Unapproved obfuscations (off topic)

From: Kip Crosby <engine_at_chac.org>
Date: Sat Feb 28 22:39:16 1998

At 22:16 2/28/98 +0000, you wrote:
>I pulled a much more trivial example at a place I was working at over 10
>years ago. I had to write a program, and for various reasons I wanted to
>use Turbo Pascal. But it wasn't on the list of 'approved' languages, so I
>couldn't order the 'Turbo Pascal Compiler'. What I could order was
>'Borland part number XXXXXXX data logger program compilation system' (I
>was writing a data logging system)....

Reminds me of a story Willy Ley used to tell about getting around military
procurement regs when he was developing antiaircraft rockets for the
Wehrmacht in the thirties. They had this asinine rule that you couldn't
use Army development grant money to buy office supplies, yet Ley's little
boffin shop urgently needed a typewriter. Now, a couple of times before
they had hit on the dodge of ordering unapproved items "as per sample" ( =
"on eval") on the (correct) theory that if the green-eyeshades had never
seen the sample, they'd shrug and let it through anyway. So, the
description they came up with for the typewriter was "Data logging device
with rotating roller and annotating capability, as per sample." Needless
to say, it worked....

Kip Crosby engine_at_chac.org
Computer History Association of California
Received on Sat Feb 28 1998 - 22:39:16 GMT

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