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Public Confused by Tech Lingo 1041

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-shocker-here dept.
the_helper_monkey writes "The BBC has an article about how tech jargon confuses the public. It's based on a survey done by AMD asking the definitions of words such as megahertz, MP3, and Bluetooth. " I was recently reminded of how big a deal this is while trying to help my tech novice brother select a computer. If you don't know what a gigabyte is, it's hard to know how large of a hard drive you need.
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Public Confused by Tech Lingo

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  • by jmays (450770) * on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:20AM (#6390976)
    j00 d0n7 u|\|d3r574|\|d m3 1337 5p34|????

    But seriously, back when I was on phone tech support, half of the battle was describing things without using tech jargon. The other half of the battle was having patience. Thank goodness I am not doing that any more ... I do love the jargon of tech.
  • - all you need to know is bigger is better, right women?
  • by numbski (515011) * <numbski@hksilv e r .net> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:22AM (#6390998) Homepage Journal
    In other news:

    Terms such as 'baffled', 'flummoxed', and 'jargon' consfuse the general public.
    Techs are confused by general public's Lingo.

    Sorry, if you're going to write a story about people being confused by big words, please don't use big words to describe how people don't understand big words. Your target audience is then people who can't understand big words. Don't you know we have to dumb down everything for the uneducated people coming out of our schools?

    Oh, wait, where is that contradicting report that says the people coming out of our schools are more tech savvy than ever. But they aren't getting educated gaddammmmit. :P

    On a side note, techs don't understand techno-babble either:

    "The jig is up!"


    "The *gig* is up."

    "1.21 Jiggawatts???"


    "1.21 Gigawatts????"

    So exactly how do we all keep screwing up by saying "Gig" instead of "Jig" when we probably heard it right most of our lives?
  • Linux (Score:5, Funny)

    by mao che minh (611166) * on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:23AM (#6391011) Journal
    The most commonly butchered tech-related word. What's that Lie-nucks thing again?

    I never thought about it, but we must sound really funny to non-technically inclined people. "Yea, I picked up the Athlon 1800 XP, you know the one point five three three gig, and the dude was selling pc2100 for like 50 a stick of 512 so I figured what the hell, cause Galaxies was running choppy with my old 133 stuff and the 64 meg GeForce two I had."

    That must sound as bad as Star Trek dialogue to most people.

  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:24AM (#6391020) Journal
    ... a little less than 2 music CDS. ... about the hard drive space you require for a full install of Diablo 2. ... about 4000 pr0n photos.

    Put it into terms that they can understand.
  • Solution (Score:3, Funny)

    by worst_name_ever (633374) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:24AM (#6391028)
    It's based on a survey done by AMD asking the definitions of words such as megahertz

    I submit that people would be much less confused if AMD would spec its processors in terms of megawatts instead. After all, we already know they are excellent space heaters. ;)

  • by Adam Rightmann (609216) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:26AM (#6391041)
    In that it can "weed" out the Joe Sixpacks out there who really have no business at all installing software, or hardware. Sadly, once "Joe Sixpack" has installed a DVD-burner, or some software, they start thinking they are computer masters, and rapidly rise to their level of incompetence. Haven't we all been burned by paper MCSE's who can do little but click buttons? Amusing enough at home, but deadly in the workplace.

    It's very analogous to the introduction of the vernacular Mass. When Masses were said in Latin, with the priest facing away from the people, it was a much more mysterious, deep experience. Now that English is used for Mass, the people, without the benefit of years in a seminary, have all become amatuer theologians, thinking that birth control, homosexuality and ecumenalism are all okay, instead of being the one way tickets to eternan Damnation that the Holy See has repeatedly declared them to be.

    So, I think we need more computer jargon, computer cases only openable by licensed tech, and a return to Latin Mass.

  • by PhysicsGenius (565228) <> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:26AM (#6391042)
    I've experienced this problem with lusers before too. At first I was very frustrated, spending hours explaning the logical history underlying the acronames "cd" and "ls" and how they are actually newmonic. After a while, though, I realized that this jargon was actually working for us, not against us. If someone is too stupid to learn and understand some basic terminology, I don't want them dumbing down Linux anyway. It's like Mensa--you have to have a certain amount of brains to get in the door, which makes for a more pleasant experience among the intelligentcia.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:26AM (#6391050) Homepage Journal
    "Memory" means how big the hard drive is.

    He calls floppies "tapes".

    To him the monitor is the computer.

    He calls the tower the hard drive.

    And he claims that I'm confusing.

  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:26AM (#6391053) Homepage
    Studies conducted by some large corporation found that the sky is blue, shit is brown (and sometimes green), and that the average accelleration due to gravity on earth is approximately 9.81m/sec/sec.
  • by (410908) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:28AM (#6391074) Journal
    Techs are Techs, were created to get by the tech stuff and if possible stay in the basement NOT speaking to users in case they confuse them.

    Users are users, and, to copy the BOFH, the day a luser will have access to my Server Room, he'll have to do it over my dead body.

    For the rest, they NEVER understood Gigabit, they NEVER understood DHCP and it's all for the better.
    Next, they will tell me Users are confused by rocket science and everybody will get Ahhhh !!!
  • by xirtam_work (560625) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:30AM (#6391095)
    the article has a jargon quiz linked to it on the bbc website. there are seven real easy questions, which of course i got right.

    here was the response:

    You got 7 right! Have you thought about entering the competition to find the sexiest geek alive?

    I'm mean, christ! does basic knowledge equate to sexiness? hopefully!!!!

  • He's wrong. (Score:3, Funny)

    by numbski (515011) * <numbski@hksilv e r .net> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:30AM (#6391102) Homepage Journal
    Don't you know that the tower is the MODEM, not the hard drive, for starters.

    The monitor is the thing you hold the paper up to for scanning, and that thing label "CD-ROM" is for holding your coffee!

    The last two are cliche, but I heard both waaaaaaay too much back when I was a parts jockey for Best Buy (thankfully faaaaar in my past).
  • by UID30 (176734) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:31AM (#6391120)
    When my old manager used to talk about "leveraging the synergies inherit in a business relationship", all i ever heard was "blah blah blah more work for you blah blah blah."

    It's only fair that when I talk about SMP architectures, S-ATA, Terabytes, 64-bit, distributed model computing, TCP, UDP, server farms, load balancers, and quad-port ethernet adapters ... that he think "blah blah blah boy that sounds expensive blah blah blah."
  • by LordoftheFrings (570171) <<null> <at> <>> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:31AM (#6391121) Homepage
    This is always a good thing for social engineering. Take, for example, this conversation, taken from real life, (not a movie called "Hackers").

    *phone rings and gaurd picks up*
    Gaurd: Security, Norm speaking.

    Dade: Norman? This is Jimmy Tanner speaking. Norm, do you know anything about computers?

    Gaurd: Uhhhh... Uhhhhhh..

    Dade: Well, Norm, my B.L.T. drive just went A.W.O.L. and I have a big project due for mr. Kawasaki, and if I don't get it in he's going to commit Harry Karry on me.

    Gaurd: Uhhhhhhhh...*mumbles*

    Dade: Well, you know these Japanese management types. Norm could you read me the numbers off the modem?

    Gaurd: uhhhhh....

    Dade: It's a little boxy thing with switches.

    Gaurd: *reads numbers*

    See? Tech jargon is supposed to be confusing so hackers can take over TV stations with hapless security gaurds.
  • Hmph. (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:31AM (#6391122)
    Is this really news? That when "average" people don't understand something, it's just an ID10T error?

    When people refuse to RTFM, clearly the PEBKAC.

    Face it, some technology is just too complex to be sufficiently dumbed down for the NASCAR and country music loving set.
  • by kp833 (608343) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:33AM (#6391142)
    In promulgating your esoteric cogitations and articulating your superficial, psychological and sentimental observation. Beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your extemporaneous decantations, unpremeditated explanations have voracious veracity without any rodomontade and thrasonical bombard. Sedulously, avoid all poly-syllabic profundity, pussilanimous vacuity, pestiferous profanity and similar transgressions.
  • Yeah! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:33AM (#6391148)
    I certainly don't trust a people who call botulism "steak and kidney pie!"
  • by mikeophile (647318) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:33AM (#6391151)
    Wheel, fire, pointed stick?

    Could you dumb it down a little. I just don't understand all this technical jargon.

  • Oh boy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:34AM (#6391163) Homepage
    Public Confused By Tech Lingo

    In other news, the sky is blue, what goes up must come down, and SCO is full of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:35AM (#6391177)
    I think you've got an epistemological problem with your teleology there, son.
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:35AM (#6391180) Homepage
    Okay, quick quiz.

    You're standing with a group of other people, discussing Company X's latest product. One of the people talking throws out an acronym that you've never heard before. You have absolutely no idea what this acronym may mean, as it was mentioned while the person was discussing a framework/language/methodology/technology that you've never heard of before.

    Do you:

    • Gently nod your head and maintain a visage of total and unwavering comprehension,
    • Remark, "Oh, good, I was wondering when they'd get around to supporting that natively,"
    • Say, "Odd that they chose to go with [unknown acronym], when [new acronym you just made up on the spot] does better in real-world tests," and hope they don't call your bluff,
    • Step away to get some coffee to keep from being put on the spot (thus revealing your ignorance on the matter,)
    • Say, "Have they managed to work the kinks out of their implementation of [unknown acronym]?" and hope to glean important clues to the nature of what that acronym is from the response, or
    • Say, "Uh-oh--gotta run--just remembered--" and leave the conversation to look up the unknown acronym on Google?

    Honestly, are any of us geeks ever willing to admit that we don't inherently recognize and grok every single term that is thrown our way? Isn't that part of being a geek?

  • by JohnnySkidmarks (607274) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:37AM (#6391202)
    Yeah well did you get the memo about the new TSP reports?
  • carburetor (Score:3, Funny)

    by siskbc (598067) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:39AM (#6391228) Homepage
    Nah.. only people that want or need to know will care. It's the over-used car analogy again. My wife has heard the word carburetor, but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts she has no idea what it does.

    If your wife thinks her car has a carburetor then:

    Your wife is really old. Why are you married to an 80 year old? Is she rich? Does she have a sister?

    Your wife's car is really old. Buy the poor woman a new car, for Chrissakes!

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Little Brother (122447) <> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:39AM (#6391239) Journal
    OK I went down to my local library, read the computer books they had there, now I'm ready to go out and buy a computer based on what I read. First of all I know I need a computer that can handle the standard sized disks, althoughs something that can also use the new 1.44 MegaByte disks would be great. 512 Kilobytes of memery is a definante minimum, anything less won't run the newer programs. Amber CRT's produce the least eyestrain, but the green ones are cheeper. CP/M and BASIC are decent operating systems, but MS DOS seems to be gaining popularity. Now I just have to figure out if I can get a computer with an amber CRT, 512K Ram, 51/2 and 31/4 floppy disk drives, with a processor capable of running DOS for under $3000, the books I've been reading say it might be hard.

    Why are the customer support representatives at gateway and dell laughing so loudly?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:41AM (#6391262)
    Customer: My computer's broken, can you do anything about it?

    Me: Sure, just bring it in and we'll take care of it.

    Customer: Do you want just the CPU?

  • by fluxmix (152504) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:43AM (#6391285)
    Oh good, more super-kewl names like "Opteron 200" and "Opteron 800" and "RADEON 9000" and
    "RADEON 9100" and "RADEON 9200" and "RADEON 9300" and "RADEON 9400" and "RADEON 9500"
    and "RADEON 9600" and "RADEON 9700" and "RADEON 9800" and "RADEON All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro" and...

    Jeez, gimme a break already.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:47AM (#6391335) Journal
    XP : full form eXPee - fermented urine; sewage.
    NT : Not Trustworthy - for MS, that is.
    MicroSoft: A microscopic, kind-hearted organisation. .Net : Used to catch .Fish; also undefined, nebulous technology.
    DRM: Digital Restrictions Managaement
    TCPA: Treacherous Computing Platform Alliance
    SCO : short for SCOurge; root of all evil.
    XML : eXtremely Munged Language.
    GNU : Great New Unix

  • by niko9 (315647) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:49AM (#6391370)
    You're a (presumably) educated american, but if I were to start talking to you about "40/20s", "sets of six" and "dummy halves", you'd almost certainly be mystified.

    "40/20s"=hip and waist size?
    "sets of six"=tight abs?
    "dummy halves"=twin blondes?

    You're talking about HOT CHICKS aren't you!!!? :P
  • Good Ones! (Score:3, Funny)

    by BeerVarmint (553698) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:52AM (#6391385)
    Rabbit? Flushot? Somebody talk to be here!

    Shit! My BLT drive just want AWOL!

    True Story:

    I went into a radio shack, to have some amusement at the dumbassitude of their staff. I told them I needed a flux capacitor in order to repair the wavetable floating-point unit on my network card....

    They spent 20 minutes with their heads in catalogs.... Not only didn't they know they names of things; they never watched Back to the Future either....

  • by Biomechanoid (515993) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @09:56AM (#6391432)
    >Tech Support: What version of Windows are you running OpenBSD on?

  • by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:00AM (#6391474)
    This could be used to describe atoms, radio, or anything else that cycles really quickly

    Like Lance Armstrong?

  • by csguy314 (559705) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:04AM (#6391507) Homepage
    Honestly, are any of us geeks ever willing to admit that we don't inherently recognize and grok every single term that is thrown our way?

    Nonsense, I grok all the time! I just took my new grok out this morning.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:06AM (#6391547) Homepage Journal
    Ha ha. You're trying to trick me.

    A car won't go without a carburetor. You sound like my brother who tried to convince me that I didn't need rabbit ears to watch HBO.
  • by csguy314 (559705) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:14AM (#6391660) Homepage
    I still don't know what the hell SOAP stands for, because I just don't use it.

    Ahhh, a true geek. Well you see there are these things called showers...
  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dephex Twin (416238) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:16AM (#6391694) Homepage
  • by Triv (181010) * on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:17AM (#6391704) Journal

    Quick related story:

    Back when I had dialup, I switched to a cheaper provider. I was having problems, though - for the life of me I couldn't connect to my non-isp SMTP server.

    So I call them up. I get a pseudo-techie (the kind with lists of ANDIFs and no practical computer knowledge. He starts in on asking me What operating system I'm running and all that. Figuring that saying OS X would be a problem I waid, "Look, that really doesn't matter. All I need to know is if you guys block off port 25." He insisted that he needed to know what operating system I was running to answer that question. Silly techie person. :)


  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:23AM (#6391802) Homepage

    For Bonjela [], I think, although as always, I had the TV muted to cut out the worst of the psychotronic radiation []. Anyway, the theme of the ad appeared to be that Bonjela can be used to cure mouth ulcers, and that it does so by by killing the tiny spikey demon person that lives inside them and causes you pain.

    So we've known about bacteria since the seventeenth century [], but we still believe - in a very real and fiduciarily binding sense - that Joe Lowest Common Denominator is more comfortable believing that mouth pain is caused by little demons. Specifically little spiney ones who dropped out of spiny demon mime school.

    And you wonder why AMD gave up on trying to explain why MHz don't matter? I'm surprised they don't market their chips based on multiples of Imp Power.

    Buy The New Efreet Chip! Now With the Power of Ten Genies, All Doing Your Bidding!

  • Uhh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by kollivier (449524) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:24AM (#6391808)
    What language is this? I can't find it on Babelfish...
  • Re:So what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:28AM (#6391875) Homepage Journal
    My amber CRT and Hercules clone are still running quite happily on my home server, though the monitor is turned off, most of the time. That system's getting retired sometime in the next few months, so the display stuff will become available. Plus down in the basement I have the rest (most of, I'll need another 3.5" floppy.) of the old equipment you need, so I'll be happy to assemble it for you, and meet your $3000 price.
  • by mblase (200735) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:33AM (#6391943)
    A writer of lyrical rhythms
    Encountered a creative schism
    When those who spoke terse
    Demanded his verse
    Lose its sesquipedalianisms.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:34AM (#6391949)
    Why are you so fixated on cheese? I think we got ourselves a French sympathizer! Send him to the work camp!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:42AM (#6392061)
    So you're attracted to rugby players?
  • Re:Linux (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:46AM (#6392109)
    You must have many friends.
  • by GileadGreene (539584) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:48AM (#6392133) Homepage
    Huh? Rugby jargon isn't something you need to know to function in society.

    I guess you've never visited New Zealand... ;-)

  • by neuroklinik (452842) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @10:55AM (#6392214)
    "One must consider their audience when speaking."

    One must remember to match one's pronouns, as well.
  • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:10AM (#6392386) Homepage
    Remember to tell the nontechie to reverse the polarity, it always works in Star Trek...

    "Oh, I see, your P4 chipset's not going to work with this PC133. We're going to have to get you some DDR, which will have the benefit of detecting tachyons and reversing the starboard shield antimatter polarity nutation."

    --grendel drago
  • by Cobralisk (666114) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:18AM (#6392468)
    Every sperm is sacred.
  • by earthforce_1 (454968) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <1_ecrofhtrae>> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:25AM (#6392537) Journal
    I still haven't exactly figured out what .net really is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:28AM (#6392567)
    I remember the best Tech Support question I ever got. The woman called about the internet service she had just bought from the phone company. She complained she couldn't get it to work and then asked, "Exactly how close does the phone need to be to the computer?"
  • by Jellybob (597204) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:29AM (#6392577) Journal
    I don't think the problem is really that people don't know what terms mean, but that everyone seems to think they matter at a basic level.

    At work I watched a new course being taught last week (second level word processing... including such joys as creating folders), and in this incredibly entry level course, there's a section on hardware... including asking people to say what the hard disc is.

    Except it doesn't matter what the hard disc is, beyond "you save files on it"... they weren't even really saving to the hard disc, but to one of the hard discs server in the room next door.

    And don't even get me started on the technical inaccuracies in the course. I could have slapped the person who was running (and wrote) the course, when she said "this is the hard disc". She was pointing at the case of the computer... if you want to show them a hard disc, say so - I have a small stack of them in the server room.
  • by mritunjai (518932) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:33AM (#6392609) Homepage
    General public can't understand terms like what is meant by 40GB Harddisk"

    That's because we don't put up things like they should be. I think "libraries of congress" and "Voxwagon beetle" are more suitable terms... hey dude.. this HDD can store 0.69865 libraries of congress and that computer goes 1.79 times faster than your Civic :-P

  • How sad, (Score:5, Funny)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:35AM (#6392624)
    that so many people are so ignorant.

    I went to repair a PC once at a church about 18 years ago. The lady that used the computer to type letters for the pastor was bumfuzzled because "my TV won't give me a picture after I turned the brain on!"

    She called the monitor the "TV" and the CPU was the "brain". It was an old IBM XT.
    Turns out that she had turned the brightness down on the monitor because this was *way* before the days (IBM DOS 2.10) of screensavers.

    My dad still can't grasp the difference between RAM and hard disk storage after 10 years of me trying to explain it to him.

    MOST people call the CASE (the cabinet) the "hard drive"

    They know mouse, monitor, keyboard, CD. That's about it.

    I find it easier to explain the problem of filling the hard disk up like this.

    Your hard drive is like your refridgerator. You can only put so much beer in it before it gets to full to close the door. Once it gets filled up you have to take some beer (files) out to put more in.

    It's sad that most people can tell you how many times some football player farted in 1996 or the names of all the movies that some little twit starred in or name all the Brittney Spears songs but they can't put oil in a car or lawn mower, don't know the difference between the CPU and the hard drive, etc...

    If it doesn't involve sports, alcohol, or tv/movie stars they are baffled.

    I'm afraid there is little hope for mankind, ignorance truly is bliss...

  • by Makarakalax (658810) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:53AM (#6392829) Homepage

    reverse the polarity, it always works in Star Trek

    My God! It's so true! The solution to everything is a tacheon beam, or some hybrid neutrino ray, which doesn't work at first, (like you gotta wonder what neutrino's would do), but then Geordi suggests reversing the polarity, and low and behold it does the trick!

    Don't try it in real life, like say reversing the polarity of the electricity for your laptop. It'll either do nothing at all or result in everything going up in smoke.. hang on a minute, maybe they're on to something!

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:03PM (#6392934) Homepage Journal
    My pal Rodent would ask people if something was LRF compliant. LRF stands for "little rubber feet". This works amazingly well when someone is spewing way too much bullshit. Just slip it in amongst a bunch of other questions.
  • by Chewie (24912) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:07PM (#6392969)

    Load up the slashdot homepage in another browser tab. Now go over the homepage word by word.

    Not fair! The front page currently has a story about .Net, and I don't think anyone knows exactly what the hell MS means at this point.

  • by boinger (4618) <boinger&fuck-you,org> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:10PM (#6392995) Homepage
    I completely agree. If I didn't know the lingo, I wouldn't have known to upgrade to an extra strength Muffler Bearing and Forged Kuhneutson Valve. And, of course, with all that extra power, I needed the Cross Drilled Brake Lines. I don't normally reveal my sources, but I trust the Slashdot crowd - my supplier [] kicks butt! They have everything in stock to get your car ready for serious driving!

    Thank God I found a local mechanic who was honest enough to make sure I had these pivotal items installed. I can't believe the DOT doesn't require them!

    Seriously. Every consumer should take the time to become as educated as I have.

  • by Imperator (17614) <> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:16PM (#6393043)
    As though using more syllables implies hyper-intelligence.
    Sure it does. Why do you think Bush uses words like "misunderestimate" or "subliminable"? What, did you think it's just because he's unintelligent and ignorant? Ha, surely America would not elect such a president.
  • by FurryFeet (562847) <joudanx AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:24PM (#6393119)
    Per nostra Pentium Quatro cum 2 gigahertzum e bus de cuatrocentum megahertzum...
    Deo Gratie...
    Per nostros Quinientum Doce megabaitum de RAMus...
    Deo Gratie...
    Per nostra GeForsum Duo Mu Omega cum centum ventiocho megabytum de memoria Delta Delta Rho...
    Deo Gratie...
    E por nostro casum de aluminum con sweetum modus e infinitum blinkenlightenus...
  • by el-spectre (668104) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:26PM (#6393141) Journal
    I've actually used 'the flux capacitor was out of tune' as a root-cause for a problem at our corp. The real cause was confusing and unlikely to occur again, so the tech staff decided to bluff.
  • by bigdavex (155746) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:33PM (#6393223)

    Instead nearly two-third said they "wish to have things work and not spend time setting up."

    What are the other third? Sendmail administrators?

    What a weird question.

  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @12:59PM (#6393507) Homepage
    You're absolutely right. Instead of saying "megahertz," we should say "three billion individual operations every second." Instead of "MP3 file," we should say "pirated Metallica songs." Instead of "Bluetooth," we should say "magic." Finally, "PVR" should be replaced "illegal content theft enabler."

    Wow, I'm understanding this, I mean, "nifty stuff I can spend money on"... already. :: end sarcasm ::

    Beneath a certain critical threshold, I have to stop blaming the experts, and start blaming the masses who refuse to make any effort to educate themselves about the devices.

    As far as the medical profession goes, sure there are many doctors who think that using thick jargon makes them sound smart--and therefore trustworthy. It's a bad strategy. But if someone doesn't know what basic medical terms like "pancreas," "antibody," "virus," and "cell" mean, there's not a whole lot a doctor can do to communicate with them. At that point, it's the patient who is putting his/her own life at risk.
  • by Whomp-Ass (135351) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @01:04PM (#6393574)
    For instance even amongst the highly technically oriented few people understand what the hell is going on...

    The graphics geeks going on about the page-flipping the voxel buffer...

    The crypto guys flapping away about the size of the secret exponents chosens such that a meet-in-the-middle attack would be slower than the general discrete log algorithm...

    Database wizards frustrated with the limitations of the native java odbc API having to dig down deep into the bowels of ole-db to see if the base recordset can actually start doing transactions in oracle without blowing up the servlet...

    Network jockeys putting the packet to the pocket to the socket to the just enough time to see the header abort...


    And we wonder why the general public has no idea what the hell is going on?
  • by kryliss (72493) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @01:10PM (#6393632)
    I work in the tech support industry. The biggest problem is not the users that don't know what you are talking about (I've gotten very good at analogies) but when the "network/computer" admin calls in and can't do simple troubleshooting like reboot their router/computer, check cables to see if they are plugged in, see if there is dial tone on the phone line, give a correct error message... etc. Or they have no idea when you ask them some simple question concerning the computer/network like

    Me: Are you using static IP's or are you setup to use DHCP?

    The "admin": Uhm, what do you mean?

  • by Drakonian (518722) on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @01:26PM (#6393784) Homepage
    Don't ever use a big word where a dimunutive one will suffice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @02:12PM (#6394309)
    Please read player piano.
  • by duggy_92127 (165859) <> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @02:15PM (#6394324) Homepage

    Completely true. I got a job once because during the interview, I was asked about something I didn't know about; I'd never even heard of it. I immediately told the guy that I wasn't familiar with that, and asked what it was similar to. He said he made it up to see how I would respond, and I was hired shortly afterwards.

    In all cases, you will gain much respect if you show a) that you know how much you don't know, and b) that you're willing to learn. You'll win jobs, friends, girls, the whole sh-bang. Mark my works.


  • wizzle (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @03:38PM (#6395244)
    fo' shizzle my nizzle
  • by scrytch (9198) <> on Tuesday July 08, 2003 @11:02PM (#6397880)
    One of my favorite acronyms comes from an IBM mainframe manual.

    FAMD - Forced Air Movement Device

    leave it to IBM to come up with a four-letter acronym for a three-letter word.

Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer. -- R.W. Hamming