The following definitions show a few of the amusing and offbeat
terms and explanations scattered throughout the dictionary.
Baby Bills A term for the numerous companies formed by ex-employees
of Microsoft. A play on the "Baby Bell," the reference
is to Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft.
Back Hoe Fade The degradation in service experienced when a
backhoe cuts your buried fiber optic cable. Called fade because
sometimes not all communications are cut off. Also, when they
are all cut off, the term becomes a euphemism. Better to report
a back hoe fade to your boss than to say, "We've just lost
158,000 circuits between New York and Washington. Our cus-tomers
are not pleased."
Bozo Filter Imagine that you're receiving zillions of emails from
MotherInLaw@aol.com. You don't want to receive. Simple. You
set up a "bozo filter." This piece of software automatically
deletes any incoming emails from MotherInLaw@aol.com. Bozo
filters are best set up by your email provider at this site. You
don't want to set them up on your machine. See Mail Bomb.
Cable Dog Slang expression. In the West, lifelong cable installer
who seeks no upward mobility. In the East, worker who deals
with underground cable.
Christmas Tree Lights The first electric Christmas lights were
created by a telephone company PBX installer. Back in the old
days, candles were used to decorate Christmas trees. This was
obviously very dangerous. Telephone employees are trained to
be safety conscious. The installer took the lights from an old
switchboard, connected them together, strung them on the tree,
and hooked them to a battery. Then he spent the next 40 years
looking for the one burnt bulb...
Crapplet A poorly written or totally useless Java applet. "I just
wasted 30 minutes downloading this awful crapplet!"
Drunken Swede A way of describing the sound of a computer
doing text-to-speech conversion. "Why, he sounds like a drunk-en
Swede." This great definition from Stuart Segal of Phone
Base Systems, Inc. in Vienna, VA. Says Stuart, "Our people
think that a drunken Swede has recorded this message." It is
possible to have a computer generate speech that doesn't sound
like a drunken Swede if you throw sufficient horsepower (MIPS
and memory) at it. Throwing sufficient horsepower, however,
has been expensive, until recently. Drunken Swedes are going to
get less and less common as horsepower gets cheaper and
Goats People in our population whose voices cannot — under
any circumstances — be recognized by voice recognition
machines. No one seems to know where this term came from.
Going Cyrillic Going cyrillic is when a graphical display (LED
panel, bit-mapped text and graphics) starts to display garbage.
"The thing just went cyrillic on me."
Jane Barbie The electronic "Voice With A Smile" on most tele-phone
company intercept recordings. Ms. Barbie does her work
for the Electronic Telecommunications Inc., Atlanta, GA.
Microspeak A term coined by James Gleick in The New York
Times Magazine of June 18, 1997 to refer to the language of
euphemisms Microsoft Corporation often indulges in. For exam-ple,
Mr. Gleick referred to Microsoft's seeming unwillingness to
use the word "bug" and use words such as "known issue,"
"intermittent issue", "design side effect," "undocumented
behavior," or "technical glitch."
Pocket Bongo Picture a group of people. Suddenly, something
on someone beeps. But the someone doesn't know (or pretends
not to know) which of the many wireless devices he's carrying
that is bleating. Is it the cell phone? Or the pager? Or the PCS
phone? The person starts patting himself all over, with mock
embarrassment. But his look screams, "I'm wired and I'm
proud.” His behavior is called "pocket bongo." I read about
pocket bongo first in an article by Joan Hamilton in the February
15, 1999 issue of Business Week. The article was headeed,
"We've got a bad case of digital gizmosis."
Shoulder Surfing You're standing at a pay phone. You punch in
your credit card numbers to make your long distance call.
There's a fellow standing behind you. He's carefully watching
what you're doing. He is memorizing the digits you have
punched in. When you are through, he will write them down and
sell them to someone else, who will use them to make fraudu-lent
long distance phone calls. Our friend is indulging in a new
"occupation." It's called "shoulder surfing."
Squirt the Bird To transmit a signal up to a satellite. "The crew
and talent are ready; when do we squirt the bird?"
SUT 1. An ATM term. System Under Test: The real open system
in which the Implementation Under Test (IUT) resides.
2. Stupid User Tricks. Also called ESO, or Equipment Superior to
Operator. When closing help desk tickets, it describes situations
where the problem was user stupidity, such as the power cord
not plugged in, the monitor unplugged, the keyboard not
Threshold Of Pain 1. The present price of local telephone
service. 2. Unbearable noise.
Zen Mail Email messages that arrive with no text in the mes-sage