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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
smoke and mirrors
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Marketing deceptions. The term is mainstream in this general
sense. Among hackers it's strongly associated with bogus
demos and crocked benchmarks (see also MIPS,
machoflops). "They claim their new box cranks 50 MIPS for
under $5000, but didn't specify the instruction mix - sounds
like smoke and mirrors to me." The phrase has been said to
derive from carnie slang for magic acts and "freak show"
displays that depend on "trompe l"oeil' effects, but also
calls to mind the fierce Aztec god Tezcatlipoca (lit. "Smoking
Mirror") for whom the hearts of huge numbers of human
sacrificial victims were regularly cut out. Upon hearing
about a rigged demo or yet another round of fantasy-based
marketing promises, hackers often feel analogously
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