Tag Archives: methodology

FCC considers co-mingling TV and wireless

The FCC is desperately searching for available spectrum for the growing wireless data market. It has set its sights on spectrum in the 600 Megahertz (MHz) band that until now has been reserved for television broadcasters. Both industries are concerned about interference: FCC Requests Input On Interference Mitigation. What else did we expect from an FCC that’s chaired by a lobbyist for both the cellular and cable TV industry organizations?

(Note the incorrect use of the word “methodology” throughout the referenced article and the FCC’s statements. “Method” is correct and saves vowels.)

Television broadcast stations typically transmit very high power six Megahertz wide signals. Because of their high frequency, the signals may be received within line of sight only. Presumably the FCC would oversee a patchwork quilt of shared spectrum, with some geographic areas having no available shared spectrum, while other areas would have plenty of available spectrum.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


I’ve recently found a few programming reference “books” on Wikibooks.org. The site includes open-source text books on a broad range of topics. Today I browsed a few books in the Humanities section. I should have stuck to the technical books.

wikibooks siteI had forgotten just how tedious, boring, and pompous most academic writing is: five syllable words where two syllables work better, passive voice everywhere, long compound sentences, and of course the obligatory “methodology” word thrown into every other paragraph. I began to edit one text, but there’s not enough time in the universe to make that boring pretentious mess interesting.

The scientific and engineering texts, on the other hand, seem pretty darn good.

Years ago, I spent small fortunes on computer books: languages, operating systems, communication protocols, etc. Now before buying another computer book I’ll have a look at wikibooks.org first. You may find something worthwhile there, as well.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

A Field Guide to Windbags

obama hotair
image: Politizoid
    • Habitats:
      • Academia
      • Government
      • High-tech industry
    • Markings:
      • Males prefer blue suit and rep tie
      • Females favor business suits (Lovely plumage!)
    • Calls:
      • known as corpspeak, polspeak, or techspeak, depending upon the habitat
        • “This paradigm maps into the corporate space.”
        • “We utilize best practice methodologies to build a roadmap for change.”
        • “It is incumbent upon . . .”
        • “The solution is comprised of . . .”
        • “Going forward, we deliver value-added synergies” (or “synergistic value adds”). Choose one.
        • “We’re driven by our value proposition narrative.”
      • The windbag will often join these calls together into long meaningless songs.
woopie guy
photo: Rudolf Schmidt
    • Behavior:
      • Incapable of creating or repairing anything technical. Could not repair anything if his or her life depended on it. Nevertheless, windbags regularly make pronouncements on technical matters.
      • No technical skills, knowledge, or experience, yet often “manages” people with technical skills — an amazing feat equivalent to conversing in Lithuanian without knowing the Lithuanian language.
      • The last person you’d want to depend on in a system emergency
    • Camouflage:
      • Hides within herds
      • MBA (preferred by business sub-species)
      • Law degree (governmental sub-species)
obama windbag
image: Politizoid
  • Notable windbags:
    • Al Gore
    • B Obama
    • B Clinton
    • H Clinton
    • S Ballmer

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

“Methodology” strikes again

I watched a recorded telecom-related webinar that was hosted by a federal agency. Early in her presentation, the national program coordinator displayed a list of tasks, with one task per line. The list was prominently labeled Methodology. Then Ms. Program Coordinator referred to her list of tasks as the program methodology.

Ackk! A five syllable word, incorrectly used, when two syllables would have been accurate! I’ve ranted about this stupid use of pretentious language before. I like Wiktionary’s definition of methodology:

The study  of methods used in a field.

(proscribed) A collection of methods, practices, procedures and rules used by those who work in some field. The implementation of such methods etc.

Usage notes: Etymologically, methodology refers to the study of methods. Thus the use of methodology as a synonym for methods (or other simple terms such as means, technique, or procedure) is proscribed as both inaccurate and pretentious.

I admit that after witnessing this pretentious and inaccurate use of language, my opinion of the presentation, its presenter, and the program dropped a notch or two.

I’m not alone. From Ugh! Those pretentious expressions:

As soon as I hear “methodology” or “holistic” or “at the present moment in time”, I treat the speaker with distrust.

The irony is that the presenter undoubtedly chose the word methodology because she thought that it would impress her audience. It had the opposite effect on me. The program manual also misused the word methodology, so I’m sure that her colleagues who helped prepare the manual thought that this butchering of language was acceptable. The telecom and defense industries are loaded with pretentious and inaccurate phrases. It’s not a coincidence that they’re also loaded with pretentious and unimaginative people.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Methodology == Method (usually)

I reluctantly listen to a jargon-filled podcast called Telecom Junkies. The episodes are loaded with trendy technical buzzwords but are mercifully short. Jargon ProhibitedDuring an episode titled A Prequel to the Great E911 Debate, Bill Svien from 911 ETC boasted that “we connect to the client using various different methods and methodologies to allow for a cost-effective solution”.

Mr. Svien unwittingly demonstrated that in this context, the words methodology and method are synonyms. I imagine that he used the word methodology because it sounds scientific. In fact, today’s entire telecom industry flagrantly misuses the word methodology.

My question: Before presenting their pitches, did these guys rehearse in front of anyone who could critique their presentations for clarity? All four presentations were loaded with catchphrases that struck me as comical, even though I understand the technology. I pity the uninitiated listener; laughter would be a natural response. These guys could be mistaken for stand-up comedians.

Come on, guys. Speak English. Read Orwell. Follow his advice.

George Orwell’s web content advice

Further reading:

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

A new stupid word: “Operationalizing”

The I.T. field is filled with illiterate writers and their stupid text. Today I found a new stupid word in an article headlined, “Operationalizing Information Security: Putting the Top 10 SIEM Best Practices to Work” By: Accelops.

Operationalizing? I must place this new stupid word alongside the stupid words “methodology” and “utilize”. Using these words is like Navin Johnson (played by Steve Martin in The Jerk) demanding, “Bring us some fresh wine!”. “Operationalize”??

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

My thoughtology on “methodology”

I know that the word “methodology” infects academic and other pretentious written text, but I was surprised when recently I heard a defense electronics engineer speak the word “methodology” aloud in conversation. Since this guy is smart and the two-syllable word “method” would have sufficed, I have decided to hop aboard this linguistic train to needlessly elongated expressionology.

My reasonology is simple: it will make my paragraphologies sound more scientific and thus resistant to attackologies. The ideaology is that when I use 4-syllable wordologies, I appear to be smarter than when I use single-syllable words. I shall ignore the taunts of “pomposity” from the readerology.

Further reading:

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net Redux

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Tower of Babel
painting: Hill

I recently viewed a few defense contractors’ websites and discovered that much of their text is incomprehensible. Why? It’s loaded with jargon (domain, methodologies,[1] “our skills map into the Government space”), acronyms, abbreviations, and redundancies (“more efficient and cost-effective operations”) and so on and so fifth.[2]

Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net was Homer Simpson’s dot com company from The Simpsons episode Das Bus. He obviously had no idea what he was doing, so tried to dazzle onlookers with his jargon. When browsing some supposedly high-tech vendors’ websites, I’d swear that Homer Simpson wrote their copy.

There are a few trendy words and phrases that I avoid: empowerment, paradigm, “maps into”, incent, utilize, “architect” as a verb, “spend” as a noun, and “is comprised of”. When I run across them in published text, they suggest that the author is either

  1. a poor writer
  2. unsure of his meaning
  3. pretentious
  4. trying to hide something
  5. ignorant of the subject, OR
  6. all of the above.

Confused website text confirms my suspicion that many enterprises are at their heart, confused.

A good friend of mine who works in the defense electronics industry tells me that this peculiar dialect is standard practice. He attaches a glossary to every report that he writes.

What are your least-loved Newspeak terms?

    1. In recent years . . . “methodology” has been increasingly used as a pretentious substitute for “method” in scientific and technical contexts . . . the American Heritage Dictionary (1992 edition), quoted by Peter Klein in Method versus Methodology. Hung Nguyen replied, There are two types of people who use the word ‘methodology’ instead of ‘method’: those who are ignorant and those who would like to use it just for its sound – a kind of big word.
    2. From Inflationary Language, written and performed by the incomparable Victor Borge
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695