Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Henry Cate's Life Humor 1.8

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:

... an anecdote from IBM's Yorktown Heights Research Center.  When a programmer used his new computer terminal, all was fine when he was sitting down, but he couldn't log in to the system when he was standing up.  That behavior was 100 percent repeatable: he could always log in when sitting and never when standing.

Most of us just sit back and marvel at such a story; how could that terminal know whether the poor guy was sitting or standing?  Good debuggers, though, know that there has to be a reason.  Electrical theories are the easiest to hypothesize: was there a loose with under the carpet, or problems with static electricity?  But electrical problems are rarely consistently reproducible.  An alert IBMer finally noticed that the problem was in the terminal's keyboard: the tops of two keys were switched.  When the programmer was seated he was a touch typist and the problem went unnoticed, but when he stood he was led astray by hunting and pecking.

--from the Programming Pearls column edited by Jon Bentley in CACM Feb. '85


The theory of evolution was greatly objected to because it made man think.

Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars.

The dodo is a bird that is almost decent by now.
The Earth makes one resolution every 24 hours.

Algebraical symbols are used when you do not know what you are talking about.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.

Bar magnets have north and south poles, horseshoe magnets have east and west poles.


Keywords: Bureaucracy


From:  Headquarters - New York
To:    General Managers
 Next Thursday at 10:30 Halley's Comet will appear over this area.  This is an event which occurs only once every 75 years.  Notify all directors and have them arrange for all employees to assemble on the Company lawn and inform them of the occurrence of this phenomenon.  If it rains, cancel the day's observation and assemble in the auditorium to see a film about the comet.


From:  General Manager
To:    Managers
By order of the Executive Vice President, next Thursday at 10:30, Halley's Comet will appear over the Company lawn.  If it rains, cancel the day's work and report to the auditorium with all employees where we will show films: a phenomenal event which occurs every 75 years.


From:  Manager
To:    All Department Chiefs
By order of the phenomenal Vice President, at 10:30 next Thursday, Halley's Comet will appear in the auditorium.  In case of rain over the Company lawn, the Executive Vice President will give another order, something which occurs only every 75 years.


From:  Department Chief
To:    Section Chiefs
Next Thursday at 10:30 the Executive Vice President will appear in the auditorium with Halley's Comet, something which occurs every 75 years.  If it rains, the Executive Vice President will cancel the comet and order us all out to our phenomenal Company lawn.


From:  Section Chief
To:    All EA's
When it rains next Thursday at 10:30 over the Company lawn, the phenomenal 75 year old Executive Vice President will cancel all work and appear before all employees in the auditorium accompanied by Bill Halley and his Comets.

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