Techie Jokes

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There are only 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Managerium: The heaviest element known to science

The heaviest element known to science is managerium. The element has no protons or electrons but has a nucleus composed of one neutron, two vice-neutrons, five assistant vice-neutrons, 25 pro vice-neutrons and 125 assistant pro vice-neutrons all going round in circles.

Managerium has a half-life of three years at which time it does not decay but institutes a series of reviews leading to reorganization.

Its molecules are held together by means of the exchange of tiny particles known as morons.

The Engineers and the Accountants

Three engineers and three accountants are travelling by train to a conference. At the station, the three accountants each buy tickets and watch as the three engineers buy only a single ticket. "Three people and only one ticket, how's that going to work?" asks an accountant. "Watch and learn," answers an engineer.

They all board the train. The accountants take their comfortable seats but all three engineers cram into a toilet and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets.

He knocks on the toilet door and says, "Ticket, please." The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The accountants saw this and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the accountants decide to copy the engineers on the return trip and save some money.

When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers buy no tickets at all.

"Three people and NO tickets, how on earth can that work?" asks one perplexed accountant. "Watch and learn," answers an engineer.

When they board the train the three accountants cram into a toilet and the three engineers sit comfortably nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the engineers walks over to the toilet where the accountants are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, "Ticket, please."

Typical Engineering Practices

A lawyer, and artist and an engineer were discussing which was best: a wife or a secret lover.

The lawyer said, "A wife is definitely best. One needs companionship, friendship and security."

"I much prefer to have a lover" replied the artist. "The excitement, the risk, the passion! It keeps me alive."

"I prefer to have both a wife and a lover" stated the engineer. His friends stared at him in amazement; they never suspected he had it in him. "With both a wife and a lover, each will assume that you are with the other, so you can go to the lab and get lots of work done."


The Six Phases of a Project

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the Guilty
  5. Punishment of the Innocent
  6. Promotion of the Uninvolved

The Four Stages of a Theory

Theories have four phases of acceptance:
  1. This is worthless nonsense;
  2. This is interesting, but perverse;
  3. This is true, but quite unimportant;
  4. I always said so.
J. B. S. Haldane, 1963


The Modern Turing Test


Extrovert Engineers

What is the definition of an extrovert engineer?

One that looks at your shoes when he's talking to you.


Project Timescales

The first half of a project takes 90% of the time.

The second half of the project takes the other 90%.

The Golfers (thanks to Bill Gilkes)

Three friends - a priest, a surgeon and an engineer - were playing golf.  In front  of them on the course were three men playing very slowly, taking many short shots and going all over the fairway, then taking hours trying to find their golf balls in the rough.  After a few hours the friends gave up and went to the club house to complain. 

The manager of the club was having none of it.  "I'll hear nothing bad against those guys.  Those three men are firemen, and they are heroes.  Last year there was a fire here in the clubhouse and they went in to save my wife and my daughter, and then they even went back to save the silverware.  But there was a sudden explosion and although they all survived, they all lost most of their sight and can hardly see.  Those guys can play here for free any time they like."

The priest was very moved.  "I will pray for those three brave men. Perhaps God will see fit to restore their sight and reward their actions".

The surgeon was motivated to help.  "In the hospital where I work we have an excellent team of ophthalmic surgeons.  Perhaps they could look at these men and see if anything can be done for them".

But the engineer was unimpressed, saying "Why can't those bastards play at night?"

Work vs. Prison

IN PRISON... you spend the majority of your time in an 8x10 cell.
AT WORK... you spend the majority of your time in a 6x8 cubicle.

IN PRISON... you get three meals a day.
AT WORK... you only get a break for one meal and you pay for it.

IN PRISON... you get time off for good behaviour.
AT WORK... you get more work for good behaviour.

IN PRISON... the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK... you must carry around a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN PRISON... you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK... you get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON... you get your own toilet.
AT WORK... you have to share with some idiot who pees on the seat.

IN PRISON... they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK... you can't even speak to your family.

IN PRISON... all expenses are paid by the taxpayers, no work required.
AT WORK... you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON... you spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
AT WORK... you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON... you must deal with sadistic wardens.
AT WORK... they are called managers.


Technology for Country Folk

The Car

A mechanical engineer, an electronics engineer and a software engineer are travelling in a car when it suddenly splutters and stops.

The mechanical engineer says, "It may be the injection pump, I'll get out the spanner and have a look."

The electronics engineer says, "It may be the ignition system, I'll get out the meter and have a look."

They look at the software engineer. "Maybe if we all got out and got back in again?" he mumbles. "It always works with Windows."


Red Rubber Object

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were all given a peculiarly shaped red rubber object and told to find its volume.

The mathematician carefully measured the object, approximated it to a three dimensional polynomial, and evaluated a triple integral.

The physicist filled a beaker with water, put the object in the water, and measured the total displacement.

The engineer looked up the model and serial numbers in his red-rubber-object catalogue.


The Church Steeple

An engineer, a mathematician and an arts graduate were given the task of finding the height of a church steeple.

The engineer tried to remember things about differential pressures, but resorted to climbing the steeple and lowering a string on a plumb bob until it touched the ground and then climbed down and measured the length of the string.

The mathematician laid out a reference line, measured the angle to the top of the steeple from both ends and worked out the height by trigonometry.

However, the arts graduate won the prize. He bought the vicar a beer in the local pub and asked him how high the church steeple was.


How the Neanderthals Became Extinct (page 111 of my book)

I was given this on paper many years ago, and have been unable to trace the originator. If you know who drew this please let me know so they can be credited for their genius.

The New Bike

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"

The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."


The Talking Frog

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."

He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."

Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."


The How and Why

The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"

The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"

The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"


Mathematics In Action

Engineering Optimism

To the optimist, the glass is half full.

To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.

To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.


Some Amusing Quotes

"Prediction is very hard. Especially about the future."
Yogi Berra

"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true - I no longer know how to use my telephone."
Bjarne Stroustrup

"Most people have more than the average number of legs."

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, 1943

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."
Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

"If you were ploughing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"
Seymour Cray (1925-1996), father of supercomputing 

"Number 3 pencils and quadrille pads."
Seymoure Cray (1925-1996) when asked what CAD tools he used to design the Cray I supercomputer

"Interesting - I use a Mac to help me design the next Cray." 
Seymoure Cray (1925-1996) when he was told that Apple Inc. had recently bought a Cray supercomputer to help them design the next Mac.

"The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence."
Edsgar Dijkstra

"C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg."
Bjarne Stroustrup

"A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems."
Paul Erdos (1913-1996)

"Nothing from the future quite works yet. If it did, it would be the present."
James May

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)  

"Grove giveth and Gates taketh away."
Bob Metcalfe (inventor of Ethernet) on the trend of hardware speedups not being able to keep up with software demands

Managers vs Engineers

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces his altitude and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man below says, "Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 & 42 degrees north latitude, and between 58 & 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an engineer" says the balloonist.

"I am" replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of the information, and the fact is that I am still lost."

The man below says, "You must be a manager."

"I am" replies the balloonist. "But how did you know?"

"Well," says the man below, "you don't know where you are, or where you are going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is that you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault."


The Hierarchy of Power Semantics

In the beginning was the Plan and the Specification. And the Plan was without form and the specification it was void. And darkness was on the face of the implementation team. And they spake unto their Leader, saying, 
    "It is a crock of shit and it stinks to high heaven."

And it was the Leader and it was the Project Head. Now the Leader spake unto the Project Head, saying, 
    "It is a crock of faeces and intolerably malodorous."

And it was the Project Head and it was the Department Manager. Now the Project Head spake unto the Department Manager, saying, 
    "It is a container of excrement and its effluvium is very strong."

And it was the Department Manager and it was the Product Manager. Now the Department Manager spake unto the Product Manager, saying, 
    "It is a vessel of fertilizer of overpowering strength."

And it was the Product Manager and it was the Centre Manager. Now the Product Manager spake unto the Centre Manager, saying, 
    "It containeth that which aideth the growth of plants and strong it is."

And it was the Centre Manager and it was the Director. Now the Centre Manager spake unto the Director, saying, 
    "It promoteth growth and it is very powerful."

And it was the Director and it was the Vice-President. Now the Director spake unto the Vice-President, saying, 
    "This powerful new product will promote the growth of the Company."

And the Vice-President looked on the product and saw that it was good.


I Compute Therefore I am

Actually it says the classic "I think therefore I am" - I think my version would have been funnier!


Military and Civil Engineers

Q: What’s the difference between military engineers and civil engineers? 
A: Military engineers build missiles. Civil engineers build targets.


Wedded Antenae

Did you hear about the two antennae that got married?

The wedding wasn’t much but the reception was great.


Programmers and Lightbulbs

How many programmers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 
Can’t be done - it’s a hardware problem.


Centrifugal Force

From the excellent

The Human Body

Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body.

One said, “The creator must have been a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints.”

Another said, “No, it had to be an electrical engineer. The nervous system has so many thousands of electrical connections.”

The last said, “Actually it had to be a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"


Mathematical Knowledge

Two mathematicians are in a restaurant, arguing. The first mathematician is complaining that the average citizen knows nothing about mathematics, and most need to use their fingers to add up. The second is admonishing him not to underestimate the average citizen’s intelligence or mathematical knowledge.

After much argument, the first mathematician staggers off to the toilet. The second mathematician calls the tired-looking waitress over.


He hands her £20. “I’d like to play a little joke on my friend when he gets back. I’m going to ask you a question. I want you to answer, ‘X squared.’ Can you do that for me?”

“Sure, whatever.”

After a few minutes, the first mathematician returns and sits down. The second mathematician says, “Look, I’ll show you that the average citizen knows more about mathematics than you think they do.” He waves the waitress over.

“Yeah, what?”

“I just have a simple question for you. Can you tell me what the answer to the integral of 2x dx is?”

The waitress scrunches up her face. “Sure, that's… X squared.”

The second mathematician leans back in his chair, looks at his friend, and smiles smugly.

Then the waitress calls over her shoulder, “Plus a constant.”


Heisenberg's Certainty

A traffic cop pulls over Werner Heisenberg. He walks up to Heisenberg and asks, “Do you know how fast you were going?” 
“No, but I can tell you exactly where I am.”

The Dropped Electron

Two molecules are walking down the street. One suddenly stops and says, “Wait, I think I dropped an electron.” The other looks at him and asks, “Are you positive?”