Exacerbating the Problem by Reporting IT

digg linked to an article titled “Office blunders caused by computer jargon,” which reports that “more than one in two (54%) office workers under 30 have made a blunder because of confusion over the meaning of IT jargon.”

Office administration worker Chloe Oldfield, 27, from Llandudno, admits her grasp of IT is very limited, but doesn’t feel she ought to know more.

‘I’ve never heard of a firewall. What is it? They might as well be speaking Arabic to me because I haven’t got a clue. Normally when the technical support people come to fix my computer I just disappear and make a cup of tea.

‘But I don’t feel I should know more – that is their job. If we did it all ourselves they would be out of a job.’

But here’s the clincher: the article ends with an explanation of “The it terms most likely to leave you baffled”:

Megabytes – the amount of disc space on your computer and the amount of memory
Gigabytes – also refers to disc space, but measures it in larger quantities
Jpeg – this is a compressed picture file
PDF – portable document format, which means the file is in a format that can be read on any PC
Excell – this helps to run programs on your PC.
Java Script – a computer programming language.
Cookies – this enables some web pages to ‘remember’ your previous visits – for example, an E-Commerce site might use a cookie to remember which items you’ve placed in your online shopping cart.
Trojan horse – this is a virus disguised as an innocent programme.
Worm – this is a virus that replicates itself until it fills all of the storage space on a drive or network.

One could quibble with the “PDF” and “Worm” explanations, and “JavaScript” doesn’t have a space. But what is “Excell”? I spent five minutes on different search engines trying to find out what they were talking about. I should have just read the comments at digg. As someone noted there, it helps to know what a term means before you try to define it.

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