What is a dongle?

InternetIt’s been a while since we had any geek speak on the World of Words, so today I thought I’d share an article from the BBC technology news section.

I use a 3.5G (HSDPA) Internet connection so this news was particularly interesting for me. I would love a connection ten times faster than the one I have now so I can’t wait for this technology to be released to the rest of the world!

There was some interesting technical vocabulary in this article, too. The first interesting word was ‘dongle‘. A ‘dongle‘ is a small electronic device that must be plugged into a computer in order for a specific function to work. In this case, it’s to receive a signal to transfer data. In other cases it might be to act as an authorisation key for a certain piece of software.

The next interesting word is ‘downlink‘. This means the transfer of data from the Internet to your computer. The opposite is ‘uplink‘.

Slightly later on, the author uses the word ‘pilot‘ meaning ‘to try out’ or ‘to test’. Sometimes, we can also use ‘pilot’ as an adjective when we talk about a ‘pilot scheme’ or ‘pilot episode‘.

The last expression I would like to look at today is ‘on the move‘. This means ‘whilst travelling’.

What kind of Internet connection do you use?

Today’s image is by CLUC.

Windows 7

Paving the way‘ made another appearance this week in this article I saw on cnet.com yesterday. I don’t really use windows unless I have to but this article and the comments underneath it made me want to at least try Windows 7 to see what it’s like. Maybe I’ll give it a go over the weekend.

There were loads of interesting expressions in this article, along with a lot of ‘geek speak‘ (computer jargon). The first word that caught my attention was in the second paragraph where the reviews of Windows Vista were described as ‘lukewarm‘. ‘Lukewarm’ is a slightly negative word we can use to describe a liquid which is a little bit warm. For example, if order a hot drink and it when it arrives it is only slightly warm, you can say it is ‘lukewarm’. If a review or response to something is ‘lukewarm’, it is not particularly excited or enthusiastic.

In the next paragraph, the author mentions a ‘deadline’, meaning the specific time a piece of work or a project has to be finished by:

In contrast to Vista, Windows 7 has been marked by the company consistently hitting its deadlines and receiving largely positive feedback along the way.

There is a great expression in the paragraph after that where Mike Angiulo is quoted as saying:

“That is our final engineering milestone in what has been a three-year journey,”

In this context, a ‘milestone’ is an important event in the three-year project he mentions. We can also have milestones in our lives or careers. The original meaning of the phrase is a kind of old-fashioned road sign that marked the distance to other important places. I guess if you think of life as a journey, milestones are markers along the way.

There’s a nice bit of geek-speak later on in the article where it is mentioned that the operating system would work well on ‘netbooks‘. A ‘netbook’ is a very small laptop where portability and minimal cost are usually more important than having a fast processor. I would like to buy one in the future, I think, because it would be ideal for blogging with.

The last expression I’d like to look at in this article is ‘end game’:

“When you are going through the end game, sometimes it is really bumpy; sometimes it is not,” (Mike Angiulo)

The ‘end game’ (sometimes spelled without a space) is the final or closing stages of a process. It’s also the last part of a chess game when the players don’t have many pieces left on the board.

Have you tried Windows 7 yet? If so, it is any good? If not, which operating system do you use and why?

Today’s image is by Peter Nielsen