One could write volumes about the thoughtless naming of technical concepts and products that adds nothing but confusion. In fact, not only products, but casual and careless naming of routines and elements in the program source code programmers write causes massive headaches later when others try to modify it. Not to be forgotten is the constant renaming of new versions of the same software product by people who believe new names mean more business.|
Never Use Ordinary Words
The greatest faux pas is perpetrated when common, everyday words are used for specific technologies. For example, a Facebook "Page" is not a regular page on Facebook; it is designed for brands and businesses. The Facebook "Profile" is officially what individuals create, but everyone talks about their Facebook "page." BizPage, or something similar, would have been a meaningful term, because it would differentiate the business page from the personal page.
"Objects" is a most useful word in the English language, because you can use it to describe any "object" whatsoever. When object-oriented programming was the hot buzzword years ago, the word had to be stricken from the English language when writing about computers in order not to imply object technologies.
The same problem occurred with "component" in component software, once again taking a common word and turning it into something specific. Web services is yet another example, which can refer to any generic offering on the Web, or it can refer to specific interfaces between Web server software. Such generic naming has made it extremely difficult for the technical writer who cares about clarity.
Microsoft used the broad term "automation" to refer to functions within applications such as Excel and Word that could be executed. One had to be careful not to use the term in any generic way when writing about the Microsoft environment a while back.
Yet another is the "PC Card." Is a PC card a card that goes into a PC or a card from the PCMCIA Association that goes into a laptop? When it was introduced, PC Card sounded so bland that "PCMCIA card" was often used instead, even with the extra syllables.
A confusion of another order is the term "intranet." Because it is often discussed along with the Internet, one has to strongly emphasize the "tra" in intranet and the "ter" in Internet when speaking. Listening to both terms in a classroom is painful. Fortunately, "intranet" was mostly replaced with plain old "LAN."
Famous Names - Who Needs Them?
Marketing hype is often more important than clever marketing. Overwhelmed by the Web frenzy, Novell took NetWare, a brand then known the world over and renamed it "IntranetWare." Not only did the most familiar name in networking get lost, but IntranetWare was hard to pronounce. Novell later switched back to NetWare. In a similar vein, Borland changed its name to Inprise, burying a name known by everyone. Later on, it resurrected Borland.