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 Understanding Engineers - Take Two To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass

 is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs  to be. Think you know everything!

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Understanding Engineers - Take One

 Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said,

 "Where did you get such a great bike?"

 The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday

 minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike.

 She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and

 said, "Take what you want."

 The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes

 probably wouldn't have fit."


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 Understanding Engineers - Take Two

To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass

 is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs  to be.


Understanding Engineers - Take Three

 A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a

 particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with

 these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"

 The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such

 ineptitude!"

 The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a

 word with him." [dramatic pause] "Hi George, say, what's with that

 group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

 The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind

 firefighters lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last

 year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

 The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, "That's so sad.

 I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

 The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my

 ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

 The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"


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 Understanding Engineers - Take Four

 There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things

 mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30

 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company

 contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were

 having with one of their multimillion dollar machines.

 They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to

 work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired

 engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past.

 The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying

 the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in

 chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, "This is

 where your problem is."

 The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.

 The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his

 service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The

 engineer responded briefly:

 One chalk mark: $1

 Knowing where to put it: $49,999

 It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.


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Understanding Engineers - Take Five

 What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil  Engineers?

 Mechanical Engineers build weapons.

 Civil Engineers build targets.


 Understanding Engineers - Take Six

 Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the

 possible designers of the human body. One said, "It was a mechanical

 engineer. Just look at all the joints."

 Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system

 has many thousands of electrical connections."

 The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a

 toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"


 Back To Joke Page.

Understanding Engineers - Take Seven

 "Normal people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough

 features yet."

 --Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle


 Understanding Engineers - Take Eight

An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it

 was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect

 said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an  enduring  relationship.

 The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the

 passion and mystery he found there.

 The engineer said, "I like both."

 "Both?"

 Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each

 assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the

 lab and get some work done."


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Understanding Engineers - Take Nine

 An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him

 and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."

 He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The

 frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a

 beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The engineer

 took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned

 it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn

 me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."

 Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back

 into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've

 told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week

 and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

 The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a

 girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

 


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Think you know everything?

 

1. Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

2. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

3. There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

4. The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.

5. A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

6. There are more chickens than people in the world.

7. Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey.

8. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."

9. On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the

Parliament building is an American flag.

10. All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20.

11. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

12. "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt."

13. All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.

14. Almonds are a member of the peach family.

15. Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

16. Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

17. There are only four words in the English language which end

in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

18. Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angelesde Porciuncula"

19. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

20. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

21. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

22. In most advertisements, the time displayed on a watch 10:10.

23. Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

24. The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after

Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life."

25. A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

26. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

27. A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

28. It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

29. The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.

30. In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.

31. The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar

tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket

32. Mr. Rogers is an ordained minister.

33. The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

34. There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.

35. "Stewardesses" is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.

..Now you know everything ..You could be a TEENAGER

 


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After the earth dries out, Noah tells all the animals to 'go forth and multiply'. However, two snakes, adders to be specific, complain to Noah that this is one thing they have never been able to do, hard as they have tried. Undaunted, Noah instructs the snakes to go into the woods, make tables from the trunks of fallen trees and give it a try on the tabletops.

The snakes respond that they don't understand how this will help them to procreate whereupon Noah explains: "Well, even adders can multiply using log tables!"


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An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer -- you're in the wrong place." So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in.

Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell?" Satan replies, "Hey things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

God replies, "What??? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake -- he should never have gotten down there; send him up here."

Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him."

God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue."

Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"


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Engineers Explained

People who work in the fields of science and technology are not like other people. This can be frustrating to the non-technical people who have to deal with them. The secret to coping with technology-oriented people is to understand their motivations. This chapter will teach you everything you need to know. I learned their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming.

Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody wants to be one. The word "engineer" is greatly overused. If there's somebody in your life who you think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this test to discern the truth.


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ENGINEER IDENTIFICATION TEST

SOCIAL SKILLS

Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.

"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

*Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
*Important social contacts
*A feeling of connectedness with other humans

In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:

*Get it over with as soon as possible.
*Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
*Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.


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FASCINATION WITH GADGETS

To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories: (1)things that need to be fixed, and (2)things that will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them. Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. Normal people don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering what it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer can take a shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.

FASHION AND APPEARANCE

Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective of clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.

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LOVE OF "STAR TREK"

Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. It's a small wonder, since the engineers on the starship Enterprise are portrayed as heroes, occasionally even having sex with aliens. This is much more glamorous than the real life of an engineer, which consists of hiding from the universe and having sex without the participation of other life forms.

DATING AND SOCIAL LIFE

Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function.

Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it's true that many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineerlike children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing their virginity.

Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually irresistible men in technical professions:

* Bill Gates.
* MacGyver.
* Etcetera.

Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it's a warm day.


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HONESTY

Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.

Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed below.

"I won't change anything without asking you first."
"I'll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
"I have to have new equipment to do my job."
"I'm not jealous of your new computer."

FRUGALITY

Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape this situation while retaining the greatest amount of cash?"


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POWERS OF CONCENTRATION

If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it is the ability to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers to be
pronounced dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech areas have started checking resumes before processing the bodies. Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days just to see if he or she snaps out of it.

RISK

Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little mistake, the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.


Back To Joke Page.

EXAMPLES OF BAD PRESS FOR ENGINEERS

* Hindenberg.
* Space Shuttle Challenger.
* SPANet(tm)
* Hubble space telescope.
* Apollo 13.
* Titanic.
* Ford Pinto.
* Corvair.

The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:

RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people.
REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain.

If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's technically possible but it will cost too much."


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EGO

Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:
* How smart they are.
* How many cool devices they own.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it's solved. No illness or distraction is
sufficient to get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal -- a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature.

Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a problem. (Other times just because they forgot.) And when they succeed in solving the problem they will experience an ego rush that is better than sex--and I'm including the kind of sex where other people are involved.

Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion that somebody has more technical skill. Normal people sometimes use that knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer. When an engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means it's not fun to do), some clever normal people have learned to glance at the engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something along these lines: "I'll ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to solve difficult technical problems."

At that point it is a good idea for the normal person to not stand between the engineer and the problem. The engineer will set upon the problem like a starved Chihuahua on a pork chop.


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THE ENGINEER SONG
(Sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies)

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man name Jed,
A poor College Kid barely kept his family fed
But then one day he talked to a recruiter,
"They'll pay ya big bucks if ya work on a computer",
UNIX that is . . . CRT's . . . Workstations;

Well the first thing ya know ol' Jed's an Engineer,
The kinfolk said "Jed move away from here",
They said "Arizona is the place ya oughta be",
So he scarfed down some donuts and he moved to Ahwatukee,
Intel that is . . . dry heat . . . no amusement parks;

On his first day at work they stuck him in cube,
The fed him more donuts and they sat him at a tube,
They said "Your project's late but we know just what to do,
Instead of 40 hours, hey, we'll work you fifty-two!"
OT that is . . . unpaid . . . Mandatory

The weeks rolled by and things were looking bad,
The schedules they did slip and managers were mad,
They called another meeting and decided on a fix,
The answer's really simple, "Hey, we'll work him sixty-six",
Tired that is . . . stressed out . . . no social life

Well, months stretched to years and his hair was turning gray,
Ol' Jed worked real hard while his life just slipped away,
Waiting to retire when he aged to sixty-four,
Instead he got a call and they kicked him out the door,
Laid-off that is . . . Debriefed . . . Unemployed . . .


Back To Joke Page.

A Programmer and an Engineer are sitting next to each other on a long flight from LA to NY. The Programmer leans over to the Engineer and asks if he would like to play a fun game. The Engineer just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

The Programmer persists and explains that the game is real easy and a lotta fun. He explains "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $5.". Again, the Engineer politely declines and tries to get to sleep. The Programmer, now some what agitated, says, "OK, if you don't know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $50!" This catches the Engineer's attention, and he sees no end to this torment unless he plays, so he agrees to the game. The Programmer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?" The Engineer doesn't say a word, but reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five dollar bill and hands it to the Programmer. Now, it's the Engineer's turn. He asks the Programmer "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down on four?"

The Programmer looks up at him with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all of his references. He taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches the net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends e-mail to his co-workers -- all to no avail. After about an hour, he wakes the Engineer and hands him $50. The Engineer politely takes the $50 and turns away to try to get back to sleep. The Programmer, more than a little miffed, shakes the Engineer and asks "Well, so what's the answer?"

Without a word, the Engineer reaches into his wallet, hands the Programmer $5, and turns away to get back to sleep.


Back To Joke Page.


There was this male engineer, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for the first time. It was wonderful, the experience of his life. He was being waited on hand an foot. But, it did not last. A Hurricane came up unexpectedly. The ship went down almost instantly.

The man found himself, he knew not how, swept up on the shore of an island. There was nothing else anywhere to be seen. No person, no supplies, nothing. The man looked around. There were some bananas and coconuts, but that was it. He was desperate, and forlorn, but decided to make the best of it. He decided that he had to make the best of it.

So for the next four months he ate bananas, drank coconut juice and mostly looked to the sea mightily for a ship to come to his rescue.

One day, as he was lying on the beach stroking his beard and looking for a ship, he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. Could it be true, was it a ship? No, from around the corner of the island came this rowboat. In it was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen, or at least seen in 4 months. She was tall, tanned, and her blond hair flowing in the seabreeze gave her an almost ethereal quality. She spotted him also as he was waving and yelling and screaming to get her attention. She rowed her boat towards him.

In disbelief, he asked, "where did you come from, how did you get here"? She said, "I rowed from the other side of the island.. I landed on this island when my cruise ship sank" "Amazing", he said, "I didn't know anyone else had survived. How many of you are there? Where, did you get the rowboat? You must have been really lucky to have a rowboat wash-up with you?" "It is only me", she said, "and the rowboat didn't wash up, nothing else did. "Well then", said the man, how did you get the rowboat?" I made the rowboat out of raw material that I found on the island, replied the woman. The oars were whittled from Gum tree branches, I wove the bottom from Palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree". "But, but, asked the man, what about tools and hardware, how did you do that?" "Oh, no problem, replied the woman, on the south side of the island there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found that If I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools, and used the tools to make the hardware. But, enough of that, she said. Where do you live?" At this man was forced to confess that he had been sleeping on the beach. "Well, let's row over to my place, she said." So they both got into the rowboat and left for her side of island.

The woman easily rowed them around to a wharf that led to the approach to her place. She tied up the rowboat with a beautifully woven hemp rope. They walked up a stone walk and around a Palm tree, there stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. "It's not much, she said, but I call it home. Sit down please, would you like to have a drink?" "No, said the man, one more coconut juice and I will puke." "It won't be coconut juice, the woman replied, I have a still. How about a Pina Colada?" Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepted, and they sat down on her couch to talk.

After a while, and they had exchanged their stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had a beard?" "No," the man replied, "I was clean shaven all of my life, and even on the cruise ship". "Well if you would like to shave, there is a mans razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom." So, the man, no longer questioning anything, went upstairs to the bath room. There in the cabinet was a razor made from a bone handle, two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism. The man shaved, showered and went back down stairs..

"You look great," said the woman, "I think I will go and slip into something more comfortable." So she did.

And, the man continued to sip his Pina Colada. After a short time, the woman returned wearing fig leafs strategically placed and smelling faintly of gardenia.

"Tell me," she asked, "we have both been out here for a very long time with no companionship. You know what I mean. Have you been lonely, is there anything that you really miss? Something that all men and woman need. Something that it would be really nice to have right now."

"Yes there is," the man replied, as he moved closer to the woman while fixing a winsome gaze upon her, "tell me: Do you happen to have an Internet connection?"


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Metric Conversion Chart

10**12 Microphones = 1 Megaphone
10**6 bicycles = 2 megacycles
500 millinaries = 1 seminary
2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds
10 cards = 1 decacards
1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn
10**-6 fish = 1 microfiche
453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
10**12 pins = 1 terrapin
10**21 picolos = 1 gigolo
10 rations = 1 decoration
100 rations = 1 C-ration
10 millipedes = 1 centipede
3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
5 holocausts = 1 Pentacost
10 monologs = 5 dialogues
5 dialogues = 1 decalogue
2 monograms = 1 diagram
8 nickles = 2 paradigms
2 snake eyes = 1 paradise
2 wharves = 1 paradox


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The Adventures of Micro-farad and Milli-amp


One night when his charge was pretty high, Micro-Farad decided to seek out a cute coil to let him discharge. He picked up Milli-Amp and took her for a ride on his Megacycle. They rode across the Wheatstone Bridge, around the sine waves, and stopped in the magnetic field by a flowing current.

Micro-Farad, attracted by Milli-Amp's characteristic curves, soon had her fully charged and excited her resistance to a minimum. He laid her on the ground potential, raised her frequency, and lowered her reluctance.

He pulled out his high voltage probe and inserted it in her socket, connecting them in parallel and began short circuiting her resistance shunt. Fully excited, Milli-Amp mumbled, "OHM-OHM-OHM."

With his tube operating at a maximum and her field vibrating with his current flow, it caused her shunt to overheat, and Micro-Farad was rapidly discharged and drained off every electron.

They fluxed all night trying various connections and sockets until his magnet had a soft core and lost all of its field strength.

Afterwards, Milli-Amp tried self-induction and damaged her solenoids. With his battery fully discharged, Micro-Farad was unable to excite his field, so they spent the rest of the night reversing polarity and blowing each other's fuses.


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Hippocratic Oath For Software Engineers


Never write a line of code that someone else can understand.

Make the simplest line of code appear complex. Use long counter intuitive names. Don't ever code "a=b", rather do something like:

AlphaNodeSemaphore=*(int)(&(unsigned long)(BetaFrameNodeFarm));

Type fast, think slow.

Never use direct references to anything ever. Bury everything in macros. Bury the macros in include files. Reference those include files indirectly from other include files. Use macros to reference those include files.

Never include a comment that will help someone else understand your code. If they understand it, they don't need you.

Never generate new sources. Always ifdef the old ones. Every binary in the world should be generated from the same sources.

Never archive all the sources necessary to build a binary. Always hide on your own disk. If they can build your binary, they don't need you.

Never code a function to return a value. All functions must return a pointer to a structure which contains a pointer to a value.

Never discuss things in concrete terms. Always speak in abstract. If they can understand you, they don't need you.

Never complete a project on time. If you do, they will think it was easy and anyone can do it and they don't need you.

When someone stops by your office to ask a question, talk forever, but don't answer the question. If they get their questions answered, they don't need you.

Load all sentences either written or spoken with alphabet soup. When someone asks you out to lunch, reply:

"I can't because I've almost got my RISC-based OSI/TCP/IP client connected by BIBUS VMS VAX using SMTP over TCP sending SNMP inquiry results to be encapsulated in UDP packets for transmission to a SUN 4/280 NFS 4.3 BSD with release 3.6 of RPC/XDR supporting our ONC effort working."

Never clean your office. Absolutely never throw away an old listing.

Never say hello to someone in the hallway. Absolutely never address someone by name. If you must address someone by name, mumble or use the wrong name. Always maintain the mystique of being spaced out from concentrating on complex logic.

Never wear a shirt that matches your pants. Wear a wrinkled shirt whenever possible. Your shirt must never be tucked in completely. Button the top button without wearing a tie. This will maximize your mystique.


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How does a VLSI designer paint a living room?


1. Put a paint shaker in the middle of the floor.

2. Put an open can of paint in the paint shaker.

3. Turn it on. Run out of the room very quickly. Everything in the room is now covered with paint.

4. Wait until the paint dries.

5. Cover every part of the room you really wanted painted with masking tape. Leave the floor, switch plates, etc. uncovered.

6. Put an open can of paint remover in the paint shaker.

7. Turn it on. Run out of the room very quickly. Everything not covered with masking tape is now clean again.

8. Remove the masking tape.

9. Remove the paint shaker and sludge from the floor.


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Electrical Engineering vs. Computer Science

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?"

One advisor, an engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?" The engineer replied, "Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype."

The second advisor, a computer scientist, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, "Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years."

"With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard- boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various omelet classes."

"The ham and cheese omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs."

"Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too."

"We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX v.8.3' appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook."

"Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the implementation phase. A Pentium with 32MB of memory, a 2GB hard disk, and a SVGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking,
object oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built-in GUI, writing the program will be a snap. (Imagine the difficulty we would have had if we had foolishly allowed a hardware-first design strategy to lock us into a four-bit microcontroller!)."

The king wisely had the computer scientist beheaded, and they all lived happily ever after.

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