The year in tech jargonTech buzzwords are born every minute. If a new trend emerges, so does its corresponding acronym or catchphrase. Ditto for new gadgets. It’s human nature to condense and simplify informal communication. Some of this verbal shrapnel sticks, and some of it doesn’t. A term’s longevity depends on many factors, including how legitimate the trend is (think “Gangnam Style” vs. BYOD), and how catchy the catchphrase is. After all, another exceedingly human trait is the desire to fit in.

Here’s a look at a few notable terms of 2012.


In information technology, Big Data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using available database management tools or standard data processing applications. Think terabytes, petabytes and exabytes. (Source: Wikipedia. Read full entry here.)

If this one frays your nerves, I’m sorry to report that it will probably be around for a while. In a recent segment for NPR’s Fresh Air, noted linguist Geoffrey Nunberg even nominated Big Data for word of the year. His Dec. 20 commentary offers a plain-language look at what it is and why it matters.

The phenomenon is important, he explains, but it’s “no more exact a notion than Big Hair. Nothing magic happens when you get to the 18th or 19th zero.”

The magic, and the phenomenon’s growing importance, he says, is in how the data is generated and processed. Nunberg has crafted commentary about a beast of a subject, one that has the potential to bore or confuse the life out of anyone, and has actually made it engaging and funny. Read the transcript of Nunberg’s commentary here.

For deeper reading about Big Data, see Chris Anderson’s “The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete,” which was published by Wired magazine back in the petabyte age (2008).


Most people are familiar with BYOD. The term has become so mainstream that even USA Today is mentioning it. But what about BYOD’s cousins — HYOD and BYOA?

HYOD stands for “here is your own device,” and refers to the practice of companies choosing to provide workers with mobile tools instead of allowing them to bring in their own. We’re not sure if this one will last, but it may have a chance now that Windows 8 is on the market. (Microsoft touts central management as one of Windows 8’s advantages, and the company is hoping this gives it an edge over Apple mobile devices in the workplace.) Read Network World’s overview here.

BYOA is “bring your own application,” and this one may be a keeper. LogMeIn and Edge Strategies recently released a report which found that almost 70 percent of small and medium businesses have actively used an employee-introduced application. Furthermore, a third of the businesses surveyed said they expect the trend to increase. Read the full article here.

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