What's a Kludge?

What the heck is a kludge anyway? I know there are a couple of you who have no idea what’s with the kludge thing, so I figured I’d take a few moments to explain.

I was 16 years old and I had purchased my first computer, it was an AST i486 at a raging 66Mhz. I had used two previous computers but they were for the whole family. This one was mine. And at $2000.00 it ate up all capital I had. Anyway I also signed up for dial-up service and my 14.4k external modem was ready for the task.

So during this process I had to pick a username, and I couldn’t find one. I was a Lewis Carroll buff and tried all the combinations I could of think of from madhare to mockturtle. No luck. I was very disappointed, and couldn’t come up with anything else. So I opened my fathers’ unabridged dictionary at random and picked a name. Kludge. No one at pacbell.net had it and so, I was kludge. I didn’t check it’s meaning until later.

The word is slang, and a computer slang to boot. It basically means the equivalent of jerry rigging. When something is made to work but no one knows how, why, or for how long we say, “What a kludge!” It was serendipitous that the page opened there that day. I use the name as a pseudonym for gaming or computing.

One day at one of my jobs I was IM’ing with a co-worker and he walked over to my desk and said, “Great handle. I’ve always liked kludge.” Only he said “kloodge” with an “oo” like ooze and I’d been pronouncing it like fudge for the past four years. He was the senior network engineer and I was just the new guy. I wasn’t stupid enough to correct him. I looked it up and he was right, even if it didn’t make any sense.

I’ve been kludge ever since. There are a lot of us on the web, but I probably win the prize for stumbling on it the most accidentally.

Here's a cool kludge I would like to try. NES Alarm Clock

6 comments:

SJ said...

Thanks for explaining - I was curious what it meant - I was sure it had a meaning and now I know. Thanks for the post! I just learned a new word for the day!

Ando said...

Hmmmm, file not found on the link.

littlerobin said...

We always wondered m&r

kludge said...

Sorry Ando, fixed it.

SJ said...

The clock is very cool!

jbau said...

Thanks for the 411.