ALPHA v0.3

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Computer Dictionary Version 4

Topic: computer

Computer Dictionary Version 4 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ALT KEY - For calling up extra functions. Conveniently placed where you'd expect to find the SHIFT key, it let's you delete entire documents when all you wanted was a capital L.

BIOS - Legal term for the method used by IBM to settle out of court with it's competitors over copyright problems.

BOOTING - Arcane term for the aching delay as the PC dutifully checks that it's got all it's bits and pieces.

COMMAND_DRIVEN - Term used to describe the way a data management package works. You tell it to do one thing, and it does something else.

COMM PORT - Russian submarine base.

COMMUNICATIONS - Method of combining incompatible software working to incompatible standards to produce difficult to understand results.

COMPATIBLE PRICE CUTS - Example of largesse on the part of manufacturers of PC_compatible microcomputers. Nothing to do with IBM price cuts. See IBM PRICE CUTS.

DAISYWHEEL PRINTER - Slow, letter-quality output device designed to seriously impair the hearing of the people who work near it.

DATA PROCESSING DEPARTMENT - Part of a large company whose job it is to discourage the use of PC's.

EASILY EXPANDABLE - Minimum price configuration is unsuitable for practical use.

EASY TO INSTALL - Difficult to install, but instruction manual has pictures.

EASY TO USE - Not very powerful

ELECTRONIC MAIL - Method of sending messages between PC users, rather than letting them talk to each other.

ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED - Has highly unusual appearance.

EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS - The only branch of a US software company not to employ any knowledgeable product support staff.


EXPANSION SLOTS - Sparse resource quickly used up by clock/calendars, games adaptors and mouse cards.

FIXED DISK DRIVE - Difficult-to-back-up storage device sold by IBM to make it easy for PC users to lose large amounts of valuable data.

FLIGHT SIMULATOR - Microsoft game which mimics a light aircraft, said to be the ultimate test for PC compatibility.

FLEXIBLE - Difficult to use.

FLOPPY DISK - Long-playing record left out in the sun.

FUNCTION KEYS - Outmoded hardware devices passed over by software authors in favor of complex combinations of CONTROL KEYS and mnemonic codes.

GRAPHICS GAME - Describes matchstick men fighting upside-down pound signs.

HANDS-ON-TRAINING - Where groups of would-be users huddle round a single PC for two days, and watch someone else use it.

HIGH LEVEL OF FUNCTIONALITY - Does some of the thing's it's claimed to.


IBM COMPATIBLE - Term used to describe a microcomputer that might run some PC software.

IBM PRICE CUTS - Reduction of prices so that they're only slightly more expensive than rival products. See COMPATIBLE PRICE CUTS.

INTEGRATED SOFTWARE - Package with several functions-spreadsheet, graphics, and word processing-that only comes on four floppy disks.

JUSTIFICATION - Method used in a personalized word processed letter to make it look like a word processed letter.

LETTER QUALITY MATRIX PRINTER - Output device that produces print quality that is unsuitable for real correspondence.

LOCAL AREA NETWORK - Highly complicated system that surrenders local control of personal computing to remote data processing dept.

MOUSE - Hand-held controller that's even more embarrassing for status- conscious executives to use than a keyboard.

MULTIFUNCTION BOARD - Add-in card for a PC, packed with features you don't need.

MATRIX PRINTER - Output device that produces print quality that even its makers say is unsuitable for correspondence.

NEW VERSION - Software release or hardware product that does most, but not all of what the original version was supposed to do.

NEXT VERSION - Not-yet-available release of a software package that's claimed to do all of the things claimed for the original version. Often turns out to be a NEW VERSION (see above). NUM LOCK - One of the mysteries on the PC's keyboard. Until you start typing you don't know whether it's switched on or not.

OPERATING SYSTEM - Difficult to understand piece of software which is supposed to be `transparent' to PC users.

PORTABLE PC - No such thing.

POWERFUL US FINANCIAL PLANNING PACKAGE - Doesn't display or print out pound signs.

RAM - A goat.

RECOMMENDED FOR HARD DISK USE - A program that comes on 12 floppy disks.

SMOOTH SCROLLING - Slightly less juddery movement of text up and down the screen.

SERIAL PORT - Hardware device that goes snap, crackle, then pops.

SHARED PRINTER - Expensive peripheral that's always being used by someone else.

SIMPLE TO INSTALL - Installation procedure likely to invalidate IBM warranty.

TOTAL BUSINESS SOLUTION - Jargon used by computer salesmen to make you believe they understand what you're saying.

USER - A four letter word. Used by manufacturers to describe someone who falls foul of their product.

UTILITIES - 'Extra' pieces of software, more complicated than the problems they're supposed to help you solve.

VAPOURWARE - Idea in a computer entrepreneur's mind and ad agency's copy for a product that doesn't actually exist.

VERSION II - Re-packaged program that does all that was promised for the original product, but not as much as is claimed for in the brochure.

VOICE INPUT - A (pause) way (pause) of (pause) talking (pause) to (pause) computers (stop). Voice training courses are recommended to help PC users project over the thundering of daisywheel printers. See DAISYWHEEL PRINTERS.

WINCHESTER - An old English town.

WINDOWS - Software device designed to confuse lay end users by letting them run five programs simultaneously.

WYSIWYG - (Pronounced `wizzy wig'). Usually describes a word processing package that lets you display fancy typefaces on the screen, but won't work with any of your printers.

APPLICATIONS GENERATOR - Enables you to write any kind of program you want - as long as it's a database. See PROGRAM GENERATOR. BACKUP - Don't worry, it'll never happen to me.

BASIC - Language that's unsuitable without additions.

CONCURRENCY - The facility to handle several tasks at once, without doing any of them properly.

DEBUGGER - The person who sold us our system.

DOS - Do it Our-Selves.

DUMB TERMINAL - Exactly what it says. See 3274 CONTROLLER.

ENTROPY - The universal process of things changing for the worse. See UPGRADE.

FOURTH GENERATION - Technology that would have been appreciated in 1905.

INDUSTRY STANDARD - Term used by suppliers which means "every one is out of step except us".

KEYBOARD - Easy to use input device which fits snugly into the cassette socket at the rear of the PC - and then won't work.

KEYBOARD TEMPLATE - Ill fitting plastic device which prevents the smooth working of the PC's keyboard. Also comes in deluxe cardboard model which falls to pieces after a week.

LCD - Lousy computer display.

MACHINE CODE - A language that's best left to machines.

MENU - A bit like a real menu - full of things you don't understand.

POP-UP MENUS - Little windows full of help messages that instantly cover up whatever it was you wanted help with.

PROGRAM GENERATOR - Package claimed to enable you to write programs without being a programmer as long as all you want to do is write database programs. See APPLICATIONS GENERATOR.

SCHEDULING - Identifying those parts of a project which you hope no-one will notice have been left out.

SHELL - Designed to come between PC users and the complexity of the OS. Usually something you wish you'd left closed.

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - A discipline which ensures that the correct and useful parts of a program are written in such a way that any programmer can understand how they work. See ENTROPY.

STATEMENT OF DIRECTION - We only think we know where we're going, but we're going to try and take you along anyway.

TOTAL BUSINESS SOLUTION - Give up business and move to Barbados.

UCSD.p - An operating system that's more portable than most computers, but isn't used by many people.

UPGRADE - A new version of a program in which all the modules the programmers could understand have been re-written. See SOFTWARE

ENGINEERING. 1.2.3 - Key phrase missed out of the Lotus Symphony manual.

3270_PC - Seven functions at once. As long as only one is a PC function.

3270_EMULATION - Add-in card costing almost as much as a real 3270 terminal.

3274_CONTROLLER - Device for turning expensive, powerful PC's into dumb terminals. See DUMB TERMINALS.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - Man-made method for making a machine even more irrational than man. See EXPERT SYSTEM.

BACKING-UP - Mythical ceremony, often discussed, but rarely encountered. See SECURITY COPY.

BIGGER ICONS - Large pictures on PC's screen which don't infringe Apple's copyright. See ICONS.

COPY_PROTECTED - Stops thieves from stealing it and genuine PC users from running it.

DECISION SUPPORT - Special software package which includes business plan, darts and blindfold.

ESCAPE SEQUENCE - Lash computer securely to desk. Pull out plug. Detach parallel printer cable and tie one end round desk leg. Open window. Throw other end of cable out of window. Climb down cable, and make way to nearest airport.

EXPANSION SLOTS - Specially contrived means of cramping PC users' style by limiting the number of options available for expansion. See EXPANSION UNIT.

EXPANSION UNIT - Enormous, obtrusive box which houses IBM's specially contrived expansion slots.

EXPERT SYSTEM - Program that duplicates your mistakes, only faster.

FAX - Fiction.

FOOTMOUSE - Not a joke, but a genuine American PC product. The input device that responds to your every toe prod.

GATEWAY - Ingenious and expensive upgrade that allows PC users on a local area network to switch from easily corrupting each other's data to easily corrupting the data on a main-frame computer. See LOCAL AREA NETWORK.

HARD DISK - Device enabling naive PC users to lose vast amounts of data quickly and easily.

HIGH RESOLUTION GRAPHICS - Reasonable-quality full color charts and graphs.

HIGH RESOLUTION GRAPHICS (IBM) -Black and white graphs.

HOUSEKEEPING - Just like the real thing, doesn't get done.

ICONS - Small pictures on the PC's screen that infringe Apple's artistic copy-right. See BIGGER ICONS.

LOW-END - Usually found in a sentence like: "We've discovered a new market at the low-end". Means they've been getting pulverized by the people at Software Publishing Corp.

LOCAL AREA NETWORK - Electronic means of allowing multiple users to destroy data files simultaneously.

NATURAL LANGUAGE - Like no other language anyone's ever heard of.

NO SITE LICENSE - Method by which suppliers respond to corporate users who want discounts on software. "NO". See SITE LICENSING.


PAPER FEED - Standard, chewy diet of dot matrix printers.

ALPHA v0.3