The Sunday Edition

Landing pages, overlays and sticky bars — a bluffer's guide to 'tech talk'

There's no quicker way to sound 'dumb' than to be clueless about technology, and its language. Ira Basen is our bluffer's guide to Valley Talk. Silicon Valley, that is.
People try out the new iPhone X during a media event at Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen19:49

Originally published on September 15, 2017.

In 2017, there's no quicker way to sound out of touch, and dare I say "dumb", than if you appear to be clueless about technology.

What are the smart people talking about at parties these days? It's not Hegel's epistemology. More likely it's the latest smart phone, or killer app, or AI or VR. And if you didn't know that those last two stood for artificial intelligence and virtual reality, you might want to pay attention.

Now, just to be clear, I'm not talking about geek speak. 

What I'm talking about is language rooted in the start-up culture of Silicon Valley that has migrated into the mainstream.

Language is a living thing, and over the last decade or so, technology has been one of the main drivers of change in the English language.

Remember when tweets were the sound a bird made, Google wasn't even a word, let alone a verb, and a hashtag was that thing on your phone keypad that didn't seem to do anything? Nobody blinks when you use those words anymore.

But if you really want to seem like you're in the know, you've got to head to where Silicon Valley is going, not where it's already been. That means expanding your vocabulary in ways you may never have imagined.

Fear not. Ira Basen has come to the rescue.

The new radio doc by our in-house expert on all things cyber, high-tech, and ahead of the curve gives us a handy bluffer's guide to Tech Talk.  

Click 'listen' above to hear Ira Basen's full documentary.

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