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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
line noise
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communications 1. Spurious characters due to electrical
noise in a communications link, especially an EIA-232
serial connection. Line noise may be induced by poor
connections, interference or crosstalk from other circuits,
electrical storms, cosmic rays, or (notionally) birds
crapping on the phone wires.
2. Any chunk of data in a file or elsewhere that looks like
the results of electrical line noise.
3. Text that is theoretically a readable text or program
source but employs syntax so bizarre that it looks like line
noise. Yes, there are languages this ugly. The canonical
example is TECO, whose input syntax is often said to be
indistinguishable from line noise. Other non-WYSIWYG
editors, such as Multics "qed" and Unix "ed", in the
hands of a real hacker, also qualify easily, as do
deliberately obfuscated languages such as INTERCAL.