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#1541 A manager asked a programmer how long it would take him to finish the
program on which he was working. "I will be finished tomorrow," the programmer
promptly replied.
"I think you are being unrealistic," said the manager. "Truthfully,
how long will it take?"
The programmer thought for a moment. "I have some features that I wish
to add. This will take at least two weeks," he finally said.
"Even that is too much to expect," insisted the manager, "I will be
satisfied if you simply tell me when the program is complete."
The programmer agreed to this.
Several years later, the manager retired. On the way to his
retirement lunch, he discovered the programmer asleep at his terminal.
He had been programming all night.
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
#1542 A manager was about to be fired, but a programmer who worked for him
invented a new program that became popular and sold well. As a result, the
manager retained his job.
The manager tried to give the programmer a bonus, but the programmer
refused it, saying, "I wrote the program because I though it was an interesting
concept, and thus I expect no reward."
The manager, upon hearing this, remarked, "This programmer, though he
holds a position of small esteem, understands well the proper duty of an
employee. Lets promote him to the exalted position of management consultant!"
But when told this, the programmer once more refused, saying, "I exist
so that I can program. If I were promoted, I would do nothing but waste
everyone's time. Can I go now? I have a program that I'm working on."
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
#1543 A manager went to his programmers and told them: "As regards to your
work hours: you are going to have to come in at nine in the morning and leave
at five in the afternoon." At this, all of them became angry and several
resigned on the spot.
So the manager said: "All right, in that case you may set your own
working hours, as long as you finish your projects on schedule." The
programmers, now satisfied, began to come in a noon and work to the wee
hours of the morning.
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
#1544 A manager went to the master programmer and showed him the requirements
document for a new application. The manager asked the master: "How long will
it take to design this system if I assign five programmers to it?"
"It will take one year," said the master promptly.
"But we need this system immediately or even sooner! How long will it
take it I assign ten programmers to it?"
The master programmer frowned. "In that case, it will take two years."
"And what if I assign a hundred programmers to it?"
The master programmer shrugged. "Then the design will never be
completed," he said.
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
#1545 A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day. The master
noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game. "Excuse me",
he said, "may I examine it?"
The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master.
"I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium,
and Hard", said the master. "Yet every such device has another level of play,
where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the
"Pray, great master," implored the novice, "how does one find this
mysterious setting?"
The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.
And suddenly the novice was enlightened.
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
#1546 A master was explaining the nature of Tao to one of his novices.
"The Tao is embodied in all software -- regardless of how insignificant,"
said the master.
"Is Tao in a hand-held calculator?" asked the novice.
"It is," came the reply.
"Is the Tao in a video game?" continued the novice.
"It is even in a video game," said the master.
"And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?"
The master coughed and shifted his position slightly. "The lesson
is over for today," he said.
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
#1547A modem is a baudy house.
#1548A nasty looking dwarf throws a knife at you.

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#1550 A novice asked the Master: "Here is a programmer that never designs,
documents, or tests his programs. Yet all who know him consider him one of
the best programmers in the world. Why is this?"
The Master replies: "That programmer has mastered the Tao. He has
gone beyond the need for design; he does not become angry when the system
crashes, but accepts the universe without concern. He has gone beyond the
need for documentation; he no longer cares if anyone else sees his code. He
has gone beyond the need for testing; each of his programs are perfect within
themselves, serene and elegant, their purpose self-evident. Truly, he has
entered the mystery of the Tao."
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
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