Murphy’s Law : Java Glossary


Murphy’s Law

Originally the eponymous Edward Murphy made measurement devices that often failed. Programmers have a saying:

If anything can go wrong, it will and at the worst possible time. Oh yes and Murphy was an optimist.

The intent is to warn programmers that because computers execute so quickly, even the tiniest flaws will be soon manifested. You need to arm yourself with perfection.

Informally, Murphy’s Law posits a malicious god of computer programmers that ensures no deed good or bad goes unpunished. For example, on 2011-12-30 my room mate asked if it was OK to toss the packing materials for a LG DVD (Digital Video Disc) drive. I said yes. On 2012-01-01 the drive made a roaring noise like a vacuum cleaner, opened the drive door with the disc still spinning at high speed and flung it across the room like a Frisbee, then closed the door, roared and eventually went silent. It was as if the drive were possessed and for some reason did not like reading a backup disc from another computer. Such behaviour could be blamed on Murphy, an unusual virus, or the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) screwing with my mind.

Programmers anecdotally report that a probability of a hard disk crash is directly proportional to the time since the last backup. The probability of accidentally kicking the computer’s power cord, causing a momentary AC (Alternating Current) power outage, is directly proportional to the time since your last save to disk. The probability of running out of printer ink is directly proportional to the time until the store opens that sells it. You are most likely to run out of coffee in the middle of the night. Programs are most likely to crash in the middle of VIP (Very Important Person) demos.

Evidence of Murphy abounds in science, including the third law of thermodynamics, propagation of errors in DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) replication, tempting but finite supplies of fossil fuels, evolutionary specialisation leads to extinction, uncomputable functions…

There is always a temptation, when considering some weird combination of circumstances, to say “That will never happen’ and ignore it. The point of Murphy’s law is that we must either show that it really cannot happen, or plan for it happening.
~ Patricia Shanahan


book cover recommend book⇒A History of Murphy’s Lawto book home
by Nick T. Spark 978-0-9786388-9-4 paperback
publisher Periscope
published 2006-05-21
This history of Murphy’s law and the early history of test pilots and their crazy risks.
Australian flag abe books anz abe Canadian flag
German flag abe Canadian flag
German flag Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag Chapters Indigo eBooks Canadian flag
Spanish flag abe American flag
French flag abe American flag
French flag Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe Nook at Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag Kobo American flag
India flag Google play American flag
UK flag abe O’Reilly Safari American flag
UK flag Powells American flag
UN flag other stores
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.

This page is posted
on the web at:

Optional Replicator mirror
on local hard disk J:

Canadian Mind Products
Please the feedback from other visitors, or your own feedback about the site.
Contact Roedy. Please feel free to link to this page without explicit permission.

Your face IP:[]
You are visitor number