The Word is…”Portal”

There is a point in our world where descriptive language meets dreamy seduction…and that place is somewhere in the land of Information Technology.  There is a new word to bandy about, and the word is “portal”.

If only I had a sound file of the the MC from the TV show “Password” whisper the word…

Computers themselves are really not sexy.  Anyone is at risk to start drooling when someone begins describing a car engine or the ooomph of certain power tools.  Somehow “4GB of RAM and a dual core processor” doesn’t quit measure up to “631 @ 8000 RPM”.

Result-the folks in IT sales keep coming up with words to sex up their product, especially SW.  Examples include:

-Twelve years ago, SW was described as being Powerful, or able to do a lot of computing.
-Ten years ago, I noticed both SW and HW would be referred to as Robust, or able to do its job under difficult circumstances or pressures
-In the wake of the .com crash, companies were being more careful abouti purchases, often starting small with HW and buyng more as needed rather than making an anticipating-type purchase…and the word was Scalable…referring to a SW that could be “scaled” up or down to meet various loads or infrastructure needs.
-For years the Enterprise environment really had to choose between the UNIX or Windows OS…then came Linux, which had the benefit of allowing you to create a UNIX type environment on a PC. Many a business was stuck between operating systems, unsure which way to jump. Not a problem! Vendors could sell you SW that was Portable, and capable of being moved to, from, and between different OS.

These words formed my “Fab 4” of IT expressions. Know them, drop them into conversation, and you can seem like you are so into IT you simply must have Steve Jobs on your speed dial and Bill Gates on your cell phone. While there have been many pretenders (“cloud computing” might still make it) there has not been a word that stood out as the flavor of the month…until recently.

For some reason the word/term “Portal” has made the jump. It is unique as it is not a quality but an actual feature-an IT portal is a passageway to another system, server, domain, etc….or, as dictionary.com puts it:

A Web site that functions as an entry point to the Internet, as by providing useful content and linking to various sites and features on the World Wide Web

I have noticed in recent meetings that a Portal seems to be the popping up as the answer to everything

Having seen the results of Disney “Go Network” and how the local government portal in Startup.com floundered, I am not sure I buy into this wisdom….but for now “portal” has made the Fab4 the Funky5!

Use them all, and your friends will be convinced you are truly an IT guru! You can be the envy of the neighborhood!

Just have an exit strategy ready if someone asks you to step up and fix their computer…

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