Computer Proverbs

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Jan 15 14:11:49 UTC 2001

>Don't forget us Macpeople's 'chimes of death.'


>Here are a few off the top of my head. I'll go through my files and send
>others ASAP:
>RTFM! (Read the Fucking Manual)
>Your mileage may vary
>Off the grid
>The blue screen of death (a dead computer)
>Imminent death of the Net predicted! (a running joke about the perennial
>stories of the Net's pending demise. Used when someone starts doomsaying on a
>Net bulletin board)
>Information wants to be free
>The Net perceives censorship as damage and routes around it.
>Waving a dead chicken (having exhausted all the obvious fixes to a computer
>problem and starting on more irrational measures, i.e. resorting to voodoo)
>Problem exists between chair and keyboard, or PEBCAK (tech support slang for
>user error)
>Plate o' shrimp! (Used in online discussion when a strong coincidence occurs.
>Taken from a scene in the movie Repo Man.)
>Fred Shapiro wrote:
>>  I am collecting proverbs or catch-phrases relating to computers.  Examples
>>  would be "Garbage in, garbage out" or "Do not fold, spindle or mutilate"
>>  or "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."  Can anyone suggest other
>>  sayings of this nature?
>>  Fred Shapiro
>>  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>  Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
>>  Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
>>    and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
>>  Yale Law School                             forthcoming
>>  e-mail: fred.shapiro at    
>  > --------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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