Technology Terms

404 Someone who’s clueless, from the World Wide Web error message, “404 Not Found,” meaning that the requested document could not be located, as in, “Don’t bother asking him... he’s 404, man.”

ADMINISPHERE The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

ALPHA GEEK The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group.

ASSMOSIS The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up the boss.

BLAMESTORMING Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

CHAINSAW CONSULTANT An outside expert brought in the reduce the employee headcount, leaving the boss with clean hands.

CHIPS AND SALSA Hardware and software, as in, “First we gotta figure out if the problem’s in your chips or your salsa.”

CLM Career limiting move, used among microserfs to describe ill-advised activity. Trashing your boss within earshot is a serious CLM.

CUBE FARM An office filled with cubicles.


DILBERTED To be exploited and oppressed by your boss, derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. “I’ve been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week.”

FLIGHT RISK Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave the company or department soon.

G.O.O.D. JOB A “Get-Out-Of-Debt” job that pays a lot of money but which a person will quit when solvent again.

GENERICA Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions, as in, “We were so lost in generica that I forgot what city we were in.”

IDEA HAMSTERS People who always seem to have their idea generators running.

IRRITAINMENT Media spectacles that are annoying but which you can’t stop watching, such as the O.J. trial.

MOUSE POTATO The on-line wired generation’s answer to the couch potato.

OHNO-SECOND That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just made a big mistake.

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

PRAIRIE DOGGING When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on.

SALMON DAY The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream, only to get screwed and die in the end.

SEAGULL PARTNER A partner who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

SITCOMS What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids. Stands for Single Income, Two (or Three) Children, Oppressive Mortgage.

SQUIRT THE BIRD Transmit a signal to a satellite.

STARTER MARRIAGE A short-lived first marriage that ends in divorce with no kids, no property, and no regrets.

STRESS PUPPY A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out.

SWIPED OUT An ATM or credit card that has become useless from too much use.

TOURISTS People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs, as in, “We had three serious students in the class but the rest were tourists.”

TREEWARE Documentation or other printed material.

UMFRIEND A sexual relation of dubious standing or a concealed intimate relationship, as in, “This is my, um, friend.”

VULCAN NERVE PINCH The taxing hand position required for certain hot-key combinations.

XEROX SUBSIDY Swiping free photocopies from one’s workplace.

YUPPIE FOOD STAMPS Twenty-dollar bills, especially from ATM’s. Often used when trying to split the bill after a meal, as in, “We owe eleven bucks each, but all anybody’s got are yuppie food stamps.”