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  • Blog Post: Five-Dollar Words For Programmers, Part Five: Reification

    Today, another in my series on awesomely arcane words for programmers . Reification is the process of turning something that is normally thought of as an abstract concept into something more concrete . It’s from the Latin res facere , “thing making”. Thing-making happens all the time in non-computer...
  • Blog Post: Five-Dollar Words For Programmers, Part Four: Boustrophedonic

    Here’s an almost useless but thoroughly delightful five-dollar word. English of course is read left-to-right. Hebrew and Arabic are read right-to-left. A text is boustrophedonic if it reads left-to-right and right-to-left, alternating . It’s from the Greek βουστροφηδόν meaning “as the ox turns”; you...
  • Blog Post: Five-Dollar Words For Programmers, Part Three: Homoiconic

    Jeff Atwood was kind enough to once more give me the shout-out in his blog the other day . Thanks Jeff! This inspires me to continue my series on five-dollar words for programmers. Here’s one that I only learned relatively recently, when I helped write the code that translates a lambda expression into...
  • Blog Post: Five-Dollar Words for Programmers, Part Two: Orthogonal

    In geometry, "orthogonal" basically means the same thing as "perpendicular", or "at right angles". The walls are orthogonal to the floor. But algebraists extend the meaning of "orthogonal" beyond mere perpendicularity; to an algebraist, two aspects of a system are orthogonal if one can be varied without...
  • Blog Post: Five-Dollar Words for Programmers, Part One: Idempotence

    Programmers, particularly those with a mathematical background, often use words from mathematics when describing their systems. Unfortunately, they also often do so without consideration of the non-mathematical background of their colleagues. I thought I might talk today a bit about the word "idempotent...
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