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If Dr. Seuss were a Technical Writer

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say.

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 double­clicking icon puts 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!

You can't say this?
What a shame, sir!
We'll find you
another game, sir!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house
Says the network is connected to the button on the mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
And your screen is all distorted by the side affects of Gauss,
So your icons in the windows 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 the computer and be sure to tell your mom!


The Tao of error haiku

(Johne Cook)
(Error messages as they might appear if Bill Gates were Japanese)

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

You seek a Web site.
It cannot be located.
Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
So beautifully.

With searching comes loss.
The presence of absence.
"June Sales.doc" not found.

The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao
Until you bring fresh toner.

Windows NT crashed.
I am The Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream
But the water has moved on.
Page not found.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you are seeking
Must now be retyped.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Seeing my great fault
Through darkening blue windows
I begin again.

Printer not ready
Could be a fatal error.
Have a pen handy?

Errors have occurred
We won't tell you where or why.
Lazy programmers.

Login incorrect.
Only perfect spellers may
enter this system.

This site have been moved
We'd tell you where, but then
we'd have to delete you.

To have no errors
Would be life without meaning
No struggle, no joy.

There is a chasm
of carbon and silicon
the software can't bridge.


Cheap Spell-Checker

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.
-Sauce unknown


Owed to the Spell Checker

I have a spelling checker--
It came with my PC
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh--
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me awl stiles two read,
And aides me when I rime.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

And now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite;
Of non eye am a wear.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to be a joule.
The checker poured o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

That's why aye brake in two averse
My righting wants to pleas.
So now ewe sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear for pea seas!


DOS Nursery Rhyme

I know an old sysop who loaded Novell.
I asked why the hell he loaded Novell
But he won't tell.

I know an old sysop who loaded a driver.
Does he think he's MacGuiver to load up a driver?
He loaded the driver to handle Novell.
I asked why the hell he loaded Novell
But he won't tell.

I know an old sysop who loaded himem.
Neuroses can stem from loading himem.
He loaded himem to managed the driver.
He loaded the driver to handle Novell.
I asked why the hell he loaded Novell
But he won't tell.

I know an old sysop who installed some simms.
That assaulted and halted and faulted on him.
He loaded the simm to hold up himem.
He loaded himem to manage the driver.
He loaded the driver to handle Novell.
I asked why the hell he loaded Novell
But he won't tell.

I know an old sysop who started up Norton.
It's disaster you're courtin' when you start up Norton.
He started up Norton to check on the simms.
That assaulted and halted and faulted on him.
He installed the simms to hold up himem.
He loaded himem to manage the driver.
He loaded the driver to handle Novell.
I asked why the hell he loaded Novell
But he won't tell.

I know an old sysop who loaded windows.
Everyone knows you don't load windows.
He loaded windows to boot up with Norton.
He started up Norton to check on the simms.
That assaulted and halted and faulted on him.
He installed the simms to hold up himem.
He loaded himem to manage the driver.
He loaded the driver to handle Novell.
I asked why the hell he loaded Novell
But he won't tell.


If the Beatles Were Computer Geeks

Sing along . . .

Yesterday

Yesterday,
All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
There's not half the files there used to be,
And there's a milestone hanging over me.
The system crashed so suddenly.
I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.

Now all my data's gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

Yesterday,
The need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.

Write in C

To the tune of "Let It Be"

When I find my code in tons of trouble,
Friends and colleagues come to me,
Speaking words of wisdom:
Write in C.
As the deadline fast approaches,
And bugs are all that I can see,
Somewhere, someone whispers:
Write in C.
Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
LOGO's dead and buried,
Write in C.
I used to write a lot of FORTRAN,
For science it worked flawlessly.
Try using it for graphics!
Write in C.
If you've just spent nearly thirty hours,
Debugging some assembly,
Soon you will be glad to
Write in C.
Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, yeah, Write in C.
BASIC's not the answer.
Write in C.
Write in C, Write in C
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
Pascal won't quite cut it.
Write in C.


Edgar Allen Poe confronts a flaky floppy drive.

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals roughly piled, and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there, doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line, I found the diskette that was mine.
Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command,
And waited for the file to store--only this and nothing more.

Deep into the phosphor peering, long I sat there wond'ring, fearing,
Doubting, while the disk kept turning, churning yet to churn some more.
"Save!" I said, "You cursed mother. Save my data, and no other!"
Just one thing the screen did render, message bold, but never tender,
Only this and nothing more--just "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

Was this some occult illusion? Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices undesired, and ones I'd never faced before.
Carefully, I weighed the choices, as the disk made dev'lish noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting . . . baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key, to make the choice of one from three,
Selecting from, "Abort, Retry, Ignore"?

With my fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee, so lightly did I press a key.
But on the screen there still persisted--words appearing as before.
Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore,
Saying to me one time more, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

I tried to catch the chips off guard; I pressed again, but twice as hard.
I pleaded with that cursed demon, begged and cried, and then I swore.
Flailing now in desperation, trying random combinations,
still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, without thinking, winking nonsense I abhor,
Words that at my senses tore, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by mine own machine accosted.
Getting up, I turned away and paced across the office floor.
Whereupon, a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me, and it shook me to the core.
Lightning zapped my precious data, lost and gone forevermore.
Now in darkness I abhor, not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go.
What demonic nether world is wrought where data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, in black holes?
But sure as there's a C and Lotus, Ashton-Tate and many more,
You'll be someday left to wander, lost upon some dismal shore,
Beseeching fickle Gods of yore, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"