You’ve probably heard of these terms, but do you really know what they even mean or stand for? For those of us who are as about tech-savvy as grandmas in the 80s, here’s a crash course on daily tech terms they didn’t teach you in school.
Bit is short for “binary digit”. It is the smallest unit of data in a computer, like how an atom is the smallest unit for matter. One bit contains a single binary value of either 0 or 1. Since bits are too small, they come together in a group of eight to form one Byte. A Byte contains just enough information for a computer to work with. One character, say the letter “a”, is one Byte. Two to three paragraphs of text make up about one kiloByte, and so on.
RAM stands for “Random Access Memory”, and shortens the time for you to run a program.
For example, each time you open a program, is it loaded from the hard drive into the RAM, as it is faster for the computer to read data from the RAM than from the hard drive, and functions without any lag time. With more RAM in your computer, you can load more data from the hard drive to the RAM, which will make your computer operate faster and perform better.
A cookie is a small piece of data generated by a website that stores information about your preferences. This information is saved by your web browser.
The most common purpose is to store login information for specific sites. For example, your email and password for Facebook will be stored in a cookie. When you check a box that says “Remember me on this computer”, Facebook will save this log-in cookie after you successfully log in, and you won’t have to re-enter these details when you visit the site again.
The Internet is a global area network that connects various computer systems across the world. It is not a synonym for the World Wide Web (WWW) – rather, the WWW is a subset of the Internet. The Internet includes many different online services aside from the WWW, such as email, social media apps, online gaming and more. To connect to the Internet, you need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) – every piece of data from the Internet has to be transmitted through an ISP, whether your laptop is connected to public WiFi or your mobile’s cellular data hotspot.
5. HTTP and HTTPS
“HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is the set of rules and instructions computers follow in order to communicate with each other, such as transferring data over the web.
For example, when you access a website, your browser sends a request to the matching web server. This server will respond with an HTTP status code. When the URL is validated and connection to the site is granted, the server will transfer to your browser data about the webpage. We are all familiar with HTTP 404, which is a common HTTP code indicating that the server could not find the information that was requested by your browser.
HTTPS, Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, indicates that all communications between your browser and web server are encrypted. This means that information can only be viewed by authorized parties.
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