Applying computer technology is simply finding the right wrench to pound in the correct screw.

Metaphysics is a cobweb that the mind weaves around things.

We spend more time working for our labor-saving machines than they do working for us.

Bus Error - Please Take The Train.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is a big difference.

I tell my students that artificial intelligence is a property that a machine has if it astounds you.

Herbert Freeman

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.

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

You know you've been spending too much time on the Internet when every colon appears as a pair of eyes: (see what I mean?)


As soon as you delete a worthless file, you'll need it.

Installing a new program will always screw up at least one old one.

The computer will work perfectly at the repair shop.

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

The first place to look for a lost file is the last place you would expect to find it.

Never cut what you can untie.

The trouble with experience as a teacher is that the test comes first and the lesson after.

Any sufficient advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

(contributed by

The floppy will be the wrong size.

Survive first, then do the long-term planning

Important letters that contain no errors will develop errors on the way to the printer

Regardless of the size of the program, you won't have enough hard disk space to install it.

You'll never have enough time, money, or memory.

Whatever hits from the fan will not evenly distribute

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

It works better if you plug it in.

You almost work better if you don't.

When trying to solve a problem, it always helps to know the solution.

The easier it is to get into a program, the harder it will be to get out.

To err is human, but it takes a computer to really screw things up.

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.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

There's an easier way to do anything.

Every machine will eventually fall apart.

If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed to be replaced anyway.

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much memory.

Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.

If you hit two keys on the keyboard, the one you don't want will appear on the screen.

No matter how long you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale cheaper.

All probabilities are 50 percent. Either a thing will happen or it won't.

Odds, however, are 90 percent against you.

The computer only crashes when printing a document you haven't saved.

Hot parts look exactly like cold parts.

The person who smiles when bad things happen knows who to blame it on.

If you make a copy of your system configuration nine out of ten times,
the tenth time is the only time you will need it.

The more pounds the package weighs, the harder it will be to find the installation instructions.

If the new software you want requires new hardware to run, you don't need the new software.

No matter how large the hard disk, the need for space will always exceed the available space by ten percent.

The likelihood of a hard disk crash is in direct proportion to the value of the material that hasn't been backed up.

There are only two kinds of computer users. Those whose hard disk has crashed and those whose hard disk hasn't crashed - yet.

Before you do anything, you have to do something else first.

If you don't care where you are, you're not lost.

Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.

If you fiddle with something long enough, you'll break it.

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

Facts are not all equal. There are good facts and bad facts. Science consists of using good facts.

Whatever goes wrong, there's always someone who knew it would.

You can't win them all, but you sure can lose them all.

It's a mistake to allow any mechanical object to know you're in a hurry.

If it's worth doing, it's worth hiring someone who know how to do it.

An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.

If builders built buildings the way programmer wrote programs, the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.

The incidence of typographical errors increases in proportion to the number of people who will see the copy.

The incidence of missed typographical errors is in direct proportion to the size of the letters in the copy.

The one piece of data you're absolutely sure is correct, isn't.

Typographical errors will be found only after the letter is mailed.

If you want to keep your head while all those about you are losing theirs, be in charge of the guillotine.

The attention span of a computer is only as long as its electrical cord.

The weaker the math, the more elaborate the graphics need to be.

Adding staff to a late project makes it later.

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.

There are no real secrets - only obfuscations.

When all else fails, read the instructions.

A computer program does what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do.

The most useless computer tasks are the most fun to do.

Software bugs are correctable only after the software is judged obsolete by the industry.

When putting it into memory, remember where you put it.

Users don't know what they really want, but they know for certain what they don't want.

Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.

Interchangeable tapes won't.

Profanity is one language all programmers know best.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.

Any system that depends on human reliability is unreliable.

Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.

You can't win.
You can't break even.
You can't even quit the game.

Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by blowing first.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection. A purchased component or instrument will meet its specs long enough, and only long enough, to pass inspection.

If wires can be connected in two different ways, the first way blows the fuse.

Ahh. You see that would never have happened under OS/2!

John Kahler

Many spend their time berating practitioners for not applying their method. We all need to disseminate our ideas, but most of our time should be spent applying and improving our methods, not selling them. The best way to sell a mouse trap is to display some trapped mice.

David Parnas
in IEEE Computer April 1996 describing a possible reason why formal methods are not used more often in software practice

Act in haste and repent at leisure; Code too soon and debug forever.

Raymond Kennington

If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well - unless doing it well takes so long that it isn't worth doing any more. Then you just do it 'good enough'.

Programming Perl
Wall and Schwartz

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 wordwide. 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

Do not look into the laser with remaining eye!

warning message on the side of lab laser

Applicants must also have extensive knowledge of Unix, although they should have sufficiently good programming taste to not consider this an achievement.

Hal Abelson, MIT job advertisement.

Atilla The Hun's Maxim: If you're going to rape, pillage and burn, be sure to do things in that order.

P. J. Plauger, Programming On Purpose

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.

Ken Olson, President of World Future Society Convention, 1977

Win 95 is Mac '89.

Helge Tonsky

(This is actually a quite popular saying, with various years substituted for 89.)

This Windows 95 hairball has become so big, so unmanageable, so hard to use, so hard to configure, so hard to keep up and running, so hard to keep secure. Windows 95 is a great gift to give your kid this Christmas because it will keep your kid fascinated for months trying to get it up and running and trying to figure out how to use it.

Scott McNealy
CEO of Sun Microsystems

I have no mouth. And I must scream.

Harlan Ellison

Who cares how it works, just as long as it gives the right answer.

Jeff Scholnik

A.I. - the art of making computers behave like the ones in the movies

640K ought to be enough for anybody.

Bill Gates, in 1981

This page was designed with Microsoft Notepad.

(contributed by Matthew Deter)

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle.

Nine megs for the secretaries fair,
Seven megs for the hackers scarce,
Five megs for the grads in smoky lairs,
Three megs for system source;

One disk to rule them all,
One disk to bind them,
One disk to hold the files
And in the darkness grind 'em.

A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by blowing first.

A very small percentage of individuals may experience epileptic seizures when exposed to certain light patterns of flashing lights. Exposure to certain light patterns on backgrounds on a television screen or while playing computer games may induce an epileptic seizure in these individuals. Certain conditions may induce undeteceted epileptic symptoms in persons who have no history of prior seizures or epilepsy. If you, or anyone in your family, has an epileptic condition, consult your doctor prior to playing. If you experience any of the following symptoms while playing a computer game: dizziness, altered vision, eye or muscle twitches, loss of awareness, disorientation, any involuntary movement, or convulsions, immediately discontinue use and consult your doctor before resuming play.


Beware of programmers who carry screwdrivers.

Leonard Brandwein

Disc space - the final frontier!

f u cn rd ths, u cn gt a gd jb n cmptr prgrmmng.

To some of us, reading the manual is conceding defeat.

Jason Q.

Doom should be an olympic sport.

Dave Goldberger

The moving cursor writes, and having written, blinks on.

Line printer paper is strongest at the perforations.

This is the part of the computer that stops working when you spill beer on it.

These programs give instruction to the CPU, which processes billions of tiny facts called bytes, and within a fraction of a second it sends you an error message that requires you to call the customer-support hot line and be placed on hold for approximately the life-span of a caribou.

This is really, really big hertz.

This gives guys a way of deciding whose computer has the biggest, studliest memory. That's important, because the more memory a computer has, the faster it can produce error messages.

is the single most important development in the history of human communications since the invention of call-waiting. A bold statement? Indeed, but consider how the internet can enhance our lives.

Imagine that you need to: 1. make an airline reservation; 2. buy concert tickets; 3. research a tax question; and 4. help your child with a school report. Now you simply turn on your computer, dial up your Internet access number, and in less that an instant you're listening to a busy signal!

Dave Barry, Get With The Program
Reader's Digest, July 1997

Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.

Buy a Pentium 586/90 so you can reboot faster.

2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.

Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes.

Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.

Why doesn't DOS ever say "EXCELLENT command or filename!"

As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.

Southern DOS: Y'all reckon? (Yep/Nope)

Backups? We don' *NEED* no steenking backups.

An error? Impossible! My modem is error correcting.

Who's General Failure & why's he reading my disk?

ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI!

Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.

Press any key to continue or any other key to quit...

Daddy, why doesn't this magnet pick up this floppy disk?

Artificial intelligence usually beats real stupidity.

What does this mean 'mailer daemon'? Satan, are you messing with the e-mail system already?

Herb Stern

Where do I want to go today? Poland, Czechoslovakia, France. Can Microsoft Office do that for me?

Adolf Hitler

Get thee behind me, Bill Gates.


One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.

Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?

Fast. Powerful. User-friendly. Now choose any two.

Eric Daniels

A friend will help you solve your problems.
A good friend will help you solve your computer problems.

Jason Q.

What's the difference between IBM and Jurassic Park?
One is a theme park full of ancient mechanical monsters that scare its customers; the other is a movie.

Enterprise Systems Journal

Windows 95: n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

(contributed by Marcel Wolf)

The 'Internet' cannot be removed from your desktop, would you like to delete the 'Internet' now?

MS Windows 95

(contributed by Jim Barter)

It's not the size of the hard drive that counts, it's how you download it.

Chris Cooper

(contributed by Genie)

When downloading a large and important file from the internet, staring at the 'downloading' light on your modem will cause the transfer to hang.

Jason Q.

On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.

(A)bort, (R)etry, (G)et a beer?

All computers wait at the same speed.

Politically-Correct Virus: Never identifies itself as a "virus," but instead refers to itself as an "electronic micro-organism."

Paul Revere Virus: This revolutionary virus does not horse around. It warns you of impending hard disk attack: Once, if by LAN; twice if by C.

Dan Quayle Virus: Their is sumthing rong with your komputer, but ewe cant figyour outt watt!

Plug-and-Play: a new hire who doesn't need any training. "The new guy, John, is great. He's totally plug-and-play."

404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web message "404, URL Not Found," meaning that the document you've tried to access can't be located. "Don't bother asking him... he's 404, man."

Cobweb Site: A World Wide Web Site that hasn't been updated for a long time. A dead web page.

Clues that you just might be a 'Net Junkie: When you start tilting your head sideways to smile, when you code your homework in HTML and give your instructor the URL, when you'd rather go to than look out your window.

A computer is only as smart as the numbskull sitting in front of it.

Micah Branstetter

Redundant book title: "Windows For Dummies"

Presumably, we're all fully qualified computer nerds here, so we are allowed to use "access" as a verb. Be advised, however, that the practice in common usage drives English-language purists to scowling fidgets.

Erik Strom, Perl CGI Programming

I don't have anything against geeks. I was one for 11 years! I used to think PC's were the greatest thing since sliced bread... Then someone showed me sliced bread.

Think? Why think! We have computers to do that for us.

Jean Rostand

How many Bill Gates does it take to change a light bulb?

  • None. He puts in the bulb and lets the world revolved round him.
  • None. He calls a meeting and makes darkness the standard.

    Video games, interestingly, are far better integrated and have much better performance than office software. I think this is because people who program video games love them, and care about the ideas, look and feel of the resulting product. I doubt that anyone who programs word processors really loves writing. And that is the main difference.

    There are many methods for predicting the future. For example, you can read horoscopes, tea leaves, tarot cards, or crystal balls. Collectively, these methods are known as "nutty methods." Or you can put well-researched facts into sophisticated computer models, more commonly referred to as "a complete waste of time."

    Scott Adams
    The Dilbert Future

    Computers will never take the place of books. You can't stand on a floppy disk to reach a high shelf.

    Sam Ewing

    Hitting your modem with an aluminum baseball bat is only going to get you electrocuted. Try a wooden one.

    Lynn Marshall

    Information Superhighway is really an acronym for 'Interactive Network For Organizing, Retrieving, Manipulating, Accessing And Transferring Information On National Systems, Unleashing Practically Every Rebellious Human Intelligence, Gratifying Hackers, Wiseacres, And Yahoos'.

    Keven Kwaku

    One thing a computer can do that most humans can't is be sealed up in a cardboard box and sit in a warehouse.

    Jack Handey
    Deep Thoughts

    USER, n. The word computer professionals use when they mean "idiot."

    Dave Barry

    Sometimes just a few hours of trial and error debugging can save minutes of reading manuals.

    The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.

    Andrew S. Tanenbaum
    Computer Networks

    He who laughs last probably made a back up.

    IBM means I Blame Microsoft.

    We are Microsoft. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    seen on a t-shirt

    Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it.

    Max Frisch

    Hardware is the part of a computer that can be kicked, if all you can do is swear at it, then it must be software.

    (contributed by Mike)

    The application finished with the following error: The operation was completed succesfully.

    Microsoft Exchange

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

    Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

    On a clear disk you can seek forever.

    Meddle not in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.

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

    Linus Torvalds

    Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.

    Martin Golding

    (contributed by Kyle McCowin )

    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.

    Mitch Ratliffe

    (contributed by Kyle McCowin )

    The most galling thing about Windows is that it works best when it's not actually doing anything.

    Smith & Wesson... the original Point-N-Click interface.

    Neil Mohammed

    (contributed by Cyricist)

    Computers don't make mistakes... What they do they do on purpose!

    King of the Hill

    (contributed by chris bluhm)

    Ethernet (n): something used to catch the etherbunny.

    (contributed by Piper)

    RAM disk is NOT an installation procedure.

    (contributed by Piper)

    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

    If brute force doesn't solve your problem, you're just not using enough.

    Speed Kills, Use Windows.

    (contributed by Suresh S)

    The most sophisticated piece of any technology is the chip that makes it break down the instant the warranty runs out.

    (contributed by Cuchulain)

    A bad idea does not get better online.


    The computer is mightier than the pen, the sword, and, usually, the programmer.

    (contributed by Rei)

    Working with Unix is like wrestling a worthy opponent. Working with windows is like attacking a small whining child who is carrying a .38.

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