============ Technology Terminology ============

With the growth of the internet, we have seen the emergence of certain words and phrases that I personally feel need some degree of clarification in the minds of the general public.

DTV or Digital Transition has alot of people very confused. This is somewhat understandable with the way tv's are sold and with marketing gimicks that are used. What is happening is in February 2009, television broadcasters are no longer going to allowed to transmit analog signals "over-the-air". These analog signals are what is currently being picked up by "rabbit-ear" antennaes. The signal is going away. That means that any analog television that uses rabbit ears will show snow simply because there will not be any signal for it to receive. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with services supplied by cable companies, satelite companies, or phone companies. The ONLY people affected by this are those that use rabbit ears on analog tv's. Many people think they have to rush out and buy a "digital tv". This is NOT true. Older analog tv's can and will continue to function just as they always have. The only thing that matters is having a "digital tuner". Digital tuners can be plugged into older analog tv's (just like the cable companies have been doing for decades). Cable and satelite boxes already contain digital tuners. A digital converter box can be purchased at any one of various electronics stores and it is THESE boxes that the FCC is giving coupons for. These boxes add a digital tuner to an analog tv. With a set of rabbit ear antennaes plugged into a digital tuner box, reception of digital signal can be had. If you already have a tv that contains a digital tuner, these boxes are of NO value. You have a choice, buy the box or buy the digital tv. Since this whole thing ONLY deals with over-the-air signals, those that get tv through cable, satelite, or phone companies are NOT affected---these services are hard wired. Now, satelite is already setup with all digital signal (digital signal is the basis for how it works in the first place). Cable companies that decide to increase the number of digital channels are doing it to improve the quality of service (which is a very differant thing from digital transition). Digital transition is often confused with HD (high definition). High definition television is a very different thing entirely. HD is digital but digital does not mean HD. In all the range of digital channels, only a portion of them are HD. The number of high def channels are growing though. Just don't be conned into buying the latest and most expensive tv thinking you have to becuase of digital transition. You can buy them. But you don't have to. Keep in mind that no one is transmitting HD in 1080P yet. It's still 1080i at best (unless your using HDDVD, BlueRay, or a video game console). Although, with one of these tv's (that contain a digital tuner), all that is required is a simple rabbit ear antennae and you can watch over-the-air digital braodcasts. One big thing that is usually overlooked though, is the range of digital signals. Analog tv signals travel much longer distances before fading away. So, you could be alot further from the transmission towers. With over-the-air digital signal, your tv/antennae must be physically closer to the towers in order to keep from breaking up. This fact does make cable, satelite, and phone companies much more appealing. Personally, I think anyone that can get cable...should. Anyhow, you have choices. You are not forced into any particular direction. You are however, forced into making a decision...do something or not watch tv.

HDCP is a copy protection mechanism put into HDMI and DVI high definition video connections. HDCP is what is responsible for creating messages within many cable boxes that are connected to a television using HDMI that basicly deactivate the HDMI port on the box. This is not something to be "fixed" or repaired. Ultimately, the best way to deal with it is to connect the box to the tv using component cables and completely disregard HDMI. Many people are not going to be satisfied with this situation. The television must be HDCP compliant in order for this to continue to function. Since most people do little to no research before buying their new tv, most people aren't going to know what's going on. That is why I list this here. It comes down to the box and the tv not able to cummincate with eachother and that causes the HDMI port to shut off. This isn't something that salesmen will discusss with a buyer prior to purchase. HDCP is a result of the DMCA signed into law by Bill Clinton back in 2001. For a more detailed discription see HDCP. UPDATE: This has now been cracked and that crack has been confirmed. But don't look for it through any legal channel.

PODCASTING is really nothing more than downloading media (audio and/or video). The ability to "broadcast" something over the net or make something a download. This is NOT specific to the Ipod and would be a function of the net if the Ipod never existed.

BLOGING (also blogers, blogs, and the blogosphere) This is a complete misnomer as "EVERY" webpage on the net is basicly a blog. Many people think that blogs are written by people that are experts or are "in-the-know" about something. This is completely false. By deffinition, anyone can write or create a blog. By it's very essence, everything that makes a blog also makes "EVERY" webpage out there. Put simply: a blog is a blog for no other reason than the fact that it is labeled a blog. Blogs are just as sesceptable to inacuracy as non-blogs and get treated as if they actually mean something.

DOWNLOADING is another very misunderstood and misused word. Many people seem to think they are not downloading if they do not use any peer to peer (p2p) software to acquire music or movies. The truth is that you download everything you come across online. Webpages, email, instant messages, updates, even streaming media are all downloaded. All these things have just as much potential for harming your computer as using a p2p program to get music or movies. Most people don't realize they actually "download" webpages. The code embeded within these pages can and often does act just like an install program. This is the biggest problem with online porn.

SUPPORT creates strange ideas in peoples minds. With Microsoft ending support for Win98, Win98se, and WinME....people seem to think that's enough to stop using these operating systems. Ending support for these things really doesn't mean anything at all. These os's still function just as they always did. It's just that Microsoft isn't going to do anything with it anymore. In the end, this is actually a good thing as there is now a promise of no MS spyware, DRM, or new restrictions placed on these older os's. It is being said that these os's are now being made more vulnerable. These are not the case, inspite of MS not puting out any security "fixes" for them. This is exactly opposite of reality. The larger truth is that with every new update and fix from MS, new problems get created. Windows XP actually has more (well documented) vulnerabilities than anything else. "Support" is interesting in that people end up using it primarily due to the fact that they are unwilling to learn something about the computers they own. The more you learn, the less you will need any kind of support. The enevitable conclusion is that with more dependance on "support", there comes a higher degree of being lead like sheep into further ignorance and the greater possability of being lied to for the increase of someone's growth of power over you.

MEDIA CENTER is one that was coined by Microsoft from it's "Windows Media Center Edition". This is a serious misnomer. There isn't ANY differance at all between this and any other computer except for a few hardware additions. These specific additions are essentially tv tuner cards....the very same cards (and devices) that can be added to almost any computer. Computers are already equipt with the larger harddrives and enough ram to work with audio/video files. With high end gaming such as it is, better video graphics cards are being put into most computers aswell. People seem to be getting very confused on this subject. A "media center" computer is NOT needed for dealing with audio/video "DVR" type of work. A new Windows os is NOT required. Just about the only thing that IS required is a tv tuner card or similar device for bringing audio/video onto a harddrive. Since Windows XP has found it's own "End of Life", Things like Media Center Edition is not even so much an item anymore. I'm left wondering what the point was in this os? Perhaps just a way to seperate people from their money?

PC is usually completely misused. The term "PC" literally means Personal Computer. That means that ANY computer that an individual is likely to own is a pc. This includes ALL Macintosh computers. People tend to think that if it's a Mac, it isn't a pc. This is very wrong. A Macintosh (Apple) is a pc because it's a personal computer. For this same reason, ALL laptops are also pc's. There is only two types of pc's: laptops and desktops. Desktops come in 3 flavors: those that the owner has built themselves, those that the owner has had built, and those that have been purchased already built. Laptops only really have one flavor: those that were purchased already built (inspite of any hardware/software upgrades). The particular operating system that the pc runs on does not change or have anything to do with the fact that it is a pc.

COOKIES are misunderstood or are completely unknown by most users. Cookies can be a very good and usefull things for a website to put on your computer. Many sites require the download of cookies in order to work properly. The down side to cookies is that they can also be used for tracking of your movements as you surf the net. In essence, cookies are simply pieces of webpages that get downloaded and stored on your harddrive and were originally intended to make pulling up a previously viewed page happen faster....this is sortof a remnant of the old days of dialup net access so that the narrow bandwidth could be better used. With the proliferation of broadband access, it is now easier to program cookies for tracking purpuoses. All browsers should have a setting to allow you to decide wether or not you want it to download cookies. Because of the way cookies tend to act aswell as build up, it is strongly recommended that you clean out all your cookies on a regular basis. Cookies can fill up your harddrive and slow down the computer. Sometimes even creating an unbootable pc due to the harddrive having no more free space. Cookies should not be feared but they should be controlled.

WIRELESS is a term that many people get confused about. Especially when it comes to "wireless internet". Current technology has only one kind of wireless internet and that is a cellular connection. People tend to think that the use of a wireless router gives wireless internet, this is NOT the case. Wireless routers (as routers in general) only create wireless "network" connections. Having a wireless "network" DOES NOT mean wireless internet. Having a router period does not mean having internet access. What a router does do is allow for networking. Where as the internet is actually one very huge network, the use of a router does not mean having access to other networks. Wether you use dialup, DSL, cable based internet, cellular, or anything else....the use of a router (wired or wireless) only means you have the ability to network more than one computer together. In the case of cable based or DSL connections, a router can be connected to the modem to allow for more than one computer to be online. It is the modem however that is the device that gives internet access (and this modem IS wired...NOT wireless).

WEB2.0 is nothing more than a "buzzword" designed to get peoples' attention. Web2.0 does not actually exist in any form of reality. Some choose to look at it as web based applications and software. The problem with this is that web based programming is nothing new and does not in itself signify a coming of some new type of internet. This term may make one think that the internet is being revamped into something completely new but in the end, it means nothing at all. Everything that is out there that has the web2.0 label requires web1.0 access and works just the same. There are those that think of it in the IPv6 (internet protocal version 6) sense. This might be more reasonable since web1.0 currently operates using IPv4, but changing IP addresses still isn't anything new and that's ultimately what the differance is between IPv4 and IPv6. Although IPv6 does allow for ALOT more addresses. This way of looking at it will need to be followed as technology advances. Currently, web2.0 just means advertising buzzwords for companies and people that want to "look" as if they are on the bleeding edge of high tech (much like blogging).

P2P or Peer to Peer programs are out there and are quite popular. Programs like KaZaa, Bearshare, or Bittorrent are examples of P2P. The primary use of these programs are for the sharing of music, movies, video clips, and almost any othe kind of computer file. Kazaa, even with it's popularity is quite dangerous for the health of computers and is therefore discouraged by this site. Bittorrent seems to be the most stable of them all. The problem with all P2P programs is the RIAA/MPAA crackdown on so-called copy righted material. Use of any P2P software is done at the users own risk as this is a good way to acquire an infection aswell as getting sued by the AA's. Things like Itunes have been created so that people can download music and movies in a so-called "legal" way to get people off of regular P2P software. The biggest problem with thing like Itunes is the DRM (digital rights management) and interoperability of whatever is downloaded. Items obtained through things like this tends to limit the users ability to do things. Even though I do completely understand the desire to have music and movies on the computer, there is a risk and a price to be paid for the means by which this is usually done. Personally, I recommend using FTP (file transfer protocal) for doing this. Although I do undersatnd why people would not want to use this. Upto this point, the actuall thing that defines wether or not something is "legal" seems to be nothing more than some combination between what the AA's says it is and the differance in the servers being used. The real problem is that neither one of these things has anything at all to do with the file being downloaded. On one hand, the AA's tells the world that downloading music and movies is illegal and one the other hand they say it isn't. Until this thing is actually decided, this is all done at the users own risk.

Other items for your consideration and review

Crystal Balls are usually seen as something used by "fortune tellers", witches, and people just looking to take money from anyone gullable enough to actually believe that people exist with the power of foresight in order to ease their own discomforts in life. However, a "crystal ball" does NOT need to take on the form of a sphere. Even those that are in the profession will often use Quartz crystal and if one where to completely disregard the idea that true crystal is a highly sought after prize that most people will pay alot of money for (even now), quartz crystal is the basis behind LCD (liquid crystal display). Most televisions and computer monitors are LCD at this point (even if the back lighting is LED). So, the question is....Do we not all see the past (things that have happened and who was where doing what), the present (as we watch various news broadcasts and live programs), and the future (monitoring trends and finding out who is about to do what and where), not to mention comunicating with people over vast distances (the internet) or even dead people (zombie-fied fans of AMC's television show "The Walking Dead" and all those dead people that always seem to make it to polling places to vote for democrats)

Chronological snobbery Is a very real thing that is taking place with our technology. It is in a very real way, a part of how the human race has decided to deal with all these so-called advancements. Newer does NOT mean better, it just means newer. Updating for the sake of updating is crazy and is a direct result of technological ignorance. People are so quick to get angry when bad things happen and yet no one seems to understand that there are a great many products out there that are NOT worth buying or having. That advent of "social media" helps to push these flawed ideas that all we have to do is accept the latest fix or the newest shiny thing that comes around the corner. There is a mind set that is part of all this and it is messin' with peoples' heads. One of the results is going to be the complete irradication of desktop and laptop computers aswell as home servers. This problem is going to end up with very few (if any) places to buy motherboards or any form of internal computer components. This internet is the greatest and most powerful communications medium that the human race has ever (EVER) had and it is being threatened. Chief among these threats is the fact that so few of the worlds population understands anything at all regarding technology (and many don't care to). This apathy will mean that being part of the web will require being lead by the nose and being forced into doing what is told. This is an idea that so very deeply affends me, simply because there is no way for the human race to truly adance like this. We all become servants in a kind of dictatorship. The thing is, our so-called leaders don't understand any of this technology either. All they want is something to lord of the masses. It's time for the flashing 12:00 to be dealt with.
-----We are better than this....it's time to show it!