The Unnatural Enquirer: Glossary of lesser-known technical terms
The practice of buying and selling publicly traded commodities
(e.g, Beanie Babies) through
online auctions hoping to make money from the randomness of the eventual selling prices.
Some savvy Ebay "day traders" have been known to make upwards of $32.83 (less shipping,
insurance, and money order fees) in a single day buying and selling slightly distressed Pokemon
plush animals and the occasional mint condition "Tickle Me Elmo" still in the original box.
- IDMC -- "Incompatibility-Driven Multi-Computing"
the reverse of multi-tasking, where one computer is capable of performing
several tasks simultaneously, IDMC is necessary when the software or
hardware components necessary to perform a given task are incompatible
either with each other or require the use of other hardware or software
(such as operating systems) that is incompatible with one or more of the
other necessary components.
The calculation of the minimum number of machines necessary to perform
one function is often nontrivial. Occasionally, no finite solution is possible,
notably in situations where the drivers necessary to operate a given piece
of hardware are only released in "working" form for operating systems that,
while popular, do not actually support the functions of the card.
- MAPS -- "Mass Automatic Protest Storm"
Concerned that the net is in danger of being overwhelmed by unsolicited commercial
email ("UCE" or "email spam"), some disgruntled recipients of said
unsolicited email have taken to emailing angry letters, usually
with copies of the offending email attached, to admin@, abuse@, support@, root@,
postmaster@, webmaster@, info@, etc@, at each and every domain listed in the path,
their own ISP, any other recipients listed in the header, any domains or individuals mentioned in the
original letter, and enough other random individuals and mailing lists to make sure that
the net becomes overwhelmed by complaints about unsolicited
commercial email first.
The life-cycle of a project often starts with an idea that looks very exciting and juicy to
the developers assigned to it. The requirements documents and specifications are then
submitted to a committee which will then nit-pickle it until it becomes
sour, wrinkled, and ugly-looking. The development team will then be blamed when it
takes three times as long as the original, pre-nit-pickled specs predicted or if the end
users hate the sour and ugly-looking UI which no longer looks anything like what they
- "Security through Inferiority"
Pioneered by record labels and video distributors, this approach to preventing unauthorized
duplication of copyrighted materials and intellectual property theft relies on deliberately
decreasing the quality or appeal of the product until no one would want to
make or distribute unauthorized copies.
One drawback with this approach that has particularly plagued video distributors relying
on CopyGuard or MacroVision is that if a sufficiently dedicated and/or technically adept
consumer is able to obtain or produce an unmangled version of the material, it will be
of substantially greater quality than legal copies, and thus fans are forced to choose between
quality and legitimacy. This situation can be (and often is) avoided by making the product
so awful that even an undamaged version is no longer worth pirating.
An obsessive/compulsive condition in which one feels it is absolutely necessary to have
numerous spares on hand for every component and device that could possibly fail in one's network,
servers, or other systems. While this can do much for improving mean-time-to-repair figures,
stockpiling all those spare parts can eventually consume all available physical storage space
and actually increase MTTR times when the time required to find the
needed spare part is taken into account.
a project capable of sucking the lifeblood out
of anyone unfortunate enough to be assigned to it
which never actually sees the light of day, but
nonetheless refuses to die.
- vCommerce or v-Commerce
lexicographers differ on whether the "v" really stands for "virtual" or
"vapor," but either way, it refers to a business paradigm, usually but
not necessarily, carried out online in which no products are ever
actually shipped or orders fulfilled, but the most advanced interactive
on-line shopping cart order forms are used to gather the personal details
and email addresses of would-be customers.
The on-line order form may
crash, lock up, or time out, or the products in question may simply
remain on eternal backorder, but irrespective of the means used to avoid
fulfilling orders, a fully functional vCommerce site will then
use this information to send weekly or hourly updates on their specials
and promotions which you, their eager would-be customer, could avail
yourself of, if someday they ever do have them in stock and get their order
processing system working.
- Windows Freedom Day
a holiday that moves each year, the date of which is
calculated by adding up the total amount of time a typical
person must spend restarting Windows and then determining
how many work weeks that would correspond to.
Haulmark Cards plans to introduce a line of Windows Freedom Day
cards, but a firm date for their availability has not been
announced because the drivers for their high-resolution
photo printers only support color for monospaced text. WankJet,
the printer manufacturer, has just released a beta version of a utility
that will convert .BMP, .AVI, and .WAV files into plain text, though
no one knows why.