More Communications assistance. When you are trying to get assistance from a technical support specialist or your IT person, it is helpful if you and that person have some common ground; some words that you can agree upon the proper use just for this event. Last week I started with a few words that I felt were basic necessities; this week a few more that are still very basic, that are necessary for good communication.
Email: Any electronically transmitted message with one or more specific destinations. Smart phone texts are a special case where the recipient is identified by a phone number; more classic emails use an address made up of a mailbox name and server name separated by an at symbol “@”. For example email@example.com; george is the name on the mailbox and gmail.com is the name of the server (sometimes also called the service).
Email client: This is the program or App that is used to access your mailbox or mailboxes; it usually allows you to order all your emails (electronic letters) conveniently, compose outgoing email to whomever you desire and read those sent to you. It may also include a calendar and other handy functions.
Post: Post (verb), the act of sending material to the internet in electronic form; sending an email is one example, adding a comment or photo or video to a social media site are examples, tweeting is an example.
Post (noun), is the material, however simple or complex, sent to the internet. It can be blank (containing nothing) or extremely complex (an entire novel, a feature movie, etc.). Regardless of what it is, once it is a post, it no longer enjoys the privacy of your personal device, it now exists on the internet.
IM, or Instant Message: A form of information exchange which, in its simplest form, is an exchange between two persons over an electronic connection in which both are simultaneously active and sending each to the other. The resulting immediate receipt by the intended destination and ability to immediately respond was what set IM apart from Email. IM grew to include live messaging among groups with voice and live video or shared media previously prepared as a virtual meeting tool and much more.
Network: any group of devices connected for the purpose of information exchange; often with a single information transmission protocol. Telephone systems are one of the biggest and a very complicated example of a network; the internet is a good example, your in house printer sharing system is another example. Perhaps not too obvious is the tendency for networks to be inter-connected.
Modem: Technically a device which performs modulation and demodulation. In a more specific way, the device which extracts and converts network signals from a common carrier (phone lines, cable tv lines, fiber optic cable) to ethernet signal (or wifi) and also injects and converts local network signals (ethernet, or wifi) back onto the common carrier; thus providing two way communication for a given location. Sound confusing? A simple example is two people attaching a can to a single string and then talking to each other through the cans (the cans are modems in this example, the string is the common carrier; it works best of the string is taut).
Router: a network device that provides an interface (junction) between two or more networks; most current retail routers also include a small switch (see below) and wifi (wireless networking) capabilities. It is a common function for a router to take a single internet connection and provide access to that internet source to a local private network with the router managing local addresses for all the local network devices. In doing so it provides a layer of privacy for the local network while still providing internet access to those same devices.
Switch: a hub, the physical device that connects devices via cable to the other devices in a network. Commonly, the LAN (local area network) cable from a router plugs into one port on a switch and all the other wired devices in a network connect to other ports in the same switch thus connecting all of them together (physically); in this way the router can control communications between any and all devices in a network).
Next week I would like to expand on a topic that I believe is implied in several of these definitions and its impact on our day to day use of modern electronic devices; that is the topic of Privacy or Expectation of Privacy.