Techie Words Explained in English Anyone Can Understand

Posted On: November 1, 2015

An exercise common to many developers I work with is translating of techie words and terminology into ordinary English. To this end, in this post, I will try to describe some common words used in relation to computers, technology and the Internet. Feel free to share your feedback in the comment section below.

Talking About Common Technology Terms in Plain English

Talking About Common Technology Terms in Plain English

What is “the cloud”?
The cloud is a set of servers not on your own computer that can digitally store information, data, images, videos, etc. E-mail programs such as Gmail are cloud-based as the emails are not saved on your local drive unless you download them.

How do I do a mouseover?
Move a mouse cursor over a particular word or image on a webpage or while using a program without pressing a button on a mouse. Without pressing anything on the mouse, but passing the mouse cursor over the image or words, a menu or other information may get displayed. 

I used the word mouseover in this online demo/tutorial of showing captions on YouTube.

What does it mean when something goes viral?
We are not talking about a human virus here! When something goes viral on the Net, it means that many people have linked to it on their websites, or more popularly, shared it on their social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others in large numbers. To compare going viral to an American idiom, we could say when something goes viral, it spreads like wildfire on the Internet. Often, viral posts also end up getting some visability in more traditional media like the TV news or newspapers.

How can I send a text or an SMS?

What is an SMS or a PING?

To send a text or an SMS, you need a mobile or cell phone. Text and SMS are synonyms. Text is short for text message. SMS stands for short messaging system. For anyone who has sent a short, typed message on their phone to their friends, family or colleagues has sent a text or an SMS. Texts can be sent through the texting platform on the phone or through texting services attached to sites like Facebook or WhatsApp. 

What’s an app? 
App is short for application. An app is something like a computer program. Apps are used on phones, computers and other digital devices. Some apps are free, while others are not.

What does “ping someone” mean?
Ping is a term that can be used conversationally as well as in tech discussions. In conversations, friends may ask each other to “ping me” for updates. This means to send a short message to get in touch with the other person. 

In pure tech terms, PING stands for Packet INternet Groper, and happens when a computer sends a message to another computer to see if they are there.

Jennifer Kumar helps your tech teams communicate with more confidence with customers, clients and stakeholders. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Related Posts:
What does “ping me” mean?
Synonyms: An Easy Way to Increase Vocabulary 
English Phrases to use in Client Software Demos and Meetings

top image from What is an SMS or PING?
Updated 2020



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