A dictionary for software engineers
A dictionary for software engineers:
Alpha: Software undergoes alpha testing as a first step in
getting user feedback. Alpha is Latin for "doesn't work."
Beta: Software undergoes beta testing shortly before it's
released. Beta is Latin for "still doesn't work."
Computer: Instrument of torture. The first computer was invented
by Roger "Duffy" Billingsly, a British scientist. In a plot
to overthrow Adolf Hitler, Duffy disguised himself as a
German ally and offered his invention as a gift to the surly
dictator. The plot worked. On April 8, 1945, Adolf became
so enraged at the "Incompatible File Format" error message
that he shot himself. The war ended soon after Hitler's
death, and Duffy began working for IBM.
CPU: Central propulsion unit. The CPU is the computer's engine.
It consists of a hard drive, an interface card and a tiny
spinning wheel that's powered by a running rodent - a gerbil
if the machine is a 286, a ferret if it's a 386 and a ferret
on speed if it's a 486.
Default Directory: Black hole. Default directory is where all
files that you need disappear to.
Error message: Terse, baffling remark used by programmers to
place blame on users for the program's shortcomings.
File: A document that has been saved with an unidentifiable
name. It helps to think of a file as something stored in a
file cabinet - except when you try to remove the file, the
cabinet gives you an electric shock and tells you the file
format is unknown.
Hardware: Collective term for any computer-related object that
can be kicked or battered.
Help: The feature that assists in generating more questions. When
the help feature is used correctly, users are able to
navigate through a series of Help screens and end up where
they started from without learning anything.
Input/Output: Information is input from the keyboard as
intelligible data and output to the printer as unrecognizable
Interim Release: A programmer's feeble attempt at repentance.
Memory: Of computer components, the most generous in terms of
variety, and the skimpiest in terms of quantity.
Printer: A joke in poor taste. A printer consists of three main
parts: a case, a jammed paper tray and the blinking red
Programmers: Computer avengers. Once members of that group of
high school nerds who wore tape on their glasses, played
Dungeons and Dragons, and memorized Star Trek episodes; now
millionaires who create "user-friendly" software to get
revenge on whoever gave them noogies.
Reference Manual: Object that raises the monitor to eye level.
Also used to compensate for that short table leg.
Scheduled Release Date: A carefully calculated date determined by
estimating the actual shipping date and subtracting six
months from it.
User-Friendly: Of or pertaining to any feature, device or concept
that makes perfect sense to a programmer.
Users: Collective term for those who stare vacantly at a monitor.
Users are divided into three types:
- Novice Users: People who are afraid that simply pressing a
key might break their computer.
- Intermediate Users: People who don't know how to fix their
computer after they've just pressed a key that broke it.
- Expert Users: People who break other people's computers.