Here's another outdated engineering word that's on my mind this week: tapeout.
My team is currently rushing to tapeout a chip this week so we can break for the holidays, but in fact, no tape will be involved -- well, maybe the sticky kind :)
It has been a very long time since magnetic tapes were used to physically transfer the mask data to the mask shop, but the IC industry hasn't come up with a better term.
Language evolves and picks up phrases or word constructs over time from the environment it which it is used and such words and phrases may or likely will linger for centuries. There are numerous phrases from the King James Bible (early 1600's) that people don't even realize the source of and may never have read the bible or set foot in a church. Numerous phrases linger in the language from the days of sailing ships, muskets or horsedrawn transportation (3 sheets to the wind, even keel, keep your powder dry, lock stock and barrel, straight as a ramrod, set your sights, chomping at the bit, teamster) that folks who have never operated such historical equipment cannot even comprehend the literal definition of. When we boot up a computer, it pulls itself up by its bootstraps, half the folks in the english speaking world have never seen a boot strap.
That's how language evolves. Word construction is even weirder or more picturesque in Chinese... ask some chinese coworker how they say "thing".
"...dial a phone number on it..." LOL
Dial = a rotary function ie knob, meter, and ancient telephone numerical input device. Mostly obsolete today.
Another good example of old terminology when used to indicate a push-button entry method. Good one, Duane, as well as all your other subtle humour examples.
I've got this nice cell phone and have been trying to figure out how to dial a phone number on it. I need to ping an old friend and tell him that he should shift-gears and tune in to what's coming down the pike. We had been discussing an old computer system that used the STD bus but he told me he didn't want to get on that bus. The old box had a hardware bootstrap circuit to execute code on tape. This was in the pre-POST days so quite often, we'd find that a bug caused if to freeze up. I really didn't mind so much at that point, because then I had a place to put my ice cream.
Acronyms with multiple meanings can also give the wrong impression. Some technical examples here, many more exist. Meanings can be found on Wikipedia.
BOM (always say "Bill Of Materials"in an airport)
As one who has given many presentations, I can readily attest to the basic premise of this article.
It is even more critical when speaking to audiences where their primary language is not yours....and where simultaneous translation is taking place.
Case in point: Years ago I was extolling the virtues of Intel's latest processors to a large audience in Italy. At the end, a question arose as to the application usage of a particular CPU and I responded that to do so for that particular application would be a case of overkill for the CPU in question.
After about a 10 second silence, the translator rendered it as "machina-gunna, dut dut dut" in rapid fire (no pun intended) Italian. Those that knew the phrase in English burst out laughing like crazy.
It was a lesson I have tried to keep in mind.