12 Words You Can Never Say in the Office

If you’re old enough to understand the reference in this headline—George Carlin, anyone?—then you’re old enough to need a refresher course when it comes to talking about technology. Welcome to the world of cloud computing, the smartphones and the virtual desktop

By Carolyn Duffy Marsan
Mon, August 24, 2009

Network World — If you’re old enough to understand the reference in this headline—George Carlin, anyone?—then you’re old enough to need a refresher course when it comes to talking about technology.

We’ve put together a list of outdated tech terms, phrases that you shouldn’t be using at work anymore because they will make you seem old. This is especially true if you’re looking for a new job. For example, on an interview, you should be talking about "cloud computing," not "ASPs" even though they are basically the same thing.

Obsolete technology: 40 big losers 

This list is useful for 20-somethings, too. Now when the geezer in the office uses one of these terms, you’ll know what he’s talking about.

1. Intranet

Popular in the mid-90s, the term "intranet" referred to a private network running the Internet Protocol and other Internet standards such as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It was also used to describe an internal Web site that was hosted behind a firewall and was accessible only to employees. Today, every private network runs IP. So you can just use the term virtual private network or VPN to describe a private IP-based network.

2. Extranet

An "extranet" referred to private network connections based on Internet standards such as IP and HTTP that extended outside an organization, such as between business partners. Extranets often replaced point-to-point electronic data interchange (EDI) connections that used standards such as X12. Today, companies provide suppliers, resellers and other members of their supply chain with access to their VPNs.

3. Web Surfing

When is the last time you heard someone talk about surfing the Web? You know the term is out of date when your kids don’t know what it means. To teens and tweens, the Internet and the World Wide Web are one and the same thing. So it’s better to use the term "browsing" the Web if you want to be understood. Or you can just say "Google" since everyone uses that term as a verb.

4. Push Technology

The debate over the merits of "push" versus "pull" technology came to a head in 1996 with the release of the PointCast Network, a Web service that sent a steady stream of news to subscribers. However, PointCast and other push technology services required too much network bandwidth. Eventually, push technology evolved into RSS feeds, which remain the preferred method for publishing information to subscribers of the Internet. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

5. Application Service Provider (ASP)

During this decade, the term "Application Service Provider" evolved into "Software-as-a-Service." Both terms refer to a vendor hosting a software application and providing access to it over the Web. Customers buy the software on a subscription basis, rather than having to own and operate it themselves. ASP was a hot term prior to the dot-com bust. Then it was replaced by "SaaS." Now it’s cool to talk about "cloud computing." 

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