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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Helen Keller mode
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1. State of a hardware or software system that is deaf, dumb,
and blind, i.e. accepting no input and generating no output,
usually due to an infinite loop or some other excursion into
deep space. (Unfair to the real Helen Keller, whose success
at learning speech was triumphant.) See also go flatline,
2. On IBM PCs under MS-DOS, refers to a specific failure
mode in which a screen saver has kicked in over an
ill-behaved application which bypasses the very interrupts
the screen saver watches for activity. Your choices are to
try to get from the program's current state through a
successful save-and-exit without being able to see what you're
doing, or to re-boot the machine. This isn't (strictly
speaking) a crash.