280-Character Wisdom

A guest post by John Shade

The good folks at Twitter want every person in the world to be able to express their thoughts fully and without restraint. That’s why they’re trying out a new, longer tweet limit. Now you can express yourself in 280 characters. I thought I’d see what we can expect from this expansion of the basic tweet. What follows are some familiar quotes that fit in the existing 140-character limit, enhanced with the new freedom of 280 characters.

140-character quote:
Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen. — Edward V. Berard

Improved 280-character version:
Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen, because when water is frozen it becomes ice, and thus a solid, while when a specification is frozen it can’t be modified, removing the need to keep up with the modifications. — Edward V. Berard

140-character quote:
I invented the term ‘Object-Oriented,’ and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind. — Alan Kay

Improved 280-character version:
I invented the term ‘Object-Oriented,’ and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind. What I had in mind was communication via messaging, local retention and protection and hiding of state-process, extreme late-binding of everything, and none of that Simula inheritance crap. — Alan Kay

140-character quote:
Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. — Douglas Hofstadter

Improved 280-character version:
Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. — Douglas Hofstadter, the author of Hofstadter’s Law and, in accordance with Hofstadter’s Law, of this attribution and the attribution of the attribution, recursively forever.

140-character quote:
Most of you are familiar with the virtues of a programmer. There are three, of course: laziness, impatience, and hubris. — Larry Wall

Improved 280-character version:
Most of you are familiar with the virtues of a programmer. There are three, of course: laziness, impatience, hubris, and surprise. Four. There are four virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, hubris, surprise, and ruthless efficiency. Amongst the virtues are …. — Larry Wall

140-character quote:
Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight. — Bill Gates

Improved 280-character version:
Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight. That’s stupid. Measuring programming progress is done by asking harder and harder questions until they can’t answer, and then yelling at them for being unprepared. — Bill Gates

Author: Michael Swaine

Michael Swaine is a writer and editor. He helped launch the first personal computer newsweekly, InfoWorld. He co-authored Fire in the Valley, the seminal tech history book on which the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was based. He was editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal and has written for and edited several other magazines. His latest creation is PragPub for The Pragmatic Programmers. He and his partner Nancy Groth own Summer Jo’s, an organic farm, restaurant, and bakery in Grants Pass, Oregon.