random /adj./ 1. Unpredictable (closest to mathematical
definition); weird. "The system's been behaving pretty
randomly." 2. Assorted; undistinguished. "Who was at the
conference?" "Just a bunch of random business types."
3. (pejorative) Frivolous; unproductive; undirected. "He's just a
random loser." 4. Incoherent or inelegant; poorly chosen; not
well organized. "The program has a random set of misfeatures."
"That's a random name for that function." "Well, all the names
were chosen pretty randomly." 5. In no particular order, though
deterministic. "The I/O channels are in a pool, and when a file
is opened one is chosen randomly." 6. Arbitrary. "It generates
a random name for the scratch file." 7. Gratuitously wrong, i.e.,
poorly done and for no good apparent reason. For example, a
program that handles file name defaulting in a particularly useless
way, or an assembler routine that could easily have been coded
using only three registers, but redundantly uses seven for values
with non-overlapping lifetimes, so that no one else can invoke it
without first saving four extra registers. What randomness!
8. /n./ A random hacker; used particularly of high-school students
who soak up computer time and generally get in the way. 9. n.
Anyone who is not a hacker (or, sometimes, anyone not known to the
hacker speaking); the noun form of sense 2. "I went to the talk,
but the audience was full of randoms asking bogus questions".
10. /n./ (occasional MIT usage) One who lives at Random Hall. See
also J. Random, some random X.
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