Category Archives: misc

7 funny, weird things I’ve heard in meetings

original at audio speaker asylumLike many of you, I spend an inordinate amount of my working time in meetings, and in those meetings there is invariably a lot of talk held in a quite artificial environment. This means that the people speaking can be in any sort of mood or state – stressed, agitated, happy, sad or sometimes just downright bored. It seems that any or all of these moods can have the effect of changing their command of spoken language to produce some great new words and phrases.

For some time now, I’ve been collating a list of the weirdest and wrong-est things that people say – often these come up when people are reaching for a new metaphor to illustrate their point, and at other times this is down to misunderstanding of the right words or phrase to use. To begin with the list grew slowly, but after sharing this list with a few colleagues who got on board with capturing these things for posterity, the list has grown and grown.

Here are a few of my favourites …

“It’s where theirs incringes on ours”

Now, what does “incringe” mean ? It sort of sounds like it’s a real word. Some kind of combination of “infringe”, “encroach” and perhaps even “impinge”. Anyway, the speaker used to use the word regularly and I think it gets the point across – in this case the context was two different mobile networks impacting and crossing over each other.

“And, without further adieu”

Where “adieu” is pronounced a-dew, rather than with a French accent (sounds more like a-dee-yur) –  meaning effectively “goodbye” or specifically “go with god”

The phrase should actually be “Without further ado“, which pretty much means “without any more interruptions, let’s get on with it”.

I’ve heard this one in a few different variations, the best being at a conference that I attended recently where myself and 1000 or so other punters I attended recently where 1000 or so other punters were treated by one of the speakers to this :


“Or as the French would say, without further adieu …”.

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t intended to be a joke.

“It’s a mute point”

I’ve heard this so many times its actually not funny anymore folks. The saying is “It’s a moot point”.

“moot point” has some legal origins, and it means that the point doesn’t need to be made or can’t be decided. In other words the point made can be effectively ignored.

“It was bought to my attention”

Other variants I’ve heard :

“he bought it to my attention”

“lots of things were bought up”

In all of the above cases it should be “brought up”

“It’s 2 solutions muffled into one”

I’m pretty sure that a muffler is a thing that makes something else quieter – like on a car, or keeps something warm as in a hand muffler. However in this case muffled means that two things were crudely merged together into one thing.

“Lets put a stick on the ground and move on”

This is a variation of the phrase “Let’s put a stake in the ground”, which still works even though I would argue for the stake. I’ve heard, and been told of, some great variations :

“My stick on the ground is one step before that”

“Let’s put a stake in the sand” which sounds like it’s been muffled together with “Let’s draw a line in the sand”.

“It’s another feather in our bow”

This is a muffling of “It’s a feather in our cap”, and “Add another string to your bow” – both of which mean a similar thing, that we’ve added a new capability, achievement or award.

A great variation on this that I heard was “Well, that’s another bow in your arrow” 🙂

Heard any others ? Let me know in your comments.

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Far reaching impacts of 3D printing

Over the past few days I’ve seen a couple of articles relating to 3D printing which in turn amazed and shocked me. These articles discussed; how a patient had 3/4 of their skull replaced with a 3D printed version (presumably for good medical reason), and that a license had been issued to a company who are intending to 3D-print a gun (apparently the debates about this are well known, but it was news to me).

The ability to cheaply and easily create any object will introduce some interesting new challenges for large and small industries. In the next couple of years I’m sure it is going to become commonplace to print 3D objects in the home.

Right now it’s a geeky thing, for the very early adopters with high disposable incomes, but if you use the inkjet printer as a starting point, it’s easy to imagine in a few years from now seeing a battered multi-purpose scanner/photocopier/inkjet/3D printer discarded by the side of the street with a sticker on it saying “Take me. I work. Need ink and thermoplastic”.

To illustrate the potential issues, let’s take an example that is close to (my) home … Let’s say I 3D print a part of a Lego™ mini-figure, because Luke Skywalker’s head went missing under the bed somewhere. Clearly, this is a copyright infringement and Lego™ of Denmark should be worried. Suddenly their Intellectual Property  is not only leaking through the mass production markets who are well known for making copies of copyrighted things (you know who you are), it’s also leaking in a thousand different anonymous households around the world.

Based on the experience seen in some other industries, where there have been attempts to limit this IP leakage by restricting the features of hardware – think region control for DVD’s and the original iTunes with restrictions on the number of downloads and devices (known as Digital Rights Management)- is it possible that larger manufacturers could conspire to impose controls over the capabilities of the 3D printers themselves ? Built in copy-locking, a mechanism that automatically applies a charge for certain objects, and an inability for the printer to replicate a non-locked version of itself could be some functions mandated.

How about if each 3D printer was rendered incapable of printing something deemed undesirable such as guns, ammunition, drugs, body parts …

This sounds incredibly difficult to achieve, and would raise many ethical issues, but I can definitely imagine this being conceived and maybe happening.

It is also possible that some companies will see this as an opportunity to publish their product designs, charging a licence fee for  use, thereby increasing the penetration of their product into the market, and reducing their cost to manufacture and distribute.

Maybe product designers and the manufacturing industry are just about to get the thrashing that the music industry has had – where the value of a bit of unique IP (Music) is diluted so much that the original creator never sees much reward at all.

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