TITLE: OOPSLA This and That 3: Geek Jargon AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: October 25, 2005 8:43 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Get a bunch of technology folks together for any time and they are bound to coin some interesting words, or use ones they've coined previously, either out of habit or to impress their friends. The Extravagaria gang was no exception. Example 1: When someone asked how many of us were left-handed, Dick Gabriel said that he was partially ambidextrous, to which Guy Steele volunteered that he was ambimoustrous. I like. Example 2: At lunch, Guy Steele asked us if we ever intentionally got lost in a town, perhaps a town new to us, so that we had to learn the place in order to get back to a place we knew. Several people nodded vigorous agreement, and John Dougan noted that he and his colleagues use a similar technique to learn a new legacy code base. They call this air-drop programming. This is a colorful analogy for a common pattern among software developers. Sometimes the best way to learn a new framework or programming language is to parachute behind enemy lines, surrender connection to any safety nets outside, and fight our way out. Or better, not fight, but methodically conquer the new terrain. But the biggest source of neologisms at the workshop was our speaking stick. At a previous Extravagaria workshop, Dick used a moose as the communal speaking stick, in honor of Vancouver as the host city. (Of course, there are probably as many moose in San Diego as in Vancouver, but you know, the Great White North and all.) He had planned to bring the moose to this workshop but left it at home accidentally. So he went to a gift shop and bought a San Diego-themed palm tree to use in its place. The veterans of the workshop dubbed it "the moose" out of one year's worth of tradition, and from there we milked the moose terminology with abandon. Some of my favorites from the day: Even computer professionals, even distinguished computing academics, surrender to the silliness of a good game. Perhaps we take joy in binding objects to names and growing systems of names more than most. I suppose that I should be careful reporting this, because my students will surely hold it over my head at just the right -- or wrong -- moment! -----