Do you know what CMOS, GPIO, Microkernel and Boot Sector to 411, Beast Mode, FTW and PHAT mean? The online world is full of technical terms, slang phrases, acronyms and abbreviations that sometimes only make sense to computer programmers, IT professionals and teens—until now.
Thanks to Sharpened Productions’ TechTerms and Slangit dictionaries, even those of us who are less than technologically savvy or long past our teenage years can now decipher the often-confusing jargon we may encounter in tech blogs and software manuals as well as on our children’s mobile devices.
Technology Defined in Everyday Language
As the president of Sharpened Productions, Per Christensson, a computer science and communications graduate, launched TechTerms in 2005.
“It actually all began way back in 1999 when I was in college,” he recounted. “That was before broadband or before a lot of people were even using the Internet, and creating your own home page was a trendy thing to do. I decided to include useful definitions of tech terms on mine, and it eventually become TechTerms.com.”
A free dictionary of technology terms with close to 1,400 entries, Christensson focuses on clear definitions written in simple, everyday language.
“My goal with TechTerms is to write definitions in a way that anyone can understand,” he explained. “I don’t use circular definitions like you’ll find on user generated dictionaries such as Wikipedia. Instead, I include a lot of examples, as I think that always helps clarify what something means.”
Visitors to the TechTerms website, or who use its mobile apps for iOS and Android, can browse terms alphabetically or by category or tech factor. They’ll also find a Term of the Day, Quiz Question, and archive of past TechTerms quizzes.
“Quizzes have been a fun addition to the site,” Christensson noted. “I think we started them back in 2011. Our archive of quizzes has turned out to be a pretty useful resource for educators in different fields.”
While business professionals make up a large portion of TechTerm’s users, Christensson said there are also a lot of teachers and students who use the website as well.
“I get a lot of requests for content usage permission where teachers want to include some of the definitions in their curriculum or republish them internally,” he said. “That’s always a compliment but it also makes me want to make sure the definitions are 100 percent accurate.”
As the sole author of TechTerms, Christensson is currently working on updates to hundreds of definitions.
“I’d rather write quality definitions than have the highest quantity,” he explained. “So many of the terms change a year after you write the definition. The more definitions I write, the more updating I have to do.”
Slang Phrases, Emoticons, Acronyms and Abbreviations
Originally added to the Sharpened Productions portfolio in 2006 as ChatSlang, Christensson created Slangit purely for fun. Its definitions of slang terms, acronyms, abbreviations and emoticons soon became popular with a broad audience.
“If you want to know what a certain acronym or abbreviation means, Slangit is a great place to look it up,” he said. “But I would say that parents and kids are two of our biggest categories of users. Parents come to Slangit to look up the meanings of terms or abbreviations their kids are using. Kids sometimes browse Slangit just to see what words other people are using. The kids are the ones who email us to add new slang terms.”
In a world where teens, pre-teens and even younger children routinely use slang and abbreviations in text messages, online and even in their speech, it’s easy to see why Slangit would become a valuable resource for concerned parents. To that end, Christensson created a Parents’ Checklist of terms every guardian should know.
“It has been a popular page for parents, especially because there are certain ones that are kind of obscure and meant to be that way so that parents won’t know what they mean,” he added. “That’s why we have that list.”
Like TechTerms, Slangit is available as an app for iOS and Android. Visitors can browse more than 5,000 slang terms and text-based emoticons alphabetically or by category. They will also find a Daily Slang term, quizzes, list of trending slang words, leet character list, emoji video tutorials, and even a slang translator.