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Bill Gates to his broker: "You bought WHAT?!? ... I said 'SNAPPLE'!"
have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
Version x.x ,Wife Version x.x Jokes moved to:
In the beginning GOD created the Bit and the Byte. And from those he created
PSHIFT(1) USER COMMANDS PSHIFT(1) NAME pshift - paradigm shift utility SYNOPSIS pshift [-zzeitgeist] [-rragelev] [-v] [-c] [-wn] [+|-n] DESCRIPTION The pshift operator performs a paradigm shift on its input stream within the context of the current or specified zeitgeist. OPTIONS -z Specify the zeitgeist context. May be specified here or from the environment variable $ZEITGEIST. Supported values of zeitgeist are judeo_christian (default), postcommunist, new_age, and when_god_was_a_woman. -r Specify rage level. Acceptable values of ragelev are ennui (default), deep_seated, and consuming. -v Set to verbose mode. Normally pshift operates silently; in verbose mode it publishes a 500+ page bestseller entitled "Rethinking [input stream] in the [zeitgeist] Age", and then begins soliciting honoraria until the operator types ctrl-c. On some systems it runs for Congress. -c Set to collective IO. Normally pshift takes its input from stdin and outputs to stdout; in collective mode it takes its input from the Collective Unconscious and writes to the Body Politic. -wn Specify first, second, third or fourth wave. Acceptable values for n are 0,1,2 or 3, with 2 (third wave) being the default. [On Sun systems, the logical waves are 0,3,2,1, which map to physical waves 0,1,2,3; see Sun Technical Manual for details.] +|-n Specifies the number of times to prepend 'post' to the zeitgeist context, if positive, or 'pre' if negative. The default is 11. EXAMPLES source $DEITY | pshift -zpostcommunist -rdeep_seated -v +1 On most systems, the above command will output a hardcover volume called "Rethinking God in the Post-Postcommunist Era", in which the irrelevance of erstwhile religious concepts is seen to have triggered a global, deep-seated rage vis-a-vis traditional sociopolitical norms leading to a premature breakdown of emerging postsoviet infrastructure. pshift -znew_age -rennui The above command produces no output, but privately processes a vague discontent which it will share if its space is honored. May be redirected to /dev/null. pshift -c -w3 -1 Taking its input from the collective unconscious, the above command rejects the failed socioeconomic policies of the last thirty years and replaces them with a futurist, fourth wave polemic of traditional values, the two-parent family, and the supremacy of the private sector that was the foundation of the American utopia of the 1950s. Use a prepend value of -2 to restore the American utopia of the early Industrial Age, a value of -3 to restore the European utopia of the Enlightenment, -4 for catholic hegemony, etc. (note: Requires grass root permission. In verbose mode, it may also require a $4 million advance.) SEE ALSO backlash(1) BUGS You must have root permission to use consuming rage. AUTHOR Robert Drucker (email@example.com) copyright 1995 Robert Drucker. Robert Drucker is a trademark of Robert Drucker.
#In the beginning was the computer. And God said :Let there be light! #You have not signed on :God. #Enter user password. :Omniscient. #Password Incorrect. Try again! :Omnipotent. #Password Incorrect. Try again! :Technocrat. #And God signed on 12:01 a.m., Sunday, March 1. :Let there be light! #Unrecognizable command. Try again! :Create light. #Done. :Run heaven and earth. #And God created Day and Night. And God saw there were 0 errors. #And God signed off at 12:02 a.m., Sunday, March 1. #And God signed on at 12:00 a.m., Monday, March 2. :Let there be firmament in the midst of the water and #Unrecognizable command! Try again! :Create firmament. #Done. :Run firmament. #And God divided the waters. And God saw there were 0 errors. #And God signed off at 12:01 a.m., Monday, March 2. #And God signed on at 12:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 3. :Let the waters under heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear and #Too many characters in string specification! Try again. :Create dryland. #Done! :Run dryland. #And God created Earth and Seas. And God saw there were 0 errors. #And God signed off at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 3. #And God signed on at 12:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 4. :Create lights in the firmament to divide the day from the night. #Unspecified type. Try again! :Create sunmoonstars. #And God created Sun, Moon, Stars. And God saw there were 0 errors. #And God signed off at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, March 4. #And God signed on at 12:00 a.m., Thursday, March 5. :Create fish. #Done. :Create fowl. #Done. :Run fish'nfowl. #And God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that creepeth wherewith the waters swarmed after its kind and every winged fowl after its kind. 0 errors. #And God signed off at 12:01 a.m., Thursday, March 5. #And God signed on at 12:00 a.m., Friday, March 6. :Create cattle. #Done. :Create creepy things. #Done. :Now let us make man in our image. #Unspecified type! Try again. :Create man. #Done. :Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over of the fowl of the air and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth. #Too many command operands! Try again. :Run multiplication. #Execution terminated. 6 errors. :Insert breath. #O.K. :Run multiplication. #Execution terminated. 5 errors. :Move man to Garden of Eden. #File Garden of Eden does not exist. :Create Gard.En. #Done. :Move man to Gard.En. #O.K. :Run multiplication. #Execution terminated. 4 errors. :Copy woman from man. #O.K. :Run multiplication. #Execution terminated. 3 errors. :Insert woman into man. #Illegal parameters. Try again! :Insert man into woman. #O.K. :Run multiplication. #Execution terminated. 2 errors. :Create desire. #Done. :Run multiplication. #And God saw man'nwoman being fruitful and multiplying in the Gard.En. #Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors. :Create freewill. #Done. :Run freewill. #And God saw man'nwoman being fruitful and multiplying in the Gard.En. #Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors. :Undo desire. #Desire cannot be undone once freewill is created. :Destroy freewill. #Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed. #Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help. :Help! #Desire cannot be undone once freewill is created. #Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed. #Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help. :Create Treeofknowledge. #And God saw man'nwoman being fruitful and multiplying in the Gard.En. #Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors. :Create good'nevil. #Done. :Activate evil. #And God saw he had created shame. #Warning: System error in sector E95. Man'nwoman not in Gard.En. #1 errors. :Scan Gard.En. for man'nwoman. #Man'nwoman cannot be located. Try again! :Search Gard.En. for man'nwoman. #Search failed. :Delete shame. #Shame cannot be deleted once evil has been activated. :Destroy freewill. #Freewill an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed. :Stop! #Unrecognizable command. Try again. :Break :Break :Break #ATTENTION ALL USERS: SERVER GOING DOWN IN 5 MINS FOR REGULAR DAY OF MAINTENANCE AND REST. PLEASE SIGN OFF NOW. :Create new world. #You have exceeded your allotted file space. You must destroy old files before new ones can be created. :Destroy earth. #Destroy earth. Please confirm. #SERVER SHUTTING DOWN. SERVICES WILL RESUME ON SUNDAY MARCH 8 AT 6:00 A.M. YOU MUST SIGN OFF NOW! #And God signed off at 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 6. Back to the Top
Tech: "OK, press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager."
Cust: "There's no 'P' on the screen."
Tech: "On your keyboard."
Cust: "What do you mean?"
Tech: "'P' on your keyboard."
Cust: "I'm not
going to do that!"
1. Never leave diskettes in the disk drive, as data can leak out of the disk and corrode the inner mechanics of the drive. Diskettes should be rolled up and stored in pencil holders.
2. Diskettes should be cleaned and waxed once a week. Microscopic metal particles can be removed by waving a powerful magnet over the surface of the disk. Any stubborn metallic shavings can be removed with scouring powder and soap. When waxing diskettes, make sure application is even. This will allow the diskettes to spin faster, resulting in better access time.
3. Do not fold diskettes unless they do not fit in the drive. "Big" diskettes may be folded and used in "little" disk drives.
4. Never insert a disk into the drive upside down. The data can fall off the surface of the disk and jam the intricate mechanics of the drive.
5. Diskettes cannot be backed up by running them through the xerox machine. If your data is going to need to be backed up, simply insert two diskettes together into the drive. Whenever you update a document, the data will be recorded on both diskettes.
6. Diskettes should not be inserted into or removed from the drive while the red light is flashing. Doing so could result in smeared or possibly unreadable text. Occasionally the red light continues to flash in what is known as a "hung" or "hooked" state. If your system is "hooking" you, you will probably need to insert a few coins before being allowed to access the disk drive.
7. If your diskette is full and you need more storage space, remove the disk from the drive and shake vigorously for two minutes. This will pack the data enough (Data Compression) to allow for more storage. Be sure to cover all the openings with scotch tape to prevent loss of data.
8. Data access time can be greatly improved by cutting more holes in the diskette jacket. This will provide more simultaneous access points to the disk.
9.Diskettes can be used as coasters for beverage glasses, provided they have been properly waxed beforehand. Be sure to wipe the diskettes dry before inserting into drive. (see item #2 above.)
10. Never use scissors and glue to manually edit documents. The data stored is much too small to be seen with the naked eye, and you may end up with data from some other document stuck in the middle of your document. Razor blades and scotch tape may be used, provided the user is equipped with an electron microscope.
Periodically spray diskettes with insecticide to prevent system bugs from
[A quick check list for those who need to make contact.]
1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages from here.
3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.
4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.
5. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing.
6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.
7. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.
8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's electronics in it.
9. When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call computer support. We can fix your telephone line from here.
10. When you have a dozen old computer screens to get rid of, call computer support. We're collectors.
11. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.
12. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.
13. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.
14. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.
15. When the printer
still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the
company. One of them is bound to work.
At a recent
computer software engineering course, the participants were given an awkward
question to answer:
just received the Amish virus. As they don't have any technology or programming
experience, this virus works on the honor system. Please delete
all the files from your hard drive and manually forward this virus to
everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your cooperation.
MY DARLING HUSBAND,
the office printer's type began to grow faint, the office manager called
a local repair shop where a friendly man informed him that the printer
probably needed only to be cleaned. Because the store charged $50 for
such cleanings, he said, the manager might try reading the printer's manual
and doing the job himself.
a piece of Web authoring software ~ 20 minutes.
that Tom Watson, head of IBM, was asked if he was going to fire an executive
whose recent mistake cost the company six hundred thousand dollars. Watson
shook his head and explained, "I just spent six hundred thousand
dollars training him. Why would I want anyone else to hire his experience?"
had a tornado drill. We're underneath a parking garage and there's a PA
announcement "This is a tornado drill. Please move quickly away from
any and all windows."
decided to improve her computer skills, she threw herself into it with
enthusiasm. Every week she'd check out two or three instructional books
from the library.
a guy's printer type began to grow faint, he called a local repair shop
where a friendly man informed him that the printer probably needed only
to be cleaned. Because the store charged $50 for such cleanings, he told
him he might be better off reading the printer's manual and trying the
works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank.
Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers.
One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branch banks who had
this question: "I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal.
Do you guys have a fire downtown?"
A woman called the Canon help desk because she was having a problem with her printer. The tech asked her if she was "running it under Windows."
responded, "No, my desk is next to the door. But that's a good point.
The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window and his is
working just fine."
The reuse of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and, in the case of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix, herds of kangaroos (since disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position).
The head of the Defense Science & Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the local marsupials' movements and reactions to helicopters.
Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement.
Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded appreciatively... then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotten to remove that part of the infantry coding.)
The lesson? Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new object defined in terms of an old one inherits all the attributes. The embarrassed programmers had learned to be careful when reusing object-oriented code, and the Yanks left with a newfound respect for Australian wildlife.
supervisors report that pilots from that point onward have strictly avoided
kangaroos, just as they were meant to.
A man attempting to set up his new printer called the tech support number, complaining about the error message:
"Can't find the printer."
On the phone,
the man said he even held the printer up in front of the screen, but the
computer still couldn't find it!
Programmer to Team Leader:
"We CAN NOT do this proposed project. It will involve a major design change and no one in our team knows the design of this system. And above that, nobody in our company knows the language in which this application has been written. If you ask my personal opinion, the company should never take these type of projects."
Team Leader to Project Manager:
"This project will involve a design change. Currently, we don't have any staff who has experience in this type of work. Also, the language is unfamiliar to us, so we will have to arrange for some training if we take this project. In my personal opinion, we are not ready to take on a project of this nature."
Project Manager to 1st Level Manager:
"This project involves a design change in the system and we don't have much experience in that area. Also, not many people in our company are appropriately trained for it. In my personal opinion, we would need more time than usual to complete it."
1st Level Manager to Senior Level Manager:
"This project involves design re-engineering. We have some people who have worked in this area and others who know the implementation language. So they can train other people. In my personal opinion we should take this project, but with caution."
Senior Level Manager to CEO:
"This project will demonstrate to the industry our capabilities in remodeling the design of a complete legacy system. We have all the necessary skills and people to execute this project successfully. Some people have already given in house training in this area to other staff members. In my personal opinion, we should not let this project slip by us under any circumstances."
CEO to Client:
is the type of project in which our company specializes. We have executed
many projects of the same nature for many large clients. Trust me when
I say that we are the most competent firm in the industry for doing this
kind of work. It is my personal opinion that we can execute this project
successfully and well within the given time frame."
A fellow computer programmer for a consulting group had designed some software for one of our largest accounts. He asked my help in putting it into operation.
At first, he handled most of the work. Eventually, though, he asked me to help with the last phase of the training. When I sat down with one woman and told her I would be showing her how to make changes to the files, she sighed with relief. "I'm so glad you're teaching me instead of him."
Surprised, I said that my colleague was far more experienced than I was.
she said, "but I feel much more comfortable with you. I get nervous
around really smart people."
A Co-worker asked if I knew what to do about a computer problem that was preventing her from getting e-mail. After calling the help desk, I told my colleague that e-mail was being delayed to check for a computer virus.
"It's a variant of the I Love You virus, only worse."
could be worse?" my single co-worker asked wryly. "The Let's
Just Be Friends virus?"
on the phone forever with a customer who had been having difficulties
with a computer program, a support technician at my mother's company turned
in his report:
User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use password retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant, they thank me and hang up. God, we let the people vote and drive, too?
Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports database. Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it works for me." Let them rant and rave while I unplugged my coffeemaker from the UPS and plugged their server back in. Suggested they try it again. One more happy customer...
User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error accessing Drive 0." Told them it was an OS problem. Transferred them to microsupport.
Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support phone back in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are coming into town this weekend. Put her on hold and transferred her to janitorial closet down in basement. What is she thinking? The "Myst" and "Doom" nationals are this weekend!
Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL changed on HR performance review database so that nobody but HR can access database. Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change ACL. Add @MailSend so performance reviews are sent to /US.
Return from lunch.
Wake up from
nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no reason.
Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on form. Ask them what chip set they're using. Tell them to call back when they find out.
Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next shift has something to do.
Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy. Terrible time with Save/Replication conflicts.
Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Put something in the calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which have (mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.
Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they need form J-19R="9C9"\DARRK1. Say they never heard of such a form. Tell them it's in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they never heard of such a database. Transfer them to janitorial closet in basement.
Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID. Tell her I need employee number, department name, manager name, and marital status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board database, Centers for Disease Control database, and my Oprah Winfrey database. No hits. Tell her ID will be ready tonight. Drawing from the lessons learned in last week's "Reengineering for Customer Partnership," I offer to personally deliver ID to her apartment.
Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in basement. Offer to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch console while I grab a smoke.
Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy.
Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled floor tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not running in computer room, even if I do yell "Omigod -- Fire!"
Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in form names. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix it. Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.
Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls for "Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't here over industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably "Lettuce Nodes." Maybe the food distributor with a new product? She thinks about it and hangs up.
Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to check in her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell her it probably fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put duct tape over all the airvents she can find on the PC. Grudgingly offer to create new ID for her while she does that.
Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day.
Irate user calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on form. Tell them of course, they should have been checking "Bitset," not "chipset." Sheepish user apologizes and hangs up.
Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules 10:00am meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support manager about terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about to go into meeting. Sometimes life hands you material.....
Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask if he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed random e-mail databases and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer in Marketing on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he reaches for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.
Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe corporate PBX system sometime.
Return from lunch.
Shift change; Going home.
New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show him server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him up with IBM PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in both monochrome and color.
New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID for him. Set minimum password length to 64. Go grab smoke.
Introduce Louie the custodian to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie comments. Is this guy great or what?!
Beat Louie in dominos game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominos out of sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says Accounting server is down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio antenna (better reception) and plug back into hub. Tell user to try again. Another happy customer!
Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01: "Whereas all new employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all proper aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on shift."
Marvin doubts. I point to "Corporate Policy" database (a fine piece of work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's DOUBLE pepperoni and NO peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps over open floor tile to get to exit door.
Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...
Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.
Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just testing the On/Off button...). See ya tomorrow.
Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server. Told them it worked fine before I left.
Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these calls myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.
Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and the Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call Telecommunications.
Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San Diego and can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's sunspots, but with a two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the time on the server back two hours.
Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them to set server ahead three hours.
E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the time on their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it to Milwaukee.
Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.
Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.
Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So hard to get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has appointment with orthopedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind sitting in on the weekly department head meeting for him. "No problem!"
Call Louie and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a meeting this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff" I tell him.
Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make them fast.
Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology!
Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel 2:45pm appointment for him. He really should be at home resting, you know.
New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection document. Tell them to run connection document utility CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.
Support manager calls to say mixup at doctor's office means appointment cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him if he's seen corporate Web page lately.
Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working. Suggest they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.
Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set point size to "2" in help databases.
User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell them to go to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key, and then refresh. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.
Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell them I'll fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.
Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not (too) much.
shows up. Tell that the hub is acting funny and to have a good weekend.
Done in the
world of today, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's famous sketch, "Who's
on First?" might have turned out something like this: