You don't know him.

Jack was a great guy who had to sell his cow to support his poor starving mum, who had real problems. After negotiating long and hard with a disgruntled vietnam vet, he managed to sell the cow for a bag of magic beans. He got home and when his mum found out he didn't get any money for the cow, he got in big trouble.

This is strange because you can't eat money, and you can eat beans. Just goes to show that being hungry can turn you into a crazy person.

The rest of the story makes up an adventure otherwise known as Jack and the Beanstalk.

Jack are the best band in the world, even though you've never heard of them. Really.

Jack is the collective brainchild of guitarist Matthew Scott and singer Anthony Reynolds. Their early years saw a varied and shifting band lineup, but this shortly settled into something along these lines:

-- now Jack is simply Anthony and Matthew, although some of the others still make contributions from time to time.

Jack's debut album, Pioneer Soundtracks (June 1996) is astounding. Produced (at Anthony's request) by Peter Walsh, it succeeds in acheiving a lush, expensive sound on a shoestring budget. The upbeat singles, Wintercomessummer, Biography Of A First Son and White Jazz are only half the story: much of this album's majesty stems from the beautiful, contemplative music of I Didn't Mean It Marie or Filthy Names. Anthony's voice is warm, rounded and bassy; the songs always mean something, and sometimes, they can mean everything.

Anthony then worked for a while on a side project, the confusingly titled Jacques, producing How To Make Love Volume 1 (1997) in collaboration with Momus.

Label problems with TooPure began later, and although Jack's second album, The Jazz Age (1998) is perhaps inferior, it still has worthwhile moments. The key fault is with the production, which is glossy but dense; where the first album felt spacious, this lets in too little light. A couple of singles were released; the Lolita EP had two of the album's strongest moments: 3 o'clock in the Morning and Lolita Elle. Steamin' was also released as a single.

The Jazz Age didn't sell too well. Anthony released another Jacques album, To Stars (2000).

Jack's third album, on Belgian label Disques du Crepuscule ('Twilight Records') is called The End Of The Way It's Always Been, and was released in 2002; in Europe on the 19th of March, and in the UK on the 6th of May. They played a handful of live dates to see it in; the one in London was chaotic, but that's another story.

Jack have drawn comparisons with The Tindersticks, Nick Cave and Lou Reed, while Reynolds cites Charles Bukowski, Scott Walker and Serge Gainsbourg among his influences. Largely miserablist, then, it's clear, but also hedonistic, with an affirming love of booze, sex, drugs, good books and cigarettes, and a line in lyrics to knock you dead. They may never get the success they deserve, but in the meantime, they're an alluring, rewarding secret to dig out.

Jack's official website is at, and is a far more reliable source for band information than this writeup can ever hope to be. Jack and Jacques recordings can be purchased online at (and all good music retailers.)

A server and an API for Linux to facilitate low-latency audio. Jack is used to route digital sound data between applications. It's often used as a higher-level system for audio output, but with Jack it's possible to route the sound to, say, another program that's a Jack client instead of sound card.

It's also designed to be ground up to have low latency - requirement for professional audio work - and is specifically used in applications like Ardour.

Practically, it works like this: You run a program called jackd. Then, you start a program that acts as a Jack client. This program then exposes its inputs and outputs through jackd, and another program can connect to them.

Here are some practical examples:

You want to record a new hit song. You decide to use Ardour, a multitrack recording program (in industry lingo, a "Digital Audio Workstation" program) to record your song. When you start up, you have audio bus "master", which outputs to soundcard. You set a click track to pace away at steady 110 bps, add an audio track, and record your singing using a microphone. Specifically, you set up following connections in JACK (this can easily be done either with jack_connect command-line tool, qjackctl, or Ardour's own connection settings):

  • "alsa_pcm:capture_1" → "ardour:Song/in 1"
  • "alsa_pcm:capture_2" → "ardour:Song/in 2"
  • "ardour:Song/out 1" → "ardour:master/in 1"
  • "ardour:Song/out 2" → "ardour:master/in 2"
  • "ardour:master/out 1" → "alsa_pcm:playback_1"
  • "ardour:master/out 2" → "alsa_pcm:playback_2"

This describes how audio is routed within application and how the audio is routed to another application - or, in this case, the hardware.

Okay, so now you can record stuff from your ALSA soundcard. It goes from the mic to Song track. Song track goes to master. Master goes to sound card.

Record away.

You add another track, likewise outputting to Ardour master bus, but it takes inputs from another application: Hydrogen (a drum machine).

Record away.

Add another application. Fluidsynth (a SoundFont-based software synthetizer, capable of using MIDI input).

Record away.

Piece by piece, the song starts to take shape after you record all separate app's outputs, directly from the applications themselves.

You can then use something like jackrec - connect to Ardour's outputs and save them to a .wav. Like this: jackrec -f file.wav -d 20 "ardour:master/out 1" "ardour:master/out 2" - this is cooler than Ardour's own "export session to .wav" because it allows you to use transport chain and add weird effects. And I believe it also has higher quality.

Cool, huh?

Jack's home page:

Also, a rather interesting audio CD ripping program written by Arne Zellentin. It's similar to Grip and has most of its features, but uses a curses-based interface, uses external programs to do the ripping (everything configurable!) and has pretty interesting features like disk space availability monitoring... It's written in Python.

Jack is a keen webcomic written by David Hopkins, and is readable at The characters are furries, but that's not what the comic is about.

Instead it's about Hell, and the damned souls who are there. Sometimes angels from Heaven appear, and sometimes a character is still alive, but often they die in the course of the story.

As of yet, neither God or Satan have appeared as characters, or even been directly mentioned, which is a good thing, because then the story would be about them, and that would not be interesting. There are not any actual demons either. Every soul in Hell was once alive. We don't know if the angels were once alive, though.

The title character, Jack, is in Hell because of his sin, wrath. In fact, he was so full of wrath when he died that that is now his title, "The Sin of Wrath". Jack is a nice guy and a crusty ol' softy, but don't make him angry. Some of the other Sins in Hell are Lust and Gluttony. Jack doesn't like them.

And with his title, he also has a job. He harvests the souls of mortals when they die. Sometimes he has to chase them. He then takes the soul to either Hell or Heaven. Jack is not allowed to visit Heaven, but a has a friend who is an angel, who comes to visit him sometimes.

The art and stories are often very grim and gruesome. Hell is not a nice place. It's not nice because the things that souls do to each other, both in Hell and while alive, are not nice. Some people are insane. Some people are just evil. People murder, and torture, and rape other people.

But people can love, too.

You may have been wondering how it is that someone named John is likely to be called Jack as a nickname, as was the case with John F. Kennedy. Fair question. This derives from from a linguistic quirk of the old French (and the old Scottish), that of appending to one-syllable names as an affectionate extender, "-kin."

Now, this really all starts thousands of years ago, when the Hebrews decide to use the phrase "HaShen" (literally "the name") to refer to God outside of prayer, the better to avoid accidentally blasphemously speaking the name of God ("Yahweh") in in inappropriate moment. From this came the name "Yochanan" -- literally "the name (God) is gracious." The Latin spelling of this came out as "Ioannes," but (as Indiana Jones had to recall in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), in Latin the J is spelled with an I. And so, inversely, when this Latin name was Anglicized in became Johannes (the "h" gets thrown in to highlight the syllable split). Which gets shortened to Johann, then to John -- and transplanted to France, as Jehan and Jan; so in France it becomes Jankin (and in Scotland, Jonkin), shortened again to Jack, and Jock, the former of which is carried back to merry old England.

So common was John among a Fourteenth Century names, and therefore Jack as a nickname, that soon any male person whose name you didn't know, you could just call them "Jack." If you needed help lifting something heavy, you'd use a jack -- which is why you still do. With so many Jack's running around, if you were lacking in knowledge it would be said that you don't know jack, you must not know anything. The appellation was so frequent among sailors that traditional sailor's uniform became known as the cracker jack, for which a confection would later be named. And, since one wouldn't presume to call a nobleman a common nickname like "jack," the term also came to mean a low-born person, even a knave. So the face card below a Queen and above a ten, traditionally called a Knave, also came to be called a jack. And when cardmakers started printing the letter or number of each card on the corner, K was taken by King, so Knave was out and Jack was in to stay. And so now, my friends, you know Jack.


Note: A fellow noder asks, 'is this where the phrase "every man jack" came from?' That is not one that I looked into, but it's a safe bet. Naturally, Jack of all trades does have such an origin, and a jack in the box is named for a particular fellow, real name John. Jacking off, on the other hand, seems to be just a bastardization of jerking off.

Jack (?), n. [Pg. jaca, Malayalam, tsjaka.] Bot.

A large tree, the Artocarpus integrifolia, common in the East Indies, closely allied to the breadfruit, from which it differs in having its leaves entire. The fruit is of great size, weighing from thirty to forty pounds, and through its soft fibrous matter are scattered the seeds, which are roasted and eaten. The wood is of a yellow color, fine grain, and rather heavy, and is much used in cabinetwork. It is also used for dyeing a brilliant yellow.

[Written also jak.]


© Webster 1913.

Jack (?), n. [F. Jacques James, L. Jacobus, Gr. , Heb. Ya 'aqb Jacob; prop., seizing by the heel; hence, a supplanter. Cf. Jacobite, Jockey.]


A familiar nickname of, or substitute for, John.

You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby. Shak.


An impertinent or silly fellow; a simpleton; a boor; a clown; also, a servant; a rustic.

"Jack fool."


Since every Jack became a gentleman, There 's many a gentle person made a Jack. Shak.


A popular colloquial name for a sailor; -- called also Jack tar, and Jack afloat.


A mechanical contrivance, an auxiliary machine, or a subordinate part of a machine, rendering convenient service, and often supplying the place of a boy or attendant who was commonly called Jack; as:

(a) A device to pull off boots.

(b) A sawhorse or sawbuck.

(c) A machine or contrivance for turning a spit; a smoke jack, or kitchen jack.

(b) (Mining) A wooden wedge for separating rocks rent by blasting.

(e) (Knitting Machine) A lever for depressing the sinkers which push the loops down on the needles.

(f) (Warping Machine) A grating to separate and guide the threads; a heck box.

(g) (Spinning) A machine for twisting the sliver as it leaves the carding machine.

(h) A compact, portable machine for planing metal.

(i) A machine for slicking or pebbling leather.

(k) A system of gearing driven by a horse power, for multiplying speed.

(l) A hood or other device placed over a chimney or vent pipe, to prevent a back draught.

(m) In the harpsichord, an intermediate piece communicating the action of the key to the quill; -- called also hopper.

(n) In hunting, the pan or frame holding the fuel of the torch used to attract game at night; also, the light itself.

C. Hallock.


A portable machine variously constructed, for exerting great pressure, or lifting or moving a heavy body through a small distance. It consists of a lever, screw, rack and pinion, hydraulic press, or any simple combination of mechanical powers, working in a compact pedestal or support and operated by a lever, crank, capstan bar, etc. The name is often given to a jackscrew, which is a kind of jack.


The small bowl used as a mark in the game of bowls.


Like an uninstructed bowler who thinks to attain the jack by delivering his bowl straight forward upon it. Sir W. Scott.


The male of certain animals, as of the ass.

8. Zool. (a)

A young pike; a pickerel.


The jurel.


A large, California rock fish (Sebastodes paucispinus); -- called also boccaccio, and m'erou.


The wall-eyed pike.


A drinking measure holding half a pint; also, one holding a quarter of a pint.

[Prov. Eng.]


10. Naut. (a)

A flag, containing only the union, without the fly, usually hoisted on a jack staff at the bowsprit cap; -- called also union jack. The American jack is a small blue flag, with a star for each State.


A bar of iron athwart ships at a topgallant masthead, to support a royal mast, and give spread to the royal shrouds; -- called also jack crosstree.

R. H. Dana, Jr.


The knave of a suit of playing cards.

<-- 12. (pl) same as jackstone (which see): A game played with small (metallic, with tetrahedrally oriented spikes) objects (the jacks(1950+), formerly jackstones) that are tossed, caught, picked up, and arranged on a horizontal surface in various patterns; in the modern American game, the movements are accompanied by tossing or bouncing a rubber ball on the horizontal surface supporting the jacks. 13. (slang) Money. 14 (MW10= 9) a. Apple jack. b. brandy -->

Jack is used adjectively in various senses. It sometimes designates something cut short or diminished in size; as, a jack timber; a jack rafter; a jack arch, etc.

Jack arch, an arch of the thickness of one brick. -- Jack back Brewing & Malt Vinegar Manuf., a cistern which receives the wort. See under 1st Back. -- Jack block Naut., a block fixed in the topgallant or royal rigging, used for raising and lowering light masts and spars. -- Jack boots, boots reaching above the knee; -- worn in the 17 century by soldiers; afterwards by fishermen, etc.<-- see jack-booted --> -- Jack crosstree. Naut. See 10, b, above. -- Jack curlew Zool., the whimbrel. -- Jack frame. Cotton Spinning See 4 (g), above. -- Jack Frost, frost personified as a mischievous person. -- Jack hare, a male hare. Cowper. -- Jack lamp, a lamp for still hunting and camp use. See def. 4 (n.), above. -- Jack plane, a joiner's plane used for coarse work. -- Jack post, one of the posts which support the crank shaft of a deep-well-boring apparatus. -- Jack pot Poker Playing, the name given to the stakes, contributions to which are made by each player successively, till such a hand is turned as shall take the "pot," which is the sum total of all the bets.<-- see also jackpot --> -- Jack rabbit Zool., any one of several species of large American hares, having very large ears and long legs. The California species (Lepus Californicus), and that of Texas and New Mexico (L. callotis), have the tail black above, and the ears black at the tip. They do not become white in winter. The more northern prairie hare (L. campestris) has the upper side of the tail white, and in winter its fur becomes nearly white. -- Jack rafter Arch., in England, one of the shorter rafters used in constructing a hip or valley roof; in the United States, any secondary roof timber, as the common rafters resting on purlins in a trussed roof; also, one of the pieces simulating extended rafters, used under the eaves in some styles of building. -- Jack salmon Zool., the wall-eyed pike, or glasseye. -- Jack sauce, an impudent fellow. [Colloq. & Obs.] -- Jack shaft Mach., the first intermediate shaft, in a factory or mill, which receives power, through belts or gearing, from a prime mover, and transmits it, by the same means, to other intermediate shafts or to a line shaft. -- Jack sinker Knitting Mach., a thin iron plate operated by the jack to depress the loop of thread between two needles. -- Jack snipe. Zool. See in the Vocabulary. -- Jack staff Naut., a staff fixed on the bowsprit cap, upon which the jack is hoisted. -- Jack timber Arch., any timber, as a rafter, rib, or studding, which, being intercepted, is shorter than the others. -- Jack towel, a towel hung on a roller for common use. -- Jack truss Arch., in a hip roof, a minor truss used where the roof has not its full section. -- Jack tree. Bot. See 1st Jack, n. -- Jack yard Naut., a short spar to extend a topsail beyond the gaff.

Blue jack, blue vitriol; sulphate of copper. -- Hydraulic jack, a jack used for lifting, pulling, or forcing, consisting of a compact portable hydrostatic press, with its pump and a reservoir containing a supply of liquid, as oil. -- Jack-at-a-pinch. (a) One called upon to take the place of another in an emergency. (b) An itinerant parson who conducts an occasional service for a fee. -- Jack-at-all-trades, one who can turn his hand to any kind of work. -- Jack-by-the-hedge Bot., a plant of the genus Erysimum (E. alliaria, or Alliaria officinalis), which grows under hedges. It bears a white flower and has a taste not unlike garlic. Called also, in England, sauce-alone. Eng. Cyc. -- Jack-in-a-box. (a) Bot. A tropical tree (Hernandia sonora), which bears a drupe that rattles when dry in the inflated calyx. (b) A child's toy, consisting of a box, out of which, when the lid is raised, a figure springs. (c) Mech. An epicyclic train of bevel gears for transmitting rotary motion to two parts in such a manner that their relative rotation may be variable; applied to driving the wheels of tricycles, road locomotives, and to cotton machinery, etc.; an equation box; a jack frame; -- called also compensating gearing. (d) A large wooden screw turning in a nut attached to the crosspiece of a rude press. -- Jack-in-office, an insolent fellow in authority. Wolcott. -- Jack-in-the-bush Bot., a tropical shrub with red fruit (Cordia Cylindrostachya). -- Jack-in-the-green, a chimney sweep inclosed in a framework of boughs, carried in Mayday processions. -- Jack-in-the-pulpit Bot., the American plant Arisaema triphyllum, or Indian turnip, in which the upright spadix is inclosed. -- Jack-of-the-buttery Bot., the stonecrop (Sedum acre). -- Jack-of-the-clock, a figure, usually of a man, on old clocks, which struck the time on the bell. -- Jack-on-both-sides, one who is or tries to be neutral. -- Jack-out-of-office, one who has been in office and is turned out. Shak. -- Jack the Giant Killer, the hero of a well-known nursery story. -- Jack-with-a-lantern, Jack-o'-lantern. (a) An ignis fatuus; a will-o'-the-wisp. "[Newspaper speculations] supplying so many more jack-o'-lanterns to the future historian." Lowell. (b) A lantern made of a pumpkin so prepared as to show in illumination the features of a human face, etc. -- Yellow Jack Naut., the yellow fever; also, the quarantine flag. See Yellow flag, under Flag.


© Webster 1913.

Jack (?), n. [F. jaque, jacque, perh. from the proper name Jacques. Cf. Jacquerie.]

A coarse and cheap mediaeval coat of defense, esp. one made of leather.

Their horsemen are with jacks for most part clad. Sir J. Harrington.


© Webster 1913.

Jack (?), n. [Named from its resemblance to a jack boot.]

A pitcher or can of waxed leather; -- called also black jack.




© Webster 1913.

Jack, v. i.

To hunt game at night by means of a jack. See 2d Jack, n., 4, n.


© Webster 1913.

Jack, v. t.

To move or lift, as a house, by means of a jack or jacks. See 2d Jack, n., 5.

<-- = jack up -->


© Webster 1913.

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