Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2013): ‘Big Data’ and ”Dark Data’


New top trending terms include:  Dark Data, Yottabytes, Heisenbug, 3-D printer, phablet, and presentism.

Austin, Texas, Weekend Release March 29-31, 2013 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘Dark Data’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the  The Global Language Monitor.  ‘The Cloud’ slips to No. 3, followed by Yottabytes, and ‘The Next Big Thing”.   Rounding out the Top Ten are Heisenbug, 3-D Printer, Phablet, the acronym REST, and Web x.0 (replacing Web 2.0).
Continuing as the most confusing acronym of the year, decade and now of the century:  SOA.
Gartner Big Data Analysis
Gartner Big Data Analysis


“High Tech buzzwords are now coming at us full speed from all corners as the ‘adorkable’ nerd is exiting the periphery — and is now is viewed as a societal asset,”   said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.   “New terms are bubbling forth at an ever increasing pace, driven in part, by the tremendous growth and accessibility of data.  Nowhere on the planet is this more evident than at SXSWi where the digital world intersects with those of music, film and pop culture.” 

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, proprietary databases, as well as new social media as they emerge.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) with commentary follow:

2013 Rank, Buzzword, Last Year’s rank
Big Data (1) — Soon Human Knowledge will be doubling every second.  ‘Big’ does not begin to describe what’s coming at us. 
  1. Dark Data’ begins to emerge, though you might not have noticed it because … it is ‘Dark Data’   (New) — ‘Big’ has begun to spin off its own superlatives.
  2. The Cloud (2) — All that data has got to go somewhere.  Hint:  it’s neither your phone nor your tablet.
  3. Yottabytes (New) — Showing up on lots of technologists’ radar lately:  a quadrillion gigabytes.
  4. The Next Big Thing (3) — A cliche rendered ever more meaningless but still on everyone’s tongue.
  5. Heisenbug (New) — A bug that disappears when you try to detect it , finally making the list after a steady ascent over the last decade.
  6. 3-D Printer (New) — Watch this space.  They’ve been used in CAD design for years and science fiction for decades — but now they are impinging upon everyday life. 
  7. Phablet (New) — The Next Big Thing? The odds are against it since consumer goods tend to evolve into single-purpose appliances.
  8. REST (New) — Representational State transfer is slowly climbing its way up the list.
  9. Web X.0 (5) — Formerly Web 2.0, 3.0, etc.
  10. Higgs Boson (3, Decade) —   The Higgs Boson is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. OK, let’s just call it the God Particle.  
  11. CERN (7)  —  On a two-year hiatus (sabbatical in academic parlance) after only one year of operation.  At least the Earth is on a short reprieve from being swallowed the black hole it might accidentally create. 
  12. Presentism (New) — The ‘presentism of constant pings’ is how its put.. 
  13. Solar Max (8) — 2013 is the Solar Max.  In the 1850s telegraph wires melted.  Best not to shuck off the hype here.
The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of THE CENTURY:  SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), continuing its acrnym of the year, decade and now century reign.
For reference, here is the  first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century.
The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century with Commentary follow:
  1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.
  2. Flash — As in Flash Memory.  “Flash’  is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass.  The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.
  4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing  electrical voltages to create an image.
  6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod.  Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.
  7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels.  Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything  small as in nanotechnology.   Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.
  9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service
  12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness
  14. Emoticon   A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon).  Now, what’s a smiley? :’)
  15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits:  Not enough power?  Just re-position as energy-saving.
  17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second   Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.
  19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).
  20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva.  Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.





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