Why you so printeristic?

Vanessa sometimes accuses me of pessimism. Although I often talk about “the worst case”, I consider myself a jolly fellow. I’m certainly not depressed or anything. Anyway, I was listening to an MIT lecture on algorithms to refresh my memory and he was talking about how we judge algorithms by the worst case. It struck me that I’m a bit pessimistic because I’m a developer, and it’s my job to look at the worst case. When you need to know how much processing something will require, you have to think about the worst case…not some ideal where your data comes to you presorted. Another part of programming that’s a bit pessimistic is that your starting code has a bug 99.9% of the time. It almost never works the first time. You learn that if you just assume some part of your code is working without testing it, you’ll pay. And the most pessimistic thing about computer science? Printers. Printers hate you and they hate me. Please don’t use printers or fax if you can help it. The failure rate of printers is 100 times for every 1 use. But you won’t listen to me. You’ll insist on using the printer for some arcane reason. Can I just scan and email you the documents instead of faxing? No, because I might somehow manipulate the documents, which faxing is totally immuned to. Faxing and printing instead of sending things over the internet is like having transporter technology, but riding an old crippled dog down to the planet instead.

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