"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Friday, 14 November 2008
A dongle is a small hardware key that plugs into the serial port, parallel port or USB of a computer. I love the word.
How quickly we assimilate new tongues once we know the basics. It doesn’t matter whether it is French, Latin, or the language of Computer Jargon, once we have a basic understanding of it we progress rapidly. How many new terms have I learned in Computerese over the last few years, I wonder. Certainly hundreds..
One of these is dongle. I first came across the word when I was offered a free Bluetooth dongle with a new mobile some years back. I said ‘Yes, please’; even though I hadn’t a clue what it was.
Dongle is a user-friendly term for a small device that connects to a computer's port, often to authenticate a piece of software. When the dongle is not present, the software runs in a restricted mode or refuses to run. They have many different uses including data storage, Bluetooth and wireless adapters.
I was reminded of the word by GB’s blog posting on changing his ISP to get Broadband instead of dial-up for his laptop.
If you ever come across computer jargon you don’t understand all you have to do is Google it. In the search box put ‘define: ‘ before the word and you’ll get lots of definitions. Alternatively there are lots of sites like the digital village which list terms.
I wonder how many readers appreciated the number of words I have used in this posting which would have been meaningless to them, or held a different meaning, a few short years ago? Words like search, USB, software, mobile, Bluetooth, wireless, Google, broadband, sites, posting, blog, ISP, dial-up, laptop....
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
I'm a blogger - nowadays that seems to be my main occupation and Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. I enjoy all manner of communication apart from the telephone and am constantly e-mailing, texting, writing postcards and letters and commenting on other people's blogs.
Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer and my real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)