David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Murphy’s Law and the Computer


Everybody knows about Murphy’s Law. It says that if anything can go wrong, it will.

That’s certainly true at the WIND. We thought converting the WIND from a cut-and-paste operation to a computerized layout would be easy and fast, but two of Murphy’s corollaries are that nothing is as easy as it looks, and everything takes longer than you think.

It might have been fast and easy if the good folks who put this together every month had nothing else to do, but that’s not the case. So it hasn’t been easy, and it sure has been slow.

Murphy’s seventh corollary is that every solution breeds new problems. That’s been true, too. Learning how to manage a complex desk-top publishing program, even when it has to do only one thing, has been tricky. Murphy’s eighth corollary is that it’s impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. We have been pretty ingenious.

We have also been plagued by Murphy’s sixth corollary, which says that whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

The result is that we’re making progress, but we’re not yet to the point where we’ve been able to take the plunge by putting the whole works into the computer. For one thing, there’s something comforting about having the pieces of paper in hand; moving them around on the layout boards. There they are. Once they’re in the computer, where are they?

Just about every month we get a little closer to entrusting the WIND to the machine, but after 18 years of doing it one way, it’s hard to let go.

And we’re not alone in being subject to Murphy’s law. When was the last time you saw something done quickly and quietly in the valley? The telephone company has been fooling around with our lines without much progress. They’ve made it harder to call each other, but that’s about all. The work on about a quarter of a mile of roads has taken more time, money and energy than it may be worth. We’re still thinking about public toilets. The community bulletin board, fixing Crystal Spring, water, sewage treatment, are all works-in-progress.  That’s pretty much the way we do everything in our valley.

It’s a little like mating elephants: it’s done at a high level, it’s accompanied by a lot of roaring and screaming, and it takes two years to show results.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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