OK, folks; in our modern world of technology, how many of us realize that computers did not even exist in the lives of anyone over 45?

I am not bashful to admit that I’m not hi-tech savvy. I have a computer (on which I write this column) but I’m not connected to the Internet. I have no cell phone, DVD, DVR or any other electronic device without which many, probably most, people can’t live.

I read about all these captivating gizmos, but I don’t understand what they are, what they do or how they work. For any advice on these matters, I ask my grandchildren. Regarding electronic gadgets, it seems they know EVERYTHING!

To me, they’re Google personified. Which brings me to the topic of this column: While technology enables us to live faster than the speed of sound, are you aware that the gurus of the so-called cyber world are reinventing our vocabulary.

For example, in my day – I’m older than 45 – the word “cell” conjured up thoughts of jailhouse accommodations … space in a honeycomb … subversive group … microscopic unit of an organism.

Today, it seems, “cell” has only one meaning – a hand-held device that people continuously stare at to be instantly connected to family members and friends. They rely on cell phones not only for verbal conversation but to send and receive text messages, tell time, announce weather reports, take pictures, play weird music signaling incoming calls … and who knows what else.

As one example of how over time language takes on a somewhat different meaning, I wondered to what extent hi-tech innovations had re-defined the language I use.

While researching this topic, curiosity urged me to find out if a Google guru had compiled a dictionary of hi-tech terminology. During a visit to the Greenfield Barnes & Noble bookstore, I discovered that their “librarians” were unaware of any published compilation of hi-tech lingo.

So, from newspaper reports, printed advertisements and suggestions from my grandchildren, here’s a sampling of My World vocabulary vs. Cyber World jargon.


Cyber World – online retail giant.

My World – South America’s longest river


Cyber World – leading computer maker.

My World – Adam and Eve fell for its appeal. A gift from teacher’s pet. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.


Cyber World – program performing important tasks for which a computer is used.

My World – my Social Security benefits form.


Cyber World – a Canadian smartphone maker and texting organizer.

My World – edible fruit which, when fermented, become a tasty brandy (Bottoms Up!)


Cyber World – measurement of converting digits to alphabets.

My World – what Adam and Eve did to the apple.


Cyber World – multi-use compact disk.

My World – saving certificate … with mini interest.


Cyber World – cell phone provider.

My World – chirp, chirp, chirp – Where are you, you little devil? I hear you but I can’t see you! Also, in its plural form, the name of Buddy Holly’s band.


Cyber World – mouse-controlled arrow-indicator on computer screen.

My World – what Aunt Annie called Uncle Ed.

Hard drive:

Cyber World – computer storehouse.

My World – long, exhausting auto trip.


Cyber World – multi-use phone. (Grandson Tom says it’s for old people. Maybe I should  try it.)

My World – a form of pre-aerobic exercise. Shall we dance?


Cyber World – wireless program for iPhones.

My World – how high?


Cyber World – what we use to input computer data.

My World – how to make music.


Cyber World – a tablet computer from Amazon.

My World – you light up my life … and anything else.


Cyber World – portable computer keyboard and monitor.

My World – a cozy place for Fido.


Cyber World – computer storage unit from which information and data can be trusted.

My World – something we lose with age.


Cyber World – gizmo that controls cursor on computer.

My World – Eek! There’s a rodent in the house.


Cyber World – a cell phone provider.

My World – Alabama, here I come.


Cyber World – multi-use cell phones.

My World – what’s your IQ?


Cyber World – talk, text and data network.

My World – much-watched races during the Summer Olympics.


Cyber World: flow of movies, TV shows, videos and music from the Internet using various provider applications to other electronic devices.

My World – what salmon swim up to spawn.


Cyber World – what many shoppers do to pay for items.

My World – Thou shall not steal.


Cyber World – a text-coded message.

My World – bird talk from tree to tree.


Cyber World – text-sending provider.

My World – how robin red breast utters its morning song.


Cyber World – computer display for different types of information.

My World –one thing I don’t do.

Now, after putting this all together, one question comes to mind: If computer wizards are so smart to invent, develop and produce mind-boggling technology, why can’t they create their own vocabulary?

(Out and About is a regular feature of Mature Lifestyles that looks at issues affecting the older adult community. Horn, a retired Catholic Herald reporter, is a member of St. Roman Church, Milwaukee.)