Thursday, 16 August 2007

The Urban Dictionary

I love finding new words and phrases and learning the origins of our language. It is not just the language of the conventional or old dictionary which interests me but new words as well. When GBE came across the site I fell in love with it and subscribe to its word of the day. Wikipedia defines Urban Dictionary as ‘an online dictionary whose definitions are written by users. With an Alexa ranking as one of the 2000 highest web traffic sites, Urban Dictionary is touted as the "Internet's unofficial slang authority" for definitions.’ Just reading that led me to find a new word – Alexa.

Alexa Internet, Inc. is a California-based subsidiary company of that is best known for operating a website that provides information on the web traffic to other websites. Alexa collects information from users who have installed an "Alexa Toolbar," allowing them to provide statistics on web site traffic, as well as lists of related links.

Alexa also operates the Wayback Machine (another new term). This service allows users to see archived versions of web pages across time—what the Archive calls a "three dimensional index." Snapshots become available 6 to 12 months after they are archived. Users who want to permanently archive material and immediately cite an archived version can use the Archive-It system instead. As of 2006 the Wayback Machine contained almost 2 petabytes of data and was growing at a rate of 20 terabytes per month. Its growth rate eclipses the amount of text contained in the world's largest libraries, including the Library of Congress. The name Wayback Machine is a reference to a segment from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in which Mr. Peabody, a bow tie-wearing dog with a professorial air, and his human "pet boy" assistant, Sherman, use a time machine called the "WABAC machine" to witness famous events in history.

And if you are wondering what a petabyte and terabyte are –
a byte is 8 bits and a bit is a binary digit, taking a value of either 0 or 1. For example, the number 10010111 is 8 bits long, or in most cases, one modern PC byte.

kb (kilobyte) is 1000 bytes
MB (megabyte) is 10002
GB (gigabyte) is 10003
TB (terabyte) is 10004
PB (petabyte) is 10005
or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
then come EB (exabyte); ZB (zettabyte); YB (yottabyte)
and so ad infinytum....

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