Category Archives: 7947503f-4aff-4532-bceb-9651a1d63e14

App vs Experience

exp_app_venn

In a recent talk (captured on Youtube) a Microsoft employee explained the difference between an “app” and an “experience” in this way: “We have divas in our development group and they want to make special names for things.” He expressed an opinion many developers in the Microsoft stack probably share but do not normally say out loud. These appear to be two terms for the same thing, to wit, a unit of executable code, yet some people use one and some people use the other. In fact, the choice of terms tends to reveal more about the people who are talking about the “unit of code” than about the code itself. To deepen the linguistic twists, we haven’t even always called apps “apps.” We used to call them “applications” and switched over to the abbreviated form, it appears, following the success of Apple’s “App Store” which contained “apps” rather than “applications.” There is even an obvious marketing connection between “Apple” and “app” which goes back at least as far as the mid-80’s.

I am currently a Microsoft MVP in a sub-discipline of the Window Development group called “Emerging Experiences.” As an Emerging Experiences MVP for Microsoft, the distinction between “app” and “experience” is particularly poignant for me. The “emerging” aspect of our group’s name is fairly evident. EE MVPs specialize in technologies like the Kinect, Surface Hub and large screen devices, Augmented Reality devices, face recognition, Ink, wearables, and other More Personal Computing related capabilities. “Experiences” is problematic, however, because in using that term to describe our group, we basically raise a question about what the group is about. “Experiences” is a term that is not native to the Microsoft developer ecosystem but instead is transplanted from the agency and design world, much like the phrase “creative technologist” which is more or less interchangeable with “developer” but also describes a set of presuppositions, assumptions, and a background in agency life – in other words, it assumes a specific set of prior experiences.

postit_elvis

As a Microsoft Emerging Experiences MVP, I have an inherent responsibility to explain what an “experience” is to the wider Microsoft ecosystem. If I am successful in this, you will start to see the appeal of this term also and will be able to use it in the appropriate situations. Rather than try to go at it head-on, though, I am going to do something the philosopher Daniel Dennett calls “nudging our intuitions.” I will take you through a series of examples and metaphors that will provide the necessary background for understanding how the term “experience” came about and why it is useful.

sticky-note-elvis

The obvious thing to do at this point is to show how these two terms overlap and diverge with a convenient Venn diagram. As you can see from the diagram above, however, all apps are automatically experiences, which is why “experience” can always be substituted for “app.” The converse, however, does not hold. Not all experiences are apps.

postit

Consider the twitter wall created for a conference a few years ago that was distinctively non-digital. Although this wall did use the twitter API, it involved many volunteers hand-writing tweets that included hashtags about the conference onto post-it notes and then sticking them along one of the conference hallways. Conceptually this is a “thing” that takes advantage of a social networking phenomenon that is less than a decade old. While the twitter API sits at the heart of it, the interface with the API is completely manual. Volunteers are required to evaluate and cull the twitter data stream for relevant information. The display technology is also manual and relies on weak adhesive and paper, an invention from the mid-70’s. Commonly we would write an app to perform this process of filtering and displaying tweets, but that’s not what the artists involved did. Since there was no coding involved, it does not make sense to call the whole thing an app. It is a quintessential “experience.” The postit twitter wall provides us with a provisional understanding of the difference between an app and an experience. An app involves code, while an experience can involve elements beyond code writing.

tv_helmet(530)

Why do we go to movie theaters when we can often stay at home and enjoy the same movie? This has become a major problem for the film industry and movie theaters in general. Theater marketing over the past decade or so have responded by talking about the movie-going experience. What is this? At a technology level, the movie-going experience involves larger screens and high-end audio equipment. At an emotional level, however, it also includes sticky floors, fighting with a neighbor for the arm-rest, buying candy and an oversized soda, watching previews and smelling buttered popcorn. All of these things, especially the smell of popcorn which has a peculiar ability to evoke memories, remind us of past enjoyable experience that in many cases we shared with friends and family members.

siskelandebert

If you go to the movies these days, you will have noticed a campaign against men in hoodies video-taping movies. This, in fact, isn’t an ad meant to discourage you from pulling out your smart phone and recording the movie you are about to watch. That would be rather silly. Instead, it’s an attempt to surface all those good, communal feelings you have about going to the movies and subtly distinguishing them – sub rasa,  in your mind — from bad feelings about downloading movies from the Internet over peer-to-peer networks, which the ad associates with unsociable and creepy behavior. The former is a cluster of good experiences while the latter is presented as a cluster of bad experiences while cleverly never accusing you, personally, of improper behavior. In the best marketing form, it goes after the pusher rather than the user.

popcorn-machine

Returning to those happy experiences, it’s clear that an experience goes well beyond what we see in the foreground – in this case, the movie itself. A movie-going experience is mostly about other things than the movie. It’s about all the background activities we associate with movie-going as well as memories and memories of memories that are evoked when we think about going to the movies.

We can think about the relationship between an app and an experience in a similar way. When we speak about an app, we typically think of two things: the purpose of the app and the code used to implement it. When we talk about an experience, we include these but also forecasts and expectations about how a user will feel about the app, the ease with which they’ll use it, what other apps they will associate with this app and so on. In this sense, an experience is always a user experience because it concerns the app’s relationship to a user. Stripped down, however, there is also a pure app which involves the app’s code, its performance, its maintainability, and its extensibility. The inner app is isolated, for the most part, from concerns about how the intended user will use it.

google

At this point we are about at the place in this dialectic where we can differentiate experiences as something designers do and apps as something that developers make. While this is another good provisional explanation, it misses a bigger underlying truth: all apps are also experiences, whether you plan them to be or not. Just because you don’t have a designer on your project doesn’t mean users won’t be involved in judging it at some point. Even by not investing in any sort of overall design, you have sent out a message about what you are focused on and what you are not. The great exemplary of this, an actual  exception that proves the rule, is the Google homepage. A lot of designer thinking has gone into making the Google homepage as simple and artless as possible in order to create a humble user experience. It is intentionally unpresumptuous.

Méret_Oppenheim_Object

What this tells us is that a pure app will always be an abstraction of sorts. You can ignore the overall impression that your app leaves the user with, but you can’t actually remove the user’s experience of your app. The experience of the app, at this provisional stage of explanation, is the real thing, while the notion of an app is an abstraction we perform in order to concentrate on the task of coding the experience. In turn, all the code that makes the app possible is something that will never be seen or recognized by the user. The user only knows about the experience. They will only ever be aware of the app itself when something breaks or fails to work.

What then do we sell in an app store?

L.H.O.O.Q

We don’t sell apps in an App Store any more than we sell windows in the Windows Store. We sell experiences that rely heavily on first impressions in order to grab people’s attentions. This means the iconography, description and ultimately the reviews are the most important thing that go into making experiences in an app store successful. Given that users have limited time to devote to learning your experience, making the purpose of the app self-evident and making it easy to use and master are two additional concerns. If you are fortunate, you will have a UX person on hand to help you with making the application easy to use as well as a visual designer to make it attractive and a product designer or creative director to make the overall experience attractive.

Which gets us to a penultimate, if still provisional, understanding of the difference between an “app” and an “experience.”  These are two ways of looking at the same thing and delineate two different roles in the creation of an application, one technical and one creative. The coder on an application development team will need to primarily be concerned with making [a thing] work while the creative lead will be primarily concerned with determining what [it] needs to do.

the-art-of-living

There’s one final problem with this explanation, however. It requires a full team where the coding role and the various design roles (creative lead, user experience designer, interactive designer, audio designer, etc.) are clearly delineated. Unless you are already working in an agency setting or at least a mid-sized gaming company, the roles are likely going to be much more blurred. In which case, thinking about “apps” is an artificial luxury while thinking about “experiences” becomes everyone’s responsibility. If you are working on a very small team of one to four people, then the problem is exacerbated. On a small team, no one has the time to worry about “apps.” Everyone has to worry about the bigger picture.

Everyone except the user, of course. The user should only be concerned with things they can buy in an app store with a touch of the thumb. The user shouldn’t know anything about experiences. The user should never wonder about who designed the Google homepage. The user shouldn’t be tasked with any of these concerns because the developers of a good experience have already thought this all out ahead of time.

baigneuses

So here’s the final, no longer provisional explanation of the difference between an app and an experience. An app is for users; an experience is something makers make for users.

This has a natural  corollary: if as a maker you think in terms of apps rather than experiences, then you are thinking too narrowly. You can call it whatever you want, though.

I wrote earlier in this article that the term emerging experiences constantly requires explanation and clarification. The truth, however, is that “experience” isn’t really the thing that requires explanation – though it’s fun to do so. “Emerging” is actually the difficult concept in that dyad. What counts as emerging is constantly changing – today it is virtual reality head-mounted displays. A few years ago, smart phones were considered emerging but today they are simply the places where we keep our apps. TVs were once considered emerging, and before that radios. If we go back far enough, even books were once considered an emerging technology.

“Emerging” is a descriptor for a certain feeling of butterflies in the stomach about technology and a contagious giddy excitement about new things. It’s like the new car smell that captures a sense of pure potential, just before what is emerging becomes disappointing, then re-evaluated, then old hat and boring. The sense of the emerging is that thrill holding back fear which children experience when their fathers toss them into the air; for a single moment, they are suspended between rising and falling, and with eyes wide open they have the opportunity to take in the world around them.

I love the emerging experience.

Do computers think?

sheep

The online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has just published David Cole’s update to the entry on The Chinese Room Argument.

The thought problem was posed by John Searle almost 30 years ago and has been a lightening rod for discussions about theories of consciousness and AI ever since.

For those unfamiliar with it, the argument is not against the notion that machines in general can think – Searle believes that minds are built on biological machines, after all – but rather against certain projects in AI that attempt to use computational theories to try to explain consciousness.  Searle’s argument is that computational models are a dead end and that thinking machines must be investigated in a different (apparently “biological”) way.

Of course, if biology can be reduced to the computational model (for instance) then Searle’s argument may be applicable to all machines and we will have to search for consciousness elsewhere.

Here’s the crux of the argument, from the SEP entry:

“The heart of the argument is an imagined human simulation of a computer, similar to Turing’s Paper Machine. The human in the Chinese Room follows English instructions for manipulating Chinese symbols, where a computer “follows” a program written in a computing language. The human produces the appearance of understanding Chinese by following the symbol manipulating instructions, but does not thereby come to understand Chinese. Since a computer just does what the human does—manipulate symbols on the basis of their syntax alone—no computer, merely by following a program, comes to genuinely understand Chinese.”

If this sort of problem excites you, as it does me, then you may want to examine some of the articles about and around consciousness collected on David Chalmers’ website: http://consc.net/online .

Playing with the Kindle 2’s Web Browser

small_browser

I have been spending the day trying to upload PDF’s from my safaribooksonline account to my Kindle, so far without much success.  Mobipocket Creator, which is recommended for converting various file formats to the Mobi format used by the Kindle, seems to get mixed up over the images.  I am currently trying to see if Amazon.com’s converter handles them any better.

On the other hand, I’ve found that the new http://m.safaribooksonline.com site works fairly well on the Kindle’s simplified browser (though not perfectly).  I can access my bookshelf and browse through my books.

The Basic Web browser seems very well suited for twittering, though. You can access your twitter account on the Kindle by going through http://m.twitter.com

To access the Basic Web browser on the Kindle, click on the Menu button from your home page.  Then select Experimental.  From the Experimental page, you will be able to start the Basic Web browser, which lets you search google, search Wikipedia, or simply browse to a url.

Also, contrary to my expectations, the Text-to-Speech feature on the Kindle 2 is actually rather good.  It even attempts to modify intonation based on the sentence structure.  Still not up to Morgan Freeman standards, however.

Finding the correct metaphor for text-to-speech

medspeech

A recent release from the Associated Press concerning the Authors Guild’s concerns with the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech feature left many computer programmers guffawing, but it occurs to me that for those not familiar with text-to-speech technology, the humorous implications may not be self-evident, so I will attempt to parse it:

“NEW YORK (AP) — The guild that represents authors is urging writers to be wary of a text-to-speech feature on Amazon.com Inc.’s updated Kindle electronic reading device.

 

“In a memo sent to members Thursday, the guild says the Kindle 2’s “Read to Me” feature “presents a significant challenge to the publishing industry.”

 

“The Kindle can read text in a somewhat stilted electronic voice. But the Authors Guild says the quality figures to “improve rapidly.” And the guild worries that could undermine the market for audio books.”

The quality of text-to-speech depends on the library of phonemes available on the reading device and the algorithms used to put them all together.  A simple example is when you call the operator and an automated voice reads back a phone number to you with a completely unnatural intonation, and you realize that the pronunciation of each number has been clipped and then taped back together without any sort of context.  That is a case, moreover, where the relationship between vocalization and semantics is one-to-one.  The semantic meaning of the number “1” is always mapped to the sound of someone pronouncing the word “one”.   In the case of speech-to-text, no one has been sitting with the OED and carefully pronouncing every word for a similar one-to-one mapping. Instead, the software program on the reading device must use an algorithm to guess at the set of phonemes that are intended by a collection of letters and generate the sounds it associates with those phonemes. 

 

The problem of intonation is still there, along with the additional issue of the peculiarities of English spelling.  If have a GPS system in your car, then you are familiar with the results.  Bear in mind that your GPS system, in turn, is bungling up what is actually a very particularized vocabulary.  The books that the Kindle’s “Read to Me” feature will be dealing with have more in common with Borges’s labyrinth than Rand McNally’s road atlas.

 

While text-to-speech technology will indeed improve over time, it won’t be improving in the Kindle 2, which comes with one software bundle that reads in just one way.  I worked on a text-to-speech program a while back (if you have Vista, you can download it here) that combines an Eliza engine with the Vista operating system’s text-to-speech functionality.  One of the things I immediately wanted to do was to be able to switch out voices, and what I quickly found out was that I couldn’t get any new voices.  Vista came with a feminine voice with an American accent, and that was about it unless one wanted to use a feminine voice with a Pidgin-English accent that is included with the Chinese speech pack.  The only masculine voice Microsoft provided was available for Windows XP, and it wasn’t forward compatible. 

 

It simply isn’t easy to switch out voices, much less switch out speech engines on a given platform, and seeing that we aren’t paying for a software package when we buy the Kindle but rather only the device (with much less power than a Microsoft operation system), it can be said with some confidence that the Kindle 2 is never going to be able to read like Morgan Freeman.

 

The Kindle 2’s text-to-speech capabilities, or lack of it, is not going to undermine the market for audio books any more than public lectures by Stephen Hawking will undermine sales of his books.  They are simply different things.

“It is telling authors and publishers to consider asking Amazon to disable the audio function on e-books it licenses.”

This is what is commonly referred to as the business requirement from hell.  It assumes that something is easy out of a serious misunderstanding of how a given technology actually works.  Text-to-speech technology is not based on anything inherent to the books Amazon is trying to peddle.  It isn’t, for what this is worth, even associated with metadata about the books Amazon is trying to peddle.  Instead, it is a free-roaming program that will attempt to read any text you feed it.  Rather than a CD that is sold with the book, it has a greater similarity to a homunculus living inside your computer and reading everything out loud to you. 

 

The proposal from the Authors Guild assumes that something must be taken off of the e-books in order to disable the text-to-speech feature.  In fact, instructions not to read those certain e-books must be added to the e-book metadata, and each Kindle 2 homunculus must in turn be taught to look for those instructions and act accordingly, in order to fulfill this requirement.  This is a non-trivial rewrite of the underlying Kindle software as well as of the thousands of e-book images that Amazon will be selling — nor can the files already living on people’s devices be recalled to add the additional metadata.

“Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said the company has the proper license for the text-to-speech function, which comes from Nuance Communications Inc.”

This is just a legalese on Amazon’s part that intentionally misunderstands the Authors Guild’s concerns as well as the legal issues involved.  The Authors Guild isn’t accusing Amazon of not having rights to the text-to-speech software.  They are asking whether using text-to-speech on their works doesn’t violate pre-existing law. 

 

The answer to that, in turn, concerns metaphors, as many legal matters ultimately do.  What metaphor does text-to-speech fall under?  Is it like a CD of a reading of a book, which generates additional income from an author’s labor?  Or is it like hiring Morgan Freeman to read Dianetics to you?  In which case, beyond the price of the physical book, Mr. Freeman should certainly be paid, but the Church of Scientology should not.

The Apocryphal Employee and Some Apocryphal Books

nancy

Nancy Davolio was a fictitious employee in the Microsoft Access 97 Northwind sample database.  Many office workers became smitten with her furtive smile and stylish hair, and while she continued to exist as an employee in later releases of the Northwind database, her employee photo changed, leading many to suspect that something untoward had happened to the real Nancy.

As most people know, "Nancy Davolio" is an anagram for "A Navy Cod Loin", which provides a hint about her origins and eventual fate.  For a list of further Nancy Davolio anagrams, I recommend the Internet Anagram Generator here, where may find more of the 1394 or so anagrams derived from Nancy’s name, for instance:

Cavil Noonday
A Viand Colony
A Divan Colony
A Vainly Condo
Canal Void Yon
Canola Nod Ivy
Canola Don Ivy

Ado Van Coy Nil
Vandal Coin Yo
Vandal Icon Yo
Vandal Coo Yin
Vandal Coy Ion
Avail Cony Nod
Avail Cony Don

And La Coy Vino
And Oval Icy On
And Oval Icy No
And Oval Cony I

Avian Cold Yon
Avian Clod Yon
Avian Doc Only
Day Van Cool In
Day Van Loco In
Day Van Con Oil

Coda Via Nylon

A Navy Cod Loin, however, seems particularly significant, inasmuch as Rabelais has a whole chapter devoted to playing on the word "cod".  Rabelais was a master of lists, as well as a master of profanity.  It has often been suggested that the French simply are much more versatile at cursing than we English speakers, and there may be some truth to this, though you don’t need to understand French to enjoy Book III Chapter 28 of Gargantua and Patagruel (since I’ve found a translation for you):

"And if so be it was preordinated for thee, wouldst thou be so impious as not to acquiesce in thy destiny? Speak, thou jaded cod.

"Faded cod. Louting cod. Appellant cod.
Mouldy cod. Discouraged cod. Swagging cod.
Musty cod. Surfeited cod. Withered cod.
Paltry cod. Peevish cod. Broken-reined cod.
Senseless cod. Translated cod. Defective cod.
Foundered cod. Forlorn cod. Crestfallen cod.
Distempered cod. Unsavoury cod. Felled cod.
Bewrayed cod. Worm-eaten cod. Fleeted cod.
Inveigled cod. Overtoiled cod. Cloyed cod.
Dangling cod. Miserable cod. Squeezed cod.
Stupid cod. Steeped cod. Resty cod.
Seedless cod. Kneaded-with-cold- Pounded cod.
Soaked cod. water cod. Loose cod.
Coldish cod. Hacked cod. Fruitless cod.
Pickled cod. Flaggy cod. Riven cod.
Churned cod. Scrubby cod. Pursy cod.
Filliped cod. Drained cod. Fusty cod.
Singlefied cod. Haled cod. Jadish cod.
Begrimed cod. Lolling cod. Fistulous cod.
Wrinkled cod. Drenched cod. Languishing cod.
Fainted cod. Burst cod. Maleficiated cod.
Extenuated cod. Stirred up cod. Hectic cod.
Grim cod. Mitred cod. Worn out cod.
Wasted cod. Peddlingly furnished Ill-favoured cod.
Inflamed cod. cod. Duncified cod.
Unhinged cod. Rusty cod. Macerated cod.
Scurfy cod. Exhausted cod. Paralytic cod.
Straddling cod. Perplexed cod. Degraded cod.
Putrefied cod. Unhelved cod. Benumbed cod.
Maimed cod. Fizzled cod. Bat-like cod.
Overlechered cod. Leprous cod. Fart-shotten cod.
Druggely cod. Bruised cod. Sunburnt cod.
Mitified cod. Spadonic cod. Pacified cod.
Goat-ridden cod. Boughty cod. Blunted cod.
Weakened cod. Mealy cod. Rankling tasted cod.
Ass-ridden cod. Wrangling cod. Rooted out cod.
Puff-pasted cod. Gangrened cod. Costive cod.
St. Anthonified cod. Crust-risen cod. Hailed on cod.
Untriped cod. Ragged cod. Cuffed cod.
Blasted cod. Quelled cod. Buffeted cod.
Cut off cod. Braggadocio cod. Whirreted cod.
Beveraged cod. Beggarly cod. Robbed cod.
Scarified cod. Trepanned cod. Neglected cod.
Dashed cod. Bedusked cod. Lame cod.
Slashed cod. Emasculated cod. Confused cod.
Enfeebled cod. Corked cod. Unsavoury cod.
Whore-hunting cod. Transparent cod. Overthrown cod.
Deteriorated cod. Vile cod. Boulted cod.
Chill cod. Antedated cod. Trod under cod.
Scrupulous cod. Chopped cod. Desolate cod.
Crazed cod. Pinked cod. Declining cod.
Tasteless cod. Cup-glassified cod. Stinking cod.
Sorrowful cod. Harsh cod. Crooked cod.
Murdered cod. Beaten cod. Brabbling cod.
Matachin-like cod. Barred cod. Rotten cod.
Besotted cod. Abandoned cod. Anxious cod.
Customerless cod. Confounded cod. Clouted cod.
Minced cod. Loutish cod. Tired cod.
Exulcerated cod. Borne down cod. Proud cod.
Patched cod. Sparred cod. Fractured cod.
Stupified cod. Abashed cod. Melancholy cod.
Annihilated cod. Unseasonable cod. Coxcombly cod.
Spent cod. Oppressed cod. Base cod.
Foiled cod. Grated cod. Bleaked cod.
Anguished cod. Falling away cod. Detested cod.
Disfigured cod. Smallcut cod. Diaphanous cod.
Disabled cod. Disordered cod. Unworthy cod.
Forceless cod. Latticed cod. Checked cod.
Censured cod. Ruined cod. Mangled cod.
Cut cod. Exasperated cod. Turned over cod.
Rifled cod. Rejected cod. Harried cod.
Undone cod. Belammed cod. Flawed cod.
Corrected cod. Fabricitant cod. Froward cod.
Slit cod. Perused cod. Ugly cod.
Skittish cod. Emasculated cod. Drawn cod.
Spongy cod. Roughly handled cod. Riven cod.
Botched cod. Examined cod. Distasteful cod.
Dejected cod. Cracked cod. Hanging cod.
Jagged cod. Wayward cod. Broken cod.
Pining cod. Haggled cod. Limber cod.
Deformed cod. Gleaning cod. Effeminate cod.
Mischieved cod. Ill-favoured cod. Kindled cod.
Cobbled cod. Pulled cod. Evacuated cod.
Embased cod. Drooping cod. Grieved cod.
Ransacked cod. Faint cod. Carking cod.
Despised cod. Parched cod. Disorderly cod.
Mangy cod. Paltry cod. Empty cod.
Abased cod. Cankered cod. Disquieted cod.
Supine cod. Void cod. Besysted cod.
Mended cod. Vexed cod. Confounded cod.
Dismayed cod. Bestunk cod. Hooked cod.
Divorous cod. Winnowed cod. Unlucky cod.
Wearied cod. Decayed cod. Sterile cod.
Sad cod. Disastrous cod. Beshitten cod.
Cross cod. Unhandsome cod. Appeased cod.
Vain-glorious cod. Stummed cod. Caitiff cod.
Poor cod. Barren cod. Woeful cod.
Brown cod. Wretched cod. Unseemly cod.
Shrunken cod. Feeble cod. Heavy cod.
Abhorred cod. Cast down cod. Weak cod.
Troubled cod. Stopped cod. Prostrated cod.
Scornful cod. Kept under cod. Uncomely cod.
Dishonest cod. Stubborn cod. Naughty cod.
Reproved cod. Ground cod. Laid flat cod.
Cocketed cod. Retchless cod. Suffocated cod.
Filthy cod. Weather-beaten cod. Held down cod.
Shred cod. Flayed cod. Barked cod.
Chawned cod. Bald cod. Hairless cod.
Short-winded cod. Tossed cod. Flamping cod.
Branchless cod. Flapping cod. Hooded cod.
Chapped cod. Cleft cod. Wormy cod.
Failing cod. Meagre cod.
Deficient cod. Dumpified cod. Faulty cod.
Lean cod. Suppressed cod. Bemealed cod.
Consumed cod. Hagged cod. Mortified cod.
Used cod. Jawped cod. Scurvy cod.
Puzzled cod. Havocked cod. Bescabbed cod.
Allayed cod. Astonished cod. Torn cod.
Spoiled cod. Dulled cod. Subdued cod.
Clagged cod. Slow cod. Sneaking cod.
Palsy-stricken cod. Plucked up cod. Bare cod.
Amazed cod. Constipated cod. Swart cod.
Bedunsed cod. Blown cod. Smutched cod.
Extirpated cod. Blockified cod. Raised up cod.
Banged cod. Pommelled cod. Chopped cod.
Stripped cod. All-to-bemauled cod. Flirted cod.
Hoary cod. Fallen away cod. Blained cod.
Blotted cod. Stale cod. Rensy cod.
Sunk in cod. Corrupted cod. Frowning cod.
Ghastly cod. Beflowered cod. Limping cod.
Unpointed cod. Amated cod. Ravelled cod.
Beblistered cod. Blackish cod. Rammish cod.
Wizened cod. Underlaid cod. Gaunt cod.
Beggar-plated cod. Loathing cod. Beskimmered cod.
Douf cod. Ill-filled cod. Scraggy cod.
Clarty cod. Bobbed cod. Lank cod.
Lumpish cod. Mated cod. Swashering cod.
Abject cod. Tawny cod. Moiling cod.
Side cod. Whealed cod. Swinking cod.
Choked up cod. Besmeared cod. Harried cod.
Backward cod. Hollow cod. Tugged cod.
Prolix cod. Pantless cod. Towed cod.
Spotted cod. Guizened cod. Misused cod.
Crumpled cod. Demiss cod. Adamitical cod.
Frumpled cod. Refractory cod."

Rabelais is also famous for his list of apocryphal books, of which here are a few:

In his abode there he found the library of St. Victor a very stately and magnific one, especially in some books which were there, of which followeth the Repertory and Catalogue, Et primo,

The for Godsake of Salvation.
The Codpiece of the Law.
The Slipshoe of the Decretals.
The Pomegranate of Vice.
The Clew-bottom of Theology.
The Duster or Foxtail-flap of Preachers, composed by Turlupin.
The Churning Ballock of the Valiant.
The Henbane of the Bishops.
Marmotretus de baboonis et apis, cum Commento Dorbellis.
Decretum Universitatis Parisiensis super gorgiasitate muliercularum
  ad placitum.
The Apparition of Sancte Geltrude to a Nun of Poissy, being in
  travail at the bringing forth of a child.
Ars honeste fartandi in societate, per Marcum Corvinum (Ortuinum).
The Mustard-pot of Penance.
The Gamashes, alias the Boots of Patience.
Formicarium artium.
De brodiorum usu, et honestate quartandi, per Sylvestrem Prioratem
  Jacobinum.
The Cosened or Gulled in Court.
The Frail of the Scriveners.
The Marriage-packet.
The Cruizy or Crucible of Contemplation.
The Flimflams of the Law.
The Prickle of Wine.
The Spur of Cheese.
Ruboffatorium (Decrotatorium) scholarium.
Tartaretus de modo cacandi.
The Bravades of Rome.
Bricot de Differentiis Browsarum.
The Tailpiece-Cushion, or Close-breech of Discipline.
The Cobbled Shoe of Humility.
The Trivet of good Thoughts.
The Kettle of Magnanimity.
The Cavilling Entanglements of Confessors.
The Snatchfare of the Curates.
Reverendi patris fratris Lubini, provincialis Bavardiae, de gulpendis
  lardslicionibus libri tres.
Pasquilli Doctoris Marmorei, de capreolis cum artichoketa comedendis,
  tempore Papali ab Ecclesia interdicto.
The Invention of the Holy Cross, personated by six wily Priests.
The Spectacles of Pilgrims bound for Rome.
Majoris de modo faciendi puddinos.
The Bagpipe of the Prelates.
Beda de optimitate triparum.
The Complaint of the Barristers upon the Reformation of Comfits.
The Furred Cat of the Solicitors and Attorneys.
Of Peas and Bacon, cum Commento.
The Small Vales or Drinking Money of the Indulgences.
Praeclarissimi juris utriusque Doctoris Maistre Pilloti, &c.,
  Scrap-farthingi de botchandis glossae Accursianae Triflis repetitio
  enucidi-luculidissima.
Stratagemata Francharchiaeri de Baniolet.
Carlbumpkinus de Re Militari cum Figuris Tevoti.
De usu et utilitate flayandi equos et equas, authore Magistro nostro
  de Quebecu.
The Sauciness of Country-Stewards.
M.N. Rostocostojambedanesse de mustarda post prandium servienda,
  libri quatuordecim, apostillati per M. Vaurillonis.
The Covillage or Wench-tribute of Promoters.
(Jabolenus de Cosmographia Purgatorii.)
Quaestio subtilissima, utrum Chimaera in vacuo bonbinans possit
  comedere secundas intentiones; et fuit debatuta per decem
  hebdomadas in Consilio Constantiensi.
The Bridle-champer of the Advocates.
Smutchudlamenta Scoti.
The Rasping and Hard-scraping of the Cardinals.
De calcaribus removendis, Decades undecim, per M. Albericum de Rosata.
Ejusdem de castramentandis criminibus libri tres.
The Entrance of Anthony de Leve into the Territories of Brazil.
(Marforii, bacalarii cubantis Romae) de peelandis aut unskinnandis
  blurrandisque Cardinalium mulis.
The said Author’s Apology against those who allege that the Pope’s
  mule doth eat but at set times.
Prognosticatio quae incipit, Silvii Triquebille, balata per M.N., the
  deep-dreaming gull Sion.
Boudarini Episcopi de emulgentiarum profectibus Aeneades novem,
  cum privilegio Papali ad triennium et postea non.
The Shitabranna of the Maids.
The Bald Arse or Peeled Breech of the Widows.
The Cowl or Capouch of the Monks.
The Mumbling Devotion of the Celestine Friars.
The Passage-toll of Beggarliness.
The Teeth-chatter or Gum-didder of Lubberly Lusks.
The Paring-shovel of the Theologues.
The Drench-horn of the Masters of Arts.
The Scullions of Olcam, the uninitiated Clerk.
Magistri N. Lickdishetis, de garbellisiftationibus horarum canonicarum,
  libri quadriginta.
Arsiversitatorium confratriarum, incerto authore.
The Gulsgoatony or Rasher of Cormorants and Ravenous Feeders.
The Rammishness of the Spaniards supergivuregondigaded by Friar Inigo.
The Muttering of Pitiful Wretches.
Dastardismus rerum Italicarum, authore Magistro Burnegad.
R. Lullius de Batisfolagiis Principum.
Calibistratorium caffardiae, authore M. Jacobo Hocstraten hereticometra.
Codtickler de Magistro nostrandorum Magistro nostratorumque beuvetis,
  libri octo galantissimi.
The Crackarades of Balists or stone-throwing Engines, Contrepate
  Clerks, Scriveners, Brief-writers, Rapporters, and Papal
  Bull-despatchers lately compiled by Regis.
A perpetual Almanack for those that have the gout and the pox.
Manera sweepandi fornacellos per Mag. Eccium.
The Shable or Scimetar of Merchants.
The Pleasures of the Monarchal Life.
The Hotchpot of Hypocrites.
The History of the Hobgoblins.
The Ragamuffinism of the pensionary maimed Soldiers.
The Gulling Fibs and Counterfeit shows of Commissaries.
The Litter of Treasurers.
The Juglingatorium of Sophisters.
Antipericatametanaparbeugedamphicribrationes Toordicantium.
The Periwinkle of Ballad-makers.
The Push-forward of the Alchemists.
The Niddy-noddy of the Satchel-loaded Seekers, by Friar Bindfastatis.
The Shackles of Religion.
The Racket of Swag-waggers.
The Leaning-stock of old Age.
The Muzzle of Nobility.
The Ape’s Paternoster.
The Crickets and Hawk’s-bells of Devotion.
The Pot of the Ember-weeks.
The Mortar of the Politic Life.
The Flap of the Hermits.
The Riding-hood or Monterg of the Penitentiaries.
The Trictrac of the Knocking Friars.
Blockheadodus, de vita et honestate bragadochiorum.
Lyrippii Sorbonici Moralisationes, per M. Lupoldum.
The Carrier-horse-bells of Travellers.
The Bibbings of the tippling Bishops.
Dolloporediones Doctorum Coloniensium adversus Reuclin.
The Cymbals of Ladies.
The Dunger’s Martingale.
Whirlingfriskorum Chasemarkerorum per Fratrem Crackwoodloguetis.
The Clouted Patches of a Stout Heart.
The Mummery of the Racket-keeping Robin-goodfellows.
Gerson, de auferibilitate Papae ab Ecclesia.
The Catalogue of the Nominated and Graduated Persons.
Jo. Dytebrodii, terribilitate excommunicationis libellus acephalos.
Ingeniositas invocandi diabolos et diabolas, per M. Guingolphum.
The Hotchpotch or Gallimaufry of the perpetually begging Friars.
The Morris-dance of the Heretics.
The Whinings of Cajetan.
Muddisnout Doctoris Cherubici, de origine Roughfootedarum, et
  Wryneckedorum ritibus, libri septem.
Sixty-nine fat Breviaries.
The Nightmare of the five Orders of Beggars.
The Skinnery of the new Start-ups extracted out of the fallow-butt,
  incornifistibulated and plodded upon in the angelic sum.
The Raver and idle Talker in cases of Conscience.
The Fat Belly of the Presidents.
The Baffling Flouter of the Abbots.
Sutoris adversus eum qui vocaverat eum Slabsauceatorem, et quod
  Slabsauceatores non sunt damnati ab Ecclesia.
Cacatorium medicorum.
The Chimney-sweeper of Astrology.
Campi clysteriorum per paragraph C.
The Bumsquibcracker of Apothecaries.
The Kissbreech of Chirurgery.
Justinianus de Whiteleperotis tollendis.
Antidotarium animae.
Merlinus Coccaius, de patria diabolorum.
The Practice of Iniquity, by Cleuraunes Sadden.
The Mirror of Baseness, by Radnecu Waldenses.
The Engrained Rogue, by Dwarsencas Eldenu.
The Merciless Cormorant, by Hoxinidno the Jew.

I wonder if Nancy Davolio has read any of these books.

If you happen to be curious about some of the Latin titles, the Decretum Universitatis Parisiensis super gorgiasitate muliercularum ad placitum translates as The Decree of the University of Paris which Permits Young Ladies to Bare Their Throats at Will.   Campi clysteriorum per is The Field of Enemas.  The Cacatorium medicorum is The Doctor’s Chamberpot.

There are also apocryphal computer books, of course, which, oddly enough, I have the feeling I have read before.  Graham Nelson cites Tedium and Gnawfinger’s Elements of Batch Processing in COBOL-66: third edition and Mr Blobby’s Blobby Book of Computer Fun (h/t @ Paul).

I might also add to the list The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Multithreaded Applications, How Agile Will Make You So Productive The Code Will Write Itself, and Essential Project Management: Lying to the people under you, Lying to the people above you, and Making it all work out.

Proost 133t

Madeleine

 

This is my first public translation effort, other than several fruitless attempts to translate Baudelaire as an undergraduate.  This translation is based on Moncrieff’s excellent work.  I beg your indulgence, and wud, natchrli, appreshi8 ani correkshunz u wud lik 2 offr:

teh siet uv teh littl madeleine had rekalld nuthn 2 my mind b4 i tastd it… prhps bcuz i had so ofn seen such thingz in teh meantiem witowt tastin dem… on teh trez in pastri-cookz windowz… dat ther imaeg had disposezd itzlf frum thoz Combray dayz 2 tak itz plaz among othrz mor recent… prhps bcuz uv thoz memriz… so long abandund n put owt uv mind… nuthn now survivd… evrthn wuz skattrd. teh shaepz uv thingz… incldng dat uv teh lttl skallop-shell uv pastri, so richli senshual undr itz seveer, religuz foldz, wir ithr obliter8d or had bin so long dormnt as 2 hav lost teh pwr uv expanshun wich wud hav allowd dem 2 resuem ther plaz n mi conchuznez.  but wen frum a long distnt past nuthn subsitz… aftr teh peepl r ded… aftr teh thingz r brokn n skattrd… tayst n smel aloen… mor fragl but mor endurin… mor unsubstanshl… mor persistnt… mor f8hfl… remain poyzd a long tiem… liek soulz… remembrin… w8in … hopin … amid teh ruinz uv all teh rest.  n baer unflinchnli… in teh tini n almoz impalpabl drop uv ther essenz… teh vast struktur uv rekollekshun.