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Computing Dictionary (April – 2012)

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Silicon Valley has long been notorious for churning out jargon along with its electronics, and it isn't showing any signs of slowing. With the rise of each new trend, more tech terms find their way into our day-to-day vocabulary. Right now, social media is the chief jargon offender. Tomorrow—who knows? One thing is for certain:Our dictionary has plain-English definitions that will keep you up to speed.

augmented reality • Yet another example of the real world catching up with science fiction, augmented reality describes technology that provides up-to-date information about the world around you. An augmented reality app on your smartphone, for example, may display information about a monument when you aim the phone's camera at the monument.

Description: WorkSnug smartphone app (free; worksnug.com)

WorkSnug smartphone app (free; worksnug.com)

cloud • The definitions for "cloud" and "cloud computing" are still evolving and subject to debate, but you'll find that many people are referring to online services when they say something is "in the cloud." Such services include online photo-editing services. Web-based email services, online storage services, and more. Businesses often think of cloud computing in terms of scalability; Internet-based services that can scale to meet the changing usage needs of a growing business. SaaS (Software as a Service), for example, is software that is hosted online (instead of being installed on your computers). It can be scaled for use by your growing company.

Description: Cloud Computing

fan grille • Wherever you find a fan on your computer case, you are also likely to find a fan grille (sometimes referred to as a fan grill). Not to be mistaken for a fan filter (which blocks dust from being sucked into your system), a fan grille prevents curious children and pets from touching the rotating fan blade. Business PCs typically have nondescript grilles, while gaming PCs often have grilles in eye-catching shapes.

Description: fan grille

iPhone • Launched in 2007, the Apple iPhone is a wildly popular smartphone that runs Apple's iOS operating system. Features that have helped shape its success include the touch screen, the sleek design, its processing power, its music playing capabilities, and its App Store. The store is arguably one of the most important features of the phone; It lets users find and download free and paid mini-applications that add functionality to the iPhone by letting users play games, edit photos, shop, track information, and more. iPhones are in wide use by consumers and businesses.

ODF (Open Document Format) • For as long as we've had office software, sharing digital document files (among users who have different types of office software) has been problematic. If a colleague creates a document with one brand of office software, you might find that important formatting is lost when you open it in your (different) office software. In fact, it might not open at all. To improve widespread (and long-term support) for digital documents, the Open Document Format Alliance created an open-source document standard. The format is supported by many popular office suites, including modern versions of Corel WordPerfect Office, Google Docs, OpenOffice.org, and Microsoft Office. To save a document as an ODF document, click Save As and look for the ODT (text), ODS (spreadsheet), or related extension.

Description: ODF (Open Document Format)

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