Written by: James Ponds
As if technology is not confusing enough for most laypeople, there always seems to be a new acronym or initialism popping up. In many cases, understanding what those letters mean makes the difference in whether or not you can understand the technology in question.
Most of what people call tech acronyms are actually initialisms. The only difference between the two is that acronyms make words, while initialisms are just a set of letters. Of course, that means many of these are not acronyms, but that isn't the focus here. So, if you're tired of seeing strings of unintelligible letters when you read about the devices, these definitions should help clear up some of the confusion.
ASO (App Store Optimization)
Many web users are somewhat familiar with search engine optimization or SEO. APO is a similar process, but it is designed to get apps to appear high in searches within app marketplace like Google Play or Apple's App Store.
DCIM (Digital Camera Images)
At some point, you have probably seen a file folder somewhere on your computer or smartphone with this label. DCIM is the standard initialism for camera folders. It will be created as the default destination for image files when you insert an SD card or connect a camera to your computer.
GIF (Graphics Interface Format)
Graphics interchange format is a standard image format, similar to a JPEG file. However, unlike JPEGs, GIFs do not degrade image quality via compression. Instead, they use something called lossless compression to shrink images. Each image can contain up to 256 colors.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure)
The letters HTTP and HTTPS are commonly used before a web address, but many people have no idea what they stand for. HTTPS is the secure cousin of the former. Both represent a protocol websites use to transmit data online; the addition of the "S" indicates that the data is transmitted using a secure socket. Scroll down if you are still wondering, "What is SSL?"
RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM is a type of memory used by electronics. It can be thought of as the device's short-term memory since it is erased when the device is powered down. Despite the fleeting nature of this data, the amount of RAM in a tech device can hugely impact its performance. That's because each open application or program uses RAM. If it gets full, some apps will cease to function. Therefore, you generally want to look for higher RAM levels when buying new technology.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
This is typically considered par to cloud computing since SaaS denotes software developed for web platforms instead of installed directly onto a computer. SaaS programs are often part of enterprise software solutions.
SSID (Service Set Identifier)
This is a particularly common initialism that you'll see in tech sectors. An SSID is a 32-character name given to a wireless network and attached to all information sent via a wireless network so that the data arrives in the correct location. It differs from the name you assign your network to identify and connect to it.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
If you remember those HTTPS website protocols from earlier, you are in the right spot. Secure Sockets Layers are what add the "S" to the protocol. These keep your data secure by encrypting it before transmission. In addition to HTTPS websites, SSLs are also used to protect email and group messages.
ZIF (Zero Insertion Force)
A ZIF is a type of socket that allows for easy removal and replacement of parts on a CPU. Changing a processor that is in a ZIF socket can be done without tools.
Whether you are discussing ways to protect data, file formats or types of software, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the most common tech acronyms.