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Line Noise
  • n. [techspeak] Spurious characters due to electrical noise in a communications link, especially an RS-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.
  • Any chunk of data in a file or elsewhere that looks like the results of line noise in sense 1.
  • Text that is theoretically a readable text or program source but employs syntax so bizarre that it looks like line noise in senses 1 or 2. Yes, there are languages this ugly. The canonical example is TECO; it is often claimed that "TECO's input syntax is 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.