Where does the word alphabet come from? Short listening with worksheet in IELTS Section 2 format
Even those of us fascinated by new technology can struggle with 'geek-speak'. Here are twelve particularly confusing terms.
Apps - 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 - information only accessible to highly powered computers . These 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 - 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 often done automatically - via Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
SEO - search engine optimisation or making your web page easier to find by Google's ever-busy team of (robotic) 'spiders'. These 'crawl' the web looking to recognise images & 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. 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'
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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English Language Level: Intermediate+ CEFR: B1/B2/C1
Exams: First Certificate, IELTS, Cambridge Advanced