End of ADS-L Digest - 17 May 1998 to 18 May 1998


From: Automatic digest processor (5/18/98)
To: Recipients of ADS-L digests

ADS-L Digest - 16 May 1998 to 17 May 1998 98-05-18 00:00:28
There are 9 messages totalling 482 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Geekspeak (2)
2. 2 CFPs
3. Scumbag; Midget/Dwarf; Pop-Up; Valedictory; Hello; Night Hawks; Gal
4. Scumbag; Midget/Dwarf; Pop-Up; Valedictory; Hello; Night Hawks;
5. guilted me
6. repurposed
7. Neologisms
8. BULWORTH anachronisms


Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 22:12:44 -0700
From: Gabor Fencsik
Subject: Geekspeak

Donald M. Lance writes:

> "Your message has been enqueued and undeliverable for 1 day"
> This 'enqueued' (enqued in USian) is reminiscent of the 'undecode' that
> I posted earlier. Is there a redundancy or a pleonasm at work here?

I don't think so.

In geek-speak, 'enqueue' is a retronym used to disambiguate software
operations performed on queues. The verb 'enqueue' refers to the act of
inserting an entry (your mail message, in this case) at the end of the
queue. 'Dequeue' is the act of yanking the message off the top of the
queue and sending it on its merry way. The error message is alerting you
to the fact that enqueuing was successful, but dequeueing was not.

The word 'queue', used as a verb, would strike the typical journeyman
hacker as ambiguous, which is why 'enqueue' took its place in technical
software documentation. The trouble begins when error messages larded with
such technical terms are indiscriminately dumped on unsuspecting users who
could care less about the innards of the mail forwarding software.

I suspect 'undecode' is a misspelling. The word was probably 'uudecode',
which is another technical term describing (what else) the inverse of
'uuencode'. These operations were originally performed by eponymous UNIX
programs, (the 'uu' prefix meant 'Unix-to-Unix') but nowadays are built
into most PC-based mail client software. This type of encoding is used to
transform image files, sound files, and other non-ASCII files into ASCII
text that can be sent along as mail attachments. The sender uses
'uuencode' to transform the data into printable gobbledygook; the receiver
performs the inverse operation, and restores the original image file,
sound file, or whatever. This is necessary to get around the mail
delivery infrastructure of the Net which was originally designed to
transport printable ASCII data only.

Gabor Fencsik