Some high-tech buzzwords might start out with good intentions, but they often overstay their welcome when they
become worn out or stretched out of shape.
Good examples of IT buzzwords that are downright annoying are "user experience" and "architect," said Tony Redmond, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s vice president and chief information officer of its services division.
"[User experience] has become totally overused as a way to describe what programmers want to deliver to humans," Redmond said. "Architect is obviously one [that is commonly misused] because no one can define what an IT architect is or how they are trained, certified or validated."
For Susan Bradley, a Microsoft MVP and certified public accountant at Tamiyasu, Smith, Horn and Braun Accountancy Corp., in Fresno, Calif., a simple adjective is what drives her crazy.
"Rich,' I hate 'rich,'" she said, as in rich interface or rich user experience. "Rich -- yuck," she said. "Rich equals bloat in my book."
Her other bugaboo is "best practices," Bradley said. "Best for whom?" she asked. "Checklists can be the worst thing you do because you shut off your brain and don't think."
And then there's the word compliance. "Compliance is thrown around all the time, without any regard for the definition, said Eric Schultz, chief security architect at Shavlik Technologies LLC, of Roseville, Minn. "There are many ways to define this word, but no common definition is being used by vendors or customers," he said.
John Pescatore, a security analyst at Gartner Inc., a research firm in Stamford, Conn., has a number of words that are irksome.
"Holistic really means imaginary and heuristic means undocumented," Pescatore said. "And there are broader, overused terms such as fill in the blank as a service and the overused industry leading," he said.
For others, high-tech terms and acronyms have become sore spots.
"SOA has to top the list of overused words. It's a useful concept, but now everything is about supporting an SOA. It's the new universal elixir," Jonathan Eunice, a technology adviser at Nashua-N.H. based Illuminata Inc.
Service-oriented architecture, or SOA, refers to services that communicate with each other, such as monitoring a computer network or e-commerce processes.
Eunice said he would also like to see less of "Web 2.0." No explanations have convinced him that the current Web and Web 2.0 are distinctly different, he said. Web 2.0, made famous by tech publisher O'Reilly Media Inc., describes second-generation Internet-based services focused on communication and collaboration, such as MySpace.com or Wikipedia.
Gordon Haff, also an analyst at Illuminata, goes one step further. "Just banish Web 3.0," he said. One "definition" of Web 3.0 is that it's a stronger, more developed Web 2.0.
IT administrator Charles Van Horn, at Enterprise Technology Partners LLC in Orlando, Fla., dislikes the use of "portal" because it means something different to everyone: an intranet, the Internet or shared drives, he said. "In the IT world, the term has come to be synonymous with what's past the doorway or login, no matter what that might be," said Van Horn.
And he hates it when nontechnical folks interchangeably use the word hard drive and computer. "It goes up my spine like fingernails down a chalk board to hear [hard drive] used when they mean a computer," he said.
With the popularity of virtual software and hardware, virtualization tops Haff's hate list. "Aspects of [virtualization)] are certainly important, but half the startups out there claim to be about virtualization," Haff said.
Virtualization is the creation of a virtual, instead of an actual, version of a storage device, an operating system, a server or network services.
Sometimes its repetitive terms that need to be axed, such as a Network Interface Card, or NIC, according to Brad Dinerman, vice president of information technology of MIS Alliance, an IT services provider in Newton, Mass.
Despite the excessive number of buzzwords that already exist, Dinerman has coined his own word: securanoia.
It describes a condition some IT and security administrators develop when they are always concerned about security -- sometimes to the detriment of everything else.
"At present there is no known cure for securonia," Dinerman joked.