Computing: A Hacker’s Dictionary

Eleven years ago, after having been improperly introduced to the world of computers a few years prior and not yet introduced to the internet but only the world of intranet, I found this enlightening, tongue-in-cheek dictionary designed to help people lighten up about the world of P.C.s and internet devices which seem to have a mind of their own. This delightfully funny, slim paperback dictionary written by Henry Beard ( of National Lampoon fame) and Roy McKie will give you enough fodder to continue computing long after you have given up the fight and surrendered to technology’s mercy. Some of the jokes are now outdated and must be explained- hence, my notes. Here are the definition entries which are my top ten favorites:

WYSIWYG Acronym for What You See Is What You Get, a term used to describe the display of data on a screen exactly as it will appear when printed out, not to be confused with the far more common type of display known as NYSINYD (Now You See It, Now You Don’t).

Mnemonic An acronym, rhyme or other memory aid. Ironically, there is no known recollection-enhancing device that has ever helped anyone remember how to spell “mnemonic.” (Evelyn’s note: pronounced as nemonic)

Jewel Box A clear plastic container used to protect a CD holding a computer program or other data from damage so it can wreak the havoc it was designed to create when it is ultimately loaded into your computer.

Language A written or spoken communication system, either an artificial computer language like COBOL, FORTRAN or Pascal that can be learned but cannot be spoken or a natural language like Thai, Russian or Japanese that can be spoken but cannot be learned.

Information superhighway
Popular buzzword for a proposed government-funded upgrade of existing telecommunications networks that would ultimately permit everyone in the U.S. to instantly exchange hate literature, baseless rumors, crackpot theories, quack cures, fad diets, campaign lies, doctored photos, Hollywood dirt, chain letters, Ponzi schemes, racial slurs, sectarian insults, and off-color jokes. (Evelyn’s note: doctored = photo shopped)

I-Beam pointer A mouse pointer shaped like a capital “I” used in word-processing systems, which in different programs and varying situations changes into an arrow, a hand, an hourglass or wristwatch, a set of crosshairs, a pen, a pistol, a dynamite plunger, a skull and crossbones, a cutlass, a parrot, a coffin, a mirror, a crucifix, a braided rope of garlic bulbs and a stake. (Evelyn’s note: Some web sites still like to modify your cursor with their theme. Go figure.)

Fuzzy Logic Reasoning system in which True and False are terms with relative and shifting values rather than absolutes, widely used throughout the computer industry in promotional literature, performance data, system specifications, stock offerings, troubleshooting manuals and former web masters. (Evelyn’s note: Okay, I added that last one. Ha.)

Floppy disk A rigid, square, removable data storage medium that no one who has ever read a computer manual is surprised to discover is neither floppy nor disk-shaped. (Evelyn’s note: This term was used also for a predecessor square-disk with a non-used portion which hung out in a rather floppy manner!)

Data What blue-sky guesstimates, off-the-top-of-the-head figures, and seat-of-the-pants calculations become as soon as they are entered into a computer.

Pascal Programming language named after the 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal, who invented the first ink-proof pocket-protector for quill pens and a revolutionary form of headgear consisting of a beret with a movable propeller on top.

Happy computing!
The Castle Lady


About Evelyn

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2 Responses to Computing: A Hacker’s Dictionary

  1. Kyle Timatha says:

    god bless you for this. your blog it is very information fufilling and this post is amazing.


  2. merci miss Evelyn de nous avoir éclairer sur certains termes point de vue informatique
    j’suis pas doué pour ça, juste le strict minimum , pas plus
    bisous et belle semaine à toi sur Denver city


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