:-) : Electronic smiles. Denoite humor or sarcasm.
;-) : Wink. Denoite humor or sarcasm.
:-( : Electronic frown.
:'( : Cry.
:+) : Drunk.
:D : Laugh.
B) : Sunglasses.
:O : Surprise.
:I : Board.
:P : Sticking out tongue.
:* : Kiss.
:* <> : Kiss and hug.
->->>+ : Sending flowers.
:Q : Throwing up.
AD DOSeum : The feeling you get when working with a misbehaving
(or ridiculous) operating system.
AFK : Away form keys.
Algorthymically Generated Self-Modifying Code:
A program that rewrites itself while running.
Amigoid : Nickname for dedicated Amiga Hackers.
Software a Leech has borrowed.
Arthritis : The infliction a mouse gets when its rollers are dirty.
B/Xen : Nickname for people using B/X.
Any variable that doesn't do anything but is
required to run the program.
BAT : Back at terminal.
Baudbarf : Any garbage characters sent across a terminal as a
result of a disconnect. Usually seen when you logoff a
system using a modem.
Bit Bucket : This is where overwritten data goes.
Blitter : Block transferor.
A subroutine written quickly in the heat of artistic
inspiration, without benefit of flowcharts or deep
thought. Like the activity, when actually performed,
the result usually is a wipeout (o.g., a program crash)
that results in the programmer eating sand.
Boilerplate : (adj,n, from newspaper publishing)
A series of games in which the programmer obviously
BRB : Be right back.
BSW engineer: A sophisticated carbon-based machine designed to turn
coffee into productivity software.
BTW : By the way.
Bugfix : A large patch or workaround.
Buglette(s) : A bug or bugs created plural as in "I created several
buglettes when I fixed the problem.
Bulletproof : A program which is free of bugs.
C.A.T.S.(Commodore/Amiga Technical Support):
A group of people with feline tendencies. They can be
found in the far upper reaches of Commodore's West
Chester facility. Their feline ability to see in the
dark is especially valuable, as they tend to work well
into the night casing bugs.
Cablelexia : A condition that keeps you from being able to connect
a cable into a computer. Symptoms: Usually you look at
the connector several times, but still fail to get it
Card : An 8x8-pixel block on the Commodore hi-res graphics
screen. The screen is composed of cards and each card
occupies eight bytes in memory.
When the Apple Macintosh appeared on the scene,
admiration for its developers soon evaporated when it
became apparent that their devotion to doing things
the right way(i.e., The Macintosh Way) went far beyond
the bounds of reason. The term Cardinal Toolbox refers
to the Mac way of doing anything, and it's still used
today whenever blind slavisyh devotion to the Mac
rears its head. Example: "Q. Can we use a ficed-windth
font in this window? A. No, Cardinal Toolbox wont't
allow it." (Note: Cardinal Toolbox is also the name of
a caracter who appears in Beyond Zork.)
CB : Citizens band, chatline.
Charity Ware: Like shareware, but money goes to a charity.
Chicken Head: (also Chicken Lips)
Nickname for Commodore Logo.
Cleesh : In Enchanter, this spell can be used to turn a person
into a newt, and it's not uncommon to hear an Imp say
"Will someone please clessh the Marketoons?"
CP/M : The operating system used by Jerry Pournelle.
Code № : The program.
Code І : To write a program.
Codehead : A programmer capable of writing code in machine
Cosmic rays : The factor of the universe that gets worse when near
computer RAM chips; frequently used as an explanation
for bugs when talking with a non-technical manager.
Cracked : When software is broken down by removing copy
protection in order to make an archival backup.
Crash and Burn:
When the computer undergoes a particularly
phenomenal systems crash, generating aural and visual
effects reminiscent of '60'ss psychedelia, that even
a guru master couldn't duplicate on purpose.
Crunch Time : The final hours of coding (non-stop) in order to meet
a deadline. Often involves forsaking sleep.
CULTR : See you later.
A group of related data.
A method of programming that anticipates the worst
of all scenarios ("if anythign can go wrong, it
will") and combats this with overwhelming error
A term used to describe a method of animation where
each new "cell" or frame is described by its
differences from the previous cell.
Derf : See Fred.
Diration : The time it takes for you to get a disk directory
Doc : docs, dox The documentation for a program.
Doink № : General verb used to indicate some sort of programming
Example: "I have to doink this routine before this
section is finished."
Doink І : Used as a sign-off on memeos, e-mail, etc.
Dorked : Destroyed or damaged. Differs from munged, which often
implies that the damage was done for a purpose, whereas
dorked implies that it was done by accident or through
stupidity, as in "The machine is all dorked up."
Easter Egg : Surprise message or picture hidden by the programmer
and activated by less-than-obvious means.
Editits : The mental confusion experienced by programmers who
use more than three different text editors or word
processors on a regular basis.
Export : To store data in another program's format.
FAS : For a second.
FAW : For a while.
Fireworks : A variety of spectacular displays produced by trashing
the Amiga copper lists.
Flakey : A descriptive term which helps QA (Quality Assurance)
reproduce the exact problems you are experiencing.
Flame : Electronic verbal assault. Often accentuated by CAPITAL
LETTERS, punctuation!!!!!, and curses &%&*%%*&!!!!
Floormat : What you feel like when you format a disk that you
Foamware : Program in bubble memeory.
Freak : German expression for person whose main topic of
conversation and interest is computer hacking.
(Diminutive of Computer Freak.)
(U.S. Equivalent: Propeller Head.)
Fred : Most commonly-used name for testing on a computer due
to proximity of letters on the keyboard.
Frob : A word that can be substituted for any noun when the
object in question has no name, the speaker cant't
remember it, or the term is too long to bother saying.
During the early days, for example, Infocom shared a
photocopy machine with another company in the same
building. To use it, an Infocom person had to get a
little box (from the office manager) and insert it into
the machine. This would activate the photocopier and
count the number of copies made. Lacking any better
name, this box was called the frob.
ga : go ahead. (In chat mode, signals to other users that
you're done typing.
Gadgethacker: Someone who likes to load and have running, many
different "features" in an environment. For example,
a clock, memory monitor, disk monitor, window shadow
package, etc. The end result is an unusable Workbench.
Gameplay : Enjoyability or fun/quantity of a game.
Geek-out : What happens when a program crashes.
gF : Girlfriend.
GFD : Going for drink.
Glitz : Screen gadgets and controls which are heavily
decorated, or have an "eye candy" look.
Guncho : It's the "Banish" spell in the Enchanter program that
might be used this way in real life: "I worked late
last night and gunchoed over fifty bugs."
Hack № : A piece of code or a program that is thrown together
quickly to solve a problem, or any piece of code that
is inelegant, but gets the job done. Often applies to
some kind of "quick & dirty" fix for a bug. See kludge.
Hack І : To create a hack; show off.
Hork : To borrow without returning.
Started with Hypercard.
Iconitis : The condition of an icondriven work environment when
you can't find the icon you need.
ILY : I love you.
I.M.H.O.(In My Humble Opinion):
Used to denote prior remarks as personal opinion.
Humorous after a pompous statement.
Imp : Infocom game writers have always been referred to as
"Implementers"- the debate rages on). After a while,
the term was shortened to Imp, which then covered both
their game-writing functions and prankish
personalitites. Example: "Will this week's Imp lunch
be held in the Imp suite, in the conference room, or
at the expensive French restaurant in Harvard Square?"
Import : To load another program's data.
Info : A prefix that can be added to the beginning of any word
to denote a connection with Infocom. When used
correctly, the first letter after the prefix is always
capitalized. Some examples: "Friday parties are a long
standing InfoTradition." "Remember, Monday is an
InfoHoliday." "InfoPrez Joel Berez is fond of using
InfoMemos to pass along Infolnfo."
Incidentally, Infocom's underground employee newspaper
is called InfoDope.
IQY2 : I like you too.
Kludge № : A clever programming trick. Often the term kludge is
applied to a piece of code that achieves results
through some obscure trick rather than through a clear
algorithm. A kludge is usually more respected than a
Kludge І : An inelegant way of making a particular section of
program code work. Often used to avoid restructuring
large portions of previously-working code.
Kludge і : Quick-fix by using bad code.
Lamer : Someone who copies software, end user only. Avoids WB
and hates DOS.
Lebler : Someone who wanders around aimlessly, waiting for his
game to be compiled. Mid-afternoon is a good time to
see "cheerful" Dave Lebling lebling around the hallways
or kitchen. A topnotch lebler is always seen nursing a
cup of coffee. Example: "Yes, I just saw him__he was
lebling over near Tim's office." While no one can hope
to leble as well as Dave, virtually everyone who has to
compile ends up lebling at one point during the day.
Leech : A non-reciprocating borrower of software.
Listpacker : Another name for a Lisp Hacker.
LOL : Laughing out loud.
Logic Bug : You can tlprt to lab in demon-mode & use time mach.
to escape Nova. Move t.m. to next century and
rearrange Nova ints. as follows--(what follows is an
unreadable complex of boxes and arrows).
Mainline : Any part of a program that is not interrupt code.
Manq : from the Italian, to mangle. What happens when the
programmers, in fixing a code module and saving it,
accidentally overwrite a portion of the program that
was not responsible for the crash in the first place.
Megs : Megabytes.
Memeater : As in, "It's a memeater program." Any program that
doesn't free memory allocations, thus slowly consuming
free system memory.
MIPS : Millions of instuctions per second.
Mugger : A user who priates using only commercial software preset
to automatically copy a specific program.
Two or more computers performing tasks concurrently.
Allows you to do twice as much work at half the speed.
Munge : To destory, convolute, obfuscate or render unusable,
source code, object code, or program data, as in "I
munged the file."
MYK : Minimize Your Keystrokes
Neuronet : GBrain simulator.
A subroutine that contains little error checking and
expects a specific (usually compшicated) setof parameters,
and is therefore not for the inecxperienced programmer or
weak of heart.
Not doing well:
What you say when you have a bug.
Nuke : Slang for deleted or commented out, as in "I nuked these
Ogre-Dokey : Origin Systems specific analog to "OK" (ref.Ogre).
Optimize : Make a program or subroutine smaller, faster and more
OTF : On the floor (as in laughing).
OTW : On the way.
Over-the-Transom: (adj, from book publishiing)
An unsolicited computer game submission. Most companies
frown on reviewing games without executing the proper
Method of solving the bugs by destroying the environment
(typically a diskette, source code, etc.).
Parserspeak : The practice (at Infocom) of using the responses from
Infocom's interactive fiction parser in normal coversa-
tion. Here's an example from a recent Imps' Lunch: Stu:
Steve, comma, pass me that bonbon. Steve: Which bon-bon
do you mean, the yummy fresh bon-bon or the crufty
melted bon-bon? Stu: Yummy.
Patch № : A temporary fix to a problem in asmall portion of code.
Often patches become permanent (Also see kludge).
Patch І : Usually a small piece of code desinged to correct a bug
or provide a needed feature.
Piece of (-):
An over-used Activision term taced on the front of any
noun, as in "This piece of computer is broken" or "Pull
up a piece of chair"
Pixel Sort : A compression routine where all the pixels are sorted by
color, counted and reduced to a single number. (The de-
compression routine is left as an exercise for the user!
Platform : Generic term for computer.
Poof : The universal disclaimer. Roughly translates to "This is
how it is, unless, of course, it's not".
Power-geek : A programmer.
Printef : (usually printeffing or printeffed), Using the C language
PRINTF function to debug C programs. Usage: "I printeffed
everything I could, but I still can't find the bug."
Printereia : Any garbage characters that get dumped to the printer
when you turn it on or off,or exit or enter an editor.
Prop-head : A programmer (Diminutive of Propeller Head).
Any of the two-byte xzero-page variables used in GEOS and
GEOS applications to pass parameteers and retain results.
The GEOS registers are labeled rO tshrough r15. The
application registers are labeled aO through a15.
REHI : Hello again.
ROFL : Rolling on floor laughing.
R.S.N. : (Real Soon Now) That's when you'll see something that's
already six months late.
R.T.F.M. : Please Read the Manual. ;-)
RAMmy : Condition caused by overindulgence in personal multi-
Symptoms include refusal of patient to access additional
brain cells, all tasks put to sleep and Guru Meditation
messages flashing before the eyes.
Most prevalent on Friday afternoons when the boss has
been in the office all weekends without the presence of
phones or computers.
Rip Out : Delete parts of (a program).
ROMable : Code that may be placed in ROM (or EPROM, etc.). ROMable
code cannot be self-modifying.
Rose Bug : When a Gamestar emplyee encounters a bug, it is sometimes
called a Rose Bug. The group started using this term
after working with Pete Rose on the Pennant Fever
Runaway task: What causes an Amiga program to geek-out.
Scrogged : When data is unretrievable, especially on a disk. "The
disk is scrogged."
A portion of a program that, as part of its normal course
of operations, modifies itself to realixe an increase in
performance or a decrease in memory space. Extremely
prone to bugs, selfmodifying code is viewed as a
necessary evil and should be used in moderation.
SIP : Self-inflicxted problem.
Skew, Slew : To push or rotate slightly. Occurs in programming
anything to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-
dimensional plane. Usage: "This plane would look better
if that wing were slewed over a bit. "
Note; that the word skew also describes an object that is
out of proportion or otherwise incorrectly drawn:
"That B-17 is so skewed it looks like a dachshund with
Slushamatic : A game which contains far more than the user has any
right to expect. Frequently, this comes from a designer/
programmer who knows that a machine such as the Commodore
64 can execute code as fast as any other home computer if
it is well written. An extreme usage of the word is super
Snotpit : May I have the pleasure of buying you lunch?
A program or routine with a confusing, nonlinear and
nonsensical organization, often exhibited by beginning
programmers and lazy hackers.
Splat : To update a portion of the screen as fast as possible.
Sugartime : The time it takes to compile any large file.
Table Top Publishing:
A step below Desktop Publishing.
Tardyware : Software that is released considerably later than
expected or forecast (contrast with Vaporware below).
A programmer or hardware desingner.
That's Nice, I like it:
What you say when someone else has a bug.
The tomorrow problem:
Any problem that is insignificant compared to the amount
of sleep that you need immediately.
Toast : Any burned-up hardware.
Tricked out : Software which has had many features added over its
original design to enhance its marketability
(attributed to Jim Steinert).
Trivial Bug : There shouldn't be a hyphen in "Dimly-lit".
TRON : TRON desk accessory, TRON printer driver. A GEOS
application, desk accessory or printer driver whose sole
purpose in life is supreme nastiness; used by BSW in
alpha-test procedures to ensure that products are as
bullet-proof as possible. The TRON desk accessory, for
example, will trash global variables, muck with sprites,
erase the screens and otherwise attempt to kill the
calling application (it does, however, operate within
the standard GEOS conventions-it just pushes them to the
The low-end machine's equivalent of entropy. The point
where a program becomes so complex that every operation
takes slightly less than an eternity to complete.
A feared reality when dealing with limited memory and
processing speed (such as on the Commodore 64). (A
one-bit Turing machine can emulate even the fastest, most
complex computer because the formal manipulataion of
symbols will be the same at any level. In theory, there
is nothing a Cray XM-P can compute that a 64 cannot.
It's just that what the Cray can do in three seconds
might take a 64 three years.
Tweak № : The last fine adjustment. To fine-tune a program by
adding features, recompiling the code and removing small
bugs and annoyances. Tweaking occurs only at the end of
a project and is used only when the feature modifies no
more than 25 % of the program.
Tweak І : Fine adjustment.
Tweening : Interpolation of animation cells.
Twiddle № : Synonym for tilde (-). John Wedgwood, author of geoFile,
only recently discovered that the symbol is in fact
called a tilde and not a twiddle.
Twiddle І : To manipulate or alter the state of, as in "twiddle a
bit". (See also Bit-twiddler.)
Uncle Parser: The name Imps have given to the special version of the
parser, used in Introductory level games like Seastalker.
It is extremely userfriendly, and the responses never
include multi-syllabic words.
A positiveacting bug.
Vaporware : Software that is advertised heavily, but never appears.
Vector pipeline processing:
Functiontagging of data objects resulting from data
normalization and procedure vectorization.
Virtual : False, fake. (i.e., virtual memory, virtual screen).
VLIR (Variable Length Indexed Record):
A GEOS-specific file type composed of up to 127 records
of varying length and an index table. The index table
contains pointers to the first disk block of each record.
Wally : Name given to person asking questions of a very
fundamental nature. (e.g., Wally: I can't save my data.
Customer support: Did you format your disk? Wally:
Weekend : The time when you work on your own programs; not
necessarily a Saturday or Sunday.
An acronym for Window, Icons, Mouse and Pulldowns.
Wizard : Since much of what Infocom does is steeped in the
fantasy genre, many terms from our own and other
companies' fantasy games have crept into the InfoLingo:
For example, it is common to refer to any expert as a
"Wizard." Example: "I have to speak to one of the wizards
about this parser bug."
Wodge : This word entered the InfoVocabulary while Douglas Adams
and Steve Meretzky were collaborating on Hitchhiker's
Guide to the Galaxy. After an initial trip to Massa-
chusetts, Douglas did most fo his work in England,
sending material to Steve via electronic mail. After a
long period without any new material, Douglas said, "I
worked for three solid days, and I'm sending over a huge
wodge of stuff". Wodge quickly caught on as a term
meaning a great deal of work, or more generally, a large
amount of anything.
"Y"Code : Brian Fargo tells me that most of the people at
Interplay Prouctions program in C, but one person does
things in a very unusual manner (especially when he's
tired). They claim this individual programs in Y.
Zombieware : Product that have been previously announced, both
publicly and in catalogs, but will not be released due
to circumstances beyond the company's control. (Also see