Networking

10 terms from the alternative Geek-Speak glossary

Not content with the standard definitions, Jeff Dray decided to stretch the meanings of several tech terms. You may have a few of your own to add to this list.

Not content with the standard definitions, Jeff Dray decided to stretch the meanings of several tech terms. You may have a few of your own to add to this list.


One particularly popular download in TechRepublic's white paper directory is Geek-Speak Glossary: A Manager's Guide to IT Terminology, by Global Knowledge. While this one is useful for the manager who wants to understand what the IT staff is saying, we thought it would be entertaining to "update" some of those definitions to address what's really going on in the IT department.

Note: This list is based on an entry in our User Support blog. It's also available as a PDF download.

1: ARP (address resolution protocol)

Network layer protocol provided with TCP/IP; used to map an IP (Internet protocol) address to a MAC (media access card) address. As can be read later, this may involve some obscure and dark rituals that can be performed only by virgins, by the light of a full moon, thus explaining why we have so much network trouble here in the UK, where it is often cloudy.

2: Bit (contraction of the expression "binary digit")

Smallest unit of data in a computer. Bits can also be all that remain of a desktop or laptop computer when it locks up for a particularly stressed worker. Not to be confused with expressions of older origin, such as, "Getting the bit between your teeth," which has a far more positive connotation.

3: Bluetooth

Specification that allows mobile phones, computers, and PDAs to be connected wirelessly over short ranges; also a condition prevalent among a certain class of geek, known as the "Furry Toothed Geek." The term came from a Viking king by the name of Eric Blatand, demonstrating that dental hygiene was not afforded great importance in 10th- and 11th-century Scandinavia. I still can't work out why the example of a mouldy-toothed Viking should put someone in mind of short-range radio communication, but what do I know?

4: GUI (graphical user interface)

Easy way of accessing applications with the use of a pointing device, such as a mouse; pronounced "gooey." The user interface is the last frontier for wit and reason before your actions are passed to the machine forever. The user interface gives rise to such terms as "PEBCAK," an acronym for "Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard." Keyboards can be particularly GUI if rules about not eating and drinking near computer equipment are not strictly enforced.

5: Host address

Part of an IP address that is uniquely assigned by an administrator, not -- as interpreted by one of my apprentices -- as the address of the hotel we were staying in.

6: IEEE (Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers)

Voluntary organization of engineers that creates consensus standards for network wiring and other technologies; pronounced "eye-triple-E." Also the sound made by the aforementioned apprentice when I jammed his fingers into a live power socket.

7: I/O (input/output devices)

Hardware used to enter and retrieve data from the system. As these are the direct physical connection between the user and the machine, they are often the first parts to suffer when frustration and rage take the better of the situation.

8: Jitter

Distortion in a digital signal caused by a shift in timing pulses; can cause data interpretation errors. This term is also used to describe the feelings of department managers when next year's budgets are being fixed.

9: Menu

Used in some DOS shells and early versions of Windows; an improvement on the command line but cumbersome when a task requires the submenu of a submenu of a submenu of a menu item. Menus can be found in almost any context, including pinned to the wall of the tech's workshop, where one's late night takeaway can be ordered by phone and delivered to reception.

10: TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol)

The dominant protocol suite used in networking. Not as you might think a logical and scientific approach to a problem but very much a black art, involving blood sacrifices, wild naked dancing around forest clearings, and inspecting the entrails of chickens. May also be misunderstood as a type of antiseptic fluid with a particularly unpleasant odor. Having spent several evenings studying for my Network Administrator Exam a couple of years ago, I was asked to go to our local chemist shop for some TCP antiseptic. Without thinking I asked for a bottle of TCP/IP.

Your turn

Do you have your own special meanings for technical terminology? By all means, share them with the rest of us below. We just might have to create another list.

36 comments
paztame
paztame

RoadKill, a PC found on the side of the Road, (of which are many in Sydney) and recovered into service for many tasks. Paztame

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I mean honestly, who hasn't seen a crap web page with an angry fruit salad? Plus, bork is just...awesome...

DT2
DT2

Hey - I'm all for the "wild naked dancing around forest clearings" part. Where can I participate? Do they have a training and certification program?

blondlot
blondlot

DNS (Domain Name System) DNS is a handy service that makes it possible to look at porn on the internet without having to memorize a bunch of numbers first. Imagine the internet is your phone and, instead of dialing out to reach your grandma, you'd just say "grandma" into the receiving end, whereupon the phone misinterprets your request, because of your dialect, and connects you to a loan shark named Grandmaggio who sends out a couple of guys in jogging suits to break your knees because you bothered him during lunch. That's DNS. DNS is everywhere... even RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!! Made you look. In addition to their usage on the internet, private DNS servers are used extensively in local networks that have domain controllers. It might be best to think of DNS servers in one of two ways; 1) Like the parent to every networked computer, website and piece of email in your company. This is because it gives a meaningful name to each object within its purview and, just like any parent with that many kids, forgets half the names most of the time. Like with parents it's recommended you have at least two of them around, since there's always a chance one is going to randomly fuck off to god knows where for however long it wants; only to later reappear, offering no explanation for its actions. 2) DNS servers could also be described as the postal service of your network. It's the DNS server(s) job to receive and interpret requests using host names and email addresses, and make sure they get to the right place. It will occasionally dump all those requests into a storm drain and take the rest of the day off, which makes it even more like a postal employee.

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

In the sense that it's a computer term, but who can forget the ever-necessary LART.

pgit
pgit

Left a big softball out here... bytes, 8 bits, or the expression of an opinion. Bytes generally means 'bad' in a context of a negative impact upon the one expressing the opinion as a consequence of the object of the opinion. Megabytes: it's really, really bad. Ironically, 'terabytes' means 'good.'

wlportwashington
wlportwashington

A Local User is the person we try to support in the office, also know as the L-User (pronouced looser). (I nearly forgot that one)

wlportwashington
wlportwashington

Those are little 'bits' of food crumbs stuck in the keyboard from not following the no eating at the desk rule.

nath.e.will
nath.e.will

when I'm helping people configure their mail clients, i always spell it out (i.e. "that's S-M-T-P, as in Send Mail To People"). those M's and N's can get so darned confusing to the illiterate!

Wyrmlord
Wyrmlord

As the folk-lore tells us, our Viking mouldy-tooth was something of a uniter of scattered Danish tribes, back when. The protocol named after him was intended to serve the same purpose: to unite the many electronic devices that we can no longer live without. And in darkness bind them. Hell, if "Sauron" did not have such ugly connotations, the protocol might have been named after him instead :-)

jdclyde
jdclyde

I am going to have to go back and read what bork and the salad are about.....

Shellbot
Shellbot

what the heck is an angry fruit salad???

hercules.gunter
hercules.gunter

This sort of ritual is typically conducted at midnight around the time of the winter solstice. Barefoot. In the snow. Still interested?

brenthaskell
brenthaskell

I like this one. Gave me a great laugh...Cheers!

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

(age 81, btw) she still maintains she can't tell her gigglebits from her mega-big-bites..... GG Yup. No hope, whatsoever..... :)

interested_amateur
interested_amateur

I'll be using this one. What a great interpretation of an obscure acronym. Here's a site I use as my home page. acronymfinder.com. I hope it helps reading sites like this one. Interested Amateur

wendygoerl
wendygoerl

I always wanted to know where my high school computer teacher got his "parts of a computer" diagram. It showed you the "floppy disk" (by the "input") and the "central processing unit" and the "flow of operations" (leading to the "output") triggered, of course, by the "function key" While processing, you could make use of the "supplementary data" but beware of "overflow" and of course the "mouse" I think there were more, but it's been over 15 years since I've seen it.

wendygoerl
wendygoerl

And here I thought it had something to do with a competition-devouring shark.

mmoran
mmoran

A communications protocol named after the Dark Lord of Middle Earth-- ROFLMAO. I assume this would be a Microsoft initiative...

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

Back Office Resource Kit.... angry fruit salad is a new one on me.... ....searching.....! GG

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

A bad UI with LOTS of colors and very poor design. Think of the worst Geocities page and that would be an Angry Fruit Salad.

DT2
DT2

There's always the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. Summer Solstice works for me, too.

pgit
pgit

...your ma uses a computer at all. We have tried to get my 84 year old mom to use one for email, IM and video conferencing for years, she just won't have it. I have a Linux box all set up and ready to hook to her cable, my brother said he'll pay for the connection and I'll show her the ropes and do maintenance... Always was independent, and stubborn.

Sepius
Sepius

Angry Fruit Salad ... never heard it before, but I will be using it in casual conversation before the week is out. Talk about Pebkac ... what about the ID 10 T virus. I get that often with some clients, or is the term passe?

AttackComputerWhiz
AttackComputerWhiz

Look at the MySpace homepage of any teenager and you will immediately know...

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Kind of like Uncle Buck's hat.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I don't know why that fell out of favor...brilliant term...

jdclyde
jdclyde

where does the "angry" come in?

JamesRL
JamesRL

Then confirmed with google... James

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

Serpentine Fibula Syndrome? Nah..... GG :p

jdclyde
jdclyde

SFS (add "Syndrome" to your search....) :D [i]I am doing an experiment on cures for SFS - would you like to join my study?

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