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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 

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 

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 

grovel - v.  To work interminably, examine minutely or in extreme 

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 

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 

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 

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.