Revealed: Secret words IT pros use to describe YOU

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I was in tech support. It’s hard, frustrating and often thankless work that tests the limits of your patience. But it can also be rewarding to fix what seems impossible to the user.

Some technical problems have simple solutions that you can try yourself.Tap or click here for five simple solutions to everyday tech issues.

Like most professionals, IT professionals have their own jargon. Here are 10 insider words you might hear that describe you.


An IT professional fully understands smartphones, computers, networks, tablets, routers, Wi-Fi, operating systems, firewalls, Bluetooth, accessories, updates, security and many additional devices and technologies.

If an IT pro says in front of you, “I’d like to help you, but this is an EEOC problem,” they’re secretly laughing at you. They believe that you will never, ever, ever be able to use the device you called them on.

EEOC is short for “Equipment Exceeds Operator Capability”.

Person using a computer.

Person using a computer.


This verbal shortcode is like EEOC but stands for “Equipment Smarter Than Operator”.

If you hear someone say that about you, try not to be too hurt. Neither EEOC nor ESTO will sting as much as this next code word.

3.Error ID10T

When you hear an IT pro say, “I’ve had this problem before. It’s an ID10T error,” that doesn’t sound bad.

Here is an example of error ID10T. Say your mouse won’t work, so call IT and ask for help. In a second, the culprit is obvious. Bluetooth is disabled on your computer.

It is pronounced ID-10-T. Read them as letters with a 10 in the middle. And yes, it does sound like the word silly.

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4.Code 18

How about a clue as to the meaning of this secret computer code? The 18 refers to inches.

Let’s use it in a sentence. An IT pro might tell a colleague, “I’ve reset Jim’s Gmail filters five times, given him a dozen lessons, and still get code 18.”

Code 18 means the problem is 18 inches from the screen.

(Credit: iStock)

(Credit: iStock)


You might think that’s a cute way of saying, “I should have taken a picnic basket, because solving that problem was so easy!” Unfortunately, when an IT person says PICNIC in the context of helping you, that’s not their mindset.

They use an acronym for “Problem In Chair Not In Computer”.


People use the terms gearhead, geek, technocrat, and techie interchangeably. IT professionals do the same with PICNIC and PEBKAC.

Sometimes the problem exists between the keyboard and the chair or the PEBKAC. Yes, they say you caused your technical problems.

7. Layer 8 problem

You might not get this one if you don’t understand the OSI model of networking. Computers connected via a network use a complex architecture. There are seven layers in the OSI model for networking.

So, the eighth layer has nothing to do with hardware. It has to do with human interaction with the computer system. In other words, “Layer 8” refers to you!

8. A short circuit between the headphones

Think about what’s between a pair of headphones. When you put on a helmet, it’s your brain.

You might hear an IT pro say, “She’s normally pretty good at this, but she had a short between the headphones. There was no paper in the printer.”

Person wearing headphones using a computer.

Person wearing headphones using a computer.

9. IBM error

This term has nothing to do with the computer society. But when you learn what this acronym stands for, you mightto wishthis was the case. IBM stands for “Idiot Behind Machine”.

It is another acronym referring to human errors. Your machine is not in question. Your problems are caused by yourself, according to whoever says that.

If you ever hear from you, have a plan. Say, “I know what that means, so the ‘I’ doesn’t apply!”

10. Biological interface error

There is nothing biological in a computer. It’s a machine. Again, we’re talking about a human.

“Yeah, I couldn’t fix it. It’s a biological interface error.”

Pro Tip:When you need help with your technology, our team of experts is on hand. Ask a question in the Komando community. We promise not to call you any of these terms.

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