Computer Terms
ALPHASoftware undergoes alpha testing as a first step in getting user feedback. Alpha is Latin for "doesn't work".
APPLEA fruit never seen again after you've had a computer for a while. (SEE "CHIPS", "FLOPPY", "ETHERNET", or "KERNEL")
AUTOMATIONA process by which computer users never leave their computer and get everything they want.
BETASoftware undergoes beta testing shortly before it's released. Beta is Latin for "still doesn't work".
BITA word used to describe computers, as in "Our daughters computer cost quite a bit."
BOOTWhat your friends give you because you spend too much time bragging about your computer skill.
BUGWhat your eyes do after you stare at the tiny green computer screen for more than 15 minutes. Also: What computer magazine companies do to you after they get you on their mailing list.
BUSA vehicle that you will never see again after you buy a computer.
CSomething your eyes won't be able to do much more of after you buy a computer.
CDROM DRIVEA cup holder that is attached to your computer.
CHIPSThe fattening, non-nutritional food computer users eat to avoid having to leave their keyboards for meals.
COMPUTERInstrument of torture. The first computer was invented by Roger "Duffy" Billingsly, a British scientist. In a plot to overthrow Hitler, Duffy disguised himself as a German ally and offered his invention as a gift to the dictator. The plot worked. On April 8, 1945, Hitler became so enraged at the "Incompatible File Format" error message that he shot himself. The war ended soon after Hitler's death, and Duffy began working for IBM.
COPYWhat you have to do during school tests because you spend too much time at your computer and not enough time studying.
CPUCentral Propulsion Unit. The CPU is the "computer's" engine. It consists of a hard drive, an interface card, and a tiny spinning wheel that's powered by a running rodent --- a gerbil if the machine is a 286 model, a ferret if it's a 386, and a ferret on speed if it's a 486.
CURSORWhat you turn into when you can't get your computer too perform, as in "You %@& computer!"
DEFAULT DIRECTORYBlack Hole. Default directory is where all the files that you need disappear to.
DILBERTSomeone every computer science student wishes they could be.
DISKWhat goes out of your back after bending over a computer keyboard for seven hours at a clip.
DISK OPERATION SYSTEMSame as OPERATING SYSTEM except instead of sequential operations, the operations are done in patterns, over and over again.
DUMPThe place all your former hobbies wind up soon after you install your computer.
ELECTRICITYSomething you won't have after you don't check your mail because you are on your computer all the time.
ERRORWhat you made when you first walked into a computer showroom "just to look."
ETHERNETA network of drunks. (SEE "CHIPS", "FLOPPY", "APPLE", or "KERNEL")
EXPANSION UNITThe new room you have to build on to your home to house your computer and all its peripherals.
ERROR MESSAGETerse, baffling remark used by programmers to place blame on users for the program's shortcomings.
EXPANSION UNITThe new room you have to build on to your home to house your computer and all its peripherals.
FILE1. A document that has been saved with an unidentifiable name. It helps to think of a file as something stored in a file cabinet --- except when you try to remove the file, the cabinet gives you an electric shock and tells you the file format is unknown (which can kill you, just ask Hitler). 2. What a secretary can now do to her nails six and a half hours a day, now that the computer does her day's work in 30 minutes.
FLOOPYThe condition of a constant computer user's stomach due to lack of exercise and a steady diet of junk food (see "CHIPS").
HARD DISK DRIVEThe discus throw in the Olympics.
HARDWARE1. Collective term for any computer-related object that can be kicked or battered when inclined to do so. 2. Tools, such as lawnmowers, rakes and other heavy equipment you haven't laid a finger on since getting your computer.
HELPThe feature that assists in generating more questions. When the Help feature is used correctly, users are able to navigate through a series of Help screens and end up where they started from without learning a damn thing.
IBMThe kind of missile your family members and friends would like to drop on your computer so you'll pay attention to them again.
INPUT/OUTPUTInformation is "input" from the keyboard as intelligible data and "output" to the printer as unrecognizable crap.
INTERNETAn alien (US Armed Forces) invention that somehow found it's way into half of the homes in the world.
KERNELThe part of corn that used to make popcorn for computer users to support their eating habits. (SEE "CHIPS", "FLOPPY", "ETHERNET", or "APPLE")
MAC OPERATING SYSTEMOne huge operation by many different types of doctors once a month during the first two years of ownership of a MAC, then one a year every year after that, and daily visits to a psychiatrist throughout it all.
MACSPeople who are mad, irrational, and/or who have just cracked.
MEMORYOf computer components, the most generous in terms of variety, and the skimpiest in terms of quantity.
MENUWhat you'll never see again after buying a computer because you'll be too poor to eat in a restaurant.
MICROSOFTWhat happens to your brain after getting a computer.
MONITOROften thought to be a word associated with computers, this word actually refers to those obnoxious kids who always want to see your hall pass at school.
MOUSEOne of many rodents running around your house after you have been on the computer for a couple of months.
NETWORKSA group project gone awry.
NOTEBOOKSomething filled with paper that you used to use for notes before you got a comptuer.
OPERATING SYSTEMA list of sequential operations doctors must perform on computer users at specific amounts of time after the user has bought their first computer.
PCMIAA lot of letters together that make no sense to the average user.
PRINTERA joke in poor taste. A printer consists of three main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray, and the blinking red light.
PROGRAMMERSComputer avengers. Once members of that group of high school nerds who wore tape on their glasses, played Dungeons and Dragons, and memorized "Star Trek" episodes; now millionaires who create "user friendly" software to get revenge on whoever gave them noogies.
PROGRAMSThose things you used to look at on your television before you hooked your computer up to it.
RAMAn animal that a farmer sends you after you have helped him with his computer.
REFERENCE MANUALObject used to raise the monitor to eye level. Also handy to compensate for that short table leg.
RETURNWhat lots of people do to their computers after only a week and a half.
SCHEDULED RELEASE DATEA carefully calculated date determined by estimating the actual shipping date and subtracting six months from it.
SCREENSomething you do to the calls you get from other people after you buy a computer.
SLEDGEHAMMERSpecial type of hardware specially designed for users who would like to demenstrate their frustrations to their computer.
SOUND BLASTERThe stereo that you hooked up to your computer so you could have better sound in your games.
TERMINALA place where you can find buses, trains and really good deals on hot computers.
TOKEN RINGA ring made entirely of New York Transit Authority Tokens. Minimum value of ring: $5.00 (3 tokens).
USER FRIENDLYOf or pertaining to any feature, device, or concept that makes perfect sense to a programmer.
USERSCollective term for those who stare blankly at a monitor. Users are divided into three types: novice, intermediate, and expert. Novice users are those who are afraid that simply pressing a key might break their computer. Intermediate users are those who don't know how to fix their computer after they've just pressed a key that broke it. And expert users are those who break other people's computers.
VIRUSSomething you use as an excuse to stay home from school and use the computer.
WINDOWWhat you heave the computer out of after you accidentally erase a program that took you three days to set up.