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┌──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐ │ ┌──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ IBM Jargon and General Computing Dictionary. │ │ │ │ Fourth Edition ─ December 1981. │ │ │ │ │ │ │ └──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ │ └──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ The 297 items in this dictionary have been selected from the enormous vocabulary of computer─related terms used in IBM. Those chosen are those which are believed to be used in a way unique to IBM, or which originated in IBM. Acronyms are generally not included unless they are used as a word in their own right [e.g. "APAR"]. [Compiled by Mike Cowlishaw [IBM UK Laboratories Ltd., Hursley] with grateful acknowledgement to numerous contributors and Bass. Corrections and additions are most welcome.] ABEND ─── [ab─end] 1. n. Undesirable termination of a program [or system]. From 'ABnormal ENDing'. Invariably due to human error that the system was unable to overcome or ignore. Typically results in catch─all error messages [e.g: "syntax error"] that rarely help determine the cause. 2. v. To end abnormally. See also Crash. Account Situation ─── n. Circumstances at a customer installation which could lead to IBM losing revenue, usually accompanied by accusations that IBM is not delivering adequate service. A "red alert" status for a branch office. Action Plan ─── n. Project management is never satisfied by just a plan. The only acceptable plans are Action Plans. Adder ─── n. An increment. "These costs won't look so attractive with the burden and inflation adders." Nominated for most obnoxious neologism of 1980. Address ─── v. Talk about. Used when a speaker cannot answer a question. e.g: "I shall address that subject another time". [This implies that, of course, the speaker has considered the subject in great depth, but sadly has not enough time now to give it the treatment it deserves...]. See Offline. Adjective ─── v. To use a word as an adjective modifying some other word which in fact modifies the adjectived word. This avoids the normal use of prepositions and dependent clauses, as in "user effects" [instead of "effects on users" or "effects caused by users"]. Another example is "That is a documentation hit" [rather than "That is a hit on the documentation"]. See Verb. Adtech ─── n. Time put aside for a risk project [Advanced Technology]. May mean: a] Play time [when someone else is doing it]; b] Exciting, innovative system design with NO product deadlines [when speaker is doing it]. Aggressive ─── adj. Optimistic. "We are moving into the new technology on a very aggressive schedule." Announce ─── n. The time at which a new product is described to customers. Before this time a product is known by a code─name, and specifications are strictly confidential. At Announce time, the product is assigned a number instead of a name, with the result that not even the developers know what it is anymore... APAR ─── [ay─parr] 1. n. 'Authorized Program Analysis Report'. This is an official report of an error to IBM. The acronym is used so often that most people don't know what it means. 2. v. To make such a report. 3. n. A golf term [like ABIRDIE, ABOGIE]. APL Bigot ─── n. APL ['A Programming Language'] is a popular, mathematically oriented, unreadable, interactive language. Usage: 1: "An APL bigot does not know there are any other programming languages". 2: "She's an APL bigot ─ cannot speak English". See Bigot. Architect ─── v. To decide how something should work. Usage: "We will have that architected by year end". Architectural Awareness ─── n. Site Facilities' version of Feature. A popular variety is a column placed directly in front of a door, claimed to be deliberate. [Warning: At the Glendale Lab., Endicott, you will be offered attractive bets that this has never happened. DO NOT ACCEPT!] Architecture ─── 1. n. The way something works. Usage: "They are developing a new disk architecture". 2. adj. Documentation. Usually in the form "architecture group" that denotes a group of people who go around finding out how the most highly esteemed IBM products or planned products work and then document them. These documents then become the IBM "standard architecture" or "strategic architecture" which the rest of the [IBM] world has to follow. Award ─── n. In Research, a cash prize often given to signify the end of a project [whether successful or not]. Elsewhere, an arbitrary cash prize; often associated with [but not proportional to] merit. Back─level ─── adj. Not updated with the latest changes: "Your system is back─level, so there is no way you can run this new super─program!" Bells and Whistles ─── n. Frills added to a product, to make it more exciting without making it much better. Big Blue ─── n. 1. IBM [when used by customers and competitors]. 2. Data Processing Division [when used by GBG or GBG/I]. Big OS ─── n. Pronounced "OZ". Popular in the late 60's when "OS" was THE operating system, and it was said to do and know everything. Bigot ─── adj. Person with a passionate or religious fervour for a language or system e.g: "APL Bigot", "REX bigot", "CMS Bigot". Implies an unwillingness to learn/use any alternative, except when the term is used used by one bigot to another [of the same type], in which case the implication is almost affectionate. Blow away ─── v. Destroy. "The editor crashed and blew away all my files". Bomb ─── v. Synonym for Crash [in USA only ─ to real English speakers the word has the opposite meaning when used as an adjective. e.g. "that sports car goes like a bomb"...] Boondoggle ─── n. Conference with a large admixture of pleasure with business. Bubblegum ─── n. The Boeblingen Lab. Americans have three alternatives in trying to pronounce 'Boeblingen': a] 'BO─BLINN─GEN' makes you sound as if you have never heard the word spoken and are clearly "out of it"; b] 'BER─BLING─EN' [the most popular variant] sounds like you KNOW what it sounds like but cannot pronounce it yourself [probably true]; c] the correct pronunciation leaves you open to accusations of intellectual snobbery by the first two groups. Calling it "Bubblegum" defuses the whole issue by making it a joke. Bullet ─── n. One of a list of items to be emphasised, usually marked by a blob alongside it on a Foil. "And the next bullet is the most important∙∙∙". Business case ─── n. Economic [commercial] justification. Asking for the business case is an effective wet blanket to throw on a hot project. Candy─Striped ─── adj. Registered IBM Confidential. Refers to the Red and White diagonal markings on the covers of such documents. Also used as a verb: "Those figures have been Candy─Striped". Cast in Concrete ─── adj. Immutable. Used when specifications are "frozen" and are therefore unchangeable. This takes place a few days before the first prototype is available for general usability testing, so minimising the work of the development group. Effectively acts as a wet blanket should further urgently needed changes be proposed. "Cave of the Winds" ─── n. DPD HQ. The term refers to the famous cave of the same name. The DPD HQ building was named for the cave because of all the hot air alleged to circulate spontaneously therein. Caveat ─── n. A communication technique favoured in DPD that affords a presenter the opportunity to give an illusion of speaking frankly and candidly to an audience. Done well, the caveat [warning] will relax the defenses of an otherwise critical audience, lulling it into accepting the token statement at face value. "The customer must first effect an operational SNA environment. This is not always an easy task, but has been done in one day at several accounts." Central Electronics Complex ─── n. CPU. [CEC sounds more impressive]. Change Control ─── n. One of the System Management disciplines, from which DP centre staff derive the warm feeling that they are in control of their computer installation. Known sardonically by the users who must actually live with the insidious overheads generated by the various implementations of the discipline as "blame control". Check ─── n. From "machine check". "The CPU took three checks before lunch". Also used for software [program checks]. See Hit. Chocolate ─── adj. Enhanced flavour, e.g. a modified version of a program. Rare. See Vanilla. Clean up ─── v. Improve a sloppy program, system, or procedure. "We have to clean up the SPIE exit". A clean up should convert decadence to elegance. CLIP ─── v. To change the pack label on a DASD volume. The term CLIP stood for Change Label Information Program. Usually IPL'd from cards, this program not only changed the serial number but also other items in the volume label area. Of course, these other capabilities were never used so CLIPping became synonomous with changing VOLSER. COBOL Programmer ─── n. This is a very negative term. COBOL is not highly regarded in IBM; almost no one in IBM can program in it. Generally COBOL programmers are not regarded as programmers at all, if that is all they can code. Cold Pricklies ─── n. A nagging suspicion that somewhere you have overlooked something critical, and will be punished for it. See Warm Fuzzies. Command Language ─── n. Set of magical incantations. Can bring great blessings on the user; but like all good spells, misuse or use by the ignorant [See Naive User] can bring great woe. Concern ─── n. Formal indication from one group to another that the first is [very] worried about some action by the other. See Issue, Non─Concur. Concur ─── v. To give an irrevocable [often written] agreement. "Product Assurance concur [that the product be shipped]" Core ─── n. An archaic term used to refer to the ferrite cores used as the main storage medium for early computers. It is now something of a fad to studiously avoid this term, and use the more meaningful and general term "storage" instead. Core Dump ─── n. A briefing. Usage: "Give me a five─minute core dump on SNA before the staff meeting". See Core, Dump. Counter─strategic ─── adj. 1. Applied to suggestions that one would like to ignore. "Not the basket in which IBM has placed its eggs". 2. Something that causes embarrassment to those who are responsible for what is strategic. See Strategic. Crash ─── 1. v. To halt in an unrecoverable manner unexpectedly. Almost never preceded by a warning message except when crash is deliberate. Usually indicates human error in hardware or software [or even firmware]. "The system has crashed AGAIN". 2. n. the event of crashing. "That was a bad Crash". Critical service ─── n. A hot bug fix. See Service. CRU ─── [crew] n. Customer Replaceable Unit. Part of a device [such as a keyboard] that is considered to be replaceable by a customer or End User. [Fix it yourself.] See FRU. Customer ─── n. Any individual not currently working for IBM. CYA ─── v. To protect your rear [typically by generating Documents of Understanding and obscure memos and the like which will prove, if necessary, that the author knew all along that the project was doomed to failure]. Variously estimated to consume between 71% and 78% of all managerial resources at most development labs. DEBE ─── 1. n. "Does Everything But Eat" ─ general 360/370 utility for moving data from device to device. Originally a stand alone program [i.e. it did not require an operating system], named after its authors. 2. v. To try as a last resort. "Nothing else works, let's DEBE it". Deck ─── n. A file usually in Fixed─80 [card] format, as in "text deck". Decommit ─── v. To slip your schedule for an indefinite period of time. A grave dishonour for project management. Delta ─── n. List of changes [e.g. the differences between two programs]. "Make me a Delta on that proposal". Demo ─── n. Demonstration. Exhibition of non─functioning or unfinished hardware or software to senior management or VIP visitors. Provides ideal conditions for disturbing unsuspected bugs. Demonstration Application Program ─── n. Game. Dialogue ─── 1. n. Pompous alternative to "conversation" or "chat". 2. v. Talk to, as in "Why don't you call Steve and dialogue with him about that project". Disclaimer ─── n. A boiler plate blanket statement that disassociates and relieves a presenter of any responsibility from conclusions his audience may have reached as a result of his statements, regardless of whether the conclusions were intended or not. Commonly used in IBM customer hardware or software proposals and performance presentations. "Disneyland East" ─── n. DPD Headquarters [see 1133 below]. This term gained such widespread use that several years ago a middle manager somewhere actually sent out a memo forbidding its use. Distributed Data Processing ─── n. 1. [Official IBM version] A methodology for selling small CPUs for use at remote sites. 2. [Unofficial version] A methodology for spreading competitor's minis and micros around remote sites, as there is no 4321. Divisions ─── n. 1. Any territory outside New York State, or north of Interstate 84, or west of the Hudson River. 2. Derogatory term used in Research to describe the rest of IBM. "That idea came from the Divisions". See also NIH. Document Administrator ─── n. Quote from GML manual: "One who is responsible for defining markup conventions and procedures for an installation. This involves defining the actual vocabulary of tags to be used and also the nature of the processing required for each". Need one say more? Document of Understanding ─── n. A memo used to present one party's view of a contract in the best possible light. Usually shows little or no understanding of the other party's problems. Dog and Pony Show ─── n. A presentation designed to [over]impress. Implies a certain amount of cynicism and deception, and contempt for the audience. Domestic ─── adj. The U.S. parts of IBM. Used by U.S. IBMers to imply all that really matters in IBM. Used by everyone else to describe an insular approach to a problem "He's Domestic ─ thinks everyone speaks American". Dotted to ─── v. Describes a managerial relation that cannot be described as a tree. Refers to the [dashed] lines shown on organisation charts. Usually used for professionals [lawyers and accountants] whose managers do not understand what they do so they are "dotted to" someone in Armonk. Doubleword ─── n. 8 bytes [an IBM S/370 Word is 4 bytes, or 32 bits]. See also Halfword. Down ─── n. Crashed. The state of the system when you need one more listing and you are already late for your plane. Down level ─── adj. Applied to a person that is not up to date with some technical nuance. [Derived from FE terminology applied to software.] Dump ─── n. Collection of all available information about a problem, usually deposited on the slowest printing device available. The "Garbage out" part of "Garbage In, Garbage Out". DWIM Instruction ─── [like swim] n. "Do What I Mean" ─ a mythical instruction invoked by a frustrated programmer to give acceptable results when in fact he could not define what he meant [but would recognize it if he saw it]. Also invoked when the last instruction issued to the machine was disasterous: "Do what I mean, not what I say, you dumb machine!" Ease─of─use ─── n. 1. An ill─defined but positive quality only achieved by products of the speaker's company. 2. A quality claimed for all programming languages, to demonstrate superiority over machine languages or lower level languages. OS JCL is a fine counter─example to this claim. End User ─── n. A hypothetical non─IBM person, probably of IQ less than 95, who is expected to represent the biggest group of users of IBM equipment in the future. It is not known whether the low IQ is the cause, effect, or is unrelated to this change of usage. Engineering Change ─── n. yet another attempt to get a machine to meet customer expectations. Enhancement ─── n. fix for a problem that has been reported too often to be ignored. See Feature. Escalate ─── v. To take a matter to higher [managerial] authority. Very effective as a threat. Europe ─── n. that part of the [IBM] world that consists of Israel, South Africa, and the European countries ─ excluding g the Eastern Bloc. Exposure ─── n. 1. Some aspect of a project that looks as though it may become a problem. "That's a big exposure". 2. Danger, risk. A necessary synonym, since the words are not otherwise found in the IBM vocabulary. Facility ─── n. Usually a program or software package whose function is [by definition of its authors] useful. Facility is usually a misnomer, however, as the programs that are accredited this grand description are often exceedingly complicated and difficult to use. Fall over ─── v. Synonymous with ABEND, Crash. As in "One of the 2305's fell over last night and took CP with it". Fall Plan ─── n. A period of three months occurring every autumn [Fall], when most productive work stops for a general free─for─all about which projects are to be considered strategic. The plan, once adopted, is ignored. See Spring Plan. Fat, Dumb and Happy ─── adj. Typically used of a project's management who think their project is competitive when it is not. FCS ─── n. First Customer Ship. The time at which products are first delivered to customers, usually cause for celebration. ["Pub Time".] Also is the time at which FE starts fixing the bugs that were discovered too late in the development cycle to be corrected. [See also Announce.] Feature ─── n. 1. Bug for which no fix is going to be made available. 2. A correction to a publication. See Enhancement. Field ─── n. The IBM marketplace ─ where the profits come from. Fix ─── n. A correction for a software problem. "You need the following three fixes to correct the file system bug". Software equivalent of Engineering Change. Flipchart ─── n. Large piece of paper used for drawing charts as a presentation aid. Often faintly marked with 2.54mm squares to help the presenter keep straight. Favoured at Corporate HQ, but superseded elsewhere by Foils. Floor System ─── adj. The operating system used by the majority of people on a machine [as opposed to a test or private system]. See Spin System. Foil ─── n. Viewgraph, transparency, viewfoil. Only 'Foil' is used in IBM. It is the most popular of the three presentation media ─ slides, foils, and flipcharts ─ except at Corporate HQ, where flipcharts are required. Follow─on ─── n. A new release of a product, sufficiently different to merit a new product number but including all the bugs and problems of the previous product architecture. Forecast ─── n. A prophecy of the number of sales of a product as a function of price at which it will be offered, typically made by people who have never used or sold such products and based upon wild guesses by some people who have. The forecast has no relationship to either the quality of the product or the value as it might be perceived by the potential customer, since no one is allowed to discuss the product with the customer at this stage. Thus a forecast is either strikingly inaccurate for a low price and large number of sales, or a painfully self─fullfilling prophecy if it is high priced and low volume. Fort Apache ─── n. East Fishkill. The term derives from the shape of the building, whose second story overhangs the first. Frank ─── n. The chairman of the board, Frank Cary. "If you don't like it, go talk to Frank". Freezer ─── n. Place where Task Force results are stored [e.g. a filing cabinet to which no one has the key]. See Task Force. Frozen ─── adj. a term which when applied to an IBM project means that some higher level of management has cooled sufficently to enable them to successfully quench any red─hot or innovative idea which might be relevant to the project. See Cast─in─Concrete. FRU ─── [frew] n. Field Replaceable Unit. Part of a device [such as a logic card] that is considered to require an IBM Field Engineer [FE] to replace. [The factory doesn't want to hear about your problems. They have enough of their own. Call the FE.] See CRU. FS ─── n. A synonym for dreams that didn't come true. "That project will be another FS". Full court press ─── n. Instruction to an entire marketing team to press an account at all levels possible [from the basketball term]. Fun & Games ─── n. Anything that does not directly result in short term revenue to the corporation. Functionally Stabilized ─── adj. Dead. A product that will receive no further enhancements. Funny Money ─── adj. Budget dollars. Have a hypothetical, play─money value ─ felt especially by those employees to whom the dollar is not the native unit of currency. Get in bed ─── v. Work closely with. Usage: "You will just have to get in bed with those people in Raleigh". Glass ─── n. Silicon Chips. Usage: "We can't get the upleveled hardware until the new glass gets through Fishkill". See Iron. Glass Teletype ─── n. Before the 3101 was announced: any non─IBM "dumb" CRT. After the 3101 was announced: the 3101. Go Away ─── v. To vanish inexplicably. Normally used in a kind of prayer or litany: "with a bit of luck, that problem will go away when we install Release XXX..".. Go Faster Stripes ─── n. Frills added to a hardware product, to make it appear to run better. IBM hardware does not need these, of course. See Bells and Whistles. Go to the Mat ─── v. fight it out by going to higher authority [from the wrestling term]. See Escalate. Green Card ─── n. Quick reference summary information printed on a large folded sheet of heavy paper, usually yellow or white. Refers to the original [green] S/360 reference card which is an outstanding example of the genre. Guru ─── n. A professional expert. Overtly a term of respect, but can convey an undertone of contempt for one who would invest large amounts of time in a subject which the speaker does not consider sufficiently important to become expert in himself. Halfword ─── n. 2 bytes [an IBM S/370 Word is 4 bytes, or 32 bits]. Especially confusing term when used to describe a 16─bit data item on a 16─bit machine whose "word─length" is 16 bits. See also Doubleword. "Hall of Winds" ─── n. See "Cave of the Winds". Hands On ─── n. 1. Time spent in exploration of a new piece of equipment. "After the class we will go down to the DP Center for some hands on." 2. Access to equipment. "I have the programs written, but I can't get any hands on until Thursday." Hardwire ─── v. When used with software, it means coding as a constant a parameter you would normally like to be changeable. "The Userid of the receiving machine is hardwired as DATASTAG". "The spool space constant is hardwired at 53%". Head Crash ─── n. The event in which a read/write head forgets how to fly over the surface of a disk, and gouges up priceless data. Headcount ─── n. The number of personnel currently allocated to a manager or project. Headcount is the major measure of the size of a person's empire or the importance of a project, and is therefore increased whenever possible. Unfortunately most managers still believe that nine women can produce a baby in one month. Hit ─── n. Error. May be hardware or software. "My system took 3 hits before it crashed". See Check. Hook ─── n. A piece of hardware or software which is added to a product to allow future extensions or additions, but which is not necessary for the basic function. Hot Button ─── n. Topic currently of great interest to someone who matters [i.e., some big shot]. Implies impermanence, and some contempt. The hot button of today is likely to be of only passing interest tomorrow. Current examples: "Usability", "Quality". How Hard Would It Be ─── n. Plaintive litany used when venturing suggestions for changes. Immediately precedes some preposterously difficult proposal which to the requestor seems simple. From experienced users, a wry acknowledgement that the proposition may well be costly, but is nevertheless desirable. "How Hard Would It Be ... to remove the length restriction on Userids?" See also WIBNE. I didn't change Anything ─── n. "Something has changed but I have no idea what". Plaintive cry preceding feelings of the Cold Pricklies. I/S ─── n. Information Systems. The function that manages the computer installations at some IBM sites. Optimists thought it stood for "Information Services" until they became users. IBM ─── n. 1. Acronym for the name of a certain large Corporation. 2. A hypothetical 370 instruction, existence strongly suspected but not yet proven: "Insert Bug under Mask". 3. Itty─Bitty Machines. 4. Immense Blue Mountain/Monolith. 5. "I've Been Moved", alluding to the favourite game of departmental and divisional reorganisations. 6. "It's Better Manually" 7. Hudson River Valley Works [much of that valley, in New York State, is owned by IBM]. IBM Confidential ─── adj. 1. Proprietary information relating to personnel or technical matters. 2. Information that is embarrassing to IBM. IBM Internal Use Only ─── adj. Information that is confidential but which the classifier does not wish to keep locked away. Ibmox ─── [ib─em─ox] v. To copy xerographically. "I Xeroxed a copy.... sorry, I Ibmoxed a copy of that report on your desk." In a ditch ─── adj. Non─functional. As in "That program is on its back in a ditch". See Down, Crashed. In─plan ─── adj. What marketing wants [see Out─plan]. Incredible ─── adj. A famous memo issued by FE management suggested the word "Incredible" as a possible alternative to the term "Bullshit", which apparently was being overused in meetings. Thereafter, the exclamation "Incredible!" could be heard ringing through the halls, accompanied by laughter from those understanding the translation, and expressions of bewilderment from the others. Innovate ─── v. Change for the sake of change, preferably making previous programs or systems malfunction. Interactive ─── adj. Modern. Usually associated with typing at CRT display terminals. Supposed to carry the connotation of fast, pleasant, and making full use of "modern" techniques and technology. Usage: "Of course, we will follow up with an interactive version". Interface ─── v. 1. [Of humans] talk. "I'm going to interface to Joe Bleh, the new DP Manager". 2. [Of machines] connect. "I'm going to interface the black box to the [big] blue box". IPL ─── v. Initial Program Load. Restart after operating system has crashed. Used to indicate starting anything from scratch: e.g. "She IPL's on coffee each morning". Also IML [Initial Microcode Load], or IMPL [Initial Micro Program Load]. Iron ─── n. Computing machinery. Prevalent among hardware people to describe "boxes" [blue or otherwise]. Iron Mountain ─── n. Permanent document storage. "We'll send these files to Iron Mountain". Originally, a vendor specializing in securing backup documentation from nuclear attack; now any archival storage. Not a good place to put data you ever want to use again. See Wansdyke. Ironmonger ─── n. Derogatory term used by some "pure" software people to designate hardware people. Generally indicates that the speaker is ignorant about hardware matters. Issue ─── n. Formal indication from one group to another that the first is dissatisfied with some action by the other, and is prepared to take the matter to the next level of management to resolve the problem. See Concern, Non─Concur. JCL ─── n. Job Control language. This was one of IBM's first attempts to make computing easy ─ JCL has only 5 command verbs. Unfortunately, one of these verbs has grown to have over 192 different modifiers. See Command Language. Joint Study ─── n. A way to get a customer to invest resources into IBM development, and so commit him to buying the IBM product when it becomes available. ney ─── adj. Important. Derived from the old term "key part" in theatre, it is used when the speaker cannot explain why it is important. "It is absolutely Key to choose this strategy". Kipper ─── adj. Used to describe the speed of 370's and Mini─Computers that do not manage to achieve a million instructions per second. A "KIP" is a thousand [kilo─] instructions per second [see note under MIPS], hence a "300 Kipper" is a machine that runs at 0.3 MIPS. KIPS ─── n. Thousands of instructions per second. Derivative of MIPS. See Kipper. KISS principle ─── n. "Keep It Simple, Stupid". Usually quoted when developing a product in restricted time, e.g. due to marketing pressures. Not usually adhered to by IBM software development teams. Leading Edge ─── adj. Used to describe technology that is five years out of date and is therefore mature enough to be used in a product. Level One ─── n. Level One is the lowest level of customer support. If a customer really has a problem, he has to somehow get the Level One person to refer the problem to a real Guru, the Level Two support. If IBM also considers the problem significant, the customer may then be "Level Two'd". Level set ─── v. To get everyone to the same level of knowledge to be used as a base for further progress. i.e. short pitch to define terms, etc. "Before you start, let's level set everyone". Line Item ─── n. Major part of a new release of a [usually software] product. One of the highlights. Listing ─── n. 1. Hardcopy print─out, usually of a program or algorithm. 2. The assembly─ or machine─ language part of such a print─out. Lunatic Fringe ─── n. Used in Marketing to denote customers who will always take Release 1 of any new IBM product. Macro ─── n. A macro is usually a kind of in─line subroutine. In IBM it is still fashionable to write macros in outlandish and preferably unreadable languages, usually abounding with characters that are awkward to type on standard keyboards. This makes it appear very skillful to write Macros, when in fact the main attributes required are those of Good Humour and Patience. See &. Microcode ─── n. Any software the customer cannot get his hands on. Migration ─── n. The term used to specify how a customer is to change to a new hardware or software package, replacing currently installed packages which are probably viewed as being completely satisfactory. 'Incentives', such as, "If you do not migrate we will not support anything else", are usually applied to 'prod' to customer into making the change. Mini─Computer ─── n. Any machine with a non─370─compatible architecture that runs under 3 MIPS. Also Mini. See Vector processor. MIPS ─── n. 1. Millions of Instructions Per Second [although often used, the term "1 MIP" is incorrect "One Million Instructions Per..". what? year?] 2. Misleading Indication of Processor Speed. Mixed Case ─── adj. Describes commentary, system messages, etc. that are easy to read and understand. Usage: rare. Modulate ─── v. Change. "Let's modulate our approach to this problem". Module ─── n. General purpose noun, can mean almost anything. Some current favourites: a section of code; a package of circuitry containing 1 or more chips; a unit of instruction; or a temporary building. Motherhood ─── n. Used to describe a common attitude of software development groups toward their underlings [i.e. the users of their software]. It is attributable to the fact that designers often believe their creations to be the 'final solution', to which no possible improvement could be conceived. "Why don't they distribute source code?" ... "Motherhood, pure motherhood". MSG ─── v. [message] To communicate via a computer─transmitted message, rather than by telephone. Usage: "MSG me when you are ready to go to lunch". MVS ─── n. Man Versus System. Naive User ─── n. 1. Someone new to the computer game, viewed with a mixture of sympathy and pity. 2. [when applied to someone not─so─new to the game] A person who cannot chew gum and walk in a straight line at the same time. Need to know ─── n. Phrase wielded when someone wishes to avoid passing on a piece of information, usually because the information would be embarrassing. "Do you have a need to know?" Net ─── v. To send by computer network [as opposed to tape or mail]. "I'll net you the files tomorrow". NIH ─── adj. "Not Invented Here" or "Not In─House". Possibly more common inside IBM than outside, though of course IBM's house is larger than most. No Problem Found ─── n. Colloquialism used by Software/Hardware maintenance people to indicate that they were unable to reproduce the users' problem. A gentle way of asking for more information. Also No Trouble Found. NO─OP ─── 1. n. No─operation. An instruction to do nothing [used to fill up space or time during execution of a program]. 2. n. Implies ineffectiveness. Usage: "He's the biggest no─op I have ever seen". 3. v. To make ineffective: "I'll no─op it". Non─Concur ─── v. The ultimate threat. Makes any project management quake ─ grown men have been known to cry when threatened with this. Formal indication from one group to another that the first is convinced that the second is about to cause a major disaster, and that therefore the first group is prepared to escalate the matter as high as necessary to resolve the problem. See Concern, Issue. Non─strategic ─── adj. Embarrassingly superior to what is strategic. It is permissible to to attribute defects to a non─strategic project even when nothing is known about it. In GBG it is automatically non─strategic to have a Big Blue solution to Office Systems needs. See Strategic, Big Blue. NUCON ─── adj. Originally a CMS term for the NUcleus CONstant area. Static area in 370 page zero. Now used as a term for a programmer who will not write reentrant code: "He has NUCON mentality". OEM ─── n. From "Original Equipment Manufacturer". Inside IBM it means "Other Equipment Manufacturer". See Vendor. Offering ─── n. A product release: "the next offering will have that feature". Offline ─── n. Means "later, in private" e.g: "let's take that offline". Used by speakers when a question has been asked and a] the speaker does not know the answer; or b] he has a detailed answer which is probably not of interest to most of the audience; or c] the speaker does know the answer, and it is of interest, but he does not want to state it publicly. Open Kimono ─── v. 1. Reveal everything to someone. Once you have gone open kimono, you have nothing more to hide. [This is the more common meaning.] 2. To give someone a tantalising glimpse of a project [i.e., enough to get him interested but not enough to give any secrets away]. [This is an interesting example of the same jargon having two rather different meanings. This can cause amusing misunderstandings at times.] OS ─── n. Any of the operating systems MVS, SVS, MFT, MVT, or VS1. These operating systems all grow from "OS/360", the first widespread 360 Operating System. See Big OZ. The term OS excludes such operating systems as CP/67, VM/370, TSS, ACP. Out─plan ─── adj. What development wants [see In─plan]. Outside Awareness ─── n. Window. Some IBM offices and [especially] laboratories are totally lacking in windows, but at last someone has noticed that people work better with a view. So new offices are specified to have Outside Awareness. Paper Chase ─── n. [also Paper Game] An officially sanctioned version of the infamous chain letter. E.g. person A sends a letter to person B, copying persons C and D. Persons B, C as well as D may reply, copying each other and incidentally persons E, F, G, H and I. Person A, in self─defence, responds to all, this time via a distribution list including persons B through I and anyone else he can think of who might be remotely interested. The next step is usually a meeting, to which the persons on the distribution list each invite one or more members of their respective departments. The process usually runs down when the list of players gets large enough that the secretary attempting to book the meetings which follow cannot find a time─slot acceptable to all. Paren ─── n. 1. Short for parenthesis. Many people have forgotten that parenthesis is the real word. CMS users seldom bother to balance them. Many user─written CMS programs flag the presence of a closing right parenthesis as an error. 2. The character "(", used in conversation to pair with "Thesis", e.g. the string "A(B)" might be described as "A Paren B Thesis". Especially favoured by LISP programmers, burdened by many such. Penalty Box ─── n. When an executive is transferred from a position of power to one of less power, he is said to be "going to the penalty box". This usually occurs as a result of being visibly associated with a failed project [see FS]. Favoured penalty boxes are Research [see Sandbox], Group Staff, or Branch Manager of a remote or moribund location. Another technique is to keep the offender at the same location, but put him in charge of a meaningless project [e.g. "Productivity" or "Standards"]. Variation: "He got five years for fighting." See Walk in the Woods. Perfect Programmer Syndrome ─── n. "Since my program is right, there is no need to test it". Or: "Yes, I can see there may be a problem here, but I'll never type SHUTDOWN on the RSCS console when there is a CP read up". Personal Computer ─── n. 1. Before 14 August, 1981: A computer intended to be used by one person, who is local to it and does not time─share it. A catch─all for home computers, hobby computers, professional workstations, and probably a few Cray─1's. 2. After 14 August, 1981: The IBM 5150. It is too early to evaluate the effects of this latest wordnapping. Phase 0 ─── adj. From "Phase 1 review" which is the first official review of a project. A "Phase 0 review" is a preliminary review, often conducted as a trial run for the real Phase 1. Hence, "do a Phase 0 estimate" means "do a preliminary estimate". PID ─── [pidd] adj. The version of a program as shipped to customers. From Program Information Department. "Unfortunately, we have to run the PID version". See Vanilla. Pitch ─── n. Presentation. "Are you going to the XYZ pitch in the auditorium?" Plan of Record ─── n. Plan. A "Plan of Record" has by implication extra solidity ─ though in fact it is the least reliable plan of all, since product plans always change. It sounds better in memoranda, to some ears. See Action Plan. Play ─── v. To spend one's own time on a project. e.g. "I'm staying this evening to play with the new XYZ program". It seems that most really usable software derives from such play. Play Pen ─── n. Room where programmers work. Point ─── n. A measurement of the IBM list price of a product, equivalent to a dollar monthly rental. Pokieland ─── n. The Poughkeepsie area. The term is mainly used by people outside Pokieland. POP ─── n. Principles of Operation [for the S/360 and later the S/370]. Probably one of the best DP documents ever written. The source of the Ultimate Truth for DPD. Power Eraser Dispenser ─── n. The ultimate unnecessary feature. See Bells and Whistles. Pre─announce ─── v. To discuss in public hardware or software which has not been announced. Product Tester ─── n. Those who have been to the mountain; keepers of the word; interpreters of the Specifications. Used interchangeably with sophist. Research has shown that most were given chemistry sets or electronic kits at an impressionable age by well meaning but misguided parents. Prototype ─── 1. n. The first implementation of some idea in the form originally envisioned for it by the original innovator. Generally unrelated in form, function, and cost to the final production version. 2. v. a] To implement a working system fast, i.e. by "unconventional" methods. b] To implement a 'model' system that has to be replaced by a "proper" system later ─ in case anyone realises how simple computer programming is. PSE ─── n. Preliminary Sales Estimate. Qualified guess [i.e. a random number] at how many units of a product will be sold. Nobody except a forecaster can explain why this is different from a forecast. See Forecast. PTF ─── n. "A Program Temporary Fix". This is an official IBM temporary fix. The acronym is used so often that most people don't know what it means. PTF's are permanent fixes in some systems. PTM ─── n. "Program Trouble Memorandum". The same as an APAR, but generated internally, before a program is shipped. Pulse ─── n. A temporary change in the level of a logic signal of at least 50ns duration. [Pulses narrower than this cannot exist, as they cannot be detected by the standard issue FE logic probe. Naturally this makes it difficult to design modern high performance equipment.] Punch ─── v. To transmit data electronically from one disk pack to another. Often these disk packs can be around the world from one another but just as often can be the exact same one. A VM/370 term. Usage: "Punch me that jargon file". Qualified ─── adj. Vendor part that has been tested six ways from Sunday and approved for use in IBM products. Generally a well known product whose identity is subsequently disguised behind a twelve digit IBM part number. Since the original part number is no longer available, the only specifications available are those produced by Fishkill testing lab which tend to give no hint of what the part really is. Quality ─── n. A popular hot button characterised by the slogan: "Do it right, first time". A laudable aim, pounced on with glee by product managers who claim that they do their design right, first time, and that therefore testing with real users is obviously a waste of time. Reach─around ─── n. Communication which does not just go up the management chain or down it, but rather goes up the chain and then returns to the original level as a response. Usage: very rare. Read ─── v. To move data from one disk pack on your system to another. A VM/370 term. Usually the source disk is owned by the spooling system and the destination disk is dedicated to a user. Usage: "Please read that new file onto your disk". Reader ─── n. 1. A temporary place on a disk pack to place data until a user decides exactly what he wants to do with it. 2. Also used as a place on a disk pack where one user puts data so that another user has a good chance of finding it. Recursive ─── adj. An object that refers to itself. See Recursive. Reference ─── n. A document which contains a minimum of information and is quite useless to a new user. As in: "This document is not a tutorial, it is a Reference". Registered IBM Confidential ─── adj. Designates information which is a] technically [and totally] useless, but whose perceived value increases with the level of management observing it; or b] is useful, but which is now inaccessible because everyone is afraid to have custody of the documents. See Candy─Striped. Regression Bucket ─── n. Set of test cases to run against a product during development to check that functions that used to work still do, or to measure any change in performance. Reinvent the Wheel ─── v. A derogatory phrase used to prevent someone from writing a system correctly now that he has become familiar, through experience, with what should have been done in the past. Release ─── n. The software prepared for shipment to customers. All the code that a development group has produced by some arbitrary date, regardless of whether it works. Release x ─── [Where x is some number larger than that of the current release]. n. Never─never land. "Well that's a nice function, we'll put it in Release 3". Cynically assumes no Release 3 is coming. Remap ─── n. A machine whose logic design has been entirely or largely taken from an earlier machine and re─implemented in a newer [usually denser] technology. The 370/148 is a remap of the 370/145. Rep ─── n. 1. Short for "Marketing Representative". The Rep is IBM's prime contact with the customer. IBM holds him responsible for the account, hence he has final say on everyone else's contact with the customer. An IBMer in a laboratory, for example, would never call a customer without the Rep's approval. Unlike an SE [system engineer], he is paid on commission and is seldom very technical. 2. Incurable [but rich] optimist. Requirement ─── n. 1. A feature that must be included in a product or else someone will non─concur. [See Non─concur, Feature.] 2. A function or quality that must be included in a product or it will be considered unsaleable to some portion of End Users. Retread ─── n. Re─trainee. Not a nice term. Usually refers to a planner who has become a programmer after 90 days of programming school. Retrofit ─── v. 1. To add a needed feature to a piece of software or hardware rather later than it should have been added. Usually results in inelegant architecture. 2. Merge. A standard procedure in some divisions: laboratories A and B work along somewhat independently for a time, then each "retrofits" their updates to the other's work performed in the meantime. A sensitive political situation arises when one group's updates must be "retrofitted" because of changes made to lower─level updates by another group. Road ─── n. Normally used in DPD to signify where the action takes place. "... where the rubber meets the road". RPQ ─── n. Request for Price Quotation [for an infrequently requested feature, such as upper/lower case, or compatibility with earlier products]. Salary Plan ─── n. Document explaining why Managers get paid more than technical personnel. Sammy Cobol ─── n. See Susie Cobol. Sandbender ─── n. Person actually involved with silicon lithography and the physical design of chips. Not to be confused with logic designers, most of whom [it is said] would not recognise a transistor if they stepped on it with bare feet. Sandbox ─── adj. A location or department where the immediate goal is not a product, or product support. The "Sandbox" Division is the "Research Division". Always used in a derogatory sense. Also see Adtech, Fun & Games, Trivial. SCIDS ─── n. [skids] A 6─hour cocktail party, held every night of SHARE and GUIDE meetings, during which customers [sometimes successfully] ply IBMers with alcoholic beverages in plastic cups to try to find out what's coming next. Officially stands for "Social Contact and Informal Discussion Sessions." More familiarly known as the "Society for Cultivation of Indiscretions via Drinking Sessions." Scratch ─── v. Erase. "Please scratch the tape". Scratch is always a deliberate action, rather than an accident. Also used as an adj. "This is a Scratch Tape". Service ─── v. 1. To handle an interrupt. Interrupt handlers seldom appear in AI programs. 2. Fix bugs. See Critical service. Seven Dwarfs ─── n. Originally the expression "IBM and the Seven Dwarfs" described the entire computer industry. The Dwarfs were Burroughs, Honeywell, NCR, Univac, RCA, General Electric, and the new upstart, CDC. Since then RCA and GE have dropped out. Some consider DEC to have become sufficiently respectable to constitute a sixth, but no present─day seventh comes to mind. Dwarfs are at least in principle exempt from the definitions of Minicomputer and Vector Processor since they are deemed to produce 'ordinary' computers like IBM. Ship ─── v. used to signify movement of a product from a point A to a point B even though the vehicle or mode of transport would inevitably sink if placed on the surface of the ocean. It is possible to ship items by road, rail, plane or even by electronic networks. See FCS. Showstopper ─── n. 1. Unfixed bug. Likely to cause a Crash. 2. Unsurmountable problem that may kill a project. Shriek ─── n. Exclamation point, popular among APL users. See also Splat. Slash ─── n. Virgule [a "/"]. Also Slashslash ─ the JCL identifier, as in "Slashslash deedee splat" [// DD *]. Slip ─── n. An extension to a schedule deadline. A slip implies that the developer intends to complete the project, but was too aggressive in his schedule. As a rule of thumb, if a schedule slip of one month is announced, the project is likely to be ready after two extra months. Slot ─── n. Position to be filled. "I have a slot for a Project Programmer." See Headcount. Softcopy ─── adj. Machine readable. Softy ─── adj. Affectionate term used by engineers to describe a software expert who knows very little about hardware. Software experts seem to have no affectionate terms for engineers. Solution ─── v. [Very popular at South Road Labs, Poughkeepsie.] Same as "solve": "We must solution this problem". The form "solutioned" is also used for "solved". Speak Up! ─── n. A well─administered programme which allows employees to make a genuinely anonymous complaint to any level of management about any IBM─related subject. Replies to Speak Up!s range from [occasional] positive acceptance of the complaint and a resultant change to [usually] a patronising brush─off which may aggravate the original feeling of dissatisfaction. Spec─Writer ─── n. The person who writes the functional specifications for a product. Since this is a boring unimaginative job, it is often given to boring unimaginative people. Since this person effectively has the final say in what goes into the spec., this often leads to [you've guessed it] products. Special assistant to ─── adj. Idle. A manager for whom no use can be found any longer is made "Special Assistant to" some higher echelon. His activities from then on are completely without consequence. See also Staff. Speculate ─── v. To tell secrets. "Q: Why does the IBMPC Documentation refer to an assembler, when there is none announced?" "A: I'm sorry, but I cannot speculate on that in public." Spin system ─── n. The system that FE are prepared to fix bugs on. [Pre─FCS systems are not spin systems.] The term probably refers to the system that is actually spinning on the system disk drive. See Floor System. Splat ─── n. Asterisk, as in the JCL statement "// DD *" [pronounced "slashslash deedee splat"]. Spool ─── v. To move data from one disk pack to another. Usage: "Please spool that new file to me". See Punch, Net. Spring Plan ─── n. A period of three months occurring every spring, when most productive work stops. The plan, once adopted, is ignored. See Fall Plan. Stack ─── n. Alternative [incorrect] name for a Queue. Probably originally from Cambridge [MA]. Staff ─── n. A person with no responsibility but an amount of power correlated with his personal charisma. It is usually very hard to determine how seriously one should deal with a staff person. A staff person is usually supposed to be helping the workers accomplish their jobs but more often is asking about something or asking for something. He can usually be ignored completely. However, occasionally someone with a great deal of charisma lands in a staff job and carries great weight with higher management [usually yours]. [This particular breed of "staff" is difficult to detect.] Statement of Direction ─── n. -. IBM's commitment to a comprehensive [e.g. text processing] strategy incorporating all current products. 2. A phrase used to cover up the absence of any strategy. Strategic ─── adj. Used to designate a major IBM product, to which IBM is prepared to commit significant resources. A project manager will do ANYTHING to get his product classified "strategic". Suggestions Programme ─── n. Lottery whereby an employee can [by wasting IBM time filling in a form] get cash for ideas which someone else will have to implement. Indeed, sometimes a whole Task Force can be set up to consider the suggestion. Surface ─── v. To bring to someones attention. "We should surface that issue at the next staff meeting." Susie Cobol ─── n. A programmer straight out of training school who knows everything ─ except the benefits of commentary. Also [fashionable among personkind these days to avoid accusations of being sexist] Sammy Cobol. 'SYNTAX ERROR' ─── n. General message put out by compilers and interpreters when a] the error was never expected to occur; or b] when the programmer got tired of dreaming up new error messages for trivial cases. Talk to ─── v. 1. Discuss. "I will talk to that detail later". Usually means that the speaker hopes his audience will drop the subject. 2. The act of communicating with another [usually of machines]. e.g: These machines talk to each other, but do they understand? Is one talking French and the other listening in German? Tandem Memos ─── n. A phrase to worry middle management. Refers to the widely distributed computer conference in which many technical personnel expressed dissatisfaction with the tools available to them, and also constructively criticised the way in which IBM does business. If you have not seen the memos, try reading the November 1981 Datamation summary. Task Force ─── n. 1. [Official Definition] High powered group of experts appointed to solve some problem of pressing urgency. 2. [Unofficial Definition [a]] A group of people with nothing better to do, with plenty of time to generate arguments and [sometimes] reports. 3. [Unofficial Definition [b]] A useful place for management to hide people who have nothing better to do than natter on about things. [Note: It is said that Task Forces have occasionally produced [useful] results. There exists no evidence to support this hypothesis.] Technology ─── n. A particular flavour of silicon manufacturing process. "We can't put the whole channel on one chip until we go to the next technology." Test ─── v. 1. In a bad development laboratory, the process of getting a few bored people to try one or two of the things mentioned in the product specification [i.e. to try the things the developers had already considered]. 2. In a good development laboratory, the process of allowing real users to use a product for a significant amount of time before announcement. This may have occurred once. Test Bucket ─── n. Set of test cases to run against a product during development to check that it performs basic functions correctly. Thesis ─── n. See Paren. THINK ─── v. A well─established IBM acronym which is so well─established that no one can remember what it originally meant. Said to exemplify an ideal that IBM employees are prevented from achieving. Think small ─── Hardware/software test strategy. Technique is to exercise the most primitive function to prove to yourself it works before trying more complex [and presumably failing] function. When people forget this basic strategy, they are gently reminded to "think small". Token ─── n. [in CMS] 8─character alphanumeric operand which just happened to fit the size of one of the 370 basic atoms of storage [the Doubleword]. Topside ─── n. The higher management echelons of a project or group. "We'll go in Topside with that problem" means to attack a problem from top management downwards. Toy ─── 1. n. A computer program that can be understood. 2. n. A project in which the coding is a significant part of the effort [in a "real" project, coding is a negligible portion of the costs]. 3. adj. Describes a tool which is great for teaching but lacks basic facilities needed for doing real work. Trailing Edge ─── adj. Slow to change. Used in marketing to denote an account who are not interested in SNA, IMS, MVS etc. Usage: "XYZ are a real trailing edge account". [Note that "account" describes people in this usage.] Translucent ─── n. 1. A change which is supposed to affect a user or system very slightly. Used when a claim of Transparency would not be believed. 2. A change which requires a huge effort to adapt to. Transparent ─── n. A change which is not supposed to affect a user or system. Used when talking to Change Control to clinch the argument. "It's transparent!". Sadly, transparency seems a relative thing [relatively rare] ─ after all, if truly transparent, why make the change? Tri─lead ─── n. A wire. Consists of a central conductor with a earth [ground] wire each side. Effective as a signal carrier, but contacts have been known to be less than ideal. Trick ─── adj. Code that cannot be understood by a newly trained programmer. The term is used during programming phase reviews: "The use of the translate instruction to reverse the string is a neat trick, but it can be made clearer and more understandable by the use of a DO Loop". Trickological ─── adj. Written more to glorify the tricks than to get the function performed. A trickological program of the highest order can be comprehended only by its author. It is especially easy [indeed, almost trivial] to write one of these in APL. Trivial ─── adj. 1. Possible. Used to convey the impression that the speaker is an expert in a subject and that the method of solution should be immediately obvious to everyone else in the room. Normally used when no one in the room [including the speaker] can think of a solution. 2. Easy. Used to imply that if the speaker had the responsibility of carrying out the task, it would be done in a matter of minutes. But, alas, it is someone else's job... Also 3. Non─trivial anything the speaker does not really want to do. "That's a non─trivial change". Trouble Came Back ─── n. [TCB] Colloquialism used by maintenance people to describe an intermittent or difficult─to─reproduce problem which has failed to respond to neglect. See No Problem Found and Go Away. True Blue ─── adj. An account that uses only IBM equipment. User Friendly ─── adj. 1. Used to describe a program that was used by more than one person before being distributed. 2. Also used to describe hardware or software that is not easy to use, but needs to be sold. Vanilla ─── adj. Standard flavor, e.g. as shipped to Customers. e.g. "You mean it is possible to run Vanilla CP?". See Chocolate. Often used in a somewhat deprecating way. User Friendly ─── adj. 1. Used to describe a program that was used by more than one person before being distributed. 2. Also used to describe hardware or software that is not easy to use, but needs to be sold. Vanilla ─── adj. Standard flavor, e.g. as shipped to Customers. e.g. "You mean it is possible to run Vanilla CP?". See Chocolate. Often used in a somewhat deprecating way. Vector Processor ─── n. Any machine with a non─370 compatible architecture that runs over 3 MIPS. There is an implicit slight here that it is not a real "commercial" machine, since vector processors typically are used for scientific applications. Presumably, when a "vector processor" is given a commercial job stream, it will not run any faster than the fastest 370. See Mini─Computer. Vehicle ─── n. Indirect means to achieve some result [usually in the marketplace]. "We will focus on the F machines as the key vehicle for the new user interface ..". Vend Out ─── v. To contract out some item to an outside vendor. A favourite way to avoid security restrictions ─ recently the contract for making the foils for a presentation describing the IBM corporate five─year plan was vended out... Vendor ─── n. A company that either supplies something to IBM, or supplies something to IBM customers. See OEM. Vendor Technology ─── n. Semiconductor technology produced outside IBM. The implication is that any variety of technology can be produced by IBM, but "out there" they can only manage one type. Verb ─── n. Any word [i.e. any noun may be misused as a verb]. "There is no word in the English language that cannot be verbed". Virgin ─── adj. Unmodified version of a program [e.g. as received from PID]. It is interesting to note that the first modification to such code is usually that which is most desired. See also Vanilla. Virtual ─── adj. a term used to indicate that things are not what they seem to be. Generally means that you can see it, but it is not really there. Visibility ─── n. A project that has "visibility" is much in the eye of others. This makes it high [political] risk ─ the workers involved may find themselves showered with awards, or may find themselves the scapegoats for others. The latter is the more likely, of course. Visionary ─── n. Someone who reads the outside literature. Vital records ─── n. Records which are supposed to enable a project to restart with minimal loss in the event of disaster. Usually three to six months out of date, and often suffering from inconsistency, it is just as well that they have never really been needed. Walk in the Woods ─── n. Put on the shelf, as in "the product was a disaster, so they sent him for a walk in the woods". See Penalty Box. Wall follower ─── adj. Simpleton. An early robot building contest which involved running a maze was won by a mechanism which only sensed and followed the right─hand wall. Robots which tried to learn as they traversed the maze did not do as well. Wansdyke ─── n. Mysterious caverns in England, "somewhere" near the ancient Saxon earthwork known as Wansdyke, where vital records are stored. UK equivalent of Iron Mountain. Warm Fuzzies ─── n. The kind of feeling it is alleged that you get when you think you are proceeding in the right direction, or when you are being treated well by your manager. This state of mind is usually of short duration, and is succeeded by "Cold pricklies". See Cold Pricklies. Water ─── n. Orders for equipment which the customer does not intend to accept. "The first─day orders set a new record, but they must be at least a third water". Major causes include: place─holding orders while the customer tries to figure out what has been announced; dropout due to multi─year delivery schedules; and Christmas presents to deserving salesmen. Watson Freeway ─── n. The sections of Interstates 684 and 287 which connect Corporate HQ [Armonk] with DPD HQ [1133, see below] via Harrison. WIBNI ─── [wib─knee] n. Acronym for "Wouldn't It Be Nice If", usually used to describe useful but difficult to implement additions to software systems. "I have a WIBNI for the zorch function." Wild Duck ─── n. Creative technical person who does unconventional things, or at least does things in an unconventional way. Implies respect, and a feeling that many of his ideas turn out to be valuable. Usually applied only to males. It is said that IBM does not mind having a few wild ducks around ─ so long as they fly in formation. Yellow brick road ─── n. Route 9, Poughkeepsie. The road on which you travel to see the Wizard of OZ. See OS. Yellow Wire ─── 1. n. Hardware fix [the reliability of a product is inversely proportional to the number of yellow wires]. 2. v. To wire─wrap. Zap ─── v. To alter the machine code of a program by storing directly into main storage, or by running a program known as SuperZap to have a similar effect on the disk resident copy of a program. This practice started in the days when a proper change to program source followed by reassembly was task measured in hours. Now a term for shoddy, incomplete work which is likely to cause trouble in future because the running version of a program no longer agrees with its source ─ a situation which guarantees problems. "We'll just zap it for now and hope tomorrow never comes". Nowadays Zapping is a dying art, and can itself take hours. 1133 ─── n. 1. The multiplexor enclosure for the 1130 Mini─Computer. 2. DPD Headquarters, Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY. 80─column mind ─── n. Always derogatory. Usually applied to people who, conceptually at least, would prefer to be able to lay their hands directly on their data, and to whom the transition from cards to tape was a traumatic experience. Nobody has dared tell them about disks yet. & ─── [ampersand]. Character used in many IBM macro and command languages in order to make them hard to read and to type. Helps add to the mystique surrounding programmers that use such languages. See Command Language.