up vote 545 down vote favorite

Nobody likes waiting but unfortunately in the Ajax application I'm working on at the moment, there is one fair-sized pause (1-2 seconds a go) that users have to undergo each and every time they want to load up a chunk of data.

I've tried to make the load as interactive as possible. There's an animated GIF alongside a very plain, very dull "Loading..." message.

So I thought it might be quite fun to come up with a batch of 50-or-so funny-looking messages and pick from them randomly so the user never knows what they're going to see. The time they would have spent growing impatient is fruitfully used.

Here's what I've come up with so far, just to give you an idea.

var randomLoadingMessage = function() {
    var lines = new Array(
        "Locating the required gigapixels to render...",
        "Spinning up the hamster...",
        "Shovelling coal into the server...",
        "Programming the flux capacitor"
    return lines[Math.round(Math.random()*(lines.length-1))];

(Yes -- I know some of those are pretty lame -- That's why I'm here :)

The funniest I see today will get the prestigious "Accepted Answer" award. Others get votes for participation.


I wouldn't bother. Even if you can find 50 "funny" entries (the vast majority of suggestions so far have been overwhelmingly unfunny), they won't be funny the second time you see them. A progress bar would be more useful, perhaps with a "Tip of the Day" to provide actual helpful information. – Dan Dyer Oct 11 '08 at 11:38
Actually, you don't "program" a flux capacitor, you "charge" it. The difference may seem slight, but you'd definitely care if you suddenly found yourself in 1,000,000 BC instead of 2012 AD. Important safety tip. – Cyberherbalist Oct 13 '08 at 16:07
I love the "why the downvote" edit now that the net votes are +168 :-) – paxdiablo Jan 20 '09 at 8:07
... "waiting for the tubes to be unclogged..." – DeadHead May 8 '09 at 0:50
There are lot of them in World Of Goo! – TheVillageIdiot Jun 26 '09 at 4:05
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264 Answers

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up vote 272 down vote accepted
  • Do you suffer from ADHD? Me neith- oh look a bunny... What was I doing again? Oh, right. Here we go.
  • The last time I tried this the monkey didn't survive. Let's hope it works better this time.
  • Testing data on Timmy... ... ... We're going to need another Timmy.
  • I should have had a V8 this morning.
  • My other load screen is much faster. You should try that one instead.
  • The version I have of this in testing has much funnier load screens.
love the timmy one – contagious Oct 9 '08 at 5:54
Upvoted for timmy. Also like the monkey one. :) – different Oct 10 '08 at 8:37
Man how long has it been since I even thought about Timmy :) thanks for the laugh. – Ron Tuffin Oct 10 '08 at 12:48
Just in case the "Timmy" stuff needs a reference: youtube.com/watch?v=FwVA698Hx2g – Rob Allen Oct 10 '08 at 14:45
AA for the Timmy one. I managed to miss that before. Almost had me on the floor in fits of giggles. – Oli Jan 16 '09 at 11:48
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up vote 361 down vote

The MIT campus map has a bunch of good ones:

(All loading messages are prefixed with "Please wait")

  • 640K ought to be enough for anybody
  • the architects are still drafting
  • the bits are breeding
  • we're building the buildings as fast as we can
  • would you prefer chicken, steak, or tofu?
  • pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
  • and enjoy the elevator music
  • while the little elves draw your map
  • a few bits tried to escape, but we caught them
  • and dream of faster computers
  • would you like fries with that?
  • checking the gravitational constant in your locale
  • go ahead -- hold your breath
  • at least you're not on hold
  • hum something loud while others stare
  • you're not in Kansas any more
  • the server is powered by a lemon and two electrodes
  • we love you just the way you are
  • while a larger software vendor in Seattle takes over the world
  • we're testing your patience
  • as if you had any other choice
  • take a moment to sign up for our lovely prizes
  • don't think of purple hippos
  • follow the white rabbit
  • why don't you order a sandwich?
  • while the satellite moves into position
  • the bits are flowing slowly today
  • dig on the 'X' for buried treasure... ARRR!
  • it's still faster than you could draw it

EDIT: MIT has since updated their campus map. The old map can still be found at archive.org, and the old loading messages can still be found here (for now).

checking the gravitational constant in your locale is the best! LOL! – Pablo Marambio Oct 9 '08 at 17:10
ha I used to work someplace where we did need to check the local gravitational vector, actually stored in a db indexed by lat/lon :). – Doug T. Dec 21 '08 at 17:32
"a few bits tried to escape, but we caught them" – Navneet Feb 23 '09 at 14:53
+1 for "don't think of purple hippos"... grrr, that coffee goes for $3.50 a cup! ;-) – scunliffe Mar 24 '09 at 14:58
"we love you just the way you are." Aww...now I don't mind waiting. – Mike Sep 27 '09 at 18:46
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up vote 260 down vote

"Loading humorous message ... Please Wait"

You went meta on that – Varun Mahajan Oct 8 '08 at 14:19
For a long while my mailing list sig was "WARNING: SYSTEM FAILURE! Unable to insert amusing tagline." – Chris Upchurch Feb 8 '09 at 20:51
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up vote 194 down vote

Reticulating splines

Man, I miss those old Maxis games. – Electrons_Ahoy Oct 8 '08 at 17:03
You also get this message from the Mozy Backup Client... – rikh Dec 17 '08 at 12:04
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up vote 184 down vote
Loading Infinite Monkeys....
Monkey 1....................Loaded
Monkey 2....................Loaded
Monkey 3....................Loaded
Monkey 4....................Loaded
Monkey 5....................Loaded
Monkey 6....................Loaded
Monkey 7....................Loaded
Monkey 8.........
My favourite kernel panic message was "Enraged Monkey Error: Out of bananas! – Peter Wone Oct 11 '08 at 7:24
I just wonder when people start asking each other "How many monkeys have you got?" – phunehehe Feb 10 at 12:50
up vote 180 down vote

Animate this:

Testing RAM..............OK
Testing CPU..............OK
Testing Primary Disk.....OK
Testing Patience.......FAIL

I'd say forget the out of patience error, just keep writing dots after testing patience indefinetly. – SpoonMeiser Oct 8 '08 at 15:10
You could omit the first three lines and just keep writing dots, as per SpoonMeiser's suggestion. :) – different Oct 9 '08 at 16:16
USER ERROR: OUT OF PATIENCE! Performing memory dump... – Cristián Romo Oct 17 '08 at 18:44
How about a shockwave animation of Clippy (the annoying paperclip from Office) tapping on the screen (complete with sound) and saying "It looks like you're running out of patience. Would you like to write a letter?" – Peter Wone Oct 23 '08 at 12:29
USER ERROR: OUT OF PATIENCE! Please wait while we submit error reports. – chakrit Nov 7 '08 at 8:05
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up vote 177 down vote

Two animated gifs, one that runs twice as fast. A button that says 'Turbo Boost'. On click swap in the fast gif for a few seconds after which swap back and briefly display 'Turbo boost exhausted, click again to re-enable'. Reduce time enabled after each click.

Randomly introduce messages 'Are you sure this is helping?' and 'Must go faster, must go faster'.

making a game out of waiting is a great idea. – Karl Feb 8 '09 at 22:11
Definitely need an "Overheated!" youtube.com/watch?v=yfnzVm0StsU – gotgenes Mar 27 '09 at 3:39
This one is really original – PRINCESS FLUFF Jul 24 '09 at 11:46
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up vote 134 down vote

"Warming up Large Hadron Collider..."

Cooling down Large Hadron Collider – Matt Price Oct 8 '08 at 17:06
Dusting Large Hadron Collider. With a toothbrush. For a Barbie. – Ates Goral Oct 9 '08 at 1:15
Opening hyperdimensional door... – Vinz Nov 27 '09 at 11:13
"Detecting presence of birds ............. DONE (NONE FOUND)" "Warming up LHC ......." – Nicholas Kreidberg Jan 15 at 20:09
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up vote 125 down vote

How about randomly generating a phrase?

[verbing] [adjective] [plural noun]

And then have a small dictionary for each of these three slots: { "transglutinating", "fine-tuning" }, { "injector", "radiant" }, { "goatherd", "post-processor" }.

Do you know the Firefox plugin "Firesomething"? Brands each Firefox window with a new name - like Moongnu, Poweroyster etc. Sadly it's not available for FF 3 – Olaf Oct 15 '08 at 7:26
heh, or "Im in ur [random]z, [random]ing ur [random]z!" – Svante Nov 3 '08 at 11:55
Make sure you figure out what the most inappropriate combination is before deploying :) – Dining Philanderer Feb 27 '09 at 13:52
In soviet Russia [random noun] [random verb]'s YOU! – Crippledsmurf Jun 19 at 0:42
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up vote 124 down vote

The NetPositive browser on BeOS had some great error messages! They were all written as Haiku and could be modified to suit your app or at least provide some inspiration:


  The web site you seek
  Lies beyond our perception
  But others await.

  Sites you are seeking
  From your path they are fleeing
  Their winter has come.

  A truth found, be told
  You are far from the fold, Go
  Come back yet again.

  Wind catches lily
  Scatt'ring petals to the wind:
  Your site is not found.

  These three are certain:
  Death, taxes, and site not found.
  You, victim of one.

  Ephemeral site.
  I am the Blue Screen of Death.
  No one hears your screams.

  Aborted effort:
  The site, passed this veil of tears.
  You ask way too much.

  Mourning and sorrow
  404 not with us now
  Lost to paradise.

  Not a pretty sight
  When the web dies screaming loud
  The site is not found.

  Site slips through fingers
  Pulse pounding hard and frantic
  Vanishing like mist.

  The dream is shattered
  The web site cannot be found
  Inside the spring rain.

  Bartender yells loud
  Your site cannot be found, boy
  Buy another drink.

  Chrome megaphone barks
  It's not possible to talk
  Not yet anyway.

  Emptyness of soul
  Forever aching blackness:
  "Blah.com not found."

  Click exciting link
  Gossamer threads hold you back
  404 not found.

  With searching comes loss
  And the presence of absence:
  The site is not found.

  You step in the stream,
  But the water has moved on
  The site is not here.

  Rather than a beep
  Or a rude error message,
  These words: 'Site not found.'

  Something you entered
  Transcended parameters.
  The site is unknown.

  Stay the patient course
  Of little worth is your ire
  The server is down

  There is a chasm
  Of carbon and silicon
  The server can't bridge.

  Chaos reigns within.
  Reflect, repent, and retry.
  Server shall return.

  Won't you please observe
  A brief moment of silence
  For the dead server?

  First snow, then silence.
  This expensive server dies
  So beautifully.

  Seeing my great fault
  Through darkening dead servers
  I begin again.

  Visit the home page
  It can't be done easily
  When the site is down.

  Cables have been cut
  Southwest of Northeast somewhere
  We are not amused.

  Site is silent, yes
  No voices can be heard now
  The cows roll their eyes.

  Silicon shudders
  The site is down for the count
  One big knockout punch.

  Yesterday it worked
  Today it is not working
  The web is like that.

  The ten thousand things
  How long do any persist?
  The file, not there.

  A file that big?
  It might be very useful
  But now it is gone.

  To have no errors
  Would be life without meaning
  No struggle, no joy

  Errors have occurred.
  We won't tell you where or why.
  Lazy programmers.

  The code was willing
  It considered your request,
  But the chips were weak.

  Error reduces
  Your expensive computer
  To a simple stone.

  Server's poor response
  Not quick enough for browser.
  Timed out, plum blossom.

  Login incorrect.
  Only perfect spellers may
  Enter this system.

I recall seeing this message somewhere: "A file of that type? / It might be very useful. / Here it will not work." – Michael Myers Feb 10 '09 at 16:46
+1 just for the death and taxes one – Lord Torgamus Jan 15 at 18:53
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up vote 108 down vote

"Scanning your hard drive for pr0n. Please be patient..."

counting b00b1es on the intrawebs. – whatnick Sep 24 '09 at 19:20
@whatnick ERROR: Integer overflow. – Aistina Feb 10 at 12:39
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up vote 90 down vote


SimCity 2000 was the first sim game to feature the semi-nonsensical phrase "Reticulating Splines". Will Wright stated in an interview that the game does not actually reticulate splines when generating terrain; he inserted the phrase because it "sounded cool". The phrase has since been featured in SimCopter, SimCity 4 and The Sims, as well as being referenced humorously by a status message in Mozy, an off-site backup solution offered by EMC Corporation. It is also parodied in the game Spore which features the phrase "Reticulating Spines" in some of its loading screens.

video clip of female voiceover from simcity 2k http://tinyurl.com/5x8xz6

I remember first seeing it in SimCopter. I thought it was helicopter terminology. – Mark Cidade Oct 8 '08 at 21:22
Splines are also supposedly "reticulated" in the PS3 game "Tiger Woods Golf" while it creates a 3d model from a user-loaded photo, as part of the "Player Game Face" feature. – benjismith Oct 9 '08 at 17:00
The nice part of this one is that Mozy actually does reticulate splines when it does its change set calculations but nobody believes it. – wizard Oct 13 '09 at 19:10
up vote 89 down vote

"It looks like you're waiting for a website to load..."

this one made me irlol – thesmallprint Oct 10 '08 at 1:32
"... Can I help you with that?" – Dalin Seivewright Feb 8 '09 at 21:17
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up vote 81 down vote

Sammyo's answer

Yes there really are magic elves with an abacus working frantically in here.

is the only way to be possibly funny every single time. You need ONE centralizing concept, like elves inside, and then you work with that.

This derives in:

  • Happy Elf and Sad Elf are talking about your data. Please wait.
  • All the relevant elves are on break. Please wait.

etc. etc. As long as there's one concept in there, the user will feel it's funny because they've "gotten it" and then you can go out on further and further tangents.

  • Elf down! We're cloning the elf that was supposed to get you the data. Please wait.
+1 I like the concept idea, and deriving the variations from it – KLE Sep 17 '09 at 13:35
Really, it's also how to be funny in a room full of people. – Yar Sep 17 '09 at 18:07
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up vote 77 down vote

Time is an illusion. Loading time doubly so.

Nice DNA reference, except, s/dually/doubly/ – Ishmaeel Oct 8 '08 at 13:04
It is a Hitchhiker's reference. DNA was Douglas Noel Adams, the author. – TRiG Jan 15 at 17:55
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up vote 74 down vote

"Press Alt+F4 for a quick IQ test"

(this has the added bonus of being able to waste some time on making your loading messages User-Agent specific...)

If only I could do this without getting fired... – num1 Oct 29 '08 at 5:33
Talkers/Muds equivalent "type qu for quote of the day" <user has disconnected> – Chris J Nov 13 '09 at 23:18
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up vote 71 down vote

Maybe some recursion:

"Want to see a funny loading message? Take a look here"

DOH, now don't I feel stupid, I clicked the link and was like "WTF?" – Unkwntech Oct 8 '08 at 11:08
It's funny because it's true, granted in my defense it is 4am, and I've not yet gone to bed, damn hobby projects. – Unkwntech Oct 8 '08 at 11:11
HAhaha, THAT was funny! Im looking at u Unkwntech :P – Moulde Mar 18 '09 at 12:46
Aw crap. [I fell for it too] – Mark Mar 31 '09 at 5:02
This page looks awkwardly familiar ... – FreekOne Jun 24 at 18:33
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up vote 70 down vote

Futurama Rules!

Reconfoobling energymotron

You found my weak spot! Futurama reference gets the upvote :-) – Ferruccio Oct 14 '08 at 10:53
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up vote 69 down vote

"Press play on tape."

Dammit - I'm old enough to get this. Good one. +1 – CAD bloke Oct 12 '08 at 11:48
Or similarly, "Please Turn to Side B and press Play" – enobrev Oct 26 '08 at 22:27
LOL. +1 I remember using those... and when it finally loaded you'd change your mind and choose another game. – Osama ALASSIRY Nov 1 '08 at 6:56
+1. hahahahahah. I'm with the other oldies... – Mitch Wheat Dec 2 '08 at 15:29
+1 I feel old. I wasn't even a teenager when I had to follow that instruction. sigh – Spoike Dec 12 '08 at 8:07
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up vote 67 down vote

Measuring the cable length to fetch your data...

show 1 more comment
up vote 63 down vote
  • Are we there yet?
  • Insert quarter
  • 1,000,000 bottles of beer on the wall...
  • Hang on a sec, I know your data is here somewhere
  • Well, what are you waiting for?
  • Are we there yet?
  • Have you lost weight?
  • Congratulations!
  • Are we there yet?
++ for the bottles of beer on the wall and hang on a sec – Jonta Mar 15 '09 at 13:28
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up vote 59 down vote

"It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue."

up vote 54 down vote

"HELP!, I'm being held hostage, and forced to write the stupid lines!"

PS, I got this in a fortune cookie once. – Unkwntech Oct 8 '08 at 11:12
Reminds me of Apple's Blue Meanies: "Help! Help! We're being held prisoner in a system software factory!" – LKM Oct 10 '08 at 7:28
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up vote 54 down vote

"Searching for Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything"

Count it up to 42 while doing it. – Daddy Warbox Oct 8 '08 at 21:30
...or show while waiting an animation of a white mouse in a running wheel ! – Tom Carter Oct 9 '08 at 10:39
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up vote 52 down vote

"The gods contemplate your fate..."

"The Gods pause for a moment to contemplate your fate." Viva la DosBox! – Ishmaeel Oct 8 '08 at 16:47
@lagerdalek, it was from Moonstone. – SpoonMeiser Sep 28 '09 at 12:07
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up vote 45 down vote
  • Waiting for the system admin to hit enter...
  • Paging for the system admin...
  • Warming up the processors...
  • Reconfiguring the office coffee machine...
  • RE-calibrating the internet...
  • Your underwear has conflicted our DB. Please change daily.

Although not that original I really like this idea. I've been wating for a client that would let me use this kind of "features" for a while now. The possibilities are endless.

Note: not my native language so not sure about the spelling etc.

"Waiting for the system admin to hit enter..." is the best one in this thrad. – Oddmund Oct 15 '08 at 22:50
up vote 43 down vote

I'm up for a code-challange!

create table data
    word nvarchar(50) 
    ,type int

insert into data select 'recalibrating', 0
insert into data select 'excavating', 0
insert into data select 'finalizing', 0
insert into data select 'acquiring', 0
insert into data select 'locking', 0
insert into data select 'fueling', 0
insert into data select 'extracting', 0
insert into data select 'binding', 0

insert into data select 'flux', 1
insert into data select 'data', 1
insert into data select 'spline', 1
insert into data select 'storage', 1
insert into data select 'plasma', 1
insert into data select 'cache', 1
insert into data select 'laser', 1

insert into data select 'capacitor', 2
insert into data select 'conductor', 2
insert into data select 'assembler', 2
insert into data select 'disk', 2
insert into data select 'detector', 2
insert into data select 'post-processor', 2
insert into data select 'integrator', 2

select  top 1
    v.word as verb
    ,a.word as adjective
    ,n.word as noun
from    data v, data a, data n
where   v.type = 0
    and a.type = 1
    and n.type = 2
order by newid()
I wouldn't do that in SQL! (unless I have thousands of rows in each category) – Osama ALASSIRY Nov 1 '08 at 6:58
let pick xs = fmap (xs !!) (randomRIO (0, length xs-1)) in mapM pick [ [ "recalibrating", "excavating", "finalizing" ], [ "flux", "data", "spline" ], [ "capacitor", "conductor", "assembler" ] ] – luqui Nov 23 '08 at 7:35
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up vote 36 down vote
  • Waiting for Godot...
  • Please don't move...
  • Working... no, just kidding.
  • Working... hey, come back here!
  • Working... So, how are you?
  • Behind you! Ha, ha, gotcha!
  • Please count to 10...
  • Are your shoelaces tied?
  • Exercise: enumerate your shopping list as quickly as possible
  • Working... unlike you!
  • Working... well... you know...
  • Doing something useful...
  • null
  • Oh, yeah, comments! Good idea!

Ok, that's it for this time.

Do you have a bit of rope? – Eric Oct 28 '09 at 13:35
up vote 34 down vote
  • Why so serious?
  • Er, there is something on your teeth.
  • Are you ready?
  • Prepare for awesomeness!
  • It's not you. It's me.
  • Ouch! Careful where you point that thing!
Prepare for awesomeness. Hihi – Jonta Mar 15 '09 at 13:30
+1 "Why so serious?" – Nader Shirazie Jul 1 '09 at 4:59
up vote 31 down vote

"Program loaded. Please enter the square root of 598309209839 to continue."

"Press any key to continue" User presses a key. "NO! Not that key!"

++ for the second one. – Jonta Mar 15 '09 at 13:35
I've always preferred something along the lines of "Enter any 11 digit prime to continue:" – Dereleased Feb 15 at 15:55
773 504.499, I google everything. – Behrooz Aug 15 at 16:49
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