The field of technology and its related components can be very confusing to the average user. No matter someone’s level of expertise, the industry is full of so much shorthand and jargon that it’s very easy to misinterpret a variety of acronyms. In this piece, we will examine a few of the more commonly misunderstood acronyms of our modern age.
Computer Storage Measurements – Kb, KB, Mb, MB, GB, TB, KBps, MBps, Bit, and Byte
These acronyms are some of the most basic terms that are used in the tech field and yet few people understand the difference between them. While each acronym looks very similar, it is very important to notice the capitalization, or lack thereof, of the second letter in each example. For instance: Kb stands for Kilobits while KB stands for Kilobytes. The term ‘bit’ refers to computer data at its most basic level (think the 0’s and 1’s that make up any binary system). In contrast, a single byte is typically comprised of 8 bits. The term kilo means a thousand. Thus, the acronym KB and Kb would represent roughly 1000 kilobytes and kilobits, respectively.
The same holds true for the acronyms Mb and MB, except that the ‘M’ in each stands for mega which would be 1000 kilo’s. In the average person’s day to day activities, they will encounter the terms MB and KB most often as these are the measurements used to calculate the size of every single document, mp3, or video file on a computer system. As files get larger, new acronyms are made such as GB and TB, or Gigabyte and Terabyte, respectively. Roughly speaking, GB represents 1000 MB and TB represents 1000 GB.
Oftentimes, these acronyms will have a ‘ps’ at the end of them, as in KBps. The ‘ps’ simply means ‘per second’ and it represents the speed at which one might upload or download such data. So, for instance, if you’re downloading a file that is 20 MB and your download speed is 1 MBps, you can estimate that your file will completely reach you in about 20 seconds.
Confusing Terminology – BT and BT
The term BT can mean either Bluetooth or BitTorrent and, frustrating as it may be, there is no real easy way to distinguish the intended meaning when the acronym is used. However, by being aware of each technology it is often easy to figure out what BT means simply by placing it in the context in which it is used.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that is often used for transferring data between wireless devices or utilizing hands-free devices with cell phones. Commonly, when you see BT on a site about cell phones or wireless data, it is safe to assume that the writer is using the short hand for Bluetooth.
Alternatively, BitTorrent is a technology used in file-sharing. While the use of Bit-Torrent is not illegal, the term appears a lot in articles about criminal copyright infringement as it is a popular means to share commercial music and movies.
However, the technology is becoming more and more widespread and is seeing a lot more legitimate use by companies that seek to share large files over the web between many users.
Good luck in your future tech travels!