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The New Hacker's Dictionary version 4.2.2 by Various editors

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times-or-divided-by quant.

[by analogy with `plus-or-minus'] Term occasionally used when
describing the uncertainty associated with a scheduling estimate, for
either humorous or brutally honest effect. For a software project, the
scheduling uncertainty factor is usually at least 2.

Node:TINC, Next:[13413]Tinkerbell program,
Previous:[13414]times-or-divided-by, Up:[13415]= T =


[Usenet] Abbreviation: "There Is No Cabal". See [13416]backbone cabal
and [13417]NANA, but note that this abbreviation did not enter use
until long after the dispersal of the backbone cabal.

Node:Tinkerbell program, Next:[13418]TINLC, Previous:[13419]TINC,
Up:[13420]= T =

Tinkerbell program n.

[Great Britain] A monitoring program used to scan incoming network
calls and generate alerts when calls are received from particular
sites, or when logins are attempted using certain IDs. Named after
`Project Tinkerbell', an experimental phone-tapping program developed
by British Telecom in the early 1980s.

Node:TINLC, Next:[13421]tip of the ice-cube,
Previous:[13422]Tinkerbell program, Up:[13423]= T =


Abbreviation: "There Is No Lumber Cartel". See [13424]Lumber Cartel.
TINLC is a takeoff on [13425]TINC.

Node:tip of the ice-cube, Next:[13426]tired iron,
Previous:[13427]TINLC, Up:[13428]= T =

tip of the ice-cube n. //

[IBM] The visible part of something small and insignificant. Used as
an ironic comment in situations where `tip of the iceberg' might be
appropriate if the subject were at all important.

Node:tired iron, Next:[13429]tits on a keyboard, Previous:[13430]tip
of the ice-cube, Up:[13431]= T =

tired iron n.

[IBM] Hardware that is perfectly functional but far enough behind the
state of the art to have been superseded by new products, presumably
with sufficient improvement in bang-per-buck that the old stuff is
starting to look a bit like a [13432]dinosaur.

Node:tits on a keyboard, Next:[13433]TLA, Previous:[13434]tired iron,
Up:[13435]= T =

tits on a keyboard n.

Small bumps on certain keycaps to keep touch-typists registered.
Usually on the 5 of a numeric keypad, and on the F and J of a
[13436]QWERTY keyboard; but older Macs, perverse as usual, had them on
the D and K keys (this changed in 1999).

Node:TLA, Next:[13437](TM), Previous:[13438]tits on a keyboard,
Up:[13439]= T =

TLA /T-L-A/ n.

[Three-Letter Acronym] 1. Self-describing abbreviation for a species
with which computing terminology is infested. 2. Any confusing
acronym. Examples include MCA, FTP, SNA, CPU, MMU, SCCS, DMU, FPU,
NNTP, TLA. People who like this looser usage argue that not all TLAs
have three letters, just as not all four-letter words have four
letters. One also hears of `ETLA' (Extended Three-Letter Acronym,
pronounced /ee tee el ay/) being used to describe four-letter
acronyms. The term `SFLA' (Stupid Four-Letter Acronym) has also been
reported. See also [13440]YABA.

The self-effacing phrase "TDM TLA" (Too Damn Many...) is often used to
bemoan the plethora of TLAs in use. In 1989, a random of the
journalistic persuasion asked hacker Paul Boutin "What do you think
will be the biggest problem in computing in the 90s?" Paul's
straight-faced response: "There are only 17,000 three-letter
acronyms." (To be exact, there are 26^3 = 17,576.) There is probably
some karmic justice in the fact that Paul Boutin subsequently became a

Node:(TM), Next:[13441]TMRC, Previous:[13442]TLA, Up:[13443]= T =

(TM) //

[Usenet] ASCII rendition of the trademark-superscript symbol appended
to phrases that the author feels should be recorded for posterity,
perhaps in future editions of this lexicon. Sometimes used ironically
as a form of protest against the recent spate of software and
algorithm patents and `look and feel' lawsuits. See also [13444]UN*X.

Node:TMRC, Next:[13445]TMRCie, Previous:[13446](TM), Up:[13447]= T =

TMRC /tmerk'/ n.

The Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, one of the wellsprings of hacker
culture. The 1959 "Dictionary of the TMRC Language" compiled by Peter
Samson included several terms that became basics of the hackish
vocabulary (see esp. [13448]foo, [13449]mung, and [13450]frob).

By 1962, TMRC's legendary layout was already a marvel of complexity
and has grown in the years since. All the features described here were
still present when the old layout was decomissioned in 1998 just
before the demolition of MIT Building 20, and will almost certainly be
retained when the old layout is rebuilt (expected in 2003). The
control system alone featured about 1200 relays. There were
[13451]scram switches located at numerous places around the room that
could be thwacked if something undesirable was about to occur, such as
a train going full-bore at an obstruction. Another feature of the
system was a digital clock on the dispatch board, which was itself
something of a wonder in those bygone days before cheap LEDs and
seven-segment displays. When someone hit a scram switch the clock
stopped and the display was replaced with the word `FOO'; at TMRC the
scram switches are therefore called `foo switches'.

Steven Levy, in his book "Hackers" (see the [13452]Bibliography in
Appendix C), gives a stimulating account of those early years. TMRC's
Signals and Power Committee included many of the early PDP-1 hackers
and the people who later became the core of the MIT AI Lab staff.
Thirty years later that connection is still very much alive, and this
lexicon accordingly includes a number of entries from a recent
revision of the TMRC dictionary.

TMRC has a web page at [13453]http://web.mit.edu/tmrc/www/.

Node:TMRCie, Next:[13454]TMTOWTDI, Previous:[13455]TMRC, Up:[13456]= T

TMRCie /tmerk'ee/, n.

[MIT] A denizen of [13457]TMRC.

Node:TMTOWTDI, Next:[13458]to a first approximation,
Previous:[13459]TMRCie, Up:[13460]= T =

TMTOWTDI /tim-toh'-dee/

There's More Than One Way To Do It. This abbreviation of the official
motto of [13461]Perl is frequently used on newsgroups and mailing
lists related to that language.

Node:to a first approximation, Next:[13462]to a zeroth approximation,
Previous:[13463]TMTOWTDI, Up:[13464]= T =

to a first approximation adj.

1. [techspeak] When one is doing certain numerical computations, an
approximate solution may be computed by any of several heuristic
methods, then refined to a final value. By using the starting point of
a first approximation of the answer, one can write an algorithm that
converges more quickly to the correct result. 2. In jargon, a preface
to any comment that indicates that the comment is only approximately
true. The remark "To a first approximation, I feel good" might
indicate that deeper questioning would reveal that not all is perfect
(e.g., a nagging cough still remains after an illness).

Node:to a zeroth approximation, Next:[13465]toad, Previous:[13466]to a
first approximation, Up:[13467]= T =

to a zeroth approximation

[from `to a first approximation'] A really sloppy approximation; a
wild guess. Compare [13468]social science number.

Node:toad, Next:[13469]toast, Previous:[13470]to a zeroth
approximation, Up:[13471]= T =

toad vt. [MUD]

1. Notionally, to change a [13472]MUD player into a toad. 2. To
permanently and totally exile a player from the MUD. A very serious
action, which can only be done by a MUD [13473]wizard; often involves
a lot of debate among the other characters first. See also
[13474]frog, [13475]FOD.

Node:toast, Next:[13476]toaster, Previous:[13477]toad, Up:[13478]= T =

toast 1. n.

Any completely inoperable system or component, esp. one that has just
crashed and burned: "Uh, oh ... I think the serial board is toast." 2.
vt. To cause a system to crash accidentally, especially in a manner
that requires manual rebooting. "Rick just toasted the [13479]firewall
machine again." Compare [13480]fried.

Node:toaster, Next:[13481]toeprint, Previous:[13482]toast, Up:[13483]=
T =

toaster n.

1. The archetypal really stupid application for an embedded
microprocessor controller; often used in comments that imply that a
scheme is inappropriate technology (but see [13484]elevator
controller). "[13485]DWIM for an assembler? That'd be as silly as
running Unix on your [13486]toaster!" 2. A very, very dumb computer.
"You could run this program on any dumb toaster." See [13487]bitty
box, [13488]Get a real computer!, [13489]toy, [13490]beige toaster. 3.
A Macintosh, esp. the Classic Mac. Some hold that this is implied by
sense 2. 4. A peripheral device. "I bought my box without toasters,
but since then I've added two boards and a second disk drive." 5. A
specialized computer used as an appliance. See [13491]web toaster,
[13492]video toaster.

Node:toeprint, Next:[13493]toggle, Previous:[13494]toaster,
Up:[13495]= T =

toeprint n.

A [13496]footprint of especially small size.

Node:toggle, Next:[13497]tool, Previous:[13498]toeprint, Up:[13499]= T

toggle vt.

To change a [13500]bit from whatever state it is in to the other
state; to change from 1 to 0 or from 0 to 1. This comes from `toggle
switches', such as standard light switches, though the word `toggle'
actually refers to the mechanism that keeps the switch in the position
to which it is flipped rather than to the fact that the switch has two
positions. There are four things you can do to a bit: set it (force it
to be 1), clear (or zero) it, leave it alone, or toggle it.
(Mathematically, one would say that there are four distinct
boolean-valued functions of one boolean argument, but saying that is
much less fun than talking about toggling bits.)

Node:tool, Next:[13501]toolsmith, Previous:[13502]toggle, Up:[13503]=
T =

tool 1. n.

A program used primarily to create, manipulate, modify, or analyze
other programs, such as a compiler or an editor or a cross-referencing
program. Oppose [13504]app, [13505]operating system. 2. [Unix] An
application program with a simple, `transparent' (typically
text-stream) interface designed specifically to be used in programmed
combination with other tools (see [13506]filter, [13507]plumbing). 3.
[MIT: general to students there] vi. To work; to study (connotes
tedium). The TMRC Dictionary defined this as "to set one's brain to
the grindstone". See [13508]hack. 4. n. [MIT] A student who studies
too much and hacks too little. (MIT's student humor magazine rejoices
in the name "Tool and Die".)

Node:toolsmith, Next:[13509]toor, Previous:[13510]tool, Up:[13511]= T

toolsmith n.

The software equivalent of a tool-and-die specialist; one who
specializes in making the [13512]tools with which other programmers
create applications. Many hackers consider this more fun than
applications per se; to understand why, see [13513]uninteresting. Jon
Bentley, in the "Bumper-Sticker Computer Science" chapter of his book
"More Programming Pearls", quotes Dick Sites from [13514]DEC as saying
"I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs".

Node:toor, Next:[13515]topic drift, Previous:[13516]toolsmith,
Up:[13517]= T =

toor n.

The Bourne-Again Super-user. An alternate account with UID of 0,
created on Unix machines where the root user has an inconvenient
choice of shell. Compare [13518]avatar.

Node:topic drift, Next:[13519]topic group, Previous:[13520]toor,
Up:[13521]= T =

topic drift n.

Term used on GEnie, Usenet and other electronic fora to describe the
tendency of a [13522]thread to drift away from the original subject of
discussion (and thus, from the Subject header of the originating
message), or the results of that tendency. The header in each post can
be changed to keep current with the posts, but usually isn't due to
forgetfulness or laziness. A single post may often result in several
posts each responding to a different point in the original. Some
subthreads will actually be in response to some off-the-cuff side
comment, possibly degenerating into a [13523]flame war, or just as
often evolving into a separate discussion. Hence, discussions aren't
really so much threads as they are trees. Except that they don't
really have leaves, or multiple branching roots; usually some lines of
discussion will just sort of die off after everyone gets tired of
them. This could take anywhere from hours to weeks, or even longer.

The term `topic drift' is often used in gentle reminders that the
discussion has strayed off any useful track. "I think we started with
a question about Niven's last book, but we've ended up discussing the
sexual habits of the common marmoset. Now that's topic drift!"

Node:topic group, Next:[13524]TOPS-10, Previous:[13525]topic drift,
Up:[13526]= T =

topic group n.

Syn. [13527]forum.

Node:TOPS-10, Next:[13528]TOPS-20, Previous:[13529]topic group,
Up:[13530]= T =

TOPS-10 /tops-ten/ n.

[13531]DEC's proprietary OS for the fabled [13532]PDP-10 machines,
long a favorite of hackers but now effectively extinct. A fountain of
hacker folklore; see Appendix A. See also [13533]ITS, [13534]TOPS-20,
[13535]TWENEX, [13536]VMS, [13537]operating system. TOPS-10 was
sometimes called BOTS-10 (from `bottoms-ten') as a comment on the
inappropriateness of describing it as the top of anything.

Node:TOPS-20, Next:[13538]tourist, Previous:[13539]TOPS-10,
Up:[13540]= T =

TOPS-20 /tops-twen'tee/ n.

See [13541]TWENEX.

Node:tourist, Next:[13542]tourist information,
Previous:[13543]TOPS-20, Up:[13544]= T =

tourist n.

1. [ITS] A guest on the system, especially one who generally logs in
over a network from a remote location for [13545]comm mode, email,
games, and other trivial purposes. One step below [13546]luser. ITS
hackers often used to spell this [13547]turist, perhaps by some sort
of tenuous analogy with [13548]luser (this usage may also have
expressed the ITS culture's penchant for six-letterisms, and-or been
some sort of tribute to Alan Turing). Compare [13549]twink,
[13550]lurker, [13551]read-only user. 2. [IRC] An [13552]IRC user who
goes from channel to channel without saying anything; see
[13553]channel hopping.

Node:tourist information, Next:[13554]touristic,
Previous:[13555]tourist, Up:[13556]= T =

tourist information n.

Information in an on-line display that is not immediately useful, but
contributes to a viewer's gestalt of what's going on with the software
or hardware behind it. Whether a given piece of info falls in this
category depends partly on what the user is looking for at any given
time. The `bytes free' information at the bottom of an MS-DOS dir
display is tourist information; so (most of the time) is the TIME
information in a Unix ps(1) display.

Node:touristic, Next:[13557]toy, Previous:[13558]tourist information,
Up:[13559]= T =

touristic adj.

Having the quality of a [13560]tourist. Often used as a pejorative, as
in `losing touristic scum'. Often spelled `turistic' or `turistik', so
that phrase might be more properly rendered `lusing turistic scum'.

Node:toy, Next:[13561]toy language, Previous:[13562]touristic,
Up:[13563]= T =

toy n.

A computer system; always used with qualifiers. 1. `nice toy': One
that supports the speaker's hacking style adequately. 2. `just a toy':
A machine that yields insufficient [13564]computrons for the speaker's
preferred uses. This is not condemnatory, as is [13565]bitty box; toys
can at least be fun. It is also strongly conditioned by one's
expectations; Cray XMP users sometimes consider the Cray-1 a `toy',
and certainly all RISC boxes and mainframes are toys by their
standards. See also [13566]Get a real computer!.

Node:toy language, Next:[13567]toy problem, Previous:[13568]toy,
Up:[13569]= T =

toy language n.

A language useful for instructional purposes or as a proof-of-concept
for some aspect of computer-science theory, but inadequate for
general-purpose programming. [13570]Bad Things can result when a toy
language is promoted as a general purpose solution for programming
(see [13571]bondage-and-discipline language); the classic example is
[13572]Pascal. Several moderately well-known formalisms for conceptual
tasks such as programming Turing machines also qualify as toy
languages in a less negative sense. See also [13573]MFTL.

Node:toy problem, Next:[13574]toy program, Previous:[13575]toy
language, Up:[13576]= T =

toy problem n.

[AI] A deliberately oversimplified case of a challenging problem used
to investigate, prototype, or test algorithms for a real problem.
Sometimes used pejoratively. See also [13577]gedanken, [13578]toy

Node:toy program, Next:[13579]trampoline, Previous:[13580]toy problem,
Up:[13581]= T =

toy program n.

1. One that can be readily comprehended; hence, a trivial program
(compare [13582]noddy). 2. One for which the effort of initial coding
dominates the costs through its life cycle. See also [13583]noddy.

Node:trampoline, Next:[13584]trap, Previous:[13585]toy program,
Up:[13586]= T =

trampoline n.

An incredibly [13587]hairy technique, found in some [13588]HLL and
program-overlay implementations (e.g., on the Macintosh), that
involves on-the-fly generation of small executable (and, likely as
not, self-modifying) code objects to do indirection between code
sections. Under BSD and possibly in other Unixes, trampoline code is
used to transfer control from the kernel back to user mode when a
signal (which has had a handler installed) is sent to a process. hese
pieces of [13589]live data are called `trampolines'. Trampolines are
notoriously difficult to understand in action; in fact, it is said by
those who use this term that the trampoline that doesn't bend your
brain is not the true trampoline. See also [13590]snap.

Node:trap, Next:[13591]trap door, Previous:[13592]trampoline,
Up:[13593]= T =


1. n. A program interrupt, usually an interrupt caused by some
exceptional situation in the user program. In most cases, the OS
performs some action, then returns control to the program. 2. vi. To
cause a trap. "These instructions trap to the monitor." Also used
transitively to indicate the cause of the trap. "The monitor traps all
input/output instructions."

This term is associated with assembler programming (`interrupt' or
`exception' is more common among [13594]HLL programmers) and appears
to be fading into history among programmers as the role of assembler
continues to shrink. However, it is still important to computer
architects and systems hackers (see [13595]system, sense 1), who use
it to distinguish deterministically repeatable exceptions from
timing-dependent ones (such as I/O interrupts).

Node:trap door, Next:[13596]trash, Previous:[13597]trap, Up:[13598]= T

trap door n.

(alt. `trapdoor') 1. Syn. [13599]back door -- a [13600]Bad Thing. 2.
[techspeak] A `trap-door function' is one which is easy to compute but
very difficult to compute the inverse of. Such functions are
[13601]Good Things with important applications in cryptography,
specifically in the construction of public-key cryptosystems.

Node:trash, Next:[13602]trawl, Previous:[13603]trap door, Up:[13604]=
T =

trash vt.

To destroy the contents of (said of a data structure). The most common
of the family of near-synonyms including [13605]mung, [13606]mangle,
and [13607]scribble.

Node:trawl, Next:[13608]tree-killer, Previous:[13609]trash,
Up:[13610]= T =

trawl v.

To sift through large volumes of data (e.g., Usenet postings, FTP
archives, or the Jargon File) looking for something of interest.

Node:tree-killer, Next:[13611]treeware, Previous:[13612]trawl,
Up:[13613]= T =

tree-killer n.

[Sun] 1. A printer. 2. A person who wastes paper. This epithet should
be interpreted in a broad sense; `wasting paper' includes the
production of [13614]spiffy but [13615]content-free documents. Thus,
most [13616]suits are tree-killers. The negative loading of this term
may reflect the epithet `tree-killer' applied by Treebeard the Ent to
the Orcs in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" (see also
[13617]elvish, [13618]elder days).

Node:treeware, Next:[13619]trit, Previous:[13620]tree-killer,
Up:[13621]= T =

treeware /tree'weir/ n.

Printouts, books, and other information media made from pulped dead
trees. Compare [13622]tree-killer, see [13623]documentation.

Node:trit, Next:[13624]trivial, Previous:[13625]treeware, Up:[13626]=
T =

trit /trit/ n.

[by analogy with `bit'] One base-3 digit; the amount of information
conveyed by a selection among one of three equally likely outcomes
(see also [13627]bit). Trits arise, for example, in the context of a
[13628]flag that should actually be able to assume three values --
such as yes, no, or unknown. Trits are sometimes jokingly called
`3-state bits'. A trit may be semi-seriously referred to as `a bit and
a half', although it is linearly equivalent to 1.5849625 bits (that
is, log2(3) bits).

Node:trivial, Next:[13629]troff, Previous:[13630]trit, Up:[13631]= T =

trivial adj.

1. Too simple to bother detailing. 2. Not worth the speaker's time. 3.
Complex, but solvable by methods so well known that anyone not utterly
[13632]cretinous would have thought of them already. 4. Any problem
one has already solved (some claim that hackish `trivial' usually
evaluates to `I've seen it before'). Hackers' notions of triviality
may be quite at variance with those of non-hackers. See
[13633]nontrivial, [13634]uninteresting.

The physicist Richard Feynman, who had the hacker nature to an amazing
degree (see his essay "Los Alamos From Below" in "Surely You're
Joking, Mr. Feynman!"), defined `trivial theorem' as "one that has
already been proved".

Node:troff, Next:[13635]troglodyte, Previous:[13636]trivial,
Up:[13637]= T =

troff /T'rof/ or /trof/ n.

[Unix] The gray eminence of Unix text processing; a formatting and
phototypesetting program, written originally in PDP-11 assembler and
then in barely-structured early C by the late Joseph Ossanna, modeled
after the earlier ROFF which was in turn modeled after the
[13638]Multics and [13639]CTSS program RUNOFF by Jerome Saltzer (that
name came from the expression "to run off a copy"). A companion
program, [13640]nroff, formats output for terminals and line printers.

In 1979, Brian Kernighan modified troff so that it could drive
phototypesetters other than the Graphic Systems CAT. His paper
describing that work ("A Typesetter-independent troff," AT&T CSTR #97)
explains troff's durability. After discussing the program's "obvious
deficiencies -- a rebarbative input syntax, mysterious and
undocumented properties in some areas, and a voracious appetite for
computer resources" and noting the ugliness and extreme hairiness of
the code and internals, Kernighan concludes:

None of these remarks should be taken as denigrating Ossanna's
accomplishment with TROFF. It has proven a remarkably robust tool,
taking unbelievable abuse from a variety of preprocessors and being
forced into uses that were never conceived of in the original
design, all with considerable grace under fire.

The success of [13641]TeX and desktop publishing systems have reduced
troff's relative importance, but this tribute perfectly captures the
strengths that secured troff a place in hacker folklore; indeed, it
could be taken more generally as an indication of those qualities of
good programs that, in the long run, hackers most admire.

Node:troglodyte, Next:[13642]troglodyte mode, Previous:[13643]troff,
Up:[13644]= T =

troglodyte n.

[Commodore] 1. A hacker who never leaves his cubicle. The term `gnoll'
(from Dungeons & Dragons) is also reported. 2. A curmudgeon attached
to an obsolescent computing environment. The combination `ITS
troglodyte' was flung around some during the Usenet and email
wringle-wrangle attending the 2.x.x revision of the Jargon File; at
least one of the people it was intended to describe adopted it with

Node:troglodyte mode, Next:[13645]Trojan horse,
Previous:[13646]troglodyte, Up:[13647]= T =

troglodyte mode n.

[Rice University] Programming with the lights turned off, sunglasses
on, and the terminal inverted (black on white) because you've been up
for so many days straight that your eyes hurt (see [13648]raster
burn). Loud music blaring from a stereo stacked in the corner is
optional but recommended. See [13649]larval stage, [13650]hack mode.

Node:Trojan horse, Next:[13651]troll, Previous:[13652]troglodyte mode,
Up:[13653]= T =

Trojan horse n.

[coined by MIT-hacker-turned-NSA-spook Dan Edwards] A malicious,
security-breaking program that is disguised as something benign, such
as a directory lister, archiver, game, or (in one notorious 1990 case
on the Mac) a program to find and destroy viruses! See [13654]back
door, [13655]virus, [13656]worm, [13657]phage, [13658]mockingbird.

Node:troll, Next:[13659]Troll-O-Meter, Previous:[13660]Trojan horse,
Up:[13661]= T =

troll v.,n.

1. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on
[13662]Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or
[13663]flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase "trolling
for [13664]newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a
style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping
for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of
newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than
they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and
experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don't fall
for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also [13665]YHBT. 2. An
individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious
arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list,
or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a
discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that the have no real
interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to
utter flame bait. Like the ugly creatures they are named after, they
exhibit no redeeming characteristics, and as such, they are recognized
as a lower form of life on the net, as in, "Oh, ignore him, he's just
a troll." 3. [Berkeley] Computer lab monitor. A popular campus job for
CS students. Duties include helping newbies and ensuring that lab
policies are followed. Probably so-called because it involves lurking
in dark cavelike corners.

Some people claim that the troll (sense 1) is properly a narrower
category than [13666]flame bait, that a troll is categorized by
containing some assertion that is wrong but not overtly controversial.
See also [13667]Troll-O-Meter.

The use of `troll' in either sense is a live metaphor that readily
produces elaborations and combining forms. For example, one not
infrequently sees the warning "Do not feed the troll" as part of a
followup to troll postings.

Node:Troll-O-Meter, Next:[13668]tron, Previous:[13669]troll,
Up:[13670]= T =

Troll-O-Meter n.

Common Usenet jargon for a notional instrument used to measure the
quality of a Usenet [13671]troll. "Come on, everyone! If the above
doesn't set off the Troll-O-Meter, we're going to have to get him to
run around with a big blinking sign saying `I am a troll, I'm only in
it for the controversy and flames' and shooting random gobs of
Jell-O(tm) at us before the point is proven." Mentions of the
Troll-O-Meter are often accompanied by an ASCII picture of an arrow
pointing at a numeric scale. Compare [13672]bogometer.

Node:tron, Next:[13673]true-hacker, Previous:[13674]Troll-O-Meter,
Up:[13675]= T =

tron v.

[NRL, CMU; prob. fr. the movie "Tron"] To become inaccessible except
via email or talk(1), especially when one is normally available via
telephone or in person. Frequently used in the past tense, as in: "Ran
seems to have tronned on us this week" or "Gee, Ran, glad you were
able to un-tron yourself". One may also speak of `tron mode'; compare

Note that many dialects of BASIC have a TRON/TROFF command pair that
enables/disables line number tracing; this has no obvious relationship
to the slang usage.

Node:true-hacker, Next:[13677]tty, Previous:[13678]tron, Up:[13679]= T

true-hacker n.

[analogy with `trufan' from SF fandom] One who exemplifies the primary
values of hacker culture, esp. competence and helpfulness to other
hackers. A high compliment. "He spent 6 hours helping me bring up UUCP
and netnews on my FOOBAR 4000 last week -- manifestly the act of a
true-hacker." Compare [13680]demigod, oppose [13681]munchkin.

Node:tty, Next:[13682]tube, Previous:[13683]true-hacker, Up:[13684]= T

tty /T-T-Y/, /tit'ee/ n.

The latter pronunciation was primarily ITS, but some Unix people say
it this way as well; this pronunciation is not considered to have
sexual undertones. 1. A terminal of the teletype variety,
characterized by a noisy mechanical printer, a very limited character
set, and poor print quality. Usage: antiquated (like the TTYs
themselves). See also [13685]bit-paired keyboard. 2. [especially Unix]
Any terminal at all; sometimes used to refer to the particular
terminal controlling a given job. 3. [Unix] Any serial port, whether
or not the device connected to it is a terminal; so called because
under Unix such devices have names of the form tty*. Ambiguity between
senses 2 and 3 is common but seldom bothersome.

Node:tube, Next:[13686]tube time, Previous:[13687]tty, Up:[13688]= T =


1. n. A CRT terminal. Never used in the mainstream sense of TV; real
hackers don't watch TV, except for Loony Toons, Rocky & Bullwinkle,
Trek Classic, the Simpsons, and the occasional cheesy old swashbuckler
movie. 2. [IBM] To send a copy of something to someone else's
terminal. "Tube me that note?"

Node:tube time, Next:[13689]tunafish, Previous:[13690]tube,
Up:[13691]= T =

tube time n.

Time spent at a terminal or console. More inclusive than hacking time;
commonly used in discussions of what parts of one's environment one
uses most heavily. "I find I'm spending too much of my tube time
reading mail since I started this revision."

Node:tunafish, Next:[13692]tune, Previous:[13693]tube time,
Up:[13694]= T =

tunafish n.

In hackish lore, refers to the mutated punchline of an age-old joke to
be found at the bottom of the manual pages of tunefs(8) in the
original [13695]BSD 4.2 distribution. The joke was removed in later
releases once commercial sites started using 4.2, but apparently
restored on the 4.4BSD tape and in {Net,Free,Open}BSD. Tunefs relates
to the `tuning' of file-system parameters for optimum performance, and
at the bottom of a few pages of wizardly inscriptions was a `BUGS'
section consisting of the line "You can tune a file system, but you
can't tunafish". Variants of this can be seen in other BSD versions,
though it has been excised from some versions by humorless management
[13696]droids. The [nt]roff source for SunOS 4.1.1 contains a comment
apparently designed to prevent this: "Take this out and a Unix Demon
will dog your steps from now until the time_t's wrap around."

[It has since been pointed out that indeed you can tunafish. Usually
at a canning factory... --ESR]

Node:tune, Next:[13697]turbo nerd, Previous:[13698]tunafish,
Up:[13699]= T =

tune vt.

[from automotive or musical usage] To optimize a program or system for
a particular environment, esp. by adjusting numerical parameters
designed as [13700]hooks for tuning, e.g., by changing #define lines
in C. One may `tune for time' (fastest execution), `tune for space'
(least memory use), or `tune for configuration' (most efficient use of
hardware). See [13701]bum, [13702]hot spot, [13703]hand-hacking.

Node:turbo nerd, Next:[13704]Turing tar-pit, Previous:[13705]tune,
Up:[13706]= T =

turbo nerd n.

See [13707]computer geek.

Node:Turing tar-pit, Next:[13708]turist, Previous:[13709]turbo nerd,
Up:[13710]= T =

Turing tar-pit n.

1. A place where anything is possible but nothing of interest is
practical. Alan Turing helped lay the foundations of computer science
by showing that all machines and languages capable of expressing a
certain very primitive set of operations are logically equivalent in
the kinds of computations they can carry out, and in principle have
capabilities that differ only in speed from those of the most powerful
and elegantly designed computers. However, no machine or language
exactly matching Turing's primitive set has ever been built (other
than possibly as a classroom exercise), because it would be horribly
slow and far too painful to use. A `Turing tar-pit' is any computer
language or other tool that shares this property. That is, it's
theoretically universal -- but in practice, the harder you struggle to
get any real work done, the deeper its inadequacies suck you in.
Compare [13711]bondage-and-discipline language. 2. The perennial
[13712]holy wars over whether language A or B is the "most powerful".

Node:turist, Next:[13713]Tux, Previous:[13714]Turing tar-pit,
Up:[13715]= T =

turist /too'rist/ n.

Var. sp. of [13716]tourist, q.v. Also in adjectival form, `turistic'.
Poss. influenced by [13717]luser and `Turing'.

Node:Tux, Next:[13718]tweak, Previous:[13719]turist, Up:[13720]= T =


Tux the Penguin is the official emblem of [13721]Linux, This
eventuated after a logo contest in 1996, during which Linus Torvalds
endorsed the idea of a penguin logo in a couple of famously funny
[13722]postings. Linus explained that he was once bitten by a killer
penguin in Australia and has felt a special affinity for the species
ever since. (Linus has since admitted that he was also thinking of
Feathers McGraw, the evil-genius penguin jewel thief who appeared in a
Wallace & Grommit feature cartoon, "The Wrong Trousers".)

Larry Ewing [13723]designed the official Tux logo. It has proved a
wise choice, amenable to hundreds of recognizable variations used as
emblems of Linux-related projects, products, and user groups. In fact,
Tux has spawned an entire mythology, of which the [13724]Gospel
According to Tux and the mock-epic poem "Tuxowolf" are among the
best-known examples.

There is a `real' Tux - a black-footed penguin resident at the Bristol
Zoo. Several friends of Linux bought a zoo sponsorship for Linus as a
birthday present in 1996.

Node:tweak, Next:[13725]tweeter, Previous:[13726]Tux, Up:[13727]= T =

tweak vt.

1. To change slightly, usually in reference to a value. Also used
synonymously with [13728]twiddle. If a program is almost correct,
rather than figure out the precise problem you might just keep
tweaking it until it works. See [13729]frobnicate and [13730]fudge
factor; also see [13731]shotgun debugging. 2. To [13732]tune or
[13733]bum a program; preferred usage in the U.K.

Node:tweeter, Next:[13734]TWENEX, Previous:[13735]tweak, Up:[13736]= T

tweeter n.

[University of Waterloo] Syn. [13737]perf, [13738]chad (sense 1). This
term (like [13739]woofer) has been in use at Waterloo since 1972 but
is elsewhere unknown. In audio jargon, the word refers to the treble
speaker(s) on a hi-fi.

Node:TWENEX, Next:[13740]twiddle, Previous:[13741]tweeter, Up:[13742]=
T =

TWENEX /twe'neks/ n.

The TOPS-20 operating system by [13743]DEC -- the second proprietary
OS for the PDP-10 -- preferred by most PDP-10 hackers over TOPS-10
(that is, by those who were not [13744]ITS or [13745]WAITS partisans).
TOPS-20 began in 1969 as Bolt, Beranek & Newman's TENEX operating
system using special paging hardware. By the early 1970s, almost all
of the systems on the ARPANET ran TENEX. DEC purchased the rights to
TENEX from BBN and began work to make it their own. The first in-house
code name for the operating system was VIROS (VIRtual memory Operating
System); when customers started asking questions, the name was changed
to SNARK so DEC could truthfully deny that there was any project
called VIROS. When the name SNARK became known, the name was briefly
reversed to become KRANS; this was quickly abandoned when someone
objected that `krans' meant `funeral wreath' in Swedish (though some
Swedish speakers have since said it means simply `wreath'; this part
of the story may be apocryphal). Ultimately DEC picked TOPS-20 as the
name of the operating system, and it was as TOPS-20 that it was
marketed. The hacker community, mindful of its origins, quickly dubbed
it TWENEX (a contraction of `twenty TENEX'), even though by this point
very little of the original TENEX code remained (analogously to the
differences between AT&T V6 Unix and BSD). DEC people cringed when
they heard "TWENEX", but the term caught on nevertheless (the written
abbreviation `20x' was also used). TWENEX was successful and very
popular; in fact, there was a period in the early 1980s when it
commanded as fervent a culture of partisans as Unix or ITS -- but
DEC's decision to scrap all the internal rivals to the VAX
architecture and its relatively stodgy VMS OS killed the DEC-20 and
put a sad end to TWENEX's brief day in the sun. DEC attempted to
convince TOPS-20 users to convert to [13746]VMS, but instead, by the
late 1980s, most of the TOPS-20 hackers had migrated to Unix.

Node:twiddle, Next:[13747]twilight zone, Previous:[13748]TWENEX,
Up:[13749]= T =

twiddle n.

1. Tilde (ASCII 1111110, ~). Also called `squiggle', `sqiggle' (sic --
pronounced /skig'l/), and `twaddle', but twiddle is the most common
term. 2. A small and insignificant change to a program. Usually fixes
one bug and generates several new ones (see also [13750]shotgun
debugging). 3. vt. To change something in a small way. Bits, for
example, are often twiddled. Twiddling a switch or [13751]knobs
implies much less sense of purpose than toggling or tweaking it; see
[13752]frobnicate. To speak of twiddling a bit connotes aimlessness,
and at best doesn't specify what you're doing to the bit; `toggling a
bit' has a more specific meaning (see [13753]bit twiddling,
[13754]toggle). 4. Uncommon name for the [13755]twirling baton prompt.

Node:twilight zone, Next:[13756]twink, Previous:[13757]twiddle,
Up:[13758]= T =

twilight zone n. //

[IRC] Notionally, the area of cyberspace where [13759]IRC operators
live. An [13760]op is said to have a "connection to the twilight

Node:twink, Next:[13761]twirling baton, Previous:[13762]twilight zone,
Up:[13763]= T =

twink /twink/ n.

1. [Berkeley] A clue-repellant user; the next step beyond a clueless
one. 2. [UCSC] A [13764]read-only user. Also reported on the Usenet
group soc.motss; may derive from gay slang for a cute young thing with
nothing upstairs (compare mainstream `chick').

Node:twirling baton, Next:[13765]two pi, Previous:[13766]twink,
Up:[13767]= T =

twirling baton n.

[PLATO] The overstrike sequence -/|\-/|\- which produces an animated
twirling baton. If you output it with a single backspace between
characters, the baton spins in place. If you output the sequence BS SP
between characters, the baton spins from left to right. If you output
BS SP BS BS between characters, the baton spins from right to left.
This is also occasionally called a twiddle prompt.

The twirling baton was a popular component of animated signature files
on the pioneering PLATO educational timesharing system. The archie
Internet service is perhaps the best-known baton program today; it
uses the twirling baton as an idler indicating that the program is
working on a query. The twirling baton is also used as a boot progress
indicator on several BSD variants of Unix; if it stops you're probably
going to have a long and trying day.

Node:two pi, Next:[13768]two-to-the-N, Previous:[13769]twirling baton,
Up:[13770]= T =

two pi quant.

The number of years it takes to finish one's thesis. Occurs in stories
in the following form: "He started on his thesis; 2 pi years later..."

Node:two-to-the-N, Next:[13771]twonkie, Previous:[13772]two pi,
Up:[13773]= T =

two-to-the-N quant.

An amount much larger than [13774]N but smaller than [13775]infinity.
"I have 2-to-the-N things to do before I can go out for lunch" means
you probably won't show up.

Node:twonkie, Next:[13776]u-, Previous:[13777]two-to-the-N,
Up:[13778]= T =

twonkie /twon'kee/ n.

The software equivalent of a Twinkie (a variety of sugar-loaded junk
food, or (in gay slang with a small t) the male equivalent of
`chick'); a useless `feature' added to look sexy and placate a
[13779]marketroid (compare [13780]Saturday-night special). The term
may also be related to "The Twonky", title menace of a classic SF
short story by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore), first
published in the September 1942 "Astounding Science Fiction" and
subsequently much anthologized.

Node:= U =, Next:[13781]= V =, Previous:[13782]= T =, Up:[13783]The
Jargon Lexicon

= U =

* [13784]u-:
* [13785]UBD:
* [13786]UBE:
* [13787]UCE:
* [13788]UDP:
* [13789]UN*X:
* [13790]undefined external reference:
* [13791]under the hood:
* [13792]undocumented feature:
* [13793]uninteresting:
* [13794]Unix:
* [13795]Unix brain damage:
* [13796]Unix conspiracy:
* [13797]Unix weenie:
* [13798]unixism:
* [13799]unswizzle:
* [13800]unwind the stack:
* [13801]unwind-protect:
* [13802]up:
* [13803]upload:
* [13804]upthread:
* [13805]urchin:
* [13806]URL:
* [13807]Usenet:
* [13808]Usenet Death Penalty:
* [13809]user:
* [13810]user-friendly:
* [13811]user-obsequious:
* [13812]userland:
* [13813]USG Unix:
* [13814]UTSL:
* [13815]UUCPNET:

Node:u-, Next:[13816]UBD, Previous:[13817]twonkie, Up:[13818]= U =

u- pref.

Written shorthand for [13819]micro-; techspeak when applied to metric
units, jargon when used otherwise. Derived from the Greek letter "mu",
the first letter of "micro" (and which letter looks a lot like the
English letter "u").

Node:UBD, Next:[13820]UBE, Previous:[13821]u-, Up:[13822]= U =

UBD /U-B-D/ n.

[abbreviation for `User Brain Damage'] An abbreviation used to close
out trouble reports obviously due to utter cluelessness on the user's
part. Compare [13823]pilot error; oppose [13824]PBD; see also

Node:UBE, Next:[13826]UCE, Previous:[13827]UBD, Up:[13828]= U =

UBE // n.

[abbrev., Unsoliclited Bulk Email] A widespread, more formal term for
email [13829]spam. Compare [13830]UCE. The UBE term recognizes that
spam is uttered by nonprofit and advocacy groups whose motives are not

Node:UCE, Next:[13831]UDP, Previous:[13832]UBE, Up:[13833]= U =

UCE n.

[abbrev., Unsolicited Commercial Email] A widespread, more formal term
for email [13834]spam. Compare [13835]UBE, which may be superseding

Node:UDP, Next:[13836]UN*X, Previous:[13837]UCE, Up:[13838]= U =

UDP /U-D-P/ v.,n.

[Usenet] Abbreviation for [13839]Usenet Death Penalty. Common
(probably now more so than the full form), and frequently verbed.
Compare [13840]IDP.

Node:UN*X, Next:[13841]undefined external reference,
Previous:[13842]UDP, Up:[13843]= U =

UN*X n.

Used to refer to the Unix operating system (a trademark of AT&T, then
of Novell, then of SCO, and then of Caldera) in writing, but avoiding
the need for the ugly [13844](TM) typography. Also used to refer to
any or all varieties of Unixoid operating systems. Ironically, lawyers
now say that the requirement for the trademark postfix has no legal
force, but the asterisk usage is entrenched anyhow. It has been
suggested that there may be a psychological connection to practice in
certain religions (especially Judaism) in which the name of the deity
is never written out in full, e.g., `YHWH' or `G-d' is used. See also
[13845]glob and [13846]splat out.

Node:undefined external reference, Next:[13847]under the hood,
Previous:[13848]UN*X, Up:[13849]= U =

undefined external reference excl.

[Unix] A message from Unix's linker. Used in speech to flag loose ends
or dangling references in an argument or discussion.

Node:under the hood, Next:[13850]undocumented feature,
Previous:[13851]undefined external reference, Up:[13852]= U =

under the hood adj.

[hot-rodder talk] 1. Used to introduce the underlying implementation
of a product (hardware, software, or idea). Implies that the
implementation is not intuitively obvious from the appearance, but the
speaker is about to enable the listener to [13853]grok it. "Let's now
look under the hood to see how ...." 2. Can also imply that the
implementation is much simpler than the appearance would indicate:
"Under the hood, we are just fork/execing the shell." 3. Inside a
chassis, as in "Under the hood, this baby has a 40MHz 68030!"

Node:undocumented feature, Next:[13854]uninteresting,
Previous:[13855]under the hood, Up:[13856]= U =

undocumented feature n.

See [13857]feature.

Node:uninteresting, Next:[13858]Unix, Previous:[13859]undocumented
feature, Up:[13860]= U =

uninteresting adj.

1. Said of a problem that, although [13861]nontrivial, can be solved
simply by throwing sufficient resources at it. 2. Also said of
problems for which a solution would neither advance the state of the
art nor be fun to design and code.

Hackers regard uninteresting problems as intolerable wastes of time,
to be solved (if at all) by lesser mortals. Real hackers (see
[13862]toolsmith) generalize uninteresting problems enough to make
them interesting and solve them -- thus solving the original problem
as a special case (and, it must be admitted, occasionally turning a
molehill into a mountain, or a mountain into a tectonic plate). See
[13863]WOMBAT, [13864]SMOP; compare [13865]toy problem, oppose

Node:Unix, Next:[13867]Unix brain damage,
Previous:[13868]uninteresting, Up:[13869]= U =

Unix /yoo'niks/ n.

[In the authors' words, "A weak pun on Multics"; very early on it was
`UNICS'] (also `UNIX') An interactive time-sharing system invented in
1969 by Ken Thompson after Bell Labs left the Multics project,
originally so he could play games on his scavenged PDP-7. Dennis
Ritchie, the inventor of C, is considered a co-author of the system.
The turning point in Unix's history came when it was reimplemented
almost entirely in C during 1972-1974, making it the first
source-portable OS. Unix subsequently underwent mutations and
expansions at the hands of many different people, resulting in a
uniquely flexible and developer-friendly environment. By 1991, Unix
had become the most widely used multiuser general-purpose operating
system in the world - and since 1996 the variiant called [13870]Linux
has been at the cutting edge of the [13871]open source movement. Many
people consider the success of Unix the most important victory yet of
hackerdom over industry opposition (but see [13872]Unix weenie and
[13873]Unix conspiracy for an opposing point of view). See
[13874]Version 7, [13875]BSD, [13876]USG Unix, [13877]Linux.

Some people are confused over whether this word is appropriately
`UNIX' or `Unix'; both forms are common, and used interchangeably.
Dennis Ritchie says that the `UNIX' spelling originally happened in
CACM's 1974 paper "The UNIX Time-Sharing System" because "we had a new
typesetter and [13878]troff had just been invented and we were
intoxicated by being able to produce small caps." Later, dmr tried to
get the spelling changed to `Unix' in a couple of Bell Labs papers, on
the grounds that the word is not acronymic. He failed, and eventually
(his words) "wimped out" on the issue. So, while the trademark today
is `UNIX', both capitalizations are grounded in ancient usage; the
Jargon File uses `Unix' in deference to dmr's wishes.

Node:Unix brain damage, Next:[13879]Unix conspiracy,
Previous:[13880]Unix, Up:[13881]= U =

Unix brain damage n.

Something that has to be done to break a network program (typically a
mailer) on a non-Unix system so that it will interoperate with Unix
systems. The hack may qualify as `Unix brain damage' if the program
conforms to published standards and the Unix program in question does
not. Unix brain damage happens because it is much easier for other
(minority) systems to change their ways to match non-conforming
behavior than it is to change all the hundreds of thousands of Unix
systems out there.

An example of Unix brain damage is a [13882]kluge in a mail server to
recognize bare line feed (the Unix newline) as an equivalent form to
the Internet standard newline, which is a carriage return followed by
a line feed. Such things can make even a hardened [13883]jock weep.

Node:Unix conspiracy, Next:[13884]Unix weenie, Previous:[13885]Unix
brain damage, Up:[13886]= U =

Unix conspiracy n.

[ITS] According to a conspiracy theory long popular among [13887]ITS
and [13888]TOPS-20 fans, Unix's growth is the result of a plot,
hatched during the 1970s at Bell Labs, whose intent was to hobble
AT&T's competitors by making them dependent upon a system whose future
evolution was to be under AT&T's control. This would be accomplished
by disseminating an operating system that is apparently inexpensive
and easily portable, but also relatively unreliable and insecure (so
as to require continuing upgrades from AT&T). This theory was lent a
substantial impetus in 1984 by the paper referenced in the [13889]back
door entry.

In this view, Unix was designed to be one of the first computer
viruses (see [13890]virus) -- but a virus spread to computers
indirectly by people and market forces, rather than directly through
disks and networks. Adherents of this `Unix virus' theory like to cite
the fact that the well-known quotation "Unix is snake oil" was uttered
by [13891]DEC president Kenneth Olsen shortly before DEC began
actively promoting its own family of Unix workstations. (Olsen now
claims to have been misquoted.)

[If there was ever such a conspiracy, it got thoroughly out of the
plotters' control after 1990. AT&T sold its UNIX operation to Novell
around the same time [13892]Linux and other free-UNIX distributions
were beginning to make noise. --ESR]

Node:Unix weenie, Next:[13893]unixism, Previous:[13894]Unix
conspiracy, Up:[13895]= U =

Unix weenie n.

[ITS] 1. A derogatory play on `Unix wizard', common among hackers who
use Unix by necessity but would prefer alternatives. The implication
is that although the person in question may consider mastery of Unix
arcana to be a wizardly skill, the only real skill involved is the
ability to tolerate (and the bad taste to wallow in) the incoherence
and needless complexity that is alleged to infest many Unix programs.
"This shell script tries to parse its arguments in 69 bletcherous
ways. It must have been written by a real Unix weenie." 2. A
derogatory term for anyone who engages in uncritical praise of Unix.
Often appearing in the context "stupid Unix weenie". See
[13896]Weenix, [13897]Unix conspiracy. See also [13898]weenie.

Node:unixism, Next:[13899]unswizzle, Previous:[13900]Unix weenie,
Up:[13901]= U =

unixism n.

A piece of code or a coding technique that depends on the protected
multi-tasking environment with relatively low process-spawn overhead
that exists on virtual-memory Unix systems. Common [13902]unixisms
include: gratuitous use of fork(2); the assumption that certain
undocumented but well-known features of Unix libraries such as
stdio(3) are supported elsewhere; reliance on [13903]obscure
side-effects of system calls (use of sleep(2) with a 0 argument to
clue the scheduler that you're willing to give up your time-slice, for
example); the assumption that freshly allocated memory is zeroed; and
the assumption that fragmentation problems won't arise from never
free()ing memory. Compare [13904]vaxocentrism; see also [13905]New

Node:unswizzle, Next:[13906]unwind the stack, Previous:[13907]unixism,
Up:[13908]= U =

unswizzle v.

See [13909]swizzle.

Node:unwind the stack, Next:[13910]unwind-protect,
Previous:[13911]unswizzle, Up:[13912]= U =

unwind the stack vi.

1. [techspeak] During the execution of a procedural language, one is
said to `unwind the stack' from a called procedure up to a caller when
one discards the stack frame and any number of frames above it,
popping back up to the level of the given caller. In C this is done
with longjmp/setjmp, in LISP or C++ with throw/catch. See also
[13913]smash the stack. 2. People can unwind the stack as well, by
quickly dealing with a bunch of problems: "Oh heck, let's do lunch.
Just a second while I unwind my stack."

Node:unwind-protect, Next:[13914]up, Previous:[13915]unwind the stack,
Up:[13916]= U =

unwind-protect n.

[MIT: from the name of a LISP operator] A task you must remember to
perform before you leave a place or finish a project. "I have an
unwind-protect to call my advisor."

Node:up, Next:[13917]upload, Previous:[13918]unwind-protect,
Up:[13919]= U =

up adj.

1. Working, in order. "The down escalator is up." Oppose [13920]down.
2. `bring up': vt. To create a working version and start it. "They
brought up a down system." 3. `come up' vi. To become ready for
production use.

Node:upload, Next:[13921]upthread, Previous:[13922]up, Up:[13923]= U =

upload /uhp'lohd/ v.

1. [techspeak] To transfer programs or data over a digital
communications link from a system near you (espercially a smaller or
peripheral `client' system) to one further away from you (especially a
larger or central `host' system). A transfer in the other direction
is, of course, called a [13924]download 2. [speculatively] To move the
essential patterns and algorithms that make up one's mind from one's
brain into a computer. Those who are convinced that such patterns and
algorithms capture the complete essence of the self view this prospect
with pleasant anticipation.

Node:upthread, Next:[13925]urchin, Previous:[13926]upload, Up:[13927]=
U =

upthread adv.

Earlier in the discussion (see [13928]thread), i.e., `above'. "As Joe
pointed out upthread, ..." See also [13929]followup.

Node:urchin, Next:[13930]URL, Previous:[13931]upthread, Up:[13932]= U

urchin n.

See [13933]munchkin.

Node:URL, Next:[13934]Usenet, Previous:[13935]urchin, Up:[13936]= U =

URL /U-R-L/ or /erl/ n.

Uniform Resource Locator, an address widget that identifies a document
or resource on the World Wide Web. This entry is here primarily to
record the fact that the term is commonly pronounced both /erl/, and
/U-R-L/ (the latter predominates in more formal contexts).

Node:Usenet, Next:[13937]Usenet Death Penalty, Previous:[13938]URL,
Up:[13939]= U =

Usenet /yoos'net/ or /yooz'net/ n.

[from `Users' Network'; the original spelling was USENET, but the
mixed-case form is now widely preferred] A distributed [13940]bboard
(bulletin board) system supported mainly by Unix machines. Originally
implemented in 1979-1980 by Steve Bellovin, Jim Ellis, Tom Truscott,
and Steve Daniel at Duke University, it has swiftly grown to become
international in scope and is now probably the largest decentralized
information utility in existence. As of early 1996, it hosts over
10,000 [13941]newsgroups and an average of over 500 megabytes (the
equivalent of several thousand paper pages) of new technical articles,
news, discussion, chatter, and [13942]flamage every day (and that
leaves out the graphics...).

By the year the Internet hit the mainstream (1994) the original UUCP
transport for Usenet was fading out of use (see [13943]UUCPNET) -
almost all Usenet connections were over Internet links. A lot of
newbies and journalists began to refer to "Internet newsgroups" as
though Usenet was and always had been just another Internet service.
This ignorance greatly annoys experienced Usenetters.

Node:Usenet Death Penalty, Next:[13944]user, Previous:[13945]Usenet,
Up:[13946]= U =

Usenet Death Penalty

[Usenet] A sanction against sites that habitually spew Usenet
[13947]spam. This can be either passive or active. A passive UDP
refers to the dropping of all postings by a particular domain so as to
inhibit propagation. An active UDP refers to third-party cancellation
of all postings by the UDPed domain. A partial UDP is one which
applies only to certain newsgroups or hierarchies in Usenet. Compare
[13948]Internet Death Penalty, with which this term is sometimes

Node:user, Next:[13949]user-friendly, Previous:[13950]Usenet Death
Penalty, Up:[13951]= U =

user n.

1. Someone doing `real work' with the computer, using it as a means
rather than an end. Someone who pays to use a computer. See
[13952]real user. 2. A programmer who will believe anything you tell
him. One who asks silly questions. [GLS observes: This is slightly
unfair. It is true that users ask questions (of necessity). Sometimes
they are thoughtful or deep. Very often they are annoying or downright
stupid, apparently because the user failed to think for two seconds or
look in the documentation before bothering the maintainer.] See
[13953]luser. 3. Someone who uses a program from the outside, however
skillfully, without getting into the internals of the program. One who
reports bugs instead of just going ahead and fixing them.

The general theory behind this term is that there are two classes of
people who work with a program: there are implementors (hackers) and
[13954]lusers. The users are looked down on by hackers to some extent
because they don't understand the full ramifications of the system in
all its glory. (The few users who do are known as `real winners'.) The
term is a relative one: a skilled hacker may be a user with respect to
some program he himself does not hack. A LISP hacker might be one who
maintains LISP or one who uses LISP (but with the skill of a hacker).
A LISP user is one who uses LISP, whether skillfully or not. Thus
there is some overlap between the two terms; the subtle distinctions
must be resolved by context.

Node:user-friendly, Next:[13955]user-obsequious, Previous:[13956]user,
Up:[13957]= U =

user-friendly adj.

Programmer-hostile. Generally used by hackers in a critical tone, to
describe systems that hold the user's hand so obsessively that they
make it painful for the more experienced and knowledgeable to get any
work done. See [13958]menuitis, [13959]drool-proof paper,
[13960]Macintrash, [13961]user-obsequious.

Node:user-obsequious, Next:[13962]userland,
Previous:[13963]user-friendly, Up:[13964]= U =

user-obsequious adj.

Emphatic form of [13965]user-friendly. Connotes a system so verbose,
inflexible, and determinedly simple-minded that it is nearly unusable.
"Design a system any fool can use and only a fool will want to use
it." See [13966]WIMP environment, [13967]Macintrash.

Node:userland, Next:[13968]USG Unix, Previous:[13969]user-obsequious,
Up:[13970]= U =

userland n.

Anywhere outside the kernel. "That code belongs in userland." This
term has been in common use among [13971]Linux kernel hackers since at
leat 1997, and seems to have originated in that community.

Node:USG Unix, Next:[13972]UTSL, Previous:[13973]userland, Up:[13974]=
U =

USG Unix /U-S-G yoo'niks/ n.,obs.

Refers to AT&T Unix commercial versions after [13975]Version 7,
especially System III and System V releases 1, 2, and 3. So called
because during most of the lifespan of those versions AT&T's support
crew was called the `Unix Support Group', but it is applied to version
that pre- and post-dated the USG group but were of the same lineage.
This term is now historical. See [13976]BSD, [13977]Unix.

Node:UTSL, Next:[13978]UUCPNET, Previous:[13979]USG Unix, Up:[13980]=
U =

UTSL // n.

[Unix] On-line acronym for `Use the Source, Luke' (a pun on Obi-Wan
Kenobi's "Use the Force, Luke!" in "Star Wars") -- analogous to
[13981]RTFS (sense 1), but more polite. This is a common way of
suggesting that someone would be better off reading the source code
that supports whatever feature is causing confusion, rather than
making yet another futile pass through the manuals, or broadcasting
questions on Usenet that haven't attracted [13982]wizards to answer

Once upon a time in [13983]elder days, everyone running Unix had
source. After 1978, AT&T's policy tightened up, so this objurgation
was in theory appropriately directed only at associates of some outfit
with a Unix source license. In practice, bootlegs of Unix source code
(made precisely for reference purposes) were so ubiquitous that one
could utter it at almost anyone on the network without concern.

Nowadays, free Unix clones have become widely enough distributed that
anyone can read source legally. The most widely distributed is
certainly Linux, with variants of the NET/2 and 4.4BSD distributions
running second. Cheap commercial Unixes with source such as BSD/OS are
accelerating this trend.

Node:UUCPNET, Next:[13984]V7, Previous:[13985]UTSL, Up:[13986]= U =

UUCPNET n. obs.

The store-and-forward network consisting of all the world's connected
Unix machines (and others running some clone of the UUCP (Unix-to-Unix
CoPy) software). Any machine reachable only via a [13987]bang path is
on UUCPNET. This term has been rendered obsolescent by the spread of
cheap Internet connections in the 1990s; the few remaining UUCP links
are essentially slow channels to the Internet rather than an
autonomous network. See [13988]network address.

Node:= V =, Next:[13989]= W =, Previous:[13990]= U =, Up:[13991]The
Jargon Lexicon

= V =

* [13992]V7:
* [13993]vadding:
* [13994]vanilla:
* [13995]vanity domain:
* [13996]vannevar:
* [13997]vaporware:
* [13998]var:
* [13999]vaston:
* [14000]VAX:
* [14001]VAXectomy:
* [14002]VAXen:
* [14003]vaxherd:
* [14004]vaxism:
* [14005]vaxocentrism:
* [14006]vdiff:
* [14007]veeblefester:
* [14008]velveeta:
* [14009]ventilator card:
* [14010]Venus flytrap:
* [14011]verbage:
* [14012]verbiage:
* [14013]Version 7:
* [14014]vgrep:
* [14015]vi:
* [14016]video toaster:
* [14017]videotex:
* [14018]virgin:
* [14019]virtual:
* [14020]virtual beer:
* [14021]virtual Friday:
* [14022]virtual reality:
* [14023]virtual shredder:
* [14024]virus:
* [14025]visionary:
* [14026]VMS:
* [14027]voice:
* [14028]voice-net:
* [14029]voodoo programming:
* [14030]VR:
* [14031]Vulcan nerve pinch:
* [14032]vulture capitalist:

Node:V7, Next:[14033]vadding, Previous:[14034]UUCPNET, Up:[14035]= V =

V7 /V'sev'en/ n.

See [14036]Version 7.

Node:vadding, Next:[14037]vanilla, Previous:[14038]V7, Up:[14039]= V =

vadding /vad'ing/ n.

[from VAD, a permutation of ADV (i.e., [14040]ADVENT), used to avoid a
particular [14041]admin's continual search-and-destroy sweeps for the
game] A leisure-time activity of certain hackers involving the covert
exploration of the `secret' parts of large buildings -- basements,
roofs, freight elevators, maintenance crawlways, steam tunnels, and
the like. A few go so far as to learn locksmithing in order to
synthesize vadding keys. The verb is `to vad' (compare
[14042]phreaking; see also [14043]hack, sense 9). This term dates from
the late 1970s, before which such activity was simply called
`hacking'; the older usage is still prevalent at MIT.

The most extreme and dangerous form of vadding is `elevator rodeo',
a.k.a. `elevator surfing', a sport played by wrasslin' down a
thousand-pound elevator car with a 3-foot piece of string, and then
exploiting this mastery in various stimulating ways (such as elevator
hopping, shaft exploration, rat-racing, and the ever-popular drop
experiments). Kids, don't try this at home! See also [14044]hobbit
(sense 2).

Node:vanilla, Next:[14045]vanity domain, Previous:[14046]vadding,
Up:[14047]= V =

vanilla adj.

[from the default flavor of ice cream in the U.S.] Ordinary
[14048]flavor, standard. When used of food, very often does not mean
that the food is flavored with vanilla extract! For example, `vanilla
wonton soup' means ordinary wonton soup, as opposed to hot-and-sour
wonton soup. Applied to hardware and software, as in "Vanilla Version
7 Unix can't run on a vanilla 11/34." Also used to orthogonalize chip
nomenclature; for instance, a 74V00 means what TI calls a 7400, as
distinct from a 74LS00, etc. This word differs from [14049]canonical
in that the latter means `default', whereas vanilla simply means
`ordinary'. For example, when hackers go on a [14050]great-wall,
hot-and-sour soup is the [14051]canonical soup to get (because that is
what most of them usually order) even though it isn't the vanilla
(wonton) soup.

Node:vanity domain, Next:[14052]vannevar, Previous:[14053]vanilla,
Up:[14054]= V =

vanity domain n.

[common; from `vanity plate' as in car license plate] An Internet
domain, particularly in the .com or .org top-level domains, apparently
created for no reason other than boosting the creator's ego.

Node:vannevar, Next:[14055]vaporware, Previous:[14056]vanity domain,
Up:[14057]= V =

vannevar /van'*-var/ n.

A bogus technological prediction or a foredoomed engineering concept,
esp. one that fails by implicitly assuming that technologies develop
linearly, incrementally, and in isolation from one another when in
fact the learning curve tends to be highly nonlinear, revolutions are
common, and competition is the rule. The prototype was Vannevar Bush's
prediction of `electronic brains' the size of the Empire State
Building with a Niagara-Falls-equivalent cooling system for their
tubes and relays, a prediction made at a time when the semiconductor
effect had already been demonstrated. Other famous vannevars have
included magnetic-bubble memory, LISP machines, [14058]videotex, and a
paper from the late 1970s that computed a purported ultimate limit on
areal density for ICs that was in fact less than the routine densities
of 5 years later.

Node:vaporware, Next:[14059]var, Previous:[14060]vannevar, Up:[14061]=
V =

vaporware /vay'pr-weir/ n.

Products announced far in advance of any release (which may or may not
actually take place). See also [14062]brochureware.

Node:var, Next:[14063]vaston, Previous:[14064]vaporware, Up:[14065]= V

var /veir/ or /var/ n.

Short for `variable'. Compare [14066]arg, [14067]param.

Node:vaston, Next:[14068]VAX, Previous:[14069]var, Up:[14070]= V =

vaston n.

[Durham, UK] The unit of `load average'. A measure of how much work a
computer is doing. A meter displaying this as a function of time is
known as a `vastometer'. First used during a computing practical in
December 1996.

Node:VAX, Next:[14071]VAXectomy, Previous:[14072]vaston, Up:[14073]= V

VAX /vaks/ n.

1. [from Virtual Address eXtension] The most successful minicomputer
design in industry history, possibly excepting its immediate ancestor,
the PDP-11. Between its release in 1978 and its eclipse by
[14074]killer micros after about 1986, the VAX was probably the
hacker's favorite machine of them all, esp. after the 1982 release of
4.2 BSD Unix (see [14075]BSD). Esp. noted for its large,
assembler-programmer-friendly instruction set -- an asset that became
a liability after the RISC revolution. 2. A major brand of vacuum
cleaner in Britain. Cited here because its sales pitch, "Nothing sucks
like a VAX!" became a sort of battle-cry of RISC partisans. It is even
sometimes claimed that DEC actually entered a cross-licensing deal
with the vacuum-Vax people that allowed them to market VAX computers
in the U.K. in return for not challenging the vacuum cleaner trademark
in the U.S.

A rival brand actually pioneered the slogan: its original form was
"Nothing sucks like Electrolux". It has apparently become a classic
example (used in advertising textbooks) of the perils of not knowing
the local idiom. But in 1996, the press manager of Electrolux AB,
while confirming that the company used this slogan in the late 1960s,
also tells us that their marketing people were fully aware of the
possible double entendre and intended it to gain attention.

And gain attention it did - the VAX-vacuum-cleaner people thought the
slogan a sufficiently good idea to copy it. Several British hackers
report that VAX's promotions used it in 1986-1987, and we have one
report from a New Zealander that the infamous slogan surfaced there in
TV ads for the product in 1992.

Node:VAXectomy, Next:[14076]VAXen, Previous:[14077]VAX, Up:[14078]= V

VAXectomy /vak-sek't*-mee/ n.

[by analogy with `vasectomy'] A VAX removal. [14079]DEC's Microvaxen,
especially, are much slower than newer RISC-based workstations such as
the SPARC. Thus, if one knows one has a replacement coming, VAX
removal can be cause for celebration.

Node:VAXen, Next:[14080]vaxherd, Previous:[14081]VAXectomy,
Up:[14082]= V =

VAXen /vak'sn/ n.

[from `oxen', perhaps influenced by `vixen'] (alt. `vaxen') The plural
canonically used among hackers for the [14083]DEC VAX computers. "Our
installation has four PDP-10s and twenty vaxen." See [14084]boxen.

Node:vaxherd, Next:[14085]vaxism, Previous:[14086]VAXen, Up:[14087]= V

vaxherd /vaks'herd/ n. obs.

[from `oxherd'] A VAX operator. The image is reinforced because VAXen
actually did tend to come in herds, technically known as `clusters'.

Node:vaxism, Next:[14088]vaxocentrism, Previous:[14089]vaxherd,
Up:[14090]= V =

vaxism /vak'sizm/ n.

A piece of code that exhibits [14091]vaxocentrism in critical areas.
Compare [14092]PC-ism, [14093]unixism.

Node:vaxocentrism, Next:[14094]vdiff, Previous:[14095]vaxism,
Up:[14096]= V =

vaxocentrism /vak`soh-sen'trizm/ n.

[analogy with `ethnocentrism'] A notional disease said to afflict C
programmers who persist in coding according to certain assumptions
that are valid (esp. under Unix) on [14097]VAXen but false elsewhere.
Among these are:
1. The assumption that dereferencing a null pointer is safe because
it is all bits 0, and location 0 is readable and 0. Problem: this
may instead cause an illegal-address trap on non-VAXen, and even
on VAXen under OSes other than BSD Unix. Usually this is an
implicit assumption of sloppy code (forgetting to check the
pointer before using it), rather than deliberate exploitation of a
2. The assumption that characters are signed.
3. The assumption that a pointer to any one type can freely be cast
into a pointer to any other type. A stronger form of this is the
assumption that all pointers are the same size and format, which
means you don't have to worry about getting the casts or types
correct in calls. Problem: this fails on word-oriented machines or
others with multiple pointer formats.
4. The assumption that the parameters of a routine are stored in
memory, on a stack, contiguously, and in strictly ascending or
descending order. Problem: this fails on many RISC architectures.
5. The assumption that pointer and integer types are the same size,
and that pointers can be stuffed into integer variables (and
vice-versa) and drawn back out without being truncated or mangled.
Problem: this fails on segmented architectures or word-oriented
machines with funny pointer formats.
6. The assumption that a data type of any size may begin at any byte
address in memory (for example, that you can freely construct and
dereference a pointer to a word- or greater-sized object at an odd
char address). Problem: this fails on many (esp. RISC)
architectures better optimized for [14098]HLL execution speed, and
can cause an illegal address fault or bus error.
7. The (related) assumption that there is no padding at the end of
types and that in an array you can thus step right from the last
byte of a previous component to the first byte of the next one.
This is not only machine- but compiler-dependent.
8. The assumption that memory address space is globally flat and that
the array reference foo[-1] is necessarily valid. Problem: this
fails at 0, or other places on segment-addressed machines like
Intel chips (yes, segmentation is universally considered a
[14099]brain-damaged way to design machines (see [14100]moby), but
that is a separate issue).
9. The assumption that objects can be arbitrarily large with no
special considerations. Problem: this fails on segmented
architectures and under non-virtual-addressing environments.
10. The assumption that the stack can be as large as memory. Problem:
this fails on segmented architectures or almost anything else
without virtual addressing and a paged stack.
11. The assumption that bits and addressable units within an object
are ordered in the same way and that this order is a constant of
nature. Problem: this fails on [14101]big-endian machines.
12. The assumption that it is meaningful to compare pointers to
different objects not located within the same array, or to objects
of different types. Problem: the former fails on segmented
architectures, the latter on word-oriented machines or others with
multiple pointer formats.
13. The assumption that an int is 32 bits, or (nearly equivalently)
the assumption that sizeof(int) == sizeof(long). Problem: this
fails on PDP-11s, 286-based systems and even on 386 and 68000
systems under some compilers (and on 64-bit systems like the
Alpha, of course).
14. The assumption that argv[] is writable. Problem: this fails in
many embedded-systems C environments and even under a few flavors
of Unix.

Note that a programmer can validly be accused of vaxocentrism even if
he or she has never seen a VAX. Some of these assumptions (esp. 2-5)
were valid on the PDP-11, the original C machine, and became endemic
years before the VAX. The terms `vaxocentricity' and
`all-the-world's-a-VAX syndrome' have been used synonymously.

Node:vdiff, Next:[14102]veeblefester, Previous:[14103]vaxocentrism,
Up:[14104]= V =

vdiff /vee'dif/ v.,n.

Visual diff. The operation of finding differences between two files by
[14105]eyeball search. The term `optical diff' has also been reported,
and is sometimes more specifically used for the act of superimposing
two nearly identical printouts on one another and holding them up to a
light to spot differences. Though this method is poor for detecting
omissions in the `rear' file, it can also be used with printouts of
graphics, a claim few if any diff programs can make. See [14106]diff.

Node:veeblefester, Next:[14107]velveeta, Previous:[14108]vdiff,
Up:[14109]= V =

veeblefester /vee'b*l-fes`tr/ n.

[from the "Born Loser" comix via Commodore; prob. originally from
"Mad" Magazine's `Veeblefetzer' parodies beginning in #15, 1954] Any
obnoxious person engaged in the (alleged) professions of marketing or
management. Antonym of [14110]hacker. Compare [14111]suit,

Node:velveeta, Next:[14113]ventilator card,
Previous:[14114]veeblefester, Up:[14115]= V =

velveeta n.

[Usenet: by analogy with [14116]spam. The trade name Velveeta is
attached in the U.S. to a particularly nasty processed-cheese spread.]
Also knows as [14117]ECP; a message that is excessively cross-posted,
as opposed to [14118]spam which is too frequently posted. This term is
widely recognized but not commonly used; most people refer to both
kinds of abuse as spam. Compare [14119]jello.

Node:ventilator card, Next:[14120]Venus flytrap,
Previous:[14121]velveeta, Up:[14122]= V =

ventilator card n.

Syn. [14123]lace card.

Node:Venus flytrap, Next:[14124]verbage, Previous:[14125]ventilator
card, Up:[14126]= V =

Venus flytrap n.

[after the insect-eating plant] See [14127]firewall machine.

Node:verbage, Next:[14128]verbiage, Previous:[14129]Venus flytrap,
Up:[14130]= V =

verbage /ver'b*j/ n.

A deliberate misspelling and mispronunciation of [14131]verbiage that
assimilates it to the word `garbage'. Compare [14132]content-free.
More pejorative than `verbiage'.

Node:verbiage, Next:[14133]Version 7, Previous:[14134]verbage,
Up:[14135]= V =

verbiage n.

When the context involves a software or hardware system, this refers
to [14136]documentation. This term borrows the connotations of
mainstream `verbiage' to suggest that the documentation is of marginal
utility and that the motives behind its production have little to do
with the ostensible subject.

Node:Version 7, Next:[14137]vgrep, Previous:[14138]verbiage,
Up:[14139]= V =

Version 7 alt. V7 /vee' se'vn/ n.

The first widely distributed version of [14140]Unix, released
unsupported by Bell Labs in 1978. The term is used adjectivally to
describe Unix features and programs that date from that release, and
are thus guaranteed to be present and portable in all Unix versions
(this was the standard gauge of portability before the POSIX and IEEE
1003 standards). Note that this usage does not derive from the release
being the "seventh version of [14141]Unix"; research [14142]Unix at
Bell Labs has traditionally been numbered according to the edition of
the associated documentation. Indeed, only the widely-distributed
Sixth and Seventh Editions are widely known as V[67]; the OS that
might today be known as `V10' is instead known in full as "Tenth
Edition Research Unix" or just "Tenth Edition" for short. For this
reason, "V7" is often read by cognoscenti as "Seventh Edition". See
[14143]BSD, [14144]USG Unix, [14145]Unix. Some old-timers impatient
with commercialization and kernel bloat still maintain that V7 was the
Last True Unix.

Node:vgrep, Next:[14146]vi, Previous:[14147]Version 7, Up:[14148]= V =

vgrep /vee'grep/ v.,n.

Visual grep. The operation of finding patterns in a file optically
rather than digitally (also called an `optical grep'). See
[14149]grep; compare [14150]vdiff.

Node:vi, Next:[14151]video toaster, Previous:[14152]vgrep, Up:[14153]=
V =

vi /V-I/, not /vi:/ and never /siks/ n.

[from `Visual Interface'] A screen editor crufted together by Bill Joy
for an early [14154]BSD release. Became the de facto standard Unix
editor and a nearly undisputed hacker favorite outside of MIT until
the rise of [14155]EMACS after about 1984. Tends to frustrate new
users no end, as it will neither take commands while expecting input
text nor vice versa, and the default setup on older versions provides
no indication of which mode the editor is in (years ago, a
correspondent reported that he has often heard the editor's name
pronounced /vi:l/; there is now a vi clone named `vile'). Nevertheless
vi (and variants such as vim and elvis) is still widely used (about
half the respondents in a 1991 Usenet poll preferred it), and even
EMACS fans often resort to it as a mail editor and for small editing
jobs (mainly because it starts up faster than the bulkier versions of
EMACS). See [14156]holy wars.

Node:video toaster, Next:[14157]videotex, Previous:[14158]vi,
Up:[14159]= V =

video toaster n.

Historically, an Amiga fitted with a particular line of special video
effects hardware from NewTek - long a popular platform at
special-effects and video production houses. More generally, any
computer system designed specifically for video production and
manipulation. Compare [14160]web toaster and see [14161]toaster.

Node:videotex, Next:[14162]virgin, Previous:[14163]video toaster,
Up:[14164]= V =

videotex n. obs.

An electronic service offering people the privilege of paying to read
the weather on their television screens instead of having somebody
read it to them for free while they brush their teeth. The idea bombed
everywhere it wasn't government-subsidized, because by the time
videotex was practical the installed base of personal computers could
hook up to timesharing services and do the things for which videotex

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