n. Front-panel diagnostic lights
on a computer, esp. a dinosaur
. Derives from the last word of
sign in mangled pseudo-German that once graced about half the
computer rooms in the English-speaking world. One version ran in
its entirety as follows:
Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mittengrabben.
Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken
mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen.
Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das
pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.
This silliness dates back at least as far as 1959 at Stanford
University and had already gone international by the early 1960s,
when it was reported at London University's ATLAS computing site.
There are several variants of it in circulation, some of which
actually do end with the word 'blinkenlights'.
In an amusing example of turnabout-is-fair-play, German hackers
have developed their own versions of the blinkenlights poster in
fractured English, one of which is reproduced here:
This room is fullfilled mit special electronische equippment.
Fingergrabbing and pressing the cnoeppkes from the computers is
allowed for die experts only! So all the "lefthanders" stay away
and do not disturben the brainstorming von here working
intelligencies. Otherwise you will be out thrown and kicked
anderswhere! Also: please keep still and only watchen astaunished