Principle of Auntie Emma 

She was just a janitor in a big-iron computing center, in charge of handing the printouts to users (in those days they had no terminals of their own, they did data entry to audio casettes and got the printouts couple of days later). Once a programmer came to his guru to ask about a problem he had, "well, you see, I got to do this, but can't, because of this... I mean, if I could use the... but... on the other hand... yes, that's it! Thank you!"

"Thank me for what? I didn't say a word. You could have told your story to Auntie Emma as well".

 

OK, this is a programming thing, but it's not a joke, so what's the point?
just putting the problem into words and telling someone, often forces us to (re-)think it down a different path, and quite often this actually yields a solution.

This was provoked by a David Marlin's helping himself by posting a problem and answering to it right away; see http://www.universalthread.com/wconnect/wc.dll?UniversalThread~?2,15,451431 and the following few messages.



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