Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2012)

‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far)

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SOA continues its reign as most confusing acronym

 

For the 2013 Update, go here!


Austin, Texas, March 15, 2012 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the  The Global Language Monitor.  Topping the list for 2012 are:  Big Data, the Cloud, The Next Big Thing, Social Discovery, Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on).  Solid State, CERN, Solar Max, De-dupe, 3G/4G/5G, and SoLoMo.

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Continuing as the most confusing  acronym now of the century:  SOA.
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GLM releases its Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords list annually in conjunction with Austin’s SXSW Interactive conference, which ends March 20th.
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“High tech terms have long spilled into popular culture and this is nowhere more evident that at SXSW where the digital world intersects with those of music and the movies,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.   “To a large and growing extent, high tech buzzwords are fueling the growth of English, which now serves as the Earth’s means of global communication.”

“SXSW can best be described as a weird mash-up of Cannes, COMDEX, and Woodstock.  If creative ideas don’t mix here, it’s just not going to happen.

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, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.
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The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011 & 2012) with commentary follow:
  1. Big Data — Big Data is the biggest buzzword.  It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the US place in global economics, and more.  Now if only we could agree on exactly what this means and how we get there.  (By the way, consider yottabytes: a quadrillion gigabytes.  Hint:  Just think a lotta bytes.)
  2. ‘The Cloud — The Cloud, in various manifestations has been ranked No. 1 for 2008, No, 4 overall for the decade, and now as No. 2 for 2012.   Still all very nebulous.
  3. The Next Big Thing — A cliche rendered nearly meaningless by the innumerable daily claims made by VCs, entrepreneurs, college drop-outs, etc.  Actually, you can count the history of next big things on your fingers, and possibly toes.
  4. Social Discovery — Webster’s 1910 definition. “Consisting in union of mutual converse,” might be an excellent corporate strategy.
  5. Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on) — Ranked as the 1,000,000th English-language word in 2009, it just keeps morphing along.
  6. Solid State —  As in Solid State Disks (SSDs).  Remember ‘solid-state’ televisions switched from vacuum tubes (Paleozoic)? How about LED watches from the ’80s (Mesozoic)?  Today, it’s all-about Solid State Disks.
  7. CERN — You might want to understand the acronym before the Earth is swallowed up the ‘mini’ black hole it just might create .  (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)
  8. Solar Max — In the 1850s telegraph wires melted.  Best not to shuck off the hype here.
  9. De-dupe — First we dupe, then we de-dupe; Flash forward to 2014:  Re-duping!  Ah, the next big thing!
  10. 3G/4G/5G — One of the benefits of having an open, open standard (AKA, no standard). Anybody can claim to lead as the (Generation) ‘standard’ expands into meaningless.
  11. SoLoMo — This is not an oh-so-trendy neighborhood like Soho or Dumbo, at least not in the sense of brick-and-mortar.  This is the convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile. The Talk of the Town at SXSWi this week in Austin.
The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of 2012:  SOA (Solutions Oriented Architecture), continuing its Most Confusing Tech Acronym of the Decade reign.  Not only is there an highly popular SOA for Dummies edition but Google Books list 47,300 editions that explicate upon the subject.
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For reference, here is the  first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century.
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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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