Moronic PC terms

Terminology that makes me want to crucify a user upside down and pour molten AOL CDs into their nostrils:

Refering to the PC as a hard drive.
Calling the LAN “the internet”.
Calling the PC a CPU; that’s an area on the microprocessor.
“Learning computer” as though it were a damn piano, or “learning THE computer” like it was bloody Calculus; having accomplished that, you can use any OS, any application and any device.

I used to work in an office supply store. I just wanted to strangle some of the people who came in and assaulted me with their maligned computer terminology. A few examples come to mind:

[li] People who told me they were looking for modems when they really wanted a whole computer[/li][li] People who thought floppy disks only referred to the old 5¼" variety and “hard” disks were the 3½" kind because they have a hard plastic shell[/li][li] People who confused printer heads with ink cartridges, and people who confused toner with ink[/li][/ul]

There were many others, but at 7:00 AM this is all I can think of for now.

Check out Computer Stupidities for a bunch. Referring to the monitor as the computer seems to be pretty common.

As long as y’all are here: does “CPU” refer to the box that houses the computer proper, or just the processor? I vote for the latter, but there seems to be some confusion.

The Central Processing Unit is a section of the microprocessor, which is an integrated circuit that plugs into the motherboard.

One that always tickles me is when is ask what version of Windows they are running and usually get 5.5 or 6.0 for an answer, bulletin: IE is NOT Windows, also I have run into the people calling their computer the internet, references to the “modem drive”.

A friend of a friend called with computer trouble she told me she could not connect to the internet, I asked if she had plugged in the phone line to the modem, her response “Oh, wait one second.” Didn’t hear another word… she unplugged the line she was talking on.

Carnivorous, great thread.

I can well imagine how you feel about those “Video Professor” commercials, where the CEO of this training CD-ROM company assures viewers that his products can teach them “how to run the personal computer, once and for all”. One of these spots starts off showing someone playing Windows solitaire, while the voice-over asks, “Is this still all you know how to do on your PC?”

Actually I feel that once you know how to play Windows solitaire you’re well on your way to being able to run any Microsoft program (whether you want to use Microsoft is a completely different issue).

I love these, too! I plan to use 'em.

Actually I once tried to teach a friend about DOS, and it was so futile that, to paraphrase P.G. Wodehouse, between teaching an elephant to play the flute, and teaching this guy how to use a computer, it was the man on whom fate had thrust the latter task who must be considered to have drawn the short straw.

Some of my favorites (to hate)

*Software program - hmmm… I also plan to drive my car automobile home after work today. (This one is even in advertising and news all the frickin’ time… damn its annoying.)
*my computer has 20GB of memory… sorry honey, that is hard drive space, not the same thing.
*my computer says it is out of memory, but I still have 8GB free on the hard drive… same problem as above.
*I am learning how to program… really, what language?.. oh, HTML - HTML is a document description language, not a programming language, though it is possible to embed js or vbs in it.

My pet peeve are people who refer to an Apple Macintosh computer as a MAC (all caps).

I’ve also got peeves about Mac myths from Windows users, but that’s a separate thread.

When I get the rare user who doesn’t know how to use a mouse, I put a shortcut to Solitaire on the desktop for them.
Of course, then they have to use Pegasus. :frowning:

Wow, check out the 1337ness. Great thread Nick Burns.

What about these idiots in the news media who refer to any company tangentially related to computers or the internet as a “technology company”? I heard someone call CNet a “technology company” the other day. Sure, they have a website, and sure, they write articles about technology, but they do not create technology in any way. Somewhere along the line it became correct to use the term “technology company” for, but not for Boeing or General Electric.

So, knowing your ass from your elbow is being elite now, eh? :rolleyes:

Expecting people who don’t live their whole lives around computers to know every term and nuance involved with the profession is being “elite”. It’s like expecting someone to know all the interior parts of their car and what they do before they can drive.

You may have a point, in that it is elitist to expect people to know the difference between a documentat markup language and a programming language. However, if someone doesn’t know the difference between a modem and a computer, that’s bad–that’s like not knowing the difference between the tires and the engine. That’s what my earlier comment was directed at, and I will maintain that people should know things like that. After all, cars have more parts than computers; why should people be expected to know the basics about cars but not a simpler machine?

Y’know, when I opened this thread, I thought it would be a discussion about things like calling messy people “neatness-challenged.” :smiley:

Regarding the OP: I’ve tried ad naseum to explain to my dad (who is otherwise a pretty smart guy) the difference between memory and hard drive space. He still doesn’t get it.

What I’m saying is there seems to be an unhealthy level of indignation directed towards these people. Computers and the Internet are a relatively new medium and with anything there’s always going to be a “technology gap”. Maybe the poor soul who thought modem and computer were synonymous had very limited exposure to computers. Perhaps he just heard the two words in the same sentence and thought they were interchangable. Cars have been around for much longer than computers and are fully integrated into modern life.

And to make matters worse, next year Bill Gates will come out with a Windows version that blends the two even closer, so you won’t have to tell the difference or be able to without some hacking. He already has done this a little, with virtual memory.

Bill’s solution is not to educate people, but change the computer.

My biggest problems come from friends who try to troubleshoot their own computer problems (using Chief Crunch’s analogy, this is like laymen trying to tell a mechanic what’s wrong with their car when they bring it into the shop). I had one friend who was absolutely convinced that he needed more RAM. Every time he’d get a glitch, his first reaction was “I need to go buy more RAM.” It turned out that he needed to update his video card drivers, deactivate the onboard sound, or (this was my favorite) get a PCI cooling fan (his video card kept overheating when he was playing games).

Sure, he could stand to use a bit more RAM (he’s only got 256), but for some reason he was convinced that more RAM was the magical solution to all of society’s ills.

Other amusements…

-People who don’t know the difference between a network card and a modem, even after repeated explanations.

-The difference between a CD-ROM drive and a DVD-ROM drive… “They look exactly the same! What’s the problem?” On the same vein are people who don’t know the difference between CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, etc.


My preferred analogy has been one of an office. The hard drive is like the filing cabinets, filled with all sorts of information sitting around waiting to be used… the RAM is like the desk, where the larger the desk is, the more information can be placed on it to be worked on… and the processor is like the guy sitting behind the desk, and the faster the proc is, the better and quicker the guy works on the information.

Try that tactic… it may open your dad’s eyes a little.

Believe it or not, SPOOFE, I’ve used that exact analogy. It seems to work…for about ten minutes. Then he gets it all mixed up again.