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The New Hacker's Dictionary

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listen with equal appreciation to (say) Talking Heads, Yes, Gentle Giant, Pat Metheny, Scott Joplin, Tangerine Dream, Dream Theater, King Sunny Ade, The Pretenders, Screaming Trees, or the Brandenburg Concerti. It is also apparently true that hackerdom includes a much higher concentration of talented amateur musicians than one would expect from a similar-sized control group of [9076]mundane types.


Node:mutter, Next:[9077]N, Previous:[9078]music, Up:[9079]= M =

mutter vt.

To quietly enter a command not meant for the ears, eyes, or fingers of ordinary mortals. Often used in `mutter an [9080]incantation'. See also [9081]wizard.


Node:= N =, Next:[9082]= O =, Previous:[9083]= M =, Up:[9084]The Jargon Lexicon

= N =




*[9088]nailed to the wall:

*[9089]nailing jelly:

* [9090]naive:


*[9091]naive user:










*[9101]nasal demons:


*[9103]Nathan Hale:


*[9105]neat hack:

*[9106]neats vs. scruffies:





*[9110]nerd knob:
















*[9126]network address:


*[9127]network meltdown:

*[9128]New Jersey:

*[9129]New Testament:


*[9131]newgroup wars:







*[9138]night mode:

*[9139]Nightmare File System:


*[9141]Ninety-Ninety Rule:

*[9142]nipple mouse:






*[9147]Nominal Semidestructor:

*[9148]non-optimal solution:



*[9151]not ready for prime time:




*[9155]NSA line eater:







*[9162]NUXI problem:





Node:N, Next:[9165]nadger, Previous:[9166]mutter, Up:[9167]= N =

N /N/ quant.

1. A large and indeterminate number of objects: "There were N bugs in that crock!" Also used in its original sense of a variable name: "This crock has N bugs, as N goes to infinity." (The true number of bugs is always at least N + 1; see [9168]Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology.) 2. A variable whose value is inherited from the current context. For example, when a meal is being ordered at a restaurant, N may be understood to mean however many people there are at the table. From the remark "We'd like to order N wonton soups and a family dinner for N - 1" you can deduce that one person at the table wants to eat only soup, even though you don't know how many people there are (see [9169]great-wall). 3. `Nth': adj. The ordinal counterpart of N, senses 1 and 2. "Now for the Nth and last time..." In the specific context "Nth-year grad student", N is generally assumed to be at least 4, and is usually 5 or more (see [9170]tenured graduate student). See also [9171]random numbers, [9172]two-to-the-N.


Node:nadger, Next:[9173]nagware, Previous:[9174]N, Up:[9175]= N =

nadger /nad'jr/ v.

[UK, from rude slang noun `nadgers' for testicles; compare American & British `bollixed'] Of software or hardware (not people), to twiddle some object in a hidden manner, generally so that it conforms better to some format. For instance, string printing routines on 8-bit processors often take the string text from the instruction stream, thus a print call looks like jsr


print:"Hello world". The print routine has to `nadger' the saved instruction pointer so that the processor doesn't try to execute the text as instructions when the subroutine returns. See [9176]adger.


Node:nagware, Next:[9177]nailed to the wall, Previous:[9178]nadger, Up:[9179]= N =

nagware /nag'weir/ n.

[Usenet] The variety of [9180]shareware that displays a large screen at the beginning or end reminding you to register, typically requiring some sort of keystroke to continue so that you can't use the software in batch mode.

Compare [9181]annoyware, [9182]crippleware.


Node:nailed to the wall, Next:[9183]nailing jelly, Previous:[9184]nagware, Up:[9185]= N =

nailed to the wall adj.

[like a trophy] Said of a bug finally eliminated after protracted, and even heroic, effort.


Node:nailing jelly, Next:[9186]naive, Previous:[9187]nailed to the wall, Up:[9188]= N =

nailing jelly vi.

See [9189]like nailing jelly to a tree.



Node:naive, Next:[9190]naive user, Previous:[9191]nailing jelly, Up:[9192]= N =

naive adj.

1. Untutored in the perversities of some particular program or system; one who still tries to do things in an intuitive way, rather than the right way (in really good designs these coincide, but most designs aren't `really good' in the appropriate sense). This trait is completely unrelated to general maturity or competence, or even competence at any other specific program. It is a sad commentary on the primitive state of computing that the natural opposite of this term is often claimed to be `experienced user' but is really more like `cynical user'. 2. Said of an algorithm that doesn't take advantage of some superior but advanced technique, e.g., the [9193]bubble sort. It may imply naivete on the part of the programmer, although there are situations where a naive algorithm is preferred, because it is more important to keep the code comprehensible than to go for maximum performance. "I know the linear search is naive, but in this case the list typically only has half a dozen items."


Node:naive user, Next:[9194]NAK, Previous:[9195]naive, Up:[9196]= N =

naive user n.

A [9197]luser. Tends to imply someone who is ignorant mainly owing to inexperience. When this is applied to someone who has experience, there is a definite implication of stupidity.


Node:NAK, Next:[9198]NANA, Previous:[9199]naive user, Up:[9200]= N


NAK /nak/ interj.


[from the ASCII mnemonic for 0010101] 1. On-line joke answer to [9201]ACK?: "I'm not here." 2. On-line answer to a request for chat: "I'm not available." 3. Used to politely interrupt someone to tell them you don't understand their point or that they have suddenly stopped making sense. See [9202]ACK, sense 3. "And then, after we recode the project in COBOL...." "Nak, Nak, Nak! I thought I heard you say COBOL!" 4. A negative answer. "OK if I boot the server?" "NAK!"


Node:NANA, Next:[9203]nano, Previous:[9204]NAK, Up:[9205]= N =


[Usenet] The newsgroups news.admin.net-abuse.*, devoted to fighting [9206]spam and network abuse. Each individual newsgroup is often referred to by adding a letter to NANA. For example, NANAU would refer to news.admin.net-abuse.usenet.

When spam began to be a serious problem around 1995, and a loose network of anti-spammers formed to combat it, spammers immediately accused them of being the [9207]backbone cabal, or the Cabal reborn. Though this was not true, spam-fighters ironically accepted the label and the tag line "There is No Cabal" reappeared (later, and now commonly, abbreviated to "TINC"). Nowadays "the Cabal" is generally understood to refer to the NANA regulars.


Node:nano, Next:[9208]nano-, Previous:[9209]NANA, Up:[9210]= N =

nano /nan'oh/ n.

[CMU: from `nanosecond'] A brief period of time. "Be with you in a nano" means you really will be free shortly, i.e., implies what mainstream people mean by "in a jiffy" (whereas the hackish use of `jiffy' is quite different --


see [9211]jiffy).


Node:nano-, Next:[9212]nanoacre, Previous:[9213]nano, Up:[9214]= N =


[SI: the next quantifier below [9215]micro-; meaning * 10^(-9)] Smaller than [9216]micro-, and used in the same rather loose and connotative way. Thus, one has [9217]nanotechnology (coined by hacker K. Eric Drexler) by analogy with `microtechnology'; and a few machine architectures have a `nanocode' level below `microcode'. Tom Duff at Bell Labs has also pointed out that "Pi seconds is a nanocentury". See also [9218]quantifiers, [9219]pico-, [9220]nanoacre, [9221]nanobot, [9222]nanocomputer, [9223]nanofortnight.


Node:nanoacre, Next:[9224]nanobot, Previous:[9225]nano-, Up:[9226]= N


nanoacre /nan'oh-ay`kr/ n.

A unit (about 2 mm square) of real estate on a VLSI chip. The term gets its giggle value from the fact that VLSI nanoacres have costs in the same range as real acres once one figures in design and fabrication-setup costs.


Node:nanobot, Next:[9227]nanocomputer, Previous:[9228]nanoacre,

Up:[9229]= N =

nanobot /nan'oh-bot/ n.

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