Menu-Operated Vehicles

If your car was designed by a software developer: You would get in the driver’s seat, turn on the power, and wait 30 seconds or more while the system came up. You would enter your password, and after a while see a list of options. Sure enough, Start is one of them. You scroll to Start, and press Enter. A little hourglass appears and whirs for a while, then the Maintenance Nagger comes up.

"You haven’t checked the oil in two weeks; will you check it now?"

"No," you click.

More whirring. Then the system asks if you want to connect with the engine, or just run the electrical system so that you can play a CD, and maybe toot the horn.

"No," you confirm, you really want to start the engine. Another delay. Finally, the engine starts – then it stops. A message appears on the screen, "Unsequenced Cam Shaft Modulation – Try Again."

You have no idea what that means. You try again. No luck.

It wants you to repeat the entire sequence. You don’t want to use the car this badly. You click the Start option again, because that’s where you’ll find the Shut Down option. You click on it. The screen reads, "Are you sure you want to shut down the engine?" You click "Yes," and walk away leaving it running.

As you close the garage door, you hear a series of bells ringing. You think that maybe it’s off now.

John B. Kampfer

Murphy’s Laws of Computing

When computing, whatever happens, behave as though you meant it to happen.

When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it’s probably obsolete.

The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual where you least expect to find it.

When the going gets tough, upgrade.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.

He who laughs last probably made a backup.

A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.

The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.

A computer program will always do what you tell it to do, but rarely what you want it to do.

David Kelliher

Computer Error Haiku

The file you need

might be very useful.

But, now it is gone


Yesterday, it worked.

Today, it is not working.

Windows is like that.


Wind catches lily,

-scattering petals to the ground.

Segmentation fault.


With searching comes loss

and the presence of absence:

File not found.


The Web site you seek

cannot be located, but

endless others exist.


Stay the patient course.

Of little worth is your ire.

The network is down.


This site has moved.

-We’d tell you where, but then,

we’d have to delete you.


--Printer not ready.

Could be a fatal error.

Have a pen handy?

Charles Sterrett

What Happens on Career Day?

A grade school teacher was asking his pupils what their parents did for a living. "Tim, you be first. What does your mother do all day?"

Tim stood up, and proudly said, "She’s a doctor."

"That’s wonderful. How about you, Amy?"

Amy shyly stood up, scuffed her feet and said, "My father is a mailman."

"Thank you, Amy," said the teacher. "What does your parent do, Billy?"

Billy proudly stood up and announced, "My daddy told me that he robs banks."

The teacher was aghast, and went to Billy’s house, and rang the bell. Billy’s father answered the door. The teacher explained what his son had said, and demanded an explanation. Billy’s dad said, "I’m actually a system programmer specializing in TCP/IP communication protocol on UNIX systems. How can I explain a thing like that to a 7-year-old?"

Chris Pherson

Must Read Articles