Confused? Maybe this will help

Posted on October 11, 2002

Sometimes keeping computer terminology straight is difficult. There are so many definitions, words and acronyms that it is easy to confuse one for the other. For instance, I was talking to my mom the other day about a keyboard, and she thought I meant a music keyboard. Needless to say, she spent hours looking for a delete and escape key on her piano.

To help straighten out things, I've put together a somewhat short, yet rather lengthy list of computer terms that can be complex. Hopefully this will clear the air, and at the very least, clear my throat, because these cough drops just aren't working yet. Here it goes:

DNS vs. DSN: A Domain Name Server hosts Web sites based on the name of the site. A data source name ties a database to a particular Web site. DSN can actually mean other things, but not Dinosaur Sleeping Network.

ASP vs. ASP vs. asp: Active Server Pages is a computer language that browsers can process to load Web pages. An Application Service Provider is a business that has many programs, or applications, for its clients to use. The asp can be a deadly snake, and the one at the Louisville Zoo is pretty big.

Spam vs. SPAM: Spam is junk email you do not want. SPAM is a luncheon meat product you do not want. Only one type, though, has its own museum.

IP vs. IP Freely: Internet Protocol stands for the number that a Web site resolves to according to where it is hosted. IP Freely is the guy who used to call the bar on the Simpsons all the time.

RAM vs. ram vs. Dodge Ram: Random Access Memory is the most common form of memory used by computers and other devices. No one believes me, but I could have sworn I saw a wild ram beside a Tennessee interstate. The Dodge Ram must be the most durable truck on the planet. Some of the ones I've seen lately had to have been assembled in the late 1700s.

LAN vs. WAN vs. MAN: According to, a Local-area network is the type of network that all small businesses with just one office would use. A metropolitan-area network is a collection of LANs within a city. A wide-area network connects systems together throughout the country, or even outside the country. Probably none of this is important to you unless you are planning to network computers anytime soon. But it is fun to say LANWANMAN.

CD vs. CD vs. CD: Some CDs contain information that can be viewed and used only on a computer. Some CDs house songs and info that can be played either on a computer or in a CD player. Some CDs can only be listened to in an audio player. The rest of the CDs can be used to store money at the bank will incurring interest.

Cache vs. cash: Cache is what your browser collects when visiting Web sites. Oftentimes, clearing your cache helps your browser run more efficiently. Cash, which sounds the same as cache, is what some people collect during work, when they pass Go and after winning big at the racetrack.

Tag vs. tag vs. Tag: A tag determines how a particular document should be formatted. Tags are attached to most products and should always be tucked inside your clothes. The game Tag is fun if you are really fast.

Whether or not you use any of these terms, this should have been worth the five minutes you spent reading. I'm still coughing, so I guess writing the column didn't cure me. Maybe a couple of SPAM burgers will hit the spot.