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Internet / Web

Sideways Dictionary – Explaining Internet Technology Through Analogies

Sideways DictionaryOne of co-workers / team members found this awesome site that The Washington Post and Jigsaw put together. It explains different Internet technology and terms through analogies.

The site’s about page describes it as:
“It’s like a dictionary, but using analogies instead of definitions. Use it as a tool for finding and sharing helpful analogies to explain technology. Because if everyone understands technology better, we can make technology work better for everyone.”

All of the terms have multiple definitions and the definitions look to all be crowd-sourced.

Some of my favorite definitions:

DDos Attack
It’s like a high school prank, where you post the details of your friend’s house party all over town, so instead of 20 people, 900 show up.

It’s like a nightclub bouncer who decides who’s going in and out. From time to time, the approved guest list may change, but the bouncer is always the one who enforces it.

It’s like the ground beneath a city. Above ground are all the familiar sights – HTML houses, CSS cathedrals, Javascript office blocks. Beneath the ground are the utilities that make the city function smoothly – a labyrinthine network of web servers, applications, and databases.

It’s like a barista with a good memory. So every morning when you come in for your decaf soy latte with an extra shot and cream, they nod wearily and say ‘The usual?’

Buffer Overflow Attack
It’s like pouring too much fabric conditioner into the slot. So it overflows into the washing powder slot, and forms a sticky sludge that causes a blockage and breaks the machine. And you did it deliberately, because it’s your flatmate’s washing machine and you’ve never liked them.

And as you can see from some of the descriptions, it’s obviously got some British contributors, based on some of the descriptions and wording — a truly International crowd-sourcing.

I like the interface too — very clean, simple and useful with all four sides of the screen used.

Sideways Dictionary


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