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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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/blink'*n-li:tz/ Front-panel diagnostic lights on a computer,
especially a dinosaur. Derives from the last word of the
famous blackletter-Gothic sign in mangled pseudo-German that
once graced about half the computer rooms in the
English-speaking world. One version ran in its entirety as
Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und
mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk,
blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht
fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen. Das rubbernecken
sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das pockets
muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.
This silliness dates back at least as far as 1959 at Stanford
University and had already gone international by the early
1960s, when it was reported at London University's ATLAS
computing site. There are several variants of it in
circulation, some of which actually do end with the word
In an amusing example of turnabout-is-fair-play, German
hackers have developed their own versions of the blinkenlights
poster in fractured English, one of which is reproduced here:
This room is fullfilled mit special electronische
equippment. Fingergrabbing and pressing the cnoeppkes from
the computers is allowed for die experts only! So all the
"lefthanders" stay away and do not disturben the
brainstorming von here working intelligencies. Otherwise
you will be out thrown and kicked anderswhere! Also: please
keep still and only watchen astaunished the blinkenlights.