Ten Ridiculous New Tech Acronyms

Every so often, you have to SYH (shake your head) at the acronyms created by technology companies. Just don't be an -aaS about it.

Is it any surprise that acronyms have taken over our lives? They fit perfectly in our fast-paced, multi-tasking society. Why say something in words if you can say it in letters?

Even more acronyms, or TLAs (three-letter acronyms), were ushered in to the cultural lexicon as instant messaging and text messaging became popular. Hello LOL, OMG, BRB and OTP. If something is surprising and disturbing, that's a WTF. A friend revealing too much detail about personal grooming habits? That's TMI.

The tech sector, with its long and winding names for products and services, has always been a breeding ground for acronyms. Tech acronyms can be inscrutable, unintentionally funny, accidentally crass, or just goofy. In total, they add up to a big steaming bowl of alphabet soup.

Here, in no particular order, are 10 new acronyms that make you say hmmm.

1. GAPE

Actually stands for: Google Apps Premier Edition, Google's Web-based productivity apps and e-mail suite for businesses.

Sounds like: At first glance, Grape or Ape. And Gape makes you think of a disaster you can't help but look at. Or a gaping hole ... in a plot, an argument or a product's performance. Gap would have been better, but that was taken.

2. SAP

Actually stands for: System Analyse und Programmentwicklung or, in English, System Analysis & Programming. Based in Germany, SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. SAP's name is not new, but it's so perennially mangled that it deserves special mention.

Sounds like: A sticky substance from plants or trees. A person who is a fool or a dupe. Or, used as a verb, to deplete of energy. Yes, SAP has been known to deplete the energy of IT staffers.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software -- including enterprise and cloud adoption trends and reviews of SharePoint 2010 -- see CIO.com's SharePoint Bible. ]

3. BPOS

Actually stands for: Business Productivity Online Suite, Microsoft's cloud service that includes online versions of Exchange, SharePoint, Live Meeting and Office Communicator.

Sounds like: An abbreviation for a postal service? Or perhaps someone's blood type?

4. SCCM

Actually stands for: System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft's software for managing large groups of Windows-based computers.

Sounds like: Another awkward acronym from Microsoft that flows like mud. Or a hockey equipment brand. Or the word Scum.

5. VDI

Actually stands for: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, a virtualization technology that lets a computer desktop environment run separately from a physical machine.

Sounds like: Something you learned about in junior high school health class. Can't we just say desktop virtualization instead? DV beats VD any day.

6. MDOP

Actually stands for: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, a desktop software suite from Microsoft that helps enterprises manage IT environments.

Sounds like: Something crooned in a '50s doo-wop song. Or the 1997 hit "Mmmbop" by Hanson.

7. IaaS

Actually stands for: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, referring to a Web-based service that lets you buy hardware power in the cloud on demand. It's one of the many cloud computing acronyms that end in aaS (as a Service) — SaaS, PaaS....

Sounds like: Ass.

8. CaaS

Actually stands for: Computing-as-a-service, a cloud term made up by Verizon, and the newest member of the aaS family.

Sounds like: The way many Bostonians say "cars." Also sounds like Gas — but Governance-as-a-Service has already been taken by companies that offer compliance services in the cloud.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts -- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

9. MSSP

Actually stands for: Managed security service provider.

Sounds like: An incorrect abbreviation for Mississippi.

10. VFAT

Actually stands for: Virtual File Allocation Table, a function in Windows that handles long file names that cannot not be handled by the original FAT (file allocation table) programming. A FAT helps Windows keeps track of where the pieces of a file live on a hard disk.

Sounds like: Something you can become if you sit in front of a computer too long. Or what happens when you work for a virtualization company that offers too many free snacks.

Bonus: WYSIWYG

We couldn't leave out the longtime geek favorite. Actually stands for: "What you see is what you get", used to describe a situation where content displayed during editing appears very similar to the final product of a printed document, Web page or slide presentation.

Sounds like: Some sort of German expression. But it is still fun to say. All together now: "Wizzy Wig!"

TTYL.

Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Shane at soneill@cxo.com.

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