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curtation, n.:
The enforced compression of a string in the fixed-length field
environment.
The problem of fitting extremely variable-length strings such as names,
addresses, and item descriptions into fixed-length records is no trivial
matter. Neglect of the subtle art of curtation has probably alienated more
people than any other aspect of data processing. You order Mozart's "Don
Giovanni" from your record club, and they invoice you $24.95 for MOZ DONG.
The witless mapping of the sublime onto the ridiculous! Equally puzzling is
the curtation that produces the same eight characters, THE BEST, whether you
order "The Best of Wagner", "The Best of Schubert", or "The Best of the Turds".
Similarly, wine lovers buying from computerized wineries twirl their glasses,
check their delivery notes, and inform their friends, "A rather innocent,
possibly overtruncated CAB SAUV 69 TAL." The squeezing of fruit into 10
columns has yielded such memorable obscenities as COX OR PIP. The examples
cited are real, and the curtational methodology which produced them is still
with us.

MOZ DONG n.
Curtation of Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da
Ponte, as performed by the computerized billing ensemble of the Internat'l
Preview Society, Great Neck (sic), N.Y.
-- Stan Kelly-Bootle, "The Devil's DP Dictionary"


Commoner's three laws of ecology:
(1) No action is without side-effects.
(2) Nothing ever goes away.
(3) There is no free lunch.


cursor address, n:
"Hello, cursor!"
-- Stan Kelly-Bootle, "The Devil's DP Dictionary"


Van Roy's Law:
Honesty is the best policy - there's less competition.

Van Roy's Truism:
Life is a whole series of circumstances beyond your control.


bureaucrat, n:
A politician who has tenure.


Carswell's Corollary:
Whenever man comes up with a better mousetrap,
nature invariably comes up with a better mouse.


Acceptance testing:
An unsuccessful attempt to find bugs.


Chamberlain's Laws:
(1) The big guys always win.
(2) Everything tastes more or less like chicken.


A Law of Computer Programming:
Make it possible for programmers to write in English
and you will find that programmers cannot write in English.


Expense Accounts, n.:
Corporate food stamps.


Van Roy's Law:
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.


Arnold's Laws of Documentation:
(1) If it should exist, it doesn't.
(2) If it does exist, it's out of date.
(3) Only documentation for useless programs transcends the
first two laws.


travel, n.:
Something that makes you feel like you're getting somewhere.


The First Rule of Program Optimization:
Don't do it.

The Second Rule of Program Optimization (for experts only!):
Don't do it yet.
-- Michael Jackson


The Ancient Doctrine of Mind Over Matter:
I don't mind... and you don't matter.
-- As revealed to reporter G. Rivera by Swami Havabanana


Slick's Three Laws of the Universe:
(1) Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad check.
(2) A quarter-ounce of chocolate = four pounds of fat.
(3) There are two types of dirt: the dark kind, which is
attracted to light objects, and the light kind, which is
attracted to dark objects.


Turnaucka's Law:
The attention span of a computer is only as long as its
electrical cord.


QOTD:
If it's too loud, you're too old.


Reputation, adj.:
What others are not thinking about you.


Absent, adj.:
Exposed to the attacks of friends and acquaintances; defamed; slandered.


On the subject of C program indentation:
"In My Egotistical Opinion, most people's C programs should be
indented six feet downward and covered with dirt."
-- Blair P. Houghton


Lie, n.:
A very poor substitute for the truth, but the only one
discovered to date.


perfect guest:
One who makes his host feel at home.


Kin, n.:
An affliction of the blood.


Begathon, n.:
A multi-day event on public television, used to raise money so
you won't have to watch commercials.


IBM:
I've Been Moved
Idiots Become Managers
Idiots Buy More
Impossible to Buy Machine
Incredibly Big Machine
Industry's Biggest Mistake
International Brotherhood of Mercenaries
It Boggles the Mind
It's Better Manually
Itty-Bitty Machines


Fourth Law of Thermodynamics:
If the probability of success is not almost one, it is damn near zero.
-- David Ellis


Fresco's Discovery:
If you knew what you were doing you'd probably be bored.


Expert, n.:
Someone who comes from out of town and shows slides.


Genderplex, n.:
The predicament of a person in a restaurant who is unable to
determine his or her designated restroom (e.g., turtles and tortoises).
-- Rich Hall, "Sniglets"