The Tech Industry's 10 (Not So) Dirty Words

The technology universe is filled with bewildering acronyms and mystifying terminology that can take years or even decades to fully comprehend. But some high-tech terms and names seem, well...kind of explicit—even though, in reality, there's nothing wrong them and they're perfectly harmless, from a tech point of view.

Now, in journalism circles, the old saying goes that people with "dirty minds" make the best copy editors—those chosen few who are tasked with ensuring that no embarrassing innuendos or accidental double entendres make it into articles. Well, not only was I a copy editor, but I was copy chief for a time. So I'm qualified to pen this post!

credit: jgarber / flickr

Without further ado, here are 10 technology and IT terms that may sound raunchy, explicit or sexually charged, but are actually standard fare in the IT world.

Verticals and Horizontals—The former relates to industry-specific technology software products; the latter means apps that span across all industries. Nothing more, nothing less.

Trojan Horse—So many dirty connotations, it's unclear where to begin. But in the tech world, it's a nasty piece of malware that infects computers and can turn them into zombies or bots, like this latest H1N1 malware campaign.

Zip Drive—A bad Tiger Woods joke, or a cost-efficient way store data and information? (Also see: "Hard Drive" and "Floppy Disk")

Dongle—Sounds especially dubious, but it's just a type of small adapter or other hardware item that plugs into a computer.

FUD—Kinda seems like a swear word: "FUD You!" But it's an acronym in the high-tech industry that stands for Fear Uncertainty and Doubt, usually used in reference to a competing vendor's marketing tactics.

Platform-as-a-Service—Could it be some type of prop on an adult film set? I suppose. But in tech circles, it's a way to deliver a set (or "stack") of computing technologies as services.

XML—Is it a new level of sexual depravity in XXX films, or a markup language for documents that contain structured information? The latter, of course.

Penetration Testing—Um, yeah. It's an infosecurity term, meaning: Probing company networks in search of exploitable security holes that can then be fixed.

Magic Quadrant—While it may sound like some type of "key party" for bored suburban couples, it's Gartner's famous ranking of vendors in vertical industries, though it's not without a little controversy.

VoIP (pronounce it as "voyp")—Is it an STD picked up by sailors overseas or a way to send voice communications over the Internet? Hint: the tech explanation.

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