Word Power

September 18, 2009

Some words whose meanings I have learned this month:


adj. Warlike / hostile in manner / temperament


adj. arrogant; pushy; offensively self-assertive; conceited

de facto

In reality or fact

de facto standard: Accepted by custom, convention or common practice


noun. Tree carving, often geometric, found in Australia and the Chatham Islands


noun. Single occasion; the present call or purpose


adj. Admitting the passage of light; transparent or translucent.


adj. Having / causing a whirling sensation; whirling; turning; revolving; liable to falling; affected with vertigo; giddy; dizzy


Computer Science meets Pornography

November 20, 2008

Original Image from Amazon.com

I recently wrote about IT pros using language in a different way from ‘normal’ people.

I’ve seen it again.

Jeff Atwood, of Coding Horror, wrote a controversial article about something called, “NP-Complete”.  What is it? I must be the wrong kind of geek, because I couldn’t make neither head nor tail of the whole business. As far as I could make out, it is some arcane computer science thing that explains why travelling salesmen rarely see their families at the weekends.

One thing that Jeff mentioned does seem to explain a lot:

NP-Complete problems are like hardcore pornography.


At the end of the article, Jeff asked for examples of reader’s, “favourite NP-complete cheat”. One of the few responses that actually answered gave a list. With no hint of titter nor smirk he including:

  • Simulated annealing
  • The great deluge

Frankly, the mind boggles!

Having read the article, I am still fairly naive (about both the porn and the NP thing). One thing’s for sure:

Either computer scientists need to get out more, or I really am the wrong kind of geek.


Definition: War

December 20, 2007

A curious game: all the players set out to win, but all are guaranteed loose.

Definition: Maybe

October 30, 2007

The maybe keyword is of type int and evaluates to 1 or 0 with equal probability, 50%.

Definition: Computer

September 11, 2007

A device for doing logical things in illogical ways.

 Thanks to Gideon for this one.

Definition: Kaizen

July 17, 2007

 http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Kaizen.JPGYesterday, I was reading the preface to the book “The Pragmatic Programmer”, and came across the word “Kaizen” for the first time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Definition: Entropy

June 29, 2007

800px-shoelaces_20050719_001.jpgEntropy is the reasons that shoelaces to spontaneously undo themselves, trip you up and make you fall flat on your face.

Entropy is also the reason that shoelaces never do themselves back up again.

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Definition: Acronym

June 20, 2007

A Contrived Reduction Of Nomenclature Yielding Mnemonics

If only I had come up with this myself.

Definition: Dirt

June 3, 2007

The stuff that people are made from.

Definition: Blog

February 12, 2007

To clog up the internet.

(According to my wife, when I told her I was blogging)