Other Computer Humor

Other Computer Humor



What is a computer's first sign of old age?
Loss of memory.


What does a baby computer call his father?
Data.


What is an astronaut's favorite key on a computer keyboard?
The space bar.


What happened when the computer fell on the floor?
It slipped a disk.


To err is human; but to really screw things up requires a computer.


Why was there a bug in the computer?
It was looking for a byte to eat.


What is a computer virus?
A terminal illness.




  For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from someone,
and our computers were facing away from each other. A few minutes into 
the class, she got up to leave the room. I reached between our computers
and switched the inputs for the keyboards. She came back and started 
typing and immediately got a distressed look on her face. She called the
tutor over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would
happen.  The tutor tried everything.  By this time I was hiding behind
my monitor and quaking red-faced. I typed, "Leave me alone!"
  They both jumped back as this appeared on their screen.  "What the..."
the tutor said.  I typed, "I said leave me alone!"
  The kid got real upset.  "I didn't do anything to it, I swear!"
  It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud.
  The conversation between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing 
five minutes.
Me: "Don't touch me!" 
Her: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit your keys that hard."
Me: "Who do you think you are anyway?!"  Etc. Finally, I couldn't
contain myself any longer, and fell out of my chair laughing. 
  After they had realized what I had done, they both turned beet red.
Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.




  "Proposed shows for a new cable channel targeting information systems
professionals."

This Old Mainframe
  Host Bob Vila revamps a Univac and shows you how you can turn an old 
PC into a functional doorstep or other decorative object.

Name That Software
  Contestants attempt to identify well-known business programs by
looking at the least number of lines of code.

My Three Suns
  Neighbors wonder why Steve Douglas keeps three UNIX based 
work-stations in a suburban neighborhood.

Wang Can Cook
  Chef Charles Wang blends together software in an incomprehensible
manner from companies he's purchased.  Studio guests grudingly pay 
ever higher prices for his creations.

Leave it to Spindler
  The Spindler tries to earn money by selling apples but finds he 
can't sell them for as much as he paid for them; tries to make it 
up in volume.  Ward, June and the Board of Directors sigh.

WordPerfect Strangers
  Larry decides that using groupware would be a good way to meet 
women, but Balki's laser printer explodes ruining any chances of 
connectivity.

Mayberry CPU
  Andy discovers that his digital clock has more intelligence than
Goober.  Aunt Bee debugs Floyd's electronic cash register.

The Honeymooners
  Ralph dreams up a way to hit it rich with a 3-D word processor, 
but it turns out to be vaporware.  Ed makes millions creating
"Norton's Utilities".

Mr. Rom's Neigborhood
  Mr.  Rom puts young ones to sleep by reading selections from 
various IBM documentation.

Says Me Street
  Muppet like forms of Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy 
show children how to work and play together on the information 
highway.  Large character known as Big BlueBird is a favorite of 
the kids although no one really knows why.




Dear Abby:

  The letter signed "Computer Widow" grabbed my attention because 
I, too, am a computer widow.  My husband, "Erik," is at work now, 
so I'm writing this on his computer.  But when he's home, his 
computer is his first love.  I refer to it as "Belle Packard...
the other woman."
  Erik spends more money on her than he spends on me, and she gets 
a lot more attention than I do.  But I'm not complaining. At least 
I know where he is and what he's doing.  When he's gazing fondly 
into the monitor of his sweet Belle, he's not out chasing women and 
bringing home God-knows-what, or sitting in a bar somewhere.
  The old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" is my motto, so 
I reminded Erik that I am "computer-challenged," and asked him to
teach me something about his first love.  (He was thrilled.  I've
learned a lot, and I'm no longer intimidated by "Belle."
  I suspect that "Computer Widow" has some deeper problems, but I 
also think a little less nagging would improve the situation. The 
more you harp, the more they shut you out.  (This is my second 
marriage, and I learned a lot from my first one.)  Erik and I are 
very happy together, and he does spend time with me.  But I also 
understand that he needs time alone as much as I do, so we give 
each other that space when it's needed.
  I married my best friend, so if he spends a little too much time 
with "Belle"....so what?  I wouldn't trade him for the world.

         (Signed)  Computer Widow in Virginia


Abby's response.......

Dear Computer Widow:
  Obviously, you are sufficiently secure in your marriage to 
be comfortable with your husband's pursuing his own interests.
You are to be commended for your realistic and healthy attitude.



This computer paper really proves that recycled materials are just 
as high quality as brand new. You'd never know that you were holding 
used toilet paper, would you?




Dogs and Computers: Same or Different?  

* Favorite Food
    Dogs: kibbles
    Computers: bits

* Method used to end undesirable behavior
    Dogs: hit with rolled up newspaper
    Computers: hit control-alt-delete

* After destruction of personal property
    D: dog not found
    C: file not found

* Favorite trick
    D: roll over
    C: play dead

* Comic-page hero
    D: Dogbert
    C: Dilbert

* Fun way to mess with their heads
    D: peanut butter on roof of mouth
    C: peanut butter in CD-ROM drive

* Consequence of virus
    D: replace valuable carpeting
    C: replace valuable data

* Widely ignored government mandate
    D: leash law
    C: Communications Decency Act

* Waste disposal tool
    D: pooper-scooper
    C: uninstaller (necessary only on Win-tel machines!)

* Sensitive internal procedures
    D: must be undertaken by fully qualified professional
    C: may be undertaken by that guy at work who fixed
       "one kind-of like this" once

* Method of marking territory
    D: lifting leg
    C: "Designed for Windows 95"

* Unique behavior
    D: lick and drag
    C: click-and-drag

* Inexplicable physical feature
    D: dewclaw
    C: scroll lock key

* Estimated lifespan
    D: 12 years
    C: 12 months

* At end of useful life
    D: euthanasia
    C: tax deduction




Top 15 Reasons Dogs Don't Use Computers

15. Can't stick their heads out of Windows '95.

14. Fetch command not available on all platforms.

13. Hard to read the monitor with your head cocked to one side.

12. Too difficult to "mark" every web site they visit.

11. Can't help attacking the screen when they hear "You've Got Mail."

10. Fire hydrant icon simply frustrating.

9. Involuntary tail wagging is dead giveaway they're browsing
   www.pethouse.com instead of working.
 
8. Keep bruising noses trying to catch that MPEG Frisbee.

7. Not at all fooled by Chuckwagon Screen Saver.

6. Still trying to come up with an emoticon that signifies tail
   wagging.

5. Three words: Carpal Paw Syndrome.

4. 'Cause dogs ain't GEEKS! Now, *cats*, on the other hand...

3. SIT and STAY were hard enough; GREP and AWK are out of the
   question!

2. Saliva-coated mouse gets mighty difficult to maneuver

1. TrO{gO DsA[M,bN HyAqR4tDc TgrOo TgYPmE WeIjTyH P;AzWqS,.
   (Too Damn Hard To Type with paws!)




TEN REASONS A STUPID GIRL IS BETTER THAN A SMART COMPUTER

1. She doesn't want to play chess.

2. A computer costs $2,000; she costs a few beers.

3. Bodily fluids do not mar her finish.

4. She's not a fat,ugly chick acting sexy in an online chat room.

5. You can upgrade without having to learn new software.

6. Hard drive and joystick are more than fancy euphemisms to her.

7. She performs better when you spill beer on her.

8. You can still use her when she crashes.

9. There's no chance Bill Gates has ever touched her.

10. The less memory, the better.




Q: How many Unix gurus does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One, but first he has to determine the correct path.



Q: How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb?
A: As many as you want; they're all virtual, anyway.




Rules Of Computer Order
 
You will never have an extra blank disk.

If you do bring along a blank disk, you won't need it.

If you don't bring along a blank disk, it will be the only available
opportunity to obtain a copy of a hitherto unattainable and uniquely
appropriate program.

If someone else is watching while you are doing anything on the computer,
anything at all, it will screw up (that's a technical term).

The percentage chances of screwing up increase in direct proportion to 
the size of your audience.

No matter how simple it seems to you, your explanation will be more than
they want to know.

You will amaze yourself at how much you know.

You will amaze your mother at how much you know about computers.

You will always have one disk envelope too few. Or too many.

The only pieces of data you will ever lose are the ones you were going
to save just as soon as you finished typing a couple more lines.

The update of your program will use the keys for something entirely
different in this version than it did when you first learned it.

You will not understand it the first time you read it in the manual.

You will understand it better the next time you read the manual. For 
no discernible reason.

When you are late for an interview and need a last minute copy of 
your resume your printer will go down. It will always go down. It 
doesn't care. Nowhere in your repair manual will it ever tell you 
what you really need to do, which is to turn the darn thing off 
and get yourself a cup of coffee/tea.

You will never know what a user file is.

The price of anything you buy will stay the same until the actual 
impact of your money on the bottom of the cash drawer, at which 
time it will automatically re-list itself in next Thursday's paper 
at 30% less.

Staring at the screen for 97 continuous minutes will not necessarily 
reveal to you the secret location of any colon that should have been 
typed in as a semi. Or vice versa.

It will always seem like your friend got a better deal.
 



Top Reasons Computers Are Female

No one but their creator understands their internal logic.

Even your smallest mistakes are immediately committed to 
memory for future reference.

The native language used to communicate with other computers 
is incomprehensible to everyone else.

The message, "Bad command or filename," is about as informative
as "If you don't know why I'm mad at you, then I'm certainly not 
going to tell you." 

As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself 
spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

Picky, picky, picky.

They hear what you say, but not what you mean.

Beauty is only shell deep.

When you ask whats wrong, they say "nothing".

Can produce incorrect results with alarming speed.

Always turning simple statements into big productions.

Small talk is important

You do the same thing for years, and suddenly it's wrong.

They make you take the garbage out.

Miss a period and they go wild.

When reminiscing about your first one, you wonder how the hell
you ever managed to live with it.

Try getting your old one to talk to your new one.

When you want it most, it will freeze for no reason.

With the covers off and up close, they all look the same.

As soon as you have one, a better one is just around the corner.

No one but the creator understands the internal logic.




Top Reasons Computers Are Male

15. They're heavily dependent on external tools and equipment. 

14. They periodically cut you off right when you think you've
    established a network connection. 

13. They'll usually do what you ask them to do, but they won't do 
    more than they have to and they won't think of it on their own. 

12. They're typically obsolete within five years and need to be 
    traded in for a new model. Some users, however, feel they've
    already invested so much in the damn machine that they're 
    compelled to remain with an underpowered system. 

11. They get hot when you turn them on, and that's the only time
    you have their attention. 

10. They have a lot of data but are still clueless.

9.  A better model is always just around the corner.

8.  They look nice and shiny until you bring them home.

7.  It is always necessary to have a backup.

6.  They'll do whatever you say if you push the right buttons.

5.  The best part of having either one is the games you can play.

4.  In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.

3.  The lights are on but nobodys home.

2.  Big power surges knock them out for the night.

1.  Size does matter.



Q. Who was the world's first computer expert?
A. Eve, She had an apple in one hand and a wang in the other.




THE COMPUTER EXPERT'S GLOSSARY

ADA: Something you need to know the name of to be an Expert in
Computing. Useful in sentences like, "We had better develop an
ADA awareness."

BUG: An elusive creature living in a program that makes it
incorrect.  The activity of "debugging," or removing bugs from a
program, ends when people get tired of doing it, not when the
bugs are removed.

CACHE: A very expensive part of the memory system of a computer
that no one is supposed to know is there.

DESIGN: What you regret not doing later on.

DOCUMENTATION: Instructions translated from Swedish by Japanese for
English speaking persons.

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.

HARDWARE: The parts of a computer system that can be kicked.

INFORMATION CENTER: A room staffed by professional computer people
whose job it is to tell you why you cannot have the information you
require.

INFORMATION PROCESSING: What you call data processing when people
are so disgusted with it they won't let it be discussed in their
presence.

MACHINE-INDEPENDENT PROGRAM: A program that will not run on any
machine.

MEETING: An assembly of computer experts coming together to decide
what person or department not represented in the room must solve
the problem.

MINICOMPUTER: A computer that can be afforded on the budget of a
middle-level manager.

OFFICE AUTOMATION: The use of computers to improve efficiency in
the office by removing anyone you would want to talk with over coffee.

ON-LINE: The idea that a human being should always be accessible to
a computer.

PASCAL: A programming language named after a man who would turn
over in his grave if he knew about it.

PERFORMANCE: 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.

PRIORITY: A statement of the importance of a user or program. Often
expressed as a relative priority, indicating that the user
doesn't care when the work is completed so long as he is treated
less badly than someone else.

QUALITY CONTROL: Assuring that the quality of a product does not
get out of hand and add to the cost of its manufacture or design.

REGRESSION ANALYSIS: Mathematical techniques for trying to understand
why things are getting worse.

STRATEGY: A long-range plan whose merit cannot be evaluated until
sometime after those creating it have left the organization.

SYSTEMS PROGRAMMER: A person in sandals who has been in the elevator
with the senior vice president and is ultimately responsible for a
phone call you are to receive from your boss.




   When I went to college in the 1980's, I heard a lot of words
 like "data input" and "beta version."  They confused me.  I
 wanted desperately to know what people were talking about,
 what Big Secret resided in the computer industry.
   Now that I've worked in a computer company for the last few
 years, I've gained an insider's perspective.  I decided to
 share my knowledge with the uninitiated by creating the
 following brief, handy glossary:

 Alpha.  
 ------
 Software undergoes alpha testing as a first step in getting 
 user feedback. Alpha is Latin for "doesn't work."
 
 Beta.
 -----
 Software undergoes beta testing shortly before it's
 released. Beta is Latin for "still doesn't work."
 
 Computer.
 ---------
 Instrument of torture.  The first computer was invented by
 Roger "Duffy" Billingsly, a British scientist.  In a plot to
 overthrow Adolf Hitler, Duffy disguised himself as a German
 ally and offered his invention as a gift to the surly
 dictator.  The plot worked. On April 8, 1945, Adolf became
 so enraged at the "Incompatible File Format" error message
 that he shot himself. The war ended soon after Hitler's
 death, and Duffy began working for IBM.
 
 CPU.
 ----
 Central Processing Unit.  The CPU is the computer's engine.
 It consists of a hard drive, an interface card and a tiny
 spinning  wheel that's powered by a running rodent - a
 gerbil if the machine is a old machine, a ferret if it's a
 Pentium and a ferret on speed if it's a Pentium II.
 
 Default Directory.
 ------------------
 Black hole.  Default directory is where all files that you
 need disappear to.
 
 Error message.
 --------------
 Terse, baffling remark used by programmers to place blame on
 users for the program's shortcomings.
 
 File.
 -----
 A document that has been saved with an unidentifiable name.
 It helps to think of a file as something stored in a file
 cabinet - except when you try to remove the file, the
 cabinet gives you an electric shock and tells you the file
 format is unknown.
 
 Hardware.
 ---------
 Collective term for any computer-related object that can be
 kicked or battered.
 
 Help.
 -----
 What we all need. Actually, it is the feature that assists
 in generating more questions. When the help feature is used
 correctly, users are able to navigate through a series of
 Help screens and end up where they started from without
 learning anything. 



  A Software engineer, hardware engineer and departmental manager 
were on their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving 
down a steep mountain road when suddenly the brakes failed. The 
car careened out of control, bouncing off guard rails until it 
miraculously ground to a scraping halt along the mountainside. 
The occupants of the car were unhurt, but they had a problem. 
They were stuck halfway down the mountain in a car with no brakes. 
  "I know" said the manager. " Let's have a meeting, propose a 
Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and 
through a process of Continuous Improvement, find a solution to 
the critical problems and we'll be on our way." 
  "No," said the hardware engineer. "I've got my Swiss army knife 
with me.  I can strip down the car's braking system, isolate the 
fault, fix it, and we'll be on our way."
  "Wait," said the software engineer. "Before we do anything, 
shouldn't we push the car back to the top of the mountain and 
see if it happens again?"



Q. How do you recognise a doctor who used to be a software engineer?
A. When you have a heart attack they send you back home to see if it
   happens again.



  At a recent computer software engineering course in the US, the 
participants were given an awkward question to answer: "If you had 
just boarded an airliner and discovered that your team of programmers 
had been responsible for the flight control software, how many of you 
would disembark immediately?"
  Among the ensuing forest of raised hands only one man sat motionless. 
When asked what he would do, he replied that he would be quite content 
to stay on board. With his team's software, he reasoned, the plane was 
unlikely to even taxi as far as the runway, let alone take off.



  World War III.
  The US has succeeded in building a computer able to solve any strategic 
or tactical problem.  Military leaders are assembled in front of the new 
machine and instructed to feed a difficult tactical problem into it. They 
describe a hypothetical situation to the computer and then ask the pivotal 
question: attack or retreat?
  The computer hums away for an hour and then comes up with the answer:
YES.
  The generals look at each other, somewhat stupefied. Finally one of 
them submits a second request to the computer: YES WHAT?
  Instantly the computer responded: YES SIR.



  A doctor, architect, and computer systems analyst were discussing 
which was the first profession.
  The doctor said, "God took a rib from man and made women". That 
was a great medical accomplishment, therefor medicine was the first 
profession.
  The architect said, "They were in the garden of eden weren't they?
That wonderful garden was created from chaos, that took careful 
planning and design work. Therefor architecture was the first 
profession."
  The computer systems analyst said, "Where do you think all that 
confusion came from?" 



  In the beginning, God created the bit.  And the bit was a zero; 
nothing.  On the first day, He toggled the 0 to a 1, and the Universe 
was. (In those days, bootstrap loaders were simple, and "active low" 
signals didn't yet exist.)
  On the second day, God's boss wanted a demo, and tried to read the 
bit. This being volatile memory, the bit reverted to a 0.  And the 
universe wasn't. God learned the importance of backups and memory 
refresh, and spent the rest of the day (and his first all-nighter) 
reconstructing the universe.
  On the third day, the bit cried "Oh, Lord!  If you exist, give me 
a sign!" And God created rev 2.0 of the bit, even better than the 
original prototype. Those in Universe Marketing immediately realized 
that "new and improved" wouldn't do justice to such a grand and 
glorious creation.  And so it was dubbed the Most Significant Bit, 
or the Sign bit.  Many bits followed, but only one was so honored.
  On the fourth day, God created a simple ALU with 'add' and 'logical 
shift' instructions.  And the original bit discovered that by performing 
a single shift instruction, it could become the Most Significant Bit. 
And God realized the importance of computer security.
  On the fifth day, God created the first mid-life kicker, rev 2.0 of 
the ALU, with wonderful new features, and said "Screw that add and shift 
stuff. Go forth and multiply."  And God saw that it was good. 
  On the sixth day, God got a bit overconfident, and invented pipelines, 
register hazards, optimizing compilers, crosstalk, restartable 
instructions, microinterrupts, race conditions, and propagation delays.
Historians have used this to convincingly argue that the sixth day must 
have been a Monday.
  On the seventh day, an engineering change introduced "name of buggy 
component deleted to keep lawyers happy" into the Universe, and it 
hasn't worked right since.




Q: Did you hear about the Microsoft crystal ball?
A: Ask it something and it replies:
   "Answer unclear. Add 20 Meg of RAM and ask again later."



Q: How many MS engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None, they just define darkness as an industry standard!



Q:  Why don't the British build computers?
A:  Because they can't figure out how to make them leak oil!



Q. What do you get when you cross 200K of apples and lots of garbage?
A. A core dump



  Have you heard about the new Cray? It's so fast, it executes an 
infinite loop in 6 seconds.



  Have you heard about the new Cray? 
It's so fast, it requires TWO halt instructions to stop it!



  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 1024x1024 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?"



What do you call a computer scientist?
It doesn't matter what you call him.  He's too involved with the 
computer to come anyway.



What do miniskirts and hard disks have in common?
Access time.


Isn't it odd that all the members of the Association for Computing 
Machinery are human?  (I've been thinking of signing my home 
computer up.)



Why is "256 Ways To Make Love" the most quoted book on the Internet?
It IS the Fucking Manual



What do Unix sysadmins do when they're horny?
Mount a filesystem.



Why do Computer Science majors smell so bad.
So that blind students can hate them too.



How do you tell an extrovert computer scientist?
He looks at *your* shoes when he talks to you.



  Micro was a real-time operator and dedicated multi-user.  His 
broad-band protocol made it easy for him to interface with numerous 
input/output devices, even if it meant time-sharing.
  One evening he arrived home just as the Sun was crashing, and had 
parked his Motorola 68040 in the main drive (he had missed the 5100 
bus that morning), when he noticed an elegant piece of liveware 
admiring the daisy wheels in his garden.
  He thought to himself, "She looks user-friendly. I'll see if she'd 
like an update tonight."
  Mini was her name, and she was delightfully engineered with eyes 
like COBOL and a PRIME mainframe architecture that set Micro's 
peripherals networking all over the place.
  He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin, 
32-bit floating point processors and enquired "How are you, Honeywell?".
  "Yes, I am well", she responded, batting her optical fibers engagingly 
and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.
  Micro settled for a straight line approximation.  "I'm stand-alone 
tonight", he said, "How about computing a vector to my base address?
I'll output a byte to eat, and maybe we could get offset later on."
  Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds, then transmitted
8K.  "I've been dumped myself recently, and a new page is just what 
I need to refresh my disks.  I'll park my machine cycle in your 
background and meet you inside." 
  She walked off, leaving Micro admiring her solenoids and thinking, 
"Wow, what a global variable, I wonder if she'd like my firmware?"
  They sat down at the process table to top of form feed of fiche and 
chips and a bucket of baudot.  Mini was in conversation mode and 
expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave the occasional 
acknowledgements, although, in reality, he was analyzing the shortest 
and least critical path to her entry point. He finally settled on the 
old 'Would you like to see my benchmark routine', but Mini was again 
one step ahead.
  Suddenly she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the 
full functionality of her operating system software.  "Let's get BASIC,
you RAM", she said. Micro was loaded by this; his hardware was in danger 
of overflowing its output buffer, a hang-up that Micro had consulted his 
analyst about.  "Core", was all he could say, as she prepared to log him 
off.
  Micro soon recovered, however, when Mini went down on the DEC and 
opened her divide files to reveal her data set ready.  He accessed his 
fully packed root device and was just about to start pushing into her 
CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence.
  "No, no!", she cried, "You're not shielded!"
  "Reset, Baby", he replied, "I've been debugged."
  "But I haven't got my current loop enabled, and I can't support child
processes", she protested.
  "Don't run away", he said, "I'll generate an interrupt."
  "No, that's too error prone, and I can't abort because of my design
philosophy."
  Micro was locked in by this stage, though, and could not be turned 
off.  But Mini soon stopped his thrashing by introducing a coltage 
spike into his main supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash 
and went to sleep.
  "Computers!", she thought, as she recompiled herself.  "All they ever 
think of is hex!"




  There was a doctor, a civil engineer, and a computer scientist sitting 
around late one evening, and they got to discussing which was the oldest 
profession.
  The doctor pointed out that according to Biblical tradition, God 
created Eve from Adam's rib.  This obviously required surgery, so 
therefore that was the oldest profession in the world.
  The engineer countered with an earlier passage in the Bible that stated 
that God created order from the chaos, and that was most certainly the 
biggest and best civil engineering example ever, and also proved that 
his profession was the oldest profession.
  The computer scientist leaned back in her chair, and with a sly smile
responded, "Yes, but who do you think created the chaos?"




The world can spot a computer science student from miles off.  
Ten sure clues:

1. When dating: ends up together in front of a computer.

2. In the street: he's the one carrying a box of floppy discs.

3. In discussion: is the one who starts laughing hysterically when the 
   topic of computer reliability is brought up.

4. Anywhere: Red watery eyes, and sleepy if awake before 4pm.

5. Bumper sticker on car: My ware is harder, bigger and faster than yours.

6. Thinks a perfect Saturday Night is a fast ftp-connection to a base 
   with plenty of gifs, and a case of Heineken.

7. Cancels dates because he's too occupied with a new mud.

8. Keeps being caught with Playboy by the scanner.

9. Keeps more than 16 sheets of printouts on his desk.

10. Thinks IRC is the perfect way to get dates.




Here are The Three Laws of Secure Computing (TLSC)

1) Don't buy a computer
2) If you do buy a computer, don't plug it in.  And, finally,
3) If you do plug it in, sell it and return to step 1.




  At Calgary, the computer science department has an award called the 
Williams Cup (as in old stained coffee cup), which is given yearly to 
the student who hands in the most imaginative rendition of a regular 
programming assignment.
  Anyway, as the story goes, the cup was awarded to a student who'd 
done a desk calculator assignment.  Seems that the prof hadn't 
specified that you had to do it in decimal, so his/her program did 
math with _roman_numerals_.  The clincher for the award must have 
been his/her programming style, since of course, the documentation 
was in _latin_




What Does It All Mean?

  In Douglas Adams' book "The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy", 
there is a story of how a race of extra-terrestrials built a massive 
computer which would provide a final answer to all of their questions.
  It took generations to build, but finally they got the computer 
working. They fed in copious amounts of data, and then programmed the 
question, "What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?"
  The computer clicked, whined, shook, and worked feverishly for many 
years. Upon the appointed hour when an answer was due, huge crowds 
gathered to witness the event.  The computer was going to give them 
The Answer to the meaning of life.
  A small slip of paper dropped out of a slot on the front of the 
monolithic computer.  The chief scientist stepped up and retrieved 
The Answer. 
  Taking the paper, he turned to the assembled crowd and intoned 
The Answer to all their questions.
  "Forty-two" said the chief scientist.




The Smart House

By: Michael Schrage (columnist for the Los Angeles Times.)

  Tele-Communications Inc., the nation's largest cable television company, 
is in talks to launch a unique pilot project in conjunction with Pacific 
Gas & Electric Co. and Microsoft Corp. to design a "smart home."  The home 
automation industry is expected to triple in size, from $1.7 billion this 
year to more than $5.1 billion by the year 2000.

November 28, 1995
  Moved in at last. Finally, we live in the smartest house in the 
neighborhood. Everything's networked.  The cable TV is connected to our 
phone, which is connected to my personal computer, which is connected to 
the power lines, all the appliances and the security system.  Everything 
runs off a universal remote with the friendliest interface I've ever used.
Programming is a snap.  I'm, like, totally wired.

November 30
  Hot stuff!  Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the thermostat 
and switched on the lights with the car phone, remotely tweaked the oven 
a few degrees for my pizza.  Everything nice and cozy when I arrived.  
Maybe I should get the universal remote surgically attached.

December 3
  Yesterday, the kitchen crashed.  Freak event.  As I opened the 
refrigerator door, the light bulb blew.  Immediately, everything else 
electrical shut down - lights, microwave, coffee maker - everything.  
Carefully unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing.  Called 
the cable company (but not from the kitchen phone).  They refer me to 
the utility.  The utility insists the problem was in the software. So 
the software company runs some remote telediagnostics via my house 
processor.  Their expert system claims it has to be the utility's fault.
I don't care, I just want my kitchen back.  More phone calls; more remote
diagnostics.    Turns out the problem was "unanticipated failure mode" - 
the network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door was 
open.  So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power surge and 
shut down the entire kitchen.  But because sensor memory confirmed that 
there hadn't actually been a power surge, the kitchen's logic sequence 
was confused so it couldn't do a standard restart.  The utility guy 
swears this was the first time this has ever happened.  Rebooting the 
kitchen took over an hour.

December 7
  The police are not happy.  Our house keeps calling them for help. We
discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25 decibels, it 
creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get amplified when they hit 
the window.  When these vibrations mix with a gust of wind, the security 
sensors are actuated, and the police computer concludes that someone is 
trying to break in.  Go figure.  Another glitch: Whenever the basement 
is in self-diagnostic mode, the universal remote won't let me change the 
channels on my TV.  That means I actually have to get up off the couch 
and change the channels by hand.  The software and the utility people 
say this flaw will be fixed in the next upgrade - SmartHouse 2.1.  
But it's not ready yet.

December 12
  This is a nightmare.  There's a virus in the house. My personal computer
caught it while browsing on the public access network.  I come home and the
living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are covered with ice, the
refrigerator has defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, 
the garage door is cycling up and down, and the TV is stuck on the home 
shopping channel.  Throughout the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes 
until they explode from the strain.  Broken glass is everywhere. Or course, 
the security sensors detect nothing.  I look at a message slowly throbbing 
on my personal computer screen: "Welcome to HomeWrecker!!!  Now the Fun 
Begins...  (Be it ever so humble, there's no virus like HomeWrecker...)"
I get out of the house.  Fast.

December 18
  They think they've digitally disinfected the house, but the place is a
shambles.  Pipes have burst and we're not completely sure we've got the 
part of the virus that attacks toilets.  Nevertheless, the Exorcists (as 
the anti-virus SWAT members like to call themselves) are confident the 
worst is over.  "HomeWrecker is pretty bad," one tells me, "but consider 
yourself lucky you didn't get PolterGeist.  That one is really evil."

December 19
  Apparently, our house isn't insured for viruses.  "Fires and mudslides, 
yes," says the claims adjuster.  "Viruses, no."  My agreement with the 
SmartHouse people explicitly states that all claims and warranties are 
null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any 
way, shape or form with a noncertified on-line service.  Everybody's very, 
very sorry, but they can't be expected to anticipate every virus that 
might be created.  We call our lawyer. He laughs.  He's excited.

December 21
  I get a call from a SmartHouse sales rep.  As a special holiday offer, 
we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company's new 
SmartHouse 2.1 upgrade.  He says I'll be able to meet the programmers 
personally.  "Sure," I tell him.




  I notice in today's NY Times that, in the wake of _DOS for Dummies_, 
the insult-the-customer bandwagon is picking up steam.  New titles 
being advertised include "WordPerfect 6 For Dummies" and "The Complete 
Idiot's Guide To WordPerfect 6".  Here are some titles in the genre 
that I am currently working on:

 Lotus For Losers

 Procomm For Pinheads

 The Absolute Moron's Guide To Quicken

 WordStar 2000 For The Suckers Who Bought It

 Kiplinger's Computer Associates Simply Money For People
 Who Weren't Loved Enough As Children.



  OS/2 offers 'Neko', a program that sends a skittish kitten chasing 
after the mouse cursor.  As desktop computers become more powerful, 
users will have more clock cycles available for such distractions.  
We offer the following vision of what may be to come:

  Neko for Windows NT:  A stick-figure Bill Gates ambles after the mouse. 
If he passes a window he stops to point out the interesting features and 
makes promises as to what future versions will offer.

  Neko for OS/2 version 2.2:  An elephant appears, and runs away from the 
mouse in terror.  When it runs into a window, it knocks itself unconscious.

  Neko for Taligent:  As for OS/2 2.2, but the elephant is coloured pink.

  Neko for Apple Power-PC:  'Phil', Apple's bow-tied 'agent', runs 
after the mouse with a mousetrap.  If he runs into a window he drops 
the mousetrap onto his foot and jumps around the screen howling in pain.

  And finally, Neko for SGI Indy:  A fully rendered velociraptor stomps 
after the mouse.  If it runs into a window, it tears it apart and eats it.




Top Ten Ways A Computer Nerd Can Impress His Date

10. Flash the big wads of tens and twenties you created with your color 
    laser printer and top-notch graphics program.

 9. Spend an evening playing floppy disks backward, listening for the
    secret messages about Satan.

 8. Invite her back to your place to show her the etchings on your 
    Newton MessagePad.

 7. Let the lady go first when you reach the virtual reality escalator.

 6. Serenade her with your MIDI-compatible drum pads.

 5. Have your dinner illuminated by the soft glow of an
    active-matrix LCD panel.

 4. If you're getting serious, consider a set of "his 'n' her" 
    system unit keys.

 3. Drive her crazy by murmuring tender love words with the help of a
    French-speaking voice synthesizer.

 2. Never type on your date's laptop computer without permission,
    particularly if the system is on her lap.

 1. When things get tough, simply ask yourself, "What would
    Bill Gates do in a situation like this?




  A Software guy, a Hardware guy and a Mainframe guy are driving across 
the desert when they get a flat tire.
  The Mainframe guy says, "Well, now we have to get a new car."
  The Hardware guy says, "I got a better idea.  Let's rotate the tires 
and see if we can isolate the problem."
  The Software guy says, "Nah, let's run it another thirty miles and 
see if the problem reoccurs."




  A lady on the airplane strikes up a conversation with the fellow 
sitting in the next seat, "..and where are you going?"
  "I'm going to San Francisco to a Unix convention," he replys.
  "Eunuchs convention?" she questions.  "I didn't know there were that 
many of you."




Computers Made Stupid
Dr. Computer Science answers computer questions:


Q: What are bits and bytes?

A: Bits and Bytes are what a binary (base 2) computer uses to think.  
Binary computers only think about food, so the units of thought are 
expressed in terms of eating processes.  A bit is the smallest amount 
of cauliflower your child can eat and still get away with saying that 
he has had a bit of cauliflower.  A byte is an entire piece of 
cauliflower.  A byte usually contains eight bits, unless you are 
eating on a DEC, some of which allow a byte to vary in size from a
single bit, to 36 bits.  This is possible only on a DEC since only 
there can your child manage to drop small pieces of cauliflower 
through the spaces between the floorboards, leaving fewer bits on 
the plate.  With fewer bits on the plate, each bit is a larger 
percentage of the whole, so a byte gets smaller.


Q: Can I put a double sided floppy disk in the envelope from a single 
   sided floppy?

A: No. You see, single sided disks were invented because there all have a
single song on the other side.  That's why they are the same size as a 45 
rpm record.  Unfortunately, the sleeves are hard to remove so playing the 
songs are harder than planned.  Anyway, who has a turntable with a 45 RPM 
adapter that works?  Well, you know how dirty all your records get?  All 
that dirt is inside the record and the sleeve, so if you put a double 
sided floppy in the sleeve, all the dirt from the record side will jump 
on the data and crash your system.


Q: My computer has 2 Meg of RAM.  My friend's has 2048K of ROM.  Who was 
   more memory?

A: Your Friend.  RAM memory usually forgets everything when you turn off 
the power.  That means that when the power is off, you have NO RAM memory.
ROM memory remembers everything, even when the power is off.  How much 
more memory does your friend have?  That depends on how much you turn 
off your computer. You'd have to keep your computer turned on all the 
time for you to have the same amount of memory as your friend.


Q: Why does my disk have free space?

A: It's a bonus from the manufacturer, to make you think you got a bargain.
Notice how that free space decreases as time goes on.  That's because your 
disk is becoming less of a bargain.  When the free space becomes zero, 
you'll have only the disk you paid for.  This usually causes great 
depression and concern because then you realize how little the dollar buys.


Q: Motherboard, daughterboard, backplane, front panel, what does it
   all mean?

A: That's all sales talk.  First came office computers.  They were big and
impersonal.  Then came personal computers.  They were "user friendly".  
Now, a computer is no longer a single machine.  We have computer families.
The daddy computer talks to his daughters via the motherboard.  Nobody 
drives, they all take the bus.  Or the pulse train.  Computers are 
sometimes like committees, they have several parts wasting time by doing 
the same thing at the same time. They argue a lot about who gets the front 
seat and who gets to drive.  That's why they need bus arbitration.


Q: What is cache memory, and why does it make computers faster?

A: Cache memory is the part of the computer that remembers how much money 
you spent on your computer.  The more you spend on your computer, the 
faster it will work.  That's why the million dollar computers work so 
fast - they have more cache memory than you do.


Q: But what if I paid by check or a credit card?

A: The computer will find out.  Every time you turn on the computer, the 
cash memory checks to see if the check was cashed.  This is the memory 
check.  The memory won't work until it's paid for.




More On Sexually Reproducing Operating Systems

  William Hamilton is a major figure in population genetics.  I heard 
him speak at Harvard a few months ago on "Sex and Disease".  It wasn't 
about STDs, but about his theory to explain the evolution of sexual 
reproduction.  In his view, sex evolved as a way to ensure genetic 
diversity in a population, mainly in response to infectious agents.  
Diversity helps ensure that at least some members of a species will 
survive an onslaught of fatal infection. The recent viral/worm attacks 
on Unix systems suggests that operating systems may have to adopt 
similar strategies.  Instead of a row of workstations running
identical systems, and hence vulnerable to attack, computers will run 
diverse combinations of modules drawn from different sources.  This 
will raise the chance of at least some systems remaining unaffected 
by the viral attack.
  Eventually, the procedure for making a new system could be automated.
Network protocols will be developed to enable a newly-booted machine to 
collect its software genome from some number (>1) of parent machines on 
the network, randomly selecting the source for each module.  Multiple 
versions of modules could be stored and used in combination, or kept as 
backups when one version fails.
  Making this work will require considerably better interfaces between 
modules than current practice provides.  Either rigorous standard of 
interface and contract between modules will be enforced (unlikely) or 
modules will have to flexibly adapt to the environment of other modules 
they find themselves in. This is probably all to the good.
  What is more worrisome is that sexual reproduction adds new evolutionary
pressures that are quite unrelated to basic problems of survival (or
computation).  Systems will evolve elaborate mating rituals to attract 
each other's attention.  These rituals will divert time and energy from 
the primary purposes the machines are supposed to serve.  The rutting 
background processes could come to dominate the activity of the machine, 
much as the peacock's tail dominates its appearance.  Even worse, the 
machines might develop genders differentiation, and male machines would 
have to spend most of their energy butting their heads together over the 
network in fights over the ownership of the female machines.
  Fortunately, such problems can be dealt with the same way we deal with
sexually unruly housepets.  Only then will the name Unix truly be deserved.




Heard on a local radio station:
From the person who dropped a rubber band into his computer and all it 
will do now is make snap decisions...





MURPHY'S LAWS OF COMPUTING

When computing, whatever happens, behave as though you meant it to happen.

When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it's 
probably obsolete.

The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual 
where you least expect to find it.

When the going gets tough, upgrade.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.

To err is human . . . to blame your computer for your mistakes is even 
more human, it is downright natural.

He who laughs last probably made a back-up.

If at first you do not succeed, blame your computer.

A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have
evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.

The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.

A computer program will always do what you tell it to do, but rarely 
what you want to do.



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