Sunday, April 30, 2006

Chris Lamprecht

On May 5, 1995, Chris Lamprecht (Minor Threat) became the first person to be banned from the Internet. Chris was sentenced for a number of crimes to which he pled guilty. In the early 1990s Chris had written a phone dialing program called ToneLoc (Tone Locator) to find open modem lines in telephone exchanges.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Did you know that "Hunger" was the first computer animated film, produced by Rene Jodoin and directed and animated by Peter Foldes in 1974?

Rat Dance

Rat dance (from the Dilbert comic strip of Nov. 14, 1995) refers to a hacking run that produces results which, while superficially coherent, have little or nothing to do with its original objectives. In the comic strip, Ratbert is invited to dance on Dilbert's keyboard in order to produce bugs for him to fix, but instead authors a Web browser.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) refers to the fact that computers, unlike humans, will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input data and produce nonsensical output. GIGO is usually said in response to lusers* who complain that a program didn't "do the right thing" when given imperfect input or otherwise mistreated in some way.

Luser - A user who is also a loser.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Devil Book

The "Devil Book" refers to "The Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD Unix Operating System", by Samuel J. Leffler, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Michael J. Karels and John S. Quarterman. The book, which is a standard reference book on the internals of BSD Unix, is so called because the cover has a picture depicting a little devil (a visual play on daemon) in sneakers, holding a pitchfork (referring to one of the characteristic features of Unix, the "fork" system call).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Original PC Motherboard

The original PC motherboard, which premiered in 1982, was a large printed circuit card that contained the 8088 microprocessor, the BIOS, sockets for the CPU's RAM and a collection of slots that auxiliary cards could plug into. Additions like a floppy disk drive or a parallel port or a joystick needed a separate card that was plugged into one of the slots.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Did you know that Lehigh, which appeared in 1987, was the first memory resident virus? The Lehigh virus attacked the '' file, which was a program file that gave important start-up directions to the computer.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Colossus Computer

The "Colossus" computer, used to crack German signals intelligence during World War II, was built by Tommy Flowers and crew at the British Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill.


Spamhaus, the plural being spamhausen, is a pejorative term for an Internet service provider that permits or even encourages spam mailings from its systems.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ray Tomlinson

In October 1971, Ray Tomlinson, who has been called the father of email, invented the software that allowed messages to be sent between computers. His email address was tomlinson@bbn-tenexa. BBN was his employer and Tenex was the operating system used by machines at the company.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Featurectomy is the act of removing a feature from a program. There are two types of featurectomies, the "righteous" and the "reluctant". Righteous featurectomies are performed when the remover believes the program would be more elegant without the feature, or there is a better way to achieve the same end. Reluctant featurectomies are done to satisfy some external constraint such as code size or execution speed.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hao Jinglong & Hao Jingwen

In 1998, a Chinese court sentenced to death the twin brothers, Hao Jinglong and Hao Jingwen, for breaking into the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China computers and stealing $87,000. The Yangzhou Intermediate People's Court in the eastern Jiangsu province rejected Jingwen's appeal and upheld the death sentence, while suspending Jinglong's sentence in return for his testimony.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Atari Pong

When Atari Pong, the home version of the popular Atari arcade Pong game, was released in 1975, it made a huge cultural splash and started the video game boom. The game, sold through Sears-Roebuck, had two built-in controllers and of course, only played Pong.

The Book of Mozilla

Did you know that if you are using Netscape Navigator and type 'about:mozilla' as a URL, you should see a passage from The Book of Mozilla?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ninety-Ninety Rule

The Ninety-Ninety Rule is an aphorism attributed to Tom Cargill of Bell Labs. "The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Atari's VCS

Atari's VCS (Video Computer System) also called 2600, released in 1977, was the first Atari 8-bit video console that revolutionized the home video game market by refining the concept of a game system that used interchangeable cartridges. Available until around 1990, the console has the longest market time in history.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

John Scoch

John Scoch created the idea of a worm at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the late 1970s. The worm was meant to travel through computers on a network, looking for those that were idle and not at work. The worm would then allow people who needed computer time to borrow the idle PC's processing power.