AA (Acronyms Anonymous)
Apr 1, 2006 12:00 PM,
By Mark Johnson
Many abbreviations and acronyms have found their way into everyday conversation in society today. Sometimes this is for the sake of brevity (the soul of wit!), and sometimes it’s because that’s the commonly known term for something. In fact, many of these acronyms have become so commonly used that people can be familiar both with the acronym and the concept it represents without having a clue what the actual letters stand for.
For instance, I was talking with someone recently about posting something to our FTP site when I was interrupted with, “I’ve heard of that before. What is it?”
“Ummmmm…Errrrrrr…Lemme see…I think it stands for…File Transfer Protocol. Yeah, I think that’s it.” Fortunately, Webopedia backed me up on that one. It actually is short for File Transfer Protocol, the protocol we use for exchanging files over the Internet, whether we’re uploading something to a server (as in my case) or downloading a file from a server via the Internet.
And our industry’s no exception to the trend. Take the XLR connector for instance. It’s an extremely common tool in professional audio; I’ve personally used XLR connectors for more years than I care to admit. But I didn’t know what the letters X-L-R stood for until I got curious and did a Google search on it. According to Wikipedia, the term came from the original manufacturer, Canon (which is also how some people refer to this type of connector) — this particular type of connector was the Canon X series, and it had a Latch and a Rubber gasket. Who knew? I do, now.
Sometimes this type of knowledge is only good for winning some obscure version of Trivial Pursuit. However, other times it adds to our knowledge of the technology we use virtually every day.