Some Quotes


It is the fetishizing of Moore's Law that seduces researchers into complacency. If you have an exponential force on your side, surely it will ace all challenges. Who cares about rational understanding when you can instead rely on an exponential extra-human fetish? But processing power isn't the only thing that scales impressively; so do the problems that processors have to solve. Here's an example I offer to non-technical people to illustrate this point. Ten years ago I had a laptop with an indexing program that let me search for files by content. In order to respond quickly enough when I performed a search, it went through all the files in advance and indexed them, just as search engines like Google index the internet today. The indexing process took about an hour.

Today I have a laptop that is hugely more capacious and faster in every dimension, as predicted by Moore's Law. However, I now have to let my indexing program run overnight to do its job. There are many other examples of computers seeming to get slower even though central processors are getting faster. Computer user interfaces tend to respond more slowly to user interface events, such as a keypress, than they did fifteen years ago, for instance. What's gone wrong?
—Jaron Lanier

The original text of moore's actual law was forgotten and changed over time, but it started as something like this: the number of transistors that are required to launch Photoshop doubles every 12 months, or with each new upgrade.
—Lorna Brown

Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.
—Thomas A. Edison

You can't innovate while you're busy excavating.
—Lorna Brown

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming.
—J.P. McEvoy

I wish I had an angelfish. Then, things would be so much easier.
—Lorna Brown

He who seeks truth shall find beauty.
He who seeks beauty shall find vanity.
He who seeks order shall find gratification.
He who seeks gratification shall be disappointed.
He who considers himself the servant of his fellow beings shall find the joy of self expression.
He who seeks self expression shall fall into the pit of arrogance.
Arrogance is incompatible with nature.
Through nature, the nature of the universe, and the nature of man, we shall seek truth.
If we seek truth, we shall find beauty.
—Moshie Safdie, TED 2002

I'm glad I have AIM+ now, because the list of people I can prevent from ever being President is just growing and growing.
—Shawn Brenneman

That's even before the Discovery Channel. How did they know?
—Lorna Brown

Intellectuals taught themselves Italian in order to read Dante in the original. I learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles in the original.
—Reyner Banham

Certainly errors in software are more difficult to fix than errors in books. In fact, my main conclusion after spending ten years of my life working on the T E X project is that software is hard. Itís harder than anything else Iíve ever had to do. While I was working on the T E X program, I was unable to do full-time teaching. Although I love teaching, I had to take a year off from it because there was just too much to keep in my head at one time. Writing a book is a little more difficult than writing a technical paper, but writing software is a lot more difficult than writing a book.
—Don Knuth

Gavin's rule: "Don't program on Sundays. You only get dirty and the Sunday enjoys it."
—Gavin Doughtie

mbherf (2:44:11 PM): 7 MPixel stretchblt
mbherf (2:44:15 PM): what are they smoking?
mbherf (2:44:21 PM): my bilinear is 17MP on this hardware
lornamatic (2:44:27 PM): The Onion presents: Ask a Software Engineer

See what happens when you don't have TV? You go home from work and take medical tests!
—Tara Morrison

There are really four phases. In phase one, everyone tells you you're crazy and it's the stupidest thing they ever heard. In phase two, they say, "There is some merit to the argument. It's still crazy, but there's some merit to it." Phase three is, "Well, we've done it better than they have." And phase four is, "What are you talking about? It was our idea in the first place."
—Larry Ellison

So here's a question... How many pixels are in this room?
—Ben Weiss

A Marmoset: astronauts filled up 4K of memory with trajectory information to go to the moon. I'm filling up 500 megs with scans of live crickets.
A Marmoset: we've come a long way.
—Shawn Brenneman

"It's not whether you have bugs, it's how well you have bugs."
—Gavin Doughtie

KPT Ben (2:37:48 AM): (int16)(real64)(0xDECAF) * 0.5(0xCAF)
KPT Ben (2:38:00 AM): (half double-decaffeinated half-caf)

lornamatic: even if
lornamatic: it was possible to capture a soul through videoconferencing
lornamatic: which remains unproven to this date
lornamatic: I guarantee you
lornamatic: it wouldn't work in our software
—Lorna Brown

lornamatic: irritation is the mother of true invention
—Lorna Brown

The computer industry overflows with technologies desperately looking for some kind of problem to solve. Thus Kaplan's Law of the Instrument: give children a hammer, and they will find that everything needs pounding. Perhaps all those unfortunate examples you mention are the result of inappropriate forcing of irrelevant technology on innocent content.
—edward tufte

Kewlware: Just in case you run in to an extremely hot girl who invites you to a wild night of partying and you have to cancel. I consider that, one of the "acts of god" allowable for cancelling. Otherwise, see ya at 3:30: )
—Cynthia Johnston

...when someone asks you if you're an actor from New York, you say YES.
—Todd Bogdan

The market knows only two emotions: fear and greed," Mr. Khosla said to the 500 attentive audience members. "In between the two would be 'reasonable' -- how about taking that approach for a while?"
—Vincent Khosla

HorwitzJH: Tonight on "Grounded for Life" they used "to herf" as a verb meaning to vomit.
HorwitzJH: congratulations.
—Jeremy Horwitz

"The following item," Jackson began, "which is altogether in apposite to this case, was called to my attention by a colleague of mine. The code of tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
"In law firms," the judge continued, "we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following: buying a stronger whip; changing riders; saying things like `this is the way we have always ridden this horse'; appointing a committee to study the horse; arranging to visit other firms to see how they ride dead horses; increasing the standards to ride dead horses; declaring that the horse is better, faster and cheaper dead; and finally, harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed."
In conclusion, Jackson turned to Department of Justice attorney David Boies and added, "That said, the witness is yours."
—Judge Jackson

Most people are bad programmers. The honest truth is that having a lot of people staring at the code does not find the really nasty bugs. The really nasty bugs are found by a couple of really smart people who just kill themselves. Most people looking at the code won't see anything ... You can't have thousands of people contributing and achieve a high standard.
—Bill Joy

You can only do software at a certain speed, and software development is not something you can do in six months.
—Steve Ballmer

The nature of what inspires people and what repels people is all happening at once. There's no way to know. If we could understand abhorrent thinking, then it wouldn't be aberrant. If we could predict how people were going to behave, we wouldn't have Columbine. But to say that because we have Columbine then we have to be very careful about the ideas we put out there is inane - ludicrous.
—David Fincher (Fight Club)

It is here that the stereotype of the programmer, sitting in a dim room growling from behind Coke cans, has its origins. The disorder of the desk, the floor; the yellow Post-it notes everywhere; the whiteboards covered with scrawl: all this is the outward manifestation of the messiness of human thought. The messiness cannot go into the program; it piles up around the programmer.
—Ellen Ullman

mbherf (11:39:46 AM): that is based on my quaint belief that software is different than web sites.
freeshard (11:39:56 AM): utterly true
freeshard (11:40:37 AM): it's the difference between watching Friends and having them actually move in
—Gavin Doughtie

Code is very heavily booby trapped now.
—Gavin Doughtie

It just makes me happier to be happy.
—Lorna Brown

lornamatic: i have this vision where people of the future will be excavating our tar pits
lornamatic: and find all these cadillac escalades mired in the mud.
—Lorna Brown

I just blew my nose on our business plan.
—Lorna Brown

I'm going to go smoke a cigarette and then warm up the pixel pistol.
—Robert Bailey