I remembered one!  After forgetting about it a few times I was reminded when trying to make sense of a forum post that sounded great but only if it meant the definition I had in mind.  Confused so far?  Good.  For a long, long time RAM referred to memory, the temporary stuff where programs are loaded when you open them.  It was a relatively simple explanation but it worked in general.  Then there’s storage.  From floppy disks, to hard drives, flash storage and optical media.  I’ve always used the term “free space” when talking about it to anyone and it makes sense to me to refer to it as storage since you store things there in a more permanent way than RAM.  Why is it that now almost every manufacturer of phones refers to RAM as ‘system memory’ while referring to flash storage as “flash memory”?  It really confuses the issue.

Flash memory?  Fine.  I can work out what that means for the most part but then you get specifications that list it like this.

128MB RAM, 256MB system memory (operating system plus dynamic user data area)

OK initially I thought that meant there’s 128MB RAM for programs to operate in but what’s that 256MB system memory?  Is that RAM or storage space that’s internal to the phone?  It’s stupid and confusing even to me and I consider myself pretty clued up on technical terms and gadgets / tech in general.

It isn’t such a hard thing to work out eventually when it’s official things like that and as it’s a Nokia phone I’m almost certain that the above block quote is 128MB RAM and 256MB flash memory storage.  The problem for me comes in when other people start to use the term memory for anything that is storage.  Why is this a problem?  Mostly annoyance at them not knowing the difference then asking me a question that could be about either.

The thing that reminded me is to do with my phone since it has a small amount of RAM and a forum post claimed to get around 10% extra space back via some clever thing I don’t fully understand.  The prospect of 10% extra RAM is pretty huge on the phone but 10% extra storage space wouldn’t catch my attention.  In the end I can see they mean actual RAM and given the technical nature of the forums I should have perhaps given them the benefit of the doubt to start with.  I haven’t managed to make it work yet but I will.

In conclusion, and to end my rant, RAM is used by open programs, documents, games etc and is lost when you shut down the system or reboot.  Flash ‘memory’ is storage space.  REFER TO THEM AS SUCH AND STOP CONFUSING ME!