Jargon from the IT Department
These tech-centric jokes,
song parodies, anecdotes and assorted humor have been collected from friends and
websites across the Internet. This humor is light-hearted and sometimes slightly
offensive to the easily-offended, so you are forewarned. It is all workplace-safe.
Here is a list floating around on the
Internet that will help you to interpret the common parlance of your Help Desk professionals. They might not
exactly be saying very flattering things to you when responding to your desperate calls for help. Of course,
chances are you were not saying very flattering thing about them prior to calling.
- 1K Buffer: A particularly low capacity for learning and remembering new things, as in "He's
got a 1K buffer when it comes to anything technical."
- Caching Error: An all-purpose explanation for a tech-support problem with no obvious cause.
- Cluster Funk: When a multitude of things go wrong on a computer system, at the same time,
because of one action by a user.
- Completion Date: To a developer, the date something is ready to test--not, as you might
have thought, ready to launch.
- Empire Builder: An insecure IT administrator or engineer who tries to make himself
indispensable by keeping code, passwords, or other knowledge of a system to himself.
Geek: Someone with an intense curiosity about a specific subject. Not limited to tech--there
are also gaming geeks, music geeks, etc.
- Hardware Problem: A problem your programmers want nothing to do with.
- HKI Error: Human-keyboard-interface error.
- ID10T (pronounced Eye-dee-ten-tee): The user is an idiot. Used in tech support when passing
along said idiot to some other sucker to deal with: "I've got an I-D-ten-T coming your way."
- I/O Error: Ignorant-operator error. Derived from the term "input/output error."
- Incantation: Any particularly arbitrary or obscure command that one must mutter at a system
or user to attain a desired result.
- Known Issue: As in, "That's a known issue." In other words, you're the 4,000th person who's
called about this problem in the past week--and no, we haven't fixed it.
- Nerd: Some technologists self-identify as nerds; others find the term insulting. When in
doubt, use geek instead.
- NIH: Not invented here. This is language you might hear from an engineering team that will
not consider working with anyone's code except its own. It's an attitude that will cost your company time and
- PEBCAK: Problem exists between chair and keyboard.
- PICNIC: Problem in chair, not in computer.
- RTFM: Read the f---ing manual!.
Know any others for adding to the list? Send me an