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The New Hacker's Dictionary

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*[13055]troglodyte mode:

*[13056]Trojan horse:







*[13063]tube time:



*[13066]turbo nerd:

*[13067]Turing tar-pit:









*[13075]twilight zone:


*[13077]twirling baton:

*[13078]two pi:




Node:T, Next:[13081]tail recursion, Previous:[13082]SysVile, Up:[13083]= T =

T /T/

1. [from LISP terminology for `true'] Yes. Used in reply to a question (particularly one asked using [13084]The -P convention). In LISP, the constant T means `true', among other things. Some Lisp hackers use `T' and `NIL' instead of `Yes' and `No' almost reflexively. This sometimes causes misunderstandings. When a waiter or flight attendant asks whether a hacker


wants coffee, he may absently respond `T', meaning that he wants coffee; but of course he will be brought a cup of tea instead. Fortunately, most hackers (particularly those who frequent Chinese restaurants) like tea at least as well as coffee -- so it is not that big a problem. 2. See [13085]time T (also [13086]since time T equals minus infinity). 3. [techspeak] In transaction-processing circles, an abbreviation for the noun `transaction'. 4. [Purdue] Alternate spelling of [13087]tee. 5. A dialect of [13088]LISP developed at Yale. (There is an intended allusion to NIL, "New Implementation of Lisp", another dialect of Lisp developed for the [13089]VAX)


Node:tail recursion, Next:[13090]talk mode, Previous:[13091]T, Up:[13092]= T =

tail recursion n.

If you aren't sick of it already, see [13093]tail recursion.


Node:talk mode, Next:[13094]talker system, Previous:[13095]tail recursion, Up:[13096]= T =

talk mode n.

A feature supported by Unix, ITS, and some other OSes that allows two or more logged-in users to set up a real-time on-line conversation. It combines the immediacy of talking with all the precision (and verbosity) that written language entails. It is difficult to communicate inflection, though conventions have arisen for some of these (see the section on writing style in the Prependices for details).

Talk mode has a special set of jargon words, used to save typing, which are not used orally. Some of these are identical to (and probably derived from)


Morse-code jargon used by ham-radio amateurs since the 1920s.

AFAIAC as far as I am concerned

AFAIK as far as I know

BCNU be seeing you

BTW by the way

BYE? are you ready to unlink? (this is the standard way to end a talk-mode conversation; the other person types BYE to confirm, or else continues the conversation)

CUL see you later

ENQ? are you busy? (expects ACK or NAK in return)

FOO? are you there? (often used on unexpected links, meaning also "Sorry if I butted in ..." (linker) or "What's up?" (linkee))

FWIW for what it's worth

FYI for your information

FYA for your amusement

GA go ahead (used when two people have tried to type simultaneously; this cedes the right to type to the other)

GRMBL grumble (expresses disquiet or disagreement)

HELLOP hello? (an instance of the `-P' convention)

IIRC if I recall correctly


JAM just a minute (equivalent to SEC....)

MIN same as JAM

NIL no (see [13097]NIL)

NP no problem

O over to you

OO over and out

/ another form of "over to you" (from x/y as "x over y")

\ lambda (used in discussing LISPy things)

OBTW oh, by the way

OTOH on the other hand

R U THERE? are you there?

SEC wait a second (sometimes written SEC...)

SYN Are you busy? (expects ACK, SYN|ACK, or RST in return; this is modeled on the TCP/IP handshake sequence)

T yes (see the main entry for [13098]T)

TNX thanks

TNX 1.0E6 thanks a million (humorous)

TNXE6 another form of "thanks a million"

WRT with regard to, or with respect to.


WTF the universal interrogative particle; WTF knows what it means?

WTH what the hell?

<double newline> When the typing party has finished, he/she types two newlines to signal that he/she is done; this leaves a blank line between `speeches' in the conversation, making it easier to reread the preceding text.

<name>: When three or more terminals are linked, it is conventional for each typist to [13099]prepend his/her login name or handle and a colon (or a hyphen) to each line to indicate who is typing (some conferencing facilities do this automatically). The login name is often shortened to a unique prefix (possibly a single letter) during a very long conversation.

/\/\/\ A giggle or chuckle. On a MUD, this usually means `earthquake fault'.

Most of the above sub-jargon is used at both Stanford and MIT. Several of these expressions are also common in [13100]email, esp. FYI, FYA, BTW, BCNU, WTF, and CUL. A few other abbreviations have been reported from commercial networks, such as GEnie and CompuServe, where on-line `live' chat including more than two people is common and usually involves a more `social' context, notably the following:

<g> grin

<gd&r> grinning, ducking, and running

BBL be back later

BRB be right back

HHOJ ha ha only joking

HHOK ha ha only kidding

HHOS [13101]ha ha only serious


IMHO in my humble opinion (see [13102]IMHO)

LOL laughing out loud

NHOH Never Heard of Him/Her (often used in [13103]initgame)

ROTF rolling on the floor

ROTFL rolling on the floor laughing

AFK away from keyboard

b4 before

CU l8tr see you later

MORF male or female?

TTFN ta-ta for now

TTYL talk to you later

OIC oh, I see

rehi hello again

Most of these are not used at universities or in the Unix world, though ROTF and TTFN have gained some currency there and IMHO is common; conversely, most of the people who know these are unfamiliar with FOO?, BCNU, HELLOP, [13104]NIL, and [13105]T.

The [13106]MUD community uses a mixture of Usenet/Internet emoticons, a few of the more natural of the old-style talk-mode abbrevs, and some of the `social' list above; specifically, MUD respondents report use of BBL, BRB, LOL, b4, BTW, WTF, TTFN, and WTH. The use of `rehi' is also common; in fact, mudders are fond of recompounds and will frequently


`rehug' or `rebonk' (see [13107]bonk/oif) people. The word `re' by itself is taken as `regreet'. In general, though, MUDders express a preference for typing things out in full rather than using abbreviations; this may be due to the relative youth of the MUD cultures, which tend to include many touch typists and to assume high-speed links. The following uses specific to MUDs are reported:

CU l8er see you later (mutant of CU l8tr)

FOAD fuck off and die (use of this is generally OTT)

OTT over the top (excessive, uncalled for)

ppl abbrev for "people"

THX thanks (mutant of TNX; clearly this comes in batches of 1138 (the Lucasian K)).

UOK? are you OK?

Some [13108]B1FFisms (notably the variant spelling d00d) appear to be passing into wider use among some subgroups of MUDders.

One final note on talk mode style: neophytes, when in talk mode, often seem to think they must produce letter-perfect prose because they are typing rather than speaking. This is not the best approach. It can be very frustrating to wait while your partner pauses to think of a word, or repeatedly makes the same spelling error and backs up to fix it. It is usually best just to leave typographical errors behind and plunge forward, unless severe confusion may result; in that case it is often fastest just to type "xxx" and start over from before the mistake.

See also [13109]hakspek, [13110]emoticon.



Node:talker system, Next:[13111]tall card, Previous:[13112]talk mode, Up:[13113]= T =

talker system n.

British hackerism for software that enables real-time chat or [13114]talk mode.


Node:tall card, Next:[13115]tanked, Previous:[13116]talker system, Up:[13117]= T =

tall card n.

A PC/AT-size expansion card (these can be larger than IBM PC or XT cards because the AT case is bigger). See also [13118]short card. When IBM introduced the PS/2 model 30 (its last gasp at supporting the ISA) they made the case lower and many industry-standard tall cards wouldn't fit; this was felt to be a reincarnation of the [13119]connector conspiracy, done with less style.


Node:tanked, Next:[13120]TANSTAAFL, Previous:[13121]tall card, Up:[13122]= T =

tanked adj.

Same as [13123]down, used primarily by Unix hackers. See also [13124]hosed. Popularized as a synonym for `drunk' by Steve Dallas in the late lamented "Bloom County" comic strip.



Node:TANSTAAFL, Next:[13125]tape monkey, Previous:[13126]tanked, Up:[13127]= T =

TANSTAAFL /tan'stah-fl/

[acronym, from Robert Heinlein's classic "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".] "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch", often invoked when someone is balking at the prospect of using an unpleasantly [13128]heavyweight technique, or at the poor quality of some piece of software, or at the [13129]signal-to-noise ratio of unmoderated Usenet newsgroups. "What? Don't tell me I have to implement a database back end to get my address book program to work!" "Well, TANSTAAFL you know." This phrase owes some of its popularity to the high concentration of science-fiction fans and political libertarians in hackerdom (see [13130]Appendix B for discussion).


Node:tape monkey, Next:[13131]tar and feather,

Previous:[13132]TANSTAAFL, Up:[13133]= T =

tape monkey n.

A junior system administrator, one who might plausibly be assigned to do physical swapping of tapes and subsequent storage. When a backup needs to be restored, one might holler "Tape monkey!" (Compare [13134]one-banana problem) Also used to dismiss jobs not worthy of a highly trained sysadmin's ineffable talents: "Cable up her PC? You must be joking - I'm no tape monkey."


Node:tar and feather, Next:[13135]tarball, Previous:[13136]tape monkey, Up:[13137]= T =

tar and feather vi.

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