Software Humor

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Define your terms for software releases:

Advanced User: A person who has managed to remove a computer from its packing materials.

Power User: A person who has mastered the brightness and contrast controls on any computer monitor.

American Made: Assembled in America from parts made abroad.

Alpha Test Version: Too buggy to be released to the paying public.

Beta Test Version: Still too buggy to be released.

Release Version: Alternate pronunciation of "Beta Test Version".

Sales Manager: Last week's new sales associate.

Consultant: A former sales associate who has mastered at least one tenth of the dBase III Plus Manual.

Systems Integrator: A former consultant who understands the term AUTOEXEC.BAT.

AUTOEXEC.BAT: A sturdy aluminum or wooden shaft used to coax AT hard disks into performing properly.

Backup: The duplicate copy of crucial data that no one bothered to make; used only in the abstract.

Clone: One of the many advanced-technology computers IBM is beginning to wish it had built.

Convertible: Transformable from a second-rate computer to a first-rate doorstop or paperweight. (Replaces the term "junior".)

Copy Protection: A clever method of preventing incompetent pirates from stealing software and legitimate customers from using it.

Database Manager: A program that allows users to manipulate data in every conceivable way except the absolutely essential way theyconceive of the day after entering 20 megabytes of raw data.

EMS: Emergency Medical Service; often summoned in cases of apoplexy induced by attempts to understand extended, expanded, or enhanced memory specs.

Encryption: A powerful algorithmic encoding technique employed in the creation of computer manuals.

FCC-Certified: Guaranteed not to interfere with radio or television reception until you add the cable that is required to make it work.

Hard Disk: A device that allows users to delete vast quantities of data with simple mnemonic commands.

Integrated Software: A single product that deftly performs hundreds of functions that the user never needs and awkwardly performs the half-dozen he uses constantly.

Laptop: Smaller and lighter than the average breadbox.

Multitasking: A clever method of simultaneously slowing down the multitude of computer programs that insist on running too fast.

Network: An electronic means of allowing more than one person at a time to corrupt, trash, and otherwise cause permanent damage to useful information.

Portable: Smaller and lighter than the average refrigerator.

Support: The mailing of advertising literature to customers who have returned a registration card.

Transportability: Neither chained to a wall or attached to an alarm system.

Printer: An electromechnical paper shredding device.

Spreadsheet: A program that gives the user quick and easy access to a wide variety of highly detailed reports based on highly inaccurate assumptions.

Thought Processor: An electronic version of the intended outline procedure that thinking people instantly abandon upon graduation from high school.

Upgraded: Didn't work the first time.

User Friendly: Supplied with a full color manual.

Very User Friendly: Supplied with a disk and audiotape so the user need not bother with the full color manual.

Version 1.0: Buggier than Maine in June; eats data.

Version 1.1: Eats data only occasionally; upgrade is free, to avoid litigation by disgruntled users of Version 1.0.

Version 2.0: The version originally planned as the first release, except for a couple of data-eating bugs that just won't seem to go away; no free upgrades or the company would go bankrupt.

Version 3.0: The revision in the works when the company goes bankrupt.

Videotex: A moribund electronic service offering people the privilege of paying to read the weather on their television screens instead of having Willard Scott read it to them free while they brush their teeth.

Warranty: Disclaimer.

Workstation: A computer or terminal slavishly linked to a mainframe that does not offer game programs.

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(The previous list of terms was furnished by and reproduced from the Government Computer News, November 21, 1988 issue. The original data was provided by the WIC Connection.) Copyright © 1999 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.