smoke and mirrors


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smoke and mirrors

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 disheartened.
References in periodicals archive ?
CAMPAIGNERS: Andrea Crossfield of Smokefree North West and Adan Loughlin, of Smoke and Mirrors
It isn't smoke and mirrors: The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce says it has proof a no-smoking ban in that city has hurt bars and restaurants.
Oh, yes: There's also a bit of old-fashioned smoke and mirrors tattooed on the late master's style.