Bewildered by bluetooth? Turned off by high-definition TV? Worried that your phone isn't quite smart enough? Let our 'expert' Deborah Ross guide you through the minefield of modern techno terminology


Technology that uses radio waves to allow devices to exchange information without wires. Enables users to look important in Starbucks on a laptop even though they're only bidding for tat on eBay or doing the Ocado shop. Also enables users to check on the background of anyone who sits next to them on a park bench. The general consensus is that Wi-Fi is good when it works and not so good when it doesn't, in which instance you can't be sure the person sitting next to you on the bench isn't a nutter. Recent studies show that 74 per cent of people approached by nutters in the park did not have Wi-Fi access. Also, 92 per cent of the people in Starbucks who did not look important did not have Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi access is essential if you want to look important and avoid nutters.


A category of mobile phone that provides all the advanced capabilities you will never get around to bothering with. How smart is that?


A global initiative by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba to set a standard for cable-free connectivity between mobile phones, mobile PCs, handheld computers and other peripherals, like small children. Hold Bluetooth device in direction of a small child and say you'll box their ears with it unless they go to bed right now AND NOT IN A MINUTE! Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba are now working on cable-free connectivity to the chap running for the bus so that you can make him trip over at will, and give yourself a laugh. Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba are responsible corporations of the kind that realise we all need a laugh every now and then.


High-Definition Television probably represents the most dramatic leap in television technology since the advent of colour in the 1950s and actually allows you to watch the same old crap, but with a much sharper picture. As one HDTV viewer says: "I recently watched My Family and couldn't believe how sharp this crap was. I invited my neighbours round and they, too, were absolutely amazed. 'That crap is just so sharp,' they all said. 'It may even be the sharpest crap we have ever seen.' I'd recommend HDTV to anyone."

GPS (Global positioning system)

A system of satellites and receiving devices used to compute positions on the Earth. GPS is used in navigation, particularly in-car navigation devices. The woman's voice on such a device does not go as follows, but rightly should:

"Turn left on Acacia Drive ... recalculating ... turn right into Smith Street ... recalculating ... acquiring signal ... recalculating ... make the third exit ... recalculating ... do a U-turn when it is safe to do so ... recalculating ... are you listening to me? ... are you listening to me? ... why do you never listen to me? ... why do all men ignore directions? ... you don't even care ... you couldn't care less about anyone but you ... you have such trouble being open with your feelings ... you'd prefer to get lost than accept that I'm right ... pull over, I am getting out ... if you want me to stay you will have to show me some respect ... say you are sorry or you are not getting directions ... say you are sorry, say you are sorry, say you are sorry ... recalculating, recalculating ... say you are sorry and mean it, say you're sorry and mean it, say you're sorry and mean it ..."

The GPS+PMT package will shortly be available from Halfords.

Quick Start Guide

This is included with most technology products and will quickly – hence the name – refer you to an advanced manual CD-Rom with 789 pages, 42 appendices, teeny-tiny type that can not be zoomed and no index. As one IT expert says: "Forget it. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to Lord of the Rings."

Computer Threat

A computer threat can come in many guises but none is more malicious than the Trojan Horse. If your security software detects a Trojan you will be forwarded the following warning message:



Subject: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

WARNING! If offered a gift of a wooden horse DO NOT DOWNLOAD. It is extremely destructive and will overwrite our entire city. DO NOT OPEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES as horse will contain heavily armed Greek warriors intent on killing our men, raping our women and selling our children into slavery. Refuse gift or take to beach and burn.

Hope you are well. Cassandra sends her regards,




S ubject: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

I hate to break it to you but this is one of the oldest hoaxes there is. Further, Helen loves the horse and thinks it'll go lovely in the town centre which, she says, has been crying out for some kind of monument ever since she first arrived here nine years ago. Greek warriors who'll kill our men, and rape our women and sell our children into slavery! Laocoon, what planet are you on?

See you, big fella,


This story did not work out well for Hector, who ignored the warning:

Disk crash

A typical computer response to any critical deadline. The typical user response is to kick it while exclaiming something very rude.


The bit of the computer you can kick.


The bit of the computer you can't kick, but you can always spit on the box it came in.

The PC Helpline

You: "Hello, I'm having a problem."

Helpline: "Can you describe it for me?"

"I was typing away and all the words went away."

"Are you getting an error message?"


"What can you see in front of you now?"


"Just a blank screen?"


"Can you move the cursor?"

"There is no cursor. Nothing appears when I type."

"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"

"Can't see one."

"OK, go to the back of the monitor and follow the cord to where it's plugged in."

"I'll have to put the phone down while I do that."


"Yes, it's plugged in."

"OK, while you were back there, did you notice two cables, one blue and one green?"


" I need you to get back there again to find those two cables..."

"OK ... found them."

"Are they plugged in?"

"Didn't look."

"Could you go and look?"

"OK ... yes, they're plugged in."

"What processor are you using?"


"Click the start menu, click 'My Computer' ..."

" ... but I haven't got a cursor!"

"When you were behind the computer, did you notice a purple cable?"


"OK, tell me if you see a purple cable ..."

Cut to 10 hours later ...

You: "The black cable looks fine."

Helpline: "OK, in this instance, I suggest you turn the computer off, wait 10 minutes, then turn it on again. Thank you for calling."

Such calls are recorded not for training purposes, but for the call centre in-house competition as to who can keep a punter on the phone for longest – and make them do the most crawling through wires and dust – before saying "turn it off and then on again". This is a well-known fact.

Technology fatigue

This is the experience of having so many new technologies being invented, so quickly, that one is unable to keep up with all the new inventions. It also refers to getting bored of compiling jargon-busting features of this type and, as a result, going a bit mad and silly.


Similar to MP3, but one better?


Just more new bollocks you don't need but will be wooed by a lot of fancy promotion into thinking you do.


This is the sound of a blackbird first thing in the morning. "Voip, voip. Voip, voip."


What?? Don't know. Don't care ...

...This feature on technology jargon has encountered a mental health problem and now needs to close. We're not at all sorry for the inconvenience caused. If you were in the middle of something, the information you were working on might be lost, ha, ha. Please don't tell us about this problem as we couldn't give a stuff ...