“Programming is an art form that fights back.”
Tag Archive: Programming
“Programming is 10% science, 25% ingenuity and 65% getting the ingenuity to work with the science.”
“Programming graphics in X is like finding sqrt(pi) using Roman numerals.”
– Henry Spencer
- Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
- Any given program costs more and takes longer.
- If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
- If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
- Any program will expand to fill available memory.
- The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
- Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capabilities of the programmer who must maintain it.
- Any non-trivial program contains at least one bug.
- Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
- Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
And that is all I have to paste about that…
To code the impossible code
To bring up a virgin machine
To pop out of endless recursion
To grok what appears on the screen
To right the unrightable bug
To endlessly twiddle and thrash
To mount the unmountable magtape
To stop the unstoppable crash
This is my quest
To debug that code
No matter how hopeless
No matter the load
To write those routines
Without question or pause
To be willing to hack FORTRAN IV
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my code will run cuspy and calm
When it’s put to the test
And the queue will be better for this
That one man, scorned and destined to lose
Still strove with his last allocation
To scrap the unscrappable kludge
Sung like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfHnzYEHAow
I couldn’t find a recording of the Impossible Code, which is a pity, I’d probably pay money for it.
There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and benchmarks.
While going through some of my old backups I found a document from 2001 with the following text (its amusing and I don’t know who wrote it):
There are so many programming languages available that it can be very difficult to get to know them all well enough to pick the right one
for you. On the other hand most men know what kind of woman appeals to them. So here is a handy guide for many of the popular programming
languages that describes what kind of women they would be if programming languages were women.
Assembler A female track star who holds all the world speed records.
She is hard and bumpy, and so is not that pleasant to embrace. She can cook up any meal, but needs a complete and detailed recipe. She is not
beautiful or educated, and speaks in monosyllables like “MOV, JUMP, INC”. She has a fierce and violent temper that make her the choice of
FORTRAN Your grey-haired grandmother.
People make fun of her just because she is old, but if you take the time to listen, you can learn from her experiences and her mistakes. During
her lifetime she has acquired many useful skills in sewing and cooking (subroutine libraries) that no younger women can match, so be thankful
she is still around. She has a notoriously bad temper and when angered will start yelling and throwing dishes. It was mostly her bad temper
that made granddad search for another wife.
COBOL A plump secretary.
She talks far too much, and most of what she says can be ignored. She works hard and long hours, but can’t handle really complicated jobs.
She has a short and unpredictable temper, so no one really likes working with her. She can cook meals for a huge family, but only knows bland
BASIC The horny divorcee that lives next door.
Her specialty is seducing young boys and it seems she is always readily available for them. She teaches them many amazing things, or at least
they seem amazing because it is their first experience. She is not that young herself, but because she was their first lover the boys always
remember her fondly. Her cooking and sewing skills are mediocre, but largely irrelevant, it’s the frolicking that the boys like.
The opinion that adults have of Mrs. BASIC is varied. Shockingly, some fathers actually introduce their own sons to this immoral woman! But
generally the more righteous adults try to correct the badly influenced young men by introducing them to well-behaved women like Miss Pascal.
PL/I A bordello madam.
She wears silk dresses, diamonds, furs and red high heels. At one time she seemed very attractive, but now she just seems overweight and tacky.
C A lady executive.
An avid jogger, very healthy, and not too talkative. Is a good cook if you like spicy food. Unless you double-check everything you say
(through LINT) you can unleash her fierce temper. Here daughter C++ is still quite young and prone to tantrums, but it seems that she will grow
up into a fine young woman of milder temper and more sophisticated character.
ALGOL 60 Your father’s wartime sweetheart, petite, well proportioned, and
She disappeared mysteriously during the war, but your dad still talks about her shapely form and their steamy romance. He never actually tasted much of her cooking, but they did exchange simple recipes by
Pascal A grammar school teacher, and Algol 60’s younger sister.
Like her sister she is petite and attractive, but very bossy. She is a good cook but only if the recipe requires no more than one pot (module).
Modula II A high-school teacher and Pascal’s daughter.
Very much like her mother, but she has learned to cook with more than one pot.
ALGOL 68 Algol 60’s niece.
A high-society woman, well-educated and terse. Few men can fully understand her when she talks, and her former lovers still discuss her
mysterious personality. She is very choosy about her romances and won’t take just any man as her lover. She hasn’t been seen lately, and rumor
has it that she died in a fall from an ivory tower.
LISP She is an aging beatnik, who lives in a rural commune with her
hippie cousins SMALLTALK and FORTH.
Many men (mostly college students) who have visited the farmhouse, enthusiastically praise the natural food, and perpetual love-ins that
take place there. Others criticize the long cooking times, and the abnormal sexual postures (prefix and postfix). Although these women
seldom have full-time jobs, when they do work, their employers praise them for their imagination, but usually not for their efficiency.
APL A fancy caterer specializing in Greek food.
She can cook delicious meals for rows and rows of tables with dozens of people at each table. She doesn’t talk much, as that would just slow
her work down. Few people can understand her recipes, since they are in a foreign language, and are all recorded in mirror writing.
LOGO A grade-school art teacher.
She is just the kind of teacher that you wish you had when you were young. She is shapely and patient, but not an interesting
conversationalist. She can cook up delicious kiddie snacks, but not full-course meals.
LUCID & PROLOG These clever teenagers show a new kind of cooking skill.
They can cook up fine meals without the use of recipes, working solely from a description of the desired meal (declarative cooking). Many men
are fascinated by this and have already proposed marriage. Others complain that the girls work very slowly, and that often the description
of the meal must be just as long as a recipe would be. It is hard to predict what these girls will be like when they are fully mature.
Ada A WAC colonel built like an Amazon.
She is always setting strict rules, but if you follow them, she keeps her temper. She is quite talkative, always spouting army regulations,
and using obscure military talk. You gotta love her though, because the army says so.
“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
“Programming is like sex: one mistake and you’re providing support for a lifetime.”
– Michael Sinz