Quotes

  • “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” – Rich Cook
  • “The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That’s where we come in; we’re computer professionals. We cause accidents.” – Nathaniel Borenstein
  • “If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow enabled and no-one dares criticize it.” – Pierre Gallois
  • “If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.” – Robert X. Cringely
  • “In all large corporations, there is a pervasive fear that someone, somewhere is having fun with a computer on company time. Networks help alleviate that fear.” – John C. Dvorak
  • “There are three kinds of death in this world. There’s heart death, there’s brain death, and there’s being off the network.” – Guy Almes
  • “Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology.” – John Tudor
  • “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein
  • “In a few minutes a computer can make a mistake so great that it would have taken many men many months to equal it.” – Anonymous
  • “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” – Albert Einstein
  • “We will encourage you to develop the three great virtures of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris” – Larry Wall
  • Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they’re much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. — Eric Raymond from linuxjournal.com.
  • If privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy. -Phil Zimmermann, cryptographer (1954- )
  • I think of lotteries as a tax on the mathematically challenged. -Roger Jones
  • It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word. –Andrew Jackson (03/15/1767 – 06/08/1845) 7th U.S. President
  • I knew I’d hate COBOL the moment I saw they’d used ‘perform’ instead of ‘do’. -Larry Wall, programmer, creator of Perl programming language (1954- )
  • Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. -Donald Knuth, computer scientist (1938- )
  • ”If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?” — Will Rogers
  • “The true problem with software is hardware. We have been seduced by the promise of more and more and have become entranced under the spell of Moore’s Law. Continued progress in hardware is not a friend, but our nemesis. We have been shielded by hardware advances from confronting our own incompetence as software professionals and our immaturity as an engineering profession.” -Larry Constantine
  • “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
  • “We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.” Donald Knuth
  • ”This page was generated entirely by computer algorithms without human editors. No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page.” — Advisory at the bottom of Google’s new news page.
  • [Perl is] a swiss-army gasoline-powered chainsaw — Geoff Collyer on the Plan9 fan mailing list.
  • The essence of XML is this: the problem it solves is not hard, and it does not solve the problem well. — Phil Wadler, POPL 2003
  • Anyone who slaps a “this page is best viewed with Browser X” label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network. — Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996
  • Innovation means nothing if its incomprehensible. — Scott Raven, Lycos software engineer during an architecture review.
  • The question of whether computers can think is like the question of whether submarines can swim. — Edsger Wybe Dijkstra
  • 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, 1949
  • Win NT, well, I suppose that’s better than paying for it. — Steve O’Hara-Smith
  • When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb. — Steve Haflich (comp.lang.c++)
  • The Web isn’t better than sex, but sliced bread is in serious trouble. — unknown
  • We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. — Robert Wilensky
  • Everything that I’ve learned about computers at MIT I have boiled down into three principles: Macintosh: You think it will work, but it won’t.Unix: You think it won’t work, but if you find the right wizard, they can make it work. PC/Windows: You think it won’t work, and it won’t. — Philip Greenspun
  • .. the Twentieth Century, the innovative century that brought you WW I, WW II, and WWW. — Bill Higgins .sig
  • Right now, we’re all street people on the information highway; we can’t protect our privacy and information; we can’t prove who we are; we can’t buy anything. — Nathan Myrhvold, senior VP of Advanced Technology at MS
  • The problem with the global village is all the global village idiots. — P. Ginsparg
  • Microsoft – We put the “backwards” into backwards compatibility. — Anonymous sig.
  • Applicants must also have extensive knowledge of Unix, although they should have sufficiently good programming taste to not consider this an achievement. — MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab job ad written by Hal Abelson (1992)
  • Emacs isn’t just a program… it’s a way of life. — Chris Maeda, (May 8, 1991)
  • Emacs is a nice operating system, but I prefer UNIX. — Tom Christaensen
  • Not having sendmail is like not having VD. — R. Heiby .sig
  • I just found out that the brain is like a computer. If that’s true, then there really aren’t any stupid people. Just people running DOS. — VH1’s ‘Stand Up Spotlight’
  • Windows/NT – From the people who brought you EDLIN. — rec.humor.funny / yucks volume 3.20
  • Ok, so now we’re going from the Death Star to the Borg. — overheard on the net re: Novell’s buyout of USL
  • In computer science, we stand on each other’s feet. — Brian K. Reid
  • Outlawing cryptography is like outlawing pencils because bookies use them to record bets. — John Perry Barlow, EFF-Austin Cryptography Conference (October 1993)
  • The blizzard of anguished ASCII it summoned forth on the Net… — John Perry Barlow, Re: Clipper/Skipjack announcement (October 1993)
  • # The speed is a pain, but better than a 1/2 hour drive across Munich. — Bernhard Schneck, Re: disk NFS-mounted via PPP (1993)
  • Our mailing lists (and their repeater newsgroups) are only for the purpose of promoting proprietary software. — Richard Stallman, (Feb 18, 1992)
  • There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. — Ken Olson, DEC President (1977)
  • “For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner … on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. … That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.” -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)
  • The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser – in case you thought optimism was dead. -Robert Brault, software developer, writer (1972- )
  • The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from. -Andrew Tannenbaum, computer science professor (1944- )
  • “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” — Bill Gates
  • Sometimes I wonder how this code ever worked, John Huffman [VT220Server]
  • “The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.” — Douglas Adams
  • “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.” — Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.” — Niels Bohr
  • “My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.” — P. J. Plauger, Computer Language, March 1983
  • And you may find yourself, in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And you may ask yourself, Well … How did I get here?, Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime”
  • Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest. — Isaac Asimov
  • “CVS users, if you actually like using CVS you shouldn’t be here, You should be in some mental institution somewhere else.” – Linus Torvalds, Google Tech Talk
  • Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest. – Mark Twain
  • Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
  • If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. – Albert Einstein
  • There are 10 kinds of people in the world — those who get binary, and those who don’t. – Ed’s whiteboard
  • The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned. – Herbert Hoover
  • “Java is to JavaScript what Car is to Carpet.” – Chris Heilmann
  • “In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.”
  • “PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals.” – Jon Ribbens
  • “If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.” –Edsger Dijkstra
  • “If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.” –Edsger Dijkstra
  • “I invented the term Object-Oriented, and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.” — Alan Kay
  • “The trouble with programmers is that you can never tell what a programmer is doing until it’s too late.” — Seymour Cray
  • “It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC. As potential programmers, they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.” — E. W. Dijkstra
  • “Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.” –Donald Knuth
  • “My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.” –P. J. Plauger, Computer Language, March 1983
  • “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field” –Niels Bohr
  • “Whereas Europeans generally pronounce my name the right way (‘Nick-louse Veert’), Americans invariably mangle it into ‘Nickel’s Worth.’ This is to say that Europeans call me by name, but Americans call me by value.” — Niklaus Wirth
  • “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” -Martin Fowler
  • “The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim.” — Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • “The greatest performance improvement of all is when a system goes from not-working to working.” — John Ousterhout
  • “Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter.” — Eric Raymond
  • “To iterate is human, to recurse divine.” — L. Peter Deutsch
  • “C++ : Where friends have access to your private members.” — Gavin Russell Baker
  • “The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.” — Robert R. Coveyou, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • “When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.” — Pablo Picasso
  • “Programming is like sex: one mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.” — Michael Sinz
  • “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” R. Buckminster Fuller
  • “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If it’s original, you’ll have to ram it down their throats.” –Howard Aiken, creator of the IBM/Harvard Mark 1 Computer
  • “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
  • “All problems in computer science can be solved with another level of indirection.” — David Wheeler
  • “Good judgement is the result of experience … Experience is the result of bad judgement.” Fred Brooks
  • “Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.” -Edsger Dijkstra
  • Question: How does a large software project get to be one year late? Answer: One day at a time! – Fred Brooks (The Mythical Man-Month)
  • “There are only two industries that refer to their customers as users: the computer industry and the drug trade.”
  • Software and cathedrals are much the same – first we build them, then we pray. — Anonymous
  • “Nothing is more permanent than a temporary solution” Thomas’ First Law
  • “Giving pointers and threads to programmers is like giving whisky and car keys to teenagers” –P.J O’Rourke
  • “Easy things should be easy and hard things should be possible” — Larry Wall
  • “Engineering is the art of doing with one dollar what any damn fool can do with two.” From Space Systems Failures by David M. Harland and Ralph D. Lorenz
  • “In C, its easy to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes it more difficult, but when you do, you’ll blow your whole leg off.” –Stroustrup
  • “The fact that a design uses inheritance and polymorphism doesn’t make it a good design” –MCConnell in Code Complete
  • “If you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, you really don’t understand it yourself.” * Albert Einstein
  • Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance (the 7 Ps) – British Military Adage
  • “Dependency Injection” is a 25-dollar term for a 5-cent concept. — James Shore
  • “An algorithm must be seen to be believed”, Donald Knuth
  • “Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.” — Isaac Asimov
  • “In mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.” — John Von Neumann
  • “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” — Andy Warhol
  • “You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club
  • “Look to the future, because that’s where you’ll spend the rest of your life.”, George Burns, American comedian
  • ‘Fancy algorithms are slow when n is small, and n is usually small.’ — Rob Pike
  • “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
  • “Anyone who slaps a ‘this page is best viewed with Browser X’ label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.”, Tim Berners-Lee, 1996
  • “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”, –Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “It’s not about having a plan, but to have a plan to build a plan as you explore it.”, Vinod Khosla
  • “Great books aren’t written– they’re rewritten.”, Michael Crichton
  • “They best way to predict the future is to invent it.”, Alan Kay
  • “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” — Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist
  • “Sometimes you find the bugs, and sometimes the bugs find you” – Doug Sudonik
  • Software is like a poem. Both can be continuously improved…but until released neither makes money.
  • “No matter what problems or opportunities arise, never stop focusing on the product.”, Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga
  • Calvin: We have houses, electricity, plumbing, heat… maybe we’re so sheltered and comfortable that we’ve lost touch with the natural world and forgotten our place in it. Maybe we’ve lost our awe of nature. That’s why I want to ask you, as a tiger, a wild animal close to nature, what you think we’re put on Earth to do. What’s our purpose in life? Why are we here? Hobbes: We’re here to devour each other alive. — Calvin and Hobbes, January 6th, 1991
  • “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” — Edgar Dijkstra
  • “It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.” –Edgar Dijkstra
  • “The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.” –Edgar Dijkstra
  • We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” — Carl Sagan, American astronomer
  • “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.” — Rene Descartes
  • “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”, Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997
  • “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”, – Alan Kay
  • “People who are serious about software should make there own hardware.”, – Alan Kay
  • “My Brain Is Better Than Everybody’s!” – Sheldon Cooper
  • “Engineers are just as smart as physicists ” – Howard Wolowitz
  • I have excellent peripheral vision… On a good day I can see my ears. – Sheldon Cooper
  • “Everytime I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Like when I took that home wine making course and forgot how to drive.” – Homer Simpson
  • “That’s only been there for three years …” – Doug Sudonik
  • “Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.” — Henry Spencer
  • “Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.” — Bill Gates
  • “It seems that perfection is attained, not when there is nothing more to add, but when tz\here is nothing more to take away.” — Antoine de Saint Exupéry
  • “All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection, except for the problem of too many layers of indirection.”, — David J. Wheeler