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I Hate Jargon (Even When I Use It)

By August 29, 2008

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My experience in computers goes back far enough to know about "sneaker nets", the use of floppy disks being carried from one PC to another, presumably by someone wearing sneakers, to share data. When I heard the term sneakerize, I assumed they were related. They aren't. The verb "to sneakerize" means to offer a bewildering number of choices in a product, like the effect when you walk into an athletic shoe store and see all the choices on the walls.

Had someone told me they were going to sneakerize their software, I would have assumed they were going to make it compact enough to fit on a single CD. The advice I would have given them would have been completely off target if they were actually intending to create a variety of slight modifications of the same product. Either they would have lost money, I would have lost professional credibility, or both.

Jargon usually serves to confuse people more often than to clarify things. Make sure you say what you mean. Make sure the person hearing you understands what you actually are saying, not just what they think you might be saying. You will be better off in the long term.

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