How To Lie Like A Geek

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Excerpt

Geeks have a special relationship with The Truth. Nothing is more important than correcting a falsehood, no matter how small, and nothing is more odious than not telling The Truth. Unfortunately the meaning is often mangled and the end result is the opposite, a lie. This leads to misunderstanding, mangled interfaces and the myth of the stupid user.

Description

Geeks have a special relationship with The Truth. Nothing is more important than correcting a falsehood, no matter how small, and nothing is more odious than not telling The Truth. Unfortunately, in speaking The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth, the meaning is often mangled and the end result is the opposite, a lie.

We’ll examine some ways geeks lie while telling The Truth, to themselves and to others, and hopefully achieve better communications, easier to understand interfaces and maybe some personal enlightenment.

Some examples include: Lies by omission, lies by precision, lies by irrelevancy, and that most dangerous of words “should” as in “the user should have realized”.

Speaking experience

Speaker

  • Schwern round tuit oscon 2005

    Biography

    Schwern has a copy of Perl 6, he lets Larry Wall borrow it and take notes.

    Schwern once sneezed into a microphone and the text-to-speech conversion was a regex that turns crap into gold.

    Damian Conway and Schwern once had an arm wrestling contest. The superposition still hasn’t collapsed.

    Schwern was the keynote speaker at the first YAPC::Mars.

    When Schwern runs a smoke test, the fire department is notified.

    Dan Brown analyzed a JAPH Schwern wrote and discovered it contained the Bible.

    Schwern writes Perl code that writes Makefiles that write shell scripts on VMS.

    Schwern does not commit to master, master commits to Schwern.

    SETI broadcast some of Schwern’s Perl code into space. 8 years later they got a reply thanking them for the improved hyper drive plans.

    Schwern once accidentally typed “git pull —hard” and dragged Github’s server room 10 miles.

    There are no free namespaces on CPAN, there are just modules Schwern has not written yet.

    Schwern’s tears are said to cure cancer, unfortunately his Perl code gives it right back.

    Sessions