The Jargon File


#1

This is the Jargon File, a comprehensive compendium of hacker slang illuminating many aspects of hackish tradition, folklore, and humor.

Great stuff, go have a browse! http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/go01.html

How about replying to this topic when you come across good one?!


#2

Gweep :slight_smile:


#3

PEBKAC is always a favourite of mine and TANSTAAFL is a new one to me. Must mean I need to read more sci-fi.


#4

I didn’t expect to see so many other references when I clicked on brain fart :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: :dash:

brain fart:

The actual result of a braino, as opposed to the mental glitch that is the braino itself. E.g., typing dir on a Unix box after a session with DOS

braino:

Syn. for thinko. See also brain fart.

thinko:

[by analogy with ‘typo’] A momentary, correctable glitch in mental processing, especially one involving recall of information learned by rote; a bubble in the stream of consciousness. Syn. braino; see also brain fart. Compare mouso.

mouso:

[by analogy with ‘typo’] An error in mouse usage resulting in an inappropriate selection or graphic garbage on the screen. Compare thinko, braino.


#5

I actually came across “mandelbug” via a different search today and it amused me greatly :smiley: I checked and they are in The Jargon File…

mandelbug:

[from the Mandelbrot set] A bug whose underlying causes are so complex and obscure as to make its behavior appear chaotic or even non-deterministic. This term implies that the speaker thinks it is a Bohr bug, rather than a heisenbug. See also schroedinbug.

Bohr bug:

[from quantum physics] A repeatable bug; one that manifests reliably under a possibly unknown but well-defined set of conditions. Antonym of heisenbug; see also mandelbug, schroedinbug.

heisenbug:

[from Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics] A bug that disappears or alters its behavior when one attempts to probe or isolate it. (This usage is not even particularly fanciful; the use of a debugger sometimes alters a program’s operating environment significantly enough that buggy code, such as that which relies on the values of uninitialized memory, behaves quite differently.) Antonym of Bohr bug; see also mandelbug, schroedinbug. In C, nine out of ten heisenbugs result from uninitialized auto variables, fandango on core phenomena (esp. lossage related to corruption of the malloc arena) or errors that smash the stack.

schroedinbug:

[MIT: from the Schroedinger’s Cat thought-experiment in quantum physics] A design or implementation bug in a program that doesn’t manifest until someone reading source or using the program in an unusual way notices that it never should have worked, at which point the program promptly stops working for everybody until fixed. Though (like bit rot) this sounds impossible, it happens; some programs have harbored latent schroedinbugs for years. Compare heisenbug, Bohr bug, mandelbug.

:monkey:


#6

neep-neep: /neep neep/, n.

[onomatopoeic, widely spread through SF fandom but reported to have originated at Caltech in the 1970s] One who is fascinated by computers. Less specific than hacker, as it need not imply more skill than is required to play games on a PC. The derived noun neeping applies specifically to the long conversations about computers that tend to develop in the corners at most SF-convention parties (the term neepery is also in wide use). Fandom has a related proverb to the effect that “Hacking is a conversational black hole!”.


#7

fencepost error: n.

  1. [common] A problem with the discrete equivalent of a boundary condition, often exhibited in programs by iterative loops. From the following problem: “If you build a fence 100 feet long with posts 10 feet apart, how many posts do you need?” (Either 9 or 11 is a better answer than the obvious 10.) For example, suppose you have a long list or array of items, and want to process items m through n; how many items are there? The obvious answer is n - m, but that is off by one; the right answer is n - m + 1. A program that used the ‘obvious’ formula would have a fencepost error in it. See also zeroth and off-by-one error, and note that not all off-by-one errors are fencepost errors. The game of Musical Chairs involves a catastrophic off-by-one error where N people try to sit in N - 1 chairs, but it’s not a fencepost error. Fencepost errors come from counting things rather than the spaces between them, or vice versa, or by neglecting to consider whether one should count one or both ends of a row.
  1. [rare] An error induced by unexpected regularities in input values, which can (for instance) completely thwart a theoretically efficient binary tree or hash table implementation. (The error here involves the difference between expected and worst case behaviors of an algorithm.)

Landing on this stackexchange question today led me to the above. Really, the Jargon file is super handy as well as amusing!


#8

zap

  1. n. Spiciness.
  1. vt. To make food spicy.
  1. vt. To make someone ‘suffer’ by making his food spicy. (Most hackers love spicy food. Hot-and-sour soup is considered wimpy unless it makes you wipe your nose for the rest of the meal.) See zapped.
  1. vt. To modify, usually to correct; esp. used when the action is performed with a debugger or binary patching tool. Also implies surgical precision. “Zap the debug level to 6 and run it again.” In the IBM mainframe world, binary patches are applied to programs or to the OS with a program called ‘superzap’, whose file name is ‘IMASPZAP’ (possibly contrived from I M A SuPerZAP).
  1. vt. To erase or reset.
  1. To fry a chip with static electricity. “Uh oh — I think that lightning strike may have zapped the disk controller.”

In particular because of “superzap” and this tweet:

:laughing:


#9

grok : /grok/, /grohk/, vt.

[common; from the novel Stranger in a Strange Land , by Robert A. Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning literally ‘to drink’ and metaphorically ‘to be one with’] The emphatic form is grok in fullness.

  1. To understand. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge. When you claim to ‘grok’ some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of your identity. For example, to say that you “know” LISP is simply to assert that you can code in it if necessary — but to say you “grok” LISP is to claim that you have deeply entered the world-view and spirit of the language, with the implication that it has transformed your view of programming. Contrast zen , which is similar supernal understanding experienced as a single brief flash. See also glark .
  1. Used of programs, may connote merely sufficient understanding. “Almost all C compilers grok the void type these days.”