The 10 Most Confusing Terms in Tech Are Mostly Unneeded Anyway

Illustration for article titled The 10 Most Confusing Terms in Tech Are Mostly Unneeded Anyway

A UK for-profit firm called The Gadget Helpline surveyed 5,000 people to ferret out the industry's most confusing tech jargon. Luckily, they found most of the top 10 confusing terms are antiquated or proprietary:

• Dongle
• Cookie
Phone jack
• (Nokia) Navi Key
Time shifting
Digital TV
• Ethernet
• (Nokia/Others) PC Suite
• Desktop


It's an odd list. Even though the UK loves its Nokias, the inclusion of two proprietary Nokia terms seems innately disproportionate. "Time shifting" was an awkward term to begin with that's specific but antiquated now that "DVR" has taken over. And as for "phone jack" and "desktop," yes, it's disconcerting that laymen don't understand this "jargon," but I can't remember the last time that I used either of these technologies.

So that pretty much leaves "cookie," "dongle," "ethernet," "digital TV" and "WAP" as the terms people need to learn. Please call your grandmothers and inform them as to the proper definitions immediately. [BBC and image]

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I recently had this exchange with my wife regarding our cable tv service...

She: Show me what free movies are on TV.

Me: Do you mean you want to see what is playing now through the Guide Listing or check out the free stuff on On-Demand?

She: I just want to see the free stuff.

Me: Well, both contain free stuff.

Then I try to explain the difference between using the Guide for live tv and choosing a show on On Demand. Wife is annoyed that I'm making everything so complicated and using the unfamiliar On Demand jargon. She really just wanted to see what was free on On Demand.

I guess I could have annoyed her less if I didn't use 20 questions to try to find out exactly what she wanted and just grabbed the remote and try to guess what she wants with a little show and tell. It's like preferring a natural language fuzzy search like google versus a regular expression that requires anal-perfect syntax. Like when I go to the barber, I like to give a general goal ("Just a trim") and expect the 'professional' to know what to do and not require that I approve each hair to be cut.