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[generalized from J. Random Hacker] Arbitrary; ordinary; any one; any old. `J. Random' is often prefixed to a noun to make a name out of it. It means roughly `some particular' or `any specific one'. "Would you let J. Random Loser marry your daughter?" The most common uses are `J. Random Hacker', `J. Random Loser', and `J. Random Nerd' ("Should J. Random Loser be allowed to gun down other people?"), but it can be used simply as an elaborate version of random in any sense.
J. Random Hacker /J rand'm hak'r/ /n./
[MIT] A mythical figure like the Unknown Soldier; the archetypal hacker nerd. See random, Suzie COBOL. This may originally have been inspired by `J. Fred Muggs', a show-biz chimpanzee whose name was a household word back in the early days of TMRC, and was probably influenced by `J. Presper Eckert' (one of the co-inventors of the electronic computer).
jack in /v./
To log on to a machine or connect to a network or BBS, esp. for purposes of entering a virtual reality simulation such as a MUD or IRC (leaving is "jacking out"). This term derives from cyberpunk SF, in which it was used for the act of plugging an electrode set into neural sockets in order to interface the brain directly to a virtual reality. It is primarily used by MUD and IRC fans and younger hackers on BBS systems.
jaggies /jag'eez/ /n./
The `stairstep' effect observable when an edge (esp. a linear edge of very shallow or steep slope) is rendered on a pixel device (as opposed to a vector display).
JCL /J-C-L/ /n./
1. IBM's supremely rude Job Control Language. JCL is the script language used to control the execution of programs in IBM's batch systems. JCL has a very fascist syntax, and some versions will, for example, barf if two spaces appear where it expects one. Most programmers confronted with JCL simply copy a working file (or card deck), changing the file names. Someone who actually understands and generates unique JCL is regarded with the mixed respect one gives to someone who memorizes the phone book. It is reported that hackers at IBM itself sometimes sing "Who's the breeder of the crud that mangles you and me? I-B-M, J-C-L, M-o-u-s-e" to the tune of the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme to express their opinion of the beast. 2. A comparative for any very rude software that a hacker is expected to use. "That's as bad as JCL." As with COBOL, JCL is often used as an archetype of ugliness even by those who haven't experienced it. See also IBM, fear and loathing.
A (poorly documented, naturally) shell simulating JCL syntax is available at the Retrocomputing Museum http://www.ccil.org/retro.
JEDR // /n./
Synonymous with IYFEG. At one time, people in the Usenet newsgroup rec.humor.funny tended to use `JEDR' instead of IYFEG or `<ethnic>'; this stemmed from a public attempt to suppress the group once made by a loser with initials JEDR after he was offended by an ethnic joke posted there. (The practice was retconned by the expanding these initials as `Joke Ethnic/Denomination/Race'.) After much sound and fury JEDR faded away; this term appears to be doing likewise. JEDR's only permanent effect on the net.culture was to discredit `sensitivity' arguments for censorship so thoroughly that more recent attempts to raise them have met with immediate and near-universal rejection.
JFCL /jif'kl/, /jaf'kl/, /j*-fi'kl/ vt., obs.
(alt. `jfcl') To cancel or annul something. "Why don't you jfcl that out?" The fastest do-nothing instruction on older models of the PDP-10 happened to be JFCL, which stands for "Jump if Flag set and then CLear the flag"; this does something useful, but is a very fast no-operation if no flag is specified. Geoff Goodfellow, one of the Steele-1983 co-authors, had JFCL on the license plate of his BMW for years. Usage: rare except among old-time PDP-10 hackers.
1. The duration of one tick of the system clock on your computer (see tick). Often one AC cycle time (1/60 second in the U.S. and Canada, 1/50 most other places), but more recently 1/100 sec has become common. "The swapper runs every 6 jiffies" means that the virtual memory management routine is executed once for every 6 ticks of the clock, or about ten times a second. 2. Confusingly, the term is sometimes also used for a 1-millisecond wall time interval. Even more confusingly, physicists semi-jokingly use `jiffy' to mean the time required for light to travel one foot in a vacuum, which turns out to be close to one nanosecond. 3. Indeterminate time from a few seconds to forever. "I'll do it in a jiffy" means certainly not now and possibly never. This is a bit contrary to the more widespread use of the word. Oppose nano. See also Real Soon Now.
job security /n./
When some piece of code is written in a particularly obscure fashion, and no good reason (such as time or space optimization) can be discovered, it is often said that the programmer was attempting to increase his job security (i.e., by making himself indispensable for maintenance). This sour joke seldom has to be said in full; if two hackers are looking over some code together and one points at a section and says "job security", the other one may just nod.
1. A programmer who is characterized by large and somewhat brute-force programs. See brute force. 2. When modified by another noun, describes a specialist in some particular computing area. The compounds `compiler jock' and `systems jock' seem to be the best-established examples.
joe code /joh' kohd`/ /n./
1. Code that is overly tense and unmaintainable. " Perl may be a handy program, but if you look at the source, it's complete joe code." 2. Badly written, possibly buggy code.
Correspondents wishing to remain anonymous have fingered a particular Joe at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and observed that usage has drifted slightly; the original sobriquet `Joe code' was intended in sense 1.
1994 update: This term has now generalized to `<name> code', used to designate code with distinct characteristics traceable to its author. "This section doesn't check for a NULL return from malloc()! Oh. No wonder! It's Ed code!". Used most often with a programmer who has left the shop and thus is a convenient scapegoat for anything that is wrong with the project.
jolix /joh'liks/ /n.,adj./
386BSD, the freeware port of the BSD Net/2 release to the Intel i386 architecture by Bill Jolitz and friends. Used to differentiate from BSDI's port based on the same source tape, which used to be called BSD/386 and is now BSD/OS. See BSD.
JR[LN] /J-R-L/, /J-R-N/ /n./
The names JRL and JRN were sometimes used as example names when discussing a kind of user ID used under TOPS-10 and WAITS; they were understood to be the initials of (fictitious) programmers named `J. Random Loser' and `J. Random Nerd' (see J. Random). For example, if one said "To log in, type log one comma jay are en" (that is, "log 1,JRN"), the listener would have understood that he should use his own computer ID in place of `JRN'.
JRST /jerst/ /v. obs./
[based on the PDP-10 jump instruction] To suddenly change subjects, with no intention of returning to the previous topic. Usage: rather rare except among PDP-10 diehards, and considered silly. See also AOS.
juggling eggs /vi./
Keeping a lot of state in your head while modifying a program. "Don't bother me now, I'm juggling eggs", means that an interrupt is likely to result in the program's being scrambled. In the classic first-contact SF novel "The Mote in God's Eye", by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, an alien describes a very difficult task by saying "We juggle priceless eggs in variable gravity." See also hack mode.
jump off into never-never land /v./
[from J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan"] Same as branch to Fishkill, but more common in technical cultures associated with non-IBM computers that use the term `jump' rather than `branch'. Compare hyperspace.
[IRC] To kill an IRC robot or user and then take its place by adopting its nick so that it cannot reconnect. Named after a particular IRC user who did this to NickServ, the robot in charge of preventing people from inadvertently using a nick claimed by another user.
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