|Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English)||by Linux fortune|
|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.]
|The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair".|
-- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"
|There was, it appeared, a mysterious rite of initiation through which,|
in one way or another, almost every member of the team passed. The term
that the old hands used for this rite -- West invented the term, not the
practice -- was `signing up.' By signing up for the project you agreed
to do whatever was necessary for success. You agreed to forsake, if
necessary, family, hobbies, and friends -- if you had any of these left
(and you might not, if you had signed up too many times before).
-- Tracy Kidder, "The Soul of a New Machine"
|"I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And|
in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the
additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.
- Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 12, Fall 87
|David Brinkley: The daily astrological charts are precisely where, in my|
judgment, they belong, and that is on the comic page.
George Will: I don't think astrology belongs even on the comic pages.
The comics are making no truth claim.
Brinkley: Where would you put it?
Will: I wouldn't put it in the newspaper. I think it's transparent rubbish.
It's a reflection of an idea that we expelled from Western thought in the
sixteenth century, that we are in the center of a caring universe. We are
not the center of the universe, and it doesn't care. The star's alignment
at the time of our birth -- that is absolute rubbish. It is not funny to
have it intruded among people who have nuclear weapons.
Sam Donaldson: This isn't something new. Governor Ronald Reagan was sworn
in just after midnight in his first term in Sacramento because the stars
said it was a propitious time.
Will: They [horoscopes] are utter crashing banalities. They could apply to
anyone and anything.
Brinkley: When is the exact moment [of birth]? I don't think the nurse is
standing there with a stopwatch and a notepad.
Donaldson: If we're making decisions based on the stars -- that's a cockamamie
thing. People want to know.
-- "This Week" with David Brinkley, ABC Television, Sunday, May 8, 1988,
excerpts from a discussion on Astrology and Reagan
| Well, punk is kind of anti-ethical, anyway. Its ethics, so to speak,|
include a disdain for ethics in general. If you have to think about some-
thing so hard, then it's bullshit anyway; that's the idea. Punks are anti-
ismists, to coin a term. But nonetheless, they have a pretty clearly defined
stance and image, and THAT is what we hang the term `punk' on.
-- Jeff G. Bone
| I think for the most part that the readership here uses the c-word in|
a similar fashion. I don't think anybody really believes in a new, revolution-
ary literature --- I think they use `cyberpunk' as a term of convenience to
discuss the common stylistic elements in a small subset of recent sf books.
-- Jeff G. Bone
| So we get to my point. Surely people around here read things that|
aren't on the *Officially Sanctioned Cyberpunk Reading List*. Surely we
don't (any of us) really believe that there is some big, deep political and
philosophical message in all this, do we? So if this `cyberpunk' thing is
just a term of convenience, how can somebody sell out? If cyberpunk is just a
word we use to describe a particular style and imagery in sf, how can it be
dead? Where are the profound statements that the `Movement' is or was trying
I think most of us are interested in examining and discussing literary
(and musical) works that possess a certain stylistic excellence and perhaps a
rather extreme perspective; this is what CP is all about, no? Maybe there
should be a newsgroup like, say, alt.postmodern or somthing. Something less
restrictive in scope than alt.cyberpunk.
-- Jeff G. Bone
|...I don't care for the term 'mechanistic'. The word 'cybernetic' is a lot|
more apropos. The mechanistic world-view is falling further and further behind
the real world where even simple systems can produce the most marvellous
-- Peter da Silva
|There was, it appeared, a mysterious rite of initiation through which, in|
one way or another, almost every member of the team passed. The term that
the old hands used for this rite -- West invented the term, not the practice --
was `signing up.' By signing up for the project you agreed to do whatever
was necessary for success. You agreed to forsake, if necessary, family,
hobbies, and friends -- if you had any of these left (and you might not, if
you had signed up too many times before).
-- Tracy Kidder, _The Soul of a New Machine_
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
|Bubble Memory, n.:|
A derogatory term, usually referring to a person's intelligence.
See also "vacuum tube".
Medical term meaning "to share the wealth."
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.
Some early etymological scholars came up with derivations that
were hard for the public to believe. The term "etymology" was formed
from the Latin "etus" ("eaten"), the root "mal" ("bad"), and "logy"
("study of"). It meant "the study of things that are hard to swallow."
-- Mike Kellen
|Fourth Law of Applied Terror:|
The night before the English History mid-term, your Biology
instructor will assign 200 pages on planaria.
Every instructor assumes that you have nothing else to do except
study for that instructor's course.
|incentive program, n.:|
The system of long and short-term rewards that a corporation uses
to motivate its people. Still, despite all the experimentation with
profit sharing, stock options, and the like, the most effective
incentive program to date seems to be "Do a good job and you get to
A legal term meaning: "I didn't do it, judge, and I'll never do
The weekly $5.27 that remains after deductions for federal
withholding, state withholding, city withholding, FICA,
medical/dental, long-term disability, unemployment insurance,
Christmas Club, and payroll savings plan contributions.
|TCP/IP Slang Glossary, #1:|
Gong, n: Medieval term for privy, or what pased for them in that era.
Today used whimsically to describe the aftermath of a bogon attack. Think
of our community as the Galapagos of the English language.
"Vogons may read you bad poetry, but bogons make you study obsolete RFCs."
-- Dave Mills
|Poverty Jet Set:|
A group of people given to chronic traveling at the expense of
long-term job stability or a permanent residence. Tend to have doomed
and extremely expensive phone-call relationships with people named
Serge or Ilyana. Tend to discuss frequent-flyer programs at parties.
-- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
|Cult of Aloneness:|
The need for autonomy at all costs, usually at the expense of
long-term relationships. Often brought about by overly high
expectations of others.
-- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
|Ultra Short Term Nostalgia:|
Homesickness for the extremely recent past: "God, things seemed
so much better in the world last week."
-- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
|(1) X=Y ; Given|
(2) X^2=XY ; Multiply both sides by X
(3) X^2-Y^2=XY-Y^2 ; Subtract Y^2 from both sides
(4) (X+Y)(X-Y)=Y(X-Y) ; Factor
(5) X+Y=Y ; Cancel out (X-Y) term
(6) 2Y=Y ; Substitute X for Y, by equation 1
(7) 2=1 ; Divide both sides by Y
-- "Omni", proof that 2 equals 1
|Back in the early 60's, touch tone phones only had 10 buttons. Some|
military versions had 16, while the 12 button jobs were used only by people
who had "diva" (digital inquiry, voice answerback) systems -- mainly banks.
Since in those days, only Western Electric made "data sets" (modems) the
problems of terminology were all Bell System. We used to struggle with
written descriptions of dial pads that were unfamiliar to most people
(most phones were rotary then.) Partly in jest, some AT&T engineering
types (there was no marketing in the good old days, which is why they were
the good old days) made up the term "octalthorpe" (note spelling) to denote
the "pound sign." Presumably because it has 8 points sticking out. It
never really caught on.
|Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable term, convertible|
only through the use of weird and unnatural conversion factors. Velocity,
for example, will be expressed in furlongs per fortnight.
|You have had a long-term stimulation relative to business.|
|Virtue is a relative term.|
-- Spock, "Friday's Child", stardate 3499.1
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|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.
|Jargon Coiner (#6)|
An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.
* STOP MIRAGE: Trying to click on an imaginary Stop button on a program's
toolbar after doing something you didn't want to. Usually caused as the
result of excessive use of Netscape.
* YA-PREFIX: Putting "another" or "yet another" in front of a name or
tacking "YA" in front of an acronym.
Example: "We could ya-prefix this fortune by titling it 'Yet Another
Lame List of Fabricated Jargon'."
* DOMAINEERING: Using a service like Netcraft to determine what operating
system and webserver a particular domain is running.
* NOT-A-SALTINE EXPLANATION: The canned response given to someone who
uses the term "hacker" instead of "cracker".
|Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#6)|
(Round 4, the Who Wants To Be A Billionaire? Round)
ERIC RAYMOND (Moderator): Here's the second question: Who is the primary
author of the world-renowned fetchmail program? [Bzzz] Yes, Hemos?
HEMOS: Mr. Eric... Fetch of Cincinnati, Ohio.
RAYMOND: No, no, no! The answer is me, me, me, you idiots! Sheesh. I'm
resetting your points to zero for that.
ALAN COX: Are you going to ask any questions that are not about you?
RAYMOND: Um... let's see... yeah, there's one or two here... Okay, here's
question three... What loud-mouthed hippie-spirtualist founder of the
GNU Project keeps demanding that everybody use the crappy term "Free
Software" instead of "Open Source"? [Bzzz] Yes, Anonymous Coward?
ANONCOW: Eric Raymond!
RAYMOND: Why you little [expletive]! I'm going to...
|Brief History Of Linux (#7)|
The Rise of Geeks
The late 19th Century saw the rise and fall of "geeks", wild carnival
performers who bit the heads off live chickens. This vocal minority,
outcast from mainstream society, clamored for respect, but failed. Their
de facto spokesman, Tom Splatz, tried to expose America to their plight in
his 312-page book, "Geeks".
In the book Splatz documented the life of two Idahoan geeks with no social
life as they made a meager living traveling the Pacific Northwest in
circuses. While Splatz's masterpiece was a commercial failure, the book
did set a world record for using the term "geek" a total of 6,143 times.
|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 (#29)|
"The Cathedral and the Bazaar" is credited by many (especially ESR
himself) as the reason Netscape announced January 22, 1998 the release of
the Mozilla source code. In addition, Rob Malda of Slashdot has also
received praise because he had recently published an editorial ("Give us
the damn source code so we can fix Netscape's problems ourselves!")
Of course, historians now know the true reason behind the landmark
decision: Netscape engineers were scared to death that a large
multi-national corporation would acquire them and crush Mozilla. Which
indeed did happen much later, although everybody thought the conqueror
would be Microsoft, not AOL (America's Online Lusers).
The Netscape announcement prompted a strategy session among Linux bigwigs
on February 3rd. They decided a new term to replace 'free software' was
needed; some rejected suggestions included "Free Source", "Ajar Source",
"World Domination Source", "bong-ware" (Bong's Obviously Not GNU), and
"Nude Source". We can thank Chris Peterson for coining "Open Source",
which became the adopted term and later sparked the ugly "Free Software
vs. Open Source", "Raymond vs. Stallman" flame-a-thons.
|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."
|This is the solution to Debian's problem .. and since the only real way|
to create more relatives of developers is to have children, we need more
sex! It's a long term investment ... it's the work itself that is
-- Craig Brozefsky
|Fortune Documents the Great Legal Decisions:|
It is a rule of evidence deduced from the experience of mankind and
supported by reason and authority that positive testimony is entitled to
more weight than negative testimony, but by the latter term is meant
negative testimony in its true sense and not positive evidence of a
negative, because testimony in support of a negative may be as positive
as that in support of an affirmative.
-- 254 Pac. Rep. 472.
|Fortune Documents the Great Legal Decisions:|
We think that we may take judicial notice of the fact that the term "bitch"
may imply some feeling of endearment when applied to a female of the canine
species but that it is seldom, if ever, so used when applied to a female
of the human race. Coming as it did, reasonably close on the heels of two
revolver shots directed at the person of whom it was probably used, we think
it carries every reasonable implication of ill-will toward that person.
-- Smith v. Moran, 193 N.E. 2d 466.
|AP/STT. Helsinki, Dec 5th, 6:22 AM. For immediate release.|
In order to allay fears about the continuity of the Linux project, Linus
Torvalds together with his manager Tove Monni have released "Linus
v2.0", affectionately known as "Kernel Hacker - The Next Generation".
Linux stock prices on Wall Street rose sharply after the announcement;
as one well-known analyst who wishes to remain anonymous says - "It
shows a long-term commitment, and while we expect a short-term decrease
in productivity, we feel that this solidifies the development in the
Other analysts downplay the importance of the event, and claim that just
about anybody could have done it. "I'm glad somebody finally told them
about the birds and the bees" one sceptic comments cryptically. But
even the skeptics agree that it is an interesting turn of events.
Others bring up other issues with the new version - "I'm especially
intrigued by the fact that the new version is female, and look forward
to seeing what the impact of that will be on future development. Will
"Red Hat Linux" change to "Pink Hat Linux", for example?"
-- Linus Torvalds announcing that he became father of a girl
|Term, holidays, term, holidays, till we leave school, and then work, work,|
work till we die.
-- C.S. Lewis
|The term "fire" brings up visions of violence and mayhem and the ugly scene|
of shooting employees who make mistakes. We will now refer to this process
as "deleting" an employee (much as a file is deleted from a disk). The
employee is simply there one instant, and gone the next. All the terrible
temper tantrums, crying, and threats are eliminated.
-- Kenny's Korner
|No prisoner's dilemma here. Over the long term, symbiosis is more|
useful than parasitism. More fun, too. Ask any mitochondria.
-- Larry Wall in <199705102042.NAA00851@wall.org>