8 Scary Computer Words That Mean Nothing Special

Anyone who hasn’t made a career out of the inner workings of computer technology can sometimes get confused and a little annoyed by some of the jargon they use. The thing is, most of the time they don’t need fancy words, they just make some up because they want to. Here are some fancy computer words that have really simple meanings.

1) Dongle: It’s a funny sounding word. The dongle was originally a really short cord that plugs into a USB port and has a card reader on the other end. Now it means anything that plugs into a USB port. A dongle is a flash drive.

2) Bootstrapping: You’ve heard of the phrase “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” or Bootstrap Bill from Pirates of the Caribbean. In computer terms, it means a system that is self-sustaining, but a total self-sustaining computer is a paradox. A human must start the process before a computer can take over. Bootstrapping is really just a computer’s catch 22.

3) Hot-Swappable: This term refers specifically to servers. It means the ability of a server to physically switch out hard drives without being shut down first. Believe it or not, most servers can’t do this, only certain types of blade servers.

4) Java: So most people know that Java is a programming language. The confusion here comes from the name it’s self. Most people assume Java is an acronym. But the people who created it just picked a name out of a random list. Later on they did assign the letters to an acronym, just to please (and possibly annoy) the public: Just Another Vague Acronym.

5) Liveware: If you have a computer person over to look at your system and he or she says something about a liveware problem, you are being made fun of. Most computer problems are either software or hardware issues. Liveware refers to a computer problem that is neither hardware nor software, but rather user error.

6) Nerd: Okay, this one isn’t confusing. It just has a really interesting history. The original spelling of this word was “knurd” and it referred to college kids that never partied and always studied, as opposed to the opposite kids who were called “drunks”. In case you haven’t noticed yet, spell “drunk” backwards.

7) Wiki: We all know this word in context; Wikipedia or Wiki leaks. But what does the word on its own mean? Wiki is based on a Hawaiian term that means really fast and named after the Wiki Wiki shuttle buses at the Honolulu Airport. The name refers to the speed of information available in collaborative software.

8) Chassis: This is a super fancy word with a not so fancy meaning. It is literally just the casing, the framework for the computer innards. The word is thrown around a lot when talking about servers. But really it is just something like the HP blade server enclosure. The skin around the head.