Our IT world is full of acronyms…but what do they mean?

It’s like listening to a foreign tongue, and very difficult to work out if you’re not operating within a particular circle. Yes, we’re talking about acronyms.

Every profession uses them, organisations are known by them and local authorities revel in them.

If you’re of a certain age you’ll remember the space race of the 1960s when NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – there’s another one – was renowned for using acronyms for absolutely everything and, while the world watched and listened, mission control and astronauts conversed in this most peculiar way leaving the rest of us to wonder what on earth. . .and outside it . . .they were talking about!

It’s all about time saving and cutting down long, highly convoluted language to simpler terms, which is fine if you’re conversing with someone who happens to know what you’re talking about. But sometimes where there’s a crossover from the familiar to the unfamiliar, common everyday talk easily understood by colleagues comes across as fluent gobbledegook to everyone else.

The world of IT is no exception in the need to simplify complicated language connected with algorithms by using a few letters which everyone in our particular industry understands.

But we are well aware that while we are surrounded by acronyms not everyone knows what they mean.

Let us provide an insight into some of those used in IT:

PICNIC – Problem In Chair Not In Computer. A rather unflattering view of the operator.

PEBKAC (error) – Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair. See above. Terms we would obviously never use at PC Net, no, not ever! Honest!

URL – Uniform Resource Locator. Colloquially termed a web address.

HDMI – High-Definition Multimedia Interface. A way of connecting audio/video equipment. A digital replacement for SCART cables of yesteryear.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management – any system used to work on the link between a business and its customers.

VPN – Virtual Private Network. Extends a work/office network across the internet, and enables users to work remotely or from home.

USB – Universal Serial Bus. A common one – but did you know what it stood for? This has been around since 1996, a universal standard to connect devices to computers.

LAN – Local Area Network. A network of computers in a limited area such as an office or building.

WAN – Wide Area Network. Generally a telecoms network over a large area.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language. The techy language of web pages. A browser reads the HTML code and converts it to a readable webpage on screen.

We hope our guide has been helpful, prevents some future head-scratching moments and proves useful in your dealing with our very friendly IT (information technology) community.

TTFN! (Ta, Ta, For Now!)