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At a recent Sacramento PC User's Group meeting, a company was demonstrating its latest speech-recognition software. A representative from the company was just about ready to start the demonstration and asked everyone in the room to quiet down.

Just then someone in the back of the room yelled, "Format C-Colon, Return."

Someone else chimed in: "Yes, Return"

Unfortunately, the software worked.

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How To Install Software -- A 12-Step Program

by Dave Barry, from his new book, "Dave Barry In Cyberspace"

  1. Examine the software packaging until you find a little printed box that explains what kind of computer system you need to run the software. It should look something like this:
  2. Open the software packaging and remove the manual. This will contain detailed instructions on installing, operating, and troubleshooting the software. Throw it away.
  3. Find the actual software, which should be in the form of either a 3.5-inch floppy diskette or a CD-ROM, located inside a sealed envelope that says:


    By breaking this seal, the user hereinafter agrees to abide by all the terms and conditions of the following agreement that nobody ever reads, as well as the Geneva Convention and the U.N. Charter and the Secret Membership Oath of the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks and such other terms and conditions, real and imaginary, as the Software Company shall deem necessary and appropriate, including the right to come to the user's home and examine the user's hard drive, as well as the user's underwear drawer if we feel like it, take it or leave it, until death do us part, one nation indivisible by the dawn's early light,... finders keepers, losers weepers, ...
  4. Hand the software to a child aged 3 through 12 and say, "(Name of child), please install this on my computer."
  5. If you have no child age 3 through 12, insert the software in the appropriate drive, type SETUP" and press the Enter key.
  6. Turn the computer on, you idiot.
  7. Once again type "SETUP" and press the Enter key.
  8. You will hear grinding and whirring noises for a while, after which the following message should appear on your screen:
    The Installation Program will now examine your system to see what would be the best way to render it inoperable. Is it OK with you? Choose one, and be honest:

    | YES | | SURE |

  9. After you make your selection, you will hear grinding and whirring for a very long time while the installation program does who knows what in there. Some installation programs can actually alter molecular structures, so that when they're done, your computer has been transformed into an entirely new device, such as a food processor.
    At the very least, the installation program will create many new directories, sub-directories, and sub-sub-directories on your hard drive and fill them with thousands of mysterious files with names like puree.exe," "fester.dat," and "doo.wha.."
  10. When the installation program is finished, your screen should display the following message:


    The installation program cannot think of anything else to do to your computer and has grown bored. You may now attempt to run your software. If you experience any problems, electrical shocks, insomnia, shortness of breath, nasal discharge, or intestinal parasites, you should immediately _$*^&
  11. At this point your computer system should become less functional than the federal government, refusing to respond even when struck with furniture.
  12. Call the toll-free Tech Support Hotline # listed on the package and wait on the line for a representative, who will explain to you, in a clear, step-by-step manner, how to adopt a child aged 3 through 12.

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***Upgrade Problems***

Last year a friend of mine upgraded from GirlFriend 1.0 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog, leaving very little system resources available for other applications.
He is now noticing that Wife 1.0 is also spawning Child Processes which are further consuming valuable resources. No mention of this particular phenomena was included in the product brochure or the documentation, though other users have informed him that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application. Not only that, Wife1.0 installs itself such that it is always launched at system initialization, where it can monitor all other system activity. He's finding that some applications such as PokerNight 10.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.0 are no longer able to run in the system at all, crashing the system when selected (even though they always worked fine before).
During installation, Wife 1.0 provides no option as to the installation of undesired Plug-Ins such as MotherInLaw 55.8 and BrotherInLaw Beta release. Also, system performance seems to diminish with each passing day.
Some features he'd like to see in the upcoming wife 2.0. are:
- - - A "Don't remind me again" button - - - Minimize button- - - An install shield feature that allows Wife 2.0 to be installed with the option to uninstall at anytime without loss of cache and other system resources.
I myself decided to avoid the headaches associated with Wife 1.0 by sticking with Girlfriend 2.0. Even here, however, I found many problems. Apparently you cannot install Girlfriend 2.0 on top of Girlfriend 1.0. You must uninstall Girlfriend 1.0 first. Other users say this is a long standing bug that I should have known about. Another thing -- all versions of Girlfriend continually pop up little annoying messages about the advantages of upgrading to Wife 1.0.
***** BUG WARNINGS ********
Wife 1.0 has an undocumented bug. If you try to install Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then Mistress 1.1 will refuse to install, claiming insufficient resources.

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sound button to hear a voice saying it must be a problem in calibration

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Service Rep:Hello, you have reached the Heart Systems Software Company help desk. How may I help you?
Customer: I just received your latest program, know....the freeware. I don't understand it. Can tell me how to install it?
Service Rep: Sure thing ma'am. Do you have the installation disk and instructions with you?
Customer: Yes I do, but first can you tell me what the program does?
Service Rep: Sure thing ma'am. LOVE is a unique program, there is no other like it in the world. LOVE attaches to your operating system and runs silently in the background, you will never see LOVE on your monitor or your toolbar, but you will notice its affect on every application you may have. It makes the good programs run smoother and greatly restricts and/or deletes the bad ones.
Customer: Wow! That sounds great. How does LOVE make my machine run smoother?
Service Rep: Well, good sound files, like COMPLIMENT.WAV, ENCOURAGEMENT.WAV, and KINDWORD.WAV will play frequently. Also, FORGIVENESS.EXE will be invoked every time there is an external violation, including the ever-popular syntax errors. Also, all those aggravating errors that say "unable to connect" will be avoided. LOVE allows for a smooth connection with external devices, regardless of what country it is manufactured in, the brand name, or the age of the model.
Customer: That's exactly what I need, my machine has been isolated for too long. But what about the bad programs?
CS Rep: Good question. LOVE searches your memory for programs like HATE.COM, BITTERNESS.EXE, SELFISH.COM, and SPITE.EXE. These programs cant be entirely deleted off your hard drive, but LOVE overpowers those programs. LOVE stops their commands from being executed and runs its own instructions. You will no longer hear INSULT.WAV and you wont be able to write with the fonts "BADWORDS12" or "HARSHNESS10."
Customer: That's a fantastic program you have. Are the upgrades free too?
CS Rep: They sure are ma'am.
Customer: How do I get the upgrades?
CS Rep: That's easy. Once you have LOVE installed and running, it automatically copies a module, or a piece of itself, to every external Harddrive Email And Remote Terminal (HEART) that it comes in contact with. In turn, those external devices run whatever version of LOVE they have and return a module to your HEART. You will be upgraded with each and every module that you receive. But you have to remember, to receive the upgrades you have to be running LOVE and you have to come into contact with other computers while it is running.
Customer: I can do that. I'm not very technical, but I think I am ready to install now. What do I do first?
CS Rep: The first step is to open your HEART. Have you located your HEART ma'am?
Customer: Yes I have, but there are several programs running right now. Is it okay to install while they are running?
CS Rep: What programs are running ma'am?
Customer: Let me see....I have PASTHURT.EXE, LOWESTEEM.EXE, GRUDGE.EXE, and RESENTMENT.COM running right now.
CS Rep: No problem. LOVE will automatically erase PASTHURT.EXE from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory, but it will no longer disrupt other programs. LOVE will eventually overwrite LOWESTEEM.EXE with a module of its own called HIGHESTEEM.EXE. However, you have to completely turn off GRUDGE.EXE and RESENTMENT.COM. Those programs prevent LOVE from being properly installed. Can you turn those off ma'am?
Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?
CS Rep: My pleasure. Go to your Start menu and invoke FORGIVENESS.EXE. Do this as many times as necessary until GRUDGE.EXE and RESENTMENT.COM have been completely erased.
Customer: Okay, I'm done. LOVE has started installing itself automatically. Is that normal?
CS Rep: Yes it is. You should receive a message that says it will reinstall for the life of your HEART. Do you see that message?
Customer: Yes I do. Is it completely installed?
CS Rep: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other HEART's in order to get the upgrades.
Customer: Oops...I have an error message already. What should I do?
CS Rep: What does the message say?
Customer: It says "ERROR 412 - PROGRAM NOT RUN ON INTERNAL COMPONENTS". What does that mean?
CS Rep: Don't worry ma'am, that's a common problem. It means that the LOVE program is set up to run on external HEARTS but has not yet been run on your HEART. It is one of those complicated programming things, but in non-technical terms it means you have to "LOVE" your own machine before it can "LOVE" others.
Customer: So what should I do?
CS Rep: Can you find the directory called "SELF-ACCEPTANCE"?
Customer: Yes, I have it.
CS Rep: Excellent, you are getting good at this.
Customer: Thank you.
CS Rep: You're welcome. Click on the following files and then copy them to the "MYHEART" directory: FORGIVESELF.DOC, SELFESTEEM.TXT, REALIZEWORTH.TXT, and GOODNESS.DOC. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching any faulty programming. Also, you need to delete SELFCRITIC.EXE from all directories, and then empty your recycle bin afterwards to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.
Customer: Got it. Hey! My HEART is filling up with really neat files. SMILE.MPG is playing on my monitor right now and it shows that WARMTH.COM, PEACE.EXE, and CONTENTMENT.COM are copying themselves all over my HEART!
CS Rep: Then LOVE is installed and running. You should be able to handle it from here. One more thing before I go...
Customer: Yes?
CS Rep: LOVE is freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everybody you meet. They will in turn share it with other people and they will return some really neat modules back to you.
Customer: I will. Thank you for your help.

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If Operating Systems Were Beers...

Jim Henson
Apple II Beer by Terrell Smith
   |     Terrell Smith

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#In the beginning was the computer.  And God said

:Let there be light!
#You have not signed on yet.

#Enter user password.

#Password Incorrect.  Try again!

#Password Incorrect.  Try again!


#And God signed on 12:01 a.m., Sunday, March 1.

:Let there be light!
#Unrecognizable command.  Try again!

:Create light.

: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.

#Approx. funds remaining: $92.50.

#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. #Approx. funds remaining: $84.60.

#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. #Approx. funds remaining: $65.00.

#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. #Approx. funds remaining: $54:00.

#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 seamonsters 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. #Approx. funds remaining: $45:00.

#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 ATTENTION ALL USERS: COMPUTER GOING DOWN FOR REGULAR DAY OF MAINTENANCE AND REST IN FIVE MINUTES. PLEASE SIGN OFF. :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. :Destroy earth confirmed. #COMPUTER DOWN. COMPUTER 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. #And God he had zero funds remaining.

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(how to do it in various computer languages)

C: You shoot yourself in the foot.
C++: You accidentally create a dozen instances of yourself and shoot them all in the foot. Providing medical assistance is impossible since you can't tell which are bitwise copies and which are just pointing at others and saying "That's me, over there."
FORTRAN: You shoot yourself in each toe, iteratively, until you run out of toes, then you read in the next foot and repeat. If you run out of bullets, you continue anyway because you have no exception-handling abilities.
COBOL: USEing a COLT 45 HANDGUN, AIM gun at LEG.FOOT, THEN place ARM.HAND.FINGER on HANDGUN.TRIGGER and SQUEEZE. THEN return HANDGUN to HOLSTER. CHECK whether shoelace needs to be retied.
BASIC: Shoot yourself in foot with water pistol. On big systems, continue until entire lower body is waterlogged.
FORTH: Foot in yourself shoot.
APL: You shoot yourself in the foot, then spend all day figuring out how to do it in fewer characters.
Pascal: The compiler won't let you shoot yourself in the foot.
SNOBOL: If you succeed, shoot yourself in the left foot. If you fail, shoot yourself in the right foot.
Concurrent Euclid: You shoot yourself in somebody else's foot.
HyperTalk: Put the first bullet of the gun into left foot of you. Answer the result.
Motif: You spend days writing a UIL description of your foot, the trajectory, the bullet and the intricate scrollwork on the ivory handles of the gun, When you finally get around to pulling the trigger, the gun jams.
Unix: & Is foot.c foot.h foot.o toe.c toe.o % rm *.o: No such file or directory % Is %
XBase: Shooting yourself is no problem. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, you'll have to use Clipper.
Paradox: Not only can you shoot yourself in the foot, your users can too.
Revelation: You'll be able to shoot yourself in the foot just as soon as you figure out what all these bullets are for.
Visual Basic: You'll shoot yourself in the foot, but you'll have so much fun doing it that you won't care.
Prolog: You tell your program you want to be shot in the foot. The program figures out how to do it, but the syntax doesn't allow it to explain.
370 JCL: You send your foot down to MIS with a 4000-page document explaining how you want it to be shot. Three years later, your foot comes back deep-fried.

Now, the programmers on A2Pro couldn't just leave this list alone, and several other entries were also suggested. First, there were several entries in the Assembly Language category, all rather good:

Assembly: You shoot several people in the feet (and other extremities) while trying to determine the proper addressing mode for the bullet.--Dennis Doms (WIZARDS.MUSE)
Assembly: You take a chunk of steel and machine the pieces for a pistol. You call them macros. Then you assemble them and shoot yourself in the foot.--Dan Brown (D.BROWN109)
Assembly: After sorting through all of the addressing modes, you take careful aim at your foot and end up shooting the computer in the foot. (Follow up: Unfortunately this causes severe trauma on both your part and the machine's and you can't remember where the gun is now, the serial number, the caliber of the bullet, or how your machine got a bullet lodged in it, (all from lack of writing notes to yourself as you worked). You can however remember the manufacturer of the gun so you can call and complain that their product somehow messed up your machine. :-) --Frank Lawrence (P.LAWRENCE5)
Assembly: You crash the OS and overwrite the root disk. The system administrator arrives and shoots you in the foot. After a moment of contemplation, the administrator shoots himself in the foot and then hops around the room rabidly shooting at everyone in sight.--Chris Madsen (C.MADSEN)
Assembly: For those who like to load their own rounds before shooting themselves in the foot.--Chris Madsen (C.MADSEN)
Assembly: You shoot someone else in the foot.--Chris Madsen (C.MADSEN)

Next, a reference to the classic adventure game, Zork:

  (with the antique gun)
You're not holding the gun!
  (with the antique gun) 
I see no foot here. --Chris Flynn (K.FLYNN)
Finally, examples for many other languages were posted by Chris Madsen (C.MADSEN). He did not mention if he wrote any of them himself, but there are names listed after a few, presumably from the author of that particular entry. (These may be from an update to the above list):

Ada: If you are dumb enough to actually use this language, the United States Department of Defense will kidnap you, stand you up in front of a firing squad, and tell the soldiers, "Shoot at his feet."
Algol: You shoot yourself in the foot with a musket. The musket is aesthetically fascinating, and the wound baffles the adolescent medic in the emergency room.
APL: You hear a gunshot, and there's a hole in your foot, but you don't remember enough linear algebra to understand what happened.
BASIC: Your neighbor with a new PC tries to shoot his right foot--but misses. Eventually, after your helping him all Sunday afternoon, he shoots his left foot. The next day he happily describes to everyone in his office just how he did it.
DBase: You squeeze the trigger, but the bullet moves so slowly that by the time your foot feels the pain you've forgotten why you shot yourself anyway.
DBase IV version 1.0: You pull the trigger, but it turns out that the gun was a poorly-designed grenade and the whole building blows up.
CLIPPER: You grab a bullet, get ready to insert it in the gun so that you can shoot yourself in the foot, and discover that the gun that the bullet fits has not yet been built, but should be arriving in the mail real soon now.
DOS: You can't get to either foot from here.
MS-DOS 3.x: Aim at foot. Pull trigger. "Abort, Retry, Fail?"
MS-DOS 5.0: Aim at foot. Pull trigger. "Abort, Retry, Fail, Ignore?" Ah, progress.
Eiffel: You cover yourself entirely with armor plate--except for your foot. You then guarantee to shoot yourself only in the foot.
English: You put your foot in your mouth, then bite it off.
Forth: yourself foot shoot.
lisp: You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds...
scheme: You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds... ...but none of the other appendages are aware of this happening.
Modula/2: After realizing that you can't actually accomplish anything in the language, you shoot yourself in the head.
Oberon: Following your Modula-2 experience, you try to shoot yourself in the head. Unfortunately, your head isn't there anymore. On closer examination, neither is your foot. You extend your leg into a foot and then shoot it.
PL/I: You consume all available system resources, including all the offline bullets. The Data Processing & Payroll Department doubles its size, triples its budget, acquires four new mainframes, and drops the original one on your foot.
Prolog: You attempt to shoot yourself in the foot, but the bullet, failing to find its mark, backtracks into the gun which then explodes in your face. (BG)
sh, csh, etc.: You can't remember the syntax for anything, so you spend five hours reading man pages before giving up. You then shoot the computer and switch to C.
Unix sh: if [-x foot] $SHOOT_ACTION -9qv 2>&1 /var/tmp/$RANDOM.sf | awk "{rs%%%s![c-t]} $1 \"foot\"" >foot fi;;
Smalltalk: You spend so much time playing with the graphics and windowing system that your boss shoots you in the foot, takes away your workstation, and makes you develop in COBOL on a character terminal.
Smalltalk: You send a message to your foot with a gun as one of the parameters. The message is: foot shoot-yourself.
Smalltalk: self shoot: (leg foot) with: Gun new clippingBox: self footBox rule: blitRule mask: blackMask.
SNOBOL: You grab your foot with your hand, then rewrite your hand to be a bullet. The act of shooting the original foot then changes your hand/bullet into yet another foot (a left foot).
SQL: You cut your foot off, send it out to a service bureau and when it returns, it has a hole in it, but will no longer fit the attachment at the end of your leg.
SQL: You begin the transaction to shoot your foot then realize the syntax is too restrictive to get from here to there. Rolling back the transaction, you crash the system. A hole appears in your foot.
SQL: You can't shoot yourself in the foot because shooting is only allowed in ANSI (level 2 or higher) mode and feet only exist in non-ANSI mode. In the latest release, which your site can't afford to upgrade to anyway, ANSI feet exist, but several people have posted messages to comp.lang.sql claiming that shooting body parts in that release causes the operating system to crash.

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