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Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness
September 11, 2008 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness

For those who have their mind in the gutter, you may enjoy some of the submissions.
posted by sixcolors (20 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Press Button. Receive Bacon.
posted by clearly at 2:48 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel like I've seen these in one for or another a thousand times before.
posted by shmegegge at 2:52 PM on September 11, 2008


Being very immature, I normally love stuff like this. But the presentation is so awful I can't enjoy it. Why not put the caption and image (of viewable size) on the same page?
posted by DU at 2:53 PM on September 11, 2008


The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to Pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of Pi change.

—Early FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers
posted by koeselitz at 2:57 PM on September 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


One armed men should not use the woodchipper. Other No signs on Flickr.
posted by clearly at 2:58 PM on September 11, 2008


Dear sixcolors, on this glum 9/11 day here in NYC, I really needed a good laugh. Thank you for this great collection of silliness. Just my cup of fun.
posted by nickyskye at 3:28 PM on September 11, 2008


I think this one [NSFW?] [hysterical] was discussed in a similar MeFi post years ago.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:55 PM on September 11, 2008


"Scram the reactor, and get the Hell out!"

Westinghouse reactor operations manual.
posted by Standeck at 3:57 PM on September 11, 2008


This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of Pi change.

What is this, the Daily WTF, where all the mediocre programmers hang out and laugh at things they don't understand in a failed attempt to feel a bit less mediocre than they actually are? That line's is a joke, of course. Old computer manuals are full of weird programmer humor.

(Joke and joke -- there's in fact a reason why you might want to change the value of the Pi constant in an old Fortran program, btw. Any programmer here that can figure out what that reason is?)
posted by effbot at 4:11 PM on September 11, 2008


Absolute Favorite
posted by parmanparman at 4:12 PM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't consider signs technical documentation. There's a lot of stuff that is, that's also funny, but not much of it is on that site.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:13 PM on September 11, 2008


Absolute Favorite

Related: http://ask.metafilter.com/15940/Need-QUIET-Vacuum-for-my-Cat
posted by effbot at 4:21 PM on September 11, 2008


So is the idea to have--at most--a single funny one per page in order to boost page views?
posted by meta_eli at 4:22 PM on September 11, 2008


effbot: ... there's in fact a reason why you might want to change the value of the Pi constant in an old Fortran program, btw. Any programmer here that can figure out what that reason is?

You sometimes need fewer or greater numbers of significant digits. See, old FORTRAN programmers tended to do a lot of computation on their fingers (also called "digits") and sometimes their fingers got very tired. Some programmers - the better ones, anyway - had stronger fingers, so they could compute longer and faster. In the old computing circles, this was referred to as having "significant digits." And John Backus, since he was the one who invented old computing circles, knew that the people whose digits were less significant would want to make the value of Pi shorter so that they didn't have to use their insignificant little digits so much. That way, all the programmers could save time, too, so they'd all have more time to go to their favorite boating spot, which everyone called 'floating point.'

Also, sometimes I personally find it very useful to change the value of Pi from "3.141592653589793" to "CHERRY."
posted by koeselitz at 4:56 PM on September 11, 2008 [10 favorites]


Not technically technical documentation but this struck me as funny in my dentist's building. Maybe it was the nitrous.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:00 PM on September 11, 2008


pi is only a constant in a euclidean universe
posted by DU at 5:33 PM on September 11, 2008


the site creator is a mefite, BTW
posted by Rumple at 6:18 PM on September 11, 2008


Yep, that's my web thingie. It's one of my oldest (it dates to 2003, I think), and I see that this is the third time it's been on Metafilter.

I agree that the presentation could be better and much more, well, modern, but it's just not a priority for me.

I'd say at least half of these were originally mine, or sent to me by their primary source. So if you've seen them elsewhere, they very possibly were originated from this site. I've seen this one, for example, elsewhere, but I took that photo at the Cape of Good Hope.

Of course, when it comes to images, today's web tends to make original sources irrelevant. The trick is being an effective searcher and curator, not necessarily a creator.
posted by dbarefoot at 10:47 PM on September 11, 2008


I'm not irrelevant! I sent in the ball-peen cock!
posted by ryanrs at 6:33 AM on September 12, 2008


I always did get a kick out of the "Rock or Something" on the MRE heater instructions.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:17 PM on September 12, 2008


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