TMG-L Message Helps and Definitions

E-mail messages about TMG on TMG-L often are meant to help someone.  But many are written in such a way that new users to TMG, e-mail, and/or computers fail to get the full benefit intended because they don't understand the terms, abbreviations, shortcuts, acronyms, and emoticons used.   Hopefully the following paragraphs will help clear away some of the mis-understanding.

Emoticons are just "smiley faces" turned on the side (although some may be more accurately called "frowny faces"). There are a large variety of these, all intended to indicate the writer's thoughts at the time of writing the message. For example, someone may remark that the weather is great and place a smiley face like this :-) behind it. This would indicate that they are happy with the weather. But if they were farming and the weather is great with no rain in sight, they might use a variation of the "smiley face" like this :-( behind the sentence.  There are about as many varieties of these as there are people that use them.  Most are easy enough to figure out although there may be some subtle differences that aren't readily seen.  Seeing the explanation usually causes one to say "of course", but there are a few that are rather obscure.   I don't know of any all-inclusive list showing every emoticon, but most can be found on the Internet somewhere and you can find them using a search engine with the keyword "emoticon".   I'll give a few URLs (world wide web addresses) below that may be helpful.

Closely aligned with emoticons are certain words, phrases, and shortcuts that also indicate the emotions of the writer.  Mostly these are self-explanatory (except for the shortcuts).  I am speaking of message entries like: <grin>, <smile>, and <grinning, ducking, and running>.  After these and others like them were used for quite awhile among the same users, they started to get somewhat lazy and make shortcuts of these entries.  So they started using entries like: <g>, <s>, and <g,d&r>.  Other shortcuts I have seen a lot are: <vbg> or <VBG> (very big grin), <lol> or <LOL> (laughing out loud), <sg> (sad grin).  These can also be found on the internet on most sites that speak of emoticons, and some URLs shown below give many of these.

Abbreviations and acronyms are widely used throughout human communications and e-mail is no exception.  If they are closely related to the subject under discussion, they make sense once you know what the abbreviation or acronym means.   The large use in other communications tends to increase the use of these lazy ways of saying things where e-mail is concerned.  Some of these are:

IOW in other words OTOH on the other hand
BTW by the way IAC in any case
FWIW for what it's worth FYI for your information
IMO in my opinion IMHO in my humble opinion
IMNSHO in my not so humble opinion AFAIK as far as I know
ASAP as soon as possible PMJI pardon my jumping in

and there are many others which you can probably think of.  Most of these are phrases that we seem to use a lot in our conversations, and when looked at in those terms we often can figure out the meaning of those that we don't immediately understand.  And for those that we don't understand become readily apparent when we do find the definition.   Like emoticons and shortcuts above, there probably is no one site giving all the definitions, but there are a number of websites listing abbreviations and acronyms and I have listed some below.

Internet websites which show definitions of many abbreviations, emoticons, acronyms, and shortcuts:

There are many more websites than these showing abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons.   To find them, just access your favorite search engine and enter the keyword "emoticon".  You will get hundreds to choose from.  Many will only refer to emoticons, while other will talk about the other associated topics.


TMG Abbreviations and Acronyms

While there are only a few "official" abbreviations, many messages do contain abbreviations of many of the TMG terms and names.  Often the writer may use the name or term before using the abbreviation.  But, there may be instances where during a long message, the writer has forgotten that the name or term has not be previously used.   In other case, the writer of a message on the TMG mailing list may be replying to a message written by someone known to have used an abbreviation or acronym and forgets that other may not have seem the prior message. 

Many messages about TMG tend to be rather long primarily because they are using descriptive terms which tend themselves to be long.  Thus, abbreviations are very helpful in reducing the typing necessary.  However, if the reader doesn't understand the message because of the abbreviations and acronyms the message may be useless.   The reader may not be the initially intended reader, but someone with a similar problem who hasn't seen the earlier messages. 

Some of the more common abbreviations and acronyms associated with TMG are:

green.gif (110 bytes) PV, FV, and TV Person View, Family View, and Tree Views 
green.gif (110 bytes) CRW Custom Report Writer
green.gif (110 bytes) MSL Master Source List
green.gif (110 bytes) MPL Master Place List
green.gif (110 bytes) MRL Master Repository List
green.gif (110 bytes) DS Data Set
green.gif (110 bytes) LOP    List of People Report
green.gif (110 bytes) LOC   List of Citations Report
green.gif (110 bytes) LOE     List of Events Report
green.gif (110 bytes) LOS   List of Sources Report

Another acronym used in conjunction with TMG (as well as other programs) is GEDCOM.   This is Genealogical Data Communication and refers to the specifications owned and developed by the LDS (Mormon) Church for transfer of genealogical data among researchers.   This protocol is very good at transferring basic data, but tends to be less reliable beyond the basic data.  Still most other programs provide for import and export of GEDCOM files and TMG accommodates users having that need.  

As I see or am asked about other abbreviations and acronyms associated with TMG, I will post them here.  This list is not official by any means, and inclusion here doesn't mean that the abbreviations should (or should not) be used in messages.  It is only intended as a help to others in making e-mail messages about TMG more meaningful.


Computer Terms

Truthfully, computer jargon should be probably held to a minimum in e-mail messages on TMG-L.  However, in the discussion of anything related to computers, some terms and descriptions are almost required.  Therefore, I will include some of the computer jargon seen more often on messages relating to TMG.

Memory. This refers to the area in which data is stored for manipulation in a computer.  Usually this short term memory and anything in memory is lost when the power is turned off.  A unit of memory is called a byte which may be equated with a single character. For example, "word" has four characters which when stored directly in a computer requires four bytes of memory.  This is not exact, but you can think of it in this way generally. 

Storage. This is similar to memory, but refers to the more permanent storage of data and programs on a diskette, hard drive, CD-ROM, Zip drive, etc.

MB, mb, Mb, or mB.   This, after a number, indicates the amount of memory or storage in the user's computer. The M of the term means million and called mega, so 64 MB may indicate that the user has 64 megabytes or 64 million characters of memory.  A 3.5 inch diskette generally has 1.44 MB (1.44 million characters) of storage.  850 MB may mean   the user has a hard drive that has 850 megabytes of storage.

GB, gb, Gb, or gB.    Similar to the above, this is indicates a much larger number.  The G of the term means billion and is short for giga.  Someone with a 6 GB hard drive has six gigabytes or six billion characters of disk storage.

Screen Resolution.  While you may not see this term, you may see something that describes something of a user's video screen and how large or small that monitor displays data.  Three of the usual screen resolutions are:  640 x 480, 800 x 600, and  1024 x 768.   These can be controlled to some extent by the user in Windows depending on the hardware being used.

Pentium II, PII, or PIII. This refers to one of the more popular computer chips in use today.  There are a number of equivalent chips like these with somewhat different names and designators and like these are the main part of the computer.  Older chips are 80286, 80386, and 80486 with somewhat lesser power and capabilities. 

Mhz or MHZ or MHz.  This is the abbreviation for megahertz.  I won't try to define the term, but if you know that it refers to the speed of a computer chip (and thereby to some extent the computer) then you won't have any problems.  And, of course, the higher the value; then in general, the faster the computer.  So computers are described as being a Pentium II/233 MHz which indicates that it has the Pentium II chip which operates at 233 megahertz.

There are probably other terms that could be included here, but that's all I can think of right now.

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