At a meeting recently the topic of a particular computer was put on the table for discussion. A colleague who fancies himself a bit of a computer wrangler kept referring to the computer as a machine. This machine runs on Vista or that machine runs on XP. Jargonese flew out of his cake hole with such fluid grace and certitude that I found myself momentarily drawn in by the minute details of Cat 5 and internet protocols. I had to force myself to snap out of it.

This use of the word “machine” in reference to computers has always annoyed me, but in this case the annnoyance was starting to raise welts on my brain. This madness has to stop.

A computer is a circuit, not a machine. Get that? It’s a circuit comprised of chips soldered to a board.

I’ll give an example of a machine. The screws holding down the circuit board to the frame are elementary machines. A screw is a machine that converts rotational motion to translational motion. Oh yeah, it is a great fastener as well.

A machine can remove body parts, deglove your hand, or unload a cargo ship. A computer is a circuit that at worst, can provide annoyance, vexations, and spam.

Fellows, if you want to swagger around with manly bravado, stick to manly things. Sports cars, bulldozers, and beer. Computer jargon is for prissy little Nancy-boys with overbearing mother figures.