This is a dictionary of computing terms for the innocent

Binary: (n.) a two-valued logic especially susceptible to glitches and bugs. It originated as a way of counting on the thumbs, since programming managers usually find fingers far too confusing. See: Hexadecimal, Octal.

Bit - The increment by which programmers slowly go mad.

Bug: (n.) any program feature not yet described to the marketing department.

Bus: (n.) a connector you pluf money into, something like a slot machine.

Byte: (n.) eight bits, or one dollar (in 1950 terms). Presently worth about two-tenths of a cent and falling fast.

C: (n.) the language following A and B. The world still awaits D and E. By Z, it may be acceptable for general use.

Chaining - A method of attaching programmers to desks to speed up output.

Core Storage - A receptacle for the center section of apples.

Chip: (n.) a stylized picture of a logic diagram on refined and alloyed sand. See: glitch, bug.

COBOL: (n.) an old computer language, designed to be read and not run. Unfortunately, it is often run anyway.

Disassembler - An unattended five year old child.

Documentation: (n.) a novel sold with software, designed to entertain the operator during episodes of bugs or glitches.

Engineer: (v.) to build something with bugs (software) or glitches (hardware). (n.) One who engineers.

Error - What someone else has made when he disagrees with your computer output.

External Storage - A wastebasket.

Fixed Word Length - Four-letter words used by programmers in a state of confusion.

Floating Control - A characteristic exhibited when you have to go to the restroom but cannot leave the computer.

Floating Point - The absolute limit before floating control is lost.

Flow Chart - A graphic representation of the fastest route to the restroom.

Glitch: (n.) an undocumented design feature, esp. of hardware.

Hexadecimal: (adj.) of or refering to base-16 numbers - binary numbers grouped four digits at a time so as to quadruple the opportunity for glitches and bugs. Originated as a means of counting on the fingers of one hand, using the thumb for the 'carry.' Purists who don't like to use the thumb at all prefer 'octal.' See: Octal, Binary.

Icon: (n.) a complex, blurry, and easily-misinterpreted pictorial representation of a single unambigious word. Preferred by illiterates and semi- literates for these reasons, and by others because it slows most computers down so even a cretin with an IQ of 53 may justly feel superior.

K: (n., adj.) a binary thousand, which isn't a decimal thousand or even really a binary thousand (which is eight), but is the binary number closest to a decimal thousand. This has proven so completely confusing that is has become a standard.

Kludge: (v., adj., or n.) to fix a program in the usual way.

Megaherz: (n.) a way of measuring how well your computer matches the frequency of your local television channels. Most computers perform exceptionally well on this test, especially the higher-quality foreign-made ones.

Micro-: (prefix) anything both very small and very expensive.

Mouse: (n.) an input device used by management to force computer users to keep at least a part of their desks clean.

Nano-: (prefix) a thousandth of a thousandth, but not a binary thousandth in either case. Decimal is used for all very small measurements since no further confusion is necessary.

Octal: (n.) a base-8 counting system designed so that one hand may count upon the fingers of the other. Thumbs are not used, and the index finger is reserved for the 'carry.'

Portable: (adj.) that which can be physically moved more than a hundred yards by an unaided olympic athlete without permanent damage to that individual more than 50% of the time.

Printer: (n.) a small box attached to a computer and used to start fires in cold weather.

Prompt: (n.) a computer request for a random operator error. Also a game where the computer plays the part of Vanna White and the operator, a contestant. There are no prizes for winning.

Recursion: (n.) a programming method which tests the limits of available memory in an iterative way by using the stack. When the program fails, all memory has been used. Memorize this definition, then see: Recursion.

Relational: (adj.) purchased from, or sold to, blood kin. See: Truly relational.

Software: (n.) anything other than hardware. That which hardware manufacturers can blame can blame for physical failures.

Transportable: (adj.) said of software - that which can be put on a new machine in less time than it took to write in the first place. Said of hardware - that which can theoretically be moved more than ten feet in one minute by some combination of machinery or explosives. The meanings are equivalent.

Truly relational: (adj.) relational, but where the paternity is indubitable.

TSR: (n.) acronym for Terminate and Stay Resident. A way of turning a useless computer with plenty of memory into a computer with no memory at all.

Turbo-: (prefix) computer software which uses air under pressure (supplied by a special fan) to achieve high performance.