1990-01-01: Quotes

I’ve been collecting quotes for a long time, so the date in this post’s title is irrelevant. There is no order to these, except that when I add a new one, it is at the top of the list. It should go without saying that this post is full of memes, and will always be unfinished.


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Everything is deeply intertwingled.

— Theodore Holm Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machines, 1987

An option means the programmer didn’t have a clear idea of what the module was supposed to do.

— Roger Gregory (1987)

‘Good ideas are a dime a dozen.’ No, good ideas are rare. But people who can’t tell the difference are a dime a dozen.

— Theodore Holm Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machines, 1987

AT&T is the type of company that has such vast financial resources that they will eventually get it right.

— A computer retailer, quoted in Wall Street Journal, 15 Mar 1985, p. 10

At the roulette wheel, reliance on more money to save you tends only to lose more money.

— Theodore Holm Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machines, 1987

All simulation is political.

— Theodore Holm Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machines, 1987

The human mind is effective in identifying the structure of a complex situation. But human experience trains the mind only poorly for estimating the dynamic consequences of how the parts of a system will interact with one another.

— Jay W. Forrester, World Dynamics

Although the hottest buzz phrase of the 1970s was ‘distributed processing’, so sluggishly and tyrannically was the concept implemented – with plenty of help from IBM – that the stage was set for the PC revolution.

— John Gantz, InfoWorld, 6 Apr 1987, p. 30

There’s lots of ways to be as a person. And some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there. And you never meet the people, you never shake their hands, you never hear their story or tell yours, but somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something is transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation.

— Steve Jobs

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

— Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
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