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Randy Pratt, under the hanging ad lettered "Sharke Computers," looked down pityingly on the woman customer standing clench-fisted by the showroom door. Because of the glare of the morning sun on the windows of a car parked outside, he had a little trouble even seeing her. But he strained hard to be fair.

"If," he said, locating a business card in his jacket pocket, "there is anything we can realistically do for you, just get in touch with me. But what you're asking here is not realistic. Now, I hope you'll excuse me. I am speaking shortly at the seminar." Randy favored her with a conversation-closing smile, and handed her his business card.

The customer ripped the card across three times, threw the pieces on the floor, and went out. The automatic door closer shut the door gently.

Randy exhaled, murmured, "Cretin," and picked up the pieces. He went around back of a software display to the wastebasket.

Across the room, Mort, the part-time salesman, came out from behind a display of desk, portable, and lapsize computers. "What's her problem?"

"Oh, she bought a Sharke Superbyte here a few weeks ago. Now she's got a Shomizota printer with a serial interface, I suppose from Barricuda Byte Shop. Naturally, she doesn't know a bit from a detachable keyboard, so she figures it's our job to mate the printer with the Sharke."

"Stupid. But that Shomizota's a sweet little printer. You can't blame her for getting it."

"Naturally, I don't blame her. It's cheaper than ours, you don't have to be a weightlifter to move it, and people don't run for cover when it prints. The problem is, who's going to get it working for free? It's standard with the Barricuda. Of course, the Barricuda—"

Mort looked knowledgeable. "Oh, it's not so bad."

Randy stared at him. "It's got the reset button next to the left-hand shift key. And the keyboard's got an extra-light touch."

"It's a fast keyboard."

"I saw a guy demonstrate the Barricuda, with a big crowd around him, and about halfway through he accidentally bumped the reset. Everything on the screen disappeared. Then it lit up with, 'KINDLY INSERT YOUR SYSTEM DISK IN DRIVE A.' You like losing everything you've done because you bump the wrong key?"

"There are—ah—one or two bugs—" Mort glanced at the door. "I'll straighten the magazines." Randy glanced around.

Through the glare appeared an unshaven, strongly built man wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt. His left hand flung open the door. His voice was rough.

"Somebody here named Curtis?"

Randy quickly thrust out one of his cards. "Mort, whatever became of Curtis?"

Mort's voice came from back of the magazine rack.

"Working over at Wolfe Computer, the last I heard."

Randy nodded and turned back.

"Wolfe Computer is out on Industrial Way. You take a left, just up the—"

"He was working here when he sold my kid a Gnat computer. When it quit, Curtis says you can't fix it, the company's broke."

"Well, I'm sure Curtis—"

"It's the store's guarantee. When do we bring it in?"

"Well, I—I'm not quite sure of our policy on Gnat repairs, and—"

"Don't hand me that."

"Sir, I'll tell you what. The store manager is out today. He should be in tomorrow morning around eleven."

"I'm working at eleven."

"Then I'm afraid I don't see—"

"I'm here now."


"The kid worked all summer to buy that Gnat. You're going to fix it."

Randy glanced at his watch. "Mort, will you take care of this? I have to get over to the seminar." Mort's disembodied voice said miserably, "What can I do?"

Their visitor glanced around. "The thing is guaranteed, Buddy. You can fix it."

Randy stepped behind the long counter with its software display, featuring dragons, dwarfs, chests of gold, spaceships belching fire, competing captains of industry shaking their fists at one another, columns of stock prices, charts, graphs, tax forms, spreadsheets—and then he was going down the hall past a door with a window beside it that looked into the repair shop, where a technician in gray laboratory-style coat beckoned urgently. Randy stepped in, closed the door tightly behind him, and nodded.

"Mike. I'm just headed for the seminar. I have to give a talk on—heh—The Future of Computing."

"Who's that out front?"

"You remember the kid that bought our last Gnat computer? The kid that knew all about processors, operating systems, machine code, assembly language, higher level languages—you name it?"

"I remember him."

"Stewart guaranteed the Gnat for ninety days. That's the kid's father out there."

"Randy, that Gnat was full of bugs!"

"I tried to tell Stew—"

"That's the sixth one to come back on us. You almost need psychic powers to even get into the case without wrecking something. Once you get inside, there's stuff labeled 'Made in Sarabanga.' I can't find anyone even knows where that is. Not to mention there's eighteen little screws that hold down the cover, and all those screws are soft."

"I guess the margin was such—Look, I've got to be going."

"Who's talking to the kid's father?"

"Mort is—ah—trying to calm the storm, and—"

"Mort? That wimp! Look, Randy, I'm better than two weeks behind, thanks to that Gnat guarantee. I can't keep up, much less honor this 48-hour fix you guys are offering. Get rid of this guy! Three of them came in a few weeks ago, and Curtis ran them out. Randy, if you've got to sell junk, that's your business. But I can't fix all this stuff! I didn't plan on a big scene, but you've got to know there's a limit!"

"I know. I know how it is, Mike." Randy sighed. "I never dreamed—" He paused, shoved his thoughts back on the track, and groped behind him for the doorknob. "I'm sure Mort will—"

A newly familiar voice echoed down the hall: "Twenty-one day guarantee, hell! I've got a copy of your ninety-day guarantee right here. The original's in my lawyer's office! Now, you going to make this right, or—"

Randy slid out into the hall, walked fast, stepped outside, and paused as the heat of the asphalt parking lot hit him. He opened his car door, staggered in the bake-oven blast, peeled off his jacket, and began to mentally review what he would say at the seminar.


Randy, two hours later, stood, chilled by the air-conditioning, before the blank-faced attendees of the Sharke Computing Systems Biennial Free Seminar on Home, Professional, and Personal Computing. He concentrated on the speech's conclusion:

"In conclusion, as you will remember, we have discussed the factors of density of circuit elements on the chip, number of chips to the system, architecture, assembly and machine-language programming, LSI and VLSI, higher level languages, operating systems, and applications programs. The improvement in all of these factors must be understood to truly appreciate the change that is rapidly overtaking us—the change to a Fully Computerized Environment, or FCE, as we may call it."

He smiled. If anyone in the crowd smiled back, he didn't notice it.

"I am sure," he finished, speaking the hopeful lie that had the virtue of tying things up and ending on a note of optimism: "I am sure everyone in this audience today will enter the FCE willingly, and will successfully ride the wave of the future."

There was empty silence, then a thin scattering of applause. Then, as people sat up, perhaps jarring others awake, the applause briefly strengthened. Then there was a rush for the exit.

Randy looked on moodily. "If there are any questions—"

The room continued to empty. Well, now he had to get back to the store. Hopefully, Mort would have outlasted the indignant father. That was the thing, he told himself—outlast the opposition. Maybe then things will start to look up again.

Once parked behind the store, he got out onto the familiar soft asphalt, let himself in, and listened alertly. There was a murmur from somewhere. A furtive glance showed Mike, the technician, hard at work.

Up front, Mort was speaking hesitantly. "I can see this new program might be revolutionary, but I'm not quite sure we could sell it. I mean—"

"Oh," said an unfamiliar voice, "everybody will be going for it. Of course, I could take it over to the Sharke compatibles first. Or—"

Randy stepped around the counter, and held out one of his cards. Their visitor promptly held out one bearing the name of the company, "Armagast Software."

Mort looked at his watch. "Well, about time for me to go home."

Randy said, "How did it work out with the—ah—the boy's father?"

"Stew came in after you left, and agreed to fix the Gnat. Then after the kid's father left, Stew blew up and said you and I should have gotten rid of him. Then he claimed Curtis should never have sold the Gnat to the kid. Next he said it was your fault we ever stocked the Gnat in the first place."


"He said he relies on your technical judgment."

"I told him for bugs the Gnat was an ants' nest! He said the margin was fifteen percent higher than the competition. Now he blames me?"

"I'm just repeating what he said. I thought you'd want to know. Well, see you on Tuesday."

Randy glanced at the avidly listening salesman. "I'm not sure we need to add anything to our line. Who did you say wrote it?"


"Armagast of Armagast Software, not Armagast of Future Designs?"

"Same person."

"What's the program?"

"A problem-solving program. Very unusual. I could say revolutionary. You'll understand if you've heard of Armagast."

"Have you run it?"

"I—ah—It's so new—"

"How much?"

"Only two hundred fifty. A bargain."

"I'll take one for the store, and one for me personally."

"And your personal computer?—What make?"

"Well—I have a Model 3 Cougar."

"No problem. We could supply ENIAC, if it had disk drives."

It took Randy a moment to remember that ENIAC dated from the forties. He could feel his cheeks burn, and was still mad after he was home, settling down at the Cougar's keyboard, his wife watching worriedly.

"Randy—I hope that's a disk you borrowed from the store."

"Since when did the store stock anything for Cougar?"

She hesitated. "How did the seminar go?"


"Hard questions?"

"They didn't ask questions. After I got through, I guess they figured they'd never understand. And at the store—Well, we had a woman who wanted us to interface a Barricuda printer to her Sharke computer, and if my guess is right, next she'll want to run a program set up for something else. Then we had a guy whose kid bought a Gnat from us, and it's dead already, and Mike, our technician, is swamped, and then there was the lecture, and finally—let's see—" He brightened. "Then there was a software salesman, and he had this program."

"What's the program?"

"I'm not sure. It's supposed to solve problems."

She hesitated. "How much was it?"


She looked at him.

"Two hundred and fifty dollars?"

"Plus tax. So now I'm guilty."

"You don't know what it will do, and you spent two hundred dollars for it?"

He got up carefully, stepped to a table separate from the table holding the computer, and brought his clenched fist down on the table.

"A call went out a while back, remember? It said, 'The future is computers. Anyone who wants to earn his keep should study computer science.' I don't mean to make a federal case out of it, but I did do the work and I did earn the piece of paper. And now how do I spend my time? Answering the same questions over and over, wrangling with customers, trying to suck people into buying when for all I know it will ruin them, and, to vary the monotony, I get to deliver lectures to people who think Sanskrit while I talk Greek. We were headed for the Moon! How did we end up in this swamp? Do you know how many companies are going broke, and what the rest are doing to stay afloat?"

"I just know I can't hold a job and at the same time be in the hospital with a baby. And I can't go right back afterward. If the job is even there."

"I know. But the dream is dying! Why?"

She looked at him, frowning. "At least you do have a job."

"Thanks. I know what it is."

"But, Randy, why did you spend two hundred dollars? We need it!"

He sighed. "Armagast wrote this program."

For just an instant, he thought the room wavered. She stared at him. Then, for some reason, she came over and kissed his cheek.

He looked at her blankly.

"Okay," she said. "But please, Randy, don't get another program—unless Armagast wrote it."

"I didn't know you knew about him."

"I don't."

"He wrote Control—it's the operating system for the 99000. He's one of the giants. They drove him out of business for a while. But he's still fighting. There are rumors he's coming out with a new machine that will beat them all."

"Maybe that's why the prices are being cut? And the dream—"

"No. As long as he's there, the dream's still alive. And this is his first program, so far as I know, since Control!"

She nodded uncertainly. "All right. You go ahead. When you're through, I'll get you something to eat. I hope the program won't disappoint you."

He looked after her, puzzled. The money was still spent, wasn't it? And she was right, they did need it. He turned back, frowning, to the computer, ran his thumb affectionately across the stylized chrome cougar-head design with its big curved fangs and the horrible motto: "We Byte." He slid the disk in, listened to the familiar hum-rumble-clunk, waited, and then the screen lit with a swirl of curving lines as if he were falling into a whirlpool.


Armagast Software 

There was a dizzying pause, and then successive lines of print flashed onto the screen:

"This is not a problem-solving program.

"This is a program to help speed your solving of problems.

"The mind is in many ways the most practical problem-solving device.

"What it needs is facts. We will assume you have the facts, though you may not be aware of it.

"What it needs is concentration. We will strengthen that concentration.

"What is needed is to see the possible combinations of facts that, as they join and rejoin in all conceivable patterns, occasionally offer practical solutions.

"The program you are about to experience makes use of certain as yet unappreciated aspects of the nature of microprocessors and of the human brain and the human mind.

"Because this program involves factors which may not be fully understood, you should, BEFORE you run this program, carefully read our Customer Agreement. This may be informally summarized as follows:

"'We are legally responsible for nothing whatever, in any way whatever, related to your running this program, or for any consequential damages resulting therefrom. You are fully and inescapably responsible, from the moment you tore the plastic wrap, for anything and everything that happens afterward, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.'

"However, please do not rely on this informal summary. Read the Agreement. It is much more detailed and restrictive.

"If you wish, you may stop here and return the program for your full purchase price, less a slight charge for repacking. To return the program, type 'R' on the keyboard. To continue, type 'C.' To think things over, or reread the Agreement, WHICH MUST BE READ FIRST, type 'P' for pause."

Randy sneered, and hit "C" on the keyboard.

Gently at first, the screen seemed to swirl. He felt a moment's dizziness, and then the words that flashed on the screen appeared to transmute into a deep thoughtful voice:

"Too often, we overlook the obvious when we try to solve a problem. We should look the problem over very carefully, note the exact details, note how the details are related, and not hesitate to use paper and pencil. Be sure you know what the problem is. Possibly there is a similar, simpler, or more familiar problem to use as a model? Can you . . ."

The voice went on, each suggestion somehow compelling a thought-out response, and the effort of each response creating a kind of mental jolt so that he felt dizzy, as if successive blows sapped his strength. He was still struggling to put his problem into words—"What's happened to the dream?" when everything seemed to fade out.

"Randy—" The feminine voice was gentle.

"Whew." He sat up dizzily. The room spun around him. "How long—"

"I just came in to tell you good-night. You were slumped over the machine."

He massaged his forehead.

"Well—If that's Armagast's latest—I hate to say it—Maybe the dream is dead!"

"Oh, don't say—"

"It's junk. A little advice and a feeling like some stage hypnotist just tricked you into dancing around with a broomstick."

"Maybe it will seem better in the morning."

"I'll see if I can get my money back. I'm afraid it's too late. But the store copy goes back tomorrow, as soon as I get hold of Stew."

* * *

Stewart Rafer pushed up his thick-lensed glasses and eyed the package as Randy, hand pressed to forehead, described the program.

"—and you should have seen the disclaimer in the program itself—which is supposed to be just a mild summary."

Stewart was studying a large paper covered with fine print.

"I just wonder—This whole thing gives me the impulse to see if I couldn't crack their little gimmick. What are we, the auto industry?"

Randy looked blank, then went on, "What makes me sick is Armagast. I can't believe he did this."

"Well, they get zilch for this package from me, and I'll lean on them to give back what they got from you. Not that we can count on it." Stewart glanced at his watch. "Now, I've been thinking we could give better service if we could pick up machines for repair, and bring the finished job back to the customer. One of these multiformat vans might answer our needs. But I'd like your opinion."


"Tell Mort you and I are going out, and we'll be back about four, at the latest."

"Is Mort in today?"

"Should be. I told him to come in."

Randy stepped down the hall into the showroom, told Mort, and then stood still a moment, considering that:

a) Stewart had not exploded at the purchase of the Armagast program.

b) Stewart was going to try to get Randy's money back.

c) Stewart had hired Mort for an extra day's work, so Randy could go along to look at the new van.

Not once in the past had Stewart treated Randy so much like an equal. And here was Stewart even saying that he would like Randy's opinion.

On top of that string of impossibilities, there was what Stewart wanted Randy's opinion on—a "multiformat van." What was a "multiformat van"?

Then there had been that about "cracking the gimmick." Apparently Stewart wanted to unlock the tricky antipiracy traps in the Armagast program. When had Stewart ever shown interest or talent for that?

In short, something was wrong. If this was reality, Randy didn't recognize it.

Of course, it could be just Stewart. Maybe Stewart was coming down with a cold, and this was how it hit him?

But then he realized there was a worse inconsistency:


Even when the big companies drove him to the wall, Armagast had still paid off his creditors and delivered the goods to his customers. That was one reason for the fanatical loyalty the man inspired, for the users groups that stuck with outdated Armagast hardware, for the rejoicing when the Armagast updates began to come through, against all predictions stepping up the power of the Armagast machines. Even the announcement, mailed to former customers:

"Armagast Computers is happy to offer our former customers the renewal of all services we formerly provided. Effective immediately, we also renew all Armagast warranties for a period of ninety days from the date of this letter. We offer immediately a series of upgrades to make our computers fully comparable to our competitors. We thank our customers for their loyalty, and we continue to stand by our pledge: 'Solid quality at a fair price.'"

Would the individual behind that have put out a program that didn't work?

It was at that point that Randy became conscious of a ghostly wind on the back of his neck.

No, the Stewart he knew positively would not act as Stewart now was acting.

And, no, Armagast flatly would not do as Armagast apparently had done.


From down the hall Stewart called, "Okay, Randy, let's go."

Randy swallowed. "Coming."

Stewart held the outside door open.

Randy stepped outside, to stare at a dirt parking lot where the high wheels of parked vehicles rested in narrow concrete troughs. The troughs curved in pairs, their tops a few inches above the muck, out into a road where they alternated with mud puddles under buzzing swarms of flies.

"Merciful God," said Randy.

Stewart growled, "Which of these heaps do we take?" He pulled open the door, and leaned back into the building. "Hey! Mike?"

The technician's voice was muffled, "Stew?"

"Randy and I are going to look at a van. What's the format for Inter-Continental Motors?"

There was a click of a door opening.

"InterCon? Wide and deep. But hey, Stew, wait." Footsteps hammered down the hall, and the technician peered out into the sunlight. "The format's about sixty-by-eight, but don't take an adjustable. I've found out InterCon's latest stunt, just by accident—and I do mean accident."


"They've raised the roads under their overpasses."

Stewart stared.

Mike nodded. "I saw one of those adjustable vans that's supposed to fit any format start under the overpass going in on Main Street. The top of the van hit the underpass. There was glass all over the road."

"They can't do that!"

"They can if they make it legal."

"What happened to the van?"

"A big InterCon wrecker slid under the overpass with inches to spare, and hauled the wreck out. An ambulance took the driver. That was an InterCon job, too."

Stewart shook his head. "Half the outfits using InterCon's format will start to collapse when news of this gets around. But how do we know which ones?"

Mike glanced around the lot. "Yeah. We don't want to get an orphan we can't find parts for. Well, all I can offer is, drive the InterCon job. It may be slow, but you won't spend half the day dodging underpasses."

"I was thinking of looking at one of the independents first."

"Then make two trips. But I tell you, Stew, I'd hesitate to get a van that won't go into InterCon's territory. They're big and getting bigger."

"A lot of our customers don't live there."

"Do you want to be driving a competing van when they throw the next block into the competition?"

"No. But there's an InterCon price list on my desk, stuck under the appointment pad. Take a look at that."

"That's how they play it. Well, enjoy yourself out there. Happy disposition!"

Stewart nodded moodily, and glanced at Randy. "Let's see what InterCon has to offer while we're still fresh. I'm not sure I can stand their van salesman after ten in the morning. Then we can look at some independents, and if we've got any strength left, we can try Rugged Jake."

Randy drew a shaky breath, and nodded. He glanced up. The sun and clouds looked the same. The trees looked like trees he had known before. The buildings looked unchanged. Then he looked back at the mud, the curving tracks, and the clouds of flies. Only one explanation presented itself: Things had changed since he ran that program.

Why hadn't he read the whole disclaimer? And where was he now? Had he been slung into some other continuum? Or was this just a dream?

With an effort, he straightened up. He had to eat, wherever he might be. And while this might not be the best job in the world, it was a job. He started across the lot, tripped over a curving trough, and just avoided a fall onto an angle where one concrete trough merged with another in crossing. Stewart, meanwhile, stepped with easy familiarity over the troughs to a vehicle with high wheels, lots of ground clearance, and a body that reminded Randy of the front end of a fire truck joined to the back end of a hay wagon.

As Stewart heaved himself up to the driver's seat, Randy barely missed putting his foot down a trough, and then almost slipped into a deep-looking puddle that stank of horse manure. It was a relief to climb onto the running board. He was pulling a cover off the passenger's seat when Stewart said dryly, "How about some help?"

Randy looked back blankly.


Stewart leaned forward over the windshield, which was folded down flat, and tapped the curving red hood. He cupped his hand to his ear as if listening.

Randy stared at him stupidly.

Stewart stared back.

It occurred to Randy that he could lose his job here just as well as back home. He did a fast desperate feat of mental gymnastics, but found no answer.

Stewart shook his head. "Don't stay up so late with bad programs." He pointed to the front of the car, raised his arm to shoulder level, and whipped his forearm around in a circle.

Randy didn't get it, but decided to go look. He took a step, forgetting that he was on the running board, hit the puddle with a stiff-legged splash, and felt the water pour into his shoe. With a sucking squelch, he pulled free, then a lurch and a stagger brought him to the front of the car, and now he saw the hand-crank hanging down under the radiator. Randy took hold, and whipped the crank around fast.

Stewart snarled, "Seat it, will you! All you're doing is turning the crank, not the engine!"

Randy crouched down, shoved in on the crank, rotated it part way, and it slid forward another inch or two. He gave a heave, and got nowhere.

"Hold it!" yelled Stewart. "Sorry about that! Okay, I've got the clutch in. Try her again!"

Randy gave a desperate heave on the crank, and succeeded in turning it, but nothing happened. He tried again with the same result.

Stewart snorted. "This the first time you ever cranked an engine? Keep her going!"

Randy mopped his forehead, and as he took a fresh hold he chanced to notice two battered iron posts sunk into the ground, one near either end of the badly dented front bumper. A suspicion formed in his mind, and he looked up at Stewart.

"What gear you got it in?"

Stewart looked guilty. "Ah—" He pulled on a long lever, and there was a little grating noise. "Not that it matters. It was in low. I've got it in neutral now." Stewart's tone of voice confirmed Randy's suspicion that it did matter, though he had yet to work out exactly how. He took hold of the crank, heaved up, pushed down, heaved up, got the rhythm—


The crank whipped out of his hands, the car shook, and Stewart yelled, "That's more like it! Okay, let's go!"

Randy detoured the puddle, his foot squelching in his shoe, climbed the running board, got over a metal lip, heaved the cover off the passenger's seat, and almost went out over the windshield as Stewart shifted into reverse. Stewart, possibly in apology, shouted, "Clutch is a bitch!"

The slimy soddenness of his shoe was getting to Randy, and he took advantage of a few seconds of calm as Stewart backed out of the lot to get the shoe off, and wring out his sock. He got that back on just as Stewart speeded up.

They backed fast on some kind of sidetrack, slid to a stop, and with a sudden lunge they jolted forward, hit repeated obstructions with a series of jarring shocks, and then Stewart grabbed his end of the windshield and yelled, "Let's put her up!"

Randy, barely able to hang on, pulled up on his end, tightened the wingbolt, then grabbed for support as they bounced around an uphill curve at possibly fifteen miles an hour; and then Stewart pulled back a lever even longer than the gearshift lever, and they slid to a stop at a traffic light. A cloud of dust rolled over them from the intersection, and then they turned onto a road each side of which looked a hundred feet wide, covered with concrete troughs of all widths and spacings, with horses trotting along at the edges. Randy watched the speedometer needle crawl up, with several shifts of gears, to twenty-five miles an hour, when Stewart set the throttle, glanced around, and grinned. "Still some life in this old baby!" Then he sat back in his seat with the steering wheel wobbling on its own as they thundered through clouds of dusts and flies, their wheels locked in the concrete tracks, with Stewart intent on a shouted conversation:

"Don't repeat what Mike told us!"



"I said NO!"

"It gives us a little advantage to know first."




After several interruptions when horses began to pass them on the turns, and Stewart looked askance at the speedometer and readjusted the throttle, they reached a turnoff; and after a series of jolts through interconnecting troughs, some of them partly crumbled away, they passed a huge sign lettered BRISTOL—HOME OF INTERCONTINENTAL MOTORS—ALL MOTORIZED VEHICLES USE INTERCON OFFICIAL FORMAT ONLY—HORSEDRAWN VEHICLES TAKE ALTERNATE THOROUGHFARES—IN THIS JURISDICTION ALL NON-INTERCON FORMATS ARE ILLEGAL!

They passed through an underpass littered with broken glass, came out the other side, and Stewart hauled on the wheel as they jounced around a corner, went down through another underpass, and crawled out on the far side to see a set of big buildings and a monster sign bearing the huge letters: INTERCON.

At a junction of concrete troughs, Stewart pulled off the road by a long shed under the sign, "Official Inter-Continental Motors Van and Auto Franchised Dealer." He glanced at Randy, "Whatever you do, don't hit the bastard."

An hour or so later, they emerged from the shed with a gray-coated individual meditatively puffing a pipe, who said in the manner of someone mentioning an afterthought, "Of course, that six thousand's the price for the main frame only. If you'd like an engine, the Thunderbolt will run you another nineteen hundred ninety-nine. If the Mule Reliable will do, that will be fifteen hundred eighty-four. You'll want wheels, I imagine; they're sixty-five each. You get one free in the Magnum Package Deal. If you'd like seats, we have a selection at various prices, or you could jam a fence rail into the slots back of the instrument panel deck. The van enclosure runs another two thousand, and it's fitted for the standard interconnecting rear port. That's four hundred ninety-nine."

"What, the van enclosure?"

"No, the rear port. That's the installed price at the time of purchase. Then there are the bolts to hold the enclosure on the main frame. They're special bolts, with grapple plates fitted to keep the enclosure from shifting, and yet it's adjustable backwards, forwards, and sideways, to suit your taste. They're seventy-five apiece."

"The ports?"

"The bolts."

"How are the ports going to match up if they're shifted around to suit my taste?"

"Well, you have to configure the grapple plates to get the ports to match up with the receiver vehicle. That's the point. These are female or male ports, as you specify. Same charge, either way."


"Be sure to get it right the first time. Otherwise we'll have to sell you a hermaphrodite port adaptor. And you'll need a rear bracket with a hoist to get the adaptor into place. It's a very delicate piece of work, actually, because you can wreck the port and the adaptor."

"What's the total on all this?"

"Depends on how you want it configured, with or without maintenance contract, and whether you want a port adaptor."

"Just give me a rough estimate."

"We don't make rough estimates."


"It confuses the customer."

"At least the port is standard, you say."

"Oh, sure. Standard OX444, of the InterCon Series 100 Port Type, Revision 3."

Stewart spat out a bad word. "And how do I know that what I'll have to shift cargo with is going to be the same type?"

"No problem. Don't deal with anyone who doesn't use the latest InterCon standard parts throughout."

Stewart said shortly, "We'll think it over." He swung up into the driver's seat, and glanced at Randy.

Randy climbed into the passenger's seat.

Stewart looked hard at Randy.

Randy came awake, and went up front to take hold of the crank.

The salesman looked on. "I've known people to get broken arms with that crank. Our new model has an automatic disconnect that works."

Randy swore to himself and heaved on the crank. The engine caught with a roar. There was a thud as Stewart's foot slipped off the clutch. The car, evidently in first, slammed against the posts of the parking slot. This tossed Randy back into the muck and left him with an aching wrist as the engine stalled.

The salesman slapped his thigh, and disappeared into the shed.

Stewart climbed down and made clucking noises.

"It never fails. When that bird starts talking price, I get so mad I can't think. Nothing broken, I hope?"

"Just wrenched."

"Cheap at the price."

"Thanks a lot."

"Scrape the worst of the muck off, and stand on the running board on the driver's side. See if it's in neutral, and give it a shot of gas when it catches. Don't sit down in the seat."

On the way back, they were both silent as the dust and flies flew over them. Randy spent the time trying to understand how there could be mud in some places and dust in others, and decided the troughs must drain rainwater from higher ground to lower. At the end of the deafening bone-jarring trip, as Stewart stopped with a jolt against the posts in his parking lot back of the store, he said, "Well—What do you think?"

"Of what?"

"InterCon's deal."

Randy studied his fingernails. "The nouns in my answer will cost you a hundred dollars each. Verbs are eighty apiece. For another hundred, I'll throw in some adjectives and adverbs, and connect everything up. Let me know how much you're willing to pay, and I'll put together an answer."

Stewart grinned. "You should get a job at that place." He glanced at his watch. "Go home and wash off, and this afternoon we'll try the independents. At InterCon, they figure there's no competition. Well, maybe. But we'll see."


The afternoon found them examining broad vehicles with narrow wide-spaced wheels, long slender vehicles hinged in the middle to go around curves, vehicles with rubber cogwheels in place of tires, and toughs to match, so that proud salesmen could show pictures of the CogCar climbing near-vertical slopes. There was also an assortment patterned after the vehicles they'd seen that morning.

"Yes, sir," a salesman assured them. "Not only is ours compatible, it is actually superior to the InterCon Personal Car. Ours is higher. You can wear a top hat in our vehicle. We offer 20% more maximum load! Moreover, we have the InterCon standard port, male or female, plus—brace yourselves, gentlemen—THE ENGINE IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE! Now, any questions?"

Randy hesitated. "This male or female port—How do you know in advance which kind you'll need?"

Stewart nodded.

The salesman smiled condescendingly. "You'll have to have the other kind from the kind you're going to connect with."

"How do you know, now, what kind you may need to connect with after you've made the purchase?"

The salesman favored Randy with the look usually reserved for insects in the soup.

"By that time, sir, you should know what port you can mate with, sir."

"The other vehicle may not have the right port."

"Then you won't deal with him, sir."

"Maybe you want to deal with him."

"And pay the adaptor charge? And possibly wreck both ports?"

"What do you need a 'port' for? Why not just manhandle the load from one truck to the other?"

The salesman, bowing beside Randy as if trying to get down onto Randy's level, straightened up. "You do that, then." He turned his back, and called across the showroom, "Ed, you got tickets for the Car Show next week? Save me two. Hear? Two." He strolled away.

Randy took a step after him, but felt Stewart's hand at his shoulder. "Let's go, Randy. To knock his block off wouldn't solve our problem."

Randy walked out. "Why not forget this port mess?"

"You can if your vehicle is an adjustable, and can run different wheel formats. Otherwise, you have to shift load to another truck when you come to a change in format, and on some roads that happens every time you cross a municipal boundary."

"Why the different wheel spacings?"

"Why doesn't everyone like the same food? InterCon likes one wheel width and depth, and somebody else likes a different one, so you've got two, right there."

"For the love of—"

"Sure, it complicates everything. Every so often, a local legislature gets sick of maintaining all the different formats. Then InterCon, or whoever, will give a special deal to drivers to buy their make of vehicle, and finally the voters choose their format as the only one that's legal. That makes it simple for the local highway department. But for truckers, it's a nightmare."

"But where's the problem in swapping loads by hand? Why do you have to have a 'port'?"

Stewart glanced at the drying mud and curving troughs of the parking lot.

"You want to manhandle crates with your feet on that? You want a broken ankle or a cracked skull?"

"But this male and female business. For—"

Stewart walked behind the vehicle they'd come in, pulled on a lever, and the lower half of the rear door opened down horizontally, the upper half swung up horizontally; and, as he pulled again, inner doors swung out right and left, the four half-doors making an extension open at the rear. Several inches underneath, two steel beams slid back below the lower door.

"This is a so-called male port. The female port is wider and higher. Now, watch." He heaved on the lever, and the two steel beams slid further, to project beyond the rear of the extension. "These support the floor of the joined ports, and the ends rest in brackets underneath the other vehicle's port. That joins the vehicles, and nobody slips in the mud or drops freight overside. But, boy, if the troughs are curved, or the trucks don't match just right—"

"Why not just have a gate that drops down at the rear of the truck, with a chain on each side to keep the gate horizontal? That would work."

Stewart thought it over. "Maybe. Unfortunately, we've now got regulations that require male or female ports, made to the standard pattern. This is the standard pattern. At least it's less bad than the gas nozzles. If they come out with one more pattern—"

"What, for the gas pumps?"

"At last count, there were eighteen different designs, and they make the intake on the auto to fit the nozzle. It depends on which car company strikes what deal with which gas company. Well, let's go see Jake."

Randy, his head spinning, cranked the car and climbed in. Stewart started to pull out onto the road, then jammed on the brake. Out in the street, a truck rumbled past pushing a row of little shovels through the concrete troughs, to leave dirt and trash in long low piles to either side.

Randy massages his temples, and watched a horse and open carriage rumble past at the corner. The horse was moving right along, and the people in the carriage grinned at Stewart and Randy waiting for the trough-cleaner. Stewart said, "Ah, nuts," and let the clutch out so fast the car bucked and stalled. This brought gales of laughter from the carriage.

Stewart snarled, "I'll crank it. You work the throttle."

Randy dragged his mind off the question why, if this were a dream, he hadn't woken up yet. He discovered that Stewart had left the car in gear just as Stewart found out, and said some words Randy hadn't heard before. Then they had the vehicle started, and jounced and slammed through the dirt piled into the junctions as the main troughs were cleaned out.

"It would all be so easy," said Stewart, fighting the wheel, "if it weren't for the details. This is obviously the transportation system of the future—and yet—look at this."

On the street in front were two long things like narrow trap doors that popped open as they crossed the intersection. It dawned on him that these were trough-covers, closed to keep the horses from falling where horse-streets and car-streets crossed on the same level. And, of course, the covers had to open for the vehicles to get through.

"Quite a thing," said Stewart cynically, "when the trough cover gets grit in its hinges. Either the horses break their legs, or the cars climb out of the troughs."

"Why not pave the whole street and have done with it?"

"We can never vote it in. The horse interests go along with whoever favors the present set-up, and together they vote down any change. To pave the street would mean cars could go near horses, and scare the daylights out of them. And it would end the set-up we've got now, when only horses can go everywhere. Naturally, the horse-freight outfits want to keep that. It makes you wish Gritz hadn't invented the security slot in the first place."


"Gritz. Father of the auto industry. Invented the trough-section casting machine. The idea is to avoid accidents, and be able to keep moving in mud, fog and bad weather. Have a track, like the railroads. It sounds good. But ye gods, when you have a pile-up, or get a freezing rain!"

"Speaking of inventors, weren't there some others—Henry Ford, Thomas Edison—?"

"Ford? Let's see . . . Ford . . . no, never heard of him. Edison? Sure, he invented the electric light, the phonograph, the aerabat, the vacuum tube, and the relay-computer.—Ah, here we are!"

Randy considered the fact that Henry Ford apparently hadn't lived in this universe, dream, or whatever it was. Instead of Ford's aim, "I'll belt the world with reliable motorcars," there were all these people figuring, "I'll patent a new gas nozzle and get a stranglehold on the industry." The car gave a jolt, brought his mind back to the present, and he saw a huge sign:




Ahead of them, as they bounced through the trough junctions, was a fortresslike building behind a high chain link fence. Also behind the fence were separate sheds, and small lots filled with cars. Stewart hummed cheerfully as they stopped at a gate, and a guard peered out a slit.

"Password?" said the guard.

"Stewed prunes."

The guard kept his eyes on Stewart and Randy, and spoke over his shoulder. "Stewed prunes."

A man's voice answered, "Get his name."

Stewart said, "Stewart Rafer."


"Computer dealer."

The voice said, "Checks."

The guard grinned. "Go in, but drive slow. We got a new shipment and they're fighting over it."

Stewart swung the car around a big metal-sheathed shed, and jammed on the brakes. In front of the shed stood a large man in whipcord trousers and a white silk shirt, with a cigar jutting out the corner of his mouth. Opposite him, a man in a business suit pointed to a steam locomotive three hundred feet away on the far side of a barred gate.

"You'll either let that consignment in, or that's the last load you get from me!"

"You either forget that paper I'm supposed to sign, or the gate stays shut. And I want your personal guarantee on what I buy."

"I can't change a thing. That paper was drawn up by the company's lawyers. I don't guarantee anything, either. That's company policy."

"You see that row of junk parked in the lot over there? The slot-headed cretin who brought that in started out just like you, and ended up selling it two cents on the dollar and grateful for the pay. The only thing he could guarantee was that the tires were good. I'm selling the whole load in units of two pairs of tires with vehicle attached. The wheels happen to be InterCon format, so I've had a pretty fair sale."

"I can't possibly—"

"You're selling to me because you need cash. What I need is something I can sell at a fair price with a real guarantee. Take a look at that chain link fence. A while back, I unloaded some so-called bargains that strung my customers up by the ears. Now I sleep in a bombproof bunker with a forty-five under my pillow. Don't tell me about your company lawyers. They don't scare me half as much as a bankrupt customer with a gun."

"What do you suggest?"

"The first thing is get rid of this." He read aloud: " 'Purchaser by inserting the key in the doorlock of the aforesaid vehicle signifies irrevocable agreement with each and every clause, provision, and/or stipulation of this contract, without exception, he and his heirs and assigns forever.' And then this: 'User by paying the purchase price for permission to use this vehicle acquires no ownership right or interest therein, but only permission to use the vehicle under the terms of this contract.'"

"Well, that's a perfectly standard vehicle usage clause, and you get the benefit—"

"If I try to enforce it, there's only two possibilities. First, the courts throw out the whole thing. Then I look like a fool. Second, they approve it, and I have to hire more guards. No. I value what sleep I can still get."

"What—What deal do you offer?"

"What will you guarantee?"

"The engines will run."

"Are they built-in?"

"Well—heh—they just have to be adapted to fit. There are instructions included. I guess it wouldn't be impossible."

"That doesn't sound too good."

"The engines are all right. The wheels are all right, too."

"InterCon format?"

"Our own format. Exclusive. We've got the rights."

"So nobody else can use it without a special trough?"

"Exactly. We planned to get the monopoly."

"What you've got now is an orphan format."

"We'll sell you the rights!"

"That wouldn't help me any. All you've mentioned so far is the engines. What about the bodies?"

"The frame?"

"That's what I'm talking about."

"You're planning to check all this?"

"I'd be crazy if I didn't."

"The frame is a—er—an adaptation of the old standard InterCon frame. Practically indistinguishable from the Personal Car."

"What's wrong with it?"

"Well, we had them made up in a—ah—a foreign country—too assist in the industrial development of—ah—emerging—"

"Skip all that. What's wrong with it?"

"The roof leaks pretty bad in the rain. And what they used for paint—well—but you don't have to worry about that. The disclaimer covers everything."

"Except a customer with a gun. So the paint's no good and the roof sealer's worthless. How's the structure?"

"It's just as good as the InterCon job. Why not? It's a straight copy."

"What else?"

"The brakes are all right. The clutch will snap your head off."

"Now we're talking. Bear in mind who's going to demonstrate these things. You."

"I can find someone better."

"I can't. How about the literature?"

"The maps?"

"The maps and instructions. A car's no good if you can't figure where to go with it, or how to shift gears."

"We were figuring to sell the documentation separately, with the spark plugs."

"I asked what good it is."

"Some of it's copied from InterCon. That part's all right. The rest is good to give to your enemies. I don't think we've got the road to hell in there, but there's a lot of places you don't want to go."

"Doesn't matter as long as it's labeled right."

"Together with some stuff that looks great, but there isn't any place it matches up with. It's good for a demo."

"We can sell that for novelty. How about the rest of the documentation?"

"Ah—You mean the instructions?"

"What else would I mean?"

"You want the truth?"

"No good, eh?"

"We hired a guy to put together a hundred pages that would look good, and we gave him two weeks to do the job. He cobbled stuff together from copied InterCon drawings and an encyclopedia on mechanical design, and patched a pretty good introduction onto it. Not a bad job. The only problem is, it doesn't tell how to get the engine into the frame, or the wheels on the axles, or anything else you need to know. Of course, if you can read it and understand it, you already know enough to do the job without any instructions."

Beside Randy, Stewart, who had been smiling, gave a low curse, shifted into gear, and backed up. Behind them, another high-wheeled car was just coming in, but Stewart managed to get off onto a sidetrack before this second car ground past.

"Nuts," said Stewart, hauling on the wheel. "The trough's full of muck. All we need is to climb out of it."

"Then what?"

"The guide wheel, here—" he tapped the steering wheel—"is only meant to shift troughs at the junctions. It'll tear your arms out by the roots if you try steering through raw muck."

He stopped at the gate, to shout, "You're gunked up in there!"

"Trough cleaner's down!" The gate opened. The car jolted forward.

"Miracle it didn't stall," snarled Stewart. "Damn it! I've got to deliver, and I've got to pick up repairs! But how do I do it? Did you hear that S.O.B. talk?"

"The guy arguing with him seemed all right."

Stewart hauled the wheel around, and they pulled out into a steady stream of traffic.

"Jake's okay. That was all bull about the customers being out to get him. It's the dealers. Boy, there are those who hate him!"

"Why not buy from him? At least you'd know what you were getting."

"Sure, but buy what? I want something I can count on." Stewart stared ahead, and made a grab for the brake lever. "Hang on! Somebody's jumped the trough! LOOK OUT! IT'S A PILE-UP!"

There was a crash ahead. Their own vehicle slowed, then slid. There was a jolt as someone banged them from behind. A quick glance showed Randy a monster van right behind. Off to the side, teams of horses trotted, eyes front, blinders cutting off the sight of the crashing cars.

Randy glanced at Stewart. "We should have got a horse!"

Stewart gave a fleeting grin. "Why tell me now? LOOK OUT!"

The car in front slammed to a stop. There was a sledgehammer shock, a blinding whirl of dust, a crash, blackness, remoteness, and then finally, light, and a voice.


He was slumped forward, his forehead against hard metal. He tried to stand, and landed painfully on one knee. His eyes came open and he saw a dim flat surface. He stumbled to his feet, looking for wreckage from the crash. He seemed to be in a dimly lit room.

In the dimness, a reflection glinted from the chromed Cougar emblem of his computer.

His wife asked anxiously, "Are you all right?"

He put his hand on the computer. It at least felt real. "Physically," he said, "I feel horrible. But it could be worse. What time is it?"

"Almost twelve."

"You haven't been to sleep?"

"I was waiting for you."

"You haven't been in here since I started to run Armagast's program?"

"No. Randy, what is it?"

He described what had happened.

She said, "It was like a dream?—A vivid dream?"

"A vivid dream that compared the computer industry to the state the auto industry might be in if it had our problems."

"Did it help?"

"Well, my problem was, what has gone wrong? I've got plenty of answers."

"You look awfully tired."

"It wasn't restful. Wait while I put things away."

The next day found Randy peering through bloodshot eyes at a hung-over-looking Stewart Rafer.

"Pratt," said Rafer, "ah—this Armagast program—I took it home. Ah . . . Suppose the Wright Brothers—No. No, forget that. Now, about this program—I think it's salable, but—Things are tight. We can't have you making purchases for the store without confirmation from me. You understand that?"

Randy forced a nod.

Stewart—this Stewart—looked at him owlishly.

"All right. Now, there's this business of the Gnat computer. How do you explain what we're going through with all these returns?"

Randy scowled. The Gnat was Stewart's idea. Now he, Randy, was supposed to explain it?

He reminded himself that he needed this job, and groped for a courteous answer.

Out in the showroom the outer door went shut, and light footsteps approached in the hall. Stewart and Randy glanced around. There was a rap at the door. Stewart said, "Come in." Randy's woman customer of yesterday stepped inside.

"I've brought my Shomizota printer, to be—ah—configured? It's in the trunk of my car, out front."

Randy winced. "Without the Superbyte, I—"

"I brought my Superbyte."

Randy cast a look of appeal at Stewart.

Stewart turned solicitously to the customer.

"We believe in total service here. Mr. Pratt will be glad to take care of it."

Randy went out to the car, and carried in the Shomizota. As he went back for the Superbyte, a thought occurred to him.

Would Armagast's program handle customer problems?

Why not?

He lugged the Superbyte into the showroom, and the customer said sweetly, "Mr. Rafer has assured me you'll be happy to take care of this, too." She handed him a box labeled, "WordSnapper 2 for UltraByte Computers."

As Randy groped for words, she said, "Now I must run," and left.

From the repair shop down the hall came a curse from Mike the technician, who hardly ever swore.

Randy massaged his temples, opened the word processor box, and found no instructions. Where was whatever literature Snapper Software had included with this thing?

The outer door opened. The mailman tossed some bills on the counter and went out.

Randy, examining the Shomizota printer, found a big envelope, dumped the contents, and sheets of Chinese-Japanese characters looked up at him.

Randy drew a careful breath, and reminded himself that he only had to get through the rest of the day. Then it was home to his Cougar and Armagast's program.

He glanced up as the doorlatch clicked again. A well dressed man came in with a precocious-looking boy carrying a Gnat computer. Stewart emerged from his office, a crumpled bill in his fist, to whirl as a crash and a string of oaths echoed down the hall from the repair shop.

It suddenly dawned on Randy that the Computer Age's bugs weren't confined to the hardware and software. There were humanware bugs, and he was about to see them crash the system.

He was scarcely aware of his brief silent prayer as he approached his boss. "Excuse me, Mr. Rafer. Mike mentioned something yesterday, and I should have passed it on to you. If I could see you just a moment—"

Stewart eyed the Gnat, glanced toward the repair shop, excused himself to the customer, and stepped into his office.

Randy kept his voice low. "Mike said he can't handle the Gnat repairs plus the forty-eight-hour fix we've been promising. If he decides to quit, we're sunk. Let me promise him we'll forget the 48-hour till the Gnats are out of the way."

Stewart hesitated, then nodded. "But hurry up. He's about to erupt."

Randy, moving fast, knocked on the repair shop door, and stepped inside.

"Mike, excuse me. I told Stew you needed more time, and he agreed. He says you can forget the 48-hour fix till you've had time enough to get the Gnats out of the way."

Mike looked at him wildly. "Nobody could keep up with this!"

"Don't try. Take it as slow as you have to. We appreciate your trying, but anybody can only do so much."

"Forget the 48-hour fix?"

"Till the Gnats are out of the way. I think we're almost at the end of them."

Mike blew out his breath. "Okay. I can live with that." He bent down and set a dented wastebasket upright. "Push over that stool, will you, and shut the door tight when you go out. Thanks for talking to Stew."

Randy, coming back down the hall, heard Stewart talking to the customer: ". . . any amount of trouble from these Gnats, but we'll back up the warranty as best we can. My hardware specialist warned me about the machine, but I didn't believe him."

Randy stopped in his tracks. Was he still stuck in Armagast's program? Why was Stewart being reasonable? Then it dawned on him—Stewart had used the program, too.

The customer was saying, "As long as you'll back up my son's Gnat, I'll ask you something else. What do you have that's reliable?"


"I don't need the latest electronic miracle. I need a machine I can count on."

Stewart glanced at Randy, who mentally shifted gears.

"There's the Sharke II. That's been very thoroughly debugged."

Stewart objected. "It won't run the latest software. The Superbyte is faster, has a lot more RAM, more—" He paused. With an effort, he said, "But the II is very reliable. That's true." He excused himself.

Randy spoke carefully, straining not to be like any salesman he'd met recently in Armagast's program. "Mr. Rafer is right that the Superbyte is faster, and has more capabilities. But the Sharke II is very reliable, has excellent instruction manuals, comes with a good deal of useful software, and costs a lot less."

"Okay. Let me have some literature, and I'll be back when my son's Gnat is fixed to look this machine over. And—speaking of my son, where—"

A beeping noise became evident, from the back of a post on the other side of which was the Sharke Graphics 1000. The customer smiled, took the literature, got his protesting son loose from the Graphics 1000, and went out. Randy sat down by the Shomizota printer, thinking.

Stewart came back into the showroom.

Randy looked up. "He said he'd be back to look at the II when we get the Gnat fixed. I don't think it was a stunt to hurry us up. I think he wants a reliable computer even if it's behind the time."

"No matter what you buy just now, it will be behind the times pretty quick."

"It's a point." Randy frowned. "There's something here—some—"

"New approach to the consumer market? Possibly the industry has enough wonders for now, and ought to refine them?"

"Maybe, but also, there's a—a problem with people, aside from computers. And we're all people."

Stewart nodded. "It's almost sunk us. We've got a computer/human interface problem. Plus an expert/novice interface problem. But that Armagast program, anyway, was a good buy." He went back to his office.

Randy eyed the Shomizota printer he was supposed to make work with the Sharke Superbyte. Possibly he could get it to work despite the problems. Would that make him a sucker—or would it be good salesmanship?

From some dimly remembered book or article came a quote—"Send one customer away happy or mad, and you win or lose six others." That customer would tell his friends—Was it, maybe, sixteen others? Frowning, Randy remembered an earlier thought—there are bugs in human nature. And one was to expect everything of the new, while overlooking the familiar. Since computers involved so many things that were new, had the industry junked an unusual number of reliable truths?

At that moment, Stewart came back into the room and glanced at the printer.

"Any luck?"

"The documentation seems to be in Japanese. I have a hunch she got this from some friend who stopped off in Tokyo. But I'll see if I can get it."

Stewart nodded approvingly. "I just had a thought. That Armagast program seems to induce a—ah—a problem-solving approach. Now—Why shouldn't Mort have the advantage of it? True, he's part-time, but, just between you and me—"

"Yes. Good idea. I'll mention to him how interesting the program is."

"He'll be in Tuesday. I'll bring my machine. It should be a good test for the program."

Randy grinned. "I'll still bet on Armagast."

"If it works, we'll know he's really got something."

Stewart went back to his office, and Randy pried off the cover of the printer.

From some recess of his memory came a rough rendering of another comment, and this time he remembered who had said it—"If you have trouble in your organization, it will usually be people trouble. Therefore, value those who can solve people trouble."

As Randy eyed the printer's switches, unconsciously he adapted Andrew Carnegie's thoughts to his own line of work:

"If you have trouble with bugs, they may be hardware bugs or software bugs, but almost always they're the result of people. Therefore, value what can solve the trickiest bugs of all—people bugs."


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