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Twas The Byte Before Computing
by Bert Happel (with apologies to Clement C. Moore)

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a circuit was working not even in my mouse;
The files were all loaded on the hard disc with care,
In hopes that the FAT would list them as there.
The backups were nestled all snug in their sleeves,
To keep the bytes from dropping off them like leaves;
And the disc drive was quiet, taking a rest
Just waiting to run the next boot-up test.
When out of the speaker there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the keyboard I flew like a flash,
Threw open the drive-door and heard a loud crash.
The lights on the breast of the new-fallen dust
Gave a luster of mid-day to a CRT covered with crust.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and the eight data registers I fear.
With a little old driver, so lively and gloss
I knew in a moment he was a master of DOS.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled out and called them by name
"Now Binkley! Now Maximus! Now timEd and Squish!
On, Telix! On, X00! On, Bark and WaZoo!
To the top of the memory! To the top of the stack!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
So up on the screen the coursers they flew,

With a sleigh full of utilities, and DOS commands too.
As I drew back my head and was turning around,
Out the RS-232 port he came with a bound.
He was dressed all in ROM, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with bytes and some soot;
A bundle of data he had flung on his back,
And he looked like he had a program he wanted to crack.
His eyes -- How they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose was a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a round little belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A flash of the CRT and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had lost programs to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the RAM; then turned, the big jerk,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, in the RS-232 port he goes.
He sprang to the sleigh, his team they all whistled,
And away they all flew like they had sat on a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he faded out of sight,
"Bug-free programs to all and to all a good night!"



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