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condom: n.

1. The protective plastic bag that accompanies 3.5-inch microfloppy diskettes. Rarely, also used of (paper) disk envelopes. Unlike the write protect tab, the condom (when left on) not only impedes the practice of SEX but has also been shown to have a high failure rate as drive mechanisms attempt to access the disk — and can even fatally frustrate insertion.

2. The protective cladding on a light pipe.

3. keyboard condom: A flexible, transparent plastic cover for a keyboard, designed to provide some protection against dust and programming fluid without impeding typing.

4. elephant condom: the plastic shipping bags used inside cardboard boxes to protect hardware in transit.

5. n. obs. A dummy directory /usr/tmp/sh, created to foil the Great Worm by exploiting a portability bug in one of its parts. So named in the title of a comp.risks article by Gene Spafford during the Worm crisis, and again in the text of The Internet Worm Program: An Analysis, Purdue Technical Report CSD-TR-823.


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