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THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: THE LANGUAGE OF THE DIGITAL WORLD

The digital world is changing our lives by the day. If you want to be up to date with its language, have a look at the following words:

BANDWIDTH Rate at which information, measured in bits of data per second (bps), moves between computers. Determines a network’s ability to deliver information.
BLUETOOTH Short-range wireless con-nection between phones, headsets and computers. Overhyped and underused.
BROADBAND EFFECT Because it’s always on, this is how internet activity increases after broadband connection: general surfing up 53%, searching for info 50%, updating software 42%, downloading large files 40%, banking 32%, music downloads 28%, shopping 27%.
CITIZEN-CONSUMER Supermum of the 21st century. Before buying groceries she visits , and when policing her teen son’s dodgy web surfing, she knows the buck stops with her.
COMPRESSION A method of making data smaller so that more of it can be transmitted in less time. Uses Jpeg, Mpeg, Gif, Tif, and Zip files.
DIGITAL Any system based on discontinuous bits of data. A typical analogue device is a clock, where the hands move continuously around the face.
DIGITAL DIVIDE Next case of 'have' vs. 'have-not': the 20% of the UK population predicted to be left without TV after analogue switch-off — the poor, the old, the remote and the objectors.
DOWNLOAD To pull files from one computer to another. Today, half of web-data movement is peer-to-peer file-sharing of music. Other forms of copyright infringement cause the American egghead Lawrence Lessig to fear that “the future of ideas” is at stake.
DRM (digital rights management) Keeps electronic media within the law. The reason why the Black Eyed Peas track that you downloaded from www.mycokemusic.com can be burnt to CD only once, and won’t play on an iPod. “Whoever dominates the DRM formats will win and win big.”
DVR digital video recorder
HOME NETWORK In which computers, set-top boxes, cellphones, stereo systems, cameras and more are connected. Digital content flows in through a broadband pipe.
iMP (interactive media player) BBC Online’s own media player, due in November and trailed as “the gateway to the future”, will stream and record live video, as well as replay week-old programmes. “Crawling with DRM.”
INTERACTIVITY Mantra for the digital revolution and the goal of all new media. IP (internet protocol) Geek-speak for the method of sending data — whether voice, web pages or music files — between computers over the internet.
LLU (local-loop unbundling) The way to unleash a triple play of on-demand broadcasts, internet and telephony down your regular phone line by broadband.
MOBILE-PHONE ADDICT One person in three is addicted. A total addict never switches off the phone or moves more than 6ft from it. Lack of calls precipitates depression.
MP3 A standard for storing and transmitting music in digital format across the net. Mpeg-4 is the next-generation format for video.
NEW MEDIA Old media divides the world into producers and consumers: we’re either authors or readers, broadcasters or viewers, entertainers or audiences. One-to-many communications, in the jargon. New media, by contrast, gives everybody a chance to speak as well as listen. Many speak to many and the many speak back.
ON DEMAND Don’t want to wait for MTV to play the music video you requested four hours ago? Head to an online library, such as uk.launch.yahoo.com, and you can choose from thousands. Video on demand (VoD) is the No 1 driver of future broadband take-up.
PERSONALISATION MyThis and MyThat. Bespoke web pages and mobile phones, designed to keep you coming back for more — and to help advertisers monitor your habits.
PLUG & PLAY Optimistic instruction for installing electronic devices.
PULL vs PUSH Internet vs television. Lean forward vs sit back. “Revise those Reithian verbs: inform, educate, entertain. Instead, we must explore, learn, play — and interact.” (Producer Anthony Lilley.) Yes, but will couch potatoes be able to reach from the sofa?
RICH MEDIA Ultimate buzz phrase. Innovative media that create an immersive environment and deeper experience online. Must offer self-navigation and interactivity. Incorporate “full-on mouse events”: advanced Flash animation, graphics that expand on mouseover, 360-degree images, downloaded applets that require instant response, a cursor that changes according to task, software that adapts to input, streaming sound and video that play only when requested. Gauge successful rich media by the strength of their impact, and your ability to recall the experience.
STORAGE Places to hold data: dongles, DVDs, USB sticks, optical discs, online vaults, external hard drives. Capacity measured in megabytes and gigabytes.
STREAMING Transmission of a media clip, over a network, so that it begins playing back as quickly as possible. The best way to watch the Olympics on your desktop.
TELEWORKERS Professionals taking to the web to beat commuting by working from home — either for themselves or their employers. The cottage industry of the internet era.



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