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What Do These Tech Symbols Mean

Curvy, pointed, sharp, variant shapes and weird diagrams play significant roles in our digital lives. We call them tech symbols and icons. They are ubiquitously sprawling across all the gadgets, user interfaces, tech services we use, and throughout the world of technology we live with and work. We sure do recognize some symbols and what they mean, yet many are still unknown.  Here we have listed 11 tech symbols we must know about, to figure out their uses instantly.


This tech symbol was a brainchild of David Hill of IBM which he identified as a part of a set of symbols. Those set of symbols were meant to represent available range of local network connections. This Ethernet icon was created to show blocks hierarchically connected vertically and horizontally. Each block in the icon symbolizes endpoint or computer to refer the function of connectivity of Ethernet.


While working in the project of decoding menu commands on the keyboard, Andy Hertzfeld of Mac development team brainstormed on creating a new function key on Apple Mac devices. Once you press this function key in combination of other keys, this Firewire key chooses the appropriate menu command option. Susan Kare, the artist, devised this floral icon which alternatively signifies an infinite loop.

Power key


This symbol originated long back during World War II, when engineers had created a binary system in order to identify unique power buttons and rotary switches is now plastered on all our computers. Back then, the '1' signified on and a '0' was off. Then, International Electrotechnical Commission also created this broken circle having a line inside it used to mean 'standby power state' in 1973.  Later, IEEE simplified the significance from 'standby power state' to just power mode which is ubiquitous on every device and blinks with a green LED, when pressed. 


When users were puzzled with what "the standby state" means and couldn't figure out whether the device is on or off, IEEE devised this new button to help people use standby mode efficiently. Then, the "standby mode" was renamed as "sleep" mode and shown with a crescent moon symbol. Initially started in the US and Europe, this sleep button is widespread in most devices, however, in Japan, you might find a similar sleep button tagged as 'Zzzz' button.


Sharing and connectivity play a huge role in our digital life, so does this icon in the digital realm sharing. The gadget or the interface which flashes this tech symbol which is a combination of two runes or a 'teeth like' shape in blue color, it means that it provides support for data sharing through Bluetooth technology. 


Which initially flashed on reel-to-reel tape decks back in 1960s now prevails on most of the devices which support playing media. Hence, when you find this icon on your computer keyboard, smartphone touchscreen or any other media player device, you need to press or tap it to play an audio or video content. You will find these tech symbols tied to double-triangle icon which means either rewind (when pointed right) and forward (when pointed left) and this following icon.   


Previously mentioned play button is always accompanied by this icon which shows the symbol of notation mark for open connection. This icon often serves as a substitute of the stop button when the stop is not given. The icon is derived from the musical notation wherein caesura means "wait for a pause". 


This icon which might remind you of the mighty Dreizack, Neptune's Trident is usually found on devices to signify support for flash drive. Devices and user interface with this sign shows that different types of peripherals and connected devices having USB points can be attached to the port to perform data transfer via flash drive.


The "@"tech symbol is known by many names in different countries such as the snail in France and Italy, the monkey's tail in Germany and the little mouse in China. Earlier in 1971, a programmer named Raymond Tomlinson from Bolt, Beranek & Newman used this symbol in order to distinguish users from the terminal in computer network addresses. Whether derived from Tomlinson's use in computer network or in American Underwood keyboard in 1885 where it meant "at the rate of", current common uses of '@' include differentiator between username and email client, in Twitter accounts, and Twitter mentions. 

Do you want to know about any specific tech symbol or icon on your device that you might be confused about? Let us know – we are happy to help! 

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