ATTN: SXSW Interactive, High Tech Desk
Austin, Texas, March 17, 2010 — In conjunction with the SXSW Interactive conference held in its hometown, The Global Language Monitor has released the most confusing high tech buzzwords of the decade (2000-2009). Topping the list are HTTP, Flash, God Particle, Cloud Computing, and Plasma (as in plasma TV). Rounding out the Top Ten were IPOD/IPAD, Megapixel, Nano, Resonate and Virtualization.
The most confusing Acronym for the decade was SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).
“SXSW has long been a harbinger for future directions in popular culture and now the gathering has taken on the added dimension of technological innovation,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, “The words we use in high technology continue to become even more obtuse even as they move out of the realm of jargon and into the language at large.”
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.
The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the decade (2000-2009) 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.
21. Versioning – Creating new revisions (or versions) with fewer bugs and more features.
22. VoIP — Voice Over IP, itself shorthand for Voice over Internet Protocol, which in plain English means the ability to talk on the phone over the Internet.
23. Web 2.0 – Now there’s talk of Web 3.0, just when we were finally getting used to the advances web services called Web 2.0.
24. Word Clouds – Graphic representations of the words used in a text, the more frequently used, the larger the representation.
25. WORM — Not only not a computer virus anymore, let alone a slithery creature of the soil, but “a Write Once, Read Many file system used for optical disk technology
Most Confusing High Tech Acronym of the Decade
SOA – Solutions Oriented Architecture. Far-and-away No. 1. If it’s so easy to understand, why are hundreds of books written trying to explain exactly what it is.
Early Candidate for Most Confusing High Tech Buzzword of the 2nd Decade of the Century (Possibly a very short decade, Indeed.)
B’ak’tuns – According to the Long-Count Mayan Calendar (high tech for the late A.D.600’s) the end of a ‘Great Cycle’ of thirteen b’ak’tuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the Mayan creation date of August 11, 3114 BC. According to popular belief, December 21st, 2012 will be the End of the World.
About the Global Language Monitor
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
English has become the first truly global language with some 1.58 billion speakers as a first, second or auxiliary language. Paul JJ Payack examines its impact on the world economy, culture and society in A Million Words and Counting (Citadel Press, New York, 2009).
The current estimate for the number of words in the English Language stands at 1,003,587.
For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.