Tonkin's First Computer Dictionary
Acknowledgements to Bruce Tonkin, T.N.T. Software Inc., 34069 Haines-
ville Road, Round Lake, IL, 60073 (312)-223-8595, for his article in Dec
'87 COMPUTERPEOPLE Monthly, from which this is copied. This file may be
, but not for profit
: (adj.) doesn't work yet, but it's pretty close
. See: bug
: (n.) one who writes program
s and doesn't trust them. A cynic
: (n.) a minor program of interest only to obsessed programmer
: (n.) a computer one-word oxymoron
: (n.) a system for connecting computers and exchanging gossip
s, and uniformed speculation
under false names.
: (n.) a test
written ostensibly to compare hardware
, but actually used by manufacturer
s to misinterpret
or quote out of context in advertisement
: (n.) a two-valued logic
to glitches and bugs. It originated as a way of counting on the thumbs, since programming managers usually find fingers far too confusing
. See: Hexadecimal
: (n.) any program feature not yet described to the marketing
: (n.) a connector you plug money
into, something like a slot machine
: (n.) eight bits, or one dollar
(in 1950 terms). Presently worth about two-tenths of a cent
and falling fast
: (n.) the language
following A and B. The world still awaits D and E. By
Z, it may be acceptable
for general use.
: (n.) a stylized picture of a logic diagram
on refined and alloyed sand
. See: glitch, bug.
: (n.) an old computer language
, designed to be read
and not run
, it is often run anyway.
: (n.) a means of concealing bugs favoured
by programmers. (v.) the process of concealing
bugs by programming.
: (n.) any recondite
message displayed by a time-shared
system. the message is not often seen, because it only appears when the system is operating properly. Common cookie
s include the timeless "Murphy
was an optimist
" and "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout
: (n.) a means of circumventing
various rights granted by the Constitution
so as to artificially
: (n.) acronym for Central Purging Unit
. A device
which discards or distorts data sent to it, sometimes returning more data
and sometimes merely over-heating.
: (v.) to terminate
a program in the usual fashion
, i.e. by locking up the computer of setting a fire
at the printer
. (n.) the process of such termination.
: (n.) raw information, esp. that supplied to the central purging unit for transformation
Manager: (n.) any fast filing system
which gives misleading answers. Also see: menu, bug.
: (n.) a test foolishly
but often believed to determine
the reason for a particular failure. Competent
professionals prefer the I Ching
: (adj.) of or pertaining to the finger
s, esp. to counting on them. See: Binary, Hexadecimal
: (n.) a novel sold with software
, designed to entertain
during episodes of bugs or glitches.
: (n.) Acronym. a program which outputs question
s given answers, putting users in jeopardy
: (v.) to simulate hardware
glitches with software bugs. Emulator: (n.) a program which emulates. See: Virtual.
: (v.) to build something with bugs (software) or glitch
es (hard- ware). (n.) One who engineer
: (v.) to erase irrevocably
. (n.) The process of such erasure
: (n.) a stack-oriented programming language written right to left
and read from bottom
. It runs efficiently
on no common
computers and is written effectively by no common programmers.
: (n.) an ancient programming language which changed IF
's to GOTO
's by using a strange three-valued logic on binary computers.
: (n.) an undocumented design
feature, esp. of hardware
: (n.) an efficient and general
way of controlling a program, much despised by academic
s and others whose brains have been ruined by over- exposure
. See: Pascal.
: (n.) a rapidly spinning platter
divided into sector
s. See: Sector, Glitch, Bug.
: (n.) anything prone
: (n.) the part of a disk drive which detect
s and decides which of the two possible values to return: 'lose a turn' or 'bankrupt.'
: (adj.) of or referring to base-16 numbers - binary number
s grouped four digit
s at a time so as to quadruple
the opportunity for glitches and bugs. Originated
as a means of counting on the fingers of one hand
, using the thumb for the 'carry.' Purist
s who don't like to use the thumb at all prefer 'octal.' See: Octal, Binary.
: (n.) a complex
, and easily-misinterpreted pictorial representation of a single unambiguous word. Preferred by illiterates and semi- literate
s for these reasons, and by others because it slows most computers down so even a cretin with an IQ
of 53 may justly feel superior.
: (v.) to increase by one, except when segment
s are used; then, the increase may be by sixteen unless word mode
addressing is used in which case the increase is by one or two, depending on the processor and whether the address is on an even boundary or such increase causes an overflow exception
processor fault, which may either cause the program to crash
by a large number instead of increase, depending the register
used and the operation being attempted.
: (v.) to repeat an action for a potentially
and often actually infinite
number of times.
: (n.) a device essential for performing business tasks and training exercises esp. favoured by pilot
commanders, riverboat gambler
s, and medieval warlord
: (n., adj.) a binary thousand
, which isn't a decimal thousand
or even really a binary thousand (which is eight), but is the binary number closest to a decimal thousand. This has proven so completely confusing that is has become a standard
: (n.) a misspelling of 'kernel'
used by beginning (functionally illiterate) programmers, especially those with some knowledge of C.
: (n.) the core of a program
, i.e. the source of all error
s. Thus the common misspelling
: (n.) a device used by programmers to write software for a mouse or joystick and by operators for playing games such as 'word processing
: (v., adj., or n.) to fix
a program in the usual way.
Edge: (n., adj.) anything which uses advanced technology
. See: Advanced
: (n.) a covenant
which tells the buyer
that nothing has been purchased
and that no refund
, or instruction
may be anticipated and that no resale is permitted. A modern way of saying "Thanks for all your money and goodbye," far less crude
than "Stick 'em up
" but even more effective since the purchaser will often borrow the funds requested.
: (n.) a system of determining truth or falsity
, by means of a sort of binary Oneiromancy
: (n., v.) 1. a series of instructions to be iterated. 2. the process of iterating them. Most loops are unintentional
and can be quite droll
: (n.) a series of keystroke
s used to simulate a missing but essential command.
: (n.) more than you can comprehend
and less than you'll need. See: UNIX
: (n.) a way of measuring how well your computer matches the frequency
of your local television
channels. Most computers perform
exceptionally well on this test, especially the higher-quality foreign-made ones.
: (n.) any list of choices, each of which is either unsatisfactory
or in some fashion contradictory
-: (prefix) anything both very small and very expensive
: (n.) a way of forcing glitch or bug.
: (n., v.) a device used to connect
computers (see: BBS) or the process of transmitting data between or among computers, esp. for those unable or unwilling to speak.
: (n.) a sort of television with exceptionally poor picture quality and limited to a single very local station.
: (n.) the hardware version of the software 'kernel.'
: (n.) an input device used by management to force computer
users to keep at least a part of their desks clean
-: (prefix) a thousandth of a thousandth, but not a binary thousandth
in either case. Decimal is used for all very small measurements since no further confusion is necessary
: (n.) a base-8 counting system designed so that one hand may count
upon the fingers of the other. Thumb
s are not used, and the index finger is reserved for the 'carry
: (n.) a method which permits access to any memory location
in thousands of ways, each of which appears different but is not. Used with segments. See: Segment.
: (n.) 1. One who has no experience
with computers. 2. Any beginner
, esp. one part of whose salary
is paid in soft drink
s and processed salted
food treated with dangerous and illegal drug
s or preservative
s. Differs from a programmer in that a programmer will often take the dangerous and illegal drugs or preservatives directly.
: (n.) a classroom project
which was released before it could be graded
- probably a good idea, considering. One wishes the University had had a better system of academic controls.
: (v.) to fix a program by changing
bytes according to the rules of logic
. (n.) Any repair of this form.
: (v., n.) to steal
software, or one who is such a thief
. True pirates see nothing wrong with thievery
, having successfully forgotten or repressed all moral values.
: (v.) to remove from an area of memory naively thought to be the stack
in a futile attempt to keep a program
: (adj.) that which can be physically
moved more than a hundred yards by an unaided Olympic athlete
without permanent damage to that individual more than 50
% of the time.
: (n.) a small box
attached to a computer and used to start fires in cold weather
: (n.) a method of performing a program sub-task in an inefficient way by extensively
using the stack instead of a GOTO. See: Pascal and C.
: (n.) a device for converting sense to nonsense at the speed
, or (rarely) the reverse.
: (n.) that which manipulate
s symbols rapidly with unforeseen results. Also: a bug's way of perpetuating
: (n.) 1. one who writes programs and trust
s them. An optimist. 2. Any employee
who needs neither food nor sleep but exits on large quantities of caffeine, nicotine, sucrose, and machine-vended preservatives thinly disguised
Language: (n.) a shorthand way of describing a series
of bugs to a computer or a programmer.
: (n.) a computer request for a random operator error
. Also a game
where the computer plays the part of Vanna White
and the operator, a contestant
. There are no prizes for winning.
: (v.) to put into an area of memory believed to be the stack for the ostensible purpose of later retrieval. Tonkin's rule: In any program there are always more 'push
es' than 'pops.' See: Recursion
: (adj.) literally
, to move by the smallest amount theoretically
possible. In advertising, to move by the largest leap imaginable (in the mind of the advertiser). There is no contradiction.
: (n.) a programming method
which tests the limits of available memory in an iterative way by using the stack. When the program fails, all memory has been used. Memorize
this definition, then see: Recursion.
: (n.) a part of the central purging unit used to distort
incoming data by arbitrary rules. See: Increment.
: (adj.) purchased from, or sold to, blood kin. See: True relational.
: (n.) a disk arc on which is inscribed 'lose a turn'
.' See: Hard disk, Head, Glitch.
: (n.) a way of restricting or complicating access to memory in an attempt to break a programmer's will to live. Outlawed
by both the A.S.P.C.A
and the U.N.
but still practiced in some backward areas of the world. See: Offset.
: (n.) anything other than hardware. That which hardware manufacturers can blame can blame for physical failures.
: (v.) to order
a list of data in such a way as to destroy all relationship
s between the items. (n.) The process which accomplishes this, esp. if it takes a very long time
: (n.) a record of a programmer's thought for a period
of time. A stream-of-consciousness novel
or short story
: (n.) a way of forcing repeatable answers from insufficient data for superficial purposes. Also, a game played during
office hours by bored
or restless yuppie
: (n.) any area of memory
which grows and eventually destroys both code
. (v.) To place in such an area.
: (n., adj.) a design target
which manufacturers may embellish
, improve upon, or ignore
as they wish, so long as it can be used profitably in their advertising.
: (adj.) said of software
- that which can be put on a new machine in less time than it took to write in the first place. Said of hardware - that which can theoretically be moved more than ten feet in one minute by some combination
or explosives. The meanings are equivalent.
: (adj.) relational
, but where the paternity is indubitable
: (n.) acronym for Terminate
and Stay Resident
. A way of turning a useless computer with plenty of memory into a computer with no memory at all.
-: (prefix) computer software which
uses air under pressure
(supplied by a special fan) to achieve high performance
: (adj.) trivialized, slow, incapable
, and boring. See: Icon
: (n., v.) a DOS
which needs more memory
than you have and run more slowly
than you can bear. To UNIX: to grossly enlarge and slow down out of all proportion, esp. by using C.
: (n.) one who knows from experience that program
s cannot be trusted. A realist
: (n.) a manufacturer's lackey
: (adj.) emulated. See: Emulate
: (n.) a list of vendor's promises with carefully-worded exception
s which cancel each of the promises in turn. See: License.
: (n., adj.) a way of making a large and easily-read display into many small
, cluttered, and confusing ones.
: (n.) A program which makes a $5,000 computer into a $250 typewriter
. A computer game for beginning operators.
: (n.) acronym for Write Once
, Read Mangled
. Used to describe a normally functioning
computer disk of the very latest design.
: (n.) a common user prompt.
: (n.) kind of stalks used
by computer diagnostician
s when performing the ritual of the I Ching. See: Diagnostics.
: (n.) a sophisticated simulation
and design program
used by the brightest programmers to test the consistency of internal logic and memory. Management
prefers to use games such as 'spreadsheet' for the same purpose