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= [^A-Za-z] =

<bobbit> /n./

[Usenet: alt.folklore.urban and elsewhere] Commonly used as a placeholder for omitted text in a followup message (not copying the whole parent message is considered good form). Refers, of course, to the celebrated mutilation of John Bobbitt.

4.2 /for' poynt too'/ /n./

Without a prefix, this almost invariably refers to BSD Unix release 4.2. Note that it is an indication of cluelessness to say "version 4.2", and "release 4.2" is rare; the number stands on its own, or is used in the more explicit forms 4.2BSD or (less commonly) BSD 4.2. Similar remarks apply to "4.3", "4.4" and to earlier, less-widespread releases 4.1 and 2.9.

'Snooze /snooz/ [FidoNet] /n./

Fidonews, the weekly official on-line newsletter of FidoNet. As the editorial policy of Fidonews is "anything that arrives, we print", there are often large articles completely unrelated to FidoNet, which in turn tend to elicit flamage in subsequent issues.

(TM) //

[Usenet] ASCII rendition of the trademark-superscript symbol appended to phrases that the author feels should be recorded for posterity, perhaps in future editions of this lexicon. Sometimes used ironically as a form of protest against the recent spate of software and algorithm patents and `look and feel' lawsuits. See also UN*X.

-oid /suff./

[from `android'] 1. Used as in mainstream English to indicate a poor imitation, a counterfeit, or some otherwise slightly bogus resemblance. Hackers will happily use it with all sorts of non-Greco/Latin stem words that wouldn't keep company with it in mainstream English. For example, "He's a nerdoid" means that he superficially resembles a nerd but can't make the grade; a `modemoid' might be a 300-baud box (Real Modems run at 9600 or up); a `computeroid' might be any bitty box. The word `keyboid' could be used to describe a chiclet keyboard, but would have to be written; spoken, it would confuse the listener as to the speaker's city of origin. 2. More specifically, an indicator for `resembling an android' which in the past has been confined to science-fiction fans and hackers. It too has recently (in 1991) started to go mainstream (most notably in the term `trendoid' for victims of terminal hipness). This is probably traceable to the popularization of the term droid in "Star Wars" and its sequels. (See also windoid.)

Coinages in both forms have been common in science fiction for at least fifty years, and hackers (who are often SF fans) have probably been making `-oid' jargon for almost that long [though GLS and I can personally confirm only that they were already common in the mid-1970s --ESR].

-ware /suff./

[from `software'] Commonly used to form jargon terms for classes of software. For examples, see careware, crippleware, crudware, freeware, fritterware, guiltware, liveware, meatware, payware, psychedelicware, shareware, shelfware, vaporware, wetware.

/dev/null /dev-nuhl/ /n./

[from the Unix null device, used as a data sink] A notional `black hole' in any information space being discussed, used, or referred to. A controversial posting, for example, might end "Kudos to rasputin@kremlin.org, flames to /dev/null". See bit bucket.


Numeric zero, as opposed to the letter `O' (the 15th letter of the English alphabet). In their unmodified forms they look a lot alike, and various kluges invented to make them visually distinct have compounded the confusion. If your zero is center-dotted and letter-O is not, or if letter-O looks almost rectangular but zero looks more like an American football stood on end (or the reverse), you're probably looking at a modern character display (though the dotted zero seems to have originated as an option on IBM 3270 controllers). If your zero is slashed but letter-O is not, you're probably looking at an old-style ASCII graphic set descended from the default typewheel on the venerable ASR-33 Teletype (Scandinavians, for whom @Oslash{} is a letter, curse this arrangement). If letter-O has a slash across it and the zero does not, your display is tuned for a very old convention used at IBM and a few other early mainframe makers (Scandinavians curse this arrangement even more, because it means two of their letters collide). Some Burroughs/Unisys equipment displays a zero with a reversed slash. And yet another convention common on early line printers left zero unornamented but added a tail or hook to the letter-O so that it resembled an inverted Q or cursive capital letter-O (this was endorsed by a draft ANSI standard for how to draw ASCII characters, but the final standard changed the distinguisher to a tick-mark in the upper-left corner). Are we sufficiently confused yet?

1TBS // /n./

The "One True Brace Style"; see indent style.

120 reset /wuhn-twen'tee ree'set/ /n./

[from 120 volts, U.S. wall voltage] To cycle power on a machine in order to reset or unjam it. Compare Big Red Switch, power cycle.

2 /infix./

In translation software written by hackers, infix 2 often represents the syllable to with the connotation `translate to': as in dvi2ps (DVI to PostScript), int2string (integer to string), and texi2roff (Texinfo to [nt]roff).

@-party /at'par`tee/ /n./

[from the @-sign in an Internet address] (alt. `@-sign party' /at'si:n par`tee/) A semi-closed party thrown for hackers at a science-fiction convention (esp. the annual World Science Fiction Convention or "Worldcon"); one must have a network address to get in, or at least be in company with someone who does. One of the most reliable opportunities for hackers to meet face to face with people who might otherwise be represented by mere phosphor dots on their screens. Compare boink.

The first recorded @-party was held at the Westercon (a California SF convention) over the July 4th weekend in 1980. It is not clear exactly when the canonical @-party venue shifted to the Worldcon but it had certainly become established by Constellation in 1983.

@Begin //

See \begin.

\begin //

[from the LaTeX command] With \end, used humorously in writing to indicate a context or to remark on the surrounded text. For example:


Predicate logic is the only good programming

language.  Anyone who would use anything else

is an idiot.  Also, all computers should be

tredecimal instead of binary.


The Scribe users at CMU and elsewhere used to use @Begin/@End in an identical way (LaTeX was built to resemble Scribe). On Usenet, this construct would more frequently be rendered as <FLAME ON> and <FLAME OFF>, or #ifdef FLAME and #endif FLAME'.

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