It's All Geek To Me: Deciphering Common Computer & Internet Terms

It's All Geek To Me: Deciphering Common Computer & Internet Terms

Jason Yang
Jul 16, 2012

You hear them thrown around all the time when you're buying tech or in programs and on the internet: HDMI, DVI, JPG, HTML, etc., etc. But what do these terms actually mean? Ensuring you're not just nodding your head as the salesman rattles off specs and tech, we help explain the basics for some of the common tech terms - starting off with computers and the internet.

Computers, Software, & The Internet

GB - Bytes are a general unit of measure for digital data. A GB, short for gigabyte, is very approximately 1 billion bytes. and is in practical terms used for calculating capacity in data capacity - whether it's on a hard disk drive, flash drive, memory, etc. - for computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

DVI - DVI, short for Digital Visual Interface, is a type of connection commonly used between your computer and your monitor. It's considered the next step up from the old standby VGA cable. Make sure your computer and your monitor both have DVI connections to ensure compatibility, but most non-super-cheap models do now so it's a pretty safe bet.
Differences Between HDMI and DVI?

HTML - HypterText Markup Language is the primary programming language used to create and display web pages that you see on the internet, such as this fine one from Apartment Therapy. It's the very basics of what a web designer needs to know in order to build websites.
Learning a New Language @ Home: Teaching Yourself Web Design

404 - A 404 in internet terms is when you're surfing the web and come across a page that doesn't exist, or is "not found" as the page might say. This might happen when there's an outdated/broken link or you've mistyped a page URL. It's just a friendly way of saying "hey, there's nothing here at this URL, please try again."
Final Frame: The Dreaded 404 Error
Apartment Therapy's 404 Error Page

PDF - A PDF is Adobe's Portable Document Format and is a common file format for saving and sending documents. That cursed Adobe Acrobat Reader update that you see pop up on your computer far too frequently is the general program that opens these files, although many other programs will work with the format as well.
Ten DIY Printer Friendly PDF Calendars From Etsy
Bypassing iBooks to Properly View PDF Files in iOS
Two Easy Ways to Convert PDFs For Your Kindle
Make PDFs Look Better on Your eReader With Briss

JPEG - A JPEG (commonly seen displayed as a JPG because of the old three letter file extensions from Microsoft) is a file compression method used for digital images. It is most commonly used as the image file format of choice for displaying images on the internet.

USB - Although others had tried and failed, before there was USB there was mostly a smattering of random computer connection types that all were proprietary or device specific. USB came along in the 1990s and changed all that, with its universal (it's not called the Universal Serial Bus for nothing) ability to work with a huge number of devices. You use USB to connect everything from your printer to your mouse to your keyboard to your digital camera and more. It's that useful. It's also extremely frustrating at times to know which direction to plug the cable in.
Clever USB Connection Solutions and Tips
DIY: Pink Eraser USB Flash Drive Hiding Data In Plain Sight

(Images: NinaMalyna/Shutterstock, Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock, romvo/Shutterstock)

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