Ten years ago I was hacking MCI. Now they’re giving me free accounts. I must be getting old or something.

— Anonymous

The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.

— Unknown

Date Added: Jul 11, 2003

The price of reliability is simplicity, and for many engineers that is too high a price to pay.

— Unknown

Date Added: Aug 17, 2008

Motto of the Electrical Engineer:
Working computer hardware is a lot like an erect penis: it stays up as long as you don’t fuck with it.

— Unknown

No plain fanfold paper could hold that fractal Puff —
He grew so fast no plotting pack could shrink him far enough.
Compiles and simulations grew so quickly tame
And swapped out all their data space when Puff pushed his stack frame.

Puff the fractal dragon was written in C,
And frolicked while processes switched in mainframe memory.
Puff the fractal dragon was written in C,
And frolicked while processes switched in mainframe memory.

Puff, he grew so quickly, while others moved like snails
And mini-Puffs would perch themselves on his gigantic tail.
All the student hackers loved that fractal Puff
But DCS did not like Puff, and finally said, “Enough!”


Puff used more resources than DCS could spare.
The operator killed Puff’s job — he didn’t seem to care.
A gloom fell on the hackers; it seemed to be the end,
But Puff trapped the exception, and grew from naught again!


— Unknown

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we’ve finished building it.

— Unknown

I believe that Perl was written by a Lisp programmer who felt that the parens were making the rest of the puctuation feel jealous.

— Allison Andrews

We the unwilling, led by the unknowing,
have been doing the impossible, for the ungrateful.
We have done so much with so little, for so long,
that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
And we do it for nothing!

— Robert Bonomi (seen in a “data processing center” in the mid ’60s)

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road …

— Stewart Brand, The Media Lab

Smileys. Learn to use them. :-) <---that’s a smiley … look at it sideways.

— Dan “Yippee” Calle

Fuck you too, smileymonger!

— bbz (John Jantos)

It’s so sad when the only birthday greetings you get are from your mom, your wife, and the software you wrote …

— Jules Cisek

If you haven’t trashed your computer while doing something questionable, then you’re not a computer scientist – you’re just an arts grad who didn’t get laid.

— Dominic Connor, “CompSci Graduates More Skills,” The Register

Date Added: Oct 3, 2010

Any content-based regulation of the Internet, no matter how benign the purpose, could burn the “global village” to roast the pig.

— U.S. District Court Justice Stewart Dalzell (in his ruling to grant a preliminary injunction against the CDA)

Date Added: Jun 14, 1996

If you don’t know what your program is supposed to do, you’d better not start writing it.

— Edsger Dijkstra

gdb … . is a god.

— Rob Earhart

If you mean it hurls thunderbolts at you for no reason, and then seduces your wife, then yeah, I guess.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin)

Programming is an exercise in overcoming how wrong you’ve been in the past. At first you’ll overcome the syntax errors, then you’ll overcome the structural errors, and then you’ll come to align your code with the standards of a greater community and you’ll feel safe and like you’ve made it. You haven’t – you’re still wrong because you’re always wrong. You are playing a game you cannot win. And let’s face it – if it was a game you could win you’d not be playing at all.

— Guy English, “I’ve Been Wrong Before,” Kicking Bear

Date Added: Oct 25, 2010

I used to be a pacifist, then I started MUSHing.

— Alex Feely

The temptation to push the degauss button continuously is hard to resist.

— Steve Gifford

The Net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.

— John Gilmore

If your sysadmin’s not being fascist, you’re paying him too much.

— Sam Greenfield

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things.

— Doug Gwyn

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

I’d prefer voice-activated controls, too; I just don’t think I can implement that in my attention span.

— Heath Hunnicutt

There is no CyberSpace, just a lot of people pretending.

— Samuel John Kass I (Am)

Any medium powerful enough to extend man’s reach is powerful enough to topple his world. To get the medium’s magic to work for one’s aims rather than against them is to attain literacy.

— Alan Kay, “Computer Software,” Scientific American

It’s a UNIX utility - it has to give you the means to shoot yourself in the foot. It’s to encourage natural selection …

— Seth LaForge (on one of the more asinine idiosyncracies of CVS)

One of the best things about X is being able to cut and paste between windows with as close to 0 effort as you can get without using telepathy.

— Jason M. Laughman

Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,
Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to n,
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

— Stanislaw Lem, Cyberiad

Isn’t software just science fiction?

— Spence Murray

Now, that brings up an interesting idea. I wonder if I could explain to a luser that we equipped all the computers with video cameras, and in order to log in your password must be accompanied by performing the YMCA dance.

— Gian-Paolo Musumeci

mmm … 802.11a
just thinking about going wireless
get a couch first.
damn you. I just don’t know you anymore. ;)
dude your couch sucks worse than your lan.
;-D rotfl
besides, 802.11a isn’t useful to me.

— Erik Ogan and Allison Andrews

Cobol has almost no fervent enthusiasts. As a programming tool, it has roughly the sex appeal of a wrench.

— Charles Petzold, “Programming Languages: Survivors and Wannabes,” The New York Times

Look at it this way: MSDOS is an overgrown program loader; the MacOS is an overgrown user interface. Neither is an operating system, but the second is better for running applications.

— Paul Placeway

New UI like having sex with brand-new partner, while blindfolded and wearing mittens and half-drunk so you can’t remember what goes where.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin) (on OS X)

If C++ has taught me one thing, it’s this:
Just because the system is consistent doesn’t mean it’s not the work of Satan.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin)

Zephyr is the perfect transport agent for stupid little shit …

— John Prevost

“I [Darl McBride, President & CEO of SCO] am also disappointed that you have chosen litigation rather than [Roll over and die].”

Consider this a declaration that the Open Source Community does not negotiate with terrorists.

— Stephen Samuel, “Re:good faith discussions,” Slashdot (on McBride’s reaction to Red Hat seeking an injunction against SCO’s libelous smear campaign against Linux (emphasis his))

Date Added: Sep 24, 2003

We are Borg. Resistence is futile. You will be assim — AWWWWWWWToken Ring!?!?!?

— Joshua Eli Schachter

If we insist on creating programs smart enough to make up for the deficiencies of lusers, we end up fighting with both lusers and programs.
This is not progress.

— skeeling@mts.net

hacker Instance who really gives a fuck about Tonya Harding
Date: 18:39:27 on Sun Feb 6

TV really needs killfiles …

— Geoff Spear

that’s us — cryptopunks and cryptofreaks, road warriors on the information superhighway

— roo (Andrew Stellman)

I am the rumble strips of the information superhighway!

— Dmitri Schoeman

i am the ‘travel bingo’ of the information superhighway

— Chad McDaniel

I'm the state trooper of the information superhighway.
Pay me $40 or lose your accounts :-)

— Rob Earhart

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

First Corollary of Taber’s Second Law:
Machines that piss people off get murdered.

— Pat Taber

If there’s something cooler than RPN, it has to be sex.

— Tomy Tucker (on Reverse Polish Notation)

The woman of my dreams knows how to break into systems.

— Doug Tygar

Computers, Friends, Former QotITP

What I need is a two-way pager and a cron job waiting to send my resignation …
“Do you want to quit today? [Y|n]”

— Salim Virji

Date Added: Jul 23, 1998

I don’t network for jobs, I network for meals …

— Salim M. Virji (on a “re-employment” seminar)

… the internet is a hairy reminder of how utterly mundane everyone’s weirdness really is …

— Salim Virji

Date Added: Apr 29, 2008

Well, you could probably do my taxes with a regular expression, but the rest of us still need nested if’s

— Joe Wells

There is No God but Sendmail and SMTP is Its Prophet

— Alistair Young

Dear DEC:

Sending me the README from the patch is not going to fix my problem. It will only anger me. Much like waving a steak just out of reach of a hungry bear.

Yer buddy,

— Jim Zelenka

Damn, lotsa places in Pgh want AS/400 programmers.
Paying a lot, too.
Too bad I’d rather eat a live cow than work on a 400 again.

— Jim Zelenka

About this Page

This is an excerpt from my quote file. Things that I've found inspirational, profound, food for thought, but most of all, funny.

This portion is for the “Computers” category. The complete list can be found here, or via the links below.

Return to my blog.

By Attribution