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Slang and Idioms

Here are the slang and idioms collected by Comp1, Course 6110, Group 3, Academic Year 1997-8.
  1. terminal illness, i.e. The 'burn out' condition your monitor tends to get if you don't have a screen saver. Terminal is from computer terminal. This is different from a medical terminal (fatal) illness of a person.
  2. back door n.
    A hole in the security of a system deliberately left in place by designers or maintainers. The motivation for such holes is not always sinister, some operating systems, for example, come out of the box with privileged accounts intended for use by field service technicans or the vendor's maintenance programmers. Synonyms: trap door, may be called a 'wormhole'.

  3. head down adj.
    Concentrating, usually so heavily and for so long that everything outside the focus area is missed.

  4. content-free adj (zero content) Used of a message that adds nothing to the recipient's knowledge. eg."Content-free? Uh.... that's anything printed on lossy paper."

  5. angry fruit salad A bad visual-interface design that uses too many colors. (This term derives, of course, from the bizarre day-glo colors found in canned fruit salad.) Too often one sees similar effects from interface designers using color window systems such as X; there is a tendency to create displays that are flashy and attention-getting but uncomfortable for long-term use. Click here for source.
  6. washing machine Old-style 14-inch hard disks in floor-standing cabinets. So called because of the size of the cabinet and the `top-loading' access to the media packs -- and, of course, they were always set on `spin cycle'. The washing-machine idiom transcends language barriers; it is even used in Russian hacker jargon. Click here for source.

  7. disk farm (n) (also laundromat) A large room or rooms filled with disk drives (esp.washing machines)
  8. snail mail Paper mail, as opposed to electronic. Sometimes written as the single word SnailMail'. One's postal address is, correspondingly, a `snail address'. Derives from earlier coinage `USnail' (from `U.S. Mail'), for which there have even been parody posters and stamps made. Click here for source.

  9. treeware Printouts, books, and other information media made from pulped dead trees. Click here for source.

  10. blinding/blinder - used to describe something amazing or wonderful.
    eg."We had a right blinding time last night dahn the pub".

  11. blower - slang for telephone.
    eg."I' ve got John on the blower".

  12. cabbaged - used for tired or stoned.
    eg."I feel totally cabbaged". Can also be used for stoned or drunk.

  13. bell - a telephone call.
    eg."Give us a bell later".

  14. a bummer- Something upsetting or depressing.
    Example: "Oh no! My computer crashed before I could save my essay!"
    Response: "What a bummer!"

  15. a spitting image - A very close resemblance.
    Example: "Your new baby is gorgeous!"
    "I know, he's a real spitting image of his father, isn't he?"
    Really? Who's the father?

  16. in the red - To be in debt; to operate a business at a financial deficit
    or loss; to have a negative net worth.
    Example: "Have you heard the bad news about the company?"
    "No. What is it?"
    "It lost a lot of money."
    "Yeah, it's been in the red for over six months."

  17. in the works - Not yet completed; unfinished.
    Example: "Have you finished your project yet?"
    "No, not yet, it's still in the works."
    "Isn't it due tomorrow?"
    "Yeah, it's going to be a late night for me, I'm afraid."

  18. big iron (n) Large, expensive, ultra-fast computer. Used generally of number-crunching supercomputers such as Crays, but can include more conventional big commercial IBM-ish mainframes . Term of approval.

  19. mailbomb (also mail bomb)[Usenet] 1.(v).. To send, or urge others to send , massive amounts of email to single system or person, esp. with intent to crash or spam the recipient's system. Sometimes done in retaliation for a perceived serious offense. Mailbombing is itself widely regarded as a serious offense-it can disrupt email traffic or other facilities for innocent users on the victim's system, and in extreme cases, even at upstream sites.
    2.(n). An automatic procedure with a similar effect.
    3.(n). The mail sent.

  20. mickey mouse program (n). North American equivalent of a noddy (that is, trivial) program. Doesn't necessarily have the belittling connotations of mainstream slang, "Oh, that's just mickey mouse stuff!"; sometimes trivial programs can be very useful.

  21. language lawyer (n)- a person usually an experienced or senior software engineer, who is intimately familiar with many of the numerous restrictions and features applicable to one or more computer programming languages.
    e.g. Brian W. Kernigham, the author of The C Programming Language, is a language lawyer.

  22. killer micro (n) - a microprocessor-based machine that infringes on mini; mainframe or super computer performance turf.
    e.g. No one will survive the attack of the killer micros.

  23. jack in (v) - to log on to a machine or connect to a network.
    e.g. All users have to jack in the network before using any software.

  24. drop on the floor- to react to an error condition by silently discarding messages or other valuable data.
    e.g. The computer ran out of memory, so it just started dropping packets on the floor.

  25. war dialer (n) - a cracking tool, a program that calls a given list or range of phone numbers and records those which answer with handshake tones.
    e.g. War dialer may be entry points to computer or tele communications system

  26. vaporware (n) - products announced for in advance of any release.
    e.g. Windows 98, a new operating system, can be considered as vaporware.

  27. return from the dead
    - to regain access to the net after a long absence.
    e.g. Gary was returned from the dead.

  28. to zen (v) - to figure out something by meditation or by a sudden flash of enlightenment. Originally applied to bugs, but occasionlly applied to
    problems of life in general.
    e.g. "How'd you figure out the memory allocation problem ?"
    "Oh, I zenned it."

  29. kluge up (n)
    - to lash together a quick hack to perform a task.
    e.g. "I've klugged up this routine to dump the buffer contents to a safe place."

  30. dread high-bit disease (n) - a condition endemic to PRIME minicomputers that results in all the characters having their high (0x80) bit ON rather than OFF.


Last updated on: Friday, March 23, 2012