ISO Deprecates Biomorphic Computer Terminology

Not so many days ago, I, in complete innocence and meaning no harm, happened to mention that my hard drive had ‘died’. No sooner were these words out of my mouth, however, when a muscular, uniformed, and very impressively armed man grabbed the collar of my shirt and pushed me against the nearest wall. This man then proceeded to identify himself as agent B1948427 of the International Standards Organization (ISO), and explained that by using biomorphic terminology in connection with a computer part, I was contravening ordinance 5354.234Q, section 191.4, which explicitly proscribes all non-appropriate language and terminology with respect to technology of any kind.

So the first thing to do was to get down from that wall, which I achieved by offering agent B1948427 a doughnut. I then proceeded to question him about the ordinance in question. He informed me (without further violence) that, since death can only be properly said to have occurred to living things, the correct term for a ‘dead’ hard-drive is ‘permanently defuntional’. So I guess what I should’ve said was, “Hey Jim, my hard drive has permanently defunctioned.”

I also learned that, in addition to death, a number of other commonly used terms are not properly applicable to computers. For example, computers cannot really remember anything. Rather, electrical or magnetic patterns are established in different sorts of media. So instead of RAM, which means Random Access Memory, the correct acronym is RAICEPE, Random Access Integrated Circuit in which Electrical Patterns can be Established. Similarly, hard drives cannot be said to become full, since the concept of fullness implies a container with limited capacity, such as a stomach. Rather, the correct phrase is “Hey Jim, my hard drive is completely magnetically patterned.”

And unless your computer is actually divided into two or more separate pieces, it cannot be properly said to be broken. Instead, “functional impairment” is the correct locution.

Finally, agent B1948427 told me that I am also advised not to refer to my computer as booting or rebooting, since these words refer to footwear, not electronic systems. However, I plan on building a new computer for myself and housing it in a smelly old combat boot I found under my bed. Then, whether it’s dead or not, at least I can boot my computer whenever I feel the urge.


“Smashed Monitor,” by Apdency CC0 via Wikimedia Commons. Altered.


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