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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
by hand
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1. Said of an operation (especially a repetitive, trivial,
and/or tedious one) that ought to be performed automatically
by the computer, but which a hacker instead has to step
tediously through. "My mailer doesn't have a command to
include the text of the message I'm replying to, so I have to
do it by hand." This does not necessarily mean the speaker
has to retype a copy of the message; it might refer to, say,
dropping into a subshell from the mailer, making a copy of
one's mailbox file, reading that into an editor, locating the
top and bottom of the message in question, deleting the rest
of the file, inserting "@#" characters on each line, writing
the file, leaving the editor, returning to the mailer, reading
the file in, and later remembering to delete the file.
2. By extension, writing code which does something in an
explicit or low-level way for which a presupplied library
routine ought to have been available. "This cretinous
B-tree library doesn't supply a decent iterator, so I'm
having to walk the trees by hand."