Tech and Togetherness

Jargon Buster

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From access control to Wi-Fi, we’ve got all the jargon, busted.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the technical terms you’re likely to come across. But as you know, things change pretty fast in the digital age, so we’d love your help to keep this list current. Add terms of your own in the community section below.

  • Access control / filter: A bar that is put in place by e.g. an internet or mobile provider to prevent access to certain content
  • Application (app): A piece of software, often designed to run on smartphones and other mobile devices
  • Bluetooth: A way of exchanging data over short distances between mobile devices
  • Browser: Allows access to the Web (e.g. Google Chrome or Internet Explorer)
  • Burn: The process of copying files (eg music) from your computer onto a CD
  • Cloud computing: Software services and applications that are provided via the internet rather than installed on your computer (e.g. iCloud)
  • Coding: Another word for computer programming
  • Cookie: A piece of text stored on your computer by a Web browser that remembers information about you, such as websites you’ve visited
  • Crowdsourcing: A way of outsourcing tasks to a group of people online
  • Digital footprint: The trail you leave from digital activities and interactions, such as Web searches and uploaded photos
  • Drag and drop: Where a virtual object is selected and moved to a different location
  • Encryption: The security process of making electronic data unreadable to anyone without the ‘key’
  • Geo-tagging: Where geographical identification data is added to things like photos or online messages via a GPS device, such as a smartphone
  • GPS (Global Positioning System): A global navigation satellite system used for things like in-car navigation
  • Hacker: Someone who breaks into other people’s computers
  • Hackathon: A ‘hacking marathon’ during which computer programmers work together intensively (e.g. non-stop for 24 hours) on the development of new software
  • IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity): A unique number on your mobile, usually printed inside the battery compartment
  • In-app purchase: Additional content and features available for purchase once you’re using an app
  • IP address (Internet Protocol address): A unique number that identifies where you’re accessing the internet from
  • ISP: Internet Service Provider
  • Malware: Malicious software, such as viruses and worms, that infiltrate computers
  • Memory stick: A portable device for storing data and transferring it between devices
  • MP3: MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 – a common format for digital music files
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P): A network on which users can share files, such as music & movies; often illegally
  • Phishing: Unsolicited emails or texts sent in an attempt to get personal information (e.g. passwords and credit card details) from you
  • PIN (Personal Identification Number): A way of locking your mobile and other devices
  • Plug-in: A set of software components that add capabilities to a larger software application (e.g. a video plug-in in a Web browser)
  • Premium rate (or phone-paid service): A paid mobile service (e.g. ringtone downloads or competition entries)
  • Rogue app: A piece of malicious software disguised as a mobile Web application
  • Spam: Unsolicited email or text messages
  • Spyware: A type of malicious software that collects information about you without your knowledge
  • Stream ripping app: A way of saving MP3 files from streamed music on the internet on to a computer
  • Tablet: A mobile computer, such as the iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Tag: A way of assigning a piece of information or an image to a particular person
  • Wi-Fi: Broadband without wires

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