For years I have lived a double life, in the day I do my job, roll up my sleeves with the ordinary people, but at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin, a life of dubious virtue. You might not think it to look at me, but I have commanded armies and conquered worlds. And though I may have broken one or two rules, at least I can say "I have lived."
        - Sony Playstation TV Advert

It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.
        - Clive James

Technology: It isn't just for geeks anymore.
        - Michael L. Cook [1]

"Distributed intelligence is the key to the advancement of human civilization. Dictatorships, communist countries, monarchies in the past all eventually collapsed because of their inefficiency in moving information."
        - Al Gore, interviewed in "Red Herring" magazine

Websites that do not make the top three pages of Google search may as well not exist, a study by has found. Only one person in ten will continue looking beyond page three, a survey of 2,369 people found, with 62% clicking on a result on the first page. If they do not find what they want on the first page, two-fifths start a new search or try a new search engine.
        - Markham Nolan, reporting in Dublin's "Metro"

"Of all the horrible things I found on the internet, the backyard wrestling where the guy gets a drill in his eye was the worst..."
        - Conversation overheard on Dublin bus between schoolboys

Every visitor to the Internet, or even user of e-mail, is greeted by insidious questions, seductive links and tantalizing chances to click. These rabbit holes — the kind Alice fell down, the kind that tempt Neo in “The Matrix” — provide microportals into what can only be described as new worlds... We Internet users are told, as novel readers and moviegoers and television-watchers used to be told, that our pastime is obscurely dangerous. Immersion in art, away from the tasks of daily life, always strikes someone as unhealthful. This time around, in the digital age, the hazard of full engagement with words, music and images is called “identity theft.” Still, what about the idea of surrendering your actual identity — your name, rank and serial number in the real world — to a wonderland of play in mysterious realms? That also sounds like being absorbed, immersed and transported.
        - Virginia Heffernan, "The New York Times"


~ Computer Humour
~ Microsoft
~ Debugging
~ Programming
~ Languages
~ Artificial Intelligence
~ Artificial Stupidity
~ Historical
~ The Internet
~ Gaming
~ Jargon
~ Concerns


It’s the 1990's, the streets are safe for the old and infirm, and the weak and nerdy are admired for their computer skills.

- Homer Simpson, on The American Dream Dogbert: "I'm going back to my old job as a network systems administrator"
Dilbert: "Why?"
Dogbert: "I'm attracted by the potential for reckless abuse of power" - Hmmm.. pow-er "A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila." - Mitch Ratliffe 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 It should be noted that no ethically trained software engineer would ever consent to write a "Destroy Baghdad" procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a "DestroyCity" procedure, to which "Baghdad" could be given as a parameter. - Nathaniel S. Borenstein So where the sheer incompetence of politicians and generals used to start wars, the sheer incompetence of us computer people has now put an end to it. No mean feat. For centuries humanity has been looking for the Weapon That Would End War Forever. We have found it. War has ended, not with the bang of a bomb, but with the gentle whisper of crashing software. - Gerard Stafleu I try to make computers say things like "You have 60 seconds to achieve safe distance".

        - Terry Pratchett

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 ...

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

Basically, Doom is a (violent) 3D arcade game where you run around in a maze and kill things with shotguns and chainsaws.... After you get tired of killing things, you can run it over a network and kill things together with your friends. After you get tired of that, you can kill your friends.

- Frequently Asked Questions: Doom Trust the computer industry to shorten 'Year 2000' to Y2K. It was this kind of thinking that caused the problem in the first place.

Two months in the lab can save you two hours in the library.

If you can't beat your computer at chess, try kickboxing.

- All Anon (when asked how much sleep he'd gotten...)
"I'd have to do a 'last' to find out when I went to bed last night." - Mike Galluchon, Software Developer "I have hyperlinked to your heart and the link text is 'love'."
"404, nerd not found."

        - caption for man and woman from a "Toothpaste for Dinner" cartoon

"You stupid, stupid computer! How do you expect to takeover mankind if you keep crashing."
        - Stephen, desperate to print a term paper on "Undeclared"

Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.

- Steve Wozniak DOS Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq, Tandy, and millions of others are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans, on the other hand, may note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. - New York Times, November 26, 1991 Macintosh - we might not get everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end. ~ Douglas Adams Avoid overly pretentious job titles such as "Lord of the Realm, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of Siberia" or "Director of Corporate Planning". How many system administrators does it take to change a light bulb? None. Just remove the rights of everybody allowed to go into the room.

        - Ross Clement

Today's car differs from those of the immediate post-war years on a number of counts. It is cheaper, allowing for the ravages of inflation, and it is more economical and efficient... But suppose for a moment that the automobile industry had developed at the same rate as computers and over the same period : how much cheaper and more efficient would the current models be?
If you have not already heard the analogy the answer is shattering. Today you would be able to buy a Rolls-Royce for £1.35, it would do three million miles to the gallon, and it would deliver enough power to drive the Queen Elizabeth II. And if you were interested in miniturization, you could place half a dozen of them on a pinhead.

"That books, a commodity little changed since Caxton's day, should have turned out to be the trailblazers of retailing on the internet is one of the stranger cultural ironies of our time. If you've bought one thing on the net, the newest and most prodigiously high-tech communications system imaginable, then it is almost certain to be a book, the oldest and simplest."

        - Brian Appleyard, "The London Times"

Check out the Geek List - things the author would miss if she wasn't a geek.


I discovered what I call the Bill Gates effect. That is, the more successful you are, the uglier you get.

- Scott Adams Windows is a nice body on a lousy chassis, which X-Windows provides a lousy body for a great chassis. In the end, users will choose the nice looking body (Windows). - Devin Cook There are still 50 countries in the world with GNPs larger than Microsoft. - Unknown... When it comes to knowledge of computer technology, I take my hat off to Mr.Gates. But if he wants to enter the field of political intrigue, I say welcome to my world Mr. Gates. I'm ready to do battle.
        - Unnamed State Attorney. Seattle Times

I'm not one of those who think Bill Gates is the devil. I simply suspect that if Microsoft ever met up with the devil, it wouldn't need an interpreter.
        - Nicholas Petreley

People says Microsoft payed 14 million dollars for using the Rolling Stones song "Start me up" in their commercials. This is wrong. Microsoft paid 14 million dollars only for a part of the song. For instance, they didn't use the line "You'll make a grown man cry".

"There is no truth to the rumor that Lotus is suing Apple for copying the look and feel of their lawsuits."

"Over heard from some IBM employees at a San Jose watering hole. IBM: You can buy better, but you can't pay more."

- Anon 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, University of Waterloo, "The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the "ratio studiorum" of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach - if not the Kingdom of Heaven - the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation. DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment. You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counterreformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It's true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions... And machine code, which lies beneath both systems? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is Talmudic and cabalistic. "

        – Umberto Eco.


As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs.

- Maurice Wilkes discovers debugging in 1949 I have a friend who told me that the greatest computer system ever built by mankind was by the Druids at Stonehenge. Well, that's an old story. But what I like was that he felt that the Druids didn't die out, they just went bankrupt trying to debug the software. - James Finkle 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 idoits. So far, the Universe is winning. - Rich Cook I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either. - DNRC Motto A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on. Knight, seeing what the student was doing spoke sternly: "You can not fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong." Knight turned the machine off and on. The machine worked.

"Drug dealers: refer to their clients as "users." Software developers: refer to their clients as "users." Coincidence?"

If it's not on fire then it's a software problem.

The time it takes to clean up after a computer virus is inversely proportional to the time it took to do the damage.

An expert is a person who avoid the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.

At the source of every error blamed on the computer, you will find at least two errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

If something doesn't go wrong, in the end it will be shown that it would have been ultimately beneficial for it to have gone wrong.

EASY TO INSTALL = Difficult to install, but instruction manual has pictures.

Lies, damned lies and user documentation.

Documentation is the castor oil of programming. Managers know it must be good because the programmers hate it so much.

- Anon I hope you remember that users are malicious idiots. - Gord Cormack, Real-time Programming Professor One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs. - Robert Firth # PROGRAMMING

The process of preparing programs for a digital computer is especially attractive, not only because it can be economically and scientifically rewarding, but also because it can be an aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or music.
        - Donald E. Knuth

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining, or testing your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
        - Dave Carhart (

A computer scientist is someone who, when told to "Go to Hell," sees the "go to," rather than the destination, as harmful.
        - Dr. Roger M. Firestone

Programming is very much a communications skill in some ways, it’s the skill of being able to craft and construct a simple piece of code to solve a complicated problem. Good programmers are also able to explain things well to other people.
        - seen on

Some compilers allow a check during execution that subscripts do not exceed array dimensions. This is a help, but not sufficient. First, many programmers do not use such compilers because "They're not efficient." (Presumably, this means that it is vital to get the wrong answers quickly.)

- Kernighan and Plauger, The Elements of Programming Style Fast, fat computers breed slow, lazy programmers. - Robert Hummel The appropriate length of a name is inversely proportional to the size of its scope. At Group L, Stoffel oversees six first-rate programmers, a managerial challenge roughly comparable to herding cats.
        - The Washington Post Magazine, June 9, 1985

"On a technical level, the historical system makes for scary reading."
        - A computer expert on the mess that is the Irish Blood Transfusion Board's IT systems

The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change.
        - From a FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers [1]

Carelessly planned projects take three times longer to complete than expected. Carefully planned projects take four times longer to complete than expected, mostly because the planners expect their planning to reduce the time it takes.


The error which underlies the very existence of this debate is that there is some kind of perfect Platonic form of the computer language, which some real languages reflect more perfectly than others. Plato was brilliant for his time but reality is not expressable in terms of arbitrary visions of perfection, and furthermore, one programmer's ideal is often another's hell.

- Paul Vixie, In comp.lang.modula3 If anyone had realized that within 10 years this tiny system that was picked up almost by accident was going to be controlling 50 million computers, considerably more thought might have gone into it. - Andy Tanenbaum, talking about MS-DOS OOP is like pornography because it treats people like objects. - Renato Ghica Visual Basic ... is more like a lego set than a programming language. - c64ever C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. - Bjarne Stroustrup on C++ . There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.We don't believe this to be a coincidence. - Jeremy S. Anderson. Unix is user-friendly. It's just very selective about who its friends are. - ? Do not meddle in the affairs of Unix, for it is subtle and quick to core dump. - Unknown if (you.canRead(this)) you.canGet(new job(!problem));


The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.

- Dijkstra The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. The strange flavour of AI work is that people try to put together long sets of rules in strict formalisms which tell inflexible machines how to be flexible. - Douglas Hofstadter Any sufficienly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo. - James Klass It's easier to simulate a geologist than a five year old child. - One person's view on expert systems : (common sense is not so common) Sometime in the next thirty years, very quietly one day we will cease to be the brightest things on earth. - James McAlear I think that people who are worried about robots taking over the world should go to a robotics conference and watch these things try to walk. They fall over, bump into walls and end up with their legs thrashing or wheels spinning in the air. I'm told that in this summer's Robotic Football competition, the losing player scored all five goals - 2 against the opposing robot, and 3 against himself. The winner presumably just fell over. Robots are more helpless than threatening. They are really quite sweet. Artificial Intelligence: the art of making computers that behave like the ones in movies. - Bill Bulko Imitation of nature is bad engineering. For centuries inventors tried to fly by emulating birds, and they have killed themselves uselessly... You see, Mother Nature has never developed the Boeing 747. Why not? Because Nature didn't need anything that would fly at 700 mph at 40,000 feet: how would such an animal feed itself?... If you take Man as a model and test of artificial intelligence, you're making the same mistake as the old inventors flapping their wings. You don't realize that Mother Nature has never needed an intelligent animal and accordingly, has never bothered to develop one. So when an intelligent entity is finally built, it will have evolved on principles different from those of Man's mind, and its level of intelligence will certainly not be measured by the fact that it can beat some chess champion or appear to carry on a conversation in English. - Anonymous, Quoted in Jacques Vallee's The Network Revolution We could define the intelligence of a machine in terms of the time needed to do a typical problem and the time needed for the programmer to instruct the machine to do it.

        - John Nash, 1954


My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. WE have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For today we celebrate the first, glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contra-dictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth! We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion!
        - Apple Macintosh 1984 Super Bowl "Big Brother" Commercial

On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], `Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
        - Charles Babbage

It is anticipated that the whole of the populous parts of the United States will, within two or three years, be covered with net-work like a spider's web.
        - an 1848 writer commenting on the expansion of telegraph lines across the USA [1]

The rattle of plastic keys reminds me of a squadron of butterflies failing to fight their way out of a paper bag.
        - Clive James, on the delights of keyboads

"What do you think will be the biggest problem in computing in the 90's?"
"There are only 17,000 three-letter acronyms."
        - Paul Boutin 1989

For non-deterministic read "Inhabited by pixies."
        - Anonymous

Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin.
        - John von Neumann

While he was indeed a demi-god, he had made a detailed study of humans and could imitate them perfectly.
        - Herman Goldstine's desciption of computer pioneer John von Neumann


A student in a programming class was having trouble getting a program he had "written" for an assignment to compile. When he asked for help, the teacher took a quick look at his program and said, "Why don't you try removing the email header."

- ? The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change. - FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers "Who is General Failure and why is he reading Drive C?" - ( ^X^C q quit :q ^C end x exit . ZZ ^D ? help - Signature found on the net Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of .5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration. ~ Stan Kelly-Bootle Keyboard not connected -- press F1 to continue - actual BIOS error message # THE INTERNET

The Internet, of course, is more than just a place to find pictures of people having sex with dogs.
        - Time Magazine, 3 July 1995

Evil place, the internet. When not tempting terrorists with sarin recipes, it is irresponsibly serving German cannibals their dinner, leading Japanese depressives to suicide and reuniting blameless friends to commit extramarital affairs. As if we weren’t being sufficiently depraved and corrupted, the Home Office has now uncovered a shocking online stash of extreme and violent pornography. It’s a wonder that Anglo-American forces have not yet invaded the net in search of the elusive, order-restoring 'off' switch.  The internet needs to be understood simply as another communication channel for those depraved, flawed sexual beings called adults.
        - David Rowan, "The Times"

Law enforcement agencies are investigating virtual crimes. Incidents: 1) Japanese officials arrested a man for mugging virtual characters and selling their virtual property for real money. 2) Belgian police investigated a rape in Second Life. 3) German authorities investigated child sexual abuse in Second Life. 4) The company that founded Second Life expelled two members in the German case. 5) U.S. federal officers have invented avatars to inspect Second Life for possible gambling law violations at virtual casinos. Rationales: 1) Some virtual crimes have real effects, such as trauma or real profits. 2) Virtual depictions of child abuse are illegal in some countries. Objection: "Since when is fantasy against the fricking law?"
        - William Saletan, "Slate Magazine"

Everyone should be concerned about Internet anarchy in which anybody can pretend to be anybody else, unless something is done to stop it. If hoaxes like this go unchecked, who can believe anything they see on the Internet? What good would the Internet be then? If the people who control Internet web sites do not do anything, is that not an open invitation for government to step in? And does anybody want politicians to control what can go on the Internet?
        - Thomas Sowell, after a fake internet column appears in his name

Are we expected to live in a world where we can no longer send death threats to colleagues via email? Where we can no longer IM other people to suggest physically improbable and morally dodgy sexual practices? Where doctoring photos of people to place them in legally compromising positions is frowned upon? Who wants to live in that sort of world? Not this column, that's for sure.
        - Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"

"The difference between e-mail and regular mail is that computers handle e-mail, and computers never decide to come to work one day and shoot all the other computers."
        - Jamais Cascio, quoted in "The Edge" magazine

It is commonly said that the Internet is unique in its ability to spread bad information to large numbers of people, but this is ridiculous, given that the Internet cannot begin to compete with CNN or the New York Times for this honour.
        - Phil Agre [1]

Web pages are like babies: creation involves a level of enthusiasm that does not necessarily carry over into maintenance.
        - Joe Chew

Hollywood is trying to ridicule us pirates by portraying us as crazy but sympathetic adventurers. Not far from the truth, but in the 21st century real pirates are riding other torrents than that of the ocean.
        - Torrent site The Pirate Bay reviews "Pirates of the Caribbean"

After you have signed up, please send a blank cheque to Admiral Phineas Q. Brannon, c/o Sunrise Offshore Holding Corp., Cayman Islands. Within four score days you shall receive a small Indonesian child with your password emblazoned upon his chest, and you may proceed with downloading ET porn. The child may be returned for a rebate, or you may keep him as he is a trained toast chef and will feed himself on his own leg hairs.
        - From the Intro to

"Will the Minister explain how it is that an inedible tinned food can become an unsolicited email, bearing in mind that some of us wish to be protected from having an email?"
        - Lord Renton in a House of Lords debate on 'spam' emails

"This proves Indians do nothing else but surf the Web."
        - Amitabh Bachchan, after winning BBC online poll to discover greatest superstar of all time

How could Trivial Pursuit survive in the age of Google? The Internet has rewritten the rules of the game. The old measure of the trivia master was how many facts he could cram into his head. The new measure is how nimbly he can manipulate a search engine to call up the answer. The ABC show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" included a lifeline called "phone-a-friend," in which a desperate contestant was supposed to call upon the knowledge of a smart companion. Seconds after the contestant dialed for help, you could hear the guy on the other end pecking away at a keyboard—Googling—and I thought, This is it. Trivia is dead.
        - Bryan Curtis, commenting on the decline of Trivial Pursuit for "MSN Slate"

Wikipedia has a dodgy relationship with any kind of elite. “Ess-jay”, a prolific contributor who was said to be a professor with degrees in theology and canon law, turned out to be Ryan Jordan, a 24-year-old college dropout from Kentucky. Jordan exploited the trust structure of the internet technology to pretend he was somebody else, to steal the authority of academia. And this brings me to the heart of the matter. In 1993, a cartoon by Peter Steiner appeared in The New Yorker. It showed a dog at a computer screen explaining to another dog on the floor beside him that, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Of all the things ever said about the wired world, this was the most prophetic.
        - Bryan Appleyard, "The Times"

Before the Universal Postal Union, was founded in 1874, the international mail system was little more than a complex network of bilateral treaties. Senders had to arrange privately for every leg of the shipping. To send a letter to your cousin in Russia, first you might have to find someone you knew in France, who could forward it to someone he knew in Germany, and so forth. Some people even offered their services as "forwarding agents." Look at old letters and you can see postmarks for each trip segment. Until the postage stamp was introduced in Britain in 1840, it was often customary for the recipient to pay shipping. As a result, unclaimed mail would pile up at post offices, because receivers didn't want to or couldn't pay. The arrival of postage made it easier for senders to pay a single fee at the beginning of the route.
        - Christopher Beam, explaining international post, "Slate Magazine"

News Group Newspapers' legal manager, Tom Crone, produced photocopies of past litigation brought against the Sun, all of it levelled at News Group Newspapers. He also produced photocopies of the Sun from the day the offending article had appeared, pointing out to magistrates the publishers' imprint on the back page, which stated clearly that News Group Newspapers was the publisher. Mr Crone also produced agreements between the Sun and two of its columnists, cricketer Andrew Flintoff and astrologer Mystic Meg, which cited News Group Newspapers as the paper's publisher. In response, the CPS's barrister, Mark Carroll, was reduced to producing pages printed from the internet, obtained by typing the words "News International" into the Google search engine. Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Trippett of Cambridgeshire police said this led to the website
        - Modern Police Prosecution in Britain, "Sun Case Dropped in Legal Blunder" from "The Guardian"

"I think the larger lesson is to be wary of businesses using free e-mail addresses. If you're a legitimate business, and someone is able to do thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in commerce with you, would that person need a free e-mail address?"
        - Mukesh Chandrani, US Secret Service agent, after investigating an internet scam

"Of course, I tend to not put a whole lot of stock in what I read online... if I did I'd be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of hot teen bitches who want to get naked for me right now, and I'd be rolling in Nigerian money."
        - Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher) on WilWheaton.Net

"I'm using the Paris Hilton sex tape as my distribution model."
        - Molly Caffrey, coming up with a worse-case scenario for virus distribution, "Threshold"

"I'm the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come. Now the year is 2035. Alanis Morissette is president. And the Internet finally collapsed under the weight of too much porn."
        - Ava, "Hot Properties."

"When the Internet arrived in Ireland... it was like having Amsterdam's Red Light District in your own living room."
        - Tom Dunne

"Good god! Who's manning the internet?"
        - Agent Smith attends his first scifi convention, "American Dad"

We Dread To Think How Much The Economy Suffers As A Result Of Time Wasted On The Forum. Still, Maybe It Keeps Inflation Down. Or Up. Oh, Who Cares, It's A Lot Of Fun. Why Not Get Involved?
        - Football365.Com welcomes you to their forum

Aquarius: Though your friends recommended you break up with your girlfriend in-person, you opted to instant-message her. Besides, you'd never met her in-person.
        - BBSpot.Com, "Geek Horoscopes"

The relationship between costs and revenue became so distant, that they could've legally slept together.
       - Robert Loch, "Why Salon deserves to die"

Guide to understanding a net.addict's day: Slow day: didn't have much to do, so spent three
hours on usenet. Busy day: managed to work in three hours of usenet. Bad day: barely squeezed in three hours of usenet.

- Unknown My company doesn't know Usenet exists, and my boss would have kittens if he thought I spoke for them. My opinions are better than theirs anyway. - Unknown found in a .signature "Let's put this on the internet."
"No, we have to reach people whose opinions actually matter."

        - Bart Simpson, "The Simpsons"

It turned out that the worm exploited three or four different holes in the system. From this, and the fact that we were able to capture and examine some of the source code, we realized that we were dealing with someone very sharp, probably not someone here on campus.

- Dr. Richard LeBlanc, professor of ICS, after the computer worm hit the Internet The Internet is like a town that leaves its streets unmarked on the principle that people who don't already know don't belong - James Glieck At the moment, the net is mostly made up of educated individuals. What will happen when anyone can login? - J.C. Herz I'd long for the days when the net was used by people at universities and so who could be presumed to have a few more braincells, but then I remembered what universities are like and scrubbed that idea.

        - Zebee Johnstone

If my bank kept my money in a cardboard box in their parking lot and children stole it, I would blame the bank before the children.

Information on the Internet is subject to the same rules and regulations as conversation at a bar. - Dr. George Lundberg 1 in 10 women using the internet at work has made love to a man they first met online.

        - The Guardian

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

        - Godwin's Law

"I'm involved in too many things. I have a Web site I'm working on."

- Charles Manson, explaining why he's not interested in being paroled at the moment. Telling computer guys that they need to have permission to quote things is like having to tell little children about Death. - Ted Nelson If some unemployed punk in New Jersey, can get a cassette to make love to Elle McPherson for $19.95, this virtual reality stuff is going to make crack look like Sanka. - Dennis Miller Personal Web pages are the '90s equivalent of home video, except that you don't have to visit someone else's house to fall asleep - you can do so in the comfort of your own home. - Ray Valdes Not all Usenet moderators and FAQ compilers eventually become power-mad and insane. Some of them started out that way - ? That is one of the Laws of USENET, up there with "You can tell when a USENET discussion is getting old when someone drags out Hitler and the Nazis." - David Goldfarb The hype, scepticism and bewilderment associated with the Internet - concerns about new forms of crime, adjustments in social mores, and redefinition of business practices - mirror precisely the hopes, fears and misunderstandings inspired by the telegraph. Indeed, they are only to be expected. They are the direct consequences of human nature, rather than technology.
Given a new invention, there will always be some people who see only its potential to do good, while others see new opportunities to commit crime or make money. We can expect exactly the same reactions to whatever new inventions appear in the 21st century.
You name it, it happened on the telegraph network. There were online weddings and there were hackers and there were the secret codes and there was information overload and there was the initial period of skepticism mixed with euphoria. Then there was an adoption by the business community and an impact on the economy. Everything that is happening with the Internet now, happened with the telegraph.
        - Tom Standage, author of "The Victorian Internet"

Texting and Morse have these in common: both require a high degree of manual skill, there is a high degree of error in all but very skilled hands, and there remains a strong possibility that your message has not been received. Yet despite these obvious deficiencies, many people prefer to use texts rather than telephone-speech. As with so much human behaviour, this makes no logical sense: the explanation probably lies in texting's accidental ability to stimulate the addiction-prone corners of the brain. Women in particular seem to text for texting's sake.
It's not as if text has the equivalent of the Morse code operators' "fist": skilled operators could identify one another merely by the way they sent their messages, and would even admire the beauty of a good "fist." Moreover, American Morse code was different from International Morse codes, and a few Americans who were fluent in both, could conduct near simultaneous exchanges in the two. Which is rather like patting your stomach and stroking your head while translating Estonian into Portuguese.
Morse's high-pitched staccato babbling once filled every uninhabited corner of the airwaves, sounding like a flock of waxwings in a tree. It was a childhood thrill of mine to listen to these mysterious exchanges, and to wonder whether they were Japanese whalers pounding through the Antarctic, or secret agents in Albania, signalling to an offshore submarine.
Children today, with their different thrills, are probably creating new cerebral pathways with their texting, which might well mean that the brains of tomorrow's adults will be measurably different from ours today. But whatever skills today's young minds are acquiring, telling the future will not be one of them. I repeat: no-one predicted the ubiquity of the texting mania across the planet, absolutely no-one. For the foreign country that is tomorrow will always, always take us by surprise.
        - Kevin Myers, "The Irish Independent"

Q: Has my daughter a become computer addict, and does it matter?
A: Your daughter’s dependence on the computer is likely to be destructive to her academic work and, although she may not realise it, to her social life. She probably feels that she is part of her in-crowd when she is e-mailing, but this is not necessarily so. Sitting at a computer doesn’t help adolescents develop the social skills they will need later as e-mailing cuts out face-to-face contact and is socialising only from a distance. The e-mail is great for arranging meetings but otherwise creates an illusion of easy intimacy and does so without betraying self-doubts or lack of esteem. On the internet adolescent premenstrual spots won’t show, nor a few pounds of extra weight or hair that is unwashed and greasy. Above all, it doesn’t reveal the deeper feelings that cause insecurity in young people. Adolescent computer addicts may be tongue-tied, sweating and generally socially inept, but computer friends don’t know.  Your daughter’s behaviour may be nothing to worry about, but without seeing her it is impossible to know. Some check on those she is talking to is called for. As she is 15 this will need Machiavellian subtlety. Computer games and the buzz of receiving messages are perhaps the most addictive aspect of the internet
        - Dr Thomas Stuttaford, from his health column for "The Times"

Q: Would everybody please send email to my friend?
A: No. If you had organized both of your brain cells enough to actually think about this, you would have realized there are several reasons:
1. Most of us have lives. The people who send email to folks they don't know because someone on the net asked them to are mostly the same imbeciles that call late-night radio talk shows. They are not the type of people you want to associate with. On the other hand, you're probably not the type of people you want to associate with.
2. If your "friend" finds out who asked 55 million people to stuff his mailbox, we'll probably see you on the 6pm news with an axe embedded in your skull, particularly if they have to pay for their mail like 90% of net users. This is funny as hell for us but you won't see it that way.
        - Rec.Humor FAQ

Email Subject : Apologies
Sorry, the last email you received from us was sent by mistake. The person responsible has been taken outside and summarily executed as an example to rest of the team. This will not occur again. Regards, Ronan Quirke : Head Executioner,

We are sorry, something terrible has happened and our server is down.
We are scrambling furiously to fix it, throwing blame at everyone within earshot.
If you have an urgent problem then please call Marco on +353 86 6875568.
Otherwise, please keep clicking the refresh button. Technology, Wah ? (Nixers.Com Error Message)


We are somewhat amused by the hysteria manifest in the press at the suggestion by Gordon Liddy that if one is menaced by bad guys (particularly the ninja) one is wise to shoot for the head. That statement has got a whole bunch of journalists and commentators bleeding from the nose. One wonders why it should. Where else should you shoot a man if he is probably wearing an armored vest? If you decide to shoot you have made the big decision. Where you place your shot is merely a technical matter.
        - Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, 1995.

Attention! Horny Teenage Nerds: A Generic Fantasy Worlds Needs You! And your sweet, sweet money.
        - A satirical ad for a computer game, as imagined by Refried's Tim Colvill

Despite this total immersion in the gaming playpen, I myself only ever played one game all the way through: the original Doom. I played it every day at work for two weeks and when I conquered the final level I leapt about like I'd just assassinated God. I subsequently realised that these things come to live inside your head: you start to dream about monster no 267 on level nine or where to find that friggin' plasma-cannon in the slaughterhouse section. And then you start watching Beverly Hills 90210 as if there's still a control pad in your hands and you can shoot Jenny Garth or Iain Ziering in the head at any given moment. Being a seriously addiction-prone sort of a fella, I knew I had to get out of gaming before I mutated into Comic Book Guy off the Simpsons: a fat, sad, lonely, unlaid loser.
        - John Patterson, recalling life working for a gaming mag in "The Guardian"

I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I was responsible for the deaths of millions of Britons. What happened is that MI5 asked me to trail Mehan Asnik, a suspected terrorist, through the streets of London. He had escaped from our security services while infected with a plague virus. Tracking him on CCTV, I swear I had him but then, in the rush-hour bustle, lost him. When the secure mobile rang, it was Harry Pearce at Thames House, chewing me out for the slaughter that had been caused by my mistake.
        - Mark Lawson, having a bad day on Spooks Interactive, "The Guardian"

I've read all the books, I've watched all the films and now, thanks to the glory of home gaming, I've even kind of experienced it: I've landed on the beaches of Normandy, I have successfully held Pegasus Bridge and I've disabled German tanks with stolen Panzerfausts. I have fought in Italy, France and North Africa and if I had a Euro for every virtual life I've lost I'd be able to build a replica of Hitler's bunker in my back garden.
        - Tom Dunne, WW2 buff in Dublin's Evening Herald

I indeed consider video games inherently inferior to film and literature. There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.
I am prepared to believe that video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful. But I believe the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.
        - Roger Ebert, "The Chicago Sun Times"

Dr. Leonard Shlain, chairman of laparoscopic surgery at California Pacific Medical Center, said they took some four and five year-olds and gave them video games and asked them to figure out how to play them without instructions. Then they watched their brain activity with real-time monitors. "At first, when they were figuring out the games," he said, "the whole brain lit up. But by the time they knew how to play the games, the brain went dark, except for one little point."
        - Roger Ebert, from his review of "Silent Hill"

A virtual-reality version of the war in Iraq has successfully relieved post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by US veterans. Scientists announced yesterday that four soldiers who underwent the five-week therapy course have had fewer nightmares and flashbacks. One of the soldiers was a 21-year-old woman who often had to deal with the casualties of suicide bombings. Skip Rizzo, the clinical psychologist leading the trial, said that about two dozen more servicemen and women were receiving the treatment and early results looked promising.
        - from "The Irish Independent"

While the rest of us were happy playing 'Raid Over Moscow' on our Commodore 64s, Matthew Broderick was starting the Third World War for real on his. Each Christmas, the only thing that could make thousands of kids put down their joysticks, apart from arthritis in their wrists, was watching 'War Games', where a teenage computer whizz hacks into the Pentagon's computer system and declares war on the Russkies.
        - Evan Fanning, in "The Irish Independent"

"You have started an accidental nuclear war. You will not be receiving a pretty graphical depiction of a mushroom cloud, or anything else. We do not reward failure".
        - Balance of Power, End game screen.

"Tree stuck in cat; firefighters baffled."
        - text seen in Simcity 3000

Sure it looks basic now. But back in the day, Football Manager was more revolutionary than a particularly uppity French peasant circa 1789. When it arrived on the fresh-rubber scented ZX Spectrum, proper sports computer games didn't really exist - no, Pong and Horace Goes Skiing don't count - so it was no surprise that Football Manager, which featured match highlights in glorious 3D, promotion and relegation, transfers, different skill levels, and let you take the team of your choice from the Fourth to the First Division, sold by the gazillion.
        - Sean Ingle, looking back at classic sports games in "The Guardian"

Football manager games existed before Championship Manager, obviously. I remember buying a different cheapo one for £1.99 every week on my Commodore 64, most of which were rubbish. But Championship Manager was the first to cause lunatic levels of addiction among fans.
        - Stuart Dredge, "Tech Digest"

Forget it. I defy anyone to do well with these lardy cousins-of-hamsters. The only reason to play with Halflings is if you want a very good excuse for losing.
        - Asperon Thorn, on why Halfings are only for losers in "Blood Bowl"

Q: What the heck is a Skaven, anyway?
A: Yeah, that's what I asked when I got the box. Now, I haven't looked at any Warhammer supplement or the Warhammer game system, but from what I've gathered, they're Big Rats. Big Scary Fast Rats. Who enjoy eating this chaos-stone which might cause a mutation (see also "science fiction movies from the 1950s"). That's it in a nutshell: Big, fast, scary rat-things that might come with extra body parts. Enjoy.
        - Thomas Deeny, from his Blood Bowl Newbies FAQ at "The Snake Farm"


COMPUTER, n: a million morons working at the speed of light.

- David Ferrier CYBERSPACE, n.: The juncture of digital information and human perception, the "matrix" of civilization where banks exchange money (credit) and information seekers navigate layers of data stored and represented in virtual space. Buildings in cyberspace may have more dimensions than physical buildings do, and cyberspace may reflect different laws of existence. It has been said that cyberspace is where you are when you are having a phone conversation or where your ATM money exists. It is where electronic mail travels and it resembles the Toontown in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - Michael Heim, "The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality (1993)" GOTO, n.: A programming tool that exists to allow structured programmers to complain about unstructured programmers. - Ray Simard TAYLORIZE, vb.: To make improvements to a program during the documentation cycle because an existing 'feature' or manual procedure is so ugly that it would to too horrible to write about. - Unknown HARDWARE, n: the parts of a computer that can be kicked. - Jeff Pesis JARGON - n. Jargon consists of words, phrases and syntactic usages which make communication easier between insiders in any field of study while making it harder for outsiders, thereby linguistically enforcing the elitism of expertise. Unless you use jargon liberally your career is likely to stagnate, especially in the computer industry. - Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning (definition in the glossary) Committee, n.: A group of people that, when given the task of deciding whether to start array indices from either 0 or 1, compromises to declare that they are to start from 0.5. ~ Stan Kelly-Bootle A random sequence is one that cannot be algorithmically compressed : the shortest description of a random sequence is simply the sequence itself. - Gregory Chaitin, IBM Computer Scientist Voodoo Programming: Things programmers do that they know shouldn't work but they try anyway, and which sometimes actually work, such as recompiling everything. The Law of Software Envelopment: Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can. - Jamie Zawinski <> PROGRAM - n. A magic spell cast over a computer allowing it to turn one's input into error messages. v. tr.- To engage in a pastime similar to banging one's head against a wall, but with fewer opportunities for reward. - Unknown # CONCERNS

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
        - Carl Sagan

Long term, the PC and workstation will wither because computing access will be everywhere: in the walls, on wrists, and in 'scrap computers' lying about waiting to be grabbed as needed.
        - Mark Weiser, Xerox PARC, predicting 'ubiquitous' computing

We have plenty of information technology, what is perhaps needed now is more intelligence technology,to help us make sense of the growing volume of information stored in the form of statistical data, documents, messages, and so on. For example, not many people know that the infamous hole in the ozone layer remained undetected for seven years as a result of infoglut. The hole had in fact been identified by a US weather satellite in 1979, but nobody realised this at the time because the information was buried---along with 3 million other unread tapes---in the archives of the National Records Centre in Washington DC. It was only when British scientists were analysing the data much later in 1986 that the hole in the ozone was first "discovered".
        - Tom Forester

"I find the written word easier on the eye."
        - Mr. Mendelsohn, disdaining computers, "Taggart"

You need the computing power of a Pentium, 16 million bytes of RAM, and a 1 billion-byte hard disk to run Windows 95. It took the computing power of approximately 3 Commodore 64s to fly to the moon. Something is wrong here...
        - ?

The ever-growing size of software applications is what makes Moore's Law possible: 'If we hadn't brought your computer to its knees, why would you go out and buy a new one?'
        - Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft Group VP) at ACM97 [1]

Why do we behave like this? I believe that it is because operating systems have had for many years the reputation of being very difficult to write and you had better not mess with them. It's also been policy that machines are very fast and it doesn't matter if you execute two or three times as many instructions as necessary; by the time you've debugged a faster version the processors will be three times as fast as they are now anyhow. Nor does it matter (it's policy) that over-general programs are too big. Memory's cheap. I think this attitude is exceptionally bad. It leads to big clumsy implementations, and, when used in a teaching environment, corrupts the minds of the young, which isn't our proper business.

- Roger M. Needham, "Operating Systems of the 90s and beyond" In contrast, too many new programmers write as if there were no programmers before them and there shall come none after them. The best of the new breed learn to program from learn-by-example-in-21-days textbooks of very low quality; the worst learn from guesswork and trial and error with a Pavlovian focus on pain avoidance. None of them learn to do it right from a master of the art of programming. Instead, they learn from watching other programs perform. I blame the intense redirection of energy away from programming to user interface design on this lack of ability to read the language from programmer to computer. - Erik Naggum In gnu.misc.discuss Now, think about a kid in 5th grade today. They've grown up with Nintendo and arcade-quality games on their computers. They've grown up with zillions of utilities which typically have been polished for years. They've grown up with operating environments that, no matter what we may think of them, are orders of magnitude more sophisticated and complex than what we started with. What's their motivation to program? It's going to be years of work before their programs can equal the quality and capability of stuff they can get just by asking.
When I started programming, I spent a lot of time writing games. Is a kid who's used to animated 256-color action games with sound going to bother, when the best they can do is produce some text or a few lines moving around on the screen? And as everything moves toward GUI-ness, that places another obstacle in their path - the work needed to put a GUI on something may well be beyond them, let alone actually providing any functionality. Sometimes I wonder if we aren't the last generation to care about the guts of the machine. We were introduced to computers when they were simple enough that we could make them do interesting tricks even as young children. Today, through the fruits of our own efforts, "interesting" is a much tougher goal, and I don't know whether our children will make it in significant numbers. - James W. Birdsall, In alt.folklore.computers. #

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