Computers, cell phones, messaging services and the Internet have their own language. If you never learned to find the bathroom in Spanish, you are likely to feel lost around geeks, nerds, and your so-called friends who insist on throwing geek speak into every conversation. Fortunately, the technology world moves quickly; yesterday's hot trend is today's old news. You only need a few basics to hold your own the next at your next backyard barbecue.
API – Application Programming Interface. Allows independent programmers to develop new application services, using an open application like Google Maps.
ASPs – Application Service Providers. Companies that rent specialized applications that help organizations and companies provide services with less investment.
Bit Torrent – A peer-to-peer file sharing system that is now used by to distribute legal software updates, movies and prereleases. Some illegal content gets through too.
Cloudware – Software that only exists on the Internet. There is no physical product on your computer or disks.
Creative commons – A copyright system for Internet content. Uploaded files have open copyright or very liberal use policy.
Crowdsourcing – Creating or improving products by outsourcing tasks to volunteers on the Internet. Gathering collective input from technology users, sometimes for prizes.
Distributed computing – Allowing the use of individual PC idle time to perform calculations for projects that contribute to the common good, such as aids research, global warming, and crime prevention.
DRM – Digital Rights Management. System used to control distribution and copying of music downloads.
E-book – Electronic books available online only. Users can usually download and print them.
Flash – Multi platform technology for Internet animation, created by Macromedia.
Hacks – Malicious, anonymous exploitation of benin software and websites. Intentional damage.
ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Organization that manages Internet domain names and regulations worldwide.
Killer app – The latest greatest new software or online service. Most often has mega amounts of angel investor venture funding.
Malware – Malicious software codes that can be transmitted to others by email and various other methods.
Mashup – Combining applications to produce a customized, interactive service or application.
Net neutrality – Internet's current data handling system. All data is given equal priority. Opponents want to change policy to charge huge companies like Google in proportion to the volume of data they produce.
Netbook – A mini notebook computer designed for wireless Internet access, with lower cost and few installed applications.
Open source – Software that makes its codes (program) publicly available. Counter to trade secret software programs like Windows.
Phishing – Phony emails that appear to be trusted sources like financial institutions and online merchants. The email directs recipients to update personal and financial information, using links that direct readers to a fake website.
Podcasting – Internet digital content delivery method. Audio or video content.
RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America. Illegal downloads watchdog for the music industry.
RSS – Really Simple Syndication. Use browser or feed reader to get updates instead of searching. Collect updates from websites and blogs without touching your mouse or keyboard. Information (feeds) sent to your computer automatically.
SEO – Search engine Optimization. Writing web content and structuring websites with keywords and phrases that help Internet search rankings.
Social Networking – Joining groups and websites where you will find people with similar interests. Sharing your online experience with virtual friends.
VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol. Allows users to make phone calls through an Internet connection. Flat fee VOIP providers are eating into Ma Bell's long distance profit.