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bit twiddling: n.

[very common]

1. (pejorative) An exercise in tuning (see tune) in which incredible amounts of time and effort go to produce little noticeable improvement, often with the result that the code becomes incomprehensible.

2. Aimless small modification to a program, esp. for some pointless goal.

3. Approx. syn. for bit bashing; esp. used for the act of frobbing the device control register of a peripheral in an attempt to get it back to a known state.