Friday, April 10, 2015


Rodney from Charlevoix shared a word that has a specialized meaning among software writers. It’s obfuscation, and it means the deliberate attempt to make coding unreadable. That sounds counterproductive, but Rodney said it’s useful if you are trying to conceal the purpose of a code, or if you are trying to safeguard your product against reverse engineering.

The word obfuscation has a more generalized meaning, but it still revolves around obscuring, concealing, or confusing an audience. It often involves using words deliberately chosen for their esoteric nature or using jargon not readily available to the general public. A popular bumper sticker years ago was Eschew Obfuscation, which compactly and humorously serves as an illustration.

Originally, in Latin, the –fusc- sequence meant some dark color, at different times described as black, dark brown, or muddy gray. (This reminds me of the murky definition for ecru: greyish-pale yellow or a light greyish-yellowish brown.)

Over time, the word left the realm of color and extended to mean ideas or expressions that are vague, obscure, unclear, perplexing, befuddling, or bewildering.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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