Alfonso the Code Warrior

A collection of coder and general computer jokes to rival the finest.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Their rumpled clothes, their unwashed and unshaven faces, and their uncombed hair all testify that they are oblivious to their bodies and to the world in which they move. These are computer bums, compulsive programmers. (Joseph Weizenbaum 1976)

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)

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning. (Rich Cook)

The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents. (Nathaniel Borenstein)

No delusion is greater than the notion that method of industry can make up for lack of mother-wit, either in science or practical life. (Thomas Huxley)

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice. (Albert Einstein)

Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. (Isaac Asimov)

There is a difference between eating a varied diet and chowing down on a cup of lard and sugar once a day. Programmers know this instinctively: they balance their daily menu among the four major food groups: caffeine, sugar, grease, and salt. (John Walker)

Let's face the obvious: yesterday we were nerds, today we're the cognitive elite. Let's conquer. (Chester G Edwards)

What we do is never understood, but only praised and blamed. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. (Bill Gates)

I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one's self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers. ("Sherlock Holmes")

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt. (Bertrand Russell)

The best way to prepare [to be a programmer] is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and fished out listings of their operating system. (Bill Gates)

You can get into a habit of thought in which you enjoy making fun of all those other people who don’t see things as clearly as you do. We have to guard carefully against it. (Carl Sagan)

Sometimes the best engineers come in bodies that can't talk. (Nolan Bushnell)

To many managers, getting rid of the arrogant, undisciplined, over-paid, technology-obsessed, improperly-dressed etc. programmers would appear to be a significant added benefit. (Bjarne Stroustrup)

Mostly, when you see programmers, they aren't doing anything. One of the attractive things about programmers is that you cannot tell whether or not they are working simply by looking at them. Very often they're sitting there seemingly drinking coffee and gossiping, or just staring into space. What the programmer is trying to do is get a handle on all the individual and unrelated ideas that are scampering around in his head. (Charles M Strauss)

Optimism is an occupational hazard of programming: feedback is the treament. (Kent Beck)

I think it is inevitable that people program poorly. Training will not substantially help matters. We have to learn to live with it. (Alan Perlis)

Perhaps when a man has special knowledge and special powers like my own, it rather encourages him to seek a complex explanation when a simpler one is at hand. ("Sherlock Holmes")

Beware of programmers who carry screwdrivers. (Leonard Brandwein)

The only thing more frightening than a programmer with a screwdriver or a hardware engineer with a program is a user with a pair of wire cutters and the root password. (Elizabeth Zwicky)

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind over-taxed. (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. (Horace Walpole)

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)

Suffusing [the technology] culture is the belief among programmers and engineers that they're working on the Next Big Thing — projects that change the world, not just deliver a more absorbent diaper or crunchier breakfast cereal. (Joseph Menn)

Being a social outcast helps you stay concentrated on the really important things, like thinking and hacking. (Eric Raymond)

We shall do a much better programming job, provided we approach the task with a full appreciation of its tremendous difficulty, provided that we respect the intrinsic limitations of the human mind and approach the task as very humble programmers. (Alan Turing)

People that think logically are a nice contrast to the real world. (Matt Biershbach)

The trouble with programmers is that you can never tell what a programmer is doing until it's too late. (Seymour Cray)

Fast, fat computers breed slow, lazy programmers. (Robert Hummel)

That's what's cool about working with computers. They don't argue, they remember everything and they don't drink all your beer. (Paul Leary)

Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming. (Brian Kernigan)

For a long time it puzzled me how something so expensive, so leading edge, could be so useless, and then it occurred to me that a computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a perfect match. (Bill Bryson)

That tendency to err that programmers have been noticed to share with other human beings has often been treated as though it were an awkwardness attendant upon programming's adolescence, which like acne would disappear with the craft's coming of age. It has proved otherwise. (Mark Halpern)

Computer geek: an asocial, malodorous, pasty-faced monomaniac with all the personality of a cheese-grater. (Jargon Files)

Long hair minimizes the need for barbers; socks can be done without; one leather jacket solves the coat problem for many years; suspenders are superfluous. (Albert Einstein)

If your project doesn't work, look for the part that you didn't think was important. (Arthur Bloch)

For the time being, programming is a consumer job, assembly line coding is the norm, and what little exciting stuff is being performed is not going to make it compared to the mass-marketed cräp sold by those who think they can surf on the previous half-century's worth of inventions forever. (Eric Naggum)

A great lathe operator commands several times the wage of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer. (Bill Gates)

The principle objective of software testing is to give confidence in the software. (P D Coward)

In 1971 when I joined the staff of the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab, all of us who helped develop the operating system software, we called ourselves hackers. (Richard Stallman)

Burn-out in a developer is the death of the artistic self, a perverse maturation, a shrinking with age, a withering with experience. (Jim McCarthy)

Programming is like sex, one mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life. (Michael Sinz)

Lovers of problem solving, they are apt to play chess at lunch or doodle in algebra over cocktails, speak an esoteric language that some suspect is just their way of mystifying outsiders. Deeply concerned about logic and sensitive to its breakdown in everyday life, they often annoy friends by asking them to rephrase their questions more logically. (Time Magazine in 1965)

A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems. (Paul Erdös)

Applicants must also have extensive knowledge of UNIX, although they should have sufficiently good programming taste to not consider this an achievement. (MIT job advertisement)

I just hate to be pushed around by some fücking machine. (Ken Thompson)

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. (Frederick P Brooks Jr)

Poor management can increase software costs more rapidly than any other factor. (Barry Boehm)

A programmer is a person who passes as an exacting expert on the basis of being able to turn out, after innumerable punching, an infinite series of incomprehensive answers calculated with micrometric precisions from vague assumptions based on debatable figures taken from inconclusive documents and carried out on instruments of problematical accuracy by persons of dubious reliability and questionable mentality for the avowed purpose of annoying and confounding a hopelessly defenseless department that was unfortunate enough to ask for the information in the first place. (IEEE Grid newsmagazine)

Eggheads unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks. (Adlai Stevenson)

Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter. (Eric Raymond)

A plumber has around eight years training in the US. That's to fix my goddamn toilet. Yet, how much training do you have to do to be allowed to build software for a plane carrying hundreds of people? (James Coplien)

An organisation that treats its programmers as morons will soon have programmers that are willing and able to act like morons only. (Bjarne Stroustrup)

You needed a cool name to put on a T-shirt, and you needed a T-shirt to give to people. It was part of getting people excited enough to work 70 hours a week. (Erich Ringewald of Apple)

Programmers are like artists. Writing software that just gets put away feels like intellectual masturbation. (Bruce Perens)

A hacker on a roll may be able to produce, in a period of a few months, something that a small development group (say, 7-8 people) would have a hard time getting together over a year. IBM used to report that certain programmers might be as much as 100 times as productive as other workers, or more. (Peter Seebach)

Microsoft's only factory asset is the human imagination. (Bill Gates)

Despite their reputa­tion for thick-headedness or stubbornness, it is important for technicians to see themselves as superior people who can easily adapt to change. (Taiichi Ohno)

The programmer, who needs clarity, who must talk all day to a machine that demands declarations, hunkers down into a low-grade annoyance. It is here that the stereotype of the programmer, sitting in a dim room, growling from behind Coke cans, has its origins. The disorder of the desk, the floor; the yellow Post-It notes everywhere; the whiteboards covered with scrawl: all this is the outward manifestation of the messiness of human thought. The messiness cannot go into the program; it piles up around the programmer. (Ellen Ullman)

See, you not only have to be a good coder to create a system like Linux, you have to be a sneaky bastard, too. (Linus Torvalds)

Pessimists, we're told, look at a glass containing 50% air and 50% water and see it as half empty. Optimists, in contrast, see it as half full. Engineers, of course, understand the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. (Bob Lewis)

Use systematic doubt and question everything.
Learn the difference between rational proof and persuasion.
Be precise in your use of words.
Expect precision from others.
(Pierre Abelard)


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