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The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."

Comment Re:What nonsense! (Score 1) 496

There's a lot of "If I don't need it, no one needs it" arrogance in the OS community. Part of it comes from "it works for me, I don't care about you" (which is just fundamental human nature); part of it is the longstanding "RTFM" tradition (i.e., the root geek community that Free Software sprung from put a high premium on self-help.

Well, there is another possibility. I am not a programmer nor pretend to be one. However, from what I know, it's not a particularly easy endeavor. If I were a programmer and I had spent my volunteered time to do something really hard at the end of which someone came to me and said, "Hey that's great, but I need it this way," I'd probably be resistant. That's not to say I shouldn't make the change, I'd just be resistant. I'd want to try to make them see why MY way is a better way. That could degrade into arrogance quite easily, but, honestly, I might just be tired and thought the project done!

Anyway, that's another possibility.

Comment Ridiculous. Patriots always win. (Score 3, Funny) 626

Look, you guys can talk trash all you want, but when you say this:

>>Patriot defense system failing to take down a Scud missile attack

You're just lying to yourself. The Patriots defense is awesome this year. I mean, was there really ANY point for the Titans offense to show up a couple of weeks back?

And the Scuds? C'mon man. They let go their best man two seasons ago. The QB can't hit the broadside of a barn and their entire wide-receiver corp has Jello hands anyway. The missile attack is a gadget play, pure and simple. Belichick sees right through that and you know it.

Haters need to stop all the hatin' and get on the Pats bus!!!!! GO PATRIOTS!

Comment Re:Original Blog Posting (Score 1) 219

I skimmed it. In other words ignore the end users of your product at your peril.

Good point. Newspapers for so long were more authoritarian and, perhaps, sometimes arrogant. We get information to which YOU don't have access. We then present that information to you in a way YOU can understand. YOU need US.

The Internet, at some point, demanded newspapers regard their readers as more than consumers. It seems some newspapers have a problem with that.

Comment Re:No way will Apple allow BASIC (Score 4, Informative) 214

It seems that trying to predict Apple's actions is not terribly easy. I don't really care if they get Basic enabled. I really just want to play games.

What's interesting, however, is you can break into Basic in the app right now.

Here's how you do it.

1. Launch the app.
2. Tap the power button to power on the C64.
3. Tap the Advanced button on the bottom right.
4. Turn the option "Always show full keyboard" on.
5. Tap the "My Games" button on the lower left.
6. Run any game.
7. Tap the "Extra" button under the game screen.
8. Tap the RESET button on the left.

The app launches BASIC.

I don't know if it's fully functional, but it will run the "10 PRINT "I AM SO GREAT!!!!!!" / 20 GOTO 10" program, which is about the extent of my programming skills.

Disclaimer: I did not discover the above. It was posted on Engadget.

Comment It's a compromise. You honestly don't know this? (Score 2, Insightful) 287

Color me trolled.

Look, this is plainly a compromise that tries to cull wheat from chaff. Don't believe me? Go look at any major American newspaper website. Pick any random story and dive into the comments. Now, take note of the insults, the extremely partisan rhetoric (from all sides), the bad grammar, the incredible misunderstandings of the entire point, and, yeah, even hopes that one or the other subjects go die.

It's simply much easier for anyone to click reply and type out, "HURR DURRR UR A FAGGG." Sure, you can do the same with with a web camera -- and apparently some folks are doing so -- but I bet there are going to be much less to go through than if everyone could pop a comment under the story.

Comment Re:Hope (Score 3, Insightful) 180

I really, really, hope that the current work of DnF is not lost. That all the data, code, levels, ..., are going to be released somewhere. Or better, finished into a playable state.

Isn't it possible to find a different developer that can take it over?

I'm wondering if there is any code. I think all we've seen up to this point is some nicely rendered scenes, but are they in-game?

Ah, cynicism.

Comment Re:Boy oh boy! (Score 1) 414

Both my father and my grandfather got Ubuntu as their first operating system. I did not want to have to fix all the viruses and spyware and whatnot they'd get from porn and other stuff the internet is for.

WTG outing your father and grandfather as porn addicts! ;-)

Comment Re:The only real solution to the wiki-wars... (Score 1) 115

Actually, the final straw was when I added ISBN numbers to J. Edgar Hoover's wikipedia page -- I noticed they were missing, so I looked them up and put them in. How controversial is that? It got reverted by a wikipedia admin (JayJG) with an ideological axe to grind. Twice.

On the surface, it seems like a silly revert, but what was the context here? Was it an article about the current stimulus package where Democrats accused some Republicans of Hooverism? If so, ISBN numbers may have looked like a different statement: "Hey! Read these books to find out just how much of a bonehead Hoover was!!!!!!!!"

I suppose the larger point is one can find bias in nearly everything. It's just like listening to songs in reverse. Go slowly enough and you're sure to find a naughty word.

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