Tuesday, August 25, 2009

French to English: Information Technology, Part 3

How naive of me!

When you think of information technology, what comes to mind?  My first impression is "hardware."  When I was a corporate employee, I thought of our IT Department as a large, dark room with the words "authorized personnel only" in large blocks of letters on the door.  To me, IT personnel walked around with their own esoteric bag of terms, detached from the outside world and more cables concerned with modules, maps and fiber optic cables twisted and mangled inside a locked room.  The fact that I didn't mingle with the IT crowd explains part of my ignorance. 

Note I said that I equate IT with hardware.  I imagined a world of imposing industrial computers humming menacingly with reels and reels of tape and a never-ending string of print-outs containing gobbledy-gook, all taking place in a no trespassing zone.



réseau privé virtuel (RPV) virtual private network (VPN)
accélerateur graphique graphics accelerator
adaptation automatique de la fréquence automatic frequency switching
câble à fibres optiques fibre optics cable
capture d'écran screen capture

To get rid of that naiveté and with a genuine desire to be enlightened, I did a bit of reading and learned that IT is  a happy marriage of hardware and software.  One can't exist without the other.  At times, that marriage is marred with problems and inconsistencies, but we all know that when software meaningfully connects with hardware, the relationship can be quite rewarding.   Architectural platforms, switchboxes and work stations are just as important as the software applications that reside in them for the proper processing and execution of  commands.

We are aware that security is a perennial challenge of IT. The media give security breaches occurring in high profile organizations top coverage.  Questions are fired at the security agencies that are supposed to install the safeguards.  Eventually, the reliability of software also comes into question.  This is where the software challenge takes its rightful place alongside the challenge of security.  After all, isn't safe and reliable software the heart and soul of any IT undertaking?



carte d'entrée analogique analog input card
débit binaire disponible available bit rate
déboguer to debug
échelle binaire binary scale
enregistrement de suppressions deletion record
equilibrage des lignes de transmission balanced routing
filtrage des adresses sources source address filtering

An interesting paper written by Michael Hogan in 2001 on the challenges of IT standards development calls attention to software as the fifth IT challenge on his list.  Mr. Hogan works for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and has been with the Institute for over 25 years.  He sounds like he's there to stay for as long as his bosses will let him because he says it's the best job he's ever had.  For some of his colleagues, it's the only job. 

What were Mr. Hogan's conclusions about the software challenge for IT? 

  • software is an intellectual creation
  • quoting what PITAC said in 1999, "the nation needs software that is far more usable, reliable and powerful than what is being produced today"
  • measurement is one of the major obstacles faced by the software industry (quoting Capers Jones in Scientific American, 1998)
  • sound software standards depend upon sound measurement standards

It might be worthwhile getting some IT administrators together to pick their brains about what they believe to be sound measurement standards.  I'm certain there are aspects in the IT field requiring software applications to be measured in terms of functionality, user-friendliness, rate of effectiveness and whether all or just a tiny segment of its features are utilized to advantage.



flux de données de sortie output stream
génie logiciel software engineering
garnir une carte to populate
horloge numérique digital clock
intégration parfaite seamless integration
interface API application programming interface
langage SQL structured query language
maquette dummy, mock-up
registre de mémoire tampon memory buffer register
mémoire à accès aléatoire random access devices
microprocesseur en tranche bitslice micro-processor

Do IT security managers lead a charmed life?  To the outside world, they do.  Many of us envy them for their technical knowledge.  In a way we put them on a pedestal. To people who know what goes on in the inner sanctum, however, or for those who've been there, done that, it's not exactly a bed of roses.

security Mark Egan and Tim Mather (Executive Guide to Information Security, 2005), statistically describe a month in the life of an IT security manager:

  • 9,481,668 logs and alerts generated by firewalls and intrusion detection devices
  • 620 security incidents
  • 450 new viruses
  • 250 new vulnerabilities
  • 55 investigations
  • 2 incidents requiring immediate action

Egan and Mather made that description in 2005.  It's now 2009.  Would it be correct to assume that those figures have since tripled?

This ends our series on IT.  It's an exciting sphere of activity where the birth of new software and hardware will keep IT managers on their toes.  We'll revisit this theme at a later time and give you more IT terms to include in your lexicons.

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