Questions related to the use of technical language.

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50
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9answers
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Is the term 'String' too jargony to use in a user interface?

Having worked as a software developer for a long time, I'm out of touch sometimes with whether a word would be considered jargon. I am adding something to a user interface where a name is given, and ...
41
votes
7answers
4k views

Is there a difference between “disc” and “disk” for naming digital storage media?

I thought that a disc was a disc, and it is sometimes spelled disk. I now have got an indication that those two are not the same thing. In this answer on Graphic DesignBeta, I wrote floppy disc in ...
35
votes
4answers
3k views

How to pronounce “720p” and “1080p”

How do you pronounce 720p and 1080p? Because I don't live in a country that uses English, I haven't heard it yet. I guess it doesn't have a rule. seven hundred twenty p seven twenty p seventy two ...
27
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the antonym of 'virtual machine'?

What is the antonym of 'virtual machine'? A virtual machine (VM) is a piece of software pretending to be a piece of hardware. There can be virtual servers, virtual desktops... I googled around a ...
26
votes
18answers
5k views

Term describing the practice of anticipating dangers while driving

When one is driving a car (or any other vehicle for that matter) there is a German term that describes the practice trying to predict situations that might occur. When attempting to translate it I can ...
26
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5answers
3k views

Why are knobs called “pots” by some sound designers?

I was recently introduced to the term "pots" to mean "dials" or "knobs" in the field of sound design and audio engineering. (It rather took me by surprise; I had no idea what the sound designer was ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

Etymology of a “pegged CPU”

There's a slightly obscure, slang meaning in tech circles of the word "pegged" as it relates to a computer's CPU. When it is fully utilised for a duration (at least several seconds), you can say that ...
19
votes
1answer
538 views

Does this device to restrict access to roads have a generic name?

I'm sure we've all seen these devices which can "lock" and "unlock" vehicle entry and exit to an alley / road /etc. They consist of one or several hefty steel or concrete "pillars" less than a metre ...
16
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4answers
12k views

Why is the term “depressed” often used to describe a button which is pressed?

In several books that mention GUI, keyboard, or mouse buttons (e.g. the book Programming Windows by Charles Petzold), the authors refer to the state of a pressed button as depressed. Why is this term ...
13
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5answers
10k views

What is antonym of “update”?

The antonym of "upgrade" is "downgrade", quite broadly used. What is the antonym of "update"? Update: Though, I hoped for something like "un-update" because reverting or uninstalling updates are ...
13
votes
2answers
408 views

What is the technical term for the area within a fort?

I would like to know what is the name of the area within a trace italienne fortification, i.e. item 38 in the image here below (which unfortunately was omitted in Wikipedia):
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Why “motherboard” is used to refer to main board of computer

Why is motherboard used to refer to the main board of a computer? What is the relationship with the word mother here?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Logging in or on?

There are a plethora of words for user accounts, like logon, login, signon, and also the action of logging in (or logging on) or signing in. Are there any usage guidelines here?
9
votes
1answer
266 views

Origin of word “pad” in the mixing/recording industry

I ask this assuming there are enough people with experience with electric instruments, mixers, and other recording equipment to make this relevant. On any mixer, one of the first buttons that can be ...
8
votes
3answers
409 views

Morally speaking, 1+1=2

I asked a question over on math.SE and as part of an exchange someone said: Morally the function is csc φ in the limit for the reason you mention. ...a pretty funny thing to say. I asked them ...
8
votes
4answers
193 views

Term for inefficiency inherent in hierarchical allocation

Background Some observations: The internet has just about exhausted the IPv4 address space. When I was ten years old, or so, I had to start dialing the area code for all outbound phone calls, even ...
7
votes
5answers
605 views

What do you call the little plastic dowel-like protrusions that keep two pieces of plastic together?

That is, you have two parts to mate and those thingies are supposed to help. You can find those in appliances, model kits, computer cases (to keep the bezel and the aluminum case proper together) and ...
7
votes
2answers
284 views

Is the computer-related term “character” understood by the general population?

The following kind message is common in programming: Your password must be at least six characters long and include at least one letter and one number Would an average person understand what ...
7
votes
7answers
6k views

Why “line of business” applications?

In software, why do we talk about line-of-business applications (sometimes abbreviated to LOB)? Why not just business applications? So it's useful to distinguish between general software (like email ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

When should I use “see” vs. “refer”?

I have this question on using see and refer in technical documentation especially for cross-references information. I use see when mentioning another section in the same document, for example, for ...
6
votes
8answers
10k views

Is it proper to use the word “bandwidth” as it relates to time allotment?

I'm a web developer and I've often heard other technical and developer types say: Sorry, I don't have the bandwidth to take on your project at this time. I started using the term myself and ...
6
votes
3answers
759 views

Is the proper phrasing “SMS” or “SMS Message”?

I know that "SMS" stands for "Short Messaging Service." But, The term SMS is used as a synonym for all types of short text messaging as well as the user activity itself in many parts of the ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

When referring to a previously sent text, would you say 'I text you about that' or 'I texted you about that'?

I realize texted is not a word, but text doesn't seem appropriate in the above sentence. What would make more sense?
6
votes
5answers
576 views

“Plugable” or “pluggable”

When it comes to programming copy edits, there are lots of words that would otherwise be thrown out or replaced. Hive uses a plugable design. Should that be plugable or pluggable? If the ...
6
votes
5answers
11k views

“Must Not” or “May Not” - which is the most correct

I work in the IT industry and often read software and standards specifications that start with a section with definitions for certain words used in the document. Recently I came across the following ...
6
votes
1answer
948 views

What is the meaning of 'probe' in the Linux command 'modprobe'?

My understanding of modprobe is that it is a command to load kernel modules. Based on this, I'm wondering what the meaning of word probe is in general English?
6
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3answers
3k views

Usage of “w.r.t.” in academic papers

Is it possible to use the abbreviation "w.r.t." in academic papers?
6
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1answer
10k views

“Production” vs. “manufacturing”

What are the connotations of production and manufacturing? In what situation would you prefer one over the other?
5
votes
8answers
3k views

How to choose between British and American English for technical documents

I'm not a native English speaker. I'm Italian and I'm doing my thesis in the Netherlands. I have to write technical documents for non-native English speakers, so I didn't receive any advice for ...
5
votes
2answers
388 views

Can “mode” be used as “mean” and “median” are?

It'd be normal to hear sentences like these: The mean ticket price for the concert was $56.50. The median ticket price for the concert was $61. But what about: The mode ticket price for ...
5
votes
2answers
775 views

Pronunciation of GUI in British English

I've heard a lot of Americans pronounce abbreviations like GUI as goo-ey. Is this the same with British English, or is it more common to spell out the word, like gee-you-eye?
5
votes
3answers
442 views

Word for “letter or letter-like character”?

Is there a word for a "letter or letter-like character" in a writing system? With that I mean a grapheme that is not a number, punctuation, special symbol or space, but a letter (alphabet), ...
5
votes
3answers
491 views

What is an “Open loop”?

In "Getting Things Done", David Allen refers to "Open Loops", meaning things that are incomplete. Q: What past reference to an "Open loop" is he alluding to? Is that phrase "Open Loop" something ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Differences between “methods”, “methodologies” and “paradigms”

I'm writing some internal documentation, which I cannot share, in which I outline several ways to accomplish a task. For example, updating software may be accomplished by: Send a list of what the ...
5
votes
2answers
521 views

Is “re-enqueue” or “reenqueue” a proper word?

This came up while reviewing a technical document: The algorithm could re-enqueue the id associated with the job ... This has generated some discussion as the word does not appear in the ...
5
votes
1answer
446 views

Capitalization of “Assembly Language”

This Wikipedia article does not capitalize "assembly language," for understandable reasons. It uses it as an indefinite article, i.e. "an assembly language." But how should it be written when using ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

How to say: “this number has not been rounded”?

Let's say I count some items and the result is exactly 1000. How do I convey the fact that the actual count was 1000, and that I didn't round the number? It should fit into a sentence like "Overall, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Dissecting an English sentence using a pattern?

I am trying to make a script that can dissect an English sentence. Problem is, I have no idea how to dissect an English when the words are not familiar. I know what the nouns, verbs, etc are, because ...
4
votes
10answers
752 views

What is the difference between “deployment” and “release”?

In work environment, we frequently encounter the words "deployment" and "release" in technical context. I often hear them used interchangeably also. It is mainly related to "Release and Deployment ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a term for a flaw in logic?

I write code for a living and I'm trying to find the right word for a flaw in logic. "Error" seems too vague, I'm looking specifically for a word that describes a flaw in logic. Addendum 1: This ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

Blockchain or block chain? Double-spend or doublespend?

On the Bitcoin StackExchange site we have a discussion about a few words that you probably won't find in a dictionary right now but that are technical terms used in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is “the test is failed” acceptable?

In software interfaces, technical documentation, scientific documentation and legal documents, I see phrases like: The build is failed. The test is failed. If the test is failed,... It ...
4
votes
4answers
678 views

Synonyms for multiplexing and demultiplexing

I have developed a software mechanism which operates on a certain kind of software entities which are called interfaces. If you want technical details about the mechanism you can read this post on ...
4
votes
2answers
88 views

Item queue vs items queue? Files list vs File list? [duplicate]

My question is connected with programming. I'm not sure how to name my class. Should it be ItemQueue or ItemsQueue? We are talking about queue, which stores many items. We can add new ones or remove ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Nominalization of the phrase “the way they are normally represented”

In a past exam on technical writing, we were required to rewrite the italicized part of the following clause using nominalization, that is, turning verb phrases to noun phrases: "[...] this ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Blood - Bloods - pluralisation

Why is it that the plural of 'blood' is 'blood' in normal usage but 'bloods' (e.g. 'I'll be taking some bloods') is acceptable in a medical context? Are there any words with similar pluralisation ...
3
votes
2answers
485 views

Technical terminology for a non-technical audience

In documentation for a non-technical audience, I was asked about usage around the term "regular expression." My colleague was asking if one of "RegEx", "Regex" or "regex" would be preferable, I ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

Isn't Twitter's error message incorrect? [closed]

One of Twitter's error messages reads: Something is technically wrong. Of course I understand what they mean, but am I wrong to interpret this as "strictly speaking, there is something wrong" ...
3
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2answers
261 views

Jig or template to hold a workpiece

Technical English for a foreigner - please correct and rephrase if you can come up with better alternatives. A machine in manufacturing usually is fed material or a workpiece to be processed. ...
3
votes
5answers
669 views

What’s the etymology of the word “unstable”, in the context of software?

Approximately when in the history of computing did unstable come to be commonly used to refer to computer software? Can this time in history be linked to the release of a certain product (no jokes ...