Selected Quotations — Ray Butterworth

1984

1984-01-01

From a letter to my future (and present) wife.

I usually agree with what your mother tells you, but I'll have to disagree on one point. She said all men change after marriage. Actually I think the opposite is true; very few people change after marriage. The problem is their spouse's (perhaps unconscious) expecting them to change. Imagine me getting old and decrepit (more than I already am I mean), with the bad parts of my personality getting a little worse and the good parts not improving, and make sure it is what you want to be stuck with. You might be able to make a few subtle changes in me, but anything drastic will be almost impossible. This applies to everyone, not just me, but most people don't seem to realize it until it is too late, and often not even then.

1993

1993-04-15

I shouldn't have to remember anything or think. There should be a mechanism for it.

1993-05-20

C provides enough rope to hang oneself.

X provides enough rope to make one want to.

1993-06-03

I hate software that tries to be helpful.

1993-07-29

I don't test things, I install them.

1993-11-11

It's a bug I'd like to see fixed, but we might as well use it.

1994

1994-09-28

I don't care what I said before, whatever it was, I disagree with it.

1994-09-28

If I have to get out of my chair, it's not a software problem.

1994-09-28

If there's such a thing as an information highway, it sure doesn't involve Data Processing or Computing Services.

1994-11-16

You handed me a bicycle with a bent wheel, and you're asking me to adjust the carburettor.

Circa 1995

I totally disagree with Martin, but I don't think he's wrong.

1998

1998-10-21

From rbutterw Wed Oct 21 09:39:37 1998
Subject: Re: Oracle Problems
...
Not to slight Julie for doing it, but am I the only one that
thinks this whole situation is competely ridiculous ?

i.e. we are referring people to an FAQ so they can find out how
to avoid a problem that could be completely eliminated with a
couple of seconds work by the course TAs or instructors.

It's hard to believe I work in a place like this.

1999

1999-03-11

People just aren't paranoid enough.

1999-07-08

Said by Tara (age 6), with a very straight face, after carefully inspecting my totaled car.

You're going to need an awful lot of duct tape to fix that.

2000

2000-01-13

IST, regarding uwdir problems: we continue to do our best.
It takes courage to say that; I'd be ashamed to admit it.

2000-03-28

   > Being able to mix [X] and [Y] in the same list
   > implies that [X] and [Y] are now in the same namespace.

To which someone responsible for designing and implementing IST's UWdir database software (and whose job is rated a lot higher than ours) admits:

   I really don't know what that means.

Sometimes I wonder why we bother working here; the rest of the time I try not to think about it.

2000-08-31

Said by someone else at a software meeting

Bill's away; let's ask Ray: if he doesn't like it then we'll know that Bill would have approved.

2002

2002-01-31

I knew there was a good reason that I've never written any real programs in perl.

2002-04-03

  - From dabrown@mfcf.math.uwaterloo.ca Wed Apr  3 13:36:05 2002
    What command would I run to grab the automatic
    debit data from the bills.ps.2002.winter file?

  - From rbutterw Wed Apr  3 14:18:27 2002
    (
      head -1 /software/mfcf-accounting-master/data/processing/2002/summary.2002.winter \
        | sed -e 's/^#/Billcode:/'
      join  -t :  -1 2  -2 2  -a 1  -o 2.1,1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4,1.5,1.6 \
        <(join  -t :  -1 1  -2 2  -a 1  -o 2.1,1.1,2.3,2.4,2.5,2.6 \
          <(grep -h '^Sponsor:' \
            `grep -i 'Billing: *automatic' /software/accounts-master/data/sponsors/*/* \
              | cut -d: -f1` \
            | sed -e 's/Sponsor: *//' -e 's/ *$//' \
            | sort) \
          <(decomment \
              /software/mfcf-accounting-master/data/processing/2002/summary.2002.winter \
            | sort -t : -k 2)) \
        <(list_sponsors ln=cl \
          | cut -d: -f2,3 \
          | sort -t : -k 2,2 \
          | uniq) \
      | sort
    ) \
    | align -f:

    and it actually seems to work.
    (I hope you're impressed, I know I am. :-)

2006

2006-12-08

I'd recommend using the Oxford comma rather than the Editorial comma in lists. Dropping the comma before the and is a style adopted by newspaper and magazine editors in order to save ink and generate a tiny saving in space. Including the comma more closely matches how one would say the list out loud and avoids some ambiguities. E.g. the three way book dedication Dedicated to my parents, Pope Paul, and Mother Theresa. without the second comma would be a dedication to only two people, not to four.

2007

2007

Probability is the misapplication of statistics to inappropriately small samples.

2007-09-27

For proper study, we must try to ignore our existing ideas and be prepared to have those ideas changed. After all, if we aren't prepared to change our ideas, what is the point of studying, other than perhaps in order to congratulate ourselves for being right all along?

2007-10-07

Men need to be wanted; women want to be needed.

2011

2011-11-10

Sometimes I think I'm like Robert Neville in I am Legend, who saw the whole world change for the worse, fought it, and then finally wondered if perhaps it's not the world that's wrong, but he himself for not changing with it. Then I snap back to reality and realize that no, I'm right and the rest of the world really is wrong.

2012

2012-01-03

It's not so much honesty as anal retentiveness.

2012-05-16

I've seen the truth, and yet I live. I must be the most optimistic person on Earth.

2012-09-27

I'm over 60 now, so I no longer need an excuse for not remembering well.

2012-11-15

Ask me if I have any regrets about my irrevocable decision to retire.

2013

2013-01-11

If you divide something into categories and one of them is called misc, that's where everything will eventually end up. If you have standards and provide a mechanism for exceptions or special cases, that's how everything will eventually be treated.

2013-08-01

Xhier hasn't outlived its usefulness, it's outlived the people that know how to use it.

2014

2014-06-20

As for MFCF's current philosophy that everyone is responsible, that's one of the fundamental principles of Communism, and look how well that experiment worked out.

2014-06-20

Put up a building and I'll walk around it, but don't build a path and expect me to follow it.

2014-08-07

I have always put job before career, truth before politics. I've sometimes suffered for this, but I've never regretted it.