Eric's Eccentric Emporium of Egregiously Effervescent Effluvium, Etc.

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Mind-numbingly dull personal information
Obligatory collection of bookmarks.
Floobydust

Personal Interests:


Smith's Laws

  1. Any sufficiently optimistic statement is indistinguishable from sarcasm.
  2. Object code is the ultimate documentation. You can't bullshit the processor.
  3. With great power comes great configuration hassles.

Editorials

Mostly my own random rants, but with a few guest editorials from other authors. older stuff

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 Wired News

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 equipment.
— 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 deficiencies.

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

Teaching programming

[...] 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

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 goes on."

— Harry Harrison, Bill the Galactic Hero

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 getting cold."
— J. Michael Straczynski, Babylon 5: "Z'ha'dum"


Only an Individual

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."
— R.A. Lafferty, "McGonigal's Worm"
Never underestimate the power of a skillfully used rubber chicken.
—Ben Fuller

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.
—anonymous

Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
Hanlon's Razor
Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.
— Mike Albaugh

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Last updated June 30, 2008

Copyright 1995-2008 Eric Smith

eric@brouhaha.com

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