Tag Archives: API

Enough with the Acronyms! Plain English please.

Enough with the jargon. Plain English please!

The other day while giving a presentation, the client asked, “what does RAID mean?

We had been talking about servers, storage and protocols for preserving and backing up data – not roach spray.

And RAID had been introduced because it would continue to function even if one of the drives were damaged or inoperable.

Eventually, we explained that RAID was an acronym, which stood for “redundant array of independent disks.”

It’s a form of storage technology that combines several drives into a single unit, making it robust and reliable (and relatively inexpensive as servers go).

Reflecting on that meeting, I was struck by the frequency with which we tech types use acronyms as if they were common parlance.

The reality is that there is so much alphabet soup out there, that it’s difficult for techies to keep up, much less lay folk.

So today’s class will focus on defining some of these acronyms, and building your technical lexicon.

I’m sure you’re familiar with SMS (short messaging service), MMS (multimedia messaging service), DRM (digital rights management), CPM (cost per thousand impressions), yada yada.

Here are four terms you may not know, but should.

LBSlocation based services.

Tech speak: LBS is an information or entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through a mobile network which uses information on the geographical position of the device. We are the Borg. You will be assimilated.

The Borg can use LBS to find you.

Plain English: LBS is a system which lets you send and receive information from your mobile phone, based on where you happen to be at the moment. Common uses of LBS include finding the nearest ATM machine (BoA), tracking a package (Fedex) or locating a specific destination (Google Maps).

NFCnear field communication.

Tech speak: NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.

Plain English: NFC is technology that makes life easier and more convenient for people by allow them to make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect to electronic devices with a touch. Common uses of NFC include opening a car with your phone (ZipCar) or exchanging contact information (Bump).

APIapplication programming interface.

Tech speak: API is a source code-based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other.

Plain English: An API is a way of putting data into and getting data out of a system, without having to manually type that data in yourself. APIs are simple tools developers create to help other developers make the most effective and efficient use of their code. Many mobile apps out today employ APIs which let you register or log in using your Facebook or Twitter credentials.

GUIgraphical user interface.

Tech speak: GUI is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands.

Plain English: A GUI makes it easier for people to learn, use and implement, through the use of icons, graphics, and menus. Think Apple.

So the next time you hear a techie waxing eloquently in technical jargon, you no longer have to nod your head knowingly (while totally ignorant to what’s actually being said).

You can jump in that convo and throw a few around your damn self!

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