Breck Carter
Last modified: November 15, 1996
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The fRiDaY File, for November 15

( Go back to November 8,
forward to November 22. )


You may have heard these terms used

quite frequently

but do you know what they

REALLY mean?



It Still Does Nothing



Arrogance Produces Profit-Losing Entity



I Blame Microsoft



Do Expect Cuts



Constant Acquisitions



Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months



Obsolete Soon, Too



System Can't See It



Defunct Operating System



Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control



World Wide Wait



Maybe you've heard THESE terms, maybe not...



To be exploited and oppressed by your boss.

Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the

geek-in-hell comic strip character.

"I've been dilberted again.

The old man revised the specs for the fourth

time this week."


Link Rot

The process by which links on a web page become

obsolete as the sites they're connected to change

location or die.


Chip Jewelry

A euphemism for old computers destined to be

scrapped or turned into decorative ornaments.

"I paid three grand for that Mac SE and now it's

nothing but chip jewelry."



A badly written or profoundly useless Java applet.

"I just wasted 30 minutes downloading this stinkin'




A new hire who doesn't need any training.

"The new guy, John, is great.

He's totally plug-and-play."



A hard-core CGI script programmer with all the

social skills and charisma of a plastic action



Dorito Syndrome

Feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction

triggered by addictive substances that lack

nutritional content. "I just spent six hours

surfing the Web, and now I've got a bad case of

Dorito Syndrome."


Under Mouse Arrest

Getting busted for violating an online service's

rule of conduct.

"Sorry I couldn't get back to you.

AOL put me under mouse arrest."



Corporate-speak for sleeping with your eyes open.

A popular pastime at conferences and early-morning

meetings. "Didn't he notice that half the room was

glazing by the second session?"



Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web

message "404 URL Not Found" meaning that the

document you've tried to access can't be located.

"Don't bother asking him... he's 404, man."


Dead Tree Edition

The paper version of a publication available in

both paper and electronic forms, as in: "The dead

tree edition of the San Francisco Chronicle..."



Scanning the net, databases, print media or

research papers looking for the mention of your



Graybar Land

The place you go while you're staring at a

computer that's processing something very slowly

(while you watch the gray bar creep across the

screen). "I was in graybar land for what seemed

like hours, thanks to that CAD rendering."


Open-Collar Workers

People who work at home or telecommute.


Squirt The Bird

To transmit a signal up to a satellite.

"Crew and talent are ready...

what time do we squirt the bird?"


Brain Fart

A biproduct of a bloated mind producing

information effortlessly. A burst of useful

information. "I know you're busy on the Microsoft

story, but can you give us a brain fart on the

Mitnik bust?" Variation of old hacker slang that

had more negative connotations.


Cobweb Site

A World Wide Web Site that hasn't been updated for

a long time. A dead web page.


It's a Feature

From the adage "It's not a bug, it's a feature."

Used sarcastically to describe an unpleasant

experience that you wish to gloss over.


Keyboard Plaque

The disgusting buildup of dirt and crud found on

computer keyboards. "Are there any other terminals

I can use? This one has a bad case of keyboard



Career-Limiting Move (CLM)

Used among microserfs to describe an ill-advised

activity. Trashing your boss while he or she is

within earshot is a serious CLM.


Elvis Year

The peak year of something's popularity.

"Barney the dinosaur's Elvis year was 1993."


Alpha Geek

The most knowledgable, technically proficient

person in an office or work group. "Ask Larry,

he's the alpha geek around here."



The rarified organizational layers beginning just

above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from

the adminisphere are often profoundly

inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they

were designed to solve.



People who are taking training classes just to get

a vacation from their jobs.

"We had about three serious students in the class.

The rest were tourists."


Blowing Your Buffer

Losing one's train of thought. Occurs when the

person you are speaking with won't let you get a

word in edgewise or has just said something so

astonishing that your train gets derailed. "Damn,

I just blew my buffer!"


Gray Matter

Older, experienced business people hired by young

entrepreneurial firms looking to appear more

reputable and established.



To take note of a person for future reference (a

metaphor borrowed from web browsers). "I bookmarked

him after seeing his cool demo at Siggraph."



Nickname for AOL's less-than-full-featured Web browser.



The brief seizure people sometimes suffer when

their beepers go off, especially in vibrator mode.

Characterized by physical spasms, goofy facial

expressions, and stopping speech in mid-sentence.


Salmon Day

The experience of spending an entire day swimming

upstream only to get screwed in the end.


Breck Carter can be reached by phone at (416) 763-5200 or via email at