Getting to Know your Computer
- Key phrase missed out of the Lotus Symphony manual.
- Seven functions at once. As long as only one is a PC function.
- Add-in card costing almost as much as a real 3270 terminal.
- 3274 CONTROLLER
- Device for turning expensive, powerful PC's into dumb terminals. See DUMB TERMINALS.
- ALT KEY
- For calling up extra functions. Conveniently placed where you'd expect to find the SHIFT
key, it let's you delete entire documents when all you wanted was a capital L.
- APPLICATIONS GENERATOR
- Enables you to write any kind of program you want - as long as it's a database. See PROGRAM GENERATOR.
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
- Man-made method for making a machine even more irrational than man. See EXPERT SYSTEM.
- Don't worry, it'll never happen to me.
- Mythical ceremony, often discussed, but rarely encountered. See SECURITY
- Language that's unsuitable without additions.
- BIGGER ICONS
- Large pictures on PC's screen which don't infringe Apple's copyright. See ICONS.
- Legal term for the method used by IBM to settle out of court with it's competitors over
- Arcane term for the aching delay as the PC dutifully checks that it's got all it's bits
- Term used to describe the way a data management package works. You tell it to do one
thing, and it does something else.
- COMMS PORT
- Russian submarine base.
- Method of combining incompatible software working to incompatible standards to produce
difficult to understand results.
- COMPATIBLE PRICE CUTS
- Example of largesse on the part of manufacturers of PC_compatible microcomputers.
Nothing to do with IBM price cuts. See IBM PRICE CUTS.
- The facility to handle several tasks at one, without doing any of them properly.
- Stops thieves from stealing it and genuine PC users from running it.
- DAISYWHEEL PRINTER
- Slow, letter-quality output device designed to seriously impair the hearing of the
people who work near it.
- DATA PROCESSING DEPARTMENT
- Part of a large company whose job it is to discourage the use of PC's.
- The person who sold us our system.
- DECISION SUPPORT
- Special software package which includes business plan, darts and blindfold.
- Do it Our-Selves.
- DUMB TERMINAL
- Exactly what it says. See 3274 CONTROLLER.
- EASILY EXPANDABLE
- Minimum price configuration is unsuitable for practical use.
- EASY TO INSTALL
- Difficult to install, but instruction manual has pictures.
- EASY TO USE
- Not very powerful
- ELECTRONIC MAIL
- Method of sending messages between PC users, rather than letting them talk to each
- The universal process of things changing for the worse. See UPGRADE.
- ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED
- Has highly unusual appearance.
- ESCAPE SEQUENCE
- Lash computer securely to desk. Pull out plug. Detach parallel printer cable and tie one
end round desk leg. Open window. Throw other end of cable out of window. Climb down cable,
and make way to nearest airport.
- EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS
- The only branch of a US software company not to employ any knowledgeable product support
- EXECUTIVE CURSOR CONTROL
- EXPANSION SLOTS
- 1) Sparse resource quickly used up by clock/calenders, games adaptors and mouse cards.
2) Specially contrived means of cramping PC users' style by limiting the number of options
available for expansion. See EXPANSION UNIT.
- EXPANSION UNIT
- Enormous, obtrusive box which houses IBM's specially contrived expanion slots.
- EXPERT SYSTEM
- Program that duplicates your mistakes, only faster. See ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
- FIXED DISK DRIVE
- Difficult-to-back-up storage device sold by IBM to make it easy for PC users to lose
large amounts of valuable data.
- FLIGHT SIMULATOR
- Microsoft game which mimics a light aircraft, said to be the ultimate test for PC
- Difficult to use.
- FLOPPY DISK
- Long-playing record left out in the sun.
- Not a joke, but a genuine American PC product. The input device that responds to your
every toe prod.
- FOURTH GENERATION
- Technology that would have been appreciated in 1905.
- FUNCTION KEYS
- Outmoded hardware devices passed over by software authors in favour of complex
combinations of CONTROL KEYS and mnemonic codes.
- Ingenious and expensive upgrade that allows PC users on a local area network to switch
from easily corrupting each other's data to easily corrupting the data on a main-frame
computer. See LOCAL AREA NETWORK.
- GRAPHICS GAME
- Describes matchstick men fighting upside-down pound signs.
- Where groups of would-be users huddle round a single PC for two days, and watch someone
else use it.
- HARD DISK
- Device enabling naive PC users to lose vast amounts of data quickly and easily.
- HIGH LEVEL OF FUNCTIONALITY
- Does some of the thing's it's claimed to.
- HIGH RESOLUTION GRAPHICS
- Reasonable-quality full colour charts and graphs.
- HIGH RESOLUTION GRAPHICS(IBM)
- Black and white graphs.
- Just like the real thing, doesn't get done.
- IBM's HIGH RESOLUTION COLOUR GRAPHICS
- On the PC, black & white.
- IBM COMPATIBLE
- Term used to describe a microcomputer that might run some PC software
- IBM PRICE CUTS
- Reduction of prices so that they're only slightly more expensive than rival products.
See COMPATIBLE PRICE CUTS.
- Small pictures on the PC's screen that infringe Apple's artistic copyright. See BIGGER ICONS.
- INDUSTRY S TANDARD
- Term used by suppliers which means "every one is out of step except us."
- INTEGRATED SOFTWARE
- Package with several functions-spreadsheet, graphics, and word processing-that only
comes on four floppy disks.
- Method used in a personalised word processed letter to make it look like a word
- LETTER QUALITY MATRIX PRINTER
- Output device that produces print quality that is unsuitable for real correspondance.
- Lousy computer display.
- LOCAL AREA NETWORK
- 1) Electronic means of allowing multiple users to destroy data files simultaneously. 2)
Highly complicated system that surrenders local control of personal computing to remote
data processing dept.
- Usually found in a sentence like: "We've discovered a new market at the
low-end." Means they've been getting pulverised by the people at Software Publishing
- Easy to use input device which fits snugly into the cassettte socket at the rear of the
PC - and then won't work.
- KEYBOARD TEMPLATE
- Ill fitting plastic devie which prevents the smooth working of the PC's keyboard. Also
comes in delux cardboard model which falls to pieces after a week.
- MACHINE CODE
- A language that's best left to machines.
- A bit like a real menu - full of things you don't understand.
- Hand-held controller that's even more embarassing for status-conscious executives to use
than a keyboard.
- MULTIFUNCTION BOARD
- Add-in card for a PC, packed with features you don't need.
- MATRIX PRINTER
- Output device that produces print quality that even its makers say is unsuitable for
- NATURAL LANGUAGE
- Like no other language anyone's ever heard of.
- NEW VERSION
- Software release or hardware product that does most, but not all of what the original
version was supposed to do.
- NEXT VERSION
- Not-yet-available relese of a softtware package that's claimed to do all of the things
claimed for the original version. Often turns out to be a NEW
VERSION (see above).
- NO SITE LICENSE
- Method by which suppliers respond to corporate users who want discounts on software.
"NO." See SITE LICENSING.
- NON-FIXED FUNCTION WORKSTATION
- Dumb terminal.
- NUM LOCK
- One of the mysteries on the PC's keyboard. Until you start typing you don't know whether
it's switched on or not.
- OPERATING SYSTEM
- Difficult to understand piece of software which is supposed to be `transparent' to PC
- PAPER FEED
- Standard, chewy diet of dot matrix printers.
- POP-UP MENUS
- Little windows full of help messages that instantly cover up whatever it was you wanted
- PORTABLE PC
- No such thing.
- POWERFUL US FINANCIAL PLANNING PACKAGE
- Doesn't display or print out pound signs.
- PROGRAM GENERATOR
- Package claimed to enable you to write programs without being a programmer as long as
all you want to do is write database programs. See APPLICATIONS
- A goat.
- RECOMMENDED FOR HARD DISK USE
- A program that comes on 12 floppy disks.
- Identifying those parts of a project which you hope no-one will notice have been left
- SERIAL PORT
- Hardware device that goes snap, crackle, then pops.
- SHARED PRINTER
- Expensive peripheral that's always being used by someone else.
- Designed to come between PC users and the complexity of the OS. Usually something you
wish you'd left closed.
- SIMPLE TO INSTALL
- Installation procedure likely to invalidate IBM waranty.
- SMOOTH SCROLLING
- Slightly less juddery movement of text up and down the screen.
- SOFTWARE ENGINEERING
- A dicipline which ensures that the correct and useful parts of a program are written in
such a way that any programmer can undestand how they work. See ENTROPY.
- STATEMENT OF DIRECTION
- We only think we know where we're going, but we're going to try and take you along
- TOTAL BUSINESS SOLUTION
- 1) Jargon used by computer salesmen to make you believe they understand what you're
saying. 2) Give up business and move to Barbados.
- An opperating system that's more portable than most computers, but isn't used by many
- A new version of a program in which all the modules the programmers could understand
have been re-written. See SOFTWARE ENGINEERING.
USER A four letter word. Used by manufacturers to describe someone who
falls foul of their product.
UTILITIES 'Extra' pieces of software, more complicated than the
problems they're supposed to help you solve.
VAPOURWARE Idea in a computer entrepreneur's mind and ad agency's copy
for a product that doesn't actually exist.
VERSION II Re-packaged program that does all that was prommised for
the origional product, but not as much as is claimed for in the brochure.
VOICE INPUT A (pause) way (pause) of (pause) talking (pause) to
(pause) computers (stop). Voice training courses are recommended to help PC users project
over the thundering of daisywheel printers. See DAISYWHEEL
WINCHESTER An old English town.
WINDOWS Software device designed to confuse lay end users by letting
them run five programs simultaneously.
WYSIWYG (Pronounced `wizzy wig'). Usually describes a word processing
package that lets you display fancy typefaces on the screen, but won't work with any of