August 2004 Reader Challenge

The Problem:

During a visit to a client site I had lunch in the employee cafeteria, where I couldn't help overhearing a conversation that was taking place at another table. Some help desk employees were initiating a new member of their team, and one of the topics under discussion was the use of jargon. In fact, it was a technical jargon lesson. See if you know the jargon I overheard being taught that day.

Question 1:
What does SAS stand for, and what does it refer to?

Question 2:
What's a PAN?

Question 3:
What does PCMCIA stand for?

The Solution:

Answer 1:
SAS stands for secure attention sequence (or security attention sequence), which is the Ctrl+Alt+Del key sequence that's used for logging on to a Windows OS.

Answer 2:
PAN stands for Personal Area Network, which is an interconnection of devices around an individual, usually within a range of a couple of feet. For example, someone traveling with a laptop, PDA, and a small portable printer is running a PAN. Many PANs operate with wireless connections. (A PAN is also an IBM experimental technology that uses the human body as a medium for transmitting data--for example, individuals can exchange data through a handshake.)

Question 3:
PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, which is the industry group that developed the standards for credit card-sized devices for portable computers.

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