I used to be in tech support. It’s a difficult, frustrating, and often thankless job that tests the limits of your patience. But it can also be gratifying when you fix what seems impossible to the user.
Some tech issues have simple fixes you can try on your own. Tap or click here for five easy solutions to everyday tech problems.
Like most professionals, IT folks have their own lingo. Here are 10 insider words that you might hear that describe you:
An IT pro fully understands smartphones, computers, networks, tablets, routers, Wi-Fi, operating systems, firewalls, Bluetooth, accessories, updates, security, and many additional devices and technologies.
If an IT pro says in front of you, “I’d love to help, but it’s an EEOC problem,” they are secretly mocking you. They believe that you’re never, ever, ever going to be able to use whatever device you called them about.
EEOC is short for “Equipment Exceeds Operator Capabilities.”
This verbal shortcode is like EEOC but stands for “Equipment Smarter Than Operator.”
If you hear someone say that about you, try not to be too hurt. Neither EEOC nor ESTO will sting as much as this next codeword.
3. ID10T Error
When you hear an IT pro say, “I’ve seen this problem before. It’s an ID10T error,” it doesn’t sound bad.
Here’s an example of an ID10T error. Say your mouse won’t work, so call IT and ask them for help. In a sec, the culprit is obvious. The Bluetooth is turned off on your computer.
It’s pronounced I-D-10-T. Read those as letters with a 10 in the middle. And yes, it sure looks like the word idiot.
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4. Code 18
How about a clue to what this secret IT code means? The 18 refers to inches.
Let’s use it in a sentence. An IT pro might say to a co-worker, “I’ve reset Jim’s Gmail filters five times, gave him a dozen lessons, and still gets Code 18.”
Code 18 means that the problem is sitting 18-inches away from the screen.
You may think this is a cute way of saying, “I should have taken a picnic basket because fixing that problem was so easy!” Sadly, when an IT person says PICNIC in the context of helping you that’s not their frame of mind.
They’re using an acronym for “Problem In Chair Not In Computer.”
People use the terms gearhead, geek, technocrat, and technophile interchangeably. IT pros do the same with PICNIC and PEBKAC.
Sometimes, the problem exists between the keyboard and chair or PEBKAC. Yep, they’re saying you’ve caused your tech issues.
7. Layer 8 issue
You might not get this one if you don’t understand the OSI model for networking. Computers connected through a network use complex architecture. There are seven layers in the OSI model for networking.
So, the eighth layer has nothing to do with the hardware. It has to do with the human interacting with the computer system. In other words, “Layer 8” refers to you!
8. A short between the headphones
Think about what’s between a pair of headphones. When you slip on a headset, it’s your brain.
You might hear an IT pro say, “She’s normally pretty good at this, but she had a short between the headphones. There was no paper in the printer.”
9. IBM error
This term has nothing to do with the computer company. But when you learn what this acronym means, you might wish that were the case. IBM means “Idiot Behind Machine.”
It’s another acronym referring to human errors. Your machine isn’t at fault. Your issues are caused by yourself, according to the person saying this.
If you ever hear this about yourself, have a plan. Say, “I know what that means, so the ‘I’ doesn’t apply!”
10. Biological Interface Error
There’s nothing biological about a computer. It’s a machine. Once again, we’re talking about a human.
“Yup, I couldn’t fix it. It’s a Biological Interface Error.”
Pro Tip: When you need help with your tech, our expert team is standing by. Ask a question in the Komando Community. We promise not to call you any of these terms.
Did you know Wi-Fi is coming to the moon? Yes, really. In this episode of Kim Komando Today, I’ll teach you how to find an airline seat with the most legroom, save gas money and a few other tech tips you’ll use time and time again. I’ve also got an action plan you can use to protect yourself against Russian cyberattacks.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.