Was it intentional that the Media Control Interface has the same acronym as a telecommunications company?


The Media Control Interface is a programmable interface to multimedia peripherals. It's probably best known for providing an easy way to prank somebody by repeatedly opening and closing the CD tray.

The acronym for the Media Control Interface is MCI, the same initials as a former telecommunications company. Was this a coincidence?

Usually, these things are just coincidences, but this is an exception. The person who came up with the name Media Control Interfaces told me that it was an intentional collision, and that he hoped someday to continue onward and name future multimedia interfaces after other telecommunications companies, such as ITT, GTE, and AT&T.

Fortunately for the rest of us, these other acronyms never materialized.

(Another possibility is that he was just messing with me, and it really was just a coincidence.)

Comments (20)
  1. skSdnW says:

    I'll always remember it as the only Windows API with a text mode? Makes problem solving twice as hard when you have two ways of passing parameters.

    Interconnected Theater Tunnel.
    Giant Tweeter Emulation.
    Can't think of a AT&T one. Your coworker took the easy way out by picking the one that starts with M and ends in I ;)

    1. 12BitSlab says:

      Asynchronous Tuning Tool?

      1. codechurn says:

        Automated Theremin Transport

  2. smf says:

    Text Writer Automatic Translation

  3. alegr1 says:

    Also, MCI was a victim of ill-conceived translation. Some commands returned language-specific responses.

  4. henke37 says:

    MCI is boring. Use DeviceIOControl instead for your CD tray pranks.

  5. Yuri Khan says:

    Between opening and closing the CD tray, add a PlaySound("Cuckoo.wav").

  6. There is also NT and GDI.

    1. smf says:

      NT supposedly stood for N-Ten, the code name of the CPU it was first ported to.

      1. And yet, it is the NYSE symbol for Nortel. That's why Microsoft stopped using it.

      2. skSdnW says:

        There is a Channel 9 video where they look at some archive/old stuff and there it is called New Technology (printed on a CD and/or logos IIRC). Not sure if it was a backronym at that point.

    2. Tanveer Badar says:

      Go Die [you] Infernal?

      1. Goddamn independent, gross domestic income, gender-related development index, and my personal favorite Global Defense Initiative.

  7. Ray Koopa says:

    I only remember PCMCIA - People Can't Master Computer Industry Acronyms

    1. Ray Koopa says:

      And in fact, that's the only meaning I know for PCMCIA.

      1. poizan42 says:

        "Personal Computer Memory Card International Association". But they later renamed it to PC Card, which never really seemed to catch on.

      2. ErikF says:

        I always was told that it was "People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms", but yours works too!

        1. John Styles says:

          Penguins Can't Make Curry In Antarctica

        2. Yukkuri says:

          Personal computer makers can't invent acronyms

    2. waleri says:

      I always had problems memorizing that one. That's why I splitted it into two common ones - PCM & CIA...

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