The Jargon File

A Chronology...The Jargon FileComputer Dictionary
[Latin-based antonym for "optimal"] adj. Maximally bad. "This is a pessimal situation."
n. A compiler that produces object code that is worse than the straightforward or obvious translation.
n. (Stanford) The SAIL equivalent of a DRAGON (q.v.). Typical phantoms include the accounting program, the news-wire monitor, and the lpt and xgp spoolers.
(of people) 1. n. The phase of one's waking-sleeping schedule with respect to the standard 24-hour cycle. This is a useful concept among people who often work at night according to no fixed schedule. It is not uncommon to change one's phase by as much as six hours/day on a regular basis. "What's your phase?" "I've been getting in about 8 PM lately, but I'm going to work around to the day schedule by Friday." A person who is roughly 12 hours out of phase is sometimes said to be in "night mode". (The term "day mode" is also used, but less frequently.)
2.CHANGE PHASE THE HARD WAY: To stay awake for a very long time in order to get into a different phase.
3. CHANGE PHASE THE EASY WAY: To stay asleep etc.
n. Used humorously as a random parameter on which something is said to depend. Sometimes implies unreliability of whatever is dependent, or that reliability seems to be dependent on conditions nobody has been able to determine. "This feature depends on having the channel open in mumble mode, having the foo switch set, and on the phase of the moon."
[from the Adventure game] v. See XYZZY.
n. Phase of the moon (q.v.). Usage: usually used in the phrase "POM dependent" which means flakey (q.v.).
[based on the stack operation that removes the top of a stack, and the fact that procedure return addresses are saved on the stack] dialect: POPJ (pop-jay), based on the PDP-10 procedure return instruction. v. To return from a digression. By verb doubling, "Popj, popj" means roughly, "Now let's see, where were we?"
(pip'in) [DEC terminology, short for Project-Programmer Number] n. 1.A combination `project' (directory name) and programmer name, used to identify a specific directory belonging to that user. For instance, "FOO,BAR" would be the FOO directory for user BAR. Since the name is restricted to three letters, the programmer name is usually the person's initials, though sometimes it is a nickname or other special sequence. (Standard DEC setup is to have two octal numbers instead of characters; hence the original acronym.)
2.Often used loosely to refer to the programmer name alone. "I want to send you some mail; what's your ppn?" Usage: not used at MIT, since ITS does not use ppn's. The equivalent terms would be UNAME and SNAME, depending on context, but these are not used except in their technical senses.
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