v To move something to a lower priority in the hope that it will go away or be solved by someone else.
Let’s back-burner this item. Not originally an IBM term.
adj Of a program: Broken As Designed.
Used to describe a program whose design, rather than implementation, is flawed. This term originated (and is mostly used) outside IBM, often in reaction to an IBM Working as Designed APAR response.
n A walk among all of the areas (such as machine test laboratories) where one’s badge has been authorised to allow entry, inserting the badge, opening the door (and maybe peeking in), and then leaving to go to the next area.
The purpose of this is to leave a usage trail to stop automatic systems removing your badge from the authorised entry list simply because you haven’t used your access privileges enough. (40)
n One unit of skill in repairing equipment.
IBM’s avowed goal is to design machines whose maintenance is so simple that the repair engineers can be replaced by trained monkeys. Hence, the lowest three levels of field repairs are sometimes jokingly called One-, Two-, or Three-Banana tasks. This concept was used by the RAS group for the 3850 Mass Storage System at Boulder in the mid 1970s. At this time there were only one-and two-banana tasks. The idea was developed in the 308X RAS and SPR shops, and was extended to three-banana tasks. Such is the march of inflation.
n Not knowing when to stop.
This derives from the story about the child who said I know how to spell ‘banana’, but I don’t know when to stop. Used, for example, when trying to decide how far to refine a design.
n An obvious IBM employee.(43)
A person who works for IBM and wears his badge in public, outside of any IBM building – or even further afield. May also wear white socks. This is the outside definition for a stereotyped IBM person; a local radio show in the Hudson Valley features a spot called The Beemertons, a kind of IBM soap opera.
n An individual who refuses to accept any proposal to improve a product (or the work environment) unless it can be quantitatively equated to a monetary reduction in corporate expenditures, or a short-term increase in corporate revenues.
n A person who insists that an employee be at his desk by 08:30 precisely.
(Even though this means that he must rise an hour earlier in order to catch an earlier train than the one that would get him to his desk at 08:33.) (45)
n A person with a passionate or religious (superstitious) fervour for a language or system.
As in: APL bigot q.v., REXX bigot, CMS bigot. Implies an unwillingness to learn any alternative, except when the term is used by one bigot to another (of the same type), in which case the implication is almost affectionate.
n Someone who programmed computers before 1975.
A term of endearment, usually identifying a programmer who: a) Codes only in assembler or even without one; b) Knows the original reason why DISK DUMPed files have sequence numbers; c) Dated or was dated by keypunch operators; d) Knows what a core dump is; e) Graduated from college with Mathematics or Electronics (Computer Science did not exist then).
n A person or customer of enormous capacity who can drain the entire resources of an organisation (such as a branch office).
n A system to solve a customer’s particular requirement or application that uses only IBM hardware and software.
n Someone from a more formally- over-? dressed part of the IBM culture.
That is: a) IBM marketing representative (when used by those at HQ); b) IBMers at HQ (when used by those in a development laboratory); or c) IBMers not at Research (when used by those at Research).
n Content-free portions of a presentation included to capture the attention and otherwise distract the listener from any real issues.
Also applied to standard parts of a document or program that contain little information (copyright notices, for example).
boil the ocean
v To attempt something too ambitious.
This phrase is used to throw (cold) water on something the speaker perceives as an overly ambitious proposal, even though no technical case can be built for disapproval. For example: Your problem is that you’re trying to boil the ocean.
This phrase dates from World War II, when Axis submarines were severely damaging Allied shipping. The story goes that a high level naval meeting was held to discuss the problem, during which an admiral suggested the solution of boiling the ocean to force the submarines to the surface. Everyone thought this was a wonderful idea, except for one relatively junior officer, who asked how this was to be done. The admiral replied: I gave you the idea, it’s your job to work out the details!
n A conference (or other meeting that involves travelling) with an admixture of both pleasure and business.
To be a true boondoggle, the trip must be paid for by IBM. To be a super-boondoggle, it should be to Southern France, Florida, or anywhere in the Caribbean.
n A group of people, often a task force, getting paid but doing nothing productive for a related group – or for corporate revenue.
They may look and act and sound very busy.
n A term used (mostly by managers) to reveal a strong desire to bypass understanding of a proposed solution in favour of a simplistic quantification of it.
Probably a reference to the totals line at the bottom of financial reports. As in: I don’t want all these pros and cons, just give me the bottom line. Higher level managers may interchange use of this term with net it out q.v..
n The art of drawing pretty diagrams using the box characters (actually box part characters) in monospace fonts.
n The extra people that must be added to an organisation because the action plan has changed.
Every planned change causes breakage – usually more than unplanned changes.
n A confusion whose symptoms are reminiscent of a mild schizophrenia.
A result of changing hats too fast in a new position. External symptoms include the taking of the opposite side to that held in the previous position. Especially prevalent in those newly appointed to positions of responsibility. Secondary symptoms include an inclination towards pronouncements such as that is true, but you must understand both sides.
buzz word quotient, BWQ
n The proportion of words in a conversation or document that are buzz words (jargon words).
For example, if every fourth word in a conversation is a buzz word, it has a BWQ of 0.25 or 25%.