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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

To sound really expert, avoid English

By Burt Lum

At a recent Southern Cross trans-Pacific fiber cable meeting a public relations statement read: "We have committed to the progressive delivery of additional capacity based on 10 Gbit/s DWDM during 2002 culminating in Southern Cross reaching a total of 240 Gbit/s of fully protected capacity by early 2003."

Huh? Tech talk like this separates the "I don't know" from the people in the know. In the discussion of any detailed subject matter, people like to abbreviate commonly used phrases; there's nothing sinister in this, though it can be frustrating.

In the above case, DWDM is short for Dense Wave Division Multiplexing and Gbit/s is gigabits per second. If you want to keep up with the latest telecom acronyms, go to the Telecom Industry Association Web site.

Some of my favorite acronyms, encountered during my years in the telecom industry, include ICB (Individual Case Basis), POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) or ISDN (I Still Don't kNow). More recent additions to this never-ending parade of alphabets include WIFI (Wireless Fidelity), gigE (Gigabit Ethernet) and POS (Packet over SONET).

Not to exclude any locally produced forced collection of letters, try HAWAIIAN: Hawai'i Wide-Area Integrated Information Access Network. After a certain point, it becomes nonsensical.

As we both work neck-deep in Internet jargon, my editor thought I needed help in crafting better geekspeak and sent me to a helper Web site. From the home page, click on "The Web economy B.S. generator" at left.

With several simple mouse clicks you can have the VCs (vulture capitalists) eating out of your hands. How's this for a cool mission statement: "With WIFI we will mesh best-of-breed infrastructures to iterate extensible bandwidth by disintermediating cross-platform interfaces and achieve market dominance while exploiting compelling deliverables." Red Herring, here I come. ;-)

Burt Lum is a click away at burt@brouhaha.net.