Computer code: decoding the jargon

Computer code: decoding the jargon

Computer code: decoding the jargon

IT | John Tate | 30 Nov 2010

With Christmas fast approaching John Tate unwraps a few nuggets of computer-speak coal that you might find hiding in the IT stocking.

Some readers may not be completely familiar with the language used in IT, which is very different from that we use elsewhere in our working lives. So to help the festivities along my present to you is some extracts from the thesaurus of computer-speak that I have picked up over the years. Kicking off with something most of us have heard:



Supplier support line

Entry: I think I have fixed the problem

Definition: I have not fixed the problem. I have KPI’s to hit to close calls and I will get this problem off my back and someone else can pick up the mess

Computer sales person talking to potential client

Entry: Yes we can get our product to do this

Definition: No we cannot get our product to do this. Our solution never has done this, does not do this and will never do this.

CEO talking to IT manager

Entry: You have my full support for the project

Definition: You do not have my full support for the project. I do not understand IT and it is always far too much hassle. You have my commitment that I will do all I can to avoid having anything to do with this

Technical person talking to a finance director to get budget approved

Entry: To explain it in layman’s terms, the 64-bit architecture will allow the TCPIP protocol to co-exist with the virtualised servers and deliver accelerated Ram throughput to the thin client architecture

Definition: I want to spend some money on some IT toys. I know that you are too embarrassed to admit you don’t have a clue what I am talking about so will approve the money if I make up a whole lot of jargon to ‘explain’ the situation

Finance director talking to CEO

Entry: Don’t worry, we will get the project back on track this time

Definition: Do worry, we will not get the project back on track this time. There are fundamental issues with the work and it will never be completed. However, I am looking for another job and need to buy time until I get a new position

IT user to support person

Entry: I haven’t done anything to my computer but it seems not to be working properly

Definition: I have just loaded a computer game onto my machine and think I have installed a virus

CEO to senior management

Entry: We need to get some consultants in to help with this

Definition: We do not need to get some consultants in to help with this. I have a perfectly capable internal team but need to make a difficult decision. I can avoid this for a while by getting some consultants on board

Finance director to CEO

Entry: We should outsource the IT function

Definition: We should not outsource the IT function. I am making a hash of running IT and although outsourcing will cost more money and deliver a less effective service it might make my headache go away

Finance director to board of trustees

Entry: I am quite confident our IT systems are secure

Definition: I have no idea whether our IT systems are secure. The IT manager has showed me what he calls a ‘firewall’ and the green light is flashing which he tells me means our systems are secure. Also the bleep bleep bleep sound it makes is impressive and gives me confidence we have the latest technology

CEO to senior management

Entry: Good news, we are going to buy Blackberries for all our senior staff as a Christmas present to make their working lives easier

Definition: Bad news, I am about to make your lives hell. I want to be able to get hold of you outside work and send you emails at midnight – when I will expect an immediate response

Father Christmas to his elves

Entry: Let’s make a load of Apple devices and give them to CEOs. This will be good fun

Definition: While this may be good fun for the CEOs it will create havoc for the IT department who will be forced to try and get the Apples working in a Microsoft environment

Hopefully the above explains some of the mysteries of computer language – and will help you enjoy the Christmas break. (Definition – this is a nudge for you to switch off your Blackberry over the holiday!)




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John Tate

John Tate is a qualified accountant and entrepreneur. He is a columnist for Charity Finance, a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School's Centre for Charity Effectiveness and Trustee of Eduserv. He also non executive chair of Civil Society Media.

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