by admin on Jan 6th in Computers
New inventions, processes and concepts are entering the language all the time. And we need new words and new terms to name them. Fortunately for computer users, geeks are smart and usually funny. Word coinage in the field of computers is pithy, wry and sometimes deliberately ironic.
Let’s look at a field that takes itself too seriously when coining new terms: the military. Rather than calling a process “ship-to-shore fueling,” they call it an “amphibious bulk liquid transfer system.” To prevent false or fake alarms, they don’t use a “backup” system; they use “multiple warning phenomenology.” Come on, guys. Really.
Those who work in developing new computer hardware and programming, though, take their nomenclature with a grain of salt. The very first computer, built at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940s, of course had things go wrong with it. Not a few of the problems were simply related to its immense size (more than 1,800 square feet). Technicians tracking down glitches would often find connections shorted or compromised by moths and other insects who had made their way into the housing. The term “bug” stuck for a computer-related problem.
As digital technology improved, we started saving our data on floppy disks, which we had to differentiate from the computer’s internal memory drive by calling it a hard disk. Ah, so much opportunity for puerile humor.
While home computers still filled the role of simple game consoles or labor-saving devices (remember Mom transferring her recipe collection to a database?), technogeeks were developing terms like scuzzy, wizzywig, boot, rip, burn, hacker and firewall. Later, when we all started communicating with each other via e-mail, we were introduced to spam, viruses and phishing.
Now everyone’s familiar with cookies, wizards and trolls. But for a smile, think back to what crossed your mind when you learned that little oblong thing you move to point with was called a mouse.