May 9, 2008

The Tao of Programming

An excerpt:

        There once was a man who went to a computer trade show.  Each day as
he entered, the man told the guard at the door:

“I am a great thief, renowned for my feats of shoplifting.  Be
forewarned, for this trade show shall not escape unplundered.”

This speech disturbed the guard greatly, because there were millions
of dollars of computer equipment inside, so he watched the man
carefully.  But the man merely wandered from booth to booth, humming
quietly to himself.

When the man left, the guard took him aside and searched his clothes,
but nothing was to be found.

On the next day of the trade show, the man returned and chided the
guard saying: “I escaped with a vast booty yesterday, but today will
be even better.” So the guard watched him ever more closely, but to
no avail.

On the final day of the trade show, the guard could restrain his
curiosity no longer.  “Sir Thief,” he said, “I am so perplexed, I
cannot live in peace.  Please enlighten me.  What is it that you are
stealing?”

        The man smiled.  “I am stealing ideas,” he said.

And another:

    A master was explaining the nature of Tao to one of his novices,
“The Tao is embodied in all software — regardless of how
        insignificant,” said the master.

“Is the Tao in a hand-held calculator?” asked the novice.

“It is,” came the reply.

“Is the Tao in a video game?” continued the novice.

“It is even in a video game,” said the master.

“And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?”

The master coughed and shifted his position slightly.  “The lesson is
        over for today,” he said.