Gilb’s Laws of Unreliability

  • Computers are unreliable. Humans are worse.
  • Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  • The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a system is that the fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.
  • Undetectable errors are infinite in variety. Detectable errors do not exist, unless deadline is less than three hours away.
  • Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some real work done.
  • At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.
  • A system tends to grow in terms of complexity rather than of simplification, until the resulting unreliability becomes intolerable.
  • Self-checking systems tend to have a complexity in proportion to the inherent unreliability of the system in which they are used.
  • The error-detection and correction capabilities of any system will serve as the key to understanding the type of errors which they cannot handle.
  • All real programs contain errors until proved otherwise — which is impossible.

Roberts’ Rules of Computer Order

  • You will never have an extra blank disk.
  • If you do bring along a blank disk, you won’t need it.
  • If you don’t bring along a blank disk, it will be the only available opportunity to obtain a copy of a hitherto unattainable, and uniquely appropriate program.
  • If someone else is watching while you are doing anything on the computer, anything at all, it will screw up (that’s a technical term).
  • The percentage chances of screwing up increase in direct proportion to the size of your audience.
  • No matter how simple it seems to you, your explanation will be more than they want to know.
  • You will amaze yourself at how much you know.
  • You will amaze your mother at how much you know about computers.
  • You will always have one disk envelope too few. Or too many.
  • The only pieces of data you will ever lose are the ones you were going to save just as soon as you finished typing a couple more lines.
  • The update of your program will use the keys for something entirely different in this version than it did when you first learned it.
  • You will not understand it the first time you read it in the manual.
  • You will understand it better the next time you read the manual.
  • For no discernible reason, when you are late for an interview and need a last minute copy of your resume your printer will go down. It will always go down. It doesn’t care.
  • Nowhere in your repair manual will it ever tell you what you really need to do–which is to turn the darn thing off and get yourself a cup of tea.
  • You will never know what a user file is.
  • The price of anything you buy will stay the same until the actual impact of your money on the bottom of the cash drawer, at which time it will automatically re-list itself in next Thursday’s paper at 30% less.
  • Staring at the screen for 97 continuous minutes will not necessarily reveal to you the secret location of any colon that should have been typed in as a semi. Or vice versa.
  • It will always seem like your friend got a better deal.
  • The 800 number will be busy.

Why Dogs Can’t Use Computers

  • He’s distracted by cats chasing his mouse.
  • SIT and STAY were hard enough; CUT and PASTE are out of the question.
  • Saliva-coated floppy disks refuse to work.
  • Three words: carpal paw syndrome.
  • Involuntary tail wagging is a dead give-away that he’s browsing instead of working.
  • The fire hydrant icon is simply too frustrating.
  • He can’t help attacking the screen when he hears “You’ve Got Mail”.
  • It’s too messy to “mark” every Web site he visits.
  • The FETCH command isn’t available on all platforms.
  • He can’t stick his head out of Windows 8.

Is Windows a Virus?

No, Windows is not a virus. Here’s what viruses do:

  • They replicate quickly. Okay, Windows does that.
  • Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system as they do so. Okay, Windows does that.
  • Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk. Okay, Windows does that, too.
  • Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with valuable programs and systems Sigh… Windows does that, too.
  • Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup, that’s with Windows, too.

Until now it seems Windows is a virus but there are fundamental differences: Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems, their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become more sophisticated as they mature.

So, Windows is *not* a virus

Home On The Web

(to the tune of “Home on the Range”)
Lyrics by Peggy Ben-Fay Hu

Oh give me a site,
Where the links all work right,
One that doesn’t take too long to load.
Where the text can be seen,
On my 13-inch screen,
One that offers a “no-Java” mode.

Home, home on the Web
on my 486 IBM.
Please take pity on me,
I’m still on Netscape 3,
with a 14.4-speed modem!

Though your video files
Give your pages some style
I can’t read them upon my PC;
Massive graphics and sound
Crash my system, I’ve found,
So please put in some “alt” tags for me!

Home, home on the Web
on my 486 IBM.
Please take pity on me,
I’m still on Netscape 3,
with a 14.4-speed modem!

Please don’t ask me to “chat”
With your favorite cat;
I don’t have an IRC code.
And don’t ask me to buy
Games for Win 95.
My PC is way too darn old!

Home, home on the Web
on my 486 IBM.
Please take pity on me,
I’m still on Netscape 3,
with a 14.4-speed modem!

You Know You’re a High Tech Worker If…

  • You sat at the same desk for 4 years and worked for three different companies.
  • Your company welcome sign is attached with Velcro.
  • Your resume is on a diskette in your pocket.
  • Your company logo on your badge is applied with stick-um.
  • When someone asks about what you do for a living, you lie.
  • You learn about your layoff on CNN.
  • Your biggest loss from a system crash is that you lose your best jokes.
  • Your supervisor hasn’t the ability to do your job assignment.
  • You sit in a cubicle smaller than your bedroom closet.
  • Salaries of the members on the Executive Board are higher than all the
    Third World countries’ annual budgets combined.
  • Your home phone has none of the features you developed cuz you’re never there.
  • It’s dark when you drive to and from work.
  • Fun is when issues are assigned to someone else.
  • Communication is something your group is having problems with.
  • You see a good looking person and know it is a visitor.
  • A tie is hanging in your cube.
  • Free food left over from meetings is your main staple.
  • Weekends are those days your spouse makes you stay home.
  • Being sick is defined as can’t walk or you’re in the hospital.
  • You work 200 hours for the $100 bonus check and jubilantly say “Oh wow, thanks!”
  • All real work gets started after 5pm or on weekends.
  • Everyone fights fires (i.e. problems).
  • Dilbert cartoons hang outside every cube.
  • Plants in your cube are healthier than your plants at home.
  • Your boss’ favorite lines are “when you get a few minutes,” “in your spare time,” “when you’re freed up,” and “I have an opportunity for you.”
  • 10% of the people you work with — no one (boss included) knows what they do.
  • Vacation is something you rollover to next year or a check you get every January.
  • Your relatives and family describe your job as “works with computers” or “does something with telephones.”
  • Change is the norm.
  • Nepotism is encouraged.
  • You only have makeup for fluorescent lighting.
  • You read this entire list and understood it.