Terms of Endearment


By Neil Offen

Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes everybody — particularly those who are digital natives or just, say, younger than our socks — is speaking a different language than we are? I know, it could be French or Spanish, but it’s probably emoji.   

We sometimes need a glossary to figure out what they are saying. Fortunately, I have one here.

AI. These initials stand for artificial intelligence, which is the ability of a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans. Unfortunately, these tasks never include folding a fitted bed sheet.

Algorithm. Al got rhythm, Al got music, Al got my gal, who could ask for anything more? 

Bandwidth. When your adult children say they are too busy with their PTA meetings, book clubs, garage bands or something on Netflix, they will explain the reason they didn’t call you on Sunday was because they were exhausted and “out of bandwidth.”

Bluetooth. Probably not a sign of bad dental hygiene, but, instead, a wireless communications technology intended to replace a cable. And who doesn’t want to replace Spectrum or Comcast?

Browser. Just looking.

Cookie. A piece of code or data created and left on a user’s computer unless it is homemade chocolate chip which is never left.

Driver. Could be Adam, for all we know. 

Encryption. To protect our communications from spying eyes, they are put into snug crypts, which are used for burials, which are then placed underground and reappear only during Mark Zuckerberg’s scary testimony to Congress.

GIF. Technically, Graphics Interchange Format. Not so technically, GIFs are little video snippets that are generally used to make fun of boomers online by younger generations who have no idea what carbon paper is. 

JPEG. A file format created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, thus the name, which has become the common format used for photos displayed on the internet. It just beat out the Shared Hi-tech Item Team, fortunately.

Megabyte. Many bytes.

Megahertz. Many hertzes.

Meme. Not pronounced me-me. But you knew that, right?

RAM. Not the same as ROM.

ROM. Different from RAM.

Virtual Reality. So much better than real reality because it doesn’t have pandemics, occasional lower back pain or the linoleum peeling in the kitchen that needs to be replaced.

WEP. I have no idea.

WPA. I have no idea.

Zip. I have zip idea.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column appears twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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