Bobcats and lynxes? Silk and satin? What’s the difference! There are only so many hours in the day for you to devote to teasing out the distinctions between things that might as well be the same. That’s understandable. But sometimes, as you’ve already learned, the differences do matter. And they may surprise. Let’s take another look.
Bananas vs. Plantains
When you go to the supermarket, you might stop off in the produce section and pick up a fresh bunch of bananas. Or are they plantains? No big deal. The yellow ones are nice and sweet. The big ol’ green ones probably need some time to ripen. That’s pretty much all the folk knowledge you need for your next batch of banana bread. Mmm.
Except things are a little more complicated than that. Bananas and plantains don’t look all that different, but they’re rather distinct based as far as how they’re used. Bananas are sweeter, eaten as fruits, and tend to have thinner skin. Plantains (or what some might call cooking bananas) are, on the other hand, starchier, eaten as vegetables, have thick skin, and can vary in color from your garden-variety green to yellow and even black.
That’s simple enough. But things get even more complicated when you consider how they’re classified.
All bananas and plantains are members of the genus Musa, and the ones you buy at the store are really cultivated varieties (or cultivars) of three wild species of banana — Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa x paradisiaca. So there may be no difference between a banana and a plantain at all, at least when it comes to their binomial nomenclature. However, we can identify the myriad different cultivars based on specific genomic composition, or chromosomal makeup, and group them yet again based on the chromosome pairs in their cells.
In other words, you may have a banana in one hand and a plantain in the other, they can be the same exact species, and yet still be completely different. Pretty cool.
Disc vs. Disk
Luckily, tech is a bit simpler. Sort of. One age-old question is this: What’s the difference between a disc and a disk? Nothing at all, you might think, save for their spelling. Both have to do with information, and you can throw a disc around as quickly as any disk. They’re pretty much the same thing, and you can totally get away with using either to refer to physical storage media without being completely wrong.
But here’s the thing. More often than not, discs are optical media. Anything that’s involves a laser diode reading a circular polycarbonate layer marked with tiny coded lines — be they CDs, DVDs, or Blu-Rays — tend to be called discs.
A disk, on the other hand, tends to be magnetic storage, such as your hard disk drive or the floppy disks gathering dust in your attic.
Now there are of course exception (like, say, intervertebral discs) but that’s a handy differentiator for all the things that might live in your computer.
Cubby vs. Your Average Cloud Storage Solution
Speaking of storage!
You probably use the cloud everyday for your storage needs, making that CD/DVD burner a thing of the past. Anything you need you can download on the fly, and those files can live in the cloud as long as you need, letting you share with whomever you want whenever you want. However you do so is up to you, since most cloud solutions do the same thing with some cosmetic and monetary variations thrown in the mix.
Except that’s not the case. Cubby, by longtime Lifehacker favorite LogMeIn, takes a different tack by giving you more control over your information while still catering to your security needs. You, of course, get 5GB of cloud storage for your documents and images, but you also get unlimited syncing between all your devices. So all music and movies you ripped to your hard drive back at the family homestead can be instantly accessible in your new loft in just a matter of moments. And you can make any folder a “Cubby” as opposed to having a dedicated folder for all your cloud needs.