English to Nerd Dictionary: Internet Terms Explained

September 21st, 2017 by admin

When you hear IT professionals (nerds) talking about how the flux capacitor hasn’t fully powered on to correct the quantum gyrofizzler and it’s impossible for the mainframe to maintain 90% output for more than a fortnight, you might find yourself wishing you had an English to Nerd Dictionary. Say no more, we’ve got you covered. Twenty years ago, when the internet was young, the technology jargon was already complicated. Since then, things have only gotten more complicated and hard to follow. It can be hard to keep up with all the new terms and hot items in the world of tech. To help with this, we’ve got definitions and explanations for eight of the internet terms you’ve definitely heard, but might not know:

UI / User Interface

"UI" rhymes with "gooey"", and it basically means "better and pretty screen layouts". Macs and Windows provided the first UI that was easy for non-geeks. Before that there were command prompts and old menus, which most of us remember in apps like Word Perfect 5.1. It's now progressed to where even small business websites are easy on the eyes and easy to use.  

HTML/Hyper Text Markup Language

HTML is the standardized language used to create web pages. Your web browser reads HTML code and is able to interact with the web page as a result.

Cache

A cache is like a pantry in a kitchen. You don't want to run to the store every time you need flour or Cheerios, so you stash or "cache" some food in your pantry. On your computer, good caches means you'll work WAY faster, because the computer doesn't have to run out to the slow hard drive (the "grocery store") for data all the time. Even websites can tell your PC to "cache" certain files (like artwork or backgrounds) and keep them handy, so you won't have to waste time waiting for them to be re-downloaded. 

Web Apps

In the old days, most developers wrote software for only PC's or Macs, not both. There were exceptions (like Microsoft Office and the Adobe apps), but it was generally too expensive to have two teams write and test the software. With web apps, anyone with a browser can use the software, whether you're on PC, Mac, Linux, or even a mobile phone. The developers simplify their life and write the code using "web standards" like HTML5,  

5G

Mobile phones need fast data plans and more security.  That's exactly why carriers are moving from the old 3G to 4G, and within a few years we'll be getting 5G.  Basically, this means "more and better".

IoT/Internet of Things

This is another name for a smart set of technologies. You've heard about smart homes that let you control your lights and air conditioning from your mobile phone. You've heard about smart locks for your front door that let you send the plumber a temporary "keypad code" so they can install your new dishwasher while you're still at work. These are examples of the "Internet of Things".

File Sharing

You probably have an F: drive that lets your whole team save files - this is the time honored tradition called "file sharing." If some teammates work in separate states it's easy to setup a private cloud. This way you can stay in full control of all your data without letting strangers manage it. Impressively, it lets you work as fast as if you were right in the office. You can also setup sharing using the basic public cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc) but it's slower. The public cloud is typically best for a few small files, but doesn't work as well for large or numerous files. Public cloud file sharing can put big limits on your team. There are tons of horror stories about lost data and lost backups within the public cloud. You also find out that you can't easily get 100% of your data back when you want to leave that public cloud vendor.

Chatbot

There are two things a chatbot can do. If you've ever started a chat session, there's a good chance that you're not really talking with "Bridget". It's probably a program that answers basic questions using artificial intelligence. If you have complex questions, the chatbot can get a real expert involved in the chat - hopefully the actual Bridget (not her weak teammates Hagatha or Englebert). In other words, if you are chatting with a customer service or tech support rep, and it's not a complex issue, there is a pretty good chance it is really a chatbot on the other end. Chatbots give you basic information, fulfill requests, provide options and links to info, or even make minor changes to your account or order. It lets companies provide a more personal level of care for cheap. Chatbots don't go on strike about minimum wage either, so economists will probably say it saves you money in the long run.    Norm Chambers  

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