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Web valleyofthegeeks.com

The New High-Tech Dictionary 2.0

Zack Urlocker
Monday, December 01, 2008

RTFM!We've all seen them. They're everywhere -in news releases, on shrink-wrapped products. You hear them at trade shows where they pile up like zeros in Bill Gates's bank account. They're the common technical and marketing terms used, misused, and abused in our industry. Now for the first time ever, a collection of software industry buzzword definitions.  (Aussi disponible en Francais!)


Fully compatible: Same old features.

Upwardly compatible: Lots of new Bugs.

New and Improved: Totally incompatible.

Beta: Software that isn't quite ready. As in "beta late than never."

Alpha: Software so bad that the beta testers won't even install it.

Release candidate: A software build that occurs just prior to a major holiday.  Also, a product manager who has been fired.

In manufacturing: Programmers are still "manufacturing" features.

Shipping: Someone in ZIP code 00001 has received a copy of the software, most likely the brother-in-law of the product manager. Your copy won't arrive for three weeks.

Announced date: The date the product manager was hoping to go on vacation.

On schedule: There's a coupon in the box for the missing pieces.

Open Architecture: We didn't finish half of what's in the spec.

Fully programmable: Just wait 'til you try to debug those macros!

User friendly: Lots of gratuitous bitmaps.

RTFM: A special acronym tech support professionals use to denote customers who deserve extra care and attention, as in "Read the F***ing Manual."

Windows 95: Announced in '93, scheduled for '94, obsolete within six months.

Windows 98: Now with tail fins and chrome bumpers.

Windows NT: Needs time.

Windows XP: Extreme Patience required for upgrade.

Thanksgiving: January 1, 2000.

Windows XP ready: We knew they'd be late.

Windows XP compatible: It's pretty much the same... isn't it?

DOS Mode: Software that lets you reboot before you run it instead of after.

Linux: Technically superior operating system favored by cult leaders everywhere.

Teamwork: Quake deathmatch mode.

Visionary: A CEO who has not yet bankrupted a company.

Chief Technology Officer: In charge of the PowerPoint slide show.

Focus group: Buying drinks for analysts.

Market research: Buying drinks for customers.

Industry insiders: Disgruntled employee after a few too many drinks.

Short term planning: Meeting payroll.

Long term planning: Meeting payroll twice in a row.

Debugger: Any feature that the CEO of the company knows how to demo. As in "Debugger showed it to PC Week!"

Remote Debugger: The company CEO traveling to branch offices.

Press leak: Your company CEO speaking to analysts.

Memory leak: What your company CEO remembers telling the analyst.

Minimum System requirements: The oldest PC you could find in the company's store room.

Ada, Pascal, Perl: Popular names for programmers' children.

Snobol, Rexx, Python, Fortran: Popular names for programmer's pets.

Trade secret: We lost the source code.

Encryption: What documentation writers do to features.

Itanium optimized: Saving your money and buying a Pentium.

Pentium Pro: Someone who works at Intel and sells slower processors for more money.

Industry analyst: Someone who brags about writing reviews of software he's never used.

Industry journalist: Someone who brags about writing reviews of software he doesn't understand.

Mission critical: Multiplayer Quake.

Fault tolerant: Failing to kill your boss when playing multi-player Quake.

Strategic partnership: Two second-rate companies that can't afford to merge.

Fact sheet: A post-partum specification.

Press release: What marketing thought was being built. Often used as the specification for version 2.0.

Whitepaper: Creative fiction by the marketing team.

Java: Java get the feeling of deja vu?

Technical reference: An alphabetical listing of functions the programmer commented.

On-line help: Calling the psychic hotline for technical support.

SDK: A development system without documentation for a platform without customers.

API: Applications Programming Interface. Any function library with more than 200 entry points all of which sound the same.

DirectX: An API for turning a $2000 Pentium machine into a $250 game console.

Comdex: One hundred and fifty thousand geeks trying to get an outside phone line to the Internet.

State of the art: The latest software from Id.

About the author
Zack Urlocker is a pseudonym known only by pretty much everyone. He is the author of "If You Want to Get Ahead Get a Hat" and "Object-Oriented Programming for Single Women" both currently unpublished.

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Entire contents © Copyright 2002 - 2004 Z. Urlocker.  All rights reserved. No kidding.
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