Looking Out from the Inside

Saturday, January 14

The Lofti Glossary

I'm a pretty huge geek. The fact that I started this website to begin with is proof positive. So when I start talking about RAM and DRM and one processor vs another it's nothing but a thing. But I don't want this to be a site just for der ├╝ber geeken. I want my Mom to be able to log on and understand what the hell I'm talking about.

But it's hard to talk about technology without slipping into technospeak. Especially when the alternative is explaining the difference between AAC and MP3 every flipping time the iTunes Music Store comes up. So here you go, a quick and dirty list of common phrases and initials. Expect it to be linked frequently to aid in interpreting any confusing articles I post. If you see anything you have a question about please don't hesitate to mention it to me and I'll add it to the list.

AAC - An audio codec, a modified version of which is used in the iTunes Music Store. If you don't know what a codec is just look down.
CES - Short for the International Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest convention of consumer electronics in the world.
Codec - enCOder/DECoder. A bit of software that turns music into digital information (like ripping a CD to your computer) and turns that digital information back into your music (what the iPod does when you push play)
DRM - Digital Rights Management. Software that limits the way you can use your media. FairPlay (see below) is the DRM used in the iTunes Music Store.
EOL - And acronym for End Of Life, the status of a product that is no longer in production but still for sale. Reports of EOLed products often comes directly before a product update.
FairPlay - The DRM used in the iTunes Music Store. In it's current itineration it allows songs to be played on up to five computers and a single playlist to be burned up to seven times.
iTMS - The iTunes Music Store. Found in the left hand column of iTunes songs, music videos, and tv shows can be purchased from there and played on your iPod.
MacWorld - A huge freaking convention held every hear in January dedicated to Apple and Apple products. Expect a lot of rumors leading up to MacWorld and a lot of news to follow it. Also MWSF for MacWorld San Francisco (There used to be a summer MacWorld on the east coast, hence the differentiation).
MP3 - The codec to make digital music popular. Unencumbered by DRM it is the most popular format for digital music.
User Interface - What you interact with when you use a computer. Everything from the way a program looks to the feedback you get from a webpage to the error messages your operating system gives you. Ideally a user should be able to navigate it without conscious thought. Realistically the UI is the biggest stumbling block between what a user wants to do and what a user actually gets done.
Windows Media Center - A version of Microsoft's Windows operating system designed to be used connected to a TV. Among other things it provides for television to be recorded directly to the computer.
WMA - Windows Media Audio. The codec used in nearly every online music store aside from the iTunes Music Store and compatible with most digital music players other than the iPod.

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Heading image Courtesy of Harvey Tobkes

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