Basic Tech Terms (PDF)

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Basic Tech Terms
Hardware – The physical parts of a computer and related devices. Internal hardware devices include:

Hard drives
Solid State Drives

External hardware devices include:


Hard drive – The hardware that contains a disk and motor and stores the data on a device (a typical
hard drive has anywhere from 8 GB to 500 GB)
Solid State Drive – The hardware that contains no disk or motor but uses integrated circuit
assemblies as memory to store data (a typical SSD has less storage capacity and contains 128 GB to
256 GB). Runs much faster than a hard drive because it does not have any moving parts.
Megabyte (MB) – A unit of information that equals a million bytes
Example 1 – The average music file is 4 MB
Gigabyte (GB) – A unit if information that contains 1024 MB (1 GB = 1024 MB)
Example 1 – The average high definition movie is 1 GB
Example 2 – A gigabyte can equate to about 250 songs
Operating System (OS) – Software that communicates with the hardware and allows other programs
to run. Every computer, smartphone, and tablet includes an operating system that provides basic
functionality for the device
Example 1 – All Microsoft PC’s and laptops run the operating system called Windows
Example 2 – All Mac computers and laptops run the operating system called OSX
Example 3 – All iPhones run the operating system called iOS
Example 4 – All other smartphones run the operating system called Android

Software – A general term that describes computer programs (also known as an application)
Example 1 – iTunes is basic music software
Example 2 – Your computer’s antivirus software
App (“application”) – (SEE SOFTWARE) usually referred to programs for smartphones and tablets
Widget – A component of an application with an interface that enables a user to perform a function
or access a service with frequent updates. Some common widgets include:

Weather guides
Stock lists
Flight trackers
Google search box

Internet – A worldwide network that facilitates data transmission and exchange
Wi-Fi – A facility allowing computers, smartphones, tablets, or other devices to the Internet
Mobile Hotspot – A portable device or smartphone feature that provides wireless Internet access
(Wi-Fi) on many devices (your laptop, smartphone, tablet, mp3 player, portable gaming device, etc.)
Wireless Router – Provides access to the Internet wirelessly
Search engine – A program that allows the retrieval of data from the Internet
Example 1 – Google is the most popular search engine
Example – Yahoo and Bing are other popular search engines
Blog – A website or web page on which personal opinions, daily updates, or links to other sites are
posted regularly
Example 1 – Huffington Post is one of the most popular news blogs
Example 2 – Business Insider is a popular business blog
Cloud storage – A virtual network where data is stored. Popular cloud storage sites include:

Google Drive

Social Media – Websites or applications used for social networking. Popular social media sites



Twitter – An online social networking site that enables users to send and read “tweets” which are
text messages that are limited to 140 characters and contain information
Example 1 – San Diego Tech Teacher is on Twitter - @YourTechTeacher
Example 2 – Many celebrities are on twitter, the most followed ones are:

Katy Perry
Justin Beiber
Barack Obama
Taylor Swift
Justin Timberlake

Bluetooth – A short-range wireless interconnection of cell phones, computers, and other electronic
devices allowing digital information to be sent from one device to another
NFC (Near Field Communication) – Similar to Bluetooth, it allows similar devices to establish
radio communication with each other by touching them together (or bringing them into proximity) in
order to swap digital information
VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) – A means of phone communication via the Internet

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