How To Piss Off Your Pair

If you'd like to get PairProgramming phased out at your company, or if you'd like to ensure that you can be exempt from pairing, follow these simple tips.
Top Ten

Fundamental Disrespect

Shatter Concentration

Once you've mastered the basics, you can inject venom deep beneath the skin by going meta:

Turn Up the Heat

Now that your pair is annoyed, frustrated, and confused, you can cause lasting neurological damage with these:

For Gurus Only

That rambunctious puppy they set loose in your lab is not just distracting you and slowing you down, it is piddling on your project. Following these simple tips will help your managers understand the importance of fresh air and sunshine for young growing creatures.

Remote/Virtual Pairing


Never underestimate the annoyance power of basic social faux-pas:

The Phone

The telephone can be a great ally in your quest to undermine PairProgramming. Here are some ways to get the most use from it:

The Fox and the Stork

If you work at a place where people "own" their own desks and workstations (as opposed to communal pairing stations), customization provides innumerable ways to keep your pair off-balance:

See also:, CompulsiveCustomizer.

Contrarily, if you use dual keyboards and mice, but your OS's Desktop using only a single mouse pointer cursor and single text input caret...

When I was an undergraduate, I spent one summer doing AI hacking at the MIT AI Lab. We'd hired this west coast guy to do Lisp hacking, and I can clearly remember being a little stranged out by his attitudes. He just wouldn't shut up about Interlisp and Browning Hi-Power's. Every time I tried to explain to him the way our project did things, he'd interrupt with "the right way," i.e. the West Coast Way, to do it. He just couldn't get it through his head that I didn't want to hear about Interlisp, and I damn sure didn't want to hear about 9-fucking-millimeter automatics; we were a Zetalisp/.223 project. I finally gave up on him; that was the first time I'd ever personally encountered the east coast/west coast split in Lisp style and weapons choice.

I'm not quite as adamant about that sort of thing as I used to be. I guess these days I tend to have a "whatever gets the job done" attitude -- even if it's franz or a .22 Woodsman. -- stolen from

Yeah, those Parabellum weenies are enough to make you want to join the ACLU, aren't they? Well, almost. And only if I can join and not give up my .50 AE Desert Eagle and Armalite M15A4. But if the ACLU insists on me using Interlisp...
This sounds like my boss's standard mode of operation. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. ("We need to do a better job on our comments - they suggest to our clients that we don't know what we're doing") - right, our customers are definitely spending their spare time grammar checking the comments on the database access layer..

Hmmm, once I had a boss like that (although his boss was in the position of the customers ;-)) so we just created a script that would remove any comments without an "ok" marker (and all "ok" markers) from that copy of the code files that would leave the room for deployment or outside inspection. M4 works great, for that matter...

Nah. Too expensive. It'll be replaced by the HK XM-8 or some variant eventually. 5.56 is here to stay, though.


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