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Cleaning Up Our (Computing) Language

The computer industry is rife with abbreviations--so many that we have an abbreviation ("TLA") to describe a subset of them. Sometimes people will even try to, er, acronymize a perfectly normal noun by typing it in all caps--all y'all calling an Apple computer a "MAC," please stop; it's not an acronym and never has been one.

Not every string of capital letters is bad. Sometimes, as with "USB" and "DSL," there's no accepted real-word equivalent. Too often, though, people latch on to these cryptic, compressed nouns when they don't have to.

Consider the following examples of abbreviations that convey no more info--at least to laypeople--than the words that follow them:

RAM memory
CPU processor
HD hard drive
URL address
ISP Internet provider or Internet service
WLAN WiFi or wireless networking
SSID network name (on a WiFi network)
MFP printer/scanner or printer/scanner/fax machine

Got any other unnecessary abbreviations you'd like to put on the chopping block?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 17, 2007; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  The business we have chosen  
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