Want to impress your children or friends with your knowledge of computers and technology? Then you need to know the latest technology terminology. Here are several of the hottest words from 2003:

Wi-Fi (WiFi) – This is short for wireless fidelity, and is the generic name for any wireless network. A wireless network lets computers communicate with each other and the Internet without “in the wall” cabling. This technology has become very popular with home computer users because it allows two or more home computers to share files, printers, and other equipment without the mess and expense of wiring. It also allows more than one computer to access the Internet at the same time from one account. Laptop computer users are flocking to wireless networking because it gives them access to the Internet from various locations. They can surf the Internet from a lounge chair in the back yard as well as from various Hotspot locations.

Hotspot – Any location that provides public wireless Internet access. Hotspots can often be found in parks, airports, train stations, hotels, and restaurants. Even many McDonald’s restaurants have now become hotspots. Some hotspots are free, while others require a fee. All can be accessed with a computer that has a wireless network card or built-in wireless capability.

Warchalking – This is marking outdoor surfaces like sidewalks, brick walls and signposts with chalk marks that indicate that a wireless network is available at that location. The markings indicate if the area is openly accessible, is protected by a password, or is protected by other security measures. Some people roam around cities and towns looking for Warchalked locations where they can use their wireless laptop computer to hook up to the Internet.

Blog A blog is a personal journal that is posted on the Web. The word blog comes from Web Log. This has become a very popular pastime, with many bloggers adding to their blogs on a daily basis. Blogs usually focus on a certain subject. There are political blogs, blogs about hobbies, and blogs that focus on many other subjects.

Biometric Identification – This is the process of using a person's unique physical characteristics for computer identification. Current biometric identification methods include identification by fingerprint, voice, iris, and face. Biometric identification is currently being used in many government agencies, as well as large businesses. Some of today’s laptop computers have built-in fingerprint identification pads. Biometric identification is also being tested in many areas such as airports where it speeds frequent travelers through passport lines. Biometric Identification is poised to replace the aggravating passwords that we struggle with today.

Nanotechnology – This is a science that studies ways to control individual atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology research is booming. There are many fields where nanotechnology will certainly produce dramatic results. Methods of manufacturing products are sure to be affected as nanotechnology finds ways to form raw materials into new products without the cutting, grinding, and firing methods that are used in today’s manufacturing plants. Implications for the medical field are mind-boggling, as well. Researchers consider ways to control disease with nanotechnology robots called nano-bots. Nanotechnology has already produced wrinkle-free and stain-resistant fabrics, food packaging that keeps meat fresh longer, and self-cleaning windows. It is possible that in the future nanotechnology could produce nanobots that could eat up cancer cells.

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification is already being used in license plates to identify and charge cars as they drive through tollbooths without stopping. This technology is poised to become the bar coding and identification method of the future. RFID tags are extremely small, barely detectable flakes, or tags of silicon. Some are no bigger than a grain of salt. These silicon tags use radio frequencies to transmit a code that uniquely identifies the tag, and therefore, the item to which the tag is attached.

Dodgy Domains – These are fake Web sites that are masquerading as legitimate Web sites. Spammers and other criminal-types create these Web sites with names very similar to real Web site names. Then they use e-mail to direct people to these Web sites with the express purpose of stealing personal information. This type of online fraud has already produced domains similar to Citibank and EBay that have fooled thousands of unsuspecting users.

So now that you know a few of the hot technology terms you can join in on those high-tech conversations at the parties this year. You may also find that a little knowledge like this will help you keep up with your kids as well.