That’s right folks.   It’s hacky.  It’s silly.  It’s inevitable.  But it’s time for March Madness (Note – Readers outside the US read this to catch up March Madness).   That’s right.  It’s time for a bracket of 32 (because I can’t come up with 64, and certainly not 68) things that annoy us.  Some programming related, some not, in our search for the most annoying item that wins the First (perhaps annual) SlickEdit March Madness Tournament.


Vote for your favorite item in the comment section below.  Much like Whose Line is it Anyway, where the rules are made up and points don’t  matter, it won’t matter what you vote for because we’ll pick the winners of each round and report them to you as though your vote mattered.


Up first, the Grace Hopper Division: Programming Languages.  Everybody has a language that annoys them simply by its existence.

  • COBOL – It’s an acronym that stands for somthing with “Business” in it.  It’s way too wordy, and it’s outlived all the languages that were supposed to replace it.
  • Perl – There’s a lot to like in Perl. But unfortunately TMTOWTDI has gone way too far here. When you have 5 ways to do a regex search, that’s 3 too many. And while using $_ for “the last expression result” is pretty cool, all the rest of the short-hand two-character $ variables are simply there for the cognoscenti to show off and confound all but the author.
  • Java – Sun invents their own interpreted, object oriented language.  The whole world jumps on board.  As far as I can tell, for the first 10 years the only applications written in Java are Java Development Kits.
  • C# – Microsoft wants an interpreted, object oriented language.  Obviously, they invent their own.
  • C++ – For our beloved tagging guru, I will simply list the STL as the biggest sin of C++.
  • “Semicolons Optional” languages – Good grief. Why do this? Sure, using syntactically significant whitespace makes your source code look nice and tidy. But languages that do this make it harder for tool vendors to write proper support for the language, thereby limiting the number of 3rd party tools.
  • The Functional Language Diaspora – I’m not against functional languages. They’re vital and valuable, but still something of a niche, and shall always be thus. So do we need so darned many to fill said niche? Let’s put grandpa (Lisp) on the ice floe and push him out to sea along with Haskell, Erlang, and Scheme. Scala and F# can stay. Clojure gets a pass for now…
  • XML – It’s one language that contains every other language.  Its overly-broad application and misuse is responsible for the forced early retirement of the INI format. 

Dennis Miller Division: Cultural/Societal Phenomena

  • People who go on about organic food – If I’m eating a salad, I’m trying.  I don’t want to hear about the problems with the lettuce being genetically modified.  It’s LETTUCE.  Until it gets up and walks around, leave me alone.
  • Checks with 20__ in the date line – Forget the fact that I had to shred a pile of unused 19__ checks when Y2K rolled around, and I know I’ll never need to write a check with 21__ in it. But still, I don’t like the fact that the few checks I do write look like March 17th 2013
  • People who spend all day cluttering your Facebook feed by liking photos – I should learn how to shut this off.
  • Twitter – I guess it’s here to stay… but after 5+ years I’ll just admit, I don’t get it.
  • “Not Responsible for Windshield Damage” – Yes, you are responsible, you accountability-dodging cretins. You slap on a bumper stick that says “Stay Back 300 feet”  (ignoring the fact it can only be read when within 150 feet) and you think that gives you carte blanche to scatter gravel all over the roadways?
  • $1.59 for a 16oz Coke – I don’t mind the price, per se, just the fact the same Circle K sells a 2 liter bottle for only 40¢ more. Well, I can’t jam a 2 liter bottle into my car’s cup holders. Why don’t they jack up the price of the 2 liter to $2.50 and use that to subsidize my impulse purchase down to $1? And I won’t feel so ripped off.
  • $1 Double Cheeseburgers – I just don’t need this kind of temptation in my life.
  • Hacky Humor-oriented March Madness Bracket Lists – Yep.

 Rolling Stone Division: Music and Movies:

  • Coldplay – It sounds like U2 played by a comic lounge singer
  • Kanye West’s performance at that benefit show – I’m thinking of the 12/12/12 one, but others may apply
  • Boy bands – a trend that keeps coming back like the bad guy in a horror movie
  • Whoever expanded the “Best Picture” category to 10 movies – Did Toy Story 3 really have a chance?  You’re just trying to get people to watch the Oscars®©™²³£¥ television broadcast.  Don’t patronize me.
  • Everybody involved with the writing and production of The Blues Brothers 2000 – May God have mercy on your souls.
  • The stuff that passes for Heavy Metal today – Give me the NWOBHM bands.  I’m old.
  • Coldplay – New album is different you say?  Nope – It still sounds like U2 played by a comic lounge singer


Computer I Grew Up With Division (Under 40 need not apply): Oddities of the “computers” we grew up with.  Computers is in quotation marks because they aren’t exactly what we consider computers now.

  • The Commodore Vic-20 – How can I include my beloved first computer?  Because after it loaded the BASIC interpreter it had 3.5K of RAM, that’s how.  3.5K.  Not G, not M.  K.  Dim A$ 16,16,16. Error out of memory.
  • The Atari 400 – I never had one, but  it didn’t have a real keyboard.  Those touch pads probably seemed really futuristic until you actually tried to type on it.
  • The Apple II E – Somebody has to take the blame for unleashing the original Apple fan boys on the world.  I nominate the IIE.
  • The Apple II GS – Sleeker and more colorful than previous Apple II series, but not quite as cool as the impending Macintosh II. An expensive ,short-lived tease.
  • The Atari 2600 BASIC programming cartridge – A controller that looked like this, and no way to save anything?  It’s a wonder they didn’t sell more.
  • The Timex Sinclair 1000 – It was a calculator that you had to hook up to a TV.  They were kind enough to include the same keyboard technology as the Atari 400 though.
  • Whoever was in charge of marketing the Commodore Amiga – You should have ruled the computer world, you brought us a rotating bouncy ball.  Way to go.
  • Coleco Adam – You can tell it’s from the 80’s, it had a dual cassette deck.