Tutorial :What different terms mean the same thing (or don't, but people think they do)? [closed]


One of the pitfalls I run into on a daily basis is customers saying one thing while meaning another. Usually, this is just due to a miscommunication somewhere, but occasionally they are, in fact, saying the same thing I am just using a different term.

For example, one of my customers the other day mentioned a feature he called, "find as you type." Being a little confused, I asked him what he meant, and he described the feature in Google where, once you start typing a search query, Google suggests other, popular queries that match the letters you have typed.

Click! He meant AutoComplete! He was not wrong, it is just that I had never heard that term before.

In the spirit of reducing confusion, what terms can you think of that are different but mean, essentially, the same thing?

Also, what terms do people think mean the same thing, but don't. Please differentiate between the two.

Please only one set of terms per answer, so we can vote on the best ones.


Also Architecture is a term that requires constant clarification. It means topology to some. To others it means class diagrams, the product of software engineering. To others it is just a catch all for the above and umpteen other concepts.


Operating System == Kernel who manages hardware and gives a very basic API vs. the whole software distribution


Programmer == Developer == Software engineer

You need developers, not programmers by Eric Sink


I've had this one come up when trying to explain Cocoa development

Apple != Mac != Mac OS

Apple is a company

Mac is a brand

Mac OS is an operating system

The same is often true for

Microsoft != Windows


Hyperlink = Link = Anchor

I've run across people who use these terms interchangeably, and of course, they aren't the same thing.


Compiler == Programming Language == IDE


Memory == Hard Drive as in "My PC has 30GB of memory!"


Declaration != Definition

I heard so many times people confusing the two that now I confuse them myself.


Hang == crash == some error message the user didn't even read.


IDE != framework

Q: "What frameworks do you consider yourself to be proficient in?"

A: "Visual Studio"

Not mine, but a friend told me this yesterday. About died, both from laughing too hard and crying over the sad state of humanity.


In many video-games, I see computer controlled players labeled "CPU".

CPU != Bot


Client == End User

They can be the same person, but more often then not the one writing the check to you is not the one that uses the thing you built.


History and Travellog (as applied to webbrowsers).

  • History is the list of all websites you have visted ever (or for the last N days).
  • Travellog is the list of sites in your current session that are accessible via Back and Forward. And yes, I realize the JavaScript object for this is called history.


process = procedure = plans


C# .Net (Ahhhhh!)


Pass values by reference != pass references by value.

Pass values by reference in C++:

struct Bar  {     int X;     Bar(int x) : X(x) {}     Bar &operator=(const Bar &rhs) { X = rhs.X; }  };    void foo(Bar &b, Bar &b2)  {      b = Bar(1);      b2.X = 1;  }    int main()  {      Bar b(0);      Bar b2(0);      foo(b, b2);      cout << b.X << ", " << b2.X; // prints 1, 1  }  

Pass references by value (C# / Java)

class Bar  {     public int X;     public Bar(int x) { X = x; }  }    void foo(Bar b, Bar b2)  {      b = new Bar(1);      b2.X = 1;  }    int main()  {      Bar b = new Bar(0);      Bar b2 = new Bar(0);      foo(b, b2);      Console.Write("{0}, {1}", b.X. b2.X); // prints 0, 1  }  


Google == Internet


Google == Search

Talked to many people that think Google IS the internet. If Google shutdown, that would be the end of being 'online'.

Where did you find xyz? Oh, on Google. Where is xyz stored? In Google.

Note: This also says a lot for Google's ability to sell their brand. When your company's name is well known as a verb 'to Google' you know you are successful.


A bilingual (swedish - english) misunderstanding :

"Fält" which translates to field, but in swedish programming books is array. (It is not the books that are wrong, what i'm saying is that sometimes when newbies try to ask for help online they ask about fields, when they actually mean array.


From non-embedded software engineers:

  • RAM == program memory == data memory

For typical lower-end embedded processors (e.g. PIC, STM32, etc), code and constant data are stored in, and normally accessed from, flash; non-constant data is stored in RAM.

  • 1 Mb == small

For these kinds of processors, 1 Mb of flash is a lot (though not as much as it used to be). For example, the STM32 that I'm using currently using has 128 Kb of flash, and 8 Kb of RAM.

At the other end of the spectrum, the smallest PIC10F has 384 bytes of flash, and 16 bytes of RAM.


"Find as you type" == "incremental search": The feature in Firefox and some other programs where, as you are entering your search term in a Find dialog/field, the document jumps to the position of the position of the next search result based on what you have entered so far (without you actually having to click a "Search" button to initiate the search action).

This is primarily handy to avoid typing (for example) "incremental search[enter]" when typing "incr" is probably good enough to find what you're looking for!

This came to mind as a meaning of "find as you type" different than the example given in the original question!


Q: "Where did you get this file?"
A: "I got it offline."


PowerPoint Presentation == Any Computerbased Presentation (not necessary made with PowerPoint)

Always when I hear People talking about a presentation made and presented with computer and projector, they say "PowerPoint presentation" because they haven't got any term which is more general. Most of them use OpenOffice, in fact.


I get this one way too often:

"Specification" == "Suggestion"

When you're on a hardware team and you have software teams treating your hardware specs as "optional guidelines", it makes you want to slap somebody.


Search box != Address Bar

Time after time, people type a Url in the search box ( be it Google, Yahoo, Bing, Teoma )

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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