Once upon a time, Jamie Zawinski said,

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now they have two problems.

BTW: Jeffrey Friedl dug into the history and found that someone said it about awk before jwz said it about regular expressions!

I seem to have developed a fascination for new variants of this joke, especially where the concept being referenced is important to the structure of the joke. For example, last June I said,

Some people, when faced with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use binary." Now they have 10 problems.

The other day I contributed,

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use threads," and then two they hav erpoblesms.

It seems that Eiríkr Åsheim earlier had a similar one,

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use multithreading". Nothhw tpe yawrve o oblems.

Making fun of Java is easy. Chris Lonnen said,

Some people see a problem and think "I know, I'll use Java!" Now they have a ProblemFactory.

Floating point can be surprising. Tom Scott quipped,

Some programmers, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use floating point arithmetic." Now they have 1.999999999997 problems.

Finally, this is not a technical joke, but is too true to leave out. Tom Dale said (and then deleted?),

Some people, wanting an escape from their full-time job, think "I know, I'll contribute to open source." Now they have two full-time jobs.

Brendan Berg has a list of others if you want more...

tagged: , » 30 reactions

Comments

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Michael Foord 7:46 AM on 26 Apr 2012

Some people when confronted with a problem think "I know, I'll quote jwz". Now everyone has a problem.

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Paul Smith 7:55 AM on 26 Apr 2012

I’m fond of this variant:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll solve it." But the Void is inescapable and our short lives are meaningless.

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Randy Syring 8:38 AM on 26 Apr 2012

Good stuff, thanks for sharing.

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Julien Couvreur 8:55 AM on 26 Apr 2012

It's easy to see a political/libertarian version too: Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, we'll just use government." Now they have a more powerful monopoly.

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Craig Maloney 10:34 AM on 26 Apr 2012

Some people when confronted with a desire to use pithy quotes in their presentations think "I know, I'll use something from Star Wars". Now two problems they have.

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Zeb Thompson 12:11 PM on 26 Apr 2012

You've mentioned Mark Pilgrim's version before:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll quote Jamie Zawinski." Now they have two problems.

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Ben Timby 1:03 PM on 26 Apr 2012

You forgot my favorite one, brought to my attention by a colleage:

“I know, I’ll use Python.” Now they

import solution
and have a beer.

From:

http://sodiumdreams.com/post/19639754254/more-problems

[gravatar]
Henrik Ravn 5:47 AM on 27 Apr 2012

My own (at least I haven't seen it anywhere) variant of the thread version:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use mutexes." Now they have

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Reid 4:46 PM on 27 Apr 2012

I felt inspired, here's mine:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use anagrams." Now they have bloom twerps.

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Anon 5:16 PM on 27 Apr 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll watch Countdown." Now they have two conundrums.

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Anon's husband 5:21 PM on 27 Apr 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use Shareware." Now they have two trials.

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sxua 1:26 PM on 21 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think: "I know, I'll use caching." Now they have one problems.

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Uncle Mikey 12:34 PM on 23 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think: "I know, I'll think outside the box!" Now, they have 3.75 problems, an entirely new framework, and three dozen toll house cookies cooling in the kitchen.

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Adam 1:06 PM on 23 May 2012

I want to register that sxua version is gold.

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Elf M. Sternberg 1:39 PM on 23 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use node!"

Now
    they
        have
            three
                more
                    problems.

[gravatar]
Ghigo Renzulli 6:05 AM on 24 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use UTF8." Now they àﻂῦῇḢﻼɆµ↓ç°§ùÔ▄¦Ñﻂ.

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Ghigo Renzulli 6:07 AM on 24 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll ignore it." Now someone else has one more problem.

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Lincoln Russell 8:41 AM on 24 May 2012

"I'll use PHP!" Now they have ("1 apple" + "1 orange") problems.

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Uncle Mikey 9:39 AM on 24 May 2012

Well, if we're going to go there...

..."I'll use Perl!" Now they have more than one way to have more than one problem....

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David-Sarah Hopwood 9:50 AM on 24 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a security problem, think "I know, I'll use capabilities." Now they can solve their problem but cannot convince anyone else they've solved it.

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Igor 4:03 AM on 25 May 2012

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use delegations." Now their problem is a problem of their problem.

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Matt N 12:20 AM on 15 Aug 2012

For those of you still interested, I encourage you to add your "two problems" to the (soon to be canonical!) site: http://twoproblems.com/

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C Wells 5:39 PM on 28 May 2013

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use recursion!" Now now they now they have now they have two now they have two problems.

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Maithily 7:34 AM on 29 May 2013

I think, "I Know why because I didn't use try... catch and finally they got caught ....

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Olaf Klischat 1:52 PM on 31 May 2013

Pretty accurate all around, but the floating point thing is fake! IEEE 754 (double precision) can represent all integers between 0 and 2**52-1 (or somesuch) without rounding errors. So unless you arrive at the 2 via some intricate computation, it should be 2 and not 1.999999999997...

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Chris Withers 7:36 PM on 14 Mar 2014

I have recently returned to async programming, so:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use asynchronous programming." Now

:-)

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Chris Withers 7:36 PM on 14 Mar 2014

I have recently returned to async programming, so:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use asynchronous programming." Now

:-)

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Chris Withers 7:37 PM on 14 Mar 2014

...either that or they post twice :-P

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Daira Hopwood 3:11 PM on 15 Mar 2014

Chris Withers: I assumed that was intentional :-)

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Joel Martin 10:14 PM on 3 Sep 2014

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use eval". Now they have all the problems.

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