1. Thanks in advance.


2. Telecommunications Industry Association.


3. The Internet Adapter.

<graphics, hardware>

4. Television Interface Adapter.

Last updated: 1999-12-06


1. A jiffy (sense 1). 2. In simulations, the discrete unit of time that passes between iterations of the simulation mechanism. In AI applications, this amount of time is often left unspecified, since the only constraint of interest is the ordering of events. This sort of AI simulation is often pejoratively referred to as "tick-tick-tick" simulation, especially when the issue of simultaneity of events with long, independent chains of causes is handwaved. 3. In the FORTH language, a single quote character.

[Jargon File]


A software industry quality assessment scheme.


<text, tool>

A text editor, file translator and TCL interpreter for the Macintosh.

Version 5.0v1. The text editor breaks the 32K limit (like MPW).

The file translation utilities support drag and drop handling via tcl scripts of BinHex, MacBinary, Apple Computer Single/Double, StuffIt (with engine), Unix compress, Unix tar and UUencode files as well as text translation.

Tickle implements tcl 7.0 with tclX extensions and Macintosh equivalents of Unix's ls, pwd, cd commands. It provides Macintosh access to Resource Manager, Communications Toolbox, OSA Components (and AppleScript), Editions (publish and subscribe) and Apple Events (including AEBuild and AEPrint). OSA Script support allows programming of any OSA scripting component within Tickle interpreter windows. It provides the OSAtcl and OSAJ J/APL extensions and creates "Ticklets" which are small application programs that carry only the tcl script and use code in the OSAtcl component to drive an application that allows drag and drop with tcl scripts. Tickle is scriptable and recordable.


E-mail: <[email protected]>.

Last updated: 1994-10-12

tickle a bug

To cause a normally hidden bug to manifest itself through some known series of inputs or operations. "You can tickle the bug in the Paradise VGA card's highlight handling by trying to set bright yellow reverse video."

[Jargon File]

tick-list features

(Acorn Computers) Features in software or hardware that customers insist on but never use (calculators in desktop TSRs and that sort of thing). The American equivalent would be "checklist features", but this jargon sense of the phrase has not been reported.

Last updated: 1995-01-06


Tagged Image File Format

tiger team

(US military jargon) 1. Originally, a team whose purpose is to penetrate security, and thus test security measures. These people are paid professionals who do hacker-type tricks, e.g. leave cardboard signs saying "bomb" in critical defence installations, hand-lettered notes saying "Your codebooks have been stolen" (they usually haven't been) inside safes, etc. After a successful penetration, some high-ranking security type shows up the next morning for a "security review" and finds the sign, note, etc. and all hell breaks loose. Serious successes of tiger teams sometimes lead to early retirement for base commanders and security officers (see the patch entry for an example).

2. Recently, and more generally, any official inspection team or special firefighting group called in to look at a problem.

A subset of tiger teams are professional crackers, testing the security of military computer installations by attempting remote attacks via networks or supposedly "secure" communication channels. Some of their escapades, if declassified, would probably rank among the greatest hacks of all times. The term has been adopted in commercial computer-security circles in this more specific sense.

[Jargon File]

tight loop


A loop of code that executes without releasing any resources to other programs or the operating system.

Consider the following pointless BASIC loop that counts upward indefinitely

 10 i = i + 1
 20 GOTO 10

Run on a single-user system such as MS-DOS this will not cause any problems. Run on a cooperative multitasking operating system such as Windows 3, the system would appear to freeze.

A pre-emptive multitasking operating system such as UNIX or Windows NT would "steal" cycles away from the program and continue to run other programs.

See also busy-wait and multitasking.

Last updated: 1999-05-06



"~" ASCII character 126.

Common names are: ITU-T: tilde; squiggle; twiddle; not. Rare: approx; wiggle; swung dash; enyay; INTERCAL: sqiggle (sic).

Used as C's prefix bitwise negation operator; and in Unix csh, GNU Emacs, and elsewhere, to stand for the current user's home directory, or, when prefixed to a login name, for the given user's home directory.

The "swung dash" or "approximation" sign is not quite the same as tilde in typeset material but the ASCII tilde serves for both (compare angle brackets).

[Has anyone else heard this called "tidal" (as in wave)?]

Last updated: 1996-10-18

TILE Forth


A Forth interpreter in C for Unix by Mikael Patel <[email protected]>. TILE Forth comes with many Forth libraries. It conforms to the Forth83 standard and is distributed under GPL.

Availalbe via FTP from a GNU archive site.

Last updated: 1991-11-13

Tim Berners-Lee


(Sir -) The man who invented the web while working at the Center for European Particle Research (CERN). He is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium.

Tim Berners-Lee graduated from the Queen's College at Oxford University, England, 1976. Whilst there he built his first computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television.

He then went on to work for Plessey Telecommunications, and D.G. Nash Ltd (where he wrote software for intelligent printers and a multi-tasking operating system), before joining CERN, where he designed a program called 'Enquire', which was never published, but formed the conceptual basis for today's web.

In 1984, he took up a fellowship at CERN, and in 1989, he wrote the first web server, "httpd", and the first client, "WorldWideWeb" a hypertext browser/editor which ran under NEXTSTEP. The program "WorldWideWeb" was first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet as a whole in the summer of 1991.

In 1994, Tim joined the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1999, he became the first holder of the 3Com Founders chair. He is also the author of "Weaving the Web", on the past present and future of the Web.

In 2001, Tim was made a fellow of The Royal Society.

Tim is married to Nancy Carlson. They have two children, born 1991 and 1994.


Last updated: 2001-06-17

time bomb

<software, security>

A subspecies of logic bomb that is triggered by reaching some preset time, either once or periodically. There are numerous legends about time bombs set up by programmers in their employers' machines, to go off if the programmer is fired or laid off and is not present to perform the appropriate suppressing action periodically.

Interestingly, the only such incident for which we have been pointed to documentary evidence took place in the Soviet Union in 1986! A disgruntled programmer at the Volga Automobile Plant (where the Fiat clones called Ladas were manufactured) planted a time bomb which, a week after he'd left on vacation, stopped the entire main assembly line for a day. The case attracted lots of attention in the Soviet Union because it was the first cracking case to make it to court there. The perpetrator got 3 years in jail.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2001-09-15

time complexity


The way in which the number of steps required by an algorithm varies with the size of the problem it is solving. Time complexity is normally expressed as an order of magnitude, e.g. O(N^2) means that if the size of the problem (N) doubles then the algorithm will take four times as many steps to complete.

See also computational complexity, space complexity.

Last updated: 1996-05-08

Time Complex Simulator


(Tcsim) Complex arithmetic version of Tsim.

Contact: ZOLA Technologies.

Last updated: 1996-01-18

time division multiple access

time division multiplexing

time division multiplexing


(TDM) A type of multiplexing where two or more channels of information are transmitted over the same link by allocating a different time interval ("slot" or "slice") for the transmission of each channel. I.e. the channels take turns to use the link. Some kind of periodic synchronising signal or distinguishing identifier is usually required so that the receiver can tell which channel is which.

TDM becomes inefficient when traffic is intermittent because the time slot is still allocated even when the channel has no data to transmit. Statistical time division multiplexing was developed to overcome this problem.

Compare wavelength division multiplexing, frequency division multiplexing, code division multiplexing.

Last updated: 2001-06-27

Time Domain Reflectometer

<hardware, networking>

(TDR) An electronic device for detecting and locating short- or open-circuits in an Ethernet cable. TDRs can also measure how the characteristic impedance of a line varies along its length.

Last updated: 1995-12-28


A period of time after which an error condition is raised if some event has not occured. A common example is sending a message. If the receiver does not acknowledge the message within some preset timeout period, a transmission error is assumed to have occured.

Last updated: 1995-11-09

time quantum

time slice


<operating system>

(Or "timesharing") An operating system feature allowing several users to run several tasks concurrently on one processor, or in parallel on many processors, usually providing each user with his own terminal for input and output. time-sharing is multi-user multitasking.

Last updated: 2009-11-23

Time Sharing Option

<operating system>

(TSO) System software from IBM that provides time-sharing on an IBM mainframe running in an MVS environment.

Last updated: 2003-08-15

time shifting


A technique used to work around problems due to the Year 2000 and the "millennium bug". Time shifting involves translating date fields in a database back by a fixed number of years to avoid year 2000 problems with the database management system.

Typically dates are shifted back 28 years so that the occurrence of leap years and days of the week match with the actual year.

Last updated: 2003-08-15

Time Simulator


(Tsim) A stack-based simulation language.

Contact: ZOLA Technologies.

Last updated: 1999-10-04

time sink

(By analogy with "heat sink" or "current sink") A project that consumes unbounded amounts of time.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1995-02-07

time slice

<operating system>

(Or "time quantum", "quantum") The period of time for which a process is allowed to run uninterrupted in a pre-emptive multitasking operating system.

The scheduler is run once every time slice to choose the next process to run. If the time slice is too short then the scheduler will consume too much processing time but if it is too long then processes may not be able to respond to external events quickly enough.

Last updated: 1998-11-06



(By analogy with "plus-or-minus") A term occasionally used when describing the uncertainty factor associated with a estimate, for either humorous or brutally honest effect.

For example, a software project usually has a scheduling uncertainty factor of at least two.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2009-05-29

time T

/ti:m T/ An unspecified but usually well-understood time, often used in conjunction with a later time T+1. "We'll meet on campus at time T or at Louie's at time T+1" means, in the context of going out for dinner: "We can meet on campus and go to Louie's, or we can meet at Louie's itself a bit later." (Louie's was a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto that was a favourite with hackers.) Had the number 30 been used instead of the number 1, it would have implied that the travel time from campus to Louie's is 30 minutes; whatever time T is (and that hasn't been decided on yet), you can meet half an hour later at Louie's than you could on campus and end up eating at the same time.

See also since time T equals minus infinity.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1994-12-12

Time to Live

(TTL) A field in the Internet Protocol header which indicates how many more hops this packet should be allowed to make before being discarded or returned.

Last updated: 1994-12-12

time zone

One of approximately 24 longitudinal divisions of the globe, nominally 15 degrees wide, in which clocks show the same time. Some zones follow the boundaries of states or territories, others differ from neighbouring zones by more or less than one hour.

Computers can be programmed to take into account the time zone each user is working in, which is not necessarily the same as the zone the computer is in.

See also TZ.

Last updated: 1997-07-20

Tim Peters


The implementer of Timsort.

Last updated: 2023-08-01



A sorting algorithm implemented by Tim Peters in 2001. Timsort is stable and has worst-case time complexity O(n * log n), which is optimal for comparison-based sorting. It has been the sorting method in Python since v2.3.

Last updated: 2023-08-01


There Is No Cabal



The third of the series of DoD requirements that led to Ada. Written by HOLWG, DoD, Jan 1976.

See Strawman, Woodenman, Ironman, Steelman.

Last updated: 1976-01-01


Macro language for Apple II? Published in DDJ?


Interpreted version of JOVIAL.

[Sammet 1969, p. 528].




1. A language which provides concurrency through message-passing to named message queues.

2. A tool written by Michael Wolfe <[email protected]> at Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology for examining array data dependence algorithms and program transformations for scientific computations.

Extended Tiny was used to implement the Omega test. Michael Wolfe has also made extensions to his version of tiny.

Last updated: 1994-12-12



A dialect of BASIC developed by Dr. Wang [Wong?] in the late 1970s. Tiny BASIC was 2K bytes in size and was loaded from paper tape. It ran on almost any Intel 8080 or Zilog Z80 microprocessor for which the user could provide the necessary I/O driver software.

Tiny BASIC was distributed as [the first ever?] freeware. The program listing contained the following phrases "All Wrongs reserved" and "CopyLeft", he obviously wasn't interested in money.

See also Tiny Basic Interpreter Language.

[More info?]

Last updated: 1997-09-12

Tiny Basic Interpreter Language


(TBIL) The inner interpreter of Tom Pittman's set of Tiny Basics in Dr Dobb's Journal.

Last updated: 1997-09-12

Tiny Clos

A core part of Common Lisp Object System (CLOS) ported to Scheme and rebuilt using a MOP (Metaobject Protocol). This should be interesting to those who want to use MOPs without using a full Common Lisp or Dylan.

The first release works with MIT Scheme 11.74.

ftp://parcftp.xerox.com/pub/mops/. E-mail: Gregor Kiczales <[email protected]>. Mailing list: mops (administered by <[email protected]>).

Last updated: 1992-12-14



A ranking of programming languages based on searches for on data from popular search engines such as Google and Wikipedia. Tiobe is the name of the company that produces the ranking.

Last updated: 2020-01-31


1. Texas Instruments Pascal.

2. A Unix program for interactive communication via serial lines.

Unix manual page: tip(1).


1. Teach IPL. An interpretive IPL teaching system.

[Sammet 1969, p. 393].

2. A dialect of IGL.

tip of the ice-cube

[IBM] The visible part of something small and insignificant. Used as an ironic comment in situations where "tip of the iceberg" might be appropriate if the subject were at all important.

[Jargon File]

tired iron

[IBM] Hardware that is perfectly functional but far enough behind the state of the art to have been superseded by new products, presumably with sufficient improvement in bang-per-buck that the old stuff is starting to look a bit like a dinosaur.

tits on a keyboard


Small bumps on certain keycaps to help touch-typists find the home keys (ASDF and JKL;) without looking. They are found on the "F" and "J" of a QWERTY and the "5" of a numeric keypad. The Macintosh, perverse as usual, has, or had, them on the "D" and "K" keys.

This term is based on the vernacular American expression "as useful as tits on a boar" (or boar-hog, bull, bullfrog, or many other variants), meaning "not useful".

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1998-02-25

Nearby terms:

thumbnailThunderbirdthunkTIAtickTickITTickletickle a bug

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