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Hey, nothing says this embedded business has to be all serious.  Here's a collection of tidbits that just might bring a chuckle or two. foxtrot


"I don't like writing comments in code - it was difficult to write it, it should be difficult to read."
-- Anonymous

"Drag and drop. Fill in the box. Look, mommy, I'm a programmer."
-- Keith Kammler on LinkedIn


New Measurement Units

Passed on by Jack Ganssle of The Ganssle Group
  • Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
  • 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
  • 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
  • Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond
  • Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
  • Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong
  • 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling
  • Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon
  • 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
  • Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower
  • Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line
  • 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
  • 1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
Hmmm. I quibble with this last one. I contend that 1 million microphones = 1 phone and 1 million phones = 1 megaphone

So What About This C++ Stuff?

Legend has it that IEEE's Computer magazine interviewed Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of the C++ programming language, on April 1, 1998.  Here's an excerpt of the original interview.

Why do programmers get Halloween and Christmas confused?
(complements of Bandit)

 Oct 31 == Dec 25


Error messages in Haiku

Imagine, instead of cryptic text strings, your computer issued error messages in Haiku. Some examples.

Understanding Engineers

A wife asks her engineer husband, "Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk? And if they have eggs, get six."

A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk and no eggs. The wife asks him, "Why did you buy six cartons of milk?!"

He replied, "They had eggs."

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"

 His colleague replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.'"

The first engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."


To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.


A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."

"Hi George! Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?" The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.
"The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them." The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.
The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.

The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

"I like both," said the engineer. "Both?" the architect and artist asked. "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."


From an ex-field sales/support survivor:

I used to work in a computer store and one day we had a gentleman call in with a smoking power supply. The service rep was having a bit of trouble convincing this guy that he had a hardware problem.

Service Rep: Sir, something has burned within your power supply.
Customer: I bet that there is some command that I can put into the AUTOEXEC.BAT that will take care of this.
Service Rep: There is nothing that software can do to help you with this problem.
Customer: I know that there is something that I can put in... some command... maybe it should go into the CONFIG.SYS.

[After a few minutes of going round and round]
Service Rep: Okay, I am not supposed to tell anyone this but there is a hidden command in some versions of DOS that you can use. I want you to edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT and add the last line as C:DOSNOSMOKE and reboot your computer.
[Customer does this]
Customer: It is still smoking.
Service Rep: I guess you'll need to call Microsoft and ask them for a patch for the NOSMOKE.EXE.
[The customer then hung up. We thought that we had heard the last of this guy but NO... he calls back four hours later]
Service Rep: Hello Sir, how is your computer?
Customer: I called Microsoft and they said that my power supply is incompatible with their NOSMOKE.EXE and that I need to get a new one. I was wondering, where can I get it done and how much it will cost...


If IBM made toasters

If IBM made toasters...
They would want one big toaster where people bring bread to be submitted for overnight toasting. IBM would claim a worldwide market for five, maybe six toasters.
If Xerox made toasters...
You could toast one-sided or double-sided. Successive slices would get lighter and lighter. The toaster would jam your bread for you.
If Radio Shack made toasters...
The staff would sell you a toaster, but not know anything about it. Or you could buy all the parts to build your own toaster.
If Oracle made toasters...
They'd claim their toaster was compatible with all brands and styles of bread, but when you got it home you'd discover the Bagel Engine was still in development, the Croissant Extension was three years away, and that indeed the whole appliance was just blowing smoke.
If Sun made toasters...
The toast would burn often, but you could get a really good cuppa Java.
Does DEC still make toasters?...
They made good toasters in the '80s, didn't they?
If Tandem made toasters...
You could make toast 24 hours a day, and if a piece got burned the toaster would automatically toast you a new one.
If Thinking Machines made toasters...
You would be able to toast 64,000 pieces of bread at the same time.
If Cray made toasters...
They would cost $16 million but would be faster than any other single-slice toaster in the world.
If Sony made toasters...
The ToastMan, which would be barely larger than the single piece of bread it is meant to toast, can be conveniently attached to your belt.
If Microsoft made toasters...
Every time you bought a loaf of bread, you would have to buy a toaster. You wouldn't have to take the toaster, but you'd still have to pay for it anyway. Toaster 10 would weigh 15000 pounds (hence requiring a reinforced steel countertop), draw enough electricity to power a small city, take up 95% of the space in your kitchen, would claim to be the first toaster that lets you control how light or dark you want your toast to be, and would secretly interrogate your other appliances to find out who made them. Everyone would hate Microsoft toasters, but nonetheless would buy them since most of the good bread only works with their toasters.
If Apple made toasters...
It would do everything the Microsoft toaster does, but 5 years earlier.

Copyright 2015 Douglas Abbott