Canonical List of Hardware Humor
*****Canonical List Of Computer Harware Humor****
This is the Canonical List Of Computer Harware Humor. It has been
compiled with the assistance of a lot of people but a special thanks goes to
Prof P. Piacenza (firstname.lastname@example.org) who contributed a great deal of jokes
etc to this list.
Any submissions should be sent to :-
where they will be added to the list and the submitter will get a personal copy
of the list. Any requests for copies of this list sent to the above addresse
will be chearfully ignored. If you are reading this then you have a copy in
front of you. If your joke is more suited to any of the other lists then it
will be placed there.
This file can be FTPed from FTP.CCO.CALTECH.EDU in the directory
/PUB/HUMOR/CANONICAL.LIST - login as anonymous and enter E-Mail address as
The latest version of this file can also be found at:-
Ok enough of the boring stuff - enjoy.............
2) Future Intel History
3) Getting To Know Your Computer
Dealing with the equipment
Rule #1: The spacebar either always sticks or doesn't work.
Rule #2: Monochrome is "in" this year.
Rule #3: "Extensive computing facilities" means a bunch of 8086
machines with floppy drives, MDA or Hercules on a LAN.
Rule #4: Unless you want to use WordPerfect or TrueBasic, you will
have to forcibly remove the English major using one of the
few 386 machines. After all, why would he give up all that
power he needs to type "Ode to My Toejam" with WordPerfect
when your final project in CS 999 is due tomorrow?
Rule #5: A paper TTY cranking at 110 baud and a punch card reader *is*
state-of-the-art. Just ask the system administrator.
Rule #6: That mysterious "computer fee" on your bill pays for the paper
for the TTY and the sysadmin's coffee. Refuse to pay it and
buy an abacus. You'll be better off.
Rule #7: Viruses are to college computing centers as tornadoes are to
trailer parks. The phrase "disaster magnet" comes to mind.
Rule #7a: Don't stick your floppy in the slot without knowing what else
has been in there first.
Rule #8: The only mice they probably have that work are the ones who
have been eating the sysadmin's stash of Oreos and
A ?Possible? Future History of Intel(TM) Pentium(TM) Microprocessors
Copyright Lee Campbell
Circulate this for Yuks, but not for Bucks!
10/92 Intel unveils i486 follow-on; announces name will be "Pentium"
because "586" is not copywritable.
04/93 Pentium begins sampling. The usual obscure bugs appear. This
time persistant ones are associated with opcode X666.
09/93 Intel announces low-power, reduced performance version of
Pentium for use in portables. Ad campaign features engineers
backpacking with portable computers, forming token ring
around campfire. Naturally, the chip is named "Tentium."
11/93 Marketeers around the world are stunned by Intel's bold new
marketing strategy: leasing of microprocessors. Customers
will be able to lease chips with option to buy or to upgrade
to the next generation which is guaranteed to be pin
compabible (The chips have a special pinout with dozens of
pins reserved for future use.) The chip is dubbed "Rentium."
03/94 An uneasy alliance of the Vatican and fundamentalist Christians
demands a CPU with no opcodes numbered 666 in octal, decimal
or hexidecimal. Intel listens to its customers and responds
with a special compiler with work-arounds, and a chip that
gives up about 10% in performance but eschews "devil" opcodes.
The part is called "Lentium".
05/94 AMD announces a super-low-cost Pentium compatable. It costs
"Just pennies per MIP" and is dubbed "Centium."
06/94 Intel releases name of next generation chip. A small company in
Pocatello, Idaho has had the forsight to copyright and market
chips under the name "Hexium" and "Sexium." They try to sell
the names to Intel for millions. Intel doggedly resists the
blackmail and markets the new chip as "Sixium."
11/94 Sixium samples. Bugs show up again in opcode 666. The press
derisively refers to the buggy chips as "Nixium."
04/95 The bugs in opcode 666 are finally killed. Grateful OEM's
sell the part as "Fixium."
05/95 Texas Instruments announces it has obtained rights to second-
source Sixium. In an effort to differentiate its product and
tap the wellsprings of state pride, it names its new chip
07/95 Cyrix announces a "supercompatability" chip which can emulate
a pentium, a superSPARC, an R3000, a PowerPC, an Alpha, and
a 68060. The part is named "Mixium."
09/95 A lively aftermarket develops in used Pentium chips; they are
bought and sold under the moniker "Spentium."
Getting To Know Your Computer
ALT KEY - For calling up extra functions. Conveniently placed where you'd
expect to find the SHIFT key, it let's you delete entire documents
when all you wanted was a capital L.
BIOS - Legal term for the method used by IBM to settle out of court with
it's competitors over copyright problems.
BOOTING - Arcane term for the aching delay as the PC dutifully checks that it's
got all it's bits and pieces.
COMMAND_DRIVEN - Term used to describe the way a data management package works.
You tell it to do one thing, and it does something else.
COMMS PORT - Russian submarine base.
COMMUNICATIONS - Method of combining incompatible software working to
incompatible standards to produce difficult to understand
COMPATIBLE PRICE CUTS - Example of largesse on the part of manufacturers of
PC_compatible microcomputers. Nothing to do with
IBM price cuts. See IBM PRICE CUTS.
DAISYWHEEL PRINTER - Slow, letter-quality output device designed to seriously
impair the hearing of the people who work near it.
DATA PROCESSING DEPARTMENT - Part of a large company whose job it is to
discourage the use of PC's.
EASILY EXPANDABLE - Minimum price configuration is unsuitable for practical use.
EASY TO INSTALL - Difficult to install, but instruction manual has pictures.
EASY TO USE - Not very powerful
ELECTRONIC MAIL - Method of sending messages between PC users, rather than
letting them talk to each other.
ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED - Has highly unusual appearance.
EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS - The only branch of a US software company not to employ
any knowledgeable product support staff.
EXECUTIVE CURSOR CONTROL - Joystick.
EXPANSION SLOTS - Sparse resource quickly used up by clock/calenders, games
adaptors and mouse cards.
FIXED DISK DRIVE - Difficult-to-back-up storage device sold by IBM to make it
easy for PC users to lose large amounts of valuable data.
FLIGHT SIMULATOR - Microsoft game which mimics a light aircraft, said to be
the ultimate test for PC compatibility.
FLEXIBLE - Difficult to use.
FLOPPY DISK - Long-playing record left out in the sun.
FUNCTION KEYS - Outmoded hardware devices passed over by software authors in
favour of complex combinations of CONTROL KEYS and mnemonic
GRAPHICS GAME - Describes matchstick men fighting upside-down pound signs.
HANDS-ON-TRAINING - Where groups of would-be users huddle round a single PC for
two days, and watch someone else use it.
HIGH LEVEL OF FUNCTIONALITY - Does some of the thing's it's claimed to.
IBM's HIGH RESOLUTION COLOUR GRAPHICS - On the PC, black & white.
IBM COMPATIBLE - Term used to describe a microcomputer that might run some PC
IBM PRICE CUTS - Reduction of prices so that they're only slightly more
expensive than rival products. See COMPATIBLE PRICE CUTS.
INTEGRATED SOFTWARE - Package with several functions-spreadsheet, graphics,
and word processing-that only comes on four floppy disks.
JUSTIFICATION - Method used in a personalised word processed letter to make it
look like a word processed letter.
LETTER QUALITY MATRIX PRINTER - Output device that produces print quality that
is unsuitable for real correspondance.
LOCAL AREA NETWORK - Highly complicated system that surrenders local control of
personal computing to remote data processing dept.
MOUSE - Hand-held controller that's even more embarassing for status-conscious
executives to use than a keyboard.
MULTIFUNCTION BOARD - Add-in card for a PC, packed with features you don't need.
MATRIX PRINTER - Output device that produces print quality that even its makers
say is unsuitable for correspondence.
NEW VERSION - Software release or hardware product that does most, but not all
of what the original version was supposed to do.
NEXT VERSION - Not-yet-available relese of a softtware package that's claimed
to do all of the things claimed for the original version. Often
turns out to be a NEW VERSION (see above).
NUM LOCK - One of the mysteries on the PC's keyboard. Until you start typing
you don't know whether it's switched on or not.
OPERATING SYSTEM - Difficult to understand piece of software which is supposed
to be `transparent' to PC users.
PORTABLE PC - No such thing.
POWERFUL US FINANCIAL PLANNING PACKAGE - Doesn't display or print out pound
RAM - A goat.
RECOMMENDED FOR HARD DISK USE - A program that comes on 12 floppy disks.
SMOOTH SCROLLING - Slightly less juddery movement of text up and down the
SERIAL PORT - Hardware device that goes snap, crackle, then pops.
SHARED PRINTER - Expensive peripheral that's always being used by someone else.
SIMPLE TO INSTALL - Installation procedure likely to invalidate IBM waranty.
TOTAL BUISNESS SOLUTION - Jargon used by computer salesmen to make you believe
they understand what you're saying.
USER - A four letter word. Used by manufacturers to describe someone who falls
foul of their product.
UTILITIES - 'Extra' pieces of software, more complicated than the problems
they're supposed to help you solve.
VAPOURWARE - Idea in a computer entrepreneur's mind and ad agency's copy for a
product that doesn't actually exist.
VERSION II - Re-packaged program that does all that was prommised for the
origional product, but not as much as is claimed for in the
VOICE INPUT - A (pause) way (pause) of (pause) talking (pause) to (pause)
computers (stop). Voice training courses are recommended to help
PC users project over the thundering of daisywheel printers. See
WINCHESTER - An old English town.
WINDOWS - Software device designed to confuse lay end users by letting them run
five programs simultaneously.
WYSIWYG - (Pronounced `wizzy wig'). Usually describes a word processing package
that lets you display fancy typefaces on the screen, but won't work
with any of your printers.
APPLICATIONS GENERATOR - Enables you to write any kind of program you want - as
long as it's a database. See PROGRAM GENERATOR.
BACKUP - Don't worry, it'll never hapen to me.
BASIC - Language that's unsuitable without additions.
CONCURRENCY - The facility to handle several tasks at one, without doing any
of them properly.
DEBUGGER - The person who sold us our system.
DOS - Do it Our-Selves.
DUMB TERMINAL - Exactly what it says. See 3274 CONTROLLER.
ENTROPY - The universal process of things changing for the worse. See UPGRADE.
FOURTH GENERATION - Technology that would have been appreciated in 1905.
INDUSTRY STANDARD - Term used by suppliers which means "every one is out of step
KEYBOARD - Easy to use input device which fits snugly into the cassettte socket
at the rear of the PC - and then won't work.
KEYBOARD TEMPLATE - Ill fitting plastic devie which prevents the smooth working
of the PC's keyboard. Also comes in delux cardboard model
which falls to pieces after a week.
LCD - Lousy computer display.
MACHINE CODE - A language that's best left to machines.
MENU - A bit like a real menu - full of things you don't understand.
POP-UP MENUS - Little windows full of help messages that instantly cover up
whatever it was you wanted help with.
PROGRAM GENERATOR - Package claimed to enable you to write programs without
being a programmer as long as all you want to do is write
database programs. See APPLICATIONS GENERATOR.
SCHEDULING - Identifying those parts of a project which you hope no-one will
notice have been left out.
SHELL - Designed to come between PC users and the complexity of the OS. Usually
something you wish you'd left closed.
SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - A dicipline which ensures that the correct and useful
parts of a program are written in such a way that any
programmer can undestand how they work. See ENTROPY.
STATEMENT OF DIRECTION - We only think we know where we're going, but we're
going to try and take you along anyway.
TOTAL BUSINESS SOLUTION - Give up business and move to Barbados.
UCSD.p - An opperating system that's more portable than most computers, but
isn't used by many people.
UPGRADE - A new version of a program in which all the modules the programmers
could understand have been re-written. See SOFTWARE ENGINEERING.
1.2.3 - Key phrase missed out of the Lotus Symphony manual.
3270_PC - Seven functions at once. As long as only one is a PC function.
3270_EMULATION - Add-in card costing almost as much as a real 3270 terminal.
3274_CONTROLLER - Device for turning expensive, powerful PC's into dumb
terminals. See DUMB TERMINALS.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - Man-made method for making a machine even more
irrational than man. See EXPERT SYSTEM.
BACKING-UP - Mythical ceremony, often discussed, but rarely encountered. See
BIGGER ICONS - Large pictures on PC's screen which don't infringe Apple's
copyright. See ICONS.
COPY_PROTECTED - Stops thieves from stealing it and genuine PC users from
DECISION SUPPORT - Special software package which includes business plan,
darts and blindfold.
ESCAPE SEQUENCE - Lash computer securely to desk. Pull out plug. Detach
parallel printer cable and tie one end round desk leg. Open
window. Throw other end of cable out of window. Climb down
cable, and make way to nearest airport.
EXPANSION SLOTS - Specially contrived means of cramping PC users' style by
limiting the number of options available for expansion.
See EXAPANSION UNIT.
EXPANSION UNIT - Enormous, obtrusive box which houses IBM's specially contrived
EXPERT SYSTEM - Program that duplicates your mistakes, only faster. See
FAX - Fiction.
FOOTMOUSE - Not a joke, but a genuine American PC product. The input device
that responds to your every toe prod.
GATEWAY - Ingenious and expensive upgrade that allows PC users on a local area
network to switch from easily corrupting each other's data to easily
corrupting the data on a main-frame computer. See LOCAL AREA NETWORK.
HARD DISK - Device enabling naive PC users to lose vast amounts of data quickly
HIGH RESOLUTION GRAPHICS - Reasonable-quality full colour charts and graphs.
HIGH RESOLUTION GRAPHICS(IBM) - Black and white graphs.
HOUSEKEEPING - Just like the real thing, doesn't get done.
ICONS - Small pictures on the PC's screen that infringe Apple's artistic copy-
right. See BIGGER ICONS.
LOW-END - Usually found in a sentence like: "We've discovered a new market at
the low-end". Means they've been getting pulverised by the people at
Software Publishing Corp.
LOCAL AREA NETWORK - Electronic means of allowing multiple users to destroy data
NATURAL LANGUAGE - Like no other language anyone's ever heard of.
NO SITE LICENSE - Method by which suppliers respond to corporate users who want
discounts on software. "NO". See SITE LICENSING.
NON-FIXED FUNCTION WORKSTATION - Dumb terminal.
PAPER FEED - Standard, chewy diet of dot matrix printers.
Installation instructions for the 48666(TM) chip.
(TM - Eternal Damnation Enterprises)
1. Open your computer out of direct sunlight behind closed curtains.
2. Using the static strap supplied, remove the 80486 chip from it's socket
on your motherboard and place it in the static-proof envelope. Not
that you'll ever use it again of course.
3. Remove the strap and take out the 48666 chip. Don't worry about
static, nothing in *this* Universe can harm it.
4. Wait for the ring of wailing and gnashing of teeth to subside.
By this time the smell of burning flesh and blood should have gone
and your vision should no longer be tainted with red.
5. Place the 48666 chip in your socket, making sure to put it label side
down and index mark away from index point.
6. Wait for the screaming of eternal damnation to subside
7. Withdraw the power cords from the back of your machine and monitor.
You won't be needing those anymore.
8. Remove any sound cards (Adlib/Soundblaster etc) and disconnect the
internal speaker. There are some things you just don't want to
hear. If the computer wants your attention, believe me, it'll
9. Disconnect any heat or smoke detectors in the immediate vicinity as these
have has a tendency to trigger these for some reason. This is a known
bug and nothing to worry about.
10. To power on the machine, simply reach for the power button as if to
switch the machine on.
WARNING: Don't attempt to switch the machine off unless it has
told you to do so
WARNING2: Don't ever touch the control key. Best not to even
give the illusion that you have any control. Better
still, pry the keycap off or prefix "Control" with
"No". (Make sure the words NO *never* get worn off)
11. The startup tests should run in the following order:
Evil 1 thru 64
Pure Evil 1 thru 64
Pure Concentrated Evil 1 thru
12. You will notice that the brightness and contrast controls no longer
work on your monitor. Disconnecting your screen won't help either
13. Sooner or later you will realise that you can put as many floppies in
the drive as you like, but none will come out. Ever.
15. To use Intuitive FTP(tm), simply consider the disgusting images you
would like to view. You will be logged in via anonymous FTP to the
ftp site that currently has what you require.
16. It's probably not a good idea to allow other people use your PC.
Discourage them by hacking off their limbs with the rusty axe
17. Speaking of rusty axes, do not enter games like Adventure and Dungeon.
Consequences of doing this are indeterminant.
Does anyone have a use for Axe-Weilding Trolls and knive throwing
Thank you for purchaing the 48666 chip - it should provide you a lifetimes