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The ABCs of the ‘www’ – It’s Time to Learn the Lingo

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By Etan Horowitz

RISMEDIA, April 19, 2008-(MCT)-Most endeavors develop a vocabulary all their own. Computers and the Internet are no different. Here are some terms you may encounter as you use the Web.


To use computer code to place something, such as a YouTube video or song, on a website or blog. When a video or song is embedded on a page, the user can watch the video or listen to the song without having to leave that page.

Web 2.0

The term refers to the new breed of websites and Web services that focus on social networking and user-generated content, such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and blogs. Web 2.0 also describes the shift to Internet-based applications, such as Google Docs, which is a free, Web-based word processing program. With Web 2.0 sites and services, the user is an active participant because they post articles, videos or photos instead of just reading what has been written.

Internet Meme

Pronounced “meem.” Refers to an idea, concept, phrase, or other unit of information that spreads quickly from one person to another through the Internet. Some well-known Internet memes include the Numa Numa Dance (a video of a teenager dancing to a pop song), a hoax e-mail about Bill Gates willing to pay money for forwarding the e-mail, and a website showing hamsters dancing to music.

Flash memory

A kind of storage for camera memory cards, computers and other devices that does not include a traditional hard drive. Because there are no moving parts, flash storage is seen as more durable than traditional hard drives. iPods, other MP3 players and key chain USB thumb drives all use flash memory and more laptops are being made with flash memory as storage.

Digital SLR

Stands for “single lens reflex,” a camera design that allows the user to view directly through the lens for more accurate framing and composition. The design also makes it easy to change lenses if you want to use a specialty lens. These specialty lenses are larger so the overall cameras tend to be heavier. The cameras are more expensive and as an added benefit, they typically do not have a long lag time between shots.


A device that plugs into a laptop computer, typically through a USB connection or PC card slot that uses a cell-phone signal to provide high-speed Internet access. The devices allow users to have Internet access without relying on Wi-Fi hotspots. They are sold by cell-phone companies, and they require a monthly service plan. “AirCard” is a registered trademark of Sierra Wireless.

Web Widget

A piece of computer code used to create an item on a Web page, such as a poll, advertising, search box, news headlines or photo slide show. Widgets are embedded on Web pages. Yahoo, Microsoft and Google also offer desktop widgets, which have similar functions. (Microsoft and Google call them “gadgets.”)


A computer program that is added on to enhance an existing program, such as a Web browser or e-mail program.

Common plug-ins are media players for Web browsers, such as Adobe’s Flash player.


“Short Message Service,” technology for sending messages back and forth between devices, especially cell phones. Sometimes used interchangeably with “text message.”

© 2008, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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