Dictionary of Computer Terms


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bit stuffing . A {protocol} which guarantees the receiver of {synchronous} data can recover the sender's clock. When the data stream sent contains a large number of adjacent bits which cause no transition of the signal, the receiver cannot adjust its clock to maintain proper synchronised reception. To eliminate the possibility of such a pathological case, when a preset number of transitionless bits have been transmitted, a bit which does cause a transition is "stuffed" (transmitted) by the sender. The receiver follows the same protocol and removes the stuffed bit after the specified number of transitionless bits, but can use the stuffed bit to recover the sender's clock. The advantage of bit stuffing is that only a bit (not a {byte}) is inserted in the data stream, and that only when the content of the data stream fails to provide a timing signal to the receiver. Thus very nearly 100% of the bits transported are useful data. In contrast, {asynchronous} transmission of data "throws away" a start bit and one or more stop bits for each data byte sent. (1996-04-23)
bit twiddling . 1. (pejorative) An exercise in tuning (see {tune}) in which incredible amounts of time and effort go to produce little noticeable improvement, often with the result that the code becomes incomprehensible. 2. Aimless small modification to a program, especially for some pointless goal. 3. {bit bashing}, especially used for the act of frobbing the device control register of a peripheral in an attempt to get it back to a known state. [{Jargon File}]
bitty box . (Or "calculator") /bit'ee boks/ A computer sufficiently small, primitive, or incapable as to cause a hacker acute claustrophobia at the thought of developing software on or for it. The term is especially used of small, obsolescent, {single-tasking}-only {personal computers} such as the {Atari 800}, {Osborne}, {Sinclair}, {VIC-20}, {TRS-80} or {IBM PC}, but the term is a general pejorative opposite of "real computer" (see {Get a real computer!}). See also {mess-dos}, {toaster}, {toy}. (1994-11-29)
bitwise . A bitwise operator treats its operands as a {vector} of {bit}s rather than a single number. {Boolean} bitwise operators combine bit N of each operand using a {Boolean} function ({NOT}, {AND}, {OR}, {XOR}) to produce bit N of the result. For example, a bitwise AND operator ("&" in {C}) would evaluate 13 & 9 as (binary) 1101 & 1001 = 1001 = 9, whereas, the logical AND, ({C} "&&") would evaluate 13 && 9 as TRUE && TRUE = TRUE = 1. In some languages, e.g. {Acorn}'s {BASIC V}, the same operators are used for both bitwise and logical operations. This usually works except when applying NOT to a value x which is neither 0 (false) nor -1 (true), in which case both x and (NOT x) will be non-zero and thus treated as TRUE. Other operations at the bit level, which are not normally described as "bitwise" include shift and rotate. (1995-05-12)
bitwise complement . The bitwise complement of a {bit field} is a bit field of the same length but with each zero changed to a one and vice versa. This is the same as the {ones complement} of a binary integer. (1994-11-14)
bixie . /bik'see/ Variant {emoticon}s used on {Byte Information eXchange}. The {smiley} bixie is <@_@>, apparently intending to represent two cartoon eyes and a mouth. A few others have been reported. [{Jargon File}] (1994-11-29)
biz-core stability . {Internet} security products which secure the {business core}. [Examples?] (2003-03-09)
bj . The {country code} for Benin. (1999-01-27)
Bjarne Stroustrup . The father of {C++} and author of the C++ {bible}. ["The C++ Programming Language", Bjarne Stroustrup, Addison-Wesley, 1986]. [Details?] (2000-05-12)
BJC4000 . A colour {bubble jet} printer from {Canon}. Released in September 1994. It features 720 x 360 dots per inch in black and white mode and 360 x 360 in colour. It has two cartridges: one for black and one for the three primary colours so it prints true black when printing in colour. (1994-11-29)
Based on The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, Editor Denis Howe - © Denis Howe 1993
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