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Signature Word 2003 : Student Center : Tips for Communicating Online : Understanding Computer Jargon

by Nita Rutkosky

Understanding Computer Jargon

How to Speak Computerese

ACK to acknowledge one's presence
AFAIK as far as I know
AFJ April Fool's joke (a long-time tradition on Usenet and the Internet)
AFK away from keyboard; used to notify others that you will be temporarily unavailable online
alpha geek the most technically accomplished or skillful person in a particular situation
ambimousterous able to use a mouse with either hand
annoyware a type of shareware that periodically interrupts normal program operation to display a request for payment
bloatware software that provides minimal functionality while requiring a great deal of disk space and memory
cobweb site a dead Web page; a Web site that has not been updated for a long time
cookie jar an area of memory set aside for storing cookies
cybercad the electronic equivalent of a lounge lizard
daemon a program that is not called up explicitly but lies dormant waiting for some condition to occur
dancing frog a problem that occurs on a computer but will not reappear while anyone else is watching
doc program documentation
egosurf to search the Net for your name or links to your Web pages
elder days the heroic age of hackerdom (pre-1980); adopted from The Lord of the Rings
farkled crashed, down, not operating
finger a program that displays information about a particular user or all users logged on to a system
fried not working due to hardware failure; burned out; especially used of hardware brought down by a power glitch
gib to destroy completely, with no trace left
Godzillagram a network packet that in theory is a broadcast to every machine in the universe; a network packet of maximum size
hamster a mouse without a tail (but with an infrared link to a receiver on the computer)
hang (v.) to wait for an event that will never occur; typically said of a system that has stopped operating
ice security software
icebreaker a program designed to crack a system's security
IM-ing communicating via instant messaging
jiffy the duration of one tick of the system clock on your computer
kyrka from Swedish; the Macintosh feature key with the cloverleaf graphic
Lintel the emergin Linus/Intel alliance
lurker a person who posts messages only occasionally in an electronic forum, but who regularly reads the group's postings
mobo written contraction of motherboard
moby large, immense, complex, impressive
monty a program with a ludicrously complex user interface written to perform extremely trivial tasks
NAK "not at keyboard," meaning "I'm not here" or not available for an online chat
nerd knob a toggle or command in a complex piece of software which is more likely to be used by an extremely experienced user to tweak a setting that the average user may not even know exists
nybble four bits or a half-byte
overclock to operate a CPU or other digital logic device at a rate higher than it was designed for
phage a program that modifies other programs or databases in unauthorized ways; especially one that propagates a virus or Trojan horse
ping a small network message sent by a computer to check for the presence and alertness of another; the UNIX command
plokta from the acronym for "press lots of keys to abort;" to press random keys in an attempt to get some response from the system
quad two bits; synonym for tayste or crumb
rehi "hello again;" commonly used to greet people upon returning to an IRC message area
screen name an electronic pseudonym used in an IRC to conceal the user's true identify
snail-mail paper mail as opposed to electronic mail
spamhaus pejorative term for an ISP that permits or even encourages spam mailings
spider food keywords embedded into a Web page to attract search engines (spiders)
strudel common name for the at-sign (@) character
tense in describing programs, very clever and efficient
terminack any malfunctioning computer terminal
tired iron hardware that is perfectly functional but far enough behind the state of the art to have been superseded by new products
thumb the slider on a Windows-system scrollbar
treeware printouts, books, and other information media made from pulped dead trees
upthread earlier in the discussion (in newsgroups, for example)
vaporware products announced far in advance of any release (which may or may not take place)
visionary an AI researcher working on the problem of getting computers to "see" things using TV cameras
wallpaper a file containing a listing or a transcript, especially a file containing a transcript of all or part of a login session
Web toaster a small specialized computer, shipped with no monitor or keyboard or any other external peripherals, preconfigured to be controlled through an Ethernet port and function as a WWW server; often about the size of a toaster
xor exclusive or
YABA yet another bloody acronym
zeroth first (hardware engineers tend to start counting at zero instead of 1)

source: The Jargon File, ver. 4.3.1, June 29, 2002.

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