Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tech Terms Defined Nontechnically

“It’s like a fake ATM that prints out an error message when you try to use it, but in the meantime has taken your credit card details and PIN number.”

The Sideways Dictionary does not offer direct definitions of technology terms, but instead provides analogies, cultural references, or other non-techno-babble to explain terms to general audiences. The “fake ATM” example above is the Sideways Dictionary’s explanation for phishing, a nefarious tactic that has been on the rise lately in school districts, businesses, and the general public.

Another example is 2 factor authentication, a security protocol for users of systems such as your Apple ID that requires additional information beyond a username and password to access a service:

“It’s like meeting a blind date. You arrange the time and place (something you know) and agree to carry a red rose in order to recognize each other (something you possess)” (excerpted from Sideways Dictionary).

If the first analogy doesn’t connect with you or offer better understanding, other examples are also provided. Another contributor turns to Hogwarts to describe 2 factor authentication:

“It's like Harry Potter's wand. Harry knows all the spells but to cast one he needs his wand in his hand” (excerpted from Sideways Dictionary).

The next time you need a tech term explained, try Sideways Dictionary:


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