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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 asked for.

"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.

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