Which IT buzzwords baffle you most?

Left in the dark by "transparency?" Can't swear to "agnostic?" Which other buzzwords muddy the waters?

BRING OUT YOUR BUZZWORDS. The Global Language Monitor (GLM), which tracks language trends around the world, recently came up with a list of the most confusing high-tech buzzwords of the decade (2000 to 2009). Its top ten: HTTP, Flash, God Particle, Cloud Computing, Plasma, iPod/iPad, Megapixel, Nano, Resonate and Virtualization. The most confusing acronym: SOA (service-oriented architecture).

Clearly, these word mavens don’t spend a lot of time around government, because when it comes to tech buzzwords, they don’t know confusing. Okay, we’ll give them God Particle, because we don’t know what that is either (definition: the Higgs boson — big help there — thought to account for mass but never discovered). And SOA is one of those amorphous high concepts that seems to change every time somebody else takes the podium. It’s so confusing, in fact, that in its post announcing the list, GLM referred to it as “solutions-oriented architecture.”

But iPod? Flash? Plasma? They’ve been around the post so many times they’re some babies’ first words. Most people might not know exactly how they work, but they know what they do. It’s not confusing.

Surely government information technology can do better when it comes to bewildering buzzwords. Consider “transparency.” Government releases datasets, but it decides which ones. Is that really transparent? Or the ever-popular “agnostic,” as in “platform agnostic,” which in use doesn’t mean agnostic at all but, by definition, “catholic.” How’s that for confusing?

We’re looking to come up with a definitive list of confounding government IT buzzwords, and we’d like your help. Submit your choices in the comments section below, or e-mail to [email protected].  We look forward to being flummoxed.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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