The Ecphorizer

Tony Dowden

Issue #52 (December 1985)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
O're a quaint and curious program I had written long before;
While I nodded, nearly sleeping, suddenly I heard a beeping
From my console; bugs a-creeping, creeping where I would deplore.
'Twas some misstroke I had entered, errant thumbstroke not well
Just a typo, nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
When each floppy's files were listed, that 'twas really quite a chore.
Eagerly I wished the morrow. Hopefully I'd seek to borrow
Program guides to ease my sorrow, from the dump piled on the floor.
For my small glitch had created endless loops of cosines, fated
To be rooted evermore.

Deep into my console peering, long I sat there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams all mortal programmers had dreamt before.
That some subroutine, much needed, had my RAM space just exceeded,
And was therefore rudely weeded, banished from the system store.
Exiled to where none can forage, software limbo: federal storage;
There to languish evermore.

Had this ghastly curse befell me? CPU time now would tell me.
Missing code could very well be anywhere. I must explore.
All these files I quickly queried — to the last they came up poor.
One last hope, a final member: biorhythms for November,
Only this and nothing more.

But I knew there was insurance, for my toil and hard endurance.
Nervously I sought assurance, hopefully I did implore.
Day and hour, nay, every second, when the grand machine had reckoned
I had backed up all my labors safe on disk, 'twas quite a chore.
For eons it did cogitate, then printed out, that fateful date —
Quoth the console, "Nevermore." 

Programmer and all-around computer guru TONY DOWDEN hangs out in Silicon Valley with his five computers. At one point he owned the longest Rolls Royce in America. Other than that, he is your typical American apple-pie hacker.

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