The mystery of three letter acronyms

Playing around with Three Letter Acronyms (TLA) seems to have some history in computing. You’ll find them in SciFi movies or in the naming of some products. Is it just by chance of what comes out when thinking too much about some TLA or did someone deliberately play around with that TLA? Is it even conspiracy? I guess it’s just fun…

Electronic movie stars

Remember MU/TH/UR (aka “Mother”) or HAL? MU/TH/UR was that old school talking computer system using speech - call it smart speaker - and thousands of light bulbs to communicate; while controlling the fate of the USCSS Nostromo space ship’s crew in the movie ALIEN.

HAL on the other hand, was the main electronic actor in some other science fiction movie: The legendary movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nowadays we would consider HAL also being a smart speaker. Nevertheless, add one to each of the letters of the word HAL and you get? (H + 1, A + 1, L + 1) = (I, B, M) ~ IBM. That must have been at times when IBM was thought to be the big dominator in computing.

HAL + 1 = IBM: Coincidence or by intend?

Maybe in future movies we will be confronted with evil computer systems such as KBWBTDSJQU, HPPHMF, BQQMF BNB[PO, GBDFCPPL, BMFYB, DPSUBOB or TJSJ or most evil of all SFGDPEFT/PSH?

Knowing the scheme behind (HALIBM): Are you able to resolve the evil counterparts of them above acronyms? Please spoil in the comments section!

Two operating systems, one team

Before Microsoft was capable of delivering a real multitasking operating system (OS) with memory virtualization, there were others already in service: For example there was the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) having their VMS OS up and running for some time on their VAX machines.

Given that Microsoft was in the need for a real multitasking operating system back then as Personal Computers (Microsoft’s targeted market) became more and more powerful (Moore’s law) and given that DEC already had their own capable VMS (see above). Then imagine that Bill Gates kind of bought DEC’s VMS development crew to develop an OS for Microsoft. Meanwhile, add one to each letter of VMS and you’ll get WNT: (V + 1, M + 1, S + 1) = (W, N,T) ~ WNT. The original VMS development team composed Windows NT (the predecessor of Windows 2000 and XP as well as of Windows 10) after having created VMS.

WNT + 1 = VMS: Coincidence or by intend?

Five letter acronyms?

This is a little off-topic but still a funny acronym. It’s a TOFLA, a Total Of Five Letters Acronym”: There is some software around called TWAIN. In the old days you used it on your PC for scanning, it actually was a scanner driver. And it used to help scanners to communicate with your computer. Your scanner once most likely was TWAIN compliant. Those guys who wrote the original TWAIN drivers couldn’t think of an interesting name, so they must have thought that this driver is a technology without an interesting name. And here we go! TWAIN stands for Technology Without An Interesting Name” ~ TWAIN.

It is said that this story is true, although the officials say that TWAIN comes from “…and never the twain shall meet… (see The Ballad of East and West).

Do you know of any other interesting TLA,TOFLA (“Total Of Five Letters Acronym”) or TAMASLA (“Totally As Many As Seven Letters Acronym”) or even HAMAELTA (“Having As Many As Eight Letters Totally Acronym”)? Please let me know and leave a comment :-)