Murphy's Computer Laws

Important Computing Rules

  1. When computing, whatever happens behave as though you mean it to happen
  2. When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it’s probably obsolete.
  3. The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual where you least expect to find it.
  4. When the going gets tough, upgrade.
  5. For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.
  6. To err is blame your computer for your mistakes is even more human, it is dowright natural.
  7. He who laughs last probably made a back-up.
  8. If at first you don’t succeed, blame your server.
  9. A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.
  10. The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.
  11. A computer program will always do what you tell it to do, but rarely what you want to do.

Murphy's Computer Laws

  1. No matter how many resources you have, it is never enough.
  2. Any cool program always requires more memory than you have.
  3. When you finally buy enough memory, you will not have enough disk space.
  4. Disks are always full. It is futile to try to get more disk space.
  5. Data expands to fill any void.
  6. If a program actually fits in memory and has enough disk space, it is guaranteed to crash.
  7. If such a program has not crashed yet, it is waiting for a critical moment before it crashes.
  8. No matter how good of a deal you get on computer components, the price will always drop immediately after the purchase.
  9. All components become obsolete.
  10. The speed with which components become obsolete is directly proportional to the price of the component.
  11. Software bugs are impossible to detect by anybody except the end user.

Murphy's Hardware Laws

  1. The maintenance engineer will never have seen a model quite like yours before.
  2. It is axiomatic that any spares required will have just been
  3. discontinued and will be no longer in stock.
  4. Any VDU, from the cheapest to the most expensive, will protect twenty cent fuse by blowing first.
  5. Any manufacturer making his warranties dependent upon the device
  6. being earthed will only supply power cabling with two wires.
  7. If a circuit you build requires n components, then there will be only n - 1 components in locally-held stocks.
  8. A failure in a device will never appear until it has passed final
  9. inspection.

Murphy's Laws on Technology

  1. You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
  2. Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
  3. Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
  4. An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
  5. Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you; tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.
  6. All great discoveries are made by mistake.
  7. The first myth of management is that is exists.
  8. A failure will not appear until the unit has passed final inspection.
  9. Nothing motivates a man more than to see his boss putting in an honest day's work.
  10. Some people manage by the book, even they don't know who wrote the book, or even what book.
  11. To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
  12. After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.
  13. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  14. The only perfect science is hindsight.
  15. If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
  16. When all else fails, read the instructions.
  17. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
  18. When any instrument is dropped, it will roll into the least accessible corner.
  19. Any simple theory will be worded in the most complicated way.
  20. The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management.
  21. Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.
  22. After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.
  23. Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are unobtainable and three parts which are still under development.
  24. If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
  25. If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
  26. The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management.

More of Murphy's Computer Laws  

Gilb's Laws of Unreliability:

  1. At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.
  2. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  3. Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
  4. Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some useful work done.

Hind's Laws of Computer Programming:

  1. Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
  2. If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
  3. If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
  4. Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
  5. The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
  6. Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.
  7. Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English, and you will find that programmers cannot write in English.  

Hoare's Law: Inside every complex and unworkable program is a useful routine struggling to get out.

Sattinger's Law: It works better if you plug it in.

Shaw's Principle: Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.

Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics: Things get worse under pressure.

Ninety-Ninety Rule of Project Schedules: The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, and the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.

Nixon's Theorem: The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.

Peer's Law: The solution to a problem changes the problem.

Rhodes' Corollary to HHH Theories of Adaptation:  

  1. After months of training and you finally understand all of a program's commands, a revised version of the program arrives with an all-new command structure.
  2. After designing a useful routine that gets around a familiar “bug” in the system, the system is revised, the “bug” is taken away, and y'ou left with a useless routine.
  3. Effort in improving a program's „user friendliness“ invariably leads to work in improving the user's „computer literacy.“
  4. Thats not a „bug,“ thats a feature!

Weinberg's Law: If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.

Wood's Axiom: As soon as a still-to-be-finished computer task becomes a life-or-death situation, the power fails.

Troutman's Programming Postulates

  1. If the test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent runs will fail.
  2. The most harmful error of any program will not be discovered until the program has been in production for at least six months.
  3. A Batch Stream that can not be arranged in improper order will be.
  4. Constants aren't.
  5. Variables won't.
  6. Interchangeable Tapes don't.
  7. Profanity is the one language that all programmers know the syntax of.

Gilb's Laws Of Unreliability

  1. Computers are unreliable. Humans are worse.
  2. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  3. Undetectable error are infinite in variety. Detectable errors do not exist, unless deadline is less than three hours away.
  4. Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some real work done.

Brook's Law
Any manpower added to a late project makes it later.

Laws Of Computerdum According To Golub

Lubarsky's Law Of Cybernetic Entomology
There is always one more bug.

Shaw's Principle
Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it.

Ibm Pollyanna Principle
Machines should work. People should think.

Gray's Law Of Programming
"n+1" trivial tasks are expected to be accomplished in the same time as "n" trivial tasks.

Logg's Rebuttal To Gray's Law
"n+1" trivial tasks take twice as long as "n" trivial tasks.

Weinberg's Second Law
If builders built building the way that programmers program programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.

Murphy's 1st Computer Law
Murphy never would have used computers, but would have loved  them.

Bove's Theorem
The remaining work required in order to finish a project increases as the deadline approaches.

Brook's Law
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Canada Bill Jones' Motto
It's morally wrong to allow naive end users to keep their money.

Cann's Axiom
When all else fails, read the instructions.

Clark's Third Law
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic.

Deadline Dan's Demo Demonstration
Every task takes twice as long as you think it will take. If you double the time you think it will take, it will actually take four times as long.

Demian's Observation:
There is always one item on the screen menu that is mislabelled and should read "ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE."

Dr. Caligar's Comeback
Disk errors occur only after you've done several hours of work without making a backup.

Thomas Watson's Law
No matter how large and standardized the marketplace, IBM can re-define it.