Computer Stupidities - Programming

If teaching an individual to use a computer is bad, teaching someone to program one is worse.

User: "Hey, can you help me? My program doesn't work."

Consultant: "What is the problem? Are you using Turbo Pascal?"

User: "Yes, the program just blocks the machine."

Consultant: "Well, does it compile?"

User: "I don't know -- it just doesn't run. You see? There's the EXE file. If you run it, it blocks the machine."

Consultant: "And where is your source, the PAS file??"

User: "I wrote it and renamed it to EXE so it could run."

When a computer professor asked his students to comment all their programs, he got remarks like:

"This program is very nice."

"This program is very difficult."

"This program is very interesting."

Years ago, I put a simple, fortune cookie style program out on an FTP site. It was too simplistic to look at environment variables or configuration files to look for the location of the fortune cookie database file; the path was compiled into the executable. I provided the source, so if you wanted to change the path it was installed in, you had to change it in the source file and recompile.

Since I put it out, every so often I'll get an email message commenting on it. Recently, I received a message asking for help trying to get the thing to work. He couldn't get the executable to find the database file properly. I answered him, and he mailed back saying nothing helped. I mailed him again, saying that the readme file which was included in the archive should have very detailed instructions. He mailed me back saying the readme file didn't help him. So he mailed me the source code file, asked me to change it to the way it should be, then mail it back to him. I told him, but as I was typing in my final reply, a horrific thought occurred to me. So I asked:

Me: "I assume you have a C compiler, right?"

User: "What's a C compiler??????/ I've been editing it using the DOS editor."