back to article They used 'em, you reeled: the year's most overused phrases

Credit crunch and economic meltdown aside, if 2008 is remembered for anything in tech it will be for the domination of the phrase "cloud computing". The "cloud" was seized on by start-ups and tech giants rushing to catch the next wave or remain relevant. The "cloud" didn't own the entire mind-share market in 2008, though. Here …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And this article isn't exactly immune....

    Featured in the first sentence of this fine article is one of the most galling non-tech specific overused phrase: "Credit crunch". And without even the quote marks!!

    What exactly is a 'credit crunch'? Why should I care? Who's doing the crunching? Is 'crunch' the same as 'lack thereof'?

    I understand perfectly well the concept of recession, shortage of interbank lending, credit drying up etc, but this asinine alliteration to break down concepts for the lowest common denominator of consumer really winds me up...

  2. Jodo Kast

    Web 2.0 is the worst

    I'm not surprised it was 'invented' by a publisher.

  3. Rafael

    GREEN is All

    I ,for one, salute out PPT overlords!

    They have to survive Civilisation's¿Meltdown? Deleveraging, what?

  4. Dave


    I always remember diagrams of the X.25 cloud with a few terminal devices hung off the outside. I guess the modern environment has polluted the cloud with all sorts of junk since that nice, pure example.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    let me be the first to say

    That I for one welcome our new cloud computing-application/storage/service/etc/etc/etc as service-web 2.0-wtf pwned-social networking-twittering-meh spewing-long tail chasing-blogosphering overlords. And bid them to carefully tread through the new years buzz words.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Makes me see red.

    Every Tom, Dick, Harry, his dog and uncle are on the Green bandwagon to "save the world". Or whatever.

    Next thing you know, Mr. Gore will be praising the Taliban suicide bombers for killing people and reducing the emissions they would have otherwise caused. Of course, the value of the emissions from the bomb would have to be less than the discounted value of the lifetime emissions of the bombers' victims.

    And the jehadis can go to heaven blissful in the knowledge that apart from getting rid of a few infidels, they have also made the world a safer place for future generations. F***ing hell - they might be able to offset their carbon credits for a few virgins more.

    Mine's the one with GREEN written on it. In RED.


  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    I beg to differ...

    -> "Agile modeling" is a legitimate expansion of the term, to be sure, but how about "agile enterprise management" and "agile project management?"

    I don't know about "agile enterprise management" but I certainly don't know what "Agile modeling" is. Something in which object references are left dangling perhaps? On the other hand, "agile project management" is exactly what "agile" is about and for.

    Crossed neurons, I reckon.

  8. Matt Davies
    Thumb Up

    Web 2.0 and 'Widgetise' are the worst thus far...

    However I eagerly await Web 3.11 for Workgroups

  9. J

    "Green cloud-as-a-service"

    That brought a horrible image to my poor, tired mind... Something like "on demand sprayed vomit", y'know... Need a new coat after that, sorry.

  10. Pete Silver badge

    you forgot "netbook"

    Build a low-spec laptop. Use the absolute minimum specification that will actually boot and run. Specify the smallest resolution, cheapest screen you can find - never mind the downright ludicrous resolution and aspect ratio. Slap in the lowest cost O/S and applications that are available (and forget to mention that unless you are a fully paid-up geek,, these puppies come with absolutely no support, upgrades, fixes or patches).

    Give it a trendy name and flog 'em to people who's buying decisions are predicated solely on price and you've invented a whole new genre.

    The press, of course, are eager to grasp at anything that could possibly help them shift copy. So they climb on board, too. Hyping this thing as if cheapo lappys are a new phenomenon and how this is "the future"

    I suppose netbook is better than a more accurate moniker of "crap-top". Oh how we'll look back on 2007/8/9 and cringe to think that we actually paid money for these doorstops. In the same way that people got caught up in past fads, only to realise that beneath them lay ..... nothing.

  11. IGnatius T Foobar

    Green as in MONEY

    Everyone can say that they're "going green" and try to get some great PR out of it, hey look at us, we're environmentally responsible. But we all know that it's the high cost of energy that's making everyone concerned about energy conservation. Ironically, it's Al Gore and his merry band of anti-energy goons that are making energy cost more. It's easy to make energy cheap again: DRILL DRILL DRILL! And start building nuclear plants again!

  12. tuna
    Paris Hilton

    RE: you forgot "netbook"

    Hallelujah, brother. Do these mindless devourers not realize that they can get a low-end Turion or "Dual Core" over the Atom-crap for <$100 difference in price?

    Forget about the larger screen, larger keyboard, larger HD, more memory, faster CPU... if I were a glutton I'd still opt for a dual celeron over an atom or a samuel or whatever they're powering these craptops with.

    Paris, her head is in the "cloud"s, too.

  13. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Web 3.11 for Workgroups

    "This year saw the first Web 3.0 conference and expo. Can Web 4.0, 5.0, or 3.1 be far behind?"

    Hey why not just reuse Windows numbering? We can have Web 3.1, Web 3.11, then Web for Workgroups 3.11 (this one I'm sure is using "cloud computing" tech within your local business), Web NT 4.0 and Web 2000.

  14. mhj
    Thumb Up

    'netbooks' ARE useful.


    Have you actually used one? Many come with that well know and loved OS that is XP. They are perfectly speedy and incredibly usable for the everyday user. I had one of the first 701 EEE;s. Yes, the screen was too small, but that has been address in later versions. It was far more portable than my 12" IBM ultraportable. I could not afford a conventional subnotebook, which are massively expensive. I am currently looking at one of the new crop as a replacement for the aforementioned IBM, as they are about as powerful, the batteries last longer and are more portable.

    They perform adequately for web/word processing tasks that ordinary people actually do.

  15. Stuart Gepp

    Agile - Not new

    A few years ago, that behemoth that was EDS dreamt up a new use for the word agile in collaboration with Microsoft, SUN and a couple of other big names that slip my memory and created the Agile Alliance.

    As a VMS specialist working for them at the time I was relieved to find VMS had been left out of the alliance.

    Our team of VMS System Managers adopted the following mantra:

    We're not agile - we're stable.

  16. David Wilkinson

    netbooks are great for some users

    I know its a tough concept to swallow but sometimes people make different choices, not be cause they are stupid but because they have different wants, needs and expectations.

    I know people with netbooks, they all love them.

  17. Charles Manning


    Greentards have opened up a whole new market in guilt-appeasement services to make people feel OK about what they're doing.

    Feeling some green guilt about flying half way around the world for a vacation? No need for that! Take a "green taxi" (Prius taxi service) from the airport to your air conditioned hotel and all your green sins are forgiven!

    Having pigged out on feedlot raised Christmas fare and need a new set of threads? Here, buy this organic cotton T shirt! Don't worry about carbon footprint of your excessive consumption.


    What about, "monetize"

    meaning selling something you didn't own in the first place.

    Another one would be "structured investment vehicles", as a synonym for "unstructured wothless charabanc".

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You forgot "Fail"

    The Register's overuse of the word "Fail" has been particularly nauseating this year.

  20. Neoc

    Love my Asus EEE

    I have two "portable": a normal 17" Dell Laptop, and an EEE 900. And you know what? I actively agree with the term Netbook - it describes pretty well the main function of the EEE... getting you on the net to read mail or browse webpage. Oh, and write documents.

    Let's face it, netbooks are not notebooks (I notice that the term "laptop" can no longer be used with these beasties, not unless you want to burn your proverbials) and are not competing in the same "power-user" bracket. You want power, get a notebook.

    Meanwhile, I quite happily use my hand-sized EEE to control all the other servers at home and at work.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Don't diss netbooks

    I'm writing this on my Eee PC 901 rather than my £1000 laptop or expensive desktop. Why ?

    Well I was watching telly with the wife and something came up I wanted to look up on the web. Rather than waiting shed loads of time for my bloated Windows laptop to fire up and be ready to surf or me having to go upstairs and wait for my bloated Windows desktop, I waited the 15-20 seconds for the lean Linux Eee PC to be ready for surfing. Rather than having to get out of my chair to use the laptop I'm able to surf whilst comfortably reclining in my comfy chair and watching my program.

    Whilst surfing to the info I wanted I also looked at the Reg and came to this article and thus ended up writing this comment.

    My point is that the netbook is great for quick and convenient net surfing and typing stuff such as this comment. My laptop is not a) quick or b) convenient. It is only useful when I need it for a proper 'block' of work and thence only at a desk and near a mains outlet. The Eee PC fires up quickly, works for ages on battery, is small enough to pass around other members of the family, is great for surfing, writing small docs and internet radio and reading in bed.

    Hence 'netbooks' are great for doing 'netbooky' things and are thus not useless or a waste of money. You may not have found a use for a netbook but since I've had mine, the laptop has had hardly any use except for proper 9-5 work.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Epic Fail

    that's the one that's designed to annoy the most :)

    Get it in early is the best approach to this failure phrase ;)

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Dont forget the old dogs that should be takeon out back

    Paradigm shift. tipping point, and outside the box are still being used.

    The powerpoint people who make a living by having meetings refuse to give them up!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Web 2.0 is kewl

    I love the nomenclature's of web 2.0, 3.0 etc its a fantastic way for measuring the ages of the interweb. Its also handy for remembering the f*ck ups as well and tagging a particular type of hype to an era. The social networking crack smoking dreamers are my atypical web 2.0 hyper's.

    what's important to remember is that from every age of the net from the last bubble burst to this one is that there are always some survivors who actually invent something useful and profitable. The stalwarts of today were part of the web 1.0 hype n froth and when 3.0 turns up the 2.0 survivors will also be kicking about.

    Its simply evolution in action, the only difference is each age is compressed into a very short period of time of 5 years or so rather than the epochs of yesteryear in other industries.

    Role on 3.0 2010 to 2015 and 4.0 2015 to 2020 etc

  25. KenBW2

    Essential Inspiration

    My two biggest annoyances for the year. What do they even mean now?

  26. Herby

    Web numbering...

    "Hey why not just reuse Windows numbering? We can have Web 3.1, Web 3.11, then Web for Workgroups 3.11 (this one I'm sure is using "cloud computing" tech within your local business), Web NT 4.0 and Web 2000."

    You forgot Web 95, Web 98, Web 98SE, Web Me, Web XP, and (of course!) Web Vista.

    Alas We should remember that Windows 2.0 (as well as Windows 1.0) was not even used. Basically a failure.

    So, we have a magic number system, and one should always remember "The second system effect", which Web 2.0 refers to!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nope! I won't use it

    I hereby refuse to acknowledge, understand or use the term "cloud" when it comes to all things computery!

  28. Jedi Name Germinator

    Epic Fail

    is indeed the most annoying phrase I've heard

  29. ShaggyDoggy


    We have a box in the office so that everyone can think outside it.

    It contains an amount of sand in case anyone gets the urge to draw a line in it.

    And yes we have people who spend their entire life in meetings or on an iPhone (I kid you not) but communicate zero to their underlings.

  30. Tim Schomer


    I thought agile modelling is what those nice ladies at Stringfellos were doing all along.

    ... that's it, the one with the tabloid in the pocket.

  31. Steen Hive

    The most annoying,

    of the entire year, have been the phrasetards.

  32. John Angelico

    It's deja vu - all over again!

    For any El Reg readers who can recall days before the now-retired Mr Gates, all these "concepts" (there's another execrable buzz-word) are merely recycled from earlier times.

    <Fill-in-the-blank-as-a-service> is just the old computer service bureaux.

    Crikey, can't we do something about these marketing droids? I wonder if ignoring them is worse than actually shooting them...?

    Yes, the duffle coat, thanks - it still fits me.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    You forgot one..

    ...Oompa Loompas.

    Which should have featured in the top 3 for its spectacular over-use in just one Reg story alone, IIRC. It wasn't funny in its reference to Google employees the first time, and it certainly wasn't the 257th.

    Hypotards. Fail.

  34. Kevin Bailey

    @you forgot "netbook"

    Some of us techies have been waiting for a netbook ever since the HP journada (740?) showed what was possible. As we spend most of our time running console based screen sessions on remote servers the netbooks are fine. They define a new level of portability in that your netbook is always with you. At the main office you can always plug in keyboards, mice and monitors to make it easier to use.

    The main thing to avoid getting one with Windows on it. Lets face it, XP is slow on normal machines.

    Mines a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu pre-installed and I'm very happy with it.

    And as someone else pointed out - when the dreaded Strictly Come X factor/soap stars on ice is on the telly a netbook is ideal to find something more interesting to read whilst on the sofa.

  35. Steve Wehrle

    "The Cloud"

    I'm sure the term "the cloud" was invented by non-techies who envisage all IT as a rather large grey fog-like cloud where you put stuff in at one end and get stuff out the other end. How it all works, they don't know.

  36. Gary

    @Pete, @Tuna

    You guysdo not appear to have used a netbook,I suggest you go out and buy one. In case you haven't heard they're cheap, small, agile! and loitering somewhere on the ouskirts of the cloud Web 2.0'ing it on El Reg....

    Mine's the one with a EEE in the pocket

  37. StooMonster

    "It is what it is"

    Hear this constantly in Financial Services these days, a resignation to the acceptance of the current state of affairs being FUBAR.

  38. Paul Charters

    I'm still waiting...

    For Web 3.11 - Web for Workgroups to start being used....

    'Moving/going forward' has to be my current pet hateourite. I'm sick of everyone saying it.

    Fail/Epic Fail - oh grow up - and no, not everyone who says something you disagree with has 'failed'.

    Virtualisation - before the 'cloud' became the big fad it is the word virtualisation dominated every ****amn news story.

    'Green', 'credit crunch', 'paedophile', 'knives' - all wayyy too overused, abused and not enough done to stop the criminal activity surrounding them.

  39. Richard Porter


    Anything-tard is getting a bit annoying, but it looks like "Edge" is getting a bit old-hat now.

    An of course there's iEverything!

  40. N

    Whatever they are...

    I just hope I dont have to sit through 130 mindless powerpoint pages when some evangilist of web 3 or whatever it is decides to sell their warez

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear, looks like like Epic Fail...

    ...has been an Epic Fail.

  42. BioTube

    @Netbook haters

    Netbooks are what portable computers are SUPPOSED to be - a computer that's portable. When laptops started worrying about the amount of power they could shove in, they became crude desktops that MIGHT just be movable(four feet or until the onset of a hernia). If you ever find yourself with a need for both portability and power, the solution's simple: SSH into a desktop system or full-fledged server and DO YOUR WORK THERE.

  43. Neoc

    Re: Essential Inspiration

    @KenBW2 Posted Tuesday 30th December 2008 01:50 GMT

    "My two biggest annoyances for the year. What do they even mean now?"

    Essential Inspiration :=: Don't forget to breathe.

  44. David Pollard

    "... a whole brace of technologies ..."

    All two of them?

  45. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Web Vista - wasn't that

    something called Myspace.

  46. Bren Flibig

    Don't like the word, or don't like the concept?

    Web 2.0 is that portion of the Internet that requires you to open your browser to the entire possible array of malware before it will work properly.

    "If you ever find yourself with a need for both portability and power, the solution's simple: SSH into a desktop system or full-fledged server and DO YOUR WORK THERE."

    Wow - after all this time, we've progressed to the model of a dumb terminal, a slow link, and a centralized mainframe. Wanna upgrade to OS/360?

    A netbook is a PDA for real people. It's not a video composition tool, a password cracker, a compilation environment, or a database server.

    Personally I have a lot more sympathy for those rich greens trying to assuage their guilt ineffectively than for those who simply haven't realized they are guilty yet, not to mention those preaching "good is bad and bad is good and pollution causes evolution and suffering causes pleasure and worldwide pandemic and famine causes progress and who cares anyways because it's all about what you can grab RIGHT NOW!"!

    It's only technologically primitive people who have the luxury of restricting their thoughts of the future to merely seven generations. We are obligated to think as far ahead as our actions will have consequences for.

    Now that "green" has been coopted, I'm going to have to start calling myself a Terraist.

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