Random Quote #76 topic: joel-on-software
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Imagine that we had a way of sending actors from Broadway to Hollywood that
involved putting them in cars and driving them across the country. Some of
these cars crashed, killing the poor actors. Sometimes the actors got drunk
on the way and shaved their heads or got nasal tattoos, thus becoming too
ugly to work in Hollywood, and frequently the actors arrived in a different
order than they had set out, because they all took different routes. Now
imagine a new service called Hollywood Express, which delivered actors to
Hollywood, guaranteeing that they would (a) arrive (b) in order (c) in
perfect condition. The magic part is that Hollywood Express doesn't have any
method of delivering the actors, other than the unreliable method of putting
them in cars and driving them across the country. Hollywood Express works by
checking that each actor arrives in perfect condition, and, if he doesn't,
calling up the home office and requesting that the actor's identical twin be
sent instead. If the actors arrive in the wrong order Hollywood Express
rearranges them. If a large UFO on its way to Area 51 crashes on the highway
in Nevada, rendering it impassable, all the actors that went that way are
rerouted via Arizona and Hollywood Express doesn't even tell the movie
directors in California what happened. To them, it just looks like the
actors are arriving a little bit more slowly than usual, and they never even
hear about the UFO crash.
Joel Spolsky's Analogy of TCP, "The Law of Leaky Abstractions"



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