Thursday, April 21, 2016

Acronym Soup


Thought I’d take a look in the electronic world and see what kinds of technology-related acronyms are floating around that we use often. Just sort of curious about the ones most of use and when we use them. The first thing I noticed in my cruise around ‘net world is that acronyms are everywhere. And they have multiple meanings depending on context. Sooo…that being said, let’s get rollin’ ASAP.

And there’s our first one—ASAP. Now, most of us know this one as ‘As Soon As Possible’, but that’s not all. It also stands for the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Hmm, so I wonder if their members have ever seen an email that says something like “…and so we need to have a meeting of ASAP ASAP”?

Continuing on, it also means ‘As Slow As Possible’, but that one seems counterproductive when you need something ASAP.

But before I dive into the deep end of the pool, let’s get to first cause and see if we can find out when all this acronym jazz started. According to the web site (or website, depending on where you look) dictionary.com, the word acronym cranked up between 1940 and 1945. A Google search says that it was formed from a couple of Greek words—akron (not the city), meaning end, or tip; and onuma, meaning name. So, end of the name is what it kinda sorta means. But who decided to put those Greek words together and why? Certainly not the dead old Greeks, as ‘acronym’ didn’t come about until the 40’s.

Now, what was happening in the world then? How about World War II? And aren’t there a bunch of military acronyms?

Yep.

Like SNAFU. Situation Normal All F***ed Up. Substitute the letters of your choice where the asterisks are. I cannot. This is a family-friendly site.

Way back when in grade school, I learned about AD (or A.D.) and BC (B.C.), and all us kids heard the definitions as Anno Domini (as in 1945 AD) and Before Christ (as in 1,000,000 BC—when Raquel wore her fur bikini). But that got into all sorts of calendar fun, so we moved to a more globally-standard CE (or C.E.) for Current or Common Era (which is it, folks? Current or Common? Make up your minds.) and BCE (or B.C.E.) for Before Current (or Common) Era.

Confusing things further, in the 1970’s (or 1970s, which is material for another post), we got our first ATM’s, or Automated (or Automatic) Teller Machine. I have seen, and I know you folks have, too, signs advertising ATM Machines. Automated Teller Machine Machines?

Along the way, also, we saw the rise of VCR’s (Videocassette Recorders—why weren’t they abbreviated VR’s?), which played VT’s (Video Tapes, although we really don’t use that term) in the VHS (Video Home System, patented by JVC—Victor Company of Japan, Ltc—I don’t why they didn’t become known as VCJ) format or the BetaMax format(which did not have an abbreviation that I could find, but if it did, would’ve been the unfortunate ‘BM’, though BetaMax was the superior format). And completely confusing matters, they threw DVD’s (Digital Versatile Disc, although it used to mean Digital Video Disc. I would disagree with the ‘Versatile’ designation, anyway, as it’s not as versatile as a video tape) at us. One source mentioned a DVD as a compact disc, which it is, but it’s not referred to as a CD, which we think of as an audio disc.

Well, I’ll take my leave now, as I’m all confused, and I’m sure you folks are, too.



Stay tuned next time as we delve into when to use periods in acronyms and other strange rules.

 TTFN (ta ta for now), as Tigger would say.



Keep writing, friends.

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