Used humorously as a random parameter on which something is said to depend. Sometimes implies unreliability of whatever is dependent, or that reliability seems to be dependent on conditions nobody has been able to determine. “This feature depends on having the channel open in mumble mode, having the foo switch set, and on the phase of the moon.”
See also heisenbug.
True story: Once upon a time there was a bug that really did depend on the phase of the moon. There was a little subroutine that had traditionally been used in various programs at MIT to calculate an approximation to the moon’s true phase. GLS incorporated this routine into a Lisp program that, when it wrote out a file, would print a timestamp line almost 80 characters long. Very occasionally the first line of the message would be too long and would overflow onto the next line, and when the file was later read back in the program would barf. The length of the first line depended on both the precise date and time and the length of the phase specification when the timestamp was printed, and so the bug literally depended on the phase of the moon!
The first paper edition of the Jargon File (Steele-1983) included an example of one of the timestamp lines that exhibited this bug, but the typesetter “corrected” it. This has since been described as the phase-of-the-moon-bug bug.
[feyz-out] /ˈfeɪzˌaʊt/ noun 1. an act or instance of phasing out; planned discontinuation or expiration.
noun, Physical Chemistry. 1. a law that the number of degrees of freedom in a system in equilibrium is equal to two plus the number of components less the number of phases. Thus, a system of ice, melted ice, and water vapor, being one component and three phases, has no degrees of freedom. Compare (def […]
[feyz] /feɪz/ noun 1. any of the major appearances or aspects in which a thing of varying modes or conditions manifests itself to the eye or mind. 2. a stage in a process of change or development: Each phase of life brings its own joys. 3. a side, aspect, or point of view: This is […]
- Phase shift keying
noun 1. See PSK