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What did you say?


Here is a list of lingo that has been compiled by Richard Longhurst of The Telegraph, now you can feel confident sat in your local wine-bar, gently slipping out the odd, occasional webspeak and feel at ease amongst the 'in-group' (not recommended after the third glass).

When your b2b (business-to-business) or b2c (business-to-consumer) venture goes belly up, you want to get yourself involved in a long-term bit of b2r (beach-to-relax). After a £1,000 fund-raising exercise, you can take yourself to the Maldives to recover from your dotcom nightmare.

Once upon a time (20 years ago, or so), companies were run by managing directors. They had big desks, obedient secretaries and three telephones which they never answered. Now, companies are run by chief executive officers with big desks, obedient secretaries and three computer screens full of emails which they never answer.

Working closely alongside the CEO in many a dotcom start-up is the chief technical officer. This is the guy who was mocked at school for spending all his time playing Rainbow Islands on his Amiga, and now he's feted as a genius with zillions of share options.

Playing third fiddle to the CTO is the chief financial officer, better known as the bean counter. An optional extra for most dotcoms until March of this year, CFOs are now seen as a vital part of the business plan because financial prudence is back in fashion.

As dotcoms expand, they need to start acting more like proper companies, which means having a human resources department. Of course, that sounds far too old-fashioned, so a chief people's officer is appointed instead. Human resources is a ridiculous expression anyway.

Godzilla-inspired nickname for processor giant Intel which is currently gearing up to roll out Pentium 4. That's right, the fastest PC on Earth that you bought yesterday has just been ousted into the slow lane.

Companies which have supplied real goods and services to e-businesses that have subsequently gone into liquidation. The lucky ones might be able to claw back a few pennies.

What e-businesses bite when they run out of cash. Sadly, last year's love-at-first-sight relationship with the venture capitalist has just turned sour.

Charities have long-since cottoned on to the internet as a fund-raising medium, but it's only recently that the phrase "e-giving" has been coined. In fact, there's a whole web site devoted to it ( which enables Net users to give to charity simply by sending e-mail and Web-based greetings cards.

Tesco has been busy proving that selling fruit 'n' veg online does work. Of course, it has to be called "e-grocery" to make it sound more e-exciting.

e-photo service
Another online business that's tipped for the big time. An e-photo service enables you to get prints from the snaps in your digital camera, or turn your old-fashioned photographs into digital images.

Tongue-in-cheek reference to the daring practice of talking to someone face to face. There's only so far you can take a relationship by e-mail - sooner or later you're going to have to meet them. The predominance of e-mail culture means that most e-offices are virtually silent.

Often seen lurking in faint type at the top of faxed documents, the "faxination" is the destination that a fax was sent to. A fax number to the rest of us.

A combination of hardware and software. Firmware is software that is written into the read-only memory of a device such as a modem or digital camera. Usually used to update a device's drivers or operating system when the manufacturer realises it doesn't work properly.

The keyboard you type on, the screen you stare into and the disk drive you swear at when that urgent report you were writing inexplicably disappears 10 minutes before it's supposed to be given to your most important client.

If blockading oil refineries doesn't secure a tax cut for the truckers, they can always turn to their in-cab computers and indulge in a little hacktivism. Oil company websites and the prime minister's home page would be the obvious hacking targets, not to mention Gordon on the Treasury site.

In Webspeak, this is shorthand for "home office", better known as the place where most of us would like to work. There's no office politics, no commuting, no lukewarm coffee from that horrible machine and far more time for a bit of power-napping in the afternoon. And absolutely nobody to talk to.

Abbreviation used in online chat sessions when one participant has to leave the keyboard to answer the call of nature. The last thing they type before the brief period of on-screen inactivity is IGGP, I gotta go . . .

Lad commerce is the fast-developing business of selling toys (and vast quantities of pornography) to Loaded-type readers on the internet. Sites such as Firebox lead the way, forging alliances with magazines like Maxim.

A vital but monumentally tedious branch of the software industry. Middleware programs enable two other, usually independent, applications to communicate with each other. Web server shall speak unto database, as it were.

Bullish statements made by companies to the press in vain attempts to persuade the public that it is full steam ahead with all hands to the pumps. The dwindling share price, mass lay-offs, underwater share options and negative profitability are actually part of the business plan.

LAN party
Not a party you'd like to be invited to. Computer geeks bring their own PCs and all the cables needed to set up a LAN (local area network) so they can spend the weekend playing a marathon game of Quake III. Large quantities of beer and pizza are the only sustenance allowed. Change of clothing not required, just bring the one smelly T-shirt.

Net-reticent retirees
Old folk who are currently reluctant to use the internet but form a vast and potentially lucrative audience for online business. If only they could be persuaded to buy a computer, they too could discover the delights of junk e-mail and credit card fraud.

The name of the first-ever virus to be targeted at handheld computers such as the popular Palm Pilot. Experts believe the virus has yet to make it into the wild, but you can expect to see a lot of handhelds in protective sheaths from now on.

Pink-slip party
An increasingly common occurrence in America, where dotcoms are going down at a rate of knots. Employees who have just been laid off (or "pink-slipped" in the US vernacular) throw a party to commiserate with one another. No doubt a few headhunters are invited to cheer them up.

A classic computer-speak abbreviation hurled in the general direction of anyone who's bleating for help with their soundcard, graphics card, word processor, spreadsheet, TV or toaster. Before any assistance is forthcoming, the plaintiff is encouraged to read the effing manual.

Silicon Albion
You've heard of Silicon Valley and quite probably Silicon Glen. Well, now there's Silicon Albion. The whole of Britain is destined to become a seething hotbed of dotcom entrepreneurship, and all thanks to the enlightened leadership of our Tony (that's if all the dotcom's don't go bust first).

The operating system and programs that provide the interface between your mind, which knows what it wants to get done, and the hardware, which will do its damnedest to ensure you can't do it.

Another opportunity for high-tech companies to invest in the future of commerce. This time, it is through interactive television. Shopping, gambling, games - one day we'll never need to leave our sofas (especially when they have a built-in fridge).

Unsolicited commercial e-mail, known to most internet users as "spam". Any company that cares about its customers (or potential customers) won't indulge in spamming, but there are many unscrupulous businesses selling get-rich-quick schemes and porn sites that simply don't care.

When they can buy e-mail addresses by the million on CD-Rom, why should they care if a few people get annoyed?

Software that's in development and receives miles of enthusiastic press coverage, but never actually turns up neatly shrink-wrapped on the shelves.

Illegally copied software that is available for download from the internet. Everything from games to high-end programs is available from websites and news groups, with crackers taking great delight in breaking the copy protection codes.

An episode of a story or film that is available in instalments through a website. A few years ago, the pundits would have you believe that all stories and films would be made this way. Thankfully, it hasn't happened.

THE gibberish that passes for English in hastily written e-mails and internet chat-room messages. Capital letters and punctuation are optional while smileys, acronyms and random spelling are compulsory. It is considered very "old economy" to use grammatically correct sentences.

The dotcom boom has been and gone, but next year it could resurface in the form of the .eu boom. European bureaucrats have decreed that the .eu domain should be fully operational at the beginning of next year, and could soon be part of many web addresses.


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