blinkenlights

/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 follows:

		ACHTUNG!  ALLES LOOKENSPEEPERS!

  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 "blinkenlights".

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:

                         ATTENTION

  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.

See also geef.

[Jargon File]

Nearby terms:

Blind Carbon CopyB-LINEblinkenlightsBLISSBLISS-10BLISS-11

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