IT Jargon or Computerspeak affects us all

IT Jargon, also known as computerspeak, technical terminology or gobbledegook, baffles you when you try to understand what IT experts are saying. In my novel, Accounting for Murder, Double Entry, my hero encounters other accountants who use jargon rather than content.

The cover of Accounting for Murder: Double Entry. The hero encounters IT jargon and management jargon.

The hero encounters IT jargon and management jargon.

I began my dictionary of computerspeak in a previous post and took us from letters A to E. Now read on.

Computerspeak: F to H

Format. When normal people write or speak to each other, we have lots of ways of expressing ourselves. When you are dealing with a computer, you have to say things the right way. You have to fill boxes in the right order, for instance. This is supposed to avoid the confusion we create when we speak vaguely or repetitively. Fair enough! However, there is no universal standard in the IT world anyway. Sometimes you have to press ‘Enter’ or ‘Tab’ after inputting something, but in other systems, or even in other parts of the same system, your cursor is moved on for you. Therefore you jump over the next box if you press ‘Enter’. Sometimes you have to click on a ‘Save’ button, other times it’s automatic.

Geeks. Once this was an insulting term for any out-of-touch intellectuals but has come to mean specifically IT experts. It is so common that it seems less insulting – even IT professionals use it. Perhaps they didn’t get it?

Glitch. A minor fault in the system. The consequences for the client may not be minor.

Human factor. Some IT people admit that humans play a part in their world. Therefore you can’t expect everything to run smoothly all the time. Some heretics suggest people should designed systems to take this into account with fail-safe arrangements. A few even say that they do. They need to get real.

Computerspeak: I to K

Information Technology. That is what IT stands for. Remember that. Tell your IT service providers. Technology is only justified if it produces (better) information, preferably something that means something useful to the client. Try to explain what information you want and why. and hope the IT people understand your non-technical language. See also ‘Data’.

Internet. This is the forum where your computer talks to others. Think of all the ways things can and do go wrong with your computer. Then think how many other computers there are. It is amazing that the internet works at all, even if things do go wrong at times, like a load of data, or money, landing in the wrong place.  See also ‘Controls’.

Kilobites (or kilobytes). This is a way of expressing the size of something. See bites or bytes. It means thousands of bites, or bytes, whatever they are. Try not to think of ‘killer-bites’. Computers don’t bite and

Knowledge. Some clients pretend to know a lot about computers. This is a mistake. Such people get into semi-technical discussions with real IT experts. The results are seldom good. Stick to your sphere of expertise and concentrate on explaining what you need or want. Let them work out how to get there.