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Most confusing tech terms?


Struggling with'geek-speak'? Here are twelve particularly confusing terms.

Apps - now used almost exclusively to describe mobile computing software. There are applications on your computer but apps on your phone or tablet - Photoshop (the application) on your iMac but Photoshop (the app) on your iPhone. 

Big Data -  the scale of the information now available is beyond the human capacity to analyse it. Step forward highly powered computers which can 'uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations and other useful information' -  see here

Bitcoin - the most popular 'virtual' currency - see here

BYOD - Bring your own technology - see here

Cloud based/the cloud - stored online rather than on your computer. Increasingly vast amounts of data are stored by services such as Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox. For the advantages/disadvantages of storing material this way see here.

MOOC - A MOOC is an online course with open enrolment and no fees - see here

Ping -
to send a 'packet' to a computer and wait for its return (Packet Internet Groper). For those outside of IT that doesn't help much.

In practical terms to ping is to notify a website(s) that you have updated your site with new material. This is usually done automatically - via Twitter, Facebook etc.

SEO - search engine optimisation. SEO is the art of making your web page easier to find by the 'spiders' which crawl the web looking to recognise images and content visitors will be interested in. 

Each page has a ranking depending on the search term - the aim is to get as close to the top of the page as possible.

Showrooming - where customers use shops to investigate products they will buy online - see here.

Spoof - in general English this means to parody in an affectionate way - the Airplane films being a good example. In current IT usage the word has darker connotations - to spoof a password or user ID is to falsify, usually with the intention to defraud.

SSD - A solid state device.
An SSD is lighter and more reliable than traditional hard drive

In human English means that it does not have a hard drive with moveable parts - the Apple Air is a good example. SSDs are lighter and - in theory - less prone to crashes and the dreaded 'hard drive down'

3G+4G 
Third and fourth generation access to bandwidth - or broadcasting capacity. In practical terms this means
3G - fast internet connection for mobile phones now slowed down by weight of traffic
4G - much faster connection.
Solution: everyone moves to 4G? Only problem is that access to networks is in the end controlled by national governments. In the UK this means that licences are finally becoming available - but at a very high price. So 4G will slowly become available but cost more than 3G.

And when that network slows down - bring on 5G.


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