Technology Finally Explained

There’s no escaping the general rise of ‘techo-speak’ in our general vocabulary. The almost ubiquitous nature of computers and smart phones in the workplace mean we’re confronted more and more with the expectation of knowing exactly what the IT support desk is talking about.

Worse still is writing reports for the CTO, or proofreading submissions absolutely filled the language of ‘geek’.

But if you really need to know the difference between ‘honeypots’ and ‘buffer overflow attacks’ a new online dictionary explains it all with truly simple descriptions and examples.

Sideways is a project built by the Washington Post and Alphabet (the Google people). The goal of sideways is to explain technology in a way that actually makes sense for non-tech people.

For instance, a denial of service attack is described as:

It’s like a high school prank, where you post the details of your friend’s house party all over town, so instead of 20 people, 900 show up.


It’s like sending a sealed letter instead of a holiday postcard. To ban encryption would be like requiring all mail to be sent as postcards, including bank statements, medical letters and holiday photos. Your postman, neighbours and postal service would soon know you pretty well.

Readers can submit new explanations, and then users can up or down vote submissions so the best descriptions are placed higher up the rankings, Sideways does employ editors who monitor submitted definitions to remove inaccurate ones, which will hopefully help prevent the whole thing from becoming a mess.

So next time you feel baffled by the techo-speak, visit Sideways for an easy explanation.