Questions about computers, programming and IT.

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4
votes
1answer
763 views

When did “creep” get associated with computer controlled units in games?

I first saw this term in use for neutral units in Warcraft 3 (released 2002), and then that got carried through derivatives such as Dota (2003). Was Warcraft 3 the first time creep was used as a ...
5
votes
1answer
140 views

Provenance of 'deprecated' (in the programming sense)

What are some early uses of "deprecation" in computer science? When did the word enter common usage in the field of programming? Are there any particularly well-known examples of early deprecations ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Difference between ‘“folder” and “directory”

What is the difference between folder and directory in the context of computer science?
-1
votes
2answers
115 views

Inverse for the term "refinement”

In computer science there is a term "refinement". Refinement is a hierarchical relationship between two concepts. If B refines A, then the requirements of B are a superset of the requirements of A. ...
9
votes
1answer
885 views

When did “Easter egg” begin to mean “hidden feature”?

Can anybody trace the origins of 'Easter egg' for this meaning?
0
votes
4answers
102 views

Failing sometimes for unknown reason

Context: I have an automated test that sometimes fails for unknown reason. It's a sort of false positive: the feature it tests is not broken. Most of the time, either it succeeds or fails for right ...
1
vote
1answer
381 views

Prepositions used with “command line” and “shell”

I found the following variations on the use of "command line" and "shell" in computing and wonder which are correct and how to use them appropriately. Command line: is it "at the command line" or ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

What is a “big-ender pair”?

In the sci.math newsgroup ca. 23 Mar 2013, in thread Subject: Re: math formulae?, I saw the following: > >"Is the tournment liken to a bridge tournment? The problem is vague. > > ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it “falsy” or “falsey”?

I have seen both versions of the word, falsy and falsey. It can mean "something that is equivalent to false" in computer science, such as "The only two falsy values in the Ruby Language are false and ...
2
votes
2answers
263 views

What is the word for a pair of bytes?

Bit is a portmanteau of binary digit. A byte is 8 bits. A nibble is 4 bits (half a byte). Is there a word for a pair of bytes?
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Etymology of “ping”

According to Wikipedia ping, the IP network utility, was named after the sonar "ping", which is apparently onomatopoeic. However, "ping" is now used in the vernacular in the sense of "pinging" ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is a “splash screen” so called?

Wikipedia describes a "splash screen" as such... "A splash screen is an image that appears while a game or program is loading." and its purpose... [Splash screens] are typically used by ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

Etymology of “modal dialogs” in computerese

When programming you may deal with so-called modal dialogs — these are windows where you are supposed to provide information before you are allowed to proceed any further. A modal dialog blocks or ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the correct pronunciation of “regex”?

The term regular expression is often shortened to regex. What is the correct pronunciation of the g in regex? Is it like the g1 in gallium, or is it like the g2 in giraffe? I’ve heard it said both ...
6
votes
3answers
362 views

Origin and scope of “cruft”

I just had to look up "cruft" (jargon for software or hardware that is of poor quality), as used in a comment to an earlier question. But I can't find any details of etymology, and I don't know how ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

“Feeding” data or “entering” data: which one is correct?

Which is the better verb to use with data: feeding or entering? Furthermore, which is more common in the literature of the field and which do people who work in the field say more often? Are they ...
23
votes
8answers
2k views

What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized?

What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized? I have been using unmaximized, but I feel there is a more precise way.
3
votes
1answer
61 views

String slicing nomenclature

Maybe I'm just not very good with Google, but I'm looking for good terms to use when describing manipulation of strings of characters, specifically words to describe: Removing a prefix Removing a ...
6
votes
1answer
527 views

Is “catenate” used in IT parlance?

When I was doing my IT degree in the 80s we learned that, in programming terms, concatenation was the act of joining two strings together. Recently I was reading a technical manual and came across ...
0
votes
2answers
141 views

Pronunciation of OS X versions [closed]

I don't feel like this belongs on SU, so I put it here. I know that "OS X" is pronounced "oh-ess ten," but how should the common construction "OS X 10.9" be pronounced? The primary possibility I can ...
3
votes
3answers
162 views

“Run on an OS” vs. “run under an OS”

What is the correct way to specify the operating system you are targeting or using? Is a program running on or under an operating system (OS)? Is a machine running an OS or under an OS?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“Intended” vs. “intentional”

I'm reading an article about intention recognition in computing areas and somehow robotics. I came across this sentence: This problem has been discussed as the difference between “intended and ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the difference between obsolete and deprecate in computer science?

Given the two terms "obsolete" and "deprecate" in computer science, what is the difference between them? What I understand, Deprecated means still available for use but will no longer be developed ...
3
votes
2answers
436 views

How popular are the terms “software” and “hardware” outside the computer world?

If I’m not mistaken, the terms software and hardware were ordinary English words, but they have been widely popularized by popularity of computers. How much they are common (and acceptable by native ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

What is “embarrassing” about an embarrassingly parallel problem?

In computer science, a problem that is obviously decomposable into many identical but separate subtasks is called embarrassingly parallel. An example is a cryptographic brute force attack, in which ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

“Concatenate” vs. “merge” vs. “join” in scientific text

I wonder what the difference is between concatenate, merge and join from the lexical point of view. These words are often used in scientific or programming text. It seems to me that different authors ...
1
vote
5answers
4k views

What’s the difference between “tool” and “utility”?

I find these two words appear together often, especially mentioned as tool and utility for the Unix operating system. So I am wondering about the difference between them.
3
votes
3answers
246 views

Expression to describe error’s way

In the context of a computer system, events that fail to go to their destination are redirected to another one through several steps. I’m looking for an expression to describe the way they take. I ...
11
votes
4answers
17k views

Is there a word meaning “append”, but at the beginning, not the end? [closed]

In computer programming, when you append a "string" to another, you add it to the end of the former string. E.g. String string1 = "abcd"; String string2 = "efgh"; Appending the two strings would ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

“Computing” vs. “computation”

Can anybody explain the difference between computing and computation? Which one is correct: computing/computation node (to refer to a server) computing/computation power (to refer to the FLOPS of a ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

What does the word “hacking” or “hacker” come from? [closed]

Is there a history behind the word "hacker" and "hacking"? Could it have anything to do with "hashing" i.e. using a hash function?
1
vote
3answers
80 views

What is an overall term for a service that publishes digital publications?

I'm looking at what I am calling Digital Edition Solution Providers (ways of taking a PDF of a magazine and turning it into a website, and content for sale on Apple Newsstand, Android, KindleFire ...
1
vote
1answer
775 views

'Rollover'/'Roll over' in computer world

While Oxford Dictionary of English does not have definition of rollover, Wiktionary defines this word as "a graphic element that changes its shape or colour when the cursor moves over it"; in other ...
2
votes
5answers
184 views

“Printfing” or “printingf”?

At this point the program starts printfing the pot value. At this point the program starts printingf the pot value. Both sound wrong, and yet... one of them must be used.
1
vote
3answers
88 views

Word for code/applications that call an API library

I have an API library, what do I call code/applications that use it? I want to avoid "client" because in my context, it is ambiguous with another concept. Also it doesn't have to be a single word, as ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Origin of the term “wizard” in computing

In computer user interfaces a "wizard" is a set of screens that guide the user through a process. Does anyone know the origin of this term? I personally associate wizards with magic more than a ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the noun to refer to the 64- or 32-bit -ness of an operating system

I know that "processor architecture" can be used to refer to whether the processor is 32-bit or 64-bit (or something else), but what word can be used for the operating system? Note that it's not ...
-1
votes
1answer
201 views

Why is it correct to say “to negate a double”? [closed]

In programming you can negate a double. At least Google hits tend to that, but there are, though, a lot of hits for invert a double. While the definition of to invert is clear to invert: to ...
12
votes
3answers
764 views

What do you call the phenomenon where a rectangle Ϳ is shown because a font lacks a glyph?

Is there a name to describe the situation where a particular character is shown on a computer screen in a particular font, but this font does not have a glyph for this particular character? Usually, ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

call vs invoke - informatics context

Particularly in computer science and informatics, when should one use them? Is call the preferred form? For instance, call function invoke method Googling for "call operation" returns +300 000 ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

What is the word for an applied template? [closed]

The notion of a template is that it is abstract and can be applied to future instances. Is there a word that means an instantiated template? I'd prefer something that specifically refers to the fact ...
1
vote
1answer
390 views

Is there a word for someone who posts a “comment”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you call who writes comments in this board? Commenter or commentator? Difference between “commentor” and “commentator” Why do we say 'commentator' instead of ...
1
vote
2answers
120 views

“On Mac OS X” vs. “in Mac OS X”

The NY Times uses both "on Mac OS X" and "in Mac OS X". Can someone explain which one seems more appropriate if there is no difference?
23
votes
3answers
9k views

Origin of the term “driver” in computer science

According to Wikipedia: … a device driver or software driver is a computer program allowing higher-level computer programs to interact with a hardware device. What is the origin of the term ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Are software titles italicized?

The titles of freestanding works (books, movies, plays, albums, etc.) are italicized; smaller parts within these works (chapters in a book, articles in a magazine, songs within an album) are not (they ...
5
votes
2answers
352 views

“Timeboxing” versus “time-slicing”

What is the difference between timeboxing and time-slicing? From what I can tell, it is the same concept, but timeboxing is applied to project management and time-slicing is applied to scheduling ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Add-in, addin, add-on, addon

For example, Firefox uses add-ons whereas Microsoft Office uses add-ins. I've seen all 4 versions (add-in, addin, add-on, addon) used in various software programs, but I wonder if all of them are ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you pronounce “cURL,” the computer utility? [closed]

Are there programmers here? I'd like to know how you guys pronounce cURL. Because I don't live in a country that uses English, I haven't heard it yet.
1
vote
4answers
171 views

Do “download” and “upload” only refer to networks?

I know what it means to download something from a website or upload a video to YouTube. But do the terms "download" and "upload" only apply when referring to one device transferring data to another ...
5
votes
1answer
150 views

The origin of binary “image”? [closed]

I'm curious why a chunk of binary data is called image? Like disk image, boot image, Linux image, flash image, etc. In my brain, image is something two-dimensional, but binary data is a ...