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The Geek Glossary

(for normal people)

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Ever wonder how they came up with all those weird words that inhabit the vocabularies of computer geeks? This is the real, true, official, sanctioned, authoritative source based upon literally minutes of diligent research. Herein you will find the true origins (and thereby the REAL definitions) of computer terms.

As it turns out, most "computer" terms have existed since long before computers were invented (or discovered, if you are some kind of philosophy nut). Many had their origins in the southern U.S. (see "binary", for example). Others are simply mispronunciations, misspellings or variants of everyday words.

You can use this glossary as a study guide and learn to "Speak Geek in a Week". Actually, it takes only a few minutes, but the Jesse Jackson in me had to prevail at some point. You should be warned, however, that most technicians disdain the usage of these words in their true contexts. As a matter of fact, my nerd license was revoked when it was learned that I planned to publish this document.

One more point. Most glossaries are kept in alphabetic order. This one is in sort of random order. (See, there--"SORT". Now there's a word the nerds seem to think they own. Guess I'll have to research it next.) The sequence (another geek word) is pretty much the reverse of the order in which I thought of--er, researched, them. Makes it a little tough to find a particular word, but danged easy to find the stuff that has been added since your last reading. And admit it. You don't really want to speak geek. You're just looking for something to amuse you. And you don't want to have to read through the whole boring mess just to see if the new stuff is any better than the junk you already read. So chill! I did it just for you. Oh, and if you think I tend to write too much prose and you're too lazy to read it, stay tuned for the abbreviated version of this glossary, "Geek Glossary For Normal People Who Are In a Hurry and Don't Have Time to Read a Lot of Prose and Don't Care, Anyhow".

BIT: A southern universal unit of measure. Measures time (I'll be back in a bit), distance (down the road just a bit), volume (put in a little bit of butter) or almost anything else. Sometimes requires a modifier to add precision (he's fixin' to be a bit late).

BYTE: High-brow spelling of a common term (e.g. BYTE ME)

GIGABYTE: This applies the high-brow spelling to an expression often heard in Louisiana and Mississippi, where frog legs are a delicacy. Frogs are harvested using a gig, a barbed device that resembles a small pitch fork. Near mealtime, it is common to hear the expression "Let's go gig a bite." Leave it to the geeks to destroy the meaning. Thanks to Robert Rozier for researching this term.

RAM: Ancient Egyptian god of homosexuality.

ROM: Sounds like another Egyptian god, but it's actually a three-legged, two-headed beast that once inhabited the swamps and bayous of Louisiana.

CD-ROM: What the cajuns would say when a ROM was spotted.

HEXADECIMAL: Favorite pastime of certain women in colonial Salem. (The Decimals were a well-known family of witch hunters).

OCTAL: Sorry, I can't discuss this one without losing my site's PG-13 rating.

BINARY: In the South, used to describe an unsuccessful shopping trip. (We went down to the mall, but din't binary thing).

MONITOR: Misspelling of the word moniter. This one dates back to the days of cave men. There were two warring tribes, the Ters and the Mons. When the dominant Mons would attack, they would yell "Ter, I Mon!" and the Ters would respond "Mon, I Ter!". Sentries were posted to watch for the Mons, and because they uttered this phrase so often, they became known as the "Mon I Ter guys". The word, moniter, then became widely used with the meaning "to watch for". Don't groan at me. I didn't write history, I just report it.

HYPERTEXT: While researching the tribal wars between the Mons and Ters, I found out about this one. Seems there was another tribe, the Teks, known for frantically running in circles and shouting. Yep, they called them "those hyper Teks".

HYPERMEDIA: The linking of different media types within an electronic document. You probably thought this term originated with the Greek Medea clan, but they were actually pretty docile. Score one for the geeks.

MODEM: Another southern unit of measure, indicating an non-specific quantity (Gimme modem grits).

In case you didn't find this the least bit funny, perhaps you should know that while I am running in the morning I mentally write all of this to get my mind off the pain. And it's hard to be funny when you're in anguish.

My research is continuing and I expect to add more to this glossary. If you would like to contribute, you can sendl your entries to me. Standard rules apply--I am the sole judge of worthiness and I will take credit for the good ones.

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