Eric's Eccentric Emporium of Egregiously Effervescent Effluvium, Etc.
Blog: What's all this brouhaha?
Mind-numbingly dull personal information
Obligatory collection of bookmarks.
- Any sufficiently optimistic statement is indistinguishable from sarcasm.
- Object code is the ultimate documentation. You can't bullshit the processor.
- With great power comes great configuration hassles.
Smith's Laws of Network Security
- It doesn't matter how many places two networks are not connected.
Mostly my own random rants, but with a few guest editorials from other
The eBay Curse
- The eBay Curse: May you find everything you're looking for.
- — Al Kossow
- "The more corrupt the government, the greater the number of laws."
- — Tacitus
- "If there's going to be a Big Brother in the United States, it's going to
be us. It's going to be the FBI."
- — Paul George of the FBI, 5-April-2000, as quoted in
Compact and Efficient Software: a Lost Art?
And in those days many a clever programmer derived an immense
intellectual satisfaction from the cunning tricks by means of which
he contrived to squeeze the impossible into the constraints of his
— Edsger W. Dijkstra, "The Humble Programmer",
1972 ACM Turing Award Lecture
Reliable Software: an Unattainable Goal?
...there are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to
make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the
other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious
The first method is far more difficult. It demands the same skill,
devotion, insight, and even inspiration as the discovery of the simple
physical laws which underlie the complex phenomena of nature. It also
requires a willingness to accept objectives which are limited by
physical, logical, and technological constraints, and to accept a
compromise when conflicting objectives cannot be met. No committee
will ever do this until it is too late.
— C.A.R. Hoare, "The Emperor's Old Clothes", 1980 ACM Turing
Award Lecture, CACM vol. 24 no. 2, February 1981
[...] the bottom line is that nobody, including a full university
staff, can create a programmer. Only somebody that loves to
play with the damn things can do that, for themselves. [...]
Being able to "write a computer program" and being a programmer
are as different as being able to "read and write" and being an author.
Only the first can be taught. The other has to be learnt.
— Donald Tees
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more
to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint Exupery
[Which is why Microsoft software will never achieve perfection - they aren't
even headed in the right direction!]
Who are they?
"Who are they?", Bill asked.
"They are everyone who wants to be one of them."
"They are both a state of mind and an institution."
"They die off and are replaced, but the institution of they-ness
— Harry Harrison, Bill the Galactic Hero
— J. Michael Straczynski, Babylon 5: "Z'ha'dum"
|Sheridan: ||"Who are you?"
|Justin: ||"Now, that's really not important."
|Sheridan: ||"Who are you?"
|Justin: ||"Who decides that the workday is from 9 to 5, instead of 11 to 4?
Who decides that the hemlines will be below the knee this year and short
again next year? Who draws up the borders, controls the currency, handles
all of the decisions that happen transparently around us?"
|Sheridan: ||"I don't know."
|Justin: ||"Ah! I'm with them. Same group, different department. Think of me as
a sort of middleman, and the name is Justin. Come in, sit, sit. The tea is
Only an Individual
— R.A. Lafferty, "McGonigal's Worm"
| Carmody Overlark: || "Miss Clutt, this is a world problem. You are only an individual."
| Cecilia Clutt: || "I am not only an individual. There is no such
thing as only an individual. If ever a person can
be spoken of as only an individual, then humanity
has already failed."
- Never underestimate the power of a skillfully used rubber chicken.
- —Ben Fuller
- Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.
- Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by
- Hanlon's Razor
Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.
- — Mike Albaugh
The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other
people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do
that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are
things which have to be asserted against others; who claim that if such
things are to be allowed, their own rights are infringed or their own
liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of the
freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of
public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will
constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in
which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom,
these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a
free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of
- The Dilemma of Democracy, Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone
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Last updated October 15, 2016
Copyright 1995-2008, 2014, 2016 Eric Smith