At the start of what I laughably call my career, but might more honestly refer to as a sequence of jobs, I had only two objectives. These were to work neither in accounts nor IT – I have been rather successful in the former aim but have at times sailed rather close to working in IT.
As a result of my exposure to the world of IT, I have had reason to ponder its choice of vocabulary. In my experience, working with computers is an essentially sedentary pursuit with little beyond the fingers and hands getting much in the way of a work-out. Perhaps it is in an attempt to compensate for the relative dullness of their drab, wretched lives that people in IT tend to use such exciting words to describe what they do.
Rather than starting a piece of software, I find people tend to treat it like a condemned prisoner and “execute code” or like the face of Helen and a thousand ships they might “launch an app” or most prosaically get a cardiovascular work-out by “running a program”.
People are no calmer when choosing to finish with their software, recalcitrant programmes are “killed” or “terminated” as though the user were some sort of geek assassin.
Even the modern computer keyboard offers the – largely undelivered – promise of “Escape”.
Everyone “surfs” the web – mere browsing can never compete. Even the names of the browsers encourage us to feel like Captain Cook or Dr Livingstone as we use Explorer or Safari.
Looking at a single hardware manufacturer (Dell), even the products have overly exciting names – the Blade, the Streak (I presume a reference to speed rather than nudity) and, my personal favourite, the Inspiron. I guess that the Inspiron must be the gauge boson which carries the Inspiration field (the analogue of the photon for the electromagnetic field). The ancient Greeks had inspiration delivered by the muse in guise of fire, but in today’s scientific world it is good to see this has been placed on a solid theoretical footing. I eagerly await the first evidence of an Inspiron from the LHC at which time it can take its rightful place in the Standard Model.