Computer Terms

  1. 486:
    The average IQ needed to understand a PC.

    Alpha:
    Software undergoes alpha testing as a first step in getting user feedback. Alpha is Latin for "doesn't work."


    Beta:
    Software undergoes beta testing shortly before it's released. Beta is Latin for "still doesn't work."


    Bit:
    A word used to describe computers, as in "Our daughters computer cost quite a bit."


    Boot:
    What your friends give you because you spend too much time bragging about your computer skill.


    Bug:
    What 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.


    Chips:
    The fattening, non-nutritional food computer users eat to avoid having to leave their keyboards for meals.


    Computer:
    Instrument 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.


    Copy:
    What you have to do during school tests because you spend too much time at your computer and not enough time studying.


    CPU:
    Central 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.


    Cursor:
    What you turn into when you can't get your computer too perform, as in "You %@& computer!"


    Default Directory:
    Black Hole. Default directory is where all the files that you need disappear to.


    Disk:
    What goes out of your back after bending over a computer keyboard for seven hours at a clip.


    Disk Crash:
    A typical computer response to any critical deadline.


    Dump:
    The place all your former hobbies wind up soon after you install your computer.


    Error:
    What you made when you first walked into a computer showroom "just to look."


    Error Message:
    Terse, baffling remark used by programmers to place blame on users for the program's shortcomings.


    Expansion Unit:
    The new room you have to build on to your home to house your computer and all its peripherals.


    File:
    1. 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. 2. 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 that 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).


    Floppy:
    1. The condition of a constant computer user's stomach due to lack of exercise and a steady diet of junk food (see Chips). 2. The state of your wallet after purchasing a computer.


    G3:
    Apple's new Macs that make you say "Gee, three times faster than the computer I bought for the same price a Microsecond ago."


    GUI:
    What your computer becomes after spilling your coffee on it. (pronounced "gooey")


    Hardware:
    1. Tools, such as lawnmowers, rakes and other heavy equipment you haven't laid a finger on since getting your computer. 2. Collective term for any computer-related object that can be kicked or battered when inclined to do so.


    Hard Drive:
    The sales technique employed by computer salesmen, especially after a Syntax Error.


    Help:
    The 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.


    IBM:
    The kind of missile your family members and friends would like to drop on your computer so you'll pay attention to them again.


    Input/Output:
    Information is "inputted" from the keyboard as intelligible and "outputted" to the printer as unrecognizable.


    Keyboard:
    The standard way to generate computer errors.


    Memory:
    Of computer components, the most generous in terms of variety, and the skimpiest in terms of quantity.


    Menu:
    What you'll never see again after buying a computer because you'll be too poor to eat in a restaurant.


    Microsecond:
    The time it takes for your state-of-the-art computer to become obsolete.


    Monitor:
    Often 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.


    Mouse:
    An advanced input device to make computer errors easier to generate.


    Obsolete:
    Any computer you own.


    Portable Computer:
    A device invented to force businessmen to work at home, on vacation, and on business trips.


    Power User:
    Anyone who can format a disk from DOS.


    Printer:
    A joke in poor taste. A printer consists of three main parts: The case, the jammed paper tray, and the blinking red light.


    Programmers:
    Computer 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.


    Programs:
    Those things you used to look at on your television before you hooked your computer up to it.


    Reference Manual:
    Object used to raise the monitor to eye level. Also handy to compensate for that short table leg.


    Return:
    What lots of people do to their computers after only a week and a half.


    Scheduled Release Date:
    A carefully calculated date determined by estimating the actual shipping date and subtracting six months from it.


    State-of-the-art:
    Any computer you can't afford.


    Syntax Error:
    Walking into a computer store and saying "Hi, I want to buy a computer and money is no object."


    System Update:
    A quick method of trashing ALL of your software.


    Terminal:
    A place where you can find buses, trains and really good deals on hot computers.


    User Friendly:
    Of or pertaining to any feature, device, or concept that makes perfect sense to a programmer.


    Users:
    Collective 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.


    Window:
    What you heave the computer out of after you accidentally erase a program that took you three days to set up.
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