Quotations

Inspirational and Enlightening

  

  • Empowerment is a thing that you earn over time – as you overcome obstacles, learn, and accomplish things, you become empowered. Empowerment is not a thing that you are born with and that the parent’s job is to get out of the way of. Empowerment is a thing that you earn. And some of that is that you become empowered by knowing that you were disempowered or by knowing that there were tremendous limits on what you were able to do, as a young person.
    • — John Roderick

  

  • [Re: the safety of improvisation] If I do something weird, play it twice and it’s a new part.

  

  • if you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act.
    • — Bill Gates

  

  • [Creating and sharing beautiful things has provided me] with the inspiration that we can do things we never thought we could do and that we will get to see wonderful things we never thought we would see.

  

  • Remember what they say
  • There’s no shortcut to a dream
  • It’s all blood and sweat
  • And life is what you manage in between
  • Don‘t run, don‘t rush
  • Just flow
    • — October, Broken Bells

  

  • Success will never be a big step in the future; success is a small step taken just now.
    • — Jonatan Martensson

  

  • Those who think they can change the world may inevitably be wrong, while those who think they can’t will immediately be right.
    • — Jared

  

  • If you are going through hell... keep going.
    • — Winston Churchill

  

  • A live donkey is better than a dead lion, isn’t it?

  

  • Either we are alone in the universe or not, either way it’s mind-boggling

  

  • [Moore’s Law is] really a thing about human activity, it’s about vision, it’s about what you’re allowed to believe. Because people are really limited by their beliefs, they limit themselves by what they allow themselves to believe [about] what is possible.
    • — Carver Mead

  

  • I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

  

  • I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear, he writes in a journal entry titled "Go Gently into That Good Night." I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.

  

  • Sometimes I wake up feeling tired and unable to run in the morning and go to bed having run one of my longest days ever.

  

  • Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
    • — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

  

  • Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.
    • — Mary Frances Berry

  

  • I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.
    • — Charles M. Schulz

  

  • You can surrender without a prayer, but never really pray ... pray without surrender. You can fight without ever winning, but never ever win ... win without a fight.
    • — Neil Peart, Rush, Resist (Test for Echo)

  

  • The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
    • — George Bernard Shaw

  

  • In time
  • I will
  • collect the world
    • — Glen Phillips, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Butterflies (fear)

  

  • The question I’m actually struggling with at the moment is: what should I do with the rest of my life? Or, to make it sound a little less like existential angst (even though that’s actually what it is), what is the best process for deciding what to do with the rest of my life? Now, you’re probably thinking, is that what all the fuss is about? Everybody deals with that. Except they don’t. What other people deal with is deciding what to do with the rest of *their* life. It’s not the same question, it just happens to render into the same words when expressed in indexical terms. Seven billion different people, seven billion different questions.

  

Work

  

  • Genius, as Thomas Carlyle once said, is the infinite capacity for taking pains.

  

  • Wealth usually comes from doing what other people find insufferably boring.

  

  • Discover valuable types of fixable brokenness first.
    • — Paul Graham

  

  • Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.

  

  • As long as you’re spending your time consuming, you’re not producing.

  

  • It’s easy to decide what you’re going to do. The hard thing is deciding what you’re not going to do.
    • — Michael Dell

  

  • The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
    • — Michael Porter, Harvard Business Review article, "What is Strategy?"

  

  • We know screwups are an essential part of making something good. That’s why [Pixar’s] goal is to screw up as fast as possible.

  

  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
    • — Walt Disney

  

  • When all is said and done, more is said than done.
    • — Lou Holtz

  

  • Work like a dog being taken for a walk, instead of an ox being yoked to the plow.

  

  • Most people don’t take enough pride in their work, but not enough employers give people work worth taking pride in.
    • — Jared

  

  • Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
    • — James M. Barrie

  

  • By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve.
    • — Robert Frost

  

Love

  

  • Choose your Love and love your Choice.
    • — Unknown, quoted by Anne

  

Wisdom

  

  • The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.
    • — Doug Horton

  

  • The best lack all conviction, while the worst
  • Are full of passionate intensity.
    • — W. B. Yeats

  

  • You can’t plant old trees.
    • — Jared

  

  • The Ranter somehow believes that the endless restatement of their opinion is the solution.

  

  • There’s no bargaining with the devil.
    • — Jared Updike

  

  • Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.
    • — Doug Larson

  

  • We are what we believe we are.
    • — C. S. Lewis

  

  • Do you know the difference between who and what you are?
    • — Neal Morse, Transatlantic, Duel with the Devil

  

  • You may easily play a joke on a man who likes to argue—agree with him.
    • — Ed Howe

  

  • [Truth] is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.
    • — Albus Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling)

  

Humor

  

  • I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars ... the rest I squandered.
    • — George Best

  

  • Drastic measures call for drastic time signatures.

  

  • The grass is always greener on the other side—but that’s because they use more manure.
    • — Schapiro’s Explanation

  

  • In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is
    • — Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

  

  • Step one: Shave Shrodinger’s cat with Occam’s razor...

  

  • One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.
    • — Groucho Marx

  

  • Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
    • — Groucho Marx

  

  • Zip bop doodley bop a doo frang da dappy!
    • —Duck and Cover song, Teddy Newton, from the film, The Iron Giant

  

  • At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote.
    • — Emo Phillips

  

  • All power corrupts, but we need the electricity.
    • — Unknown

  

  • The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
    • —Anonymous

  

  • It just hasn’t been the same since we held those National Sentimental Society of Nostalgia meetings. Not the same at all.

  

  • My other car
  • has a better license plate holder
  • —Purportedly seen on the back of Jared’s car

  

  • Hold stick near centre of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.
    • —Instructions for using toothpicks (Douglas Adams)

  

  • [Updike.org] looks like one of those dot org sites.
    • — Mike W.

  

Culture

  

  • The age of printed pamphlets and political essays has long since been replaced by television, a distracting and absorbing medium which seems determined to entertain itself more than it informs and educates.
    • — Al Gore

  

  • Teachers should be very careful not to spoil [their pupils’] taste for poetry for all time by making it a task and an imposition.

  

  • The difference between the Great Depression and the current Great Recession is that today, instead of starving, the impoverished are overfed and undernourished, just as they were before the bubble burst
    • — Jared

  

  

  • There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
    • — Richard Feynman

  

  • He wrapped himself in quotations—as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.
    • — Rudyard Kipling

  

  • I think this album [Van Halen III] actually does a service for VH fans with split loyalties: it will unite the legions of Sammy-haters and Dave-haters against new lead singer Gary Cherone.

  

  • On a log scale [growing up in suburbia] was midway between crib and globe.

  

  • The main tool used by schools to manage large groups is competition. Whenever you get two or more people to compete then they have to be, by definition, doing the same thing. The rest of the rules are only there to cover the corner cases that competition misses.
  • Similarly, no one who is the best at something can ever, by definition, push the human race forward. Because to be the best at something means you have to be, by definition, doing the same thing as everyone else.

  

  • When I was a kid, I used to think adults had it all figured out. I had it backwards. Kids are the ones who have it all figured out. They’re just mistaken.

  

  • After eagerly awaiting the outcome of the format war between DVD-Audio and SACD, only to see them both tank in favor of 128,000 bps Auditory Sandpaper(TM), I’m pretty much in despair on that front. We have a whole generation now who are capable of listening to that without covering their ears and screaming: “Make it stop!” and worse yet, are willing to pay money for it. Meanwhile, people will pay hundreds of dollars for “Home Theater Systems” with 9% (!) Total Harmonic Distortion, when 0.1% was entry-level for $100 receivers 30 years ago! Oh, well... by the time my Carver separates die, hopefully my hearing will have deteriorated to the point I won’t be able to “tell the difference” either.

  

  

  • The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
    • — Oscar Levant

  

  • The multitude of books is making us ignorant.
    • — Voltaire

  

  • But what is the difference between literature and journalism? ... Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.
    • — Oscar Wilde

  

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
    • — Fred Allen

  

  • A liberal is a person whose interests aren’t at stake at the moment.
    • — Willis Player

  

  • I’ve tried to teach people autodidactism, but I’ve realized they have to learn it for themselves.
    • — shapr, #Haskell IRC channel

  

  • I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
    • — Groucho Marx

  

  • I don’t think anyone should write their autobiography until after they’re dead.
    • — Samuel Goldwyn

  

  • Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.
    • — Bill Vaughn

  

  • If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.
    • — Bill Vaughn

  

  • Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.
    • — William Safire

  

  • During a political campaign everyone is concerned with what a candidate will do on this or that question if he is elected except the candidate; he’s too busy wondering what he’ll do if he isn’t elected.
    • — Everett Dirksen

  

  • Without the aid of prejudice and custom I should not be able to find my way across the room.
    • — William Hazlitt

  

  • You get fifteen Democrats in a room, and you get twenty opinions.
    • — Senator Patrick Leahy

  

  • We’re actors — we’re the opposite of people.
    • — Tom Stoppard

  

  • We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex—but Congress can.
    • — Cullen Hightower

  

  • To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
    • — Aleister Crowley

  

  • Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.
    • — Elbert Hubbard

  

  • Biography lends to death a new terror.
    • — Oscar Wilde

  

  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
    • — Joan D. Vinge

  

  • Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.
    • —Will Rogers

  

  • Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
    • — Ben Hecht

  

  • Wittgenstein is popularly credited with the idea that most philosophical controversies are due to confusions over language. I’m not sure how much credit to give him. I suspect a lot of people realized this, but reacted simply by not studying philosophy, rather than becoming philosophy professors.

  

  • Nights are 9pm to 6am.
    • —Cingular Wireless Money Hounds

  

  • Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
    • —Timothy Leary

  

  • If government were a product, selling it would be illegal.
    • —P. J. O’Rourke

  

  • Many young men are more likely to show daredevil tendencies in their driving because of factors such as emotional immaturity and misplaced feelings of immortality.
    • —Carolyn Gorman, Institute of Insurance Information

  

  • Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
    • —Kurt Vonnegut, "Cold Turkey", In These Times, May 10, 2004

  

  • On the internet, no one knows you’re wearing a hyper-sleeve shirt.

  

  • Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.
    • —George Bernard Shaw

  

  • No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.
    • — Victor Hugo

  

  • It’s wrong to say what’s right and wrong.

  

Art

  

  • Build a habit of looking for the beauty that surrounds us everyday.
    • — Clyde Aspevig (paraphrased)

  

Great Design

  

  • This is what we believe. Technology alone is not enough. Faster, thinner, lighter ... those are all good things. But when technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful ... even magical. That’s when you leap forward. That’s when you end up with something like this.
    • — Apple, iPad 2 ad

  

  • Dell’s problem is they pretend they are selling a product when they are really selling an experience, however poor.
    • — Jared

  

  • Design doesn’t have to be new, but it has to be good. Research doesn’t have to be good, but it has to be new.
    • — Paul Graham, Design and Research

  

  • Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

  

  • The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
    • — Walt West

  

  • A lot of effort went into making this look effortless.
    • —Steve Jobs

  

  • The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.
    • — Francois de La Rochefoucauld

  

Originality

  

  • Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.
    • — Laurence J. Peter

  

  • Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.
    • —Igor Stravinsky (quoting Picasso)

  

  • For those that understand, no explanation is needed. For those that do not understand, no explanation is possible

  

  • Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.
    • — Howard Aiken

  

  • Art is anything you can get away with.
    • — Marshall McLuhan

  

  • SJ: I actually think there’s actually very little distinction between an artist and a scientist or engineer of the highest calibre. I’ve never had a distinction in my mind between those two types of people. They’ve just been to me people who pursue different paths but basically kind of headed to the same goal which is to express something of what they perceive to be the truth around them so that others can benefit by it.
  • DM: And the artistry is in the elegance of the solution, like chess playing or mathematics?
  • SJ: No. I think the artistry is in having an insight into what one sees around them. Generally putting things together in a way no one else has before and finding a way to express that to other people who don’t have that insight so they can get some of the advantage of that insight that makes them feel a certain way or allows them to do a certain thing. I think that a lot of the folks on the Macintosh team were capable of doing that and did exactly that. If you study these people a little bit more what you’ll find is that in this particular time, in the 70’s and the 80’s the best people in computers would have normally been poets and writers and musicians. Almost all of them were musicians. Alot of them were poets on the side. They went into computers because it was so compelling. It was fresh and new. It was a new medium of expression for their creative talents. The feelings and the passion that people put into it were completely indistinguishable from a poet or a painter. Many of the people were introspective, inward people who expressed how they felt about other people or the rest of humanity in general into their work, work that other people would use. People put a lot of love into these products, and a lot of expression of their appreciation came to these things. It’s hard to explain.
    • —- Steve Jobs on Artists and Scientists

  

The Power of Music

  

  • In the work by Christoph Christian Sturm cited above, Beethoven highlighted the following words:
    • “By all rights, one can call nature a school for the heart, because it teaches us in a highly rational manner the responsibilities which we not only owe to God, but also to ourselves and to our fellow man.”
  • Following this, one could even view the “Pastorale” less as a musical depiction of nature than as a resounding illustration of Beethoven’s principles of life: “The moral law in us and the starry heavens above us.”

  

  • A song on the radio can move me so much it leaves me sobbing, elated and destroyed at the same time.

  

Photography

  

  • Photography has always been a means to an end, the medium has never been my goal. I always say, "do painters sit around with other painters and talk about paint brushes?"

  

  • If you’re in enough places at enough times, then some of them are bound to be the right ones.
    • — Guy Kawasaki, not about photography, interview

  

  • We admire the work of those we admire precisely because they showed us who they are. No one else can be them, and likewise, only you can be you. No one else can be as good at being you as you are. Show us.

  

  • A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.
    • — Ansel Adams

  

  • I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term—meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching—there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.

  

  • There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
    • —Ansel Adams

  

  • A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.
    • —Ansel Adams

  

  • When a photographer masters the tools and processes of the art, then the quality of the work is only limited by his creative vision.
    • — Edward Weston, California and the West, paraphrased by Morgan P. Yates in Westways, May 2009

  

Learning and Understanding

  

  • One of the first duties of the physician is to educate people not to take medicine.
    • — Sir William Osler, widely revered as the father of modern medicine

  

  • What I cannot create, I do not understand.
    • —On the blackboard of Richard Feynman at time of death in 1988; as quoted in The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

  

  • I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
    • — Pablo Picasso

  

  • I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding, they learn by some other way—by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!
    • — Richard Feynman

  

  • It is the quality of your observation, not your technique, that most contributes to your progress as an artist.

  

Science

  

  • ... the courageous pursuit of truth against the fearful and abject forces who would set limits to investigation...
    • — Christopher Hitchens, letter

  

  • What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.
    • — Christopher Hitchens

  

  • I cannot shake the illusion that I do in fact exist, despite the fact that I am actually convinced that I don’t. Pursuing this line of inquiry leads to some conclusions that are pretty bizarre even by the usual standards of philosophy and quantum mechanics.
  • I spoke to God and told him I don’t believe in Him. God replied and said that I was right.

  

  

  • In his remarkable book about the workings of science, Science in Action, the philosopher Bruno Latour brings a note of caution to the distinction between science and art [7].
  • ... [Science as] a systematized body of knowledge, ability to make predictions, validation of models ... is part of what he calls ready-made-science, science that is ready to be used and applied, science that is ready to support art. Much science-in-the-making appears as art until it becomes settled science.

  

  • The discovery of this reality is hindered rather than helped by belief, whether one believes in God or believes in atheism. We must make here a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.
    • — Alan Watts

  

  • They constantly try to escape
  • From the darkness outside and within
  • By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.
  • But the man that is shall shadow
  • The man that pretends to be.
  • — TS Eliot

  

  • The separation between "matters of faith" and "matters of science" is itself a lie we tell ourselves and each other so we can tolerate living in a world populated by irrational people and irrational beliefs. But it’s artifice, there’s no reason any actual phenomenon can’t be investigated “scientifically.”

  

  • The remark which I read somewhere, that science is all right as long as it doesn’t attack religion, was the clue I needed to understand the problem. As long as it doesn’t attack religion it need not be paid attention to and nobody has to learn anything. So it can be cut off from society except for its applications, and thus be isolated. And then we have this terrible struggle to try to explain things to people who have no reason to want to know. But if they want to defend their own point of view, they will have to learn what yours is a little bit. So I suggest, maybe correctly and perhaps wrongly, that we are too polite.
    • —Richard Feynman, From lecture “What is and What Should be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern Society”, given at the Galileo Symposium in Italy, 1964.

  

  • The ones we wish could hear us
  • have heard it all before.
    • — Neil Peart, Rush, Peaceable Kingdom

  

  • Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
    • — Kurt Vonnegut

  

  • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    • — Arthur C. Clarke

  

  • I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (Sherlock Holmes)
    • — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  

  • God exists since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists since we cannot prove it.
    • — Andre Weil

  

  • Wikipedia is forcing people to accept the stone-cold bummer that knowledge is produced and constructed by argument rather than by divine inspiration.

  

Reality

  

  • For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
    • — Richard Feynman, the Rogers Commission Report

  

  • The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
    • — H. P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu, emphasis added

  

  • Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
    • — Philip K. Dick

  

  • Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
    • — Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (quoted in Obama’s 2010 Speech at University of Michigan).

  

  • Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
    • — Nikola Tesla

  

  • There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.
    • — Pablo Picasso

  

  • Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.
    • — Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying

  

Programming

  

  • OOP is to writing a program, what going through airport security is to flying.

  

  • I think it’s part of the great cultural divide in computing, where developers see software as a toolkit but users expect appliances.

  

  • To write a big program, you just break it into lots of small programs, right? Well, that’s true a sense, in the same sense that writing a book is merely a matter of writing chapters, which is merely a matter of writing paragraphs etc. But writing books is hard because the pieces have to hang together in a coherent whole. If part of a book doesn’t quite fit with the whole, the result is aesthetically disappointing. If a part of a program doesn’t quite fit in, it’s called a crash. Paper doesn’t abort, but programs do.

  

  • Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
    • —Edsger Dijkstra

  

  • The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.
    • — Robert R. Coveyou, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  

  • There are only two kinds of software: released too early and never released at all.

  

  • We will encourage you to develop the three great virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris.
    • — Larry Wall, Programming Perl (1st edition)

  

  • The principal lesson of Emacs is that a language for extensions should not be a mere "extension language". It should be a real programming language, designed for writing and maintaining substantial programs. Because people will want to do that!
    • —Richard Stallman, Why you shouldn’t use Tcl

  

  • In the software business there are many enterprises for which it is not clear that science can help them; that science should try is not clear either.
    • — E. W. Dijkstra

  

  • #haskell (IRC channel) humor:
    • quicksilver: #haskell is a loquacracy!

  

  • The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most Independent Software Vendors would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead... It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO (total cost of ownership), our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move. In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago.

  

Haskell IRC quotes:

  • quicksilver: I ACCIDENTALLY THE WHOLE VERB
  • dons: we had 15 years building ivory towers - time to throw rocks from the top!

  

  • Nothing much has changed, those folks who have a strong educational background in Comp Sci and have allowed themselves to be exposed to the full breadth of computing typically become excellent programmers regardless of the software language of choice. Those that choose to specialize early and only have a narrow view of the field typically have significant knowledge gaps that can be seen at the code level.

  

  

  • Operating System:
    • An operating system is a collection of things
    • that don’t fit into a language.
    • There shouldn’t be one.

  

  • The hardest part of the software task is arriving at a complete and consistent specification, and much of the essence of building a program is in fact the debugging of the specification.

  

  • This message is encoded ROT0. Decoding is punishable by death under the DMCA.
    • — slashdot signature, user "hard burn"

  

  • There are three kinds of programmers: those who make off by one errors, and those who don’t.
    • — seen on signature of Benjamin Franksen, Haskell mailing list.

  

  • Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.
    • — Rich Cook

  

  • At the mention of ugly source code, people will of course think of Perl. But the superficial ugliness of Perl is not the sort I mean. Real ugliness is not harsh-looking syntax, but having to build programs out of the wrong concepts. Perl may look like a cartoon character swearing, but there are cases where it surpasses Python conceptually.
    • —Paul Graham, the Python Paradox.

  

  • Microsoft offers the quality of a Chinese knockoff without the lower price tag.
    • — Daniel Eran Dilger, Myths of Leopard #8

  

  • Every 5 minutes you spend writing code in a new language is more useful than 5 hours reading blog posts about how great the language is.

  

  • There was once a wise young man who tried all kinds of implements to tend his garden–spades, hoes, rakes, and much, much more—and found them all lacking. Well, there was an ancient rusty shovel in his shed that would fit him just right, except it missed the most part of the handle and could not be easily repaired. The young man then put all his skills to the task of re-creating an old shovel, while secretly smirking on his neighbours who all used the much inferior implements. To do this right he needed first to produce an identical alloy for the blade, to forge it just right, to grind it just right (the whetstone also needed to be produced somehow), to find the right tree for the handle’s wood, and many, many more things that ought to be done just right.
  • Finally he had his shovel made. He took it in his hands, plunged the blade in the ground, put his foot on it, and died of old age with a happy smile on his lips.
  • Decades later a wise young man looking for an implement to tend his garden found an ancient rusty shovel in his shed.

  

  • The quality of their programmers was inversely proportional to the density of goto statements in their programs.
    • —Edsgar Dijkstra, Programming Considered as a Human Activity

  

  • Interaction is the mind-body problem of computing.
    • —Philip L. Wadler

  

  • Never write five lines of code when one will do. Never write fifty lines of code when three short one-liners will do. Never write 500 lines of code when ten three-liners will do.

  

  • We now appear to be living in a world where even the most laughable paranoid fantasies about commercially controlling simple social concepts [i.e. Microsoft attempt to patent emoticons] are being outdone in the real world by well-funded armies of lawyers on behalf of some of the most powerful companies on the planet.
    • —Mark Taylor, Open Source Consortium

  

  • [Microsoft, Adobe, or any large company, for that matter] can’t pay people enough to build something better than a group of inspired hackers will build for free.
    • —Paul Graham, What Businesses Can Learn from Open Source
  • Except the GIMP and Blender, apparently.
    • —Jared Updike, Programmers are Really Bad at Designing Interfaces for Designers

  

  • Make each program do one thing well. To do a new job, build afresh rather than complicate old programs by adding new features.

  

  • It’s a really fascinating tell, when programmers think that the solution to a given problem is that everyone become programmers.