“Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession.” -Kingman Brewster, Jr.

After growing up using primarily Apple devices, I recently purchased a little Asus laptop from BestBuy and begun my adventure with Windows 8. I’m familiar with Windows through school and work, but 8.1’s obnoxious apps screen has started to wear on me. So the other day I decided to try out Linux, because knowing how to actually work your computer is for little babies. Just last week I successfully installed Ubuntu on a flash drive, which was about as much of a headache as I had expected. But now at least I can try it out.

There’s still a lot about Linux that I don’t understand. I’m perfectly aware that Linux OS is a work in progress, and which largely appeals to a tech-savvy crowd who prefer a hands-on approach to their personal computers. I also know I’m clever enough to figure it out. Yet somehow I feel I am encountering some unnecessary hang-ups.

This is when I realized it was all the damned jargon.

Jargon is natural, I know. Trust me, I’ve been working in the medical field, and there’s a heck of a lot of jargon to learn. I was even farther behind because I don’t really have a medical background. I still get plenty lost when clinical staff is talking shop, and it’s my freaking job to know what it all means. Jargon is incredibly necessary in a medical setting. No one wants to have to spout off “electroencephalogram” when they could just say “EEG.” And that’s not even considering all the Latin.

Jargon can also be a hindrance, like in my case, as I was on the outside of a fairly specific body of knowledge. In the process of figuring out the different components of the software and following link after link on Ubuntu’s website in an attempt to find an installation guide appropriate for my hardware, I turned to the forums for advice, which is rarely a good idea.

They were using jargon to explain other jargon, and I knew I was in trouble.

In the midst of deciphering the Jargon-ception (We have to go (D:)eeper!) I am pretty sure I found a line that read “connect the BFG to the hyper drive and reverse the polarity,” though I could just have dreamed that after my eyes crossed and I dropped unconscious. At some point I’m pretty sure I was learning how to input source code manually, and don’t worry, I don’t know what that really means either.

Regardless, I eventually figured it out, and now I have a shiny new Ubuntu OS sitting on my flash drive. In case you’re still lost, this is an exciting thing to have. The operating system itself is very intuitive, though I still need to find the appropriate applications to flesh-out my computing capabilities.

So even though I may jokes about it, I guess I am just showing off my own ignorance. Still, I can’t help but feel that though jargon is very useful for quickly expressing a specific body of knowledge, creating impermeable walls of abbreviations and techno-babble only really serves to create exclusivity amongst computer geeks.

Also I say “geeks” the only way it should be said: Lovingly and with great respect. And a little bit of fear.


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