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Todd's Humor Archive If Architects Had to Work Like Programmers

Please design and build me a house. I am not sure of what I need, you should use your discretion. My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them.)

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance cost as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you chose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that the modern design practices and the latest materials are used in the construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted however, that the kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for my entire family, make certain that you contact each of my children and also my in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house, get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet. Keep in mind, however that my wife likes blue.

Also do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under construction within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has.

I can advise you to run up and look at my neighbor's house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many of the features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as interesting a project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I've given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle the responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.

The story of Mel

Maybe they do now, in this decadent era of Lite beer, hand calculators and "user-friendly" software but back in the Good Old Days, when the term "software" sounded funny and Real Computers were made out of drums and vacuum tubes, Real Programmers wrote in machine code. Not Fortran. Not RATFOR. Not, even, assembly language. Machine Code.Raw, unadorned, inscrutable hexadecimal numbers. Directly.

Lest a whole new generation of programmers grow up in ignorance of this glorious past, I feel duty-bound to describe, as best I can through the generation gap, how a Real Programmer wrote code. I'll call him Mel, because that was his name.

I first met Mel when I went to work for Royal McBee Computer Corp., a now-defunct subsidiary of the typewriter company. The firm manufactured the LGP-30, a small, cheap (by the standards of the day) drum-memory computer, and had just started to manufacture the RPC-4000, a much-improved, bigger, better, faster -- drum-memory computer. Cores cost too much, and weren't here to stay, anyway. (That's why you haven't heard of the company, or the computer.)

I had been hired to write a Fortran compiler for this new marvel and Mel was my guide to its wonders. Mel didn't approve of compilers.

"If a program can't rewrite its own code," he asked, "what good is it?"

... ... ...

Todd's Humor Archive Computer Engineers and Managers

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 23:17:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gary <chocboot@earthlink.net>
To: vanhoose@cl-next4.cl.msu.edu
Cc: kgil@earthlink.net
Subject: Engineers

A Software Engineer, a Hardware Engineer and a Departmental Manager were on their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving down a steep mountain road when suddenly the brakes on their car failed. The car careened almost out of control down the road, bouncing off the crash barriers, until it miraculously ground to a halt, scraping along the mountainside. The car's occupants, shaken but unhurt, now had a problem: they were stuck halfway down a mountain in a car with no brakes. What were they to do?

"I know," said the Departmental Manager, "Let's have a meeting, propose a Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and by a process of Continuous Improvement find a solution to the Critical Problems, and we can be on our way."

"No, no," said the Hardware Engineer, "That will take far too long, and besides, that method has never worked before. I've got my Swiss Army knife with me, and in no time at all I can strip down the car's braking system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we can be on our way."

"Well," said the Software Engineer, "Before we do anything, I think we should push the car back up the road and see if it happens again."

(Thanks to Tomasz Mazur at VDOnet for forwarding this.)

So you want to marry a software engineer @ Jokes

1) What quality do you value most in your partner?
a) A sense of humor
b) Emotional maturity.
c) High bandwidth.

2) When you get home at the end of the day, you like to:
a) Turn on the Silicon Valley Business report, and eat dinner.
b) Hook up to your ISP, and check out the hit count on your web page.
c) Recharge your cell phone, laptop, and wireless modem, change batteries on your pager, and resynchronize your Palm Pilot and home computer.

3) Your ideal partner is:
a) Interesting and attractive.
b) Emotionally mature and understanding.
c) Extensible and polymorphic.

4) In spiritually difficult times, you often turn to:
a) Dilbert
b) Kernighan and Ritchie
c) comp.lang.c++

5) If go over to your partner's place and think it's a mess, you would:
a) Complain to him/her, and tell them to tidy up.
b) Call a maid service.
c) Make clean

6) What kind of car would you like to buy next, and why?
a) A BMW, because people will see that I am rich and successful.
b) A Jeep, because it's youthful, rugged, and won't break down.
c) A Honda because the engine control computer can be hacked for more horsepower.

7) Name the 4 essential food groups:
a) Fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy.
b) Coffee, chocolate, takeout, ice cream.
c) rec.food.cooking, rec.food.veg, ba.food, alt.food.chocolate

8) You like to travel with your partner because:
a) You share new experiences together.
b) You learn about each other in different situations.
c) You get more use out of your wireless modem.

9) You think a relationship is ready for a permanent commitment because:
a) You've successfully struggled through several years of good and bad times.
b) You're already living together, so you might as well tie the knot.
c) You finally got your local network configured just right.

10) If you and your partner got married, you would want to:
a) Keep your last name.
b) Change your last name.
c) Combine your names with a hyphen.
d) Combine your names with an underscore.

11) You and your partner think it's time to have children when:
a) Your stock options are vested.
b) You've agreed on the requirements and design.
c) You've come up with a good naming convention.
d) You really understand the use of multiple inheritance.

 


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