Interpreting Software Revisions

Once you start playing with software you quickly become aware that each software package has a revision code attached to it. It is obvious that this revision code gives the sequence of changes to the product, but in reality there’s substantially more information available through the rev-code than that. This article provides a guide for interpreting the meaning of the revision codes and what they actually signify.

Also known as "one point uh-oh", or "barely out of beta". We had to release because the lab guys had reached a point of exhaustion and the marketing guys were in a cold sweat of terror. We’re praying that you’ll find it more functional than, say, a computer virus and that its operation has some resemblance to that specified in the marketing copy.

We fixed all the killer bugs …

Uh, we introduced a few new bugs fixing the killer bugs and so we had to fix them, too.

We did the product we really wanted to do to begin with. Mind you, it’s really not what the customer needs yet, but we’re working on it.

Well, not surprisingly, we broke some things in making major changes so we had to fix them. But we did a really good job of testing this time, so we don’t think we introduced any new bugs while we were fixing these bugs.

Uh, sorry, one slipped through. One lousy typo error and you won’t believe how much trouble it caused!

Some jerk found a deep-seated bug that’s been there since 1.0 and wouldn’t stop nagging until we fixed it!!

Hey, we finally think we’ve got it right! Most of the customers are really happy with this.

Of course, we did break a few little things.

More features. It’s doubled in size now, by the way, and you’ll need to get more memory and a faster processor …

Just one or two bugs this time… Honest!

We really need to go on to a new product, but we have an installed base out there to protect. We’re cutting the staffing after this.

We had to fix a few things we broke in 5.0. Not very many, but it’s been so long since we looked at this thing we might as well call it a major upgrade. Oh, yeah, we added a few flashy cosmetic features so we could justify the major upgrade number.

Since I’m leaving the company and I’m the last guy left in the lab who works on the product, I wanted to make sure that all the changes I’ve made are incorporated before I go. I added some cute demos, too, since I was getting pretty bored back here in my dark little corner (I kept complaining about the lighting but they wouldn’t do anything). They’re talking about obsolescence planning but they’ll try to keep selling it for as long as there’s a buck or two to be made. I’m leaving the bits in as good a shape as I can in case somebody has to tweak them, but it’ll be sheer luck if no one loses them.


🙂 Your basic smilie. This smilie is used to inflect a sarcastic or joking statement.
😉 Winky smilie. User just made a flirtatious and/or sarcastic remark.
🙁 Frowning smilie.
:-I Indifferent smilie. Better than Frowning but not quite as good as happy smilie
:-> User just made a really biting sarcastic remark. Worse than a :-).
>:-> User just made a really devilish remark.
>;-> Winky and devil combined. A very lewd remark was just made.

Those are the basic ones. Here are some somewhat less common ones:

(-: User is left handed
%-) User has been staring at a monitor for 15 hours straight
:*) User is drunk
[: User is a robot
😎 User is wearing sunglasses
B:-) Sunglasses on head
::-) User wears normal glasses
B-) User wears horn-rimmed glasses
8:-) User is a little girl
:-)-8 User is a Big girl
:-{) User has a mustache
:-{} User wears lipstick
{:-) User wears a toupee
}:-( Toupee in an updraft
:-[ User is a Vampire
:-E Bucktoothed vampire
:-F Bucktoothed vampire with one tooth missing
:-7 User juust made a wry statement
:-* User just ate something sour
:-)~ User drools
:-~) User has a cold
:’-( User is crying
:’-) User is so happy, s/he is crying
:-@ User is screaming
:-# User wears braces
:^) User has a broken nose
:v) User has a broken nose, but it’s the other way
:_) User’s nose is sliding off of his face
:<) User is from an Ivy League School
:-& User is tongue tied.
=:-) User is a hosehead
-:-) User is a punk rocker
-:-( (real punk rockers don’t smile)
:=) User has two noses
+-:-) User is the Pope or holds some other religious office
`:-) User shaved one of his eyebrows off this morning
,:-) Same thing…other side
|-I User is asleep
|-O User is yawning/snoring
:-Q User is a smoker
😕 User smokes a pipe
O-) Megaton Man On Patrol! (or else, user is a scuba diver)
O:-) User is an angel (at heart, at least)
😛 Nyahhhh!
:-S User just made an incoherent statement
😀 User is laughing (at you!)
:-X User’s lips are sealed
:-C User is really bummed
<|-) User is Chinese
<|-( User is Chinese and doesn’t like these kind of jokes
:-/ User is skeptical
C=:-) User is a chef
@= User is pro-nuclear war
*<:-) User is wearing a Santa Claus Hat
😮 Uh oh!
(8-o It’s Mr. Bill!
*:o) And Bozo the Clown!
3:] Pet smilie
3:[ Mean Pet smilie
d8= Your pet beaver is wearing goggles and a hard hat.
E-:-) User is a Ham radio operator
:-9 User is licking his/her lips
%-6 User is braindead
[:-) User is wearing a walkman
(:I User is an egghead
<:-I User is a dunce
K:P User is a little kid with a propeller beenie
@:-) User is wearing a turban
:-0 No Yelling! (Quiet Lab)
:-: Mutant Smilie
  The invisible smilie
-) User only has one eye
,-) Ditto…but he’s winking
X-( User just died
8 🙂 User is a wizard

Note: A lot of these can be typed without noses to make midget smilies.

🙂 Midget smilie
:] Gleep…a friendly midget smilie who will gladly be your friend
=) Variation on a theme…
:} What should we call these? (what?)
🙂 Happy
:> what?
:@ what?
😀 Laughter
:I Hmmm…
🙁 Sad
:[ Real Downer
:< what?
:{ what?
:O Yelling
:C what?
:Q what?
:,( Crying
] Hugs and
:* Kisses
|I Asleep
|^o Snoring

Shift Keys FAQ

  • Q. My shift keys have little arrows on them. Does that mean the *real* shift keys are located above them, and these keys are just little signs to point them out?

    A. Nope, they’re the Real McCoy. The little arrows mean “up”, as in “look up at the screen”. Your keyboard is telling you to learn to touch type and quit staring at your fingers.

  • Q. What happens if I press both shift keys?

    A. Even bigger letters may show up on your screen. You should not use this feature, however, because these letters are also brighter, and may cause Screen Burn-In, which would be particularly embarrassing if you were typing something naughty at the time. You might consider obtaining the author’s Shift Key Burn-In Protector program for only $139.95. Or you might not, it’s your computer, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • Q. my religion prohibits the use of shift keys. how can i type capital letters and punctuation

    A. Discuss alternatives to the shift key with your spiritual advisor. Perhaps your deity would not be angered by repeated use of the Caps Lock key, or maybe you can retain a consultant to depress the shift for you.

    You might also consider replacing punctuation marks that require the use of shift keys with lower case expressions; replace ? with “huh” and ! with “zowie”.


    A. Do small children with a fondness for peanut butter use your keyboard frequently? If so, you may want to clean it off for more reliable operation. First, disconnect your keyboard by gripping each of its ends firmly and pulling as hard as you can. Next, immerse the keyboard in warm water and scrub thoroughly with your favorite lemon-scented detergent and lots of steel wool. Finally, you need to dry the keyboard. Either dry it to touch with a handheld blowdryer, or place it in the dryer for not less than 60 minutes. Be sure to clean the lint screen when you are finished.

  • Q. Why are there are no “shift” keys on my keyboard, but there are two keys labelled “hif”?

    A. Again, you may want to consider cleaning your keyboard, and washing your hands more frequently for that matter.

  • Q. Are there shift keys on my Macintosh?

    A. Yes, although instead of the notation “shift”, the key may be labelled with an excited Mac face, something like :O . Press this key to use shift, and be thankful you’re using a friendly Mac instead of a mean old PC with all them confusin’ words ‘n stuff on it.

  • Q. I’m sick of pushing the shift key every single time I want big letters. Is there any other way to do this?

    A. This is the Modern Age of Convenience, and you may be able to activate the shift key merely with the power of your voice! Check to see whether your computer is equipped with speech-recognition equipment by saying the word “shift” very clearly and slowly into its speaker. Then watch the keyboard closely to see if the Shift key moves down. Note that you may have to repeat this action several times to “train” the computer to recognise your voice before the feature works reliably.

  • Q. There are two shift keys, which should I use?

    A. Avoid unnecessary wear on either shift key by alternating between the two. Keep track of your usage of each key so that you press them in equal amounts. Your keyboard may be equipped with a small notepad; you should use this to make little tally marks in two columns for each time you shift. Remember, it’s better to go to a little trouble than wind up with a broken shift key.

  • Q. Why are the shift keys bigger than the other keys?

    A. They aren’t. This is simply an optical illusion. Just as the moon appears much larger when it is close to the horizon, your shift keys look larger because of their proximity to other keys. To verify this, go out in a large field at night with your keyboard, place it in an upright position, and view it from a distance of 200 yards. Sure enough, the keys all look the same size!

  • Q. If I press the shift key at the wrong time, or too many times, will my computer explode?

    A. No. Well, generally no. Not unless you are using a NEC laptop. Or vt100 terminal emulation. But even then, hardly ever. Really, don’t worry about it. Forget I mentioned it. Just type softly. Move along, next question.

  • Q. No matter what I do, the shift key just doesn’t seem to work. What’s wrong?

    A. Have you ever considered that the problem may not be your keyboard, the problem may be YOU? Perhaps God Himself has suspended the operation of these keys to send you a Message that you have strayed from the path of righteousness. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your life. Before rushing blindly ahead with a lot of shifting, consult the spiritual advisor of your choice for help in dealing with any unresolved issues in your relationship with the Almighty.

What If Dr. Seuss Wrote Computer Tech Manuals?

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, Then
the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icons put your window in the trash, And
your data is corrupted ’cause the index doesn’t hash, Then your
situation’s hopeless, and your system’s gonna crash!

If the label on your cable on the gable at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel to another protocol,
That’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall.

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, So
your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, Then you may as
well reboot and go out with a bang, ‘Cause as sure as I’m a poet,
the sucker’s gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy’s getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary RISC,
Then you have to flash your memory and you’ll want to RAM your
ROM, Quickly turn off your computer and be sure to tell your mom!

Remember When…

A computer was something on tv
From a science fiction show
A window was something you hated to clean…
And ram was the cousin of a goat…

Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was your middle finger upright
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes

An application was for employment
A program was a tv show
A cursor used profanity
A keyboard was a piano

Memory was something that you lost with age
A cd was a bank account
And if you had a 3 1/2″ floppy
You hoped nobody found out

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for a while

Log on was adding wood to the fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode

Cut you did with a pocket knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spider’s home
And a virus was the flu

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash
But when it happens they wish they were dead

Psalm 23 for Programmers

The Lord is my programmer, I shall not crash.
He installed His software on the hard disk of my heart,
All of His commands are user friendly,
His directory moves me to the right choices for His name’s sake.

Even though I scroll through the problems of file,
I will fear no bugs, for You are my backup;
Your password protects me;
You prepare a menu before me in the presence of my enemies;
Your help is only a key away.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
And my file will be merged with His and saved forever.

Program Conflicts with Girlfriend 1.0

Dear Sir,

I’ve been having some conflicts between programs lately. I’ve been running the original version of DrinkingBuddies 1.0 as my primary application and all the GirlFriend releases I’ve tried have always conflicted with it. I hear that DrinkingBuddies won’t crash if GirlFriend is run in background mode and the sound is turned off. But I’m embarrassed to say I can’t find the switch to turn the sound off. I just run them separately and it works okay. GirlFriend also seems to have a problem co-existing with my Golf program, often trying to abort Golf with some sort of timing incompatibility.

I probably should have stayed with GirlFriend 1.0, but I thought I might see better performance from GirlFriend 2.0. After months of conflicts and other problems, I consulted a friend who has had experience with GirlFriend 2.0. He said I probably didn’t have enough cache to run GirlFriend 2.0, and eventually it would require a Token Ring to run properly. He was right – as soon as I purged my cache, it uninstalled itself. Shortly after that, I installed GirlFriend 3.0 beta. All the bugs were supposed to be gone but the first time I used it, it gave me a virus. I had to clean out my whole system and shut down for a while. I very cautiously upgraded to GirlFriend 4.0. This time I used a SCSI probe first and also installed a virus protection program. It worked okay for a while until I discovered that GirlFriend 1.0 was still in my system. I tried running GirlFriend 1.0 again with GirlFriend 4.0 still installed, but GirlFriend 4.0 has a feature I didn’t know about that automatically senses the presence of any other version of GirlFriend and communicates with it in some way, which results in the immediate removal of both versions. The version I have now works pretty well, but there are still some problems.

Like all versions of GirlFriend, it is written in some obscure language I can’t understand, much less reprogram. Frankly, I think there is too much attention paid to the look and feel rather than the desired functionality. Also, to get the best connections with your hardware, you usually have to use gold-plated contacts. And I’ve never liked how GirlFriend is totally

A year ago, a friend of mine upgraded his version of GirlFriend to GirlFriendPlus 1.0, which is a Terminate and Stay Resident version of GirlFriend. He discovered that GirlFriendPlus 1.0 expires within a year if you don’t upgrade to Fiancé 1.0. So he did, but soon after that, he had to upgrade to Wife 1.0, which he describes as a huge resource hog. It has taken up all his space so he can’t load anything else. One of the primary reasons he decided to go with Wife 1.0 was because it came bundled with FreeSexPlus. Well, it turns out that the resource allocation module of Wife 1.0 sometimes prohibits access to FreeSexPlus, particularly the new Plug-Ins he wanted to try. On top of that, Wife 1.0 must be running on a well warmed-up system before he can do anything.

Although he did not ask for it, Wife 1.0 also came with MotherInLaw 1.0 which has an automatic pop-up feature he can’t turn off. I told him to try installing Mistress 1.0, but he said he’d heard that if you try to run it without first uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then, Mistress 1.0 won’t install anyway because of insufficient resources.

Password Security Guidelines

For immediate issue:
Password Security Guidelines V2.2b

Due to new security policies, the following guidelines have been issued to assist in choosing new passwords. Please follow them closely.

Passwords must conform to at least 21 of the following attributes.

  1. Minimum length 12 characters.
  2. Not in any dictionary.
  3. No word or phrase bearing any connection to the holder.
  4. Containing no characters in the ASCII character set.
  5. No characters typeable on a Sun type 5 keyboard.
  6. No subset of one character or more must have appeared on Usenet news, rand(3), or the King James bible (version 0.1 alpha)
  7. Must be quantum theoretically secure, i.e. must automatically change if observed (to protect against net sniffing).
  8. Binary representation must not contain any of the sequences 00 01 10 11, commonly known about in hacker circles.
  9. Be provably different from all other passwords on the internet.
  10. Not be representable in any human language or written script.
  11. Color passwords must use a minimum 32 bit palette.
  12. Changed prior to every use.
  13. Resistant to revelation under threat of physical violence.
  14. Contain tissue samples of at least 3 vital organs.
  15. Must contain both upper and lower case characters as well as at least 2 numbers.
  16. Undecodable by virtue of application of 0-way hash function.
  17. Odorless, silent, invisible, tasteless, weightless, shapeless, lacking form and inert.
  18. Contain non-linear random S-boxes (without a backdoor).

Due to the severity of the restrictions, you must change your password every day.

It’s Better to Shop Online When…

  • No need to saw off that damned house arrest anklet.
  • Wobbly ISP performance not nearly as annoying as wobbly shopping cart wheel.
  • No more blasts of perfume from the sample counter — until iSmell becomes
    available, that is.
  • The terms of your parole prohibit you from coming within 500 yards of a real Victoria’s Secret store.
  • Don’t have to worry about giving in to that Orange Julius temptation.
  • Since you haven’t been able to get through your front door in years, is a Godsend.
  • Within seconds of buying grandma a large-print bible, you’re back to downloading that sweet, sweet porn.
  • Can continue to test your theory you can live without leaving your specially designed “BioChair 2”.
  • Can openly consult the voices in your head when buying that gift for Jodie Foster.
  • Less contact with other humans means fewer on your list to be gunned down at a later date.
  • You can finally get that kidney Uncle Bob always wanted.
  • In a store, you can’t pleasure yourself watching Tommy Lee put it to Pam while your purchase is being wrapped.
  • No insensitive idiots razzing you about that place you tuck your wallet when you shop naked.
  • When your name is Dick Buttlipz, it’s better to not have to hand your Visa to a 16 year old sales clerk.

Online Lies

  • “I’m in this private room consoling a depressed friend.”
  • “You’re different. I’ve never felt like this about someone I’ve never met before.”
  • “I’m new online and haven’t had time to create a profile, but tell me more about yourself.”
  • “I never do cybersex!! Yet here in this room alone with you, well, I’m getting excited!”
  • “Yes of course I’m female.”
  • “No this is my only screen name. You mean you can have more than one?”
  • “I’m 5’4, blonde hair, blue eyes and guys love my body!”
    Male version is “I’m 6’0, great tan, and buffed from working out!”
  • “I’m not like most of the guys here, I just want to meet so we can just have coffee and get to know each other.”
  • “I don’t care what you look like, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” (Which is true, except it means “I’m horny and could care less, just type)
  • “Tonight my love, our souls have touched.”