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Programmers are weird

by demerphq (Chancellor)
on Aug 30, 2005 at 12:21 UTC ( #487723=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I was just looking into a few things and it occurred to me how weird us programmers must seem to the rest of the world. Here's a partial list of some of the reasons why:

  1. We draw trees upside down; We call the "top" of a tree its "root"; and often we talk of a leaf's siblings, parents and sometimes even children.
  2. We write tons of stuff, but we almost always write the middle before we write the beginning or end; in a lot of code if you want to look at the first and last things that happen you need to look at the bottom of the file.
  3. We often start counting at 0 and call 0 the 1st number; except when we start counting at 1 when we like to say that one is stored in the zero'th index
  4. There is no text in our lives, we deal with strings, but not ones you can tie a knot in.
  5. We often operate like the machines we use... Ask a busy programmer a question and it can be minutes before the programmer context switches and replies to the question.
  6. We have a tendency to consider 'or' in colloquial conversation to be the inclusive 'or' and not the exclusive 'or' that the rest of the world seem to use. Thus "should we go to the movies or to dinner" gets the answer "yes" and not the expected choice...

What other weird things do we do?

---
$world=~s/war/peace/g

Comment on Programmers are weird
Re: Programmers are weird
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 30, 2005 at 12:41 UTC
    Who are you caliing a weirdo, huh, weirdo?
Re: Programmers are weird
by tbone1 (Monsignor) on Aug 30, 2005 at 12:50 UTC
    One of the things I like about programming is that, in comparison, I look normal. And working at NASA? Why, you'd have thought I drove a Buick and had an accounting degree.

    --
    tbone1, YAPS (Yet Another Perl Schlub)
    And remember, if he succeeds, so what.
    - Chick McGee

Re: Programmers are weird
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 30, 2005 at 12:56 UTC
    Programmers are weird because...

    Multiple programmers can sit around talking about Taint checking, and not one person chuckles.
      Which, of course, made me chuckle.

      Jack

Re: Programmers are weird
by gargle (Hermit) on Aug 30, 2005 at 13:07 UTC

    Well, a search on the net finds lots of these 'remarks'. Best reference about programmers in general is however The Jargon File. The entries on The Story of Mel, Real Programmer and A portrait are interesting.

    And I just love the entries on Perl, especially Swiss!

    In short, programmers in general have a weird sense of humor, p.e. *noone* of my non-programmer friends think the number 42 is funny!

Re: Programmers are weird
by samizdat (Vicar) on Aug 30, 2005 at 13:41 UTC
    Don't think I can top yours, demerphq, but let's see:
    • she-bang actually means something specific, not (w)hole
    • interpreters are essential for everyday life
    • we work really hard to be really lazy
    • the deeper we go, the simpler our code
    • cursing isn't enough; we must recurse
    • it isn't enough to quote something; when we double-quote it it's going to end up saying something else
    • saving context means spending your stack

    ummm... what's funny about 42?

      42? From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (“what is 6 times 9”, correct in base 13). For other Random Numbers click the link.

      if ( 1 ) { $postman->ring() for (1..2); }
Re: Programmers are weird
by chester (Hermit) on Aug 30, 2005 at 14:10 UTC
    A fork is one of our most powerful tools.

    We kill children and fight zombies. (I hope no non-programmers ever read this page.)

      We have regularly scheduled dumps, sometimes several per day.

      Numbers like 512 and 8192 look strangely familiar to us; we think kilo equals 1024.

      We use the word "code" as if it were something, like water or sand, that can be put in a barrel. We refer to "core" as place name, without an article, like "Newark".

      We are horrified by bugs. We openly speak of spending hours "debugging", and don't find it particularly indecorous.

      We bounce our daemons, and fork our children.

      the lowliest monk

        Even weirder, we have a tendency to store our dumps in extremely safe places for very long times. And we even practice and test whether our dumps can be restored!

        ---
        $world=~s/war/peace/g

        Numbers like 512 and 8192 look strangely familiar to us; we think kilo equals 1024.
        Not only, but also some of us -including me- know by heart 32768 and 65536. Though I've yet to meet anyone who knows the output of perl -le 'print 1<<24' or perl -le 'print ~0' (32-bit machine here!) in anticipation, albeit I suspect quite more than one does. Anyone here?

        Ouch! Now that I'm staring at them I fear I will learn them by heart too... ;-)

      Sometimes we even ask parents to kill their children....and they do it.
Re: Programmers are weird
by Steve_p (Priest) on Aug 30, 2005 at 16:05 UTC
    We often operate like the machines we use... Ask a busy programmer a question and it can be minutes before the programmer context switches and replies to the question.

    Frequently heard in my house...

    wifey: Honey? Can you help me with something?

    Steve_p: Yeah...just a minute

      In mine its more like:

      gf: Honey would you like a beer?
      (time passes)
      demerphq: ummmm
      (time passes, foot tapping and typing is heard)
      demerphq: Oh!, Right. Beer? Beer! Yes please....
      gf: Its right next you you dumb ape....

      ---
      $world=~s/war/peace/g

Re: Programmers are weird
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Aug 30, 2005 at 20:00 UTC

    A conversation I had with some of my non-programmer friends:

    Jen:  Ovid, what have you been doing lately?
    Ovid:  Reading "Mastering Regular Expressions."
    
    ... short pause followed by much laughter ...
    
    Jen:  I thought you knew how to talk!
    Greg:  Hello, how are you?
    Jen:  Can you direct me to my hotel?
    Greg:  How much for twenty minutes?

    Of course, I had to kill and eat them afterwards.

    Cheers,
    Ovid

    New address of my CGI Course.

Re: Programmers are weird
by shiza (Hermit) on Aug 30, 2005 at 20:26 UTC
Re: Programmers are weird
by robot_tourist (Hermit) on Aug 31, 2005 at 10:37 UTC

    • We analyse queueing systems everywhere and tell people they need more bandwidth.
    • C is a language, not merely a letter of the alphabet.
    • We enjoy sitting in front of computers for hours at a time.
    • We (well maybe just me) laugh at things like: 'Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway' (Tanenbaum)
    • People don't die in flame wars.
    • We expect people to understand when you explain how you were using the wrong config spec to build your code because the one you normally use doesn't work for this product because there is a different version of the embedded software on the product's hardware.
    • We get excited over CSS 2.1 compliance in IE7, but can't understand what SOX compliance means.

    There are probably loads more.

    How can you feel when you're made of steel? I am made of steel. I am the Robot Tourist.
    Robot Tourist, by Ten Benson

      We get excited over CSS 2.1 compliance in IE7, but can't understand what SOX compliance means.

      If by SOX compliance you mean Sarbanes-Oxley compliance then many of us programmers understand it more than the people telling us what we need to do in order to be SOX compliant.

Re: Programmers are weird
by tlm (Prior) on Aug 31, 2005 at 14:14 UTC

    Only programmers (though, of course, not all programmers) need to be reminded of Mark Hahn's Reality Check: "Writing code ... is not an exercise in manliness."

    the lowliest monk

Re: Programmers are weird
by g0n (Priest) on Aug 31, 2005 at 14:30 UTC
    Programmers don't generally understand the concept "good enough", there's always one more improvement to be made.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    g0n, backpropagated monk

Re: Programmers are weird
by SamCG (Hermit) on Aug 31, 2005 at 17:37 UTC
    Personally, when asked a question I tend to answer the question asked -- particularly if I dislike the asker.

    obnoxious pm: Is there a way to <anything>?
    me: yes
    obnoxious pm: No, what I mean is could you <blah, blah>?
    me: yes, I could
    obnoxious pm: I'm asking you if it's possible to <blah, blah>.
    me: ...


    pretty soon, all the people I don't like stop talking to me ;)
Re: Programmers are weird
by bassplayer (Monsignor) on Sep 01, 2005 at 14:33 UTC
    3. We often start counting at 0 and call 0 the 1st number; except when we start counting at 1 when we like to say that one is stored in the zero'th index
    My 5-year-old son counts the number of rinses he does after brushing his teeth, and starts at zero. I've never mentioned counting from zero to any of my kids -- he just did it, and *sniff* it makes me proud.

    bassplayer wipes a tear from his eye

    bassplayer

Re: Programmers are weird
by tcf03 (Deacon) on Sep 09, 2005 at 19:46 UTC
    My twin girls are only a month old and ive started reading HOP, and Haskell: The art of functional programming to them :)

    Ted
    --
    "That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved."
      --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: Programmers are weird
by theroninwins (Friar) on Mar 21, 2006 at 07:39 UTC
    Ok this one comes late but I just saw the node....

    o We love to use and call for daemons
    o We often kill all of a kind
    o We do a lot for our backups

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