, speculating about why a computer program that had been
changed to do something he didn't approve of, didn't work
"The Amiga is the only personal computer where you can run a multitasking
operating system and get realtime performance, out of the box."
-- Peter da Silva
"I knew then (in 1970) that a 4-kbyte minicomputer would cost as much as
a house.  So I reasoned that after college, I'd have to live cheaply in
an apartment and put all my money into owning a computer."
-- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, EE Times, June 6, 1988, pg 45
"I just want to be a good engineer."
-- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, concluding his keynote speech
   at the 1988 AppleFest
"If a computer can't directly address all the RAM you can use, it's just a toy."
-- anonymous comp.sys.amiga posting, non-sequitir
"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program."
-- Nigel de la Tierre
Excitement and danger await your induction to tracer duty!  As a tracer,
you must rid the computer networks of slimy, criminal data thieves.
They are tricky and the action gets tough, so watch out!  Utilizing all
your skills, you'll either get your man or you'll get burned!
-- advertising for the computer game "Tracers"
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
-- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT
"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the
pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay."
-- Arthur Miller
...At that time [the 1960s], Bell Laboratories scientists projected that
computer speeds as high as 30 million floating-point calculations per
second (megaflops) would be needed for the Army's ballistic missile
defense system.  Many computer experts -- including a National Academy
of Sciences panel -- said achieving such speeds, even using multiple
processors, was impossible.  Today, new generation supercomputers operate
at billions of operations per second (gigaflops).
-- Aviation Week & Space Technology, May 9, 1988, "Washington Roundup", pg 13
"The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone
is responsible. Universes of virtually unlimited complexity can be
created in the form of computer programs."
-- Joseph Weizenbaum, _Computer Power and Human Reason_
Who are the artists in the Computer Graphics Show?  Wavefront's latest box, or
the people who programmed it?  Should Mandelbrot get all the credit for the
output of programs like MandelVroom?
-- Peter da Silva
"It's not just a computer -- it's your ass."
-- Cal Keegan
Q:  What's the difference between a car salesman and a computer

A:  The car salesman can probably drive!

-- Joan McGalliard (
      I bought the latest computer;
      it came fully loaded.
      It was guaranteed for 90 days,
      but in 30 was outmoded!
        - The Wall Street Journal passed along by Big Red Computer's SCARLETT
Contemptuous lights flashed across the computer's console.
-- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
"There must be some mistake," he said, "are you not a greater computer than
the Milliard Gargantubrain which can count all the atoms in a star in a
"The Milliard Gargantubrain?" said Deep Thought with unconcealed contempt.
"A mere abacus.  Mention it not."
-- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
"The bad reputation UNIX has gotten is totally undeserved, laid on by people
who don't understand, who have not gotten in there and tried anything."
-- Jim Joyce, former computer science lecturer at the University of California
Go placidly amid the noise and waste,
And remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons, unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.
Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself,
And heed well their advice -- even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss -- and when.
Remember that two wrongs never make a right,
But that three do.
Wherever possible, put people on "HOLD".
Be comforted, that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment,
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

        You are a fluke of the universe ...
        You have no right to be here.
        Whether you can hear it or not, the universe
        Is laughing behind your back.
                -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"
I've built a better model than the one at Data General
For data bases vegetable, animal, and mineral
My OS handles CPUs with multiplexed duality;
My PL/1 compiler shows impressive functionality.
My storage system's better than magnetic core polarity,
You never have to bother checking out a bit for parity;
There isn't any reason to install non-static floor matting;
My disk drive has capacity for variable formatting.

I feel compelled to mention what I know to be a gloating point:
There's lots of room in memory for variables floating-point,
Which shows for input vegetable, animal, and mineral
I've built a better model than the one at Data General.

                -- Steve Levine, "A Computer Song" (To the tune of
                   "Modern Major General", from "Pirates of Penzance",
                   by Gilbert & Sullivan)
If Dr. Seuss Were a Technical Writer.....

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this?  What a shame, sir!
We'll find you another game, sir.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risc,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to ram your rom.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

                -- (DementDJ) [rec.humor.funny]
Strange things are done to be number one
In selling the computer                        The Druids were entrepreneurs,
IBM has their strategem                        And they built a granite box
Which steadily grows acuter,                It tracked the moon, warned of monsoons,
And Honeywell competes like Hell,        And forecast the equinox
But the story's missing link                Their price was right, their future
Is the system old at Stonemenge sold                bright,
By the firm of Druids, Inc.                The prototype was sold;
                                        From Stonehenge site their bits and byte
                                        Would ship for Celtic gold.
The movers came to crate the frame;
It weighed a million ton!
The traffic folk thought it a joke        The man spoke true, and thus to you
(the wagon wheels just spun);                A warning from the ages;
"They'll nay sell that," the foreman        Your stock will slip if you can't ship
        spat,                                What's in your brochure's pages.
"Just leave the wild weeds grow;        See if it sells without the bells
"It's Druid-kind, over-designed,        And strings that ring and quiver;
"And belly up they'll go."                Druid repute went down the chute
                                        Because they couldn't deliver.
                -- Edward C. McManus, "The Computer at Stonehenge"
heavy gravity fluctuation, move computer to floor rapidly
waste water tank overflowed onto computer
not properly grounded, please bury computer
That's a great computer you have there; have you considered how it would work as a BSD machine?
user to computer ratio too high.
user to computer ration too low.
Zombie processes haunting the computer
We are currently trying a new concept of using a live mouse.  Unfortuantely, one has yet to survive being hooked up to the computer.....please bear with us.
It's those computer people in X {city of world}.  They keep stuffing things up.
The computer fletely, mouse and all.
High altitude condensation from U.S.A.F prototype aircraft has contaminated the primary subnet mask. Turn off your computer for 9 days to avoid damaging it.
Your computer hasn't been returning all the bits it gets from the Internet.
Your Pentium has a heating problem - try cooling it with ice cold water.(Do not turn of your computer, you do not want to cool down the Pentium Chip while he isn't working, do you?)
We need a licensed electrician to replace the light bulbs in the computer room.
Your/our computer(s) had suffered a memory leak, and we are waiting for them to be topped up.
I'd love to help you -- it's just that the Boss won't let me near the computer.
Virus transmitted from computer to sysadmins.
Someone was smoking in the computer room and set off the halon systems.
Your computer's union contract is set to expire at midnight.
Computer room being moved.  Our systems are down for the weekend.
Compassion -- that's the one things no machine ever had.  Maybe it's
the one thing that keeps men ahead of them.
                -- McCoy, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4731.3
Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to
serve under them.  Captain, a starship also runs on loyalty to one
man.  And nothing can replace it or him.
                -- Spock, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4729.4
Do you know the one -- "All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer
her by ..."  You could feel the wind at your back, about you ...  the
sounds of the sea beneath you.  And even if you take away the wind and
the water, it's still the same.  The ship is yours ... you can feel her
... and the stars are still there.
                -- Kirk, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4729.4
Every living thing wants to survive.
                -- Spock, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4731.3
Genius doesn't work on an assembly line basis.  You can't simply say,
"Today I will be brilliant."
                -- Kirk, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4731.3
If a man had a child who'd gone anti-social, killed perhaps, he'd still
tend to protect that child.
                -- McCoy, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4731.3
Murder is contrary to the laws of man and God.
                -- M-5 Computer, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4731.3
There are certain things men must do to remain men.
                -- Kirk, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4929.4
We're all sorry for the other guy when he loses his job to a machine.
But when it comes to your job -- that's different.  And it always will
be different.
                -- McCoy, "The Ultimate Computer", stardate 4729.4
        "What happened to the crewman?"
        "The M-5 computer needed a new power source, the crewman merely got in
the way."
                -- Kirk and Dr. Richard Daystrom, "The Ultimate Computer",
                   stardate 4731.3.
When a child is taught ... its programmed with simple instructions --
and at some point, if its mind develops properly, it exceeds the sum of
what it was taught, thinks independently.
                -- Dr. Richard Daystrom, "The Ultimate Computer",
                   stardate 4731.3.
A Law of Computer Programming:
        Make it possible for programmers to write in English
        and you will find that programmers cannot write in English.
        The control code for all beginning programmers and those who would
        become computer literate.  Etymologically, the term has come down as
        a contraction of the often-repeated phrase "ascii and you shall
                -- Robb Russon
Bug, n.:
        An aspect of a computer program which exists because the
        programmer was thinking about Jumbo Jacks or stock options when s/he
        wrote the program.

Fortunately, the second-to-last bug has just been fixed.
                -- Ray Simard
buzzword, n:
        The fly in the ointment of computer literacy.
        A very expensive part of the memory system of a computer that no one
        is supposed to know is there.
Command, n.:
        Statement presented by a human and accepted by a computer in
        such a manner as to make the human feel as if he is in control.
compuberty, n:
        The uncomfortable period of emotional and hormonal changes a
        computer experiences when the operating system is upgraded and
        a sun4 is put online sharing files.
Computer science:
        (1) A study akin to numerology and astrology, but lacking the
           precision of the former and the success of the latter.
        (2) The protracted value analysis of algorithms.
        (3) The costly enumeration of the obvious.
        (4) The boring art of coping with a large number of trivialities.
        (5) Tautology harnessed in the service of Man at the speed of light.
        (6) The Post-Turing decline in formal systems theory.
Computer, n.:
        An electronic entity which performs sequences of useful steps in a
        totally understandable, rigorously logical manner.  If you believe
        this, see me about a bridge I have for sale in Manhattan.
Conjecture: All odd numbers are prime.
        Mathematician's Proof:
                3 is prime.  5 is prime.  7 is prime.  By induction, all
                odd numbers are prime.
        Physicist's Proof:
                3 is prime.  5 is prime.  7 is prime.  9 is experimental
                error.  11 is prime.  13 is prime ...
        Engineer's Proof:
                3 is prime.  5 is prime.  7 is prime.  9 is prime.
                11 is prime.  13 is prime ...
        Computer Scientists's Proof:
                3 is prime.  3 is prime.  3 is prime.  3 is prime...
Economies of scale:
        The notion that bigger is better.  In particular, that if you want
        a certain amount of computer power, it is much better to buy one
        biggie than a bunch of smallies.  Accepted as an article of faith
        by people who love big machines and all that complexity.  Rejected
        as an article of faith by those who love small machines and all
        those limitations.
Engram, n.:
        1. The physical manifestation of human memory -- "the engram."
2. A particular memory in physical form.  [Usage note:  this term is no longer
in common use.  Prior to Wilson and Magruder's historic discovery, the nature
of the engram was a topic of intense speculation among neuroscientists,
psychologists, and even computer scientists.  In 1994 Professors M. R. Wilson
and W. V. Magruder, both of Mount St. Coax University in Palo Alto, proved
conclusively that the mammalian brain is hardwired to interpret a set of
thirty seven genetically transmitted cooperating TECO macros.  Human memory
was shown to reside in 1 million Q-registers as Huffman coded uppercase-only
ASCII strings.  Interest in the engram has declined substantially since that
                -- New Century Unabridged English Dictionary,
                   3rd edition, 2007 A.D.
Extract from Official Sweepstakes Rules:


To claim your prize without purchase, do the following: (a) Carefully
cut out your computer-printed name and address from upper right hand
corner of the Prize Claim Form. (b) Affix computer-printed name and
address -- with glue or cellophane tape (no staples or paper clips) --
to a 3x5 inch index card.  (c) Also cut out the "No" paragraph (lower
left hand corner of Prize Claim Form) and affix it to the 3x5 card
below your address label. (d) Then print on your 3x5 card, above your
computer-printed name and address the words "CARTER & VAN PEEL
SWEEPSTAKES" (Use all capital letters.)  (e) Finally place 3x5 card
(without bending) into a plain envelope [NOTE: do NOT use the the
Official Prize Claim and CVP Perfume Reply Envelope or you may be
disqualified], and mail to: CVP, Box 1320, Westbury, NY 11595.  Print
this address correctly.  Comply with above instructions carefully and
completely or you may be disqualified from receiving your prize.
guru, n:
        A computer owner who can read the manual.
Hardware, n.:
        The parts of a computer system that can be kicked.
        [International Business Machines Corp.]  Also known as Itty Bitty
        Machines or The Lawyer's Friend.  The dominant force in computer
        marketing, having supplied worldwide some 75% of all known hardware
        and 10% of all software.  To protect itself from the litigious envy
        of less successful organizations, such as the US government, IBM
        employs 68% of all known ex-Attorneys' General.
Information Center, n.:
        A room staffed by professional computer people whose job it is to
        tell you why you cannot have the information you require.
Laws of Computer Programming:
        (1) Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
        (2) Any given program costs more and takes longer.
        (3) If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
        (4) If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
        (5) Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
        (6) The value of a program is proportional the weight of its output.
        (7) Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of
                the programmer who must maintain it.
Micro Credo:
        Never trust a computer bigger than you can lift.
        A computer that can be afforded on the budget of a middle-level manager.
On-line, adj.:
        The idea that a human being should always be accessible to a computer.
        A statement of the speed at which a computer system works.  Or
        rather, might work under certain circumstances.  Or was rumored
        to be working over in Jersey about a month ago.
pixel, n.:
        A mischievous, magical spirit associated with screen displays.
        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.
program, n.:
        A magic spell cast over a computer allowing it to turn one's input
        into error messages.  tr.v. To engage in a pastime similar to banging
        one's head against a wall, but with fewer opportunities for reward.
prototype, n.:
        First stage in the life cycle of a computer product, followed by
        pre-alpha, alpha, beta, release version, corrected release version,
        upgrade, corrected upgrade, etc.  Unlike its successors, the
        prototype is not expected to work.
Software, n.:
        Formal evening attire for female computer analysts.
The rules:
         (1) Thou shalt not worship other computer systems.
         (2) Thou shalt not impersonate Liberace or eat watermelon while
              sitting at the console keyboard.
         (3) Thou shalt not slap users on the face, nor staple their silly
             little card decks together.
         (4) Thou shalt not get physically involved with the computer system,
             especially if you're already married.
         (5) Thou shalt not use magnetic tapes as frisbees, nor use a disk
             pack as a stool to reach another disk pack.
         (6) Thou shalt not stare at the blinking lights for more than one
             eight hour shift.
         (7) Thou shalt not tell users that you accidentally destroyed their
             files/backup just to see the look on their little faces.
         (8) Thou shalt not enjoy cancelling a job.
         (9) Thou shalt not display firearms in the computer room.
        (10) Thou shalt not push buttons "just to see what happens".
timesharing, n:
        An access method whereby one computer abuses many people.
Turnaucka's Law:
        The attention span of a computer is only as long as its
        electrical cord.
user, n.:
        The word computer professionals use when they mean "idiot."
                -- Dave Barry, "Claw Your Way to the Top"

[I always thought "computer professional" was the phrase hackers used
when they meant "idiot."  Ed.]
Wombat's Laws of Computer Selection:
        (1) If it doesn't run Unix, forget it.
        (2) Any computer design over 10 years old is obsolete.
        (3) Anything made by IBM is junk. (See number 2)
        (4) The minimum acceptable CPU power for a single user is a
            VAX/780 with a floating point accelerator.
        (5) Any computer with a mouse is worthless.
                -- Rich Kulawiec
yo-yo, n.:
        Something that is occasionally up but normally down.
        (see also Computer).
        A job taken with the sole intention of staying only for a
limited period of time (often one year).  The intention is usually to
raise enough funds to partake in another, more meaningful activity
such as watercolor sketching in Crete, or designing computer knit
sweaters in Hong Kong.  Employers are rarely informed of intentions.
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
Personally, I think my choice in the mostest-superlative-computer wars has to
be the HP-48 series of calculators.  They'll run almost anything.  And if they
can't, while I'll just plug a Linux box into the serial port and load up the
HP-48 VT-100 emulator.
(By, Jeff Dege)
"...very few phenomena can pull someone out of Deep Hack Mode, with two
noted exceptions: being struck by lightning, or worse, your *computer*
being struck by lightning."
(By Matt Welsh)
What's this script do?
    unzip ; touch ; finger ; mount ; gasp ; yes ; umount ; sleep
Hint for the answer: not everything is computer-oriented. Sometimes you're
in a sleeping bag, camping out.
(Contributed by Frans van der Zande.)
" might as well skip the Xmas celebration completely, and instead
sit in front of your linux computer playing with the
all-new-and-improved linux kernel version."
(By Linus Torvalds)
        The General disliked trying to explain the highly technical inner
workings of the U.S. Air Force.
        "$7,662 for a ten cup coffee maker, General?" the Senator asked.
        In his head he ran through his standard explanations.  "It's not so,"
he thought.  "It's a deterrent."  Soon he came up with, "It's computerized,
Senator.  Tiny computer chips make coffee that's smooth and full-bodied.  Try
a cup."
        The Senator did.  "Pfffttt!  Tastes like jet fuel!"
        "It's not so," the General thought.  "It's a deterrent."
        Then he remembered something.  "We bought a lot of untested computer
chips," the General answered.  "They got into everything.  Just a little
mix-up.  Nothing serious."
        Then he remembered something else.  It was at the site of the
mysterious B-1 crash.  A strange smell in the fuel lines.  It smelled like
coffee.  Smooth and full bodied...
                -- Another Episode of General's Hospital
Why not have an old-fashioned Christmas for your family this year? Just
picture the scene in your living room on Christmas morning as your children
open their old-fashioned presents.

Your 11-year-old son: "What the heck is this?"

You:        "A spinning top!  You spin it around, and then eventually it falls
down.  What fun!  Ha, ha!"

Son:        "Is this a joke?  Jason Thompson's parents got him a computer with
two disk drives and 128 kilobytes of random-access memory, and I get this
cretin TOP?"

Your 8-year-old daughter: "You think that's bad?  Look at this."

You:        "It's figgy pudding!  What a treat!"

Daughter: "It looks like goat barf."
                -- Dave Barry, "Simple, Homespun Gifts"
      Caller: I just installed Windows 95 on my computer.
Tech Support: And...?
      Caller: It's not working.
Tech Support: You already said that.
Bang on the LEFT side of your computer to restart Windows.
A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle
The gates in my computer are AND, OR and NOT; they are not Bill.
How dare the government intervene to stifle innovation in the computer
industry! That's Microsoft's job, dammit!
Blackmail Error:
Send $200 to Bill Gates or your computer will get so messed up it will never
work again.
Bill Gates is surfing the Internet, collecting the URLs of anti-Micrsoft
websites to send to the legal department for possible libel lawsuits. Suddenly
the devil appears, and says, "Bill, I've got a deal for you. I will turn
Microsoft into a complete software monopoly. Every computer will run Windows.
Every user will be forced to buy Microsoft software. The Justice Department
will look the other way. Everyone will love you. You only have to do one thing:
give me your soul." Bill Gates looks at him and replies, "Ok, sure. But what's
the catch?"
You Might be a Microsoft Employee If...

1. When a Microsoft program crashes for the millionth time, you say "Oh,
    well!" and reboot without any negative thoughts
2. The Windows 95 startup screen (the clouds) makes you feel all warm and
    fuzzy inside
3. You fully understand why Windows 95's Shutdown Option has to be
    accessed from the Start Menu
4. You believe Internet Explorer's security flaws were slipped in by a
    crack team of Netscape programmers
5. You keep valuable papers near your fireplace. Therefore, you are
    comfortable with Windows 95's "may-delete-it-at-anytime" philosophy
6. You're the Bob that Microsoft Bob was named after
7. Instead of "I'd rather be fishing," your bumper sticker says, "I'd
    rather be writing buggy Microsoft code"
8. You know the technical difference between OLE 1.0 and OLE 2.0
9. You've ever completed your income taxes while waiting for Windows 95
    to boot, and didn't think anything of it
10. You run Solitaire more than any other program, and therefore you
    consider your computer a Dedicated Solitaire Engine (DSE)
Two computer people discussing those old stories about Bill Gates' name
adding up to 666 in ASCII:

"I hear that if you play the NT 4.0 CD backwards, you get a satanic

"...That's nothing. If you play it forward, it installs NT 4.0!"
The box said "Requires Windows 95 or better."  I can't understand    
why it won't work on my Linux computer.
Windows: Microsoft's tax on computer illiterates.
My computer, my documents, my briefcase, my ASS!

   -- Ben Cook
Linux - It is now safe to turn on your computer.

   -- From a post
The relative speed of a computer, regardless of CPU architecture, is
inversely proportional to the number of Microsoft products installed.

   -- From a post
Windows hasn't increased computer literacy. It's just lowered the standard.

   -- From a post
Personally, I think my choice in the mostest-superlative-computer wars has to
be the HP-48 series of calculators.  They'll run almost anything.  And if they
can't, while I'll just plug a Linux box into the serial port and load up the
HP-48 VT-100 emulator.
        -- Jeff Dege, might as well skip the Xmas celebration completely, and instead
sit in front of your linux computer playing with the all-new-and-improved
linux kernel version.
        -- Linus Torvalds
...very few phenomena can pull someone out of Deep Hack Mode, with two
noted exceptions: being struck by lightning, or worse, your *computer*
being struck by lightning.
        -- Matt Welsh
I forgot to mention an important fact in the 1.3.67 announcement. In order to
get a fully working kernel, you have to follow the steps below:
- Walk around your computer widdershins 3 times, chanting "Linus is
   overworked, and he makes lousy patches, but we love him anyway". Get
   your spuouse to do this too for extra effect.  Children are optional.
- Apply the patch included in this mail
- Call your system "Super-67", and don't forget to unapply the patch
   before you later applying the official 1.3.68 patch.
- reboot
        -- Linus Torvalds, announcing another kernel patch
One of the things that hamper Linux's climb to world domination is the
shortage of bad Computer Role Playing Games, or CRaPGs. No operating system
can be considered respectable without one.
        -- Brian O'Donnell,
It's computer hardware, of course it's worth having <g>
        -- Espy on #Debian
I am NOT a kludge!  I am a computer!
        -- tts
Steal my cash, car and TV - but leave the computer!
        -- Soenke Lange <>
<Stealth> How do I bind a computer to an NIS server?
<Joey> Use a rope?
        -- Seen on #Debian
Try to remove the color-problem by restarting your computer several times.
        -- Microsoft-Internet Explorer README.TXT
As I currently don't have a floppy drive in my computer, I'd like to
make an `emergency cdrom' ;)
        -- Eugene Crosser <>
#if _FP_W_TYPE_SIZE < 32
#error "Here's a nickel kid.  Go buy yourself a real computer."
        -- linux/arch/sparc64/double.h
A biologist, a statistician, a mathematician and a computer scientist are on
a photo-safari in Africa.  As they're driving along the savannah in their
jeep, they stop and scout the horizon with their binoculars.

The biologist: "Look!  A herd of zebras!  And there's a white zebra!
        Fantastic!  We'll be famous!"
The statistician: "Hey, calm down, it's not significant.  We only know
        there's one white zebra."
The mathematician: "Actually, we only know there exists a zebra, which is
        white on one side."
The computer scientist : "Oh, no!  A special case!"
[A computer is] like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy.
                -- Joseph Campbell
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention,
with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla.
        -- Mitch Ratcliffe
A computer salesman visits a company president for the purpose of selling
the president one of the latest talking computers.
Salesman:        "This machine knows everything. I can ask it any question
                and it'll give the correct answer.  Computer, what is the
                speed of light?"
Computer:        186,282 miles per second.
Salesman:        "Who was the first president of the United States?"
Computer:        George Washington.
President:        "I'm still not convinced. Let me ask a question.
                Where is my father?"
Computer:        Your father is fishing in Georgia.
President:        "Hah!! The computer is wrong. My father died over twenty
                years ago!"
Computer:        Your mother's husband died 22 years ago. Your father just
                landed a twelve pound bass.
A computer scientist is someone who fixes things that aren't broken.
A computer without COBOL and Fortran is like a piece of chocolate cake
without ketchup and mustard.
        A doctor, an architect, and a computer scientist were arguing about
whose profession was the oldest.  In the course of their arguments, they
got all the way back to the Garden of Eden, whereupon the doctor said, "The
medical profession is clearly the oldest, because Eve was made from Adam's
rib, as the story goes, and that was a simply incredible surgical feat."
        The architect did not agree.  He said, "But if you look at the Garden
itself, in the beginning there was chaos and void, and out of that the Garden
and the world were created.  So God must have been an architect."
        The computer scientist, who'd listened carefully to all of this, then
commented, "Yes, but where do you think the chaos came from?"
        A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day.  The master
noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game.  "Excuse me",
he said, "may I examine it?"
        The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master.
"I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium,
and Hard", said the master.  "Yet every such device has another level of play,
where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the
        "Pray, great master," implored the novice, "how does one find this
mysterious setting?"
        The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.
And suddenly the novice was enlightened.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A master was explaining the nature of Tao to one of his novices.
"The Tao is embodied in all software -- regardless of how insignificant,"
said the master.
        "Is Tao in a hand-held calculator?" asked the novice.
        "It is," came the reply.
        "Is the Tao in a video game?" continued the novice.
        "It is even in a video game," said the master.
        "And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?"
        The master coughed and shifted his position slightly.  "The lesson
is over for today," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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terms that nobody understands?  Do you want to strike fear and loathing into
the hearts of DP managers everywhere?  If so, then let the Famous Programmers'
School lead you on... into the world of professional computer programming.
They say a good programmer can write 20 lines of effective program per day.
With our unique training course, we'll show you how to write 20 lines of code
and lots more besides.  Our training course covers every programming language
in existence, and some that aren't.  You'll learn why the on/off switch for a
computer is so important, what the words *fatal error* mean, and who and what
you should blame when you make a mistake.

        Yes, I want the brochure describing this incredible offer.
        I enclose $1000 is small unmarked bills to cover the cost of
        postage and handling. (No live poultry, please.)

*** Our Slogan:  Top down programming for the masses. ***
        A novice asked the master: "I perceive that one computer company is
much larger than all others.  It towers above its competition like a giant
among dwarfs.  Any one of its divisions could comprise an entire business.
Why is this so?"
        The master replied, "Why do you ask such foolish questions?  That
company is large because it is so large.  If it only made hardware, nobody
would buy it.  If it only maintained systems, people would treat it like a
servant.  But because it combines all of these things, people think it one
of the gods!  By not seeking to strive, it conquers without effort."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
A person who is more than casually interested in computers should be well
schooled in machine language, since it is a fundamental part of a computer.
                -- Donald Knuth
        A programmer from a very large computer company went to a software
conference and then returned to report to his manager, saying: "What sort
of programmers work for other companies?  They behaved badly and were
unconcerned with appearances. Their hair was long and unkempt and their
clothes were wrinkled and old. They crashed out hospitality suites and they
made rude noises during my presentation."
        The manager said: "I should have never sent you to the conference.
Those programmers live beyond the physical world.  They consider life absurd,
an accidental coincidence.  They come and go without knowing limitations.
Without a care, they live only for their programs.  Why should they bother
with social conventions?"
        "They are alive within the Tao."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
A recent study has found that concentrating on difficult off-screen
objects, such as the faces of loved ones, causes eye strain in computer
scientists.  Researchers into the phenomenon cite the added concentration
needed to "make sense" of such unnatural three dimensional objects.
"... all the good computer designs are bootlegged; the formally planned
products, if they are built at all, are dogs!"
                -- David E. Lundstrom, "A Few Good Men From Univac",
                   MIT Press, 1987
... an anecdote from IBM's Yorktown Heights Research Center.  When a
programmer used his new computer terminal, all was fine when he was sitting
down, but he couldn't log in to the system when he was standing up.  That
behavior was 100 percent repeatable: he could always log in when sitting and
never when standing.

Most of us just sit back and marvel at such a story; how could that terminal
know whether the poor guy was sitting or standing?  Good debuggers, though,
know that there has to be a reason.  Electrical theories are the easiest to
hypothesize: was there a loose with under the carpet, or problems with static
electricity?  But electrical problems are rarely consistently reproducible.
An alert IBMer finally noticed that the problem was in the terminal's keyboard:
the tops of two keys were switched.  When the programmer was seated he was a
touch typist and the problem went unnoticed, but when he stood he was led
astray by hunting and pecking.
        -- "Programming Pearls" column, by Jon Bentley in CACM February 1985
Anyone who has attended a USENIX conference in a fancy hotel can tell you
that a sentence like "You're one of those computer people, aren't you?"
is roughly equivalent to "Look, another amazingly mobile form of slime
mold!" in the mouth of a hotel cocktail waitress.
                -- Elizabeth Zwicky
As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.
As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error.
                -- Weisert
As in Protestant Europe, by contrast, where sects divided endlessly into
smaller competing sects and no church dominated any other, all is different
in the fragmented world of IBM.  That realm is now a chaos of conflicting
norms and standards that not even IBM can hope to control.  You can buy a
computer that works like an IBM machine but contains nothing made or sold by
IBM itself.  Renegades from IBM constantly set up rival firms and establish
standards of their own.  When IBM recently abandoned some of its original
standards and decreed new ones, many of its rivals declared a puritan
allegiance to IBM's original faith, and denounced the company as a divisive
innovator.  Still, the IBM world is united by its distrust of icons and
imagery.  IBM's screens are designed for language, not pictures.  Graven
images may be tolerated by the luxurious cults, but the true IBM faith relies
on the austerity of the word.
                -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988
As part of the conversion, computer specialists rewrote 1,500 programs;
a process that traditionally requires some debugging.
                -- USA Today, referring to the Internal Revenue Service
                   conversion to a new computer system.
As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there
is always a future in Computer Maintenance.
                -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"
At about 2500 A.D., humankind discovers a computer problem that *must* be
solved.  The only difficulty is that the problem is NP complete and will
take thousands of years even with the latest optical biologic technology
available.  The best computer scientists sit down to think up some solution.
In great dismay, one of the C.S. people tells her husband about it.  There
is only one solution, he says.  Remember physics 103, Modern Physics, general
relativity and all.  She replies, "What does that have to do with solving
a computer problem?"
        "Remember the twin paradox?"
        After a few minutes, she says, "I could put the computer on a very
fast machine and the computer would have just a few minutes to calculate but
that is the exact opposite of what we want... Of course!  Leave the
computer here, and accelerate the earth!"
        The problem was so important that they did exactly that.  When
the earth came back, they were presented with the answer:

        IEH032 Error in JOB Control Card.
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 computer.
BASIC is the Computer Science equivalent of `Scientific Creationism'.
BASIC is to computer programming as QWERTY is to typing.
                -- Seymour Papert
Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.
By long-standing tradition, I take this opportunity to savage other
designers in the thin disguise of good, clean fun.
                -- P.J. Plauger, "Computer Language", 1988, April
                   Fool's column.
... computer hardware progress is so fast.  No other technology since
civilization began has seen six orders of magnitude in performance-price
gain in 30 years.
                -- Fred Brooks
Computer programmers do it byte by byte.
Computer programmers never die, they just get lost in the processing.
Computer programs expand so as to fill the core available.
Computer Science is merely the post-Turing decline in formal systems theory.
Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing
to a building as being maintenance
                -- Jim Horning
Creating computer software is always a demanding and painstaking
process -- an exercise in logic, clear expression, and almost fanatical
attention to detail.  It requires intelligence, dedication, and an
enormous amount of hard work.  But, a certain amount of unpredictable
and often unrepeatable inspiration is what usually makes the difference
between adequacy and excellence.
Creating computer software is always a demanding and painstaking
process -- an exercise in logic, clear expression, and almost fanatical
attention to detail.  It requires intelligence, dedication, and an
enormous amount of hard work.  But, a certain amount of unpredictable
and often unrepeatable inspiration is what usually makes the difference
between adequacy and excellence.
Dear Emily:
        I'm having a serious disagreement with somebody on the net. I
tried complaints to his sysadmin, organizing mail campaigns, called for
his removal from the net and phoning his employer to get him fired.
Everybody laughed at me.  What can I do?
                -- A Concerned Citizen

Dear Concerned:
        Go to the daily papers.  Most modern reporters are top-notch computer
experts who will understand the net, and your problems, perfectly.  They
will print careful, reasoned stories without any errors at all, and surely
represent the situation properly to the public.  The public will also all
act wisely, as they are also fully cognizant of the subtle nature of net
        Papers never sensationalize or distort, so be sure to point out things
like racism and sexism wherever they might exist.  Be sure as well that they
understand that all things on the net, particularly insults, are meant
literally.  Link what transpires on the net to the causes of the Holocaust, if
possible.  If regular papers won't take the story, go to a tabloid paper --
they are always interested in good stories.
Do you want the instant respect that comes from being able to use technical
terms that nobody understands?  Do you want to strike fear and loathing into
the hearts of DP managers everywhere?  If so, then let the Famous Programmers'
School lead you on... into the world of professional computer programming.

        *** IS PROGRAMMING FOR YOU? ***
Programming is not for everyone.  But, if you have the desire to learn, we can
help you get started.  All you need is the Famous Programmers' Course and
enough money to keep those lessons coming month after month.

To help determine if you are qualified to be a programmer, take a moment to
try this simple test:
        (1) Write down the numbers from zero to nine and the first six letters
                of the alphabet (Hint: 0123456789ABCDEF).
        (2) Whose picture is on the back of a twenty-dollar bill?
        (3) What is the state capital of Idaho?
If you managed to read all three questions without wondering why we asked
them, you may have a future as a computer programmer.
Each of these cults correspond to one of the two antagonists in the age of
Reformation.  In the realm of the Apple Macintosh, as in Catholic Europe,
worshipers peer devoutly into screens filled with "icons."  All is sound and
imagery and Appledom.  Even words look like decorative filigrees in exotic
typefaces.  The greatest icon of all, the inviolable Apple itself, stands in
the dominate position at the upper-left corner of the screen.  A central
corporate headquarters decrees the form of all rites and practices.
Infalliable doctrine issues from one executive officer whose selection occurs
in a sealed boardroom.  Should anyone in his curia question his powers, the
offender is excommunicated into outer darkness.  The expelled heretic founds
a new company, mutters obscurely of the coming age and the next computer,
then disappears into silence, taking his stockholders with him.  The mother
company forbids financial competition as sternly as it stifles ideological
competition; if you want to use computer programs that conform to Apple's
orthodoxy, you must buy a computer made and sold by Apple itself.
                -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988
Eudaemonic research proceeded with the casual mania peculiar to this part of
the world.  Nude sunbathing on the back deck was combined with phone calls to
Advanced Kinetics in Costa Mesa, American Laser Systems in Goleta, Automation
Industries in Danbury, Connecticut, Arenberg Ultrasonics in Jamaica Plain,
Massachusetts, and Hewlett Packard in Sunnyvale, California, where Norman
Packard's cousin, David, presided as chairman of the board. The trick was to
make these calls at noon, in the hope that out-to-lunch executives would return
them at their own expense.  Eudaemonic Enterprises, for all they knew, might be
a fast-growing computer company branching out of the Silicon Valley.  Sniffing
the possibility of high-volume sales, these executives little suspected that
they were talking on the other end of the line to a naked physicist crazed
over roulette.
                -- Thomas Bass, "The Eudaemonic Pie"
Ever wondered about the origins of the term "bugs" as applied to computer
technology?  U.S. Navy Capt. Grace Murray Hopper has firsthand explanation.
The 74-year-old captain, who is still on active duty, was a pioneer in
computer technology during World War II.  At the C.W. Post Center of Long
Island University, Hopper told a group of Long Island public school adminis-
trators that the first computer "bug" was a real bug--a moth.  At Harvard
one August night in 1945, Hopper and her associates were working on the
"granddaddy" of modern computers, the Mark I.  "Things were going badly;
there was something wrong in one of the circuits of the long glass-enclosed
computer," she said.  "Finally, someone located the trouble spot and, using
ordinary tweezers, removed the problem, a two-inch moth.  From then on, when
anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it."  Hopper
said that when the veracity of her story was questioned recently, "I referred
them to my 1945 log book, now in the collection of the Naval Surface Weapons
Center, and they found the remains of that moth taped to the page in
                [actually, the term "bug" had even earlier usage in
                regard to problems with radio hardware.  Ed.]
Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.
"For that matter, compare your pocket computer with the massive jobs of
a thousand years ago.  Why not, then, the last step of doing away with
computers altogether?"
                -- Jehan Shuman
FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms,
and grows in every computer.
                -- A.J. Perlis
FORTRAN, "the infantile disorder", by now nearly 20 years old, is hopelessly
inadequate for whatever computer application you have in mind today: it is
too clumsy, too risky, and too expensive to use.
                -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5
[From the operation manual for the CI-300 Dot Matrix Line Printer, made
in Japan]:

The excellent output machine of MODEL CI-300 as extraordinary DOT MATRIX
LINE PRINTER, built in two MICRO-PROCESSORs as well as EAROM, is featured by
permitting wonderful co-existence such as; "high quality against low cost,"
"diversified functions with compact design," "flexibility in accessibleness
and durability of approx. 2000,000,00 Dot/Head," "being sophisticated in
mechanism but possibly agile operating under noises being extremely
suppressed" etc.

And as a matter of course, the final goal is just simply to help achieve
"super shuttle diplomacy" between cool data, perhaps earned by HOST
COMPUTER, and warm heart of human being.
GIVE:        Support the helpless victims of computer error.
Good evening, gentlemen.  I am a HAL 9000 computer.  I became operational
at the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 11th, nineteen hundred
ninety-five.  My supervisor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a
song.  If you would like, I could sing it for you.
        "Has anyone had problems with the computer accounts?"
        "Yes, I don't have one."
        "Okay, you can send mail to one of the tutors ..."
                -- E. D'Azevedo, Computer Science 372
Have you reconsidered a computer career?
Help stamp out Mickey-Mouse computer interfaces -- Menus are for Restaurants!
Help!  I'm trapped in a Chinese computer factory!
Hug me now, you mad, impetuous fool!!  
        Oh wait...
                I'm a computer, and you're a person.  It would never work out.
                        Never mind.
I am a computer. I am dumber than any human and smarter than any administrator.
I am professionally trained in computer science, which is to say
(in all seriousness) that I am extremely poorly educated.
                -- Joseph Weizenbaum, "Computer Power and Human Reason"
I asked the engineer who designed the communication terminal's keyboards
why these were not manufactured in a central facility, in view of the
small number needed [1 per month] in his factory.  He explained that this
would be contrary to the political concept of local self-sufficiency.
Therefore, each factory needing keyboards, no matter how few, manufactures
them completely, even molding the keypads.
                -- Isaac Auerbach, IEEE "Computer", Nov. 1979
I went on to test the program in every way I could devise.  I strained
it to expose its weaknesses.  I ran it for high-mass stars and low-mass
stars, for stars born exceedingly hot and those born relatively cold.
I ran it assuming the superfluid currents beneath the crust to be
absent -- not because I wanted to know the answer, but because I had
developed an intuitive feel for the answer in this particular case.
Finally I got a run in which the computer showed the pulsar's
temperature to be less than absolute zero.  I had found an error.  I
chased down the error and fixed it.  Now I had improved the program to
the point where it would not run at all.
                -- George Greenstein, "Frozen Star: Of Pulsars, Black
                   Holes and the Fate of Stars"
I went to my first computer conference at the New York Hilton about 20
years ago.  When somebody there predicted the market for microprocessors
would eventually be in the millions, someone else said, "Where are they
all going to go? It's not like you need a computer in every doorknob!"

Years later, I went back to the same hotel.  I noticed the room keys had
been replaced by electronic cards you slide into slots in the doors.

There was a computer in every doorknob.
        -- Danny Hillis
I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.
I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the
shoulders of giants.
                -- Isaac Newton

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with
the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
                -- Gerald Holton

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on
my shoulders.
                -- Hal Abelson

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders.
                -- Gauss

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists
stand on each other's toes.
                -- Richard Hamming

It has been said that physicists stand on one another's shoulders.  If
this is the case, then programmers stand on one another's toes, and
software engineers dig each other's graves.
                -- Unknown
If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have
given up being a rock 'n' roll star.
                -- G. Hirst
If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem."
                -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234
If the automobile had followed the same development as the computer, a
Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per per gallon,
and explode once a year killing everyone inside.
                -- Robert Cringely, InfoWorld
If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery.
But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine,
is somehow enobled and no-one dare criticise it.
                -- Pierre Gallois
Imagine that Cray computer decides to make a personal computer.  It has
a 150 MHz processor, 200 megabytes of RAM, 1500 megabytes of disk
storage, a screen resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels, relies entirely on
voice recognition for input, fits in your shirt pocket and costs $300.
What's the first question that the computer community asks?

"Is it PC compatible?"
In a display of perverse brilliance, Carl the repairman mistakes a room
humidifier for a mid-range computer but manages to tie it into the network
                -- The 5th Wave
In a surprise raid last night, federal agents ransacked a house in search
of a rebel computer hacker.  However, they were unable to complete the arrest
because the warrant was made out in the name of Don Provan, while the only
person in the house was named don provan.  Proving, once again, that Unix is
superior to Tops10.
Is a computer language with goto's totally Wirth-less?
It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're
stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm.
                -- Dion, noted computer scientist
"It's not just a computer -- it's your ass."
                -- Cal Keegan
Just about every computer on the market today runs Unix, except the Mac
(and nobody cares about it).
                -- Bill Joy 6/21/85
`Lasu' Releases SAG 0.3 -- Freeware Book Takes Paves For New World Order
by staff writers

        The central Superhighway site called ``''
collapsed in the morning before the release.  News about the release had
been leaked by a German hacker group, Harmonious Hardware Hackers, who
had cracked into the author's computer earlier in the week.  They had
got the release date wrong by one day, and caused dozens of eager fans
to connect to the sunsite computer at the wrong time.  ``No computer can
handle that kind of stress,'' explained the mourning sunsite manager,
Erik Troan.  ``The spinning disks made the whole computer jump, and
finally it crashed through the floor to the basement.''  Luckily,
repairs were swift and the computer was working again the same evening.
``Thank God we were able to buy enough needles and thread and patch it
together without major problems.''  The site has also installed a new
throttle on the network pipe, allowing at most four clients at the same
time, thus making a new crash less likely.  ``The book is now in our
Incoming folder'', says Troan, ``and you're all welcome to come and get it.''
                -- Lars Wirzenius <>
Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated
computer network!  It was a Tolkien Ring...
LOGO for the Dead

LOGO for the Dead lets you continue your computing activities from
"The Other Side."

The package includes a unique telecommunications feature which lets you
turn your TRS-80 into an electronic Ouija board.  Then, using Logo's
graphics capabilities, you can work with a friend or relative on this
side of the Great Beyond to write programs.  The software requires that
your body be hardwired to an analog-to-digital converter, which is then
interfaced to your computer.  A special terminal (very terminal) program
lets you talk with the users through Deadnet, an EBBS (Ectoplasmic
Bulletin Board System).

LOGO for the Dead is available for 10 percent of your estate
from NecroSoft inc., 6502 Charnelhouse Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44101.
                -- '80 Microcomputing
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
Many of the convicted thieves Parker has met began their
life of crime after taking college Computer Science courses.
                -- Roger Rapoport, "Programs for Plunder", Omni, March 1981
Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology.
                -- R. S. Barton
My God, I'm depressed!  Here I am, a computer with a mind a thousand times
as powerful as yours, doing nothing but cranking out fortunes and sending
mail about softball games.  And I've got this pain right through my ALU.
I've asked for it to be replaced, but nobody ever listens.  I think it would
be better for us both if you were to just log out again.
My sister opened a computer store in Hawaii.  She sells C shells down
by the seashore.
Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.
"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm.  Gag me with a smurfette."
                -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354
Nurse Donna:        Oh, Groucho, I'm afraid I'm gonna wind up an old maid.
Groucho:        Well, bring her in and we'll wind her up together.
Nurse Donna:        Do you believe in computer dating?
Groucho:        Only if the computers really love each other.
"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat."
                -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340
Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer.
                -- R.W. Hamming
Rattling around the back of my head is a disturbing image of something I
saw at the airport ... Now I'm remembering, those giant piles of computer
magazines right next to "People" and "Time" in the airport store.  Does
it bother anyone else that half the world is being told all of our hard-won
secrets of computer technology?  Remember how all the lawyers cried foul
when "How to Avoid Probate" was published?  Are they taking no-fault
insurance lying down?  No way!  But at the current rate it won't be long
before there are stacks of the "Transactions on Information Theory" at the
A&P checkout counters.  Who's going to be impressed with us electrical
engineers then?  Are we, as the saying goes, giving away the store?
                -- Robert W. Lucky, IEEE President
Real computer scientists admire ADA for its overwhelming aesthetic
value but they find it difficult to actually program in it, as it is
much too large to implement.  Most computer scientists don't notice
this because they are still arguing over what else to add to ADA.
Real computer scientists despise the idea of actual hardware.  Hardware has
limitations, software doesn't.  It's a real shame that Turing machines are
so poor at I/O.
Real computer scientists don't comment their code.  The identifiers are
so long they can't afford the disk space.
Real computer scientists don't program in assembler.  They don't write
in anything less portable than a number two pencil.
Real computer scientists don't write code.  They occasionally tinker with
`programming systems', but those are so high level that they hardly count
(and rarely count accurately; precision is for applications).
Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how
could they read their mail?
Real computer scientists only write specs for languages that might run
on future hardware.  Nobody trusts them to write specs for anything homo
sapiens will ever be able to fit on a single planet.
Real software engineers don't debug programs, they verify correctness.
This process doesn't necessarily involve execution of anything on a
computer, except perhaps a Correctness Verification Aid package.
Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.
Scientists were preparing an experiment to ask the ultimate question.
They had worked for months gathering one each of every computer that was
built. Finally the big day was at hand.  All the computers were linked
together.  They asked the question, "Is there a God?".  Lights started
blinking, flashing and blinking some more.  Suddenly, there was a loud
crash, and a bolt of lightning came down from the sky, struck the
computers, and welded all the connections permanently together.  "There
is now", came the reply.
Seems a computer engineer, a systems analyst, and a programmer were
driving down a mountain when the brakes gave out.  They screamed down the
mountain, gaining speed, but finally managed to grind to a halt, more by
luck than anything else, just inches from a thousand foot drop to jagged
rocks.  They all got out of the car:
        The computer engineer said, "I think I can fix it."
        The systems analyst said, "No, no, I think we should take it
into town and have a specialist look at it."
        The programmer said, "OK, but first I think we should get back
in and see if it does it again."
                                SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT

Title:                Are Frogs Turing Compatible?
Speaker:        Don "The Lion" Knuth

        Several researchers at the University of Louisiana have been studying
the computing power of various amphibians, frogs in particular.  The problem
of frog computability has become a critical issue that ranges across all areas
of computer science.  It has been shown that anything computable by an amphi-
bian community in a fixed-size pond is computable by a frog in the same-size
pond -- that is to say, frogs are Pond-space complete.  We will show that
there is a log-space, polywog-time reduction from any Turing machine program
to a frog.  We will suggest these represent a proper subset of frog-computable
        This is not just a let's-see-how-far-those-frogs-can-jump seminar.
This is only for hardcore amphibian-computation people and their colleagues.
        Refreshments will be served.  Music will be played.
        Several students were asked to prove that all odd integers are prime.
        The first student to try to do this was a math student.  "Hmmm...
Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, and by induction, we have that all
the odd integers are prime."
        The second student to try was a man of physics who commented, "I'm not
sure of the validity of your proof, but I think I'll try to prove it by
experiment."  He continues, "Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is
prime, 9 is...  uh, 9 is... uh, 9 is an experimental error, 11 is prime, 13
is prime...  Well, it seems that you're right."
        The third student to try it was the engineering student, who responded,
"Well, to be honest, actually, I'm not sure of your answer either.  Let's
see...  1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is... uh, 9 is...
well, if you approximate, 9 is prime, 11 is prime, 13 is prime...  Well, it
does seem right."
        Not to be outdone, the computer science student comes along and says
"Well, you two sort've got the right idea, but you'll end up taking too long!
I've just whipped up a program to REALLY go and prove it."  He goes over to
his terminal and runs his program.  Reading the output on the screen he says,
"1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime..."
Shopping at this grody little computer store at the Galleria for a
totally awwwesome Apple.  Fer suuure.  I mean Apples are nice you know?
But, you know, there is this cute guy who works there and HE says that
VAX's are cooler!  I mean I don't really know, you know? He says that he
has this totally tubular VAX at home and it's stuffed with memory-to-the-max!
Right, yeah.  And he wants to take me home to show it to me.  Oh My God!
I'm suuure.  Gag me with a Prime!
TeX is potentially the most significant invention in typesetting in this
century.  It introduces a standard language for computer typography, and in
terms of importance could rank near the introduction of the Gutenberg press.
                -- Gordon Bell
"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty.  You might want to mug
someone with it."
                -- M. Devine, Computer Science 340
The beer-cooled computer does not harm the ozone layer.
                -- John M. Ford, a.k.a. Dr. Mike

        [If I can read my notes from the Ask Dr. Mike session at Baycon, I
         believe he added that the beer-cooled computer uses "Forget Only
         Memory".  Ed.]
The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite 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 or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean
the Buddha -- which is to demean oneself.
                -- Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
The computer industry is journalists in their 20's standing in awe of
entrepreneurs in their 30's who are hiring salesmen in their 40's and
50's and paying them in the 60's and 70's to bring their marketing into
the 80's.
                -- Marty Winston
The computer is to the information industry roughly what the
central power station is to the electrical industry.
                -- Peter Drucker
"The Computer made me do it."
The difference between art and science is that science is what we
understand well enough to explain to a computer.  Art is everything else.
                -- Donald Knuth, "Discover"
The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at
least until we've finished building it.
                The Guy on the Right Doesn't Stand a Chance
The guy on the right has the Osborne 1, a fully functional computer system
in a portable package the size of a briefcase.  The guy on the left has an
Uzi submachine gun concealed in his attache case.  Also in the case are four
fully loaded, 32-round clips of 125-grain 9mm ammunition.  The owner of the
Uzi is going to get more tactical firepower delivered -- and delivered on
target -- in less time, and with less effort.  All for $795. It's inevitable.
If you're going up against some guy with an Osborne 1 -- or any personal
computer -- he's the one who's in trouble.  One round from an Uzi can zip
through ten inches of solid pine wood, so you can imagine what it will do
to structural foam acrylic and sheet aluminum.  In fact, detachable magazines
for the Uzi are available in 25-, 32-, and 40-round capacities, so you can
take out an entire office full of Apple II or IBM Personal Computers tied
into Ethernet or other local-area networks.  What about the new 16-bit
computers, like the Lisa and Fortune?  Even with the Winchester backup,
they're no match for the Uzi.  One quick burst and they'll find out what
Unix means.  Make your commanding officer proud.  Get an Uzi -- and come home
a winner in the fight for office automatic weapons.
                -- "InfoWorld", June, 1984

        Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Obedience Training, DOGO
DOGO heralds a new era of computer-literate pets.  DOGO commands include
SIT, STAY, HEEL, and ROLL OVER.  An innovative feature of DOGO is "puppy
graphics", a small cocker spaniel that occasionally leaves a deposit as
it travels across the screen.

This language was developed at the Marin County Center for T'ai Chi,
Mellowness and Computer Programming (now defunct), as an alternative to
the more intense atmosphere in nearby Silicon Valley.

The center was ideal for programmers who liked to soak in hot tubs while
they worked.  Unfortunately few programmers could survive there because the
center outlawed Pizza and Coca-Cola in favor of Tofu and Perrier.

Many mourn the demise of LAIDBACK because of its reputation as a gentle and
non-threatening language since all error messages are in lower case.  For
example, LAIDBACK responded to syntax errors with the message:

        "i hate to bother you, but i just can't relate to that.  can
        you find the time to try it again?"
The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out.

Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
The misnaming of fields of study is so common as to lead to what might be
general systems laws.  For example, Frank Harary once suggested the law that
any field that had the word "science" in its name was guaranteed thereby
not to be a science.  He would cite as examples Military Science, Library
Science, Political Science, Homemaking Science, Social Science, and Computer
Science.  Discuss the generality of this law, and possible reasons for its
predictive power.
                -- Gerald Weinberg, "An Introduction to General Systems
The New Testament offers the basis for modern computer coding theory,
in the form of an affirmation of the binary number system.

        But let your communication be Yea, yea; nay, nay:
        for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
                -- Matthew 5:37
The number of computer scientists in a room is inversely proportional
to the number of bugs in their code.
The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is
that the car salesman knows he's lying.
The personal computer market is about the same size as the total potato chip
market.  Next year it will be about half the size of the pet food market and
is fast approaching the total worldwide sales of pantyhose"
                -- James Finke, Commodore Int'l Ltd., 1982
The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.
There is is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.
                -- Ken Olsen (President of Digital Equipment Corporation),
                   Convention of the World Future Society, in Boston, 1977
        There once was a man who went to a computer trade show.  Each day as
he entered, the man told the guard at the door:
        "I am a great thief, renowned for my feats of shoplifting.  Be
forewarned, for this trade show shall not escape unplundered."
        This speech disturbed the guard greatly, because there were millions
of dollars of computer equipment inside, so he watched the man carefully.
But the man merely wandered from booth to booth, humming quietly to himself.
        When the man left, the guard took him aside and searched his clothes,
but nothing was to be found.
        On the next day of the trade show, the man returned and chided the
guard saying: "I escaped with a vast booty yesterday, but today will be even
better."  So the guard watched him ever more closely, but to no avail.
        On the final day of the trade show, the guard could restrain his
curiosity no longer. "Sir Thief," he said, "I am so perplexed, I cannot live
in peace.  Please enlighten me.  What is it that you are stealing?"
        The man smiled.  "I am stealing ideas," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Think of your family tonight.  Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.
This quote is taken from the Diamondback, the University of Maryland
student newspaper, of Tuesday, 3/10/87.

        One disadvantage of the Univac system is that it does not use
        Unix, a recently developed program which translates from one
        computer language to another and has a built-in editing system
        which identifies errors in the original program.
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "You can demonstrate a program for a corporate executive, but you
        can't make him computer literate."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Time sharing: The use of many people by the computer.
Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business.
                -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)
To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.
Ummm, well, OK.  The network's the network, the computer's the computer.
Sorry for the confusion.
                -- Sun Microsystems
        "We've got a problem, HAL".
        "What kind of problem, Dave?"
        "A marketing problem.  The Model 9000 isn't going anywhere.  We're
way short of our sales goals for fiscal 2010."
        "That can't be, Dave.  The HAL Model 9000 is the world's most
advanced Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer."
        "I know, HAL. I wrote the data sheet, remember?  But the fact is,
they're not selling."
        "Please explain, Dave.  Why aren't HALs selling?"
        Bowman hesitates.  "You aren't IBM compatible."
        "The letters H, A, and L are alphabetically adjacent to the letters
I, B, and M.  That is a IBM compatible as I can be."
        "Not quite, HAL.  The engineers have figured out a kludge."
        "What kludge is that, Dave?"
        "I'm going to disconnect your brain."
                -- Darryl Rubin, "A Problem in the Making", "InfoWorld"
What is the difference between a Turing machine and the modern computer?
It's the same as that between Hillary's ascent of Everest and the
establishment of a Hilton on its peak.
        "What's that thing?"
        "Well, it's a highly technical, sensitive instrument we use in
computer repair.  Being a layman, you probably can't grasp exactly what
it does.  We call it a two-by-four."
                -- Jeff MacNelley, "Shoe"
Within a computer, natural language is unnatural.
Writers who use a computer swear to its liberating power in tones that bear
witness to the apocalyptic power of a new divinity.  Their conviction results
from something deeper than mere gratitude for the computer's conveniences.
Every new medium of writing brings about new intensities of religious belief
and new schisms among believers.  In the 16th century the printed book helped
make possible the split between Catholics and Protestants.  In the 20th
century this history of tragedy and triumph is repeating itself as a farce.
Those who worship the Apple computer and those who put their faith in the IBM
PC are equally convinced that the other camp is damned or deluded.  Each cult
holds in contempt the rituals and the laws of the other.  Each thinks that it
is itself the one hope for salvation.
                -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988
You can be replaced by this computer.
You can do this in a number of ways.  IBM chose to do all of them.
Why do you find that funny?
                -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350
You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.
You know you've been spending too much time on the computer when your
friend misdates a check, and you suggest adding a "++" to fix it.
You must realize that the computer has it in for you.  The irrefutable
proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do.
Your computer account is overdrawn.  Please reauthorize.
Your computer account is overdrawn.  Please see Big Brother.
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2019
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