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Speak Geek, or at Least Fake It

How many technical acronyms do you encounter without knowing what the letters stand for?

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By now you know that URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. You’ve probably long known that HTTP means HyperText Transfer Protocol, and that USB stands for Universal Serial Bus.

How many other geeky acronyms do you encounter in the course of a week or a month without at least knowing what the letters stand for?

Tech Terms

Here, for your edification, are 36 such business, computer, and general purpose acronyms, so that the geeks realize you might know a little something about their world:

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ASCII = American Standard Code for Info. Interchange
ATM = Asynchronous Transfer Mode
CPU = Central Processing Unit
DCIM = Digital Camera IMages
DNS = Domain Name System
DRAM = Dynamic Random Access Memory

DVD = Digital Video Disk and, later, Digital Versatile Disc
DVR = Digital Video Recorder
HTML = Hypertext Markup Language
IMAP = Internet Message Access Protocol
IRC = Internet Relay Chat
IP = Internet Protocol

ISBN = International Standard Book Number
ISDN = Integrated Services Digital Network
ISO = International Standard for Organization
ISP = Internet Service Provider
LASER = Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
LED = Light-Emitting Diode

MPEG = Moving Picture Experts Group
MODEM = Modulator-Demodulator
OCR = Optical Character Recognition
PDF = Portable Document Format
RADAR = Radio Detection And Ranging
RFID = Radio Frequency Identification

SCUBA = Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
SDRAM = Synchronous Dynamic Random Access
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
SIM = Security Information Management
SMS = Short Message Service
SMTP = Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

TCP/IP = Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
WIFI = Wireless Fidelity
UPC = Universal Product Code
USP = Unique Selling Proposition
VLAN = Virtual Local Area Network
VPN = Virtual Private Network

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Gone in an Instant

Our e-files are so fragile that they can be gone in a moment’s notice

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Many people retain all of their text messages with their various correspondents. My daughter Valerie, for example, has more than one hundred text message correspondents — in other words, a running dialogue for each of the people with whom she sends and receives text. I only maintain two such longitudinal files, and one is with Valerie. With friends, relatives, clients, and acquaintances, I save the text streams for a few days or weeks, but then clear them out.

One evening, my sister Nancy texted me, and I texted her back. We went back and forth for a while. So, my message roster now included both Valerie Davidson and Nancy Davidson. After a while, I decided to clear the Nancy Davidson file, and you know what’s coming. I hit the wrong “Davidson,” file, and in an instant, more than a thousand texts between my daughter and myself were gone.

These texts included photos she had sent that I hadn’t yet downloaded, the picture of her new ring,  emojis that we passed back and forth, and everything else that transpired between us.

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Our Texting History, Vanished

I was beyond crestfallen. I felt as if I had lost something near and dear to me. It was devastating. I sat down in the big chair in my office and contemplated the possibilities. I contacted my computer guru and asked him if a deleted text message file was retrievable. He said with my Android system there was no such capability, only on iPhones. I called my sister and explained what I had done. She commiserated.

Then I sat down again, for a long time, and I thought about a friend who had lost her 23-year-old daughter and only child, seven months earlier…

I called my daughter, and I gave her the news. She didn’t seem concerned. I explained to her that she was the only one with whom I had maintained the longitudinal text trail. She told me that she maintains the text trail with everybody. “It’s not like you’re going to run out of room.” I asked her if she knew of any way that it could be retrieved. She didn’t know, either. We parted company.

Eureka! If she never deletes text message histories, then she has everything that’s transpired between us. I called her back, and she said she did have them all. So, on another day, when we figure out how to transfer what she has back to me, or least downloaded them into some text file, barring her losing her phone or accidentally hitting the delete button like I did, our texting history will be intact on my device.

A Fresh Start

I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life. The greater question now is, what kind of technology and what kind of lives do we lead when a longitudinal history can be wiped out by mistake in single second?

It is not comforting to know that critical files can be gone in a flash, but this is a condition of our era. For thousands of years, people simply spoke to each other with no way of recording anything, or even knowing it would one day be possible. Relationships right up to the 1960’s were based on real time conversations in person or on the phone. Answering machines existed in the early 1960’s but were not widely available until the mid 1980’s.

As technology became more and more powerful, as we all know, everyone has the capability today to save and store virtually every encounter that they have with anyone else in the world. Still, it is disquieting to know that our e-files are so fragile that they can be gone in a moment’s notice.

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Life

Friends: Real and Imagined

Technology can aid humankind but if we are not careful it can diminish the quality of our lives

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Researchers from the National Opinion Research Center have found that people who watch a lot of television seem to be as psychologically content as people who have many friends.

These disappointing findings stem from the fact that, “the human brain evolved long before television came along, so subconsciously it recognizes any face it sees regularly as a friend, even if it is on the screen,” says Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph.D., author of the study.

Does the above explain why society remains in a stupor of overfed, undernourished, overweight, socially inept citizens? After all they are, indeed, getting their social and psychological strokes by tuning in to see their favorite “friends” each week.

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Stuck in a Stupor?

Technology can certainly be an aid to human kind but if we are not careful it can greatly diminish the quality of our lives. Technology distracts us from our own thought, daydreams, even our own imagination.

When we fill in the time from the car to the elevator and the elevator to the office, or from lunch back to the office, with a cell phone, we interrupt the opportunity for people to marinate in their own imaginations.

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