"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....

No comments:

Post a Comment