Shit programmers say

"Shit Programmers Say" -- a worthy addition to the series and a trenchant comment on the inherent interiority of programming.

Shit Programmers Say (via Waxy!)


  1. Wow. So true, so true. I sometimes go days at a time at my work and realize I’ve said nothing much more than “good morning” and “see you later” to anyone the whole time.

  2. Headphones (I’m wearing some right now) are key – even if you’re not listening to anything, the noise cancellation reduces ambient drone and hiss, and people respect your concentration. 

    1. No no, that’s not the reason. It’s because low quality sound hardware lets you listen to the computers electronics as your code runs. This is how good programmers can sense bugs occur even before a stack trace makes it to the screen.

  3. That one dude looked a lot like Joseph Gordon Levitt.

    The corollary, from my brief time trying to keep a VAX PM server clear was a LOT more cussing directed at people who would, I shit you not, send print tasks from Sarasota FLA to Camden NJ instead of using e-mail; frequently flooding the print buffers to the point of complete lock-down.

  4. The dialogue was spot on but what’s with all the laptops? Is it even possible to write code using less than two screens?

    1. Not to mention many with glossy screens.  Seriously, pay the 50 bucks and get the non-glare… your eyes and brain will thank you for it.

      As far as one screen goes, if your eyesight is stellar and you’re using a high resolution screen, it’s fine.  Low res or high res with bad eyes?  Not so much.

      1. I mainly use a 13″ MBP (as a couple people in the video use) which doesn’t have the option for the matte screen like the bigger ones do.

        I thought the glossy screen might be a problem. I tried one in an Apple store before buying, and even in there with lots of lights and everything it was fine.

        I’ve been using it for over two years now, traveled all over the world with it, been in all different settings (outdoors, office with fluorescent overhead lighting, window behind me, etc.) – not once has it been an issue.

        As for your eyes and brain thanking you for it – my eyes and brain are thanking me for the increased contrast (deeper blacks) that the glossy screen provides. I’m on this computer all day and all night (as my BB comment history will attest to) and it just isn’t an issue.

        That said – if I’m trying to do any real work, the small screen (though it’s reasonably high resolution) can be frustrating. Especially if it’s programming or anything along those lines.

        1. not once has it been an issue.

          Glossy is great, in theory.

          To say glare has never been an issue with your glossy screen on a portable laptop makes you something of a marvel.

          Literally everyone I know that needs to use laptops in random locations ends up having to deal with glare from windows, etc. at some point or another and seating is often limited/random.

          I’ve used both glossy and anti-glare and dealt with this myself.  I’ve also sat right next to people with glossy screens who either had to move or couldn’t move and were stuck attempting to block the light and bobbing their heads and adjusting their laptops to avoid the glare.  I was only interrupted to watch them do this.

          I’ve seen people try to show things to others from their laptop only to have glare make it difficult for the others to see the screen and a distraction ensues while it’s adjusted.

          Also, images reflected in the screen can cause the human visual system to focus on them and competing between two images can cause headaches/eye strain.

          The advantages of darker blacks is ruined by the gradations of glare in many mobile environs.  If every place you take your laptop is in a darkened space, then yes, glossy is better.

          In mobile environs you usually can’t control but so much where you sit and the lighting, etc. –  Not to mention colors are less accurate on glossy screens if you work with any design.

          Many people make do and are fine with glossy screens.  But, when I weigh the advantages and disadvantages, there’s no competition.  Anti-glare screens for most mobile professionals wins hands down.  But whatever floats your boat.

          1. Sorry, I’ll add another “Glossy? What’s the problem?” data point, just to confound you.

            Maybe I instinctively sit facing sources of glare.  (Actually I might. I always prefer to work where I can look out a window. Better for eye strain.)

          2. Maybe I instinctively sit facing sources of glare.

            I’m referring to laptops. When I have a choice, I always face to towards a window as well.

            The purpose of laptops is mobile computing. With mobile computing you often can end up in different work environments and therefore you don’t always have that choice because of limited seating options, etc.

            Like I said, glossy screens are great, in theory. Not so much in practice in many practical, random mobile environments. Maybe in your case you aren’t working in many varied environs. For those of us who do, glossy is pretty retarded.

          3. Like Zadaz, I find certain glossy laptop screens have less glare problems than matte screens and cause less eyestrain. The effect seems to be on these particular devices that the light is reflected less and then absorbed in deeper layers.

            Or rather, even anti-glare monitors refract, only they tend to scatter the light more for a blurring effect.

            Oh, what do I know? Damn it, Jim, I’m a programmer,  not a screen engineer!

          4. I find certain glossy laptop screens have less glare problems than matte screens


            I’m pretty much referring to Macs. God only knows what fantastic “matte” screens are like on other hardware.

            But if you’re saying a matte Apple laptop has more glare than a glossy laptop, then you should take your matte laptop back to the Apple store and ask them for a real matte laptop. Somebody charged you 50.00 extra for a glossy. Hahaha..


    2. For a while there, I used two laptops, one for code and one for the simulator. That was out of necessity, though (hint: Windows vs iOS), and the tables at Starbucks are usually far too small for that anyway!

    3. I was thinking the same. And it’s not just the screen quantity and size;
      having to look down at a screen is a great way to ruin your posture.

  5. in the verbose version he just says that same word multiple times (with slightly different pronunciation each time)

    1. The difference being that the work of a previous sysadmin has the chance to kill you, the work of a previous programmer often makes you want to kill them :p

  6. A preacher, a mechanical engineer, and a programmer are in a car driving down the mountain, when the brakes fail. 

    The mechanical engineer says, “hang on to my belt, I’m going to lean out and check the brake lines”.

    The preacher says, “pray we make it down safely”.

    The programmer says, “lets take it back to the top and see if it does it again”.

  7. I think it’s missing the two other classics: “WTF IS THIS SH*T” while reading somebody else’s code, and “F*CK YEAH” when a particularly aggravating testcase runs successfully. These three sentences are the Assembly of verbal communication for a programmer.

  8. I call shenanigans.. I don’t see one oversized caffeine delivery receptacle in the entire vid!

    Headphones with no music? I’m rocking that style right now. It’s not so much for the “I’m concentrating” look, but for the “Don’t bother me with your insignificant problems” look.

  9. I will never forget touring the new computer lab 25 years ago and encountering a guy programmer getting his picture taken.  Do your thing the photog said.  Type and stare at screen he did.  Really, that’s what I do all day, programmer said.

  10. I was going to say, all the programmers in our shop talk to themselves, loudly and sometimes dramatically.  But then I thought about it:  with headphones on, I don’t.  Though sometimes I will slip the headphones off just to talk to myself, then forget to put them back on until someone annoys me later.

  11. To be honest the video could’ve used moments of standing around waiting for code to compile. Or waiting around bored because the server is down or backing up data. I have friends that bitch about their shitty server/back-end all the time.

    1. It’s been years since I’ve seen anyone standing at their computer while a compile cycle is going on.

      Now that a browser is never more than a mouse-click away, who on earth actually blocks on the compiler?

  12. Headphones are good when you just have to Get S**t Done, but having managed teams of programmers before, the ones who stay in their aural pod all day usually don’t fess up to problems they’re having until it’s too late, and they don’t communicate well with the rest of the team about the API methods they changed two hours ago. For instance.

  13. I tend to swear quite a bit when programming.. oh, yeah.. and occasionally QA will come over, and I am forced to say, “it works on my machine!”

    1. Great response providing you are the sole customer for your company.

      That’s one thing that was missing from this video.  In my experience, developers spend a significant amount of their time bitching about the QA department: “A defect?  Why should I have to rewrite this whole class just so it works the way it’s required?!”

    1. Thanks for mentioning this, as I’ve always wanted to ask earlier generations of programmers who’ve blazed the trail for all of us degenerate slouchers. How many of you now have persistent back problems that you can attribute to the hacker slump?

  14. Funny, but I was really hoping for some dialog.  “Hey, did you see that thing on Reddit?” would be my first pick.

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