A term used to describe the physical size of a specific set of camera sensors. The exact physical dimensions of APS-C sensors may vary by manufacturer. They are all approximately the size of Advanced Photo System Classic (thus APS-C) film, give or take a mm. There are many, many designations for sensor size between all brands, and this is a pointlessly deep rabbit hole. Lenses for Canon’s APS-C sensors are designated EF-S, Nikon’s are DX; the landscape is perhaps needlessly muddled.

camera sensor
This is the part of a camera that converts light into an electrical signal that the camera processes and saves as an image. They come is various sizes, but are usually between 6mm and 50mm across.

Canon FD
This is the name of Canon’s lens mount that was largely used between the ‘70s and late ‘80s. It is pretty much obsolete now, but there’s technically nothing wrong with the cameras and lenses using this system.

Digital Single Lens Reflex. A kind of camera. It’s like a film SLR camera but with a digital back instead of film. The handheld cameras that pop up when you search “DSLR” are almost all descended from the form factor first popularized with 35mm film cameras.

full frame
Another class of image sensor sizes, like APS-C. It’s based on the size of 35mm film, so it’s a bit bigger than APS-C. Historically you could tell the full frame and APS-C cameras apart because the FF ones were bigger and looked more professional, but are some more recent FF cameras that are actually pretty compact.

medium format
This is kinda to full frame what full frame is to APS-C. In a digital sense, it refers to cameras with sensors about the size of medium format film, which itself varies a lot in the size used. Most digital medium format sensors are actually smaller than the exposed area of a film medium format camera, but the sensors are still massive compared to nearly everything else. It’s not unusual for a digital medium format camera to be $10,000 USD. Suffice to say, any class of camera is a big spiral of decades of influence of past technologies on what we have now, lots of industry terms, and similar but not equivalent products being called the same thing constantly. If you are interested in this stuff, do yourself a favor and do a few hours of reading. Start early in camera history and work your way forward.

sensor noise
Each pixel of a sensor has a physical size. The smaller the pixel is, the fewer photons are needed to flip the pixel over a certain margin. Say you have a pixel large enough to fit one photon through. It will have two states: on or off. Thus, sensors with smaller pixels are less able to resolve locally high readings compared to large sensors that more gracefully support a larger gradient of possible luminances. The tendency for local high readings to manifest as annoying static-looking spots in your image can be thought of as sensor noise. For more accurate information, please read a book.

A lens with a very long focal length. This is what people use for sports photography, taking pictures of birds from 300 feet away, etc.

that pleasing 105mm portrait look
Different focal lengths distort the subject in different ways. A 50mm lens will make the middle of someone’s face larger and weirdly compress the sides. A 105mm lens turns them from a potato into a rectangle, if that makes sense. 105mm is a focal length that looks good to me.

Data associated with an image on my image server. Each image has an ID number and each ID number can accept tags. I manually add tags and as a result you can type in tags that exist and find specific images very quickly.

Image Editing & Image Software

Color. The technical specifics of it vary with format, but for example a JPG image has the channels YCbCr, Y being the luminance (how bright) and Cb and Cr being chroma blue and chroma red.

clone tool
This is a class of tools in image editors that sample pixels from one part of the image and let you place them in other parts. Can be useful for manually fixing damaged or otherwise unsavory parts of an image.

Enhanced Super-Resolution Generative Adversarial Network. It’s a program for performing advanced operations on images for various reasons, notably to attempt to generate data to increase their resolution while keeping a natural look.

healing brush
A tool used in photo editing software. You draw a patch and the healing brush attempts to use info in and around the patch to blend any aberrations inside the patch. It’s great for removing little specks of dust from your photos, but it’s also possible to over-rely on it for bigger edits because it’s so easy to use.

The level of brightness.

MS Paint
A basic image editing and drawing program that came with older versions of Microsoft Windows. Oft lauded for its peerless and competitive featureset, the capabilities of this program have not yet been matched by any other program.

Stable Diffusion
An image generating network. Has publicly-available options for running on your local machine. I guess you can call it AI if you really feel like it.

transparency mask
In an image editing program, this is a meta layer you can put onto a regular layer that lets you paint in which parts of that layer are visible.

Software & General Computer

A free, open source, privacy respecting, multiplatform CAD program. It’s kind of horrible, but it’s the least worst program of its type, and most open source CAD programs cannot even vaguely compete with the features of software like Solidworks of Inventor. FreeCAD has many features, many addons, it works great, it’s just super annoying to use and the geometric solver is kinda garbage.

GTX 1070
A graphics card made by NVIDIA. It’s still a good card, though a couple generations old as of writing this (2023). Used to be a higher-end, though not flagship, card, but it’s now equivalent to a midrange-budget card. This is slightly above the absolute minimum hardware you would want for using something like Stable Diffusion without having a terrible time.

A family of operating systems descended from Unix. Used a catch-all term for any “distribution” of Linux. It’s really just the kernel; Linux distros include a lot of other software too.

Linux disro
A software package containing a Linux kernel and varying levels of other software. The main functional differences between distros, in my opinion, are the init systems and package managers. The init system is software responsible for starting, stopping, restarting, and monitoring system processes. The package manager is software that fetches, installs, and removes many other articles of software, and performs other important tasks like dependency resolution. The init system and package manager are quite difficult to change, so you don’t see every distro offer multiple options with different solutions. Actually, something like changing either is a big enough change to warrant a separate distro. Things like the way the user interface looks can be changed by installing a different desktop environment or modifying the current one, and it’s actually not hard to do those things.

A newer CAD program that purports to have a workflow more suited for concept artists. It looks interesting and implements a good geometric solver with some interesting operations but I have not tried it yet. It also does not have a feature tree, so it might not be super useful for actual CAD work.

It’s a compatibility program for running Windows software on Linux. Mostly an implementation of Wine with a bunch of other hacks. This is probably the most convenient and performant tool for running heavy Windows programs on Linux.

Random Access Memory. Volatile flash memory used as working memory in a computer; has very fast read/write speeds. Necessary for the function of most kinds of programs; certain applications like CAD and video editing can take quite a bit more. Graphics cards have a version called VRAM (video RAM).

Secure Shell. A protocol for safely talking between two computers. When I say “a protocol,” it’s not a generic term for protocols that do this, it’s a specific and widespread protocol with tools that come preinstalled on many systems.

Trimble SketchUp
A CAD program used mainly for architectural previsualization. It’s alright.

A family of operating systems descended from BSD, which itself is based on Unix. The BSDs are a competitive alternative to Linux; they are not Linux distributions. For more information, I suggest reading about FreeBSD first.

Stands for “Artificial Intelligence.” On this website, this predominantly refers to programs that have been trained on a large dataset. For example, an image generation network, speech synthesis network, etc. The network has a model consisting of many weights. These weights are tuned during the training process and let the network decide how to interpret what you ask it to do. The term “AI” gets thrown around a lot in popular media and the vast, vast majority of people who say it have zero idea of the current capabilities of the things we currently call “AI.” I only use the term because I could not be bothered to always replace it with more accurate terms, e.g. “GAN” (generative adversarial network).

Autodesk Inventor
A CAD (computer aided design) program for Microsoft Windows with extensive features, support for many formats, and a hilariously expensive proprietary license. This program is great to use, but it’s also a horrid stack of years of bloat, contains many gigabtyes of assets that most people will never use, and its potentially high system requirements and invasive anti-piracy measures make it annoying to try and run on Linux.

Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS
See: Autodesk Inventor. It’s another big CAD program. They are both great, fast, proprietary, bloated, and Windows exlusive.

Virtual Machine. Software that allows you to run a guest operating system in a host operating system.

Website Hosting

Used in CSS to calculate some basic math inside the parenthesis. Its usage is annoyingly restricted, as it’s unable to handle mixed units outside a few specific cases, and it requires pointlessly specific syntax. I use it to position the tooltips on the site’s front page such that they go in the right spot regardless of window size.

A language for writing webpages in. I had to write some HTML for my site, and do so every time I make a new page on the site.

image server
A software program that controls some database with images in it and works together with a web server like Apache or nginx to serve the images.

JavaScript. A language for programming dynamic content on a webpage. Can do some really cool stuff that HTML/CSS can’t but gets abused like absolutely nothing else. Responsible for most of the information harvesting that happens on your web browser.

Man In The Middle. Used on this site to describe a CDN that has access to all your interactions with a site that the CDN is servicing by virtue of the CDN’s role. It’s not technically technically MITM if you consider that the website owner is paying the CDN for their services and making the service a part of the site, though from a user perspective, I would consider the involvement veiled enough to constitute a possible violation of the average user’s privacy. Note that it’s actually trivial to determine if and which CDN is serving you content, but to do that is still beyond the technical knowledge of most people.

Server software similar to Apache. This is what I run using.

Out-of-band console
A text-only window that you can send commands to a remote computer through.

parallax effect
In website design, this refers to background elements that scroll by at a different rate than the content. There are more advanced cases of parallax used for other visual media, for example a video game using 30 layers of parallaxed art for a background, but such composition is really annoying and expensive to do in a browser, so you usually see simple 1 layer stuff.

reverse proxy is a reverse proxy. The actual service lives on a local port within my VPS but the server software maps between that local port and the URI

CSS for “viewport height.” A unit that you can use to format element sizes depending on the size of the viewport. Jankier than it should be.

CSS for “viewport width.” Also janky, like vh.

Used in CSS to find information about the device viewing the page. I use it on my site to figure out if the screen is above of below a certain width and I write rules to resize certain parts of the page so that the site works on desktop and mobile screens.

A record
A kind of internet record that links an IP Address to a domain name. I use an A record to direct the IPv4 traffic to my server’s IPv4 address to, and I use an AAAA record for the IPv6 traffic. I also use a couple A records for some currently unused subdomains.

Software that runs a server. It takes network requests and returns the appropriate material.

Content Delivery Network. When you visit a website, what you see on your screen might have been put together out of many different files. On, most of what you see pulls its text and basic formatting from an HTML file, then the colors and specific layout are pulled from a CSS file, and images are each served as their own files. I intentionally keep this site pretty light, and you don’t need to download all that much to see the site. However, most modern sites have very large CSS files and additional scripts (JS) for styling the site. If you want to see a recipe, for example, the actual text needed for just the recipe will be a few KB, and the page will probably be a few MB. It’s not uncommon for the webpage to use about 2000-5000x as much data for stuff that isn’t the actual recipe. Most sites offload the management of these additional assets to other servers, so when you visit a website, you are really pulling scripts and media from 2+ servers. It is not unusual for a site to connect you to 10 different domains, and most of those connections will be functionally useless to you (it’s mostly tracking, analytics, ads). When you open that recipe website and see the images are coming from “static.parastorage,” that’s a CDN. Using a different server for the big files means you can mirror content across many CDNs and choose the one geographically closest to you to reduce load time. It’s a good idea and has a lot of utility, but lots of potential for abuse as well.

Cascading Style Sheets. This is a language for helping to create how a website looks. I had to write some CSS for my website.

domain name is a domain name.

domain registrar
A company that sells domain names. You give them money, and for a certain amount of time (such as a year) you can use the domain name for your site. I suggest you only use an ICANN accredited registrar, unless you need the privacy of a service like I personally use and they’ve been fine. Their interface is not really that great, but they don’t subject you to a bunch of tracking like the big registrars.

margin size
The amount of space around an element. I set margin sizes using various units to design the look of my website.


The metal things that strings get pushed against to shorten them, thus changing their note. Frets can be found on instruments besides guitars, and be made of various materials.

fret crowning file
It’s a file that rounds over the edges of a small piece of metal. Good for doing the tops, and especially edges, of frets.

fret leveling beam
A straight, accurate block with a concave radius on one side. You attach abrasives to it and run it across frets to wear them down and make them all the same height relative to each other.

fret saw
A handsaw with a very specific thickness. It makes slots that are the right size for putting frets into.

guitar bridge
This is the part of the guitar that holds and positions the strings. Together with the nut (which is right below the headstock, at the top of the fretboard) it determines the string spacing, height, and length.

The top part of the guitar that contains hardware for the strings to go into. Most guitars have tuning machines on the headstock, but headless guitars have smaller headstocks with only hardware for just holding the strings.

mandolin frets
A mandolin’s frets are thinner than regular guitar frets, but are actually perfectly usable on guitars and basses. It’s not super common, but that’s probably just an issue of exposure.

This is a blanket term for the use of notes that lie between the typical 12 notes that a Western audience would be accustomed to.

An interval. A note that is twice the frequency of another note is said to be one octave higher. Human voices will typically have a range spanning 1.5-3 octaves, though in exceptional cases or with special techniques, the range can be larger.

A popular guitar shape. Designed by Leo Fender and some other cool guys.

tremolo bridge
A kind of guitar bridge that is able to be hinged up and down a few degrees. This action can stretch and/or unstretch the strings, causing the pitch to go up or down.

Shorthand for “tuning machine.”

tuning machine
A piece of guitar hardware that accepts a string and is able to hold it at a certain tension, thus letting it stay on a certain note. Able to be adjusted so that you can raise or lower the note and have it stay.

bridge saddle
The part of a guitar bridge that a string rests against. It is often able to be moved such that the exact length of the string, and the space between the string and the fretboard, can be adjusted.

classical position
A way of holding a guitar. If you fret the guitar with your left hand, then the body of the guitar goes on your left leg. In classical position, the neck is usually titled up a bit higher as well. I find it way more comfortable to play this way and I don’t know why it isn’t standard.


A rather old silent film. It’s common reference material for vampire media.

Quality Control. Self-explanatory.

“Yalta.” A town on the north shore of the Black Sea, across from Turkey. Known for its good air quality and historic locations, notably ливадия (Livadia) Palace.

An intentional misspelling of “baby.” It is intended as a humorous, mildly (self-)deriding term. Used by some online communities.

DK Bongos
This is a special controller for the GameCube videogame console. It is compatible with the Donkey Kong games that are on the GameCube. It consists of two plastic conga drum things and a microphone for detecting clapping.

shinto rasp
A kind of rasp that’s essentially multiple sawblades bolted together in a criss-cross pattern. Rounds the edges of a wood block in like .5 seconds.

A measuring tool. It has a couple of prongs on it that you can use against items to check their size. About $40 USD will get you some calipers that are about 1000x more accurate than using a ruler. Fast to use, very useful, highly recommended.