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Jargon used in computing

= Z =
=====

zap: 1. n. Spiciness.  2. vt. To make food spicy.  3. vt. To make someone `suffer' by making
   his food spicy.  (Most hackers love spicy food.  Hot-and-sour soup is considered wimpy
   unless it makes you wipe your nose for the rest of the meal.)  See {zapped}. 4. vt. To
   modify, usually to correct; esp. used when the action is performed with a debugger or
   binary patching tool.  Also implies surgical precision.  "Zap the debug level to 6 and run
   it again." In the IBM mainframe world, binary patches are applied to programs or to the OS
   with a program called `superzap', whose file name is `IMASPZAP' (I M A SuPerZAP).  5. vt.
   To erase or reset.  6. To {fry} a chip with static electricity. "Uh oh --- I think that
   lightning strike may have zapped the disk controller."

zapped: adj. Spicy.  This term is used to distinguish between food that is hot (in
   temperature) and food that is *spicy*-hot. For example, the Chinese appetizer Bon Bon
   Chicken is a kind of chicken salad that is cold but zapped; by contrast, {vanilla} wonton
   soup is hot but not zapped.  See also {{oriental food}}, {laser chicken}.  See {zap},
   senses 1 and 2.

zen: vt. To figure out something by meditation or by a sudden flash of enlightenment.
   Originally applied to bugs, but occasionally applied to problems of life in general.
   "How'd you figure out the buffer allocation problem?" "Oh, I zenned it."  Contrast {grok},
   which connotes a time-extended version of zenning a system. Compare {hack mode}. See also
   {guru}.

zero: vt. 1. To set to 0.  Usually said of small pieces of data, such as bits or words (esp.
   in the construction `zero out').  2. To erase; to discard all data from.  Said of disks and
   directories, where `zeroing' need not involve actually writing zeroes throughout the area
   being zeroed.  One may speak of something being `logically zeroed' rather than being
   `physically zeroed'.  See {scribble}.

zero-content: adj. Syn. {content-free}.

zeroth: /zee'rohth/ adj. First.  Among software designers, comes from C's and LISP's 0-based
   indexing of arrays.  Hardware people also tend to start counting at 0 instead of 1; this is
   natural since, e.g., the 256 states of 8 bits correspond to the binary numbers 0, 1, ...,
   255 and the digital devices known as `counters' count in this way.
   Hackers and computer scientists often like to call the first chapter of a publication
   `chapter 0', especially if it is of an introductory nature (one of the classic instances
   was in the First Edition of {K&R}).  In recent years this trait has also been observed
   among many pure mathematicians (who have an independent tradition of numbering from 0).
   Zero-based numbering tends to reduce {fencepost error}s, though it cannot eliminate them
   entirely.

zigamorph: /zig'*-morf/ n. Hex FF (11111111) when used as a delimiter or {fence} character.
   Usage: primarily at IBM shops.

zip: [primarily MS-DOS] vt. To create a compressed archive from a group of files using
   PKWare's PKZIP or a compatible archiver. Its use is spreading now that portable
   implementations of the algorithm have been written.  Commonly used as follows: "I'll zip it
   up and send it to you."  See {arc}, {tar and feather}.

zipperhead: [IBM] n. A person with a closed mind.

zombie: [UNIX] n. A process that has died but has not yet relinquished its process table slot
   (because the parent process hasn't executed a `wait(2)' for it yet).  These can be seen in
   `ps(1)' listings occasionally.  Compare {orphan}.

zorch: /zorch/ 1. [TMRC] v. To attack with an inverse heat sink. 2. [TMRC] v. To travel, with
   v approaching c [that is, with velocity approaching lightspeed --- ESR].  3. [MIT] v. To
   propel something very quickly.  "The new comm software is very fast; it really zorches
   files through the network." 4. [MIT] n. Influence. Brownie points. Good karma. The
   intangible and fuzzy currency in which favours are measured. "I'd rather not ask him for
   that just yet; I think I've used up my quota of zorch with him for the week."  5. [MIT] n.
   Energy, drive, or ability.  "I think I'll {punt} that change for now; I've been up for 30
   hours and I've run out of zorch."

Zork: /zork/ n. The second of the great early experiments in computer fantasy gaming; see
   {ADVENT}.  Originally written on MIT-DM during the late 1970s, later distributed with BSD
   UNIX and commercialized as `The Zork Trilogy' by Infocom.

zorkmid: /zork'mid/ n. The canonical unit of currency in hacker-written games. This originated
   in {zork} but has spread to {nethack} and is referred to in several other games.



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This page (jargonz.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013