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*********************************************************************** This article is being presented through the *StarBoard* Journal of the FlagShip/StarShip SIGs (Special Interest Groups) on Delphi and GEnie telecommunication networks. Permission is hereby granted to non-profit organizations only to reprint this article or pass it along electronic- ally as long as proper credit is given to both the author and the *StarBoard* Journal. *********************************************************************** A Short 'HACKERSPEAK' Glossary - A reference to a few of the terms used by many computer hackers. - (Researched and compiled by members of the Hollywood User Group) - arg - (argh) noun. An argument, in the mathematical sense. automagically - adverb. Automatically, but in a way which, for some reason (for example, because it's too complicated or too trivial) the speaker doesn't feel like explaining. bells and whistles - n. Unnecessary (but often convenient, useful, good-looking, or amusing) features of a program or other object. Added to a bare-bones, working program. bit - n. 1) A unit of information obtained by asking a question (e.g. - 'I need a few bits about Punter protocol') 2) A mental flag; reminder that something should be done eventually. buffer - verb. The act of saving or setting aside something to be done later. (e.g. - 'I'm going to buffer that and go eat now'). bug - n. A problem or mistake; unwanted property or side effect. Usually of a program, but can refer to a person. Can be very simple or very complicated. Antonym: FEATURE. bum - v. To improve something by rearranging or removing its parts. Most often done to a program to increase speed or save memory space, usually at the expense of clarity. buzz - v. Of a program, to run without visible progress or certainty of finishing. Resembles CATATONIA except that a buzzing loop may eventually end. canonical - (ki NAHN i kil) adjective. Standard, usual or ordinary way of doing something. catatonia - n. A condition in which something is supposed to happen, but nothing does. (e.g. - Nothing you type will appear on the screen. It's catatonic. Often means a CRASH has occured.) crash - 1) n. Sudden, drastic failure. Usually refers to a complete computer system or program. 2) v. To fail suddenly or cause to fail. 3) v. Of people, to go to sleep. creeping featurism - n. Tendency for anything complicated to become even more so because people keep saying, 'Hey, it would be terrific if the program had this feature, and could do this, and...' The result is a patchwork program, confusing to read, with a lot of 'neat' features. crock - n. Said of a program that works, but in an extremely awkward or cumbersome manner. crunch - v. To process, usually in a time-consuming, complex way. Example: Performing large, repetitive numerical computations is called 'number crunching'. 2) v. To reduce the size of a file (often in a complicated way) to save space. dec'ed out - (decked out) adj. Stoned, drunk (and possibly trying to program, regardless). Uncomplimentary. Derives from the 65-- series ML opcode DECrement, i.e.: decrease a value. elegant - adj. Said of a piece of code that does the RIGHT THING in a way beautiful to look at. feature - n. An extra property or behaviour added to a program that already does the job. May or may not be useful, necessary or convenient. fencepost error - n. A mathematical 'off-by-one' error. Most often found in programs that must count loops (it will count one time too many, or too few). Term comes from the problem: 'If you build a fence 100 feet long with posts 10 feet apart, how many posts fo you need?' Example: Suppose you want to process an array of items x thru y. How many are there? The correct answer is x-y+1 (not x-y, which would be off by one). flavor - n. variety, kind, type. (flavorful - adj. Aesthetically pleasing). flush - v. To scratch, delete or destroy something. Often something superfluous or useless. fudge - v. Perform in an incomplete, but marginally acceptable way. 'I fudged it, so it works.' GC - (jee see) 1) v. To clean up, throw away useless things. 2) To forget. GC is an abreviation of the term 'Garbage Collection', the common method of freeing up memory space. glitch - n. Sudden interruption in electrical service, common sense, or program function. Usually happens only when you pray that it doesn't. grovel - v. To work interminably, examine minutely or in extreme detail. gun - v. To forcibly terminate a program. 'It was a boring display, so I gunned it.' hack - n. An appropriate application of ingenuity. It could be a quick-and-dirty bug fix, or a time-consuming and elegant work of art. A clever technique. hack value - n. The motivation for expending effort and time toward a seemingly pointless goal, the point being the resulting hack. hack attack - n. Period of greatly increased hacking activity. Not to be confused with a Mac-Attack. hacker - n. 1) One who greatly enjoys learning the details of a computer system and how to stretch their capabilities (as opposed to REAL USERS who learn only the minimum amount necessary). 2) One who programs enthusiastically, rather than just theorizing about it. 3) One capable of appreciating HACK VALUE. 4) An expert of any kind 5) A malicious or inquisitive meddler (in the case of a 'system hacker' or a 'password hacker'). inc it up - (also 'incing') v. Specifically related to studying, reading, or learning ML. Derives from the 65-- series ML instruction INCrement a value; i.e. increase it. jock - n. Programmer characterized by the large, cumbersome, brute-force programs he/she writes. The programs may work, but slowly, inelegantly, or in an ugly way. kludge - (kloog) 1) n. Clever programming trick, most often to fix a bug. Efficient, but maybe unclear. 2) v. To insert a kludge into a program (to fix a bug or add a feature). magic - adj. Something as yet unexplained or too complex to imagine. M&M's - n. Mental and Midget; i.e. Mental Midget. Uncomplimentary term applied most often to 'system hackers' who intrude for disruptive or destructive purposes (like to crash BBS's). misfeature - n. A FEATURE that eventually turns out to be more trouble than it was worth, possibly because it is inadequate for a new user or situation that has evolved. Misfeatures are different from bugs or side-effects in that they are often more basic to the program design and, at one time, were carefully planned. moby - 1) adj. Immense, complex, or impressive. 2) n. Total size of a computers address space. mode - n. A general state. Examples: DAY MODE - state a person is in when s/he is working days and sleeping nights. mumble - interjection. Said when the correct response is too complicated to put into words or has not been thought out. Can indicate a reluctance to enter a long discussion. mumblage - n. The subject matter of one's mumbling. Replaces 'all that stuff'. nop around (or nopping) - v. Hanging out; not doing much; not programming. Derives from the 65-- series ML instruction code 'NOP' (No OPeration). obie (or o.b.) - n. Derives from a pun with the word 'OverByte'. Usually relates to a ML routine that doesn't work because of some small mistake, possibly an incorrect addressing mode or even a typing error. Most often one or two bytes wrong. patch - 1) n. Piece of code intended as a quick-and-dirty remedy to a BUG or MISFEATURE. 2) v. To fix something temporarily; insert a patch into a piece of code; make the main program machine-specific. punt - v. To give up; decide not to do. rave - v. 1) To persist in discussing something. 2) To speak authoritatively about that which one knows very little. 3) To proselytize. real user - n. A commercial user; a non-hacker who uses computer applications only. Real World, The - n. 1) Places where programs have only business applications. 2) Institutions such as IBM. 3) The location of non-programmers and non-programming activity. The first two definitions are uncomplimentary; the third is not. Right Thing, The - n. that which is obviously the appropriate thing to use, do, say, etc. rude - (rood or roo-day) adj. Programs badly written or functionally poor. sacred - adj. Reserved for the exclusive use of something. Usually refers to memory location or register that shouldn't be used because what is stored there must not change. slurp - v. To read a large data file into memory before using or processing data. smart - adj. Said of a program (or something) that does THE RIGHT THING. SMOP - n. An acronym for a 'Small Matter Of Programming'. A piece of code that would not at all be hard to write, but would take a very long time because of its size. Not worth the trouble. snail mail - n. Mail sent via Post Office, rather than electronically. software rot - n. Hypothetical disease that causes working programs to stop working when unused for a period of time. tense - adj. Of programs, very clever and efficient. A tense programmer produces tense code. vanilla - adj. Standard, usual, or ordinary FLAVOR. zero - v. 1) To set a bit or variable to zero. 2) To erase, or discard all data from. zorch - v. 1) To move quickly. 2) Influences. 3) Energy or ability.