Another five completely nerdish jargon words you might hear online

  1. frobnicate: To manipulate or adjust, to tweak. "Please frob the light switch" means to flip it. Frob usually connotes aimless manipulation, such as turning a radio dial not because it needs to be tuned, but because knobs are fun.
  2. virtual Friday: The last day before an extended weekend, if that day is not a "real" Friday. For example, the U.S. holiday Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday. The next day is often also a holiday or taken as an extra day off, in which case Wednesday of that week is a virtual Friday (and Thursday is a virtual Saturday, as is Friday). There are also "virtual Mondays" that are actually Tuesdays, after the three-day weekends associated with many national holidays in the U.S.
  3. glitch: From the Yiddish "glitshen", to slide or skid: a sudden interruption in electric service, sanity, continuity, or program function. An interruption in electric service is specifically called a "power glitch". In jargon, though, a hacker who got to the middle of a sentence and then forgot how he or she intended to complete it might say, "Sorry, I just glitched".
  4. snarf: a. To grab, especially to grab a large document or file for the purpose of using it with or without the author's permission. b. To fetch a file or set of files across a network. c. To acquire, with little concern for legal forms or politesse (but not quite by stealing). "They were giving away samples, so I snarfed a bunch of them."
  5. xyzzy: The canonical "magic word". This comes from the first computer adventure game (best known as "Adventure") in which the idea is to explore an underground cave with many rooms and to collect the treasures you find there. If you type "xyzzy" at the appropriate time, you can move instantly between two otherwise distant points. If, therefore, you encounter some bit of magic, you might remark on this quite succinctly by saying simply "Xyzzy!" Xyzzy has actually been implemented as an undocumented non-operational command on several operating systems; in Data General's AOS/VS, for example, it would typically respond "Nothing happens", just as Adventure did if the magic was invoked at the wrong time. In more recent 32-bit versions, by the way, AOS/VS responds "Twice as much happens".

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Copyright © 1994, 1995, 2004 by Kevin Savetz. The information in this book was collected in 1994-1995 and has not been updated since.