Computer humour

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Computer humour, also known as hacker humour, is humour on the subject of computers or their users.[1]


Examples of computer humour include:

  • "Any key", taken to mean pressing the (non-existent) "Any" key rather than any key
  • April Fools' Day Request for Comments
  • Bastard Operator From Hell, a fictional rogue computer operator
  • Blinkenlights, a neologism for diagnostic lights
  • Bogosort, a portmanteau of the words bogus and sort
  • COMEFROM, an obscure programming language control flow structure, originally as a joke
  • "The Complexity of Songs", a journal article published by computer scientist Donald Knuth in 1977 as an in-joke about computational complexity theory
  • The Computer Contradictionary, a non-fiction book by Stan Kelly-Bootle that compiles a satirical list of definitions of computer industry terms
  • The Daily WTF, a humorous blog dedicated to "Curious Perversions in Information Technology"
  • Dilbert, an American comic strip
  • Easter egg, an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work
  • Elephant in Cairo, in computer programming, a piece of data inserted at the end of a search space, which matches the search criteria, in order to make sure the search algorithm terminates; it is a humorous example of a sentinel value
  • Evil bit, a fictional IPv4 packet header field
  • Eyeball search, humorous terminology
  • FINO (first in, never out) (sometimes seen as "FISH", for first in, still here), a humorous scheduling algorithm, as opposed to traditional first in, first out (FIFO) and last in, first out (LIFO)
  • Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), the concept that flawed, or nonsense input data produces nonsense output
  • J. Random Hacker, an arbitrary programmer (hacker)
  • Halt and Catch Fire (HCF), an idiom referring to a computer machine code instruction that causes the computer's CPU to cease meaningful operation
  • Hex, a fictional computer featured in the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
  • Hexspeak, like leetspeak, a novelty form of spelling using the hexadecimal digits
  • Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP), a facetious communication protocol for controlling, monitoring, and diagnosing coffee pots
  • Interactive EasyFlow, a diagramming and flow charting software package that included a humorous software licence This is where the bloodthirsty licensing agreement is supposed to go...
  • Internet Oracle, an effort at collective humor in a pseudo-Socratic question-and-answer format
  • IP over Avian Carriers, a joke proposal to carry IP traffic by birds such as homing pigeons
  • It's Geek 2 Me, a tech cartoon
  • Jargon File, a glossary and usage dictionary of slang used by computer programmers
  • The Joy of Tech, a webcomic
  • Kitchen Table International, a fictitious computer company
  • Kremvax, originally a fictitious Usenet site at the Kremlin, named like the then large number of Usenet VAXen with names of the form "foovax"
  • lp0 on fire (also known as Printer on Fire), is an outdated error message generated on some Unix and Unix-like computer operating systems in response to certain types of printer errors
  • Magic smoke (also factory smoke, blue smoke, angry pixies, or the genie), a humorous name for the caustic smoke produced by burning out electronic circuits or components
  • Ninety–ninety rule: "the first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time"
  • Null device, in programmer jargon, the bit bucket or black hole
  • PC LOAD LETTER or PC LOAD A4, a printer error message that has entered popular culture as a technology meme referring to a confusing or inappropriate error message
  • Slowsort, a humorous, not useful, sorting algorithm
  • The Tao of Programming, a 1987 book by Geoffrey James
  • TPS report, Testing Procedure Specification, has come to mean pointless, mindless paperwork
  • User error, an error made by the human user of a complex system. Related slang terms include PMAC ("problem exists between monitor and chair"), identity error or ID-10T/1D-10T error ("idiot error"), PICNIC ("problem in chair, not in computer"), IBM error ("idiot behind machine error")
  • User Friendly, a former daily webcomic
  • Working Daze, a comic strip
  • Write-only memory (joke)
  • xkcd, a webcomic
  • Zaltair, a fictional computer created by Steve Wozniak

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McMahon, Russell (4–7 October 2017). Computer-Related Cartoons and Humor and Its Historical Transition. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE '17). Rochester, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. p. 177. doi:10.1145/3125659.3125705. ISBN 9781450351003.