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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Solving the Software Problem:
a Taxonomy of Error

While every deity hath the Insight to fortell the Future,
not even G-d Almighty Himself possesseth the Power to undo the Past.

Jonathan Swift

I aim to Solve what I at first called, then referred to but now denote as The Software Problem.

Software failure is fundamentally a human problem, not a technical one.

Purely technical solutions fail to effect truly meaningful and lasting change.

While I am not only the most advanced kind of Software Engineer but an Astronomer and High Energy Particle Physicist, and do indeed hope to solve The Software Problem, I also speak of Computer Software in a purely metaphorical way.

I aim to solve three completely different varieties of Software Problems:

Please Bear with Me

I am taking so very long to build this web site out not because I'm not working hard or that I have other priorities. The problems I aim to solve are so difficult that every hour I spend writing something new comes at the cost of two days contemplation on what to write next.

The Computer Problem

The Computer Problem is commonly regarded to be the, uh, "fact" that all software has bugs, and that there is no hope of fixing them all.

I know from my own experience that this is patently untrue.

In reality, the means to solve the Computer Problem are readily at hand, and have been so for decades. The underlying human problems are that most software engineers are unfamiliar with the methods for producing bug-free software, and that even when the engineers know how to avoid bugs, we don't have the support of our management in doing so.

I aim to Solve the Computer Problem in part by educating my colleagues, so they can produce higher quality work, as well as educating the public, so that you will know what to look out for when selecting new software for your computer.

Empowering the common people to make better software acquisition decisions will ultimately convince software management to do whatever it takes to see that their companies' products are of top quality: bug free, secure and easy to use.

The Mental Problem

The Mental Problem can be understood by the fact that British Petroleum didn't even apply for an ecological drilling permit before it blew a smoking crater into the floor of the Gulf of Mexico in the most ignorant way.

If you think British Petroleum just fixed the Lousiana Shrimp Industry up but good, just wait until you see what the United States Department of Justice is about to do to British Petroleum's Stock Market Capitalization.

The Mental Problem is commonly understood to be severely symptomatic mental illness, but abnormal psychology is only a part of the problem. The medieval Catholic theologians identified the Seven Deadly Sins, of which Pride is the worst. The Mental Software Problem arises from each of these Deadly Sins.

Fix those problems, and they'll be paving the public highways with ingots of pure gold.

The Social Problem

The Social Software Problem is illustated by the fact that Israel just earned global condemnation by savagely murdering nine Turkish humanitarian volunteers for no worse crime than attempting to deliver aid to the Palestinians blockaded within the Gaza Strip.

Turkey was once Israel's very most ardent ally in the entire Muslim World, but every Turk in his or her right mind now possesses the very same kind of love of and affection for Hebrew Culture that Adolf Hitler once did.

Israel savagely torments, starves, sickens and murders every completely defenseless Palestinian the Israeli Defense Force is able to lay its genocidal hands on, but the IDF hasn't pointed so much as a Super Soaker in the general direction of Syria since it took the Golan Heights.

And Why?

Syria possesses a whole bunch of ballistic missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel. Each such missile is armed with a VX nerve agent warhead.

VX would kill you almost instantly if so much as a tiny droplet touched your skin.

All Syria would have to do to bathe every Israeli in much the same why as Nazi Germany showered the victims of the Holocaust would be to launch all those missiles, then spray a fine mist of VX at just the right altitude when weather conditions yielded just the right kind of wind.

I'll be getting back to you soon about the Israeli and Iranian nuclear weapons programs. For now I'll point out that the Iranian President was sent by Mohammed in much the same was as Ronald Reagan was sent by his Christian God

Americans regarded Ronald Reagan as The Teflon President because he possessed the ability to screw up in the most incredible ways without anyone ever giving much of a Damn. His nickname "The Great Communicator" was thought to be the result of his greatly gifted acting ability.

But very single form of life in the entire Union of Soviet Socialist Republics knew the only reason young Ron Reagan ever considered joining his High School Theater:

In the 38th chapter of Ezekiel, it says that the land of Israel will come under attack by the armies of the ungodly nations, and it says that Libya will be among them. Do you understand the significance of that? Libya has now gone Communist, and that's a sign that the day of Armageddon isn't far off.

Biblical scholars have been saying for generations that Gog must be Russia...

For the first time ever, everything is in place for the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. It can't be too long now. Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God's people. That must mean that they will be destroyed by nuclear weapons.

-- California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan, addressing a banquet for State Senator James Mills, 1971

Then later:

We may be the generation that sees Armageddon.

-- Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan during 1980 interview by Televangelist Jim Bakker.

As President, Reagan had Televangelists over to the White House from time to time so they could be given Top Secret National Security Briefings by Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency Officials.

During his term, Reagan made world-wide headlines with the following sound check for his weekly Saturday Address on National Public Radio:

My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Get This:

A Soviet spy counted the lit-up windows at the British Defence Ministry Headquarters in London every single night throughout Reagan's entire Presidency.

Too many lit-up windows would result in a Soviet First Strike.

The spy wrote about his work in a story for Time magazine shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. An hour or so in the UC Santa Cruz library should turn up a proper literature citation, as well as some really juicy quotes.

Perhaps now you can understand why Mikhail Gorbachev hurled every single Nuclear Weapon in the entire Soviet Arsenal, not at the United States, but at the Berlin Wall.

You're all going to totally piss yourselves laughing when I later explain in a transparently simple and obvious way that it was my own cousin Glenn Thobe who was able to talk Gorbachev into re-targetting all those ICBMs.

Glenn is from my mother's side of the family. While far older than I, he is actually of my generation.

Just for now, I'll point out that Glenn has a grasp of the Russian language that puts my own insight into the nature of software faults completely to shame.

Because he is so shy and gentle and because of the way he dresses, were you to meet Cousin Glenn you would know instantly that he was a bus driver. That's why you would find yourself quite flummoxed when he points out that he has a degree in Physics and is the most advanced kind of Electrical Engineer. His work these days largely centers on Global Positioning System receivers.

Perhaps, it could be said, my ardently conservative Republican father did the right thing when he voted for then-candidate Ronald Wilson Reagan in the Presidential campaign of 1980.

Lot's more to come here as well. Ciao, Baby!
-- Jonathan Swift

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