We frequently receive inquiries from eager readers asking how they can best get started in electronics and computer projects. Countless great books have been written on these subjects, and of course now there’s our answers.hackaday.com site. But there’s a difference between being “book smart” and being “street smart.” What are the terms that you really need to know to get ahead in this field? We’ve collected a few of our favorites here.
Have any terms or definitions to add? Leave a note in the comments!
Antimony: n. A chemical element frequently used in electronics. Explodes on contact with money.
Bandwidth: n. A measurement inversely proportional to the cumulative physical fitness of a musical ensemble.
Butterworth filter: n. A kitchen utensil for removing the crystalized bits from maple syrup.
Duty cycle: n. A washing machine setting thats particularly effective for getting skid marks out of underwear.
ELF binary: n. A program that mysteriously appears on your computer while you’re asleep.
Ferret chloride: n. A foul-smelling chemical solution used for etching printed circuit boards really really quickly.
Flux: n. Expletive that usually follows soldering iron mishaps. See Hertz.
Hertz: v. What a soldering iron does when you touch the wrong end. See flux.
Hysteresis: n. The state of panic when one’s circuit does not work as planned.
N-type semiconductor: n. The “n-type” sticker adds 5 horsepower.
Negative feedback: n. Something one should attempt to minimize on eBay.
Noise: n. That so-called “music” you kids listen to these days. Get off my lawn!
Open source: n. Wounds that have not been properly cleaned and dressed.
Passive-aggressive component: n. A electronic part (e.g. resistor, capacitor, etc.) that suddenly decides to burn, stab or explode in your face.
PWMED! v. To have kicked someones ass with subtly-shaded LEDs.
Rectifier: n. A tool for lodging things into one’s backside. Two rectifiers back-to-back form a butt connector.
Resistance: n. Futile. You will be assimilated.
RMS: n. A feature of better quality voltmeters; makes them into raving proponents of open-source software.
Square wave: n. A secret greeting used by nerds.
1ED: n. Acronym for 1337-emitting diode (pronounced leet, not one-three-three-seven). Any light (but almost invariably a blue LED) on or within a computer that exists solely for posturing and conveys no diagnostic or status information.