Thursday, June 16, 2011

research computing phrase book, redefining "fail" and explaining "win"

Michele and I have been in the US for about 8 or so years now, and one thing that never ceases to make us laugh is my apparent lack of concern for dropping euphemisms into conversations and seeing folks reactions.

Such events often happen to me either in large 20+ person meetings, irc/xmpp chat rooms but more often than not happen inside emails to our team.

So, I thought I'd put up some of my more "confusing" expressions up here on the interwebs.

If nothing else just for fun.


I certainly don't claim *any* of these as my own, but at the very least we thought it should help folks we work with to not have to fire up urbandictionary.com every moment I type a sentence ;-)

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"tin and silicon"
Physical hardware or computing infrastructure (c) Phil Butcher @ Sanger

"kit"
Physical hardware devices

"stand up kit"
To install physical systems or "tin and silicon" which will soon execute high performance computing tasks

"pear shaped"
A system appears to have undergone some failure or currently experiencing issues

"the dogs"
Particularly excellent implementation or design that impresses

"wobbly pops"
Adult beverage normally consumed after standing up epic amounts of "tin and silicon" that result in a system that is clearly "the dogs"

"dodgy perl script"
Software at the heart of a problem requiring sub optimal best practice implementation, the type of code that basically runs hpc

"balls up"
Ref: "pear shaped" - system error normally induced by "dodgy perl script"

"top drawer!"
An exceptional implementation ref: "the dogs", Warning: never to be used in context of either Exchange or email systems

"legend!"
Either an individual team member who has pulled off a feat of engineering that defines a new title ref: "John is a utter legend!". Also used as an exclamation of pride such as a "dodgy perl script" that successfully executes over 10,000 cpu without error

"rotroh!"
Error condition ref: scooby doo

"bingo"
Results from function are accurate, also used as a term of agreement

"roffles"
Term of extreme happiness and agreement: see lolz

"epic win"
A system has finally produced some level of science considered to be optimal

"pees and q's"
Things to be mindful of when talking to the senior leadership, especially around budget season

"mongo"
Large scale value, as in "mongo storage" would be 1 petabyte or more.

"smashing!"
One is rather happy with the result of a system implementation

"fail"
Often applied to an individual or system that generates above average "pear shape" events

"epic fail"
Significant version of "fail" - term of extreme derision

"bucket of fail"
Such significant "fail" it requires a container

"win"
Opposite of "fail" "epic" or otherwise, a successful outcome

"chicken dinner!"
Extremely successful outcome, often applied with consumate amounts of "winner winner"

"weirdo"
Often applied as a term of endearment to individuals who administer windows servers

"woot"
Most often heard after a "win".

"vampire"
Systems administrators that work late into the evening to pull of amazing feats of "linux-fu"

"linux-fu, kung-fu"
Ability to pull of "dodgy perl script" with no error function and not resulting in anything going "pear shaped"

"spinning rust"
Euphemism for disk drives

"enterprise applications"
Something to be avoided in HPC, ref: COBIT, ITIL

"stella"
One of the favorite "wobbly pops", also an exclamation as a result of a successful implementation

"bodge job"
Often implemented via "dodgy perl script"; an attempt to fix a problem in haste with lack of regard to proper process

"botch"
Not to be confused with "bodge": botch is attempted in situ repair (often to a cluster) that results in "epic fail", often requiring "bucket of fail" to contain said "fail", or a pdsh all reboot command

"job's a bobby!"
Shortened form of "job's a bobby dazzler!", referencing a situation the americans would call "all set" plus some additional form of either "epic" or "win"

"played a blinder!"
Team member or individual managed a feat of "epic win", resulting in extreme levels of success

"paws up"
A polite term for system failure, when explaining "epic fail" of important systems to executives or "grand fromages". Most frequently used in discussions of email systems

"grand fromage"
VIP member of the leadership team (cf. Faculty)

"bit rot"
Missing data or unexpected information in a file - see "NFS"

"mad scramble"
Increased level of project activity often related to last minute feature change requested by a "grand fromage"

"Ohtehnoes!"
A system or piece of infrastructure has ceased to function within operating parameters, normally resulting in "fail"

"zomg!"
Like OMG, but with an extra zed - frequently used as a term of astonishment, but if referencing storage, simply translates as "fail"

"actually"
Must commence each and every sentence when visting MIT or Broad

"barph"
cf. Throw up, often related to "segfault", When used in a sentence: "Ohthenoes! NFS just barphed up a total bucket load of fail!"

"blergh"
Oft used managerial response to an RT ticket that has resulted in some level of extreme consternation - normally "grand fromage" are involved in the resulting one line manager email:

From: James Cuff
Subject: "blergh"


"segfault"
See "Lustre"

"Lustre"
See Ducati Motorcycle company

"awesomesauce"
a gravy like substance often metaphorically poured over a successful implementation, unfortunately sauce recipe currently unknown to most PMs ;-)


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Many thanks to RC team members for reminding me of some of the colorful phrases!

Feel free to throw in any extras I missed in the comments!


[any opinions here are all mine, and have absolutely nothing to do with my employer]
(c) 2011 James Cuff