Recently, I upgraded to a new smart phone. This is always a fraught process for me as I will have just got familiar with the way that the last one worked when I find its time to say goodbye and move on.

My new phone has features and functionality that will no doubt remain undiscovered by me till the end of time. It does have, though, MP3 capability and I was determined to get this working.

This was accomplished through the simple expedient of connecting the phone with my PC through the USB port. It was at this moment that I realised that, though I had used and benefited from the USB port on many occasions, I had absolutely no idea what USB actually stands for.

In many professions and particularly in IT, there is a particular form of jargon where terms are compressed down to three letter acronyms or as we call them TLAs. Where ever you look in IT a TLA will be there staring back at you, whether it’s as a CRM package, an ASP solution or if your just making a phone call through the PBX.

We accept TLAs most of the time with little or no interest in finding out what they stand for. USB, for instance, could mean United Solid Biscuits or even Unexplained Socket Byword, as long as it works we don’t mind.

USB actually stands for Universal Serial Bus, and is an extremely useful connection, taking anything from a joystick, to a memory stick and now days a Skype phone. In many ways it’s a remarkable testament to the joys of standardisation as now you can connect your PC with nearly everything. I see the future and it’s a toaster connected to my PC.