Thursday, November 12, 2009

geekish crapspeak

Apache POI 3.5 hit the stands last month (woo hoo!) and infoQ had a nice post about this that talks about the implications of and concerns about Microsoft's participation in the support for OOXML. Near the middle of the article we get a quote from Vijay Rajagopalan, Microsoft's technical lead for the POI project. The quote begins with this interesting line (my emphasis):

Enabling developers to accomplish their common tasks with OpenXML file formats is our highest order bit.

Those of you who managed to make sense of the binary world of computers will have, no doubt, figured out that highest order bit is nothing but the most significant bit, which happens to be the bit in the position of greatest value. The number 2 gets the highest power when you get the highest order bit or the most significant bit of a binary number. In plain English (a variant on its way to extinction) this means that "Enabling developers to blah blah blah" is the most important thing for them (Now why didn't you say so?!). I can't help thinking of signed binary numbers -- the most significant bit acquires veto status, flipping the number above or below 0. Does that imply vacillation? Or "constantly changing priorities?"

On an unrelated note, does anyone know why you would want to call a zip file an installer?

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