Let’s learn technology: A Sideways Dictionary!

English-English and English-Persian dictionaries
One of the coolest things about being in the library profession is seeing the big diversity of dictionaries, and other exciting reference sources! (Yes, I’m a big library nerd – it’s a happy thing!)

And now there is a neat new dictionary: a Sideways Dictionary of technology terms. “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.

Here are a few samples:

Bandwidth —
  • It’s like a water pipe
    that serves the shower, washing machine and dishwasher in your apartment. If you run all three at the same time, you’ll notice a drop in pressure and whoever’s in the shower will get annoyed.
  • It’s like a road.
    A single-lane highway has low bandwidth and things clog up, especially in rush hour. A multi-lane highway is wider and faster, so even if a big file is chugging down the inside lane, there’s plenty of room to overtake.
  • It’s like a stream supplying several paddy fields.
    Sometimes your neighboring rice farmer will try to hog the supply or sneakily divert some of your water into his field. Time to change your WiFi password.
  • It’s like the stairway in an office block.Easily big enough for the normal comings and goings of the hundreds of people who work there. But suddenly pretty narrow when there’s a fire alarm and everyone rushes out at once.
IP Address —
  • It’s like a postal address for the internet.
    This is a numeric address that identifies where a destination computer is attached to the Internet, similar to a postal address for a destination residence or business.
  • It’s like telephone numbers.
    The telephone system works because each number is different. The numbers also contain general information about which country and region you are in. With IP addresses, you can have a static address (the same number all the time – like your landline), or a dynamic address (a temporary number assigned each time you make a call – like using a random payphone).
  • It’s like the number on your team shirt.
    Michael Jordan will always be 23. Wayne Gretsky will always be 99. But most players will take whatever number they’re given.
  • It’s like the postal system of the internet.
    You address a package, drop it into the system, and someone gets a nice web page through their letterbox.

Check it out for yourself, and share it with your patrons!