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 
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 Nevada.ie 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"
~ Artificial Intelligence
~ Artificial Stupidity
~ The Internet
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.
- 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 ...
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.
Two months in the lab can save you two hours in the library.
If you can't beat your computer at chess, try kickboxing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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."
– 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.
"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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 Builder.au
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.)
"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 
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.
# ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.
- 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 
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
read "Inhabited by pixies."
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
- 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 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 
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 Cinemageddon.org
"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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 www.newsint.co.uk.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
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, 3rd-Level.com
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)
# COMPUTER GAMES
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
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;
- 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.
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
- Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft Group VP) at ACM97 
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.
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