1996, an Elvis Year for Internet Jargon

WASHINGTON -- The speed with which humor migrates via e-mail explains why it is so hard to find evidence that computers have improved job efficiency. A recent sampling from the Net:


Dilberted: To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. "I've been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week."


Plug-and-Play: A new hire who does not need training. "The new guy, John, is great. He's totally plug-and-play."


Under Mouse Arrest: Getting busted for violating an online service's rules of conduct. "Sorry I couldn't get back to you. AOL put me under mouse arrest."


404: Someone who is clueless. It arises from the World Wide Web message, "404, URL Not Found," which means that the document you have tried to access cannot be located. "Don't bother asking him. He's 404, man."


Dead Tree Edition: The paper version of a publication available in electronic forms. (For example: "The dead tree edition of The Washington Post.")


Egosurfing: Scanning the Net, databases, print media or research papers while looking for the mention of your name.


Squirt the Bird: To transmit a signal up to a satellite. "Crew and talent are ready . . . What time do we squirt the bird?"


It's a Feature: From the adage, "It's not a bug, it's a feature." The phrase is used sarcastically to describe an unpleasant experience you wish to gloss over.


Career-Limiting Move (CLM): Used among microserfs to describe an ill-advised activity. Trashing your boss while he is within earshot is a serious CLM.


Elvis Year: The peak year of something's popularity. "Barney the dinosaur's Elvis year was 1993."


Alpha Geek: The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group. "Ask Larry, he's the alpha geek around here."


Nyetscape: Nickname for AOL's less-than-full-featured Web browser.