You’ve probably forgotten how weird these 10 tech terms sound

Posted by Francis Thach on Jan 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

10 tech termsWorking in the marketing department at Intronis, I feel like I come across a new tech term every day. And some of them are just odd. Do you ever wonder about words like “cookies,” “bits,” and “bytes” and where they got their weird names? I certainly have. So I decided to find out.

Here are some 10 tech terms worth chuckling at:


It’s a delicious little pastry, right? But, in relation to technology it’s a packet of data sent back and forth between a server and a browser in order to track the user. The name cookie derives from the term “magic cookie” from the Unix operating system. They were tokens that were attached to a user or program.

Let’s just say, we know who stole the cookies from the cookie jar. They left a trail of crumbs.


A little thing with a tail coming out of it, the computer mouse was invented by a man named Douglas Engelbart and was patented on November 17, 1970. At the time it was referred to as X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System. Thankfully, Douglas’ invention reminded him of the rodent, so he renamed it. Can you imagine calling the mouse by its original name? Yikes.


We detest these junk messages. One popular theory is that junk email was termed spam after, well, Spam. You know, the canned meat product made from ham that nobody ever asks for or ever wants. Unless you’re in Hawaii where Spam is actually really popular. Who knew?

Another popular theory is the name really comes from this skit by Monty Python. Which theory do you like better?



Bit, nibble, and byte

We all know bits and bytes, but what about nibble? I just learned that nibble is related to bit and byte. Bit is short for binary digit and is the smallest unit of data within a computer. The value of a bit can only be 0 or 1. Eight bits is a byte, and half a byte is a nibble. Nibble is less common because many microprocessors use 8 bits or higher, so there aren’t many devices that use nibbles.


Do you know the 411 on 404? I sure didn’t. I always wondered why the numbers 404 were used for errors on websites. Working on lead generation projects, I’ve reached that code many times. It’s the HTTP response code for “File Not Found.” This isn’t that funny on its own, but these funny 404 error pages are hilarious.


Malware is short for “malicious software.” It also just sounds plain evil. However, the first form of malware wasn’t as evil. Called the Creeper Virus, it was created back in 1971 as an experiment, and dared users to capture it. It sounds like trouble, but it didn’t cause any damage. Then, Reaper was created in order to capture the Creeper Virus and became one of the first anti-virus programs. Modern malware can be much more damaging and hard to recover from.

GUI (pronounced gooey)

Don’t worry you won’t need to wash your hands for this. This is the term for the Graphical User Interface that you see on a computer. Before the Graphical User Interface that we’re all used to, computers used to require commands that were typed in to do a function. (Remember those old DOS commands?) But did you know there is no one inventor of the GUI? It’s been continually improved by different innovators who added to their predecessors’ work.


GIF stands for Graphical Interchange Format and was created because its compressed format that was ideal for the slow internet back in 1987. This term always stirs a debate about proper pronunciation, though. Here at Intronis we’ve a few arguments about how to pronounce GIF. Do you pronounce GIF with a J-sound (like the peanut butter) or a G-sound? Well, if you do pronounce it with G-sound, I’m sorry to break it to you, but that’s incorrect. According to the inventor himself, Steve Wilhite, it’s pronounced with a J-sound.

What are some terms you think are funny? Leave a comment and let us know!  Intronis blog

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