A glossary of computer Terms and Internet terms with definitions that are easy to understand and very Helpful.
Glossary of Computer Terms
64-bit/32-bit: This denotes the number of “pieces” (bits) of information
required by an operating system to run a certain application. Windows
XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 have 32 bit or 64-bit versions.
More bit means that data can be processed in larger chunks and the system
can address a larger number of locations in physical memory.
ACCESS TIME: The length of time required for a binary word in the memory section of a computer to be read by the Central Processing Unit (CPU), or the time to read data from a peripheral data storage area.
ACCUMULATOR: An interface Register (memory) in the Arithmetic Logic
Unit (ALU), that stores interim arithmetic information for future processing.
The accumulator is the interface between the ALU and other sections of the
ADDER: The digital logic circuits in the ALU section of a computer which
implements the adding process (sum and carry) of two or more binary
ADWARE: A software program that designed to run once a web page has
been accessed. This is usually in the form of a banner or pop-up
advertisements. Adware can be design to installed on your system
without your consent or knowledge. These forms of adware are usually
referred to as “spyware” and are used to monitoring your surfing habits so
that their software can deliver better-targeted advertisements.
ADDRESS: The location of digital information in the Memory Unit of a
computer, or a digital code that designates this location.
ALGORITHM: The sequence of operations that defines a solution to a problem in logic.
ALPHANUMERICS: The term that defines the letters of the alphabet (A to Z)
and the ten numerals (0 to 9). Th term is generally used to mean any text
AMERICAN STANDARD CODE FOR INFORMATION INTERCHANGE
(ASCII): A 7-bit binary code, providing 128 different binary combinations
for standard American keyboards. ASCII is used to encode all 26 letters of
the alphabet (upper and lower case), all ten decimal digits (0 to9), punctuation marks, standard graphics, and special control codes into machine language.
Although ASCII has 128 different codes, only 7 bits are needed for each
different code. ASCII characters are generally stored inside 8-bit bytes, providing room for the 128 ASCII codes plus another 128 codes, totaling
256 characters. This 8-bit code is referred to as EXTENDED ASCII.
ANSI: It stands for the American National Standards Institute. This is the place that sets standards for data communications, like the Internet.
ANALOG: Not digital. This is data in the form of a continuous flow. A record
or tape is analog. Digital, on the other hand, is in pieces or samples.
ANONYMOUS FTP: Using the FTP function of the Internet anonymously by
not logging in with an actual, secret login ID and password. Often permitted
by large, host computers who are willing to share openly some of the files
on their system to outside users who otherwise would not be able to log
in. ftp.apple.com and ftp.microsoft.com are two software company sites.
AOL: America On-Line used to be the largest bulletin board system in the
world. With the advent of AOL v3.0 though, AOL has become the largest
Internet Service Provider in the world. Unfortunately, AOL is available in
only large metro areas. It is also the largest provider of blank diskettes in
the world 😉
AppleShare: This is Apple Computer’s network system. It allows many
different end-users (people on computers) to attach to one central location
and get files. (Sound familiar?)
APPLET: A small Java application that is downloaded by an ActiveX or
Java-enabled web browser. Once it has been downloaded, the applet will
run on the user’s computer. Common applets include financial calculators
and web drawing programs.
APPLICATION: Computer software that performs a task or set of tasks,
such as word processing or drawing. Applications are also referred to as
programs. It does things when called upon.
ARITHMETIC LOGIC UNIT (ALU): The section of a computer that contains
a large amount of logic circuitry and performs the four basic arithmetic
functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). Larger units
contain circuitry for higher mathematical functions, such as quadratic
ARCHIE: Search tool used to find resources stored on Internet-based FTP
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: It is the technique with which a machine is
made to think and take decisions like human beings.
ASSEMBLER: A software program that converts (translates) each symbolic
instruction is written in ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE into the MACHINE
LANGUAGE (binary code) of a computer.
ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE: A programming language (source code) that
consists of a group of coded letters or labels, called mnemonics. A
mnemonic is a memory assist to help recall data. Each mnemonic represents a single instruction that is translated into the binary code of machine language. Mnemonics are easier to use than machine language instructions.
For example, the mnemonic “MUL” tells the computer to “Multiply”.
ASYNCHRONOUS: A term that describes a non-clocked, or free-running
a digital signal that triggers successive computer instructions; the completion of one instruction triggers the next. The speed of operation depends only on the speed of the signal generated through the circuit or network. In contrast with SYNCHRONOUS operation, the computer clock controls the speed of the signals in the system. Transferring data with the help of start and stop bits that indicate the beginning and end of each character being sent.
SP: Active Server Pages. An invention from Microsoft that runs on their
AVI: Stands for Audio/Video Interleaved. Microsoft’s format for encoding
video & audio for digital transmission.
BACKPLANE: A part of a computer into which the system’s PC boards are
plugged to provide a common voltage supply, reference, and SYSTEM
BUS for all computer sections. A backplane is often called a MOTHERBOARD.
BACKBONE: Well, all of these computers have to come together somewhere. There are many “backbones” on the Internet. Think of the backbone as the next larger grouping of computers you connect with to get included in the Web. You’re at the end of a rib coming off of the backbone—get the picture? The main backbone of the Internet here in the U.S. is the NSFNet. It stands for National Science Foundation Net.
BANDWIDTH: The capacity of a networked connection. Bandwidth
determines how much data can be sent along the networked wires.
Bandwidth is particularly important for Internet connections, since greater
bandwidth also means faster downloads.
BASIC: The acronym for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
BASIC is an easy to use programming language, originally intended for
educational purposes; it is available for personal computers in varying
degrees of complexity.
(i) This is a measurement of the amount of data that can be
transferred in one second.
(ii) This is an industry-accepted method of measuring modem speed. Baud rate divided by eight equals transmission speed in bytes per second.
BAUDOT CODE: A 5-bit digital code having 32 possible combinations of
binary “0” and “1”; for Teletype (Telex) communications systems.
BENCHMARK: The specifications for measuring the characteristics of a
the computer system, or parts of the system, under clearly-defined conditions.
BIOS: Stands for Basic Input/Output System. This is the little set of programs
that lets all the different parts of the computer talk to each other.
BINARY CODE: The most basic language a computer understands, it is
composed of a series of 0s and 1s. The computer interprets the code to
form numbers, letters, punctuation marks, and symbols.
BINARY CODED DECIMAL (BCD): A coding system in which each decimal
system numeral (0 to 9) is represented by a 4-digit (4-bit) binary code.
BINARY SYSTEM (BASE 2): A numbering system consisting of only two
digits (0 and 1), as contrasted with a DECIMAL SYSTEM that uses ten
digits (0 to 9). In electronics, “binary” and “two-state” are synonymous.
BINARY DIGIT (BIT): The term “BIT” is the contraction of Binary Digit
and is part of a binary WORD that consists of combinations of “0” and/or
“1”. There are only two numerals in binary arithmetic (base 2) and is the
basis for binary code (Machine Language), the language of the computer.
A “bit” has the same significance in binary arithmetic that a decimal digit
has in the more familiar decimal (base 10) arithmetic system.
BISTABLE MULTIVIBRATOR: A digital circuit having two stable electrical
states. The output signal of this circuit will remain in either state (0 or 1)
indefinitely until an external input signal causes the circuit to switch to its
other output state. This circuit is generally called a FLIP-FLOP.
BINHEX: Converts a Macintosh program into ASCII text for transmission
over the Internet. Files with a .hqx extension are BinHex. Aladdin’s Stuffit
Expander converts BinHex documents back into their true form.
BLACK BOX: A term that refers to an electronic circuit or system within an
enclosure without necessarily providing details of its internal elements.
The black box concept often offers a useful approach in the design of a
system or in the interconnect between two circuits or systems.
BLOG: (Slang term for a Weblog) A blog is a person journal that can be
accessed publicly and allow people to comment on the previously posted
comments. When someone posts a comment to a blog this is called
“blogging”. The person that owns the blog is called a “blogger”. Most
typically, blogs are updated on a daily basis and use the most basic of
formats so that a person with very little background in computing can
easily figure out how the blogging system works.
BLU RAY: Also known as Blu-ray Disc. This is an optical disc format that
was developed to enable recording, playback, and rewriting of high-definition (HD) video. This technology has a storage capacity far greater than that of traditional DVDs. A single-layer disc can hold up to 25GB while a dual-layer disc can hold up to 50GB. DVD disc technologies use a red laser to read and write data. Blu-ray uses a blue-violet laser (hence the name). The benefit of the blue-violet laser over the red laser is its ability to focus the laser spot with greater precision because of its shorter wavelength.
BLUETOOTH: Radio technology that connects electronic devices without
using a cable. Data and voice can be exchanged at ranges of up to 10
meters without the need for devices to be lined up together.
BMP: (pronounced “bimp”): It is a Microsoft Windows image file made up of
BOOLEAN ALGEBRA: Named after George Boole, a 19th century English
mathematician, who first formulated theorems that included a mathematical analysis of the laws of human logic. It uses algebraic-like notation to describe the interaction of variables having only two states: “true” and “false”. In electronics, the states are often referred to as “1” and “0” or, “high” and “low”.
BOOTSTRAP (BOOT): A software program for initiating the operation of a
computer. The function of the program is to set up the input and output
(I/O) devices and load the OPERATING SYSTEM from a disk, cassette,
or built-in READ ONLY MEMORY (ROM).
BOOT: To start up a computer. Cold boot—restarting the computer after having turned off the power. Warm boot—restarting the computer without having turned off the power.
BREAKPOINT: Location of a place in a program where program execution can be stopped to permit a visual test, printing, or other performance analyses.
BROWSER: User’s software program for viewing & browsing information
on the Internet. Software that enables users to browse through the
cyberspace of the World Wide Web. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft’s Edge, Netscape Navigator, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are Web browsers today.
BUBBLE MEMORY: A high-density memory medium upon which a magnetic film is grown on a gadolinium-gallium garnet substrate. A small permanent magnet is mounted inside its package, perpendicular to the surface of the substrate. When an external magnetic field is created with an external coil, magnetic “bubble” domains are formed on the internal magnetic film which represents patterns of “1s”. The absence of magnetic bubbles will represent patterns of “0s”.
BUFFER: The buffer is a section of the computer where data is stored before being used. This buffering allows time for an application to fix differences in bit rates among other things. It creates a space of time for compensation.
BUNDLED: A term describing a computer system that includes all necessary
hardware and software that will allow the system to operate as advertised.
BUS (BUSS): There are wires between all the parts of your computer. There
is a wire from the memory to the brain, and from the brain to the printer, etc., etc. Those wires are called busses. They differ from one another by
the amount of data they will transfer at one time.
BUS CONTROLLER: A circuit that generates commands and control signals
for sequencing and timing of the data transmitted on a bus.
BURST: Most people know this from “pipeline burst cache.” Burst means to
send data in a large package all at one time rather than small bits over a
BUG: A malfunction due to an error in the program or a defect in the equipment.
BYTE: A byte is a computer data transfer or data storage measurement. One
byte equals 8 bits.
C: A programming language developed at AT&T.
CACHE: Web browsers store accessed information in a folder on your hard
drive called a cache. Some also store information in memory for faster
access. This saves time when a user goes to another page on a site with
the same graphics. The Iowa Newspaper Association site uses many of
the same graphics throughout to take advantage of this feature to speed
CAD-CAM: Computer-Aided Drawing-Computer Aided Manufacturing. The
instructions stored in a computer that will be translated to very precise
operating instructions to a robot, such as for assembling cars or
laser cutting signage.
CD-ROM (COMPACT DISK READ-ONLY MEMORY): An aluminized disk,
4.72″ in diameter that provides an optical storage medium for digital data
up to 650 Megabytes. A laser beam permanently burns data into its surface
which cannot be overwritten, altered, or erased, providing read-only
memory capability. Larger size disks are generally called “laser disks”.
CD-R or WORM
(COMPACT DISK, WRITE ONCE, READ MANY MEMORY): A blank disk that can be programmed once, permanently
storing up to 650 Megabytes of digital data. Once programmed, it has
essentially the same features as a CD-ROM.
CD-E or CD R/W (COMPACT DISK, ERASABLE, READ/WRITE
MEMORY): Capable of storing up to 650 Megabytes of digital data. It
uses a magneto-optical technology that combines the storage capacity
and reliability of optical disks and the erasability of magnetic media.
CGA: Stands for Color Graphics Adapter. It’s a piece of hardware that plays
CGI: Common Gateway Interface. A programming standard that allows visitors to fill out form fields on a Web page and have that information interact with a database, possibly coming back to the user as another Web page. CGI may also refer to Computer-Generated Imaging, the process in which sophisticated computer programs create still and animated graphics, such as special effects for movies.
CHARACTER GENERATOR: A circuit that accepts digital data and forms
the corresponding letters and numerals for a monitor or printer.
CHAT: Typing text into a message box on a screen to engage in dialog with
one or more people via the Internet or other network.
CHIP A tiny wafer of silicon-containing miniature electric circuits that can
store millions of bits of information.
CLIENT/SERVER: Computer technology that separates computers and their
users into two categories: clients or servers. When you want information
from a computer on the Internet, you are a client. The computer that
delivers the information is the server. A server both stores information and
makes it available to any authorized client who requests the information.
CLIPBOARD: A temporary data (text and graphics) storage facility used
when transferring data to a new location.
CLOCK: A digital pulse generator that controls the timing of a computer and, to a great extent, determines the speed (number of instructions per second) of the capability of the computer. Generally, it is located on the CPU.
CLONE: An imitation or copy of the original. Usually refers to building a
computer system that is based on and compatible with another computer
CLUSTER: In a Windows environment, Cluster refers to the allocated space
within files measured in units. A cluster is part of a group of a logical disk
sector. The cluster can also refer to a group of computers networked together and used as a single unit.
CLUSTERING: This is a way of connecting two (or more) computers
together using clustering hardware so that they share the processing load.
If ten computers of equal processing speed are clustered together, you
would in a sense have a single computer with ten times the processing
capacity. The most common use of this technique is with search engines
where it is used to provide speedy search results. A couple of other
common uses of clustering can be to increase storage capacities or for
networks that require load balancing to increase a network’s availability and stability
CMOS LOGIC: A CMOS technology monolithic IC “logic family”
characterized by low power dissipation per gate, high chip density, and
relatively high propagation delay per gate compared with bipolar IC logic
COBOL: Stands for Common Business Oriented Language.
CODEC: Short form for Compressor/Decompressor. This technology is used
hardware and software. A few examples of codecs are Cinepak, Indeo, and MPEG.
COM: Stands for Component Object Module.
COMPILER: A software program that converts (translates) a complete
software program written in high-level language SOURCE CODE (such
as PASCAL or FORTRAN) into machine language. The entire source code
is edited, compiled, and run at one time as compared to an INTERPRETER
that is run one line at a time. This is an application that converts a
programming language into a machine language program.
COMPLEMENT: Reversal of bit values: “1s” become “0s” and “0s” become
CONCURRENCY: The independent execution of two or more sequences of
events that are either occurring or appearing to occur simultaneously.
CONSOLE: The term refers to a combination of a DISPLAY and
CONTROL BUS: A set of transmission lines whose function is to carry
synchronization signals and control data as part of the SYSTEM BUS.
CONTROL UNIT (CU): Part of the CPU containing the CLOCK, PROGRAM
COUNTER and INSTRUCTION REGISTER. The CONTROL UNIT also
generates control signals and manages the CONTROL BUS.
COOKIE: A text file sent by a Web server that is stored on the hard drive of
a computer and relays back to the Web server things about the user, his or
her computer, and/or his or her computer activities.
COUNTER: A circuit whose output(s) change state in a specified sequence
on receiving appropriate input signals. The circuit can provide a required
output pulse after receiving a specified number of input pulses.
COUNTERFEITING: People make duplicate CDs of original software and
sells them at low price.
CPU: Stands for Central Processing Unit. This is the brain of your computer.
It is made up of two parts: The Arithmetic Logic Unit (this does all the
processing) and the Control Unit (this makes sure every part of the computer is working together to present the information).
CRACKER: A person who “breaks in” to a computer through a network,
without authorization and with mischievous or destructive intent (a crime
in some states).
CRASH: A hardware or software problem that causes information to be lost
or the computer to malfunction. Sometimes a crash can cause permanent
damage to a computer.
CSS: Stands for Cascading Style Sheets.
CURSOR: A moving position-indicator displayed on a computer monitor that shows a computer operator where the next action or operation will take place.
CYBERSPACE: This is a term that gives us a way to sort of “see” what we
are surfing while on the Net. It’s a generic term for the entire Internet, not
just the World Wide Web. Slang for the Internet.
DAISY-WHEEL PRINTER: An impact printer that uses a print element shaped like a flat disk or large thimble to form the alphanumeric and punctuation marks that are part of its print element. Unlike dot-matrix, ink-jet, and laser printers, daisy-wheel printers can not print graphics. See LETTER- QUALITY PRINTER.
DATABASE: A collection of similar information stored in a file, such as a
database of addresses. This information may be created and stored in a
database management system (DBMS).
DATA: Anything that is recorded or used for processing. The stuff that transfers between computers needed a name — data seemed good.
DATA RATE: Speed that information moves from one item to another. This is usually in the form of bits.
DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (DBMS): A software program that
controls and supervises the updating, editing, and execution of items from
multiple files in a database environment.
DDR: Stands for “Double Data Rate.” A type of advanced SDRAM designed
to deliver data at a double rate of speed for a given clock frequency.
DEBUG: The process of detecting, locating, and correcting a problem in a
software program or hardware.
DECODER: A software, hardware, or circuit that is designed to translate a
coded or scrambled signal into a readable form. A common use for this is
by cable companies that scramble a signal until a subscriber becomes
authorized to view the signal. The cable company then decodes the signal
into a viewable form.
DECRYPTION: This is a process of converting information into a readable
form that has been encrypted by the use of an encryption algorithm. A
common use could be that a person would like to protect sensitive data
that resides on their computer system, so they would use encryption
software to scramble the information. The same software that scrambles
the information would be the only authorized entity to decrypt the
information. This software could be made available to any authorized
person for decryption purposes at other locations.
DECREMENT: The reduction of the numerical contents of a counter. A decrement of 1 is usually assumed unless otherwise specified. It is the
complementary operation of INCREMENT.
DEFAULT: The pre-defined configuration of a system or an application. In
In most programs, the defaults can be changed to reflect personal preferences.
DESKTOP: The main directory of the user interface. Desktops usually contain icons that represent links to the hard drive, a network (if there is one), and trash or recycling can for files to be deleted. It can also display icons of frequently used applications, as requested by the user.
DESKTOP PUBLISHING: The production of publication-quality documents
using a personal computer in combination with text, graphics, and page
DEVICE: In a computer system, this term refers to a unit of processing
equipment external to the CPU. It is sometimes synonymous with the
DEDICATED LINE: This is a phone line meant specifically for one thing, like
being attached to a computer.
DEMODULATION: This is the process of converting analog information
(like over phone lines) into digital information (like in a computer). See
“Modem” for more.
DIAL-UP LINE: This is a telephone line that is connected to a server. When
it is called, tones are exchanged between the server and the devise calling
in order to attach.
DIAL-IN: An Internet account that can connect any stand-alone computer
directly to the Internet. The account is used by having a computer-based
software application dial-in to an Internet service provider (ISP). The
software connects with the ISP and establishes a TCP/IP link to the Internet
that enables your software to access Internet information. The computer
that accesses a dial-in connection needs either a modem to connect via a
regular phone line or a terminal adapter (TA) to connect via an ISDN
DIGITAL: Your CD player is digital. It is a series of small samples of data
playing together very quickly (30,000 times a second). Digital recording
of information means representing the bits of data through ones and zeros.
Playing the bits back to again create what was recorded is called digital
DIODE-TRANSISTOR LOGIC (DTL): One of the first bipolar monolithic
IC families of logic gates. A diode in an IC logic gate performs the required
logic with a transistor amplifying and inverting the output. The DTL family
has been made obsolete by the Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL) family.
DIRECTORY: A list of files stored on the computer.
DISK: Two distinct types. The names refer to the media inside the container: A hard disc stores vast amounts of data. It is usually inside the
computer but can be a separate peripheral on the outside. Hard discs are
made up of several rigid coated metal discs. Currently, hard discs can
store 15 to 30 Gb (gigabytes)
A floppy disc, 3.5″ square, usually inserted into the computer and can
store about 1.4 megabytes of data. This has become obsolete now.
DIRECT ADDRESS: A memory accessing mode in which the contents of the
accessed location is called the OPERAND.
DIRECT MEMORY ACCESS (DMA): A method of transferring blocks of
data directly between an external device and the computer system memory
without the need for intervention by the CPU. This method significantly
speeds up the data transfer rate, improving system efficiency.
DISK DRIVE: The mechanical/electronic section that can accept and operate
a compatible floppy or hard disk. It may include several motors (for disk
rotation and reading/writing head positioning), position sensors, and control circuits.
DISK MIRRORING: simultaneously storing a copy of the information on another disc so that the information can be recovered if the main disc crashes.
DISK STRIPING: storing a bit of information across several discs (instead
of storing it all on one disc and hoping that the disc doesn’t crash).
DISK OPERATING SYSTEM (DOS): A software program on a disk that
coordinates the operation, transfer of data, supervision, and control of a
computer. This software program must first be booted into the working
memory of the computer from the disk before it can operate.
DISK STORAGE: A method of storing software programs and data on a
rotating circular disk (either a floppy or hard disk) coated with magnetic
material, such as iron oxide. Data is written (stored) and read (retrieved)
by movable read/write heads positioned over data tracks on the surface of
the disk. Addressable portions of the disk can be selected for reading or write operations.
DISPLAY: A peripheral device serving as a computer readout, such as a
cathode-ray tube (CRT), flat-panel (generally for laptop computers), or
other readout devices. The screen can be amber, green, or full-color display.
Also called a MONITOR.
DNS: This stands for Domain Name System. The Internet runs by assigning
different sites “Names.” They are actually 4-part strains of numbers
associated with names, but names nonetheless. Getting a DNS error means
that the address you are attempting to reach is not recognized by the
DOCUMENTATION: Information that explains how to use computer hardware or software. It is usually provided as a manual or stored on a disk.
DOMAIN: A domain is a computer, web site, or network that is connected to
the Internet. A typical domain name looks like this: www.technicalsky.com.
The “www” prefix signifies that it is connected to the world wide web.
The “technicalsky” or body usually indicates the company name and the
suffix “com” indicates that it is a commercial site.
DONGLE: A device that attaches to a computer to control access to a particular application. Dongles provide the most effective means of copy protection. The dongle passes through all data coming through the port so it does not prevent the port from being used for other purposes. In fact, it’s possible to attach several dongles to the same port.
DOT-MATRIX PRINTER: An impact printer with a computer-driven, multipin print element (print-head). It creates images by imprinting a series of tiny dots on a paper to print a wide variety of character styles and/or finely detailed graphics. Generally, these printers are extremely fast and are used for draft-quality documents and precise graphics.
DOTS PER INCH (DPI): The measurement of density on dot-matrix printers
or other dot-matrix devices. As the DPI increases, image clarity increases.
DOWNLOAD: The process of transferring information from a web site (or
other remote location on a network) to the computer. It is possible to
“download a file” or “view a download.” To transfer information from a web site (or other remote location on a network) to the computer.
DOWNSTREAM: This refers data that is received from an ISP. Upstream in
the data, you send back. Some new technology allows for tremendous
downstream data transfer rates (100 kilobytes per second or more), but
with very slow upstream rates (33.6 kilobits per second or less).
DOWNTIME: A period of time during which a computer is not functioning.
It is inoperable because of temporary or permanent failure of hardware or
software, or when routine hardware or software maintenance procedures
DPI: Stands for Dots Per Inch.
DRIVERS: A driver is a software program that is the driving force behind a
device. Each computer device needs a driver. Many drivers have included
with a computer’s operating system when you purchase it.
DROP-DOWN MENU: A menu window that opens vertically on-screen to
display context-related options. Also called a pop-up menu or the pull-down menu.
DSL: Digital Subscriber Line. A method of connecting to the Internet via a
phone line. A DSL connection uses copper telephone lines but is able to
relay data at much higher speeds than modems and does not interfere
with telephone use.
DTP: Desk Top Publisher (ing): A PC Term that describes a program that enables you to design, create and print a variety of projects such as
letterheads, birthday cards, calendars, business cards, invitations, etc. that
would have previously only been possible by using the services of an
outside printers business.
DUAL CORE: This refers to a new Central Processing Unit (CPU) structure.
The difference between a single core and dual-core is that a dual-core
the system has two CPUs that are electronically wired together. These two
CPU’s wired together in parallel gives twice the performance than that of
its single-core counterpart.
DUMB TERMINAL: This a video screen that is seeing manipulation in another computer. Example: If you log in to AOL, your computer is not doing the work — AOL’s computer is. You are just being offered a window into that world. That window is your screen. It’s a terminal, but it’s just watching — thus a dumb terminal.
DVD: Digital Video Disc—Similar to a CD-ROM, it stores and plays both
audio and video.
DYNAMIC RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (DRAM): A type of
semiconductor memory in which the presence or absence of a capacitive
charge in each element of the memory represents the state of the bit (1 or
0). This charge must be periodically recharged (refreshed) to maintain the
desired binary state of the element. See RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY.
EBOOK: An electronic (usually hand-held) reading device that allows a person to view digitally stored reading materials.
EBCDIC: Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code. It is also called
the Extended ASCII Code, as it adds an eighth digit to the normal seven digits code.
EDITOR: A program for preparing and/or modifying a SOURCE PROGRAM
or other file by addition, deletion, or change.
E-COMMERCE: It means buying or selling any product online using internet technology. Many companies have set up their web sites which provide the facilities to order and purchase their products and services online.
E-MAIL: (Electronic mail) Messages transmitted over the Internet from user
to user. E-mail can contain text, but also can carry with its files of any type
as attachments. However, this does NOT guarantee the receiver has the
software to open or use the attachment.
E-MAIL SHORTHAND: Over time, Internet e-mailers have come up with
their own shorthand to save their poor fingers and confuse those new to
the Internet. Here are some common ones:BTW: by the way
FWIW: for what it’s worth
EMOTICON: A text-based expression of emotion created from ASCII
characters that mimic a facial expression when viewed with your head
tilted to the left. Here are some examples:
EMITTER-COUPLED LOGIC (ECL): A bipolar monolithic IC logic gate
family characterized by very high-speed operation and relatively high power dissipation compared with other monolithic IC logic families.
EMULATION: The process of imitation (simulation) of one computer system
by another. The imitating program, or device (emulator), accepts the same
data, executes the same programs, and achieves the same results.
ENGINE: (as in “Search Engine”): This is the working part of a database or
ENCRYPTION: The process of transmitting scrambled data so that only
authorized recipients can unscramble it. For instance, encryption is used to
scramble credit card information when purchases are made over the Internet.
EPROM (ERASABLE PROGRAMMABLE READ-ONLY MEMORY): A general term for a non-volatile, semiconductor memory that can be programmed, erased, and reprogrammed many times without damage to the device.
ETHERNET: This is a method of file transfer that uses dedicated cables rather than dial-up phone lines. Ethernets are usually set up attaching end users to a central system like an Intranet. It was invented by Xerox believe it or not.
ETHERNET CARD: Aboard inside a computer to which a network cable can
EVENT: An occurrence during the execution of a task, such as the completion of an input/output operation.
EXECUTE: The command to run a specified instruction or software program.
EXTENDED BINARY CODED DECIMAL INTERCHANGE CODE
(EBCDIC): An 8-bit code developed by IBM for their mainframe computers,
providing 256 bit-pattern equivalents of standard keyboard symbols.
FAQs: (frequently asked Questions) Files that are maintained at Internet sites to answer frequently asked questions. INA has a FAQ section for its
FAT: Stands for File Allocation Table. Basically, this is a table of contents in a directory that tells the computer what all is in there. Look at your Netscape cache, you’ll see a FAT. It’ll be the first file.
FAN-IN: The maximum number of output terminals from other logic gates
that can be connected to an input terminal of a specified logic gate.
FAN-OUT: The maximum number of input terminals that can be connected to the output terminal of a specified logic gate.
FETCH: The command to obtain instruction from a stored program.
FIBER-OPTIC: This is a new style of cable being used for very high-speed
data transmission. It works by pushing (modulating) a light wave across
the cable. The data is carried along with the light.
FILE: A collection of related data treated as a single unit. In a computer, a file can exist on a disk, magnetic tape, or as an accumulation of information
FILE COMPRESSION: Many computer files can be reduced in size for
downloading. Files with. ZIP extension has been “zipped” using PKZip
software. Files with. SIT extensions have been “stuffed” using Stuffit
software. Files with. PDF has also been compressed using Adobe Acrobat.
The Acrobat files have the added feature of viewing, printing, and placing,
using Adobe’s Reader program. For example, the Bulletin starts as a 3.5
megabyte file and is compressed to less than 150 kilobytes. That’s a
compression ratio of almost 24:1
FILE SHARING: This is the most important feature of the Internet. This is a
method of allowing one server to give the same file to many different end
FIREWALL: A combination of hardware and software that protects a local
area network (LAN) from Internet hackers. It separates the network into
two or more parts and restricts outsiders to the area “outside” the firewall.
Private or sensitive information is kept “inside” the firewall.
FIREWIRE: Apple?Computer’s high-speed data transfer. Frequently used to
import video to a computer.
FIRMWARE: A combination of a software program in hardware, such as a
READ-ONLY MEMORY (ROM), or a disk that has files or software
programs written on its surface.
FIRST IN, FIRST OUT (FIFO): The term refers to the sequence of entering
and then retrieving data from a data storage section of a computer. The
first data entered is the first data retrieved.
FLAMES: Insulting, enraged Internet messages.
FLAG: An indicator of a specific condition that informs a section of program information even when there is no power source. Flash Memory is best known for its use in hand help devices where it is used to store the operating system and core applications. Other devices that use Flash Memory are: Digital Cameras, Audio Players, Cell Phones, Pagers, USB Drives, and Printers
FLIP-FLOP CIRCUIT: A logic circuit having two stable output states. It has
the ability to change from one state to the other when an input pulse is
applied in a specified manner. It is also called a BISTABLE
FLOATING-POINT ARITHMETIC: A method in which the decimal point
location of a number in an arithmetic operation is determined by the
number’s exponent value in base 10. All exponents are equalized prior to
the operation to set a decimal point in its proper location in the final
computation. Floating point arithmetic extends a computer’s mathematical
capability beyond the limit imposed by a fixed word length and contributes
to easier programming.
FLOW CHART: A symbolic representation of the processing steps performed by a software program or a graphic sequence of logic operations
implemented in hardware. A flow chart helps to visualize the procedure(s)
necessary to design a software program or a final hardware system.
FOLDER: A structure for containing electronic files. In some operating
systems, it is called a “directory.”
FONTS: Sets of typefaces (or characters) that come in different styles and
FORMAT: An orderly, structured arrangement of data elements (bits, bytes,
and/or fields) that is necessary to produce a larger entity, such as a list,
record, table, file, or dictionary. Also, it is the term that describes the
preparation of a magnetic disk to allow it to accept digital data.
FQDN: (Fully Qualified Domain Name) The “official” name assigned to a
computer. Organizations register names, such as “INAnews.com” or
FORTRAN: A science-oriented high-level software language, derived from
the contraction of the terms FORmula TRANslator.FREEWARE Software created by people who are willing to give it away for the satisfaction of sharing or knowing they helped to simplify other people’s lives. It may be freestanding software, or it may add functionality to existing software.
FREQUENCY SHIFT KEYING (FSK): A technique of digitally keying
(modulating) an audio tone (carrier wave) so that a commercial telephone line can carry digital data. See MODEM.that this condition has already occurred and is identified by the presence or absence of the flag. A flag can be implemented in software and/or hardware
FLASH MEMORY (FLEXIBLE ARCHITECTURE for SHARED MEMORY): This type of non-volatile memory has the ability to retain its FTP: (File Transfer Protocol) The basic Internet function that enables files to
be transferred between computers. You can use it to download files from
a remote, host computer, as well as to upload files from your computer to
a remote, host computer. (See Anonymous FTP).
FULL DUPLEX: A data transmission mode that provides simultaneous and
independent transmission and reception. Conventional telephone
communication is an example of this technique.
GATE: See LOGIC GATE.
GATE ARRAY: A group of standard logic gates that can be interconnected
into a complete circuit or system. Also called LOGIC ARRAY.
GATEWAY: As in Common Gateway Interface (CGI). It is a piece of software
that allows two items to communicate with each other. They are used to
make connections between computers and systems inside that computer.
GENERAL PURPOSE INTERFACE BUS (GPIB): A BUS specification
standard (IEEE 488) for controlling peripheral devices.
GIF: (Graphics Interchange Format) A graphics file format that is commonly
used on the Internet to provide graphics images in Web pages. All graphic
files should remain under 5 kilobytes in size to speed page loading. See
JPEG and kbps.
GIGABYTE (GB): 1024 megabytes. Also called gig.
GIGO (GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT): The term describing the output
of a computer whose operation or accuracy is faulty.
GLITCH: The cause of an unexpected malfunction.
GOPHER: One of the first commonly used interfaces for the Internet with a
format structure and resource for providing information. It was created
at the University of Minnesota who’s mascot is the gopher.
GRAPHICS: Schematic drawings, pictures, line drawings, and/or diagrams
generated by data entered into a computer via a keyboard or a database.
GROUPWARE: Software that allows networked individuals to form groups
and collaborate on documents, programs, or databases.
GUI: Graphical User Interface. A system that simplifies selecting computer
commands by enabling the user to point to symbols or illustrations (called
icons) on the computer screen with a mouse.
HACKER: A person with technical expertise who experiments with computer systems to determine how to develop additional features. Hackers are occasionally requested by system administrators to try and “break into” systems via a network to test security. The term hacker is sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably with crackers. A hacker is called a “white hat” and a cracker a “black hat.”
HALF-DUPLEX: A communications mode that allows transmission and
reception of digital data between computers, but not simultaneously.
HANDSHAKING: The process by which two devices initiate communications. Handshaking begins when one device sends a message to another device indicating that it wants to establish a communications channel. The two devices then send several messages back and forth that enable them to agree on a communications protocol.
HARD COPY: A paper printout of what you have prepared on the computer.
HARDWARE: The physical and mechanical components of a computer
system, such as the electronic circuitry, chips, monitor, disks, disk drives,
keyboard, modem, and printer.
HARD-DISK DRIVE: A sealed unit containing high-density, high-speed, rigid
metal disks, and recording heads to store digital data. It reads and writes
data faster than floppy disks.
HELPER APPLICATION: This is an application your browser uses to
manipulate a downloaded program.
HEXADECIMAL: The base 16 number system using 16 symbols (0 to 9 and
A to F) to represent 16 decimal numerals (0 to 15).
HIGH-LEVEL LANGUAGE (HLL): A programming language (source code)
consisting of a unique group of symbols and command statements
representing a series of machine operations. A COMPILER or
INTERPRETER translates (converts) an HLL into MACHINE LANGUAGE.
BASIC, FORTRAN, PASCAL, ALGOL, and ADA are some examples of
HOME PAGE: The main page of a Web site used to greet visitors, provide
information about the site, or to direct the viewer to other pages on the site.
HOST: A computer that “hosts” outside computer users by providing files,
services, or sharing its resources. INAs Web site is a hosted site. Having a
hosted site has the advantage for a company of not having to worry about
security, maintenance, or upgrading. The disadvantage is a loss of control
over these issues, although it is relatively easy to move to a new host.
HOTLIST: List of URLs saved within the Mosaic Web browser. (Bookmark
HTML: (Hypertext Markup Language) The basic language that is used to
build hypertext documents on the World Wide Web.
HTTP: (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) The set of rules (protocol) used by the
computers to transfer hypertext documents over the internet.
HYPERTEXT: Text in a document that contains a hidden link to other text. You can click a mouse on a hypertext word and it will take you to the text designated in the link. The wonderful thing about hypertext, however, is its
ability to link—using HTTP over the World Wide Web—to any web document.
HYPERLINK: Text or an image that is connected by hypertext coding to a
different location. By selecting the text or image with a mouse, the
computer “jumps to” (or displays) the linked text.
HYPERMEDIA: Integrates audio, graphics, and/or video through links
embedded in the main program.
IBM: Stands for International Business Machines
ICONS: Symbols or illustrations appearing on the computer screen that
indicate program files or other computer functions.
IEEE 488: See GENERAL-PURPOSE INTERFACE BUS
IMPACT PRINTER: A computer-driven mechanical imprinting device where
the characters are formed by the printer-head key striking a ribbon to
imprint the character’s image onto a paper.
INCREMENT: The increase in the numerical contents of a counter. An
increment of one is usually assumed unless otherwise specified. See
INK-JET PRINTER: A printer that forms characters by electrostatically aiming and depositing a tiny patterned drop of ink onto the paper to be printed.
INPUT/OUTPUT (I/O) SECTION: The section that interfaces between the
computer’s SYSTEM BUS and the peripherals feeding data into and taking
data out of the computer. Depending on the number of peripherals in a
system, the I/O sections can have a single PORT or multiple ports.
INSTRUCTION: A software statement that specifies a machine operation.
Also called a COMMAND.
INSTRUCTION SET(INSTRUCTION REPERTOIRE): A description of the
total operational capabilities of a computer provided by the computer or the CPU (MPU) manufacturer. It consists of a listing of binary words for each executable command. It is sometimes called the computer’s MICROCODE.
INTERPRETER: A high-level language translator that converts individual
high-level computer language program instructions (source code) into
machine instructions. It translates and executes each statement line-by-
line during the running of the program.
INTERRUPT: The suspension of normal program execution to perform a
higher priority service routine as requested by a peripheral device. After
completion of the service routine operation, the interrupted program routine is resumed at the point where it was interrupted.
INTERNET: Established in the 1960s by the US government, the Internet was developed so that government agencies and universities could link research centers in response to the perceived notion that the Soviet Union was becoming more advanced in the space race. The Internet was created as a “decentralized” network, meaning that there is no one place that makes up the Internet. This was done to make sure the Internet survived a nuclear war. Today, the Internet is a vast collection of e-mail, Usenet groups, FTP sites, and Web sites, with millions upon millions of users from around the world.
INTERNET PIRACY: Online piracy is the practice of downloading and distributing copyrighted content digitally without permission, such as music or software. The principle behind piracy has predated the creation of the Internet, but its online popularity arose alongside the internet. Despite its explicit illegality in many developed countries, online piracy is still widely done by many users due to many ethical reasons and its ease of use has only gotten better as technology advances.
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER: ISP is a company that provides
Internet access to its customers.
INTERFACE: This is any type of point where two different things come
together. Most often, the term is used to describe the programs between
you and your computers like Windows, OS/2, and others. What you see on
the screen is the interface between you and what your computer is doing.
INPUT: Data that goes into a computer device.
INPUT DEVICE: A device, such as a keyboard, stylus and tablet, mouse,
puck, or microphone, that allows input of information (letters, numbers,
sound, video) to a computer.
INSTANT MESSAGING (IM): A chat application that allows two or more
people to communicate over the Internet via real-time keyed-in messages.
IP: (Internet Protocol) The rules that provide basic Internet functions. (See
IP (INTERNET PROTOCOL) ADDRESS: An Internet Protocol address is
a unique set of numbers used to locate another computer on a network.
The format of an IP address is a 32-bit string of four numbers separated
by periods. Each number can be from 0 to 255 (i.e., 184.108.40.2066). Within
a closed network, IP addresses may be assigned at random, however, IP
addresses of web servers must be registered to avoid duplicates.
IRC: (Internet Relay Chat) Currently an Internet tool with limited use that
lets users join a “hat” channel and exchange typed, text messages. Few
people have used IRC, but it is going to create a revolution in communication when the Internet can provide the bandwidth to carry full-color, live-action video, and audio. IRC came into its own during the Gulf War where unbiased reports of the war were sent back to the United States using Internet Relay Chat to get around US military censors.
ISDN: (Integrated Services Digital Network) A set of communications standards that enable a single phone line or optical cable to carry voice, digital network services, and video.
ISO: Stands for the International Standards Organization. Someone has to
say what is the standard for transferring data. These people are it. You’ll
find them in Paris.
JAVA: Java is a programming language, which allows a programmer to write the code once on their computer platform and is then usable on any
Javaaware computer platform.
JAVA-SCRIPT: This is a language very close to Java that allows for more
interaction with the viewer.
JPEG: (Joint Photographic Experts Group) The name of the committee that
designed the photographic image-compression standard. JPEG is optimized
for compressing full-color or gray-scale photographic-type, digital images.
Photos are generally stored in JPEG format on the Internet. All graphics
files should remain very small with an option for the user to view a larger
photo. Graphics are stored in GIF format.JUGHEAD Search browser like “Archie”.
JUMP: An instruction that causes the computer to fetch the next instruction
to be executed from a location other than the next sequential location in
KEYBOARD: A peripheral device consisting of alphanumerics, punctuation
marks, and other special function keys that are mechanically arranged to
allow the entry of data, commands, and other information into the system.
K OR KBPS: (kilobites per second). A speed rating for computer modems
that measures (in units of 1,024 bits) the maximum number of bits the device can transfer in one second under ideal conditions.
KILOBYTE (KB) This is about a thousand bytes of space. In reality, it’s two
to the 10th power or 1,024 bytes.
LANDSCAPE: A printer feature, generally controlled by software, which rotates the output image by 90º to print across the length rather than the width of the paper.
LAPTOP AND NOTEBOOK: Small, lightweight, portable battery-powered
computers that can fit onto your lap. They each have a thin, flat, liquid
crystal display screen.
LASER (LIGHT AMPLIFICATION by STIMULATED EMISSION of
RADIATION): A system that generates high-intensity, highly-focused
light for many purposes, including printers, high-density memory media,
and a light generator for fiber optic transmission systems.
LASER DISK: See CD-ROM
LASER PRINTER: A computer-driven photocopier that creates an original image of the text or graphics from the output of the computer. A computer-controlled laser beam “paints” the desired image inside the photocopier and then prints the image on a sheet of paper.
LAST-IN, FIRST-OUT (LIFO): A method of storing and retrieving data in a
stack, table, or list.
LEASED LINE: A leased phone line that provides a full-time, dedicated, direct connection to the Internet.
LIBRARY: A collection of standard software instructions, programs, routines, and subroutines in a computer’s memory.
LIGHT PEN: A light-sensitive stylus for forming graphics by touching
coordinates on a display screen, thereby seeming to draw directly on the
LINK: See hyperlink.
LINKAGE: Instructions that connect one program to another, providing
continuity of executions between the programs.
LINUX: A UNIX like open-source operating system developed primarily by
Linus Torvalds. Linux is free and runs on many platforms, including both
PCs and Macintoshes.
LISTSERVE: An Internet application that automatically “serves” mailing lists by sending electronic newsletters to a stored database of the Internet user addresses. Users can handle their own subscribe/unsubscribe actions
without requiring anyone at the server location to personally handle the
LIVE SCRIPT: This is the former name of Java Script. There are few updates
between the two.
LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN): A combined hardware/software technique for interconnecting company-related multiple computers or computer terminals through a high-speed networking system.
LOGIC GATE: A digital circuit resulting in an output whose state (0 or 1)
depends on the specific combination of the states of input signals.
Definitions of the more commonly used logic gates are listed below:
AND: All inputs must be in a “1” state to produce a “1” state output.
NAND (NOT AND): All inputs must be in a “1” state to produce a “0”
state output.NOR (NOT OR): Any one input, or more, in a “1” state will produce a “0” state output.
NOT (INVERTER): A logic gate having only one input and one output.
If the input is in a “1” state, the output is in a “0” state and vice versa.
OR: Anyone input, or more, in a “1” state will produce a “1” state at
XOR (EXCLUSIVE OR): If any of the inputs are in a “1” state, but
not if two or more inputs are “1”, the output is in a “1” state.
1. A feature of a CPU that allows the masking of an
interrupt request until the current sequential instruction has been completed.
2.A feature of an adder circuit in the ALU section which allows the
circuit to look ahead to see that all the generated arithmetic carry are
available for addition.
LOOPING: The repetition of program instructions until a conditional exit
the situation is encountered.
LOGIN: To attach to a computer. It has also come to represent your User ID
LOGIN SCRIPT: This is the small text file that is run by the server gateway
to make the attachment between it and your computer.
MACHINE LANGUAGE: Sets of numeric binary code instructions in a
computer that execute its operations. All other programming languages
(SOURCE PROGRAMS) must be translated into machine language
(OBJECT PROGRAM) before entering the CPU.
MACRO: A combination of commands, instructions, or keystrokes which
may be stored in a computer’s memory to be executed as a single command
by a single keystroke or a simultaneous combination of keystrokes.
MACRO ASSEMBLER: An assembly language translator that converts macro expressions into several machine language instructions. Although macros simplify program coding and speed up the execution of a program, a code for each macro must also be generated.
MAC OS: An operating system with a graphical user interface, developed by
Apple? for Macintosh? computers. Current System “X.1” (10) combines
the traditional Mac interface with a strong underlying UNIX? operating
system for increased performance and stability.
MAILING LIST: An e-mail based discussion group. Sending one e-mail
message to the mailing list’s list server sends mail to all other members of
the group. Users join a mailing list by subscribing. Subscribers to a mailing
list receive messages from all other members. Users have to unsubscribe
from a mailing list to stop receiving messages forwarded from the group’s
MALWARE: The adware designed to monitor your keyboard keystrokes so
that the author of the software can gain access to your password protected
accounts are referred to as “malware” due to its malicious intent.
MEGABYTE (MB): About a million bytes of space. Actually, it’s 2 raised
to the 20th power or 1,048,576 bytes of space.
MEMORY: Temporary storage for information, including applications and
documents. The information must be stored in a permanent device, such
as a hard disc or CD-ROM before the power is turned off, or the
information will be lost. Computer memory is measured in terms of the
amount of information it can store, commonly in megabytes or gigabytes.
MENU: A context-related list of options that users can choose from.
MENU BAR: The horizontal strip across the top of an application’s window.
Each word on the strip has a context-sensitive drop-down menu containing
features and actions that are available for the application in use.
MERGE: To combine two or more files into a single file.
MHz: An abbreviation for Megahertz, or one million hertz. One MHz represents one million clock cycles per second and is the measure of a computer microprocessor’s speed. For example, a microprocessor that runs at 300 MHz executes 300 million cycles per second. Each instruction a computer receives takes a fixed number of clock cycles to carry out, therefore the more cycles a computer can execute per second, the faster its programs run. Megahertz is also a unit of measure for bandwidth.
MICROPROCESSOR: A complete central processing unit (CPU) contained
on a single silicon chip.
MINIMIZE : A term used in a GUI operating system that uses windows. It
refers to reducing a window to an icon, or a label at the bottom of the
screen, allowing another window to be viewed.
MICROCOMPUTER: A microprocessor-based computer, consisting of an
MPU, internal semiconductor memory, input and output sections, and a
system bus, all on one, or several monolithic IC chips inserted into one or
several PC boards. The addition of a power supply and connecting cables,
appropriate peripherals (keyboard, monitor, printer, disk drives, etc.), an
operating system and other software programs can provide a complete
microcomputer system. The microcomputer is generally the smallest of
the computer family, however, the improvement in performance capability
of newer microcomputer systems can make the microcomputer as
powerful as larger systems.
MICROPROCESSOR UNIT (MPU): The Central Processor Unit (CPU)
implemented in monolithic IC technology, usually, but not necessarily, on
one VLSI chip. In many cases, the SYSTEM BUS is also included on the
MIDI: Stands for Music Instrument Digital Interface. It allows a computer to
store and replay a musical instrument’s output.
MINICOMPUTER: Considered to be more capable than a microcomputer
but less powerful than a mainframe. Generally, the WORD-WIDTH of
the minicomputer is between 12 to 32 bits.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): A set of Internet functions that extends normal e-mail capabilities and enables computer files to be attached to the e-mail. Files sent by MIME arrive at their destination as exact copies of the original so that you can send fully-formatted word processing files, spreadsheets, graphics images, and software applications to other users via simple e-mail. Aladdin’s Stuffit Expander will automatically convert MIME files.
MNEMONIC: A symbolic label or code reminder that assists the user in
remembering a specific operation or command.See ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE.
MODEL: A representation of a process or system that can be controlled to
demonstrate the effects that various actions will have on the process or
MONITOR: The visual readout device of a computer system. A monitor can
be in several forms:, a cathode ray tube (CRT), a liquid crystal display
(LCD), or a flat-panel, full-color display. See DISPLAY.
MODEM: A device that connects two computers together over a telephone or cable line by converting the computer’s data into an audio signal. Modem
is a contraction for the process it performs: modulate-demodulate.
MOSAIC: The first Web browser to have a consistent interface for the
Macintosh, Windows, and Unix environments. It was created at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). The success of this browser is really responsible for the expansion of the Web.
MOUSE: A small hand-held device, similar to a trackball, used to control the
position of the cursor on the video display; movements of the mouse on a
desktop correspond to movements of the cursor on the screen.
MP3:Stands for MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group) Audio Layer 3. This
is a compression standard that was developed to create a small audio file
size while keeping a high-quality sound. The small file size allows the
sound to be streamed or downloaded over the Internet with ease.
MP4: Stands for MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group): 4. Finalized toward
At the end of 1998, this became an International Standard at the beginning of This was developed to provide low bandwidth multimedia applications.
MPEG: Stands for Motion Picture Experts Group. A format to make, view,
and transfer both digital audio and digital video files.
MULTITASKING: The technique of using several application programs (tasks) in a computer system or on several terminals in a network at the same time. Multitasking can simultaneously work with several programs or
interrelated tasks that share memories, codes, buffers, and files.
MULTIUSER: The term describing the capability of a computer system to be
operated at more than one terminal at the same time.
MULTIPLEXER: This is a piece of hardware that allows one item to take the
place of several. An example would be using a multiplexer to allow 10
computers to attach where only one could before.
MULTIMEDIA: Software programs that combine text and graphics with
sound, video, and animation. A multimedia PC contains the hardware to
support these capabilities.
NACS: Stands for Netware Asynchronous Communication Services.
NEGATIVE LOGIC: This term refers to logic in which the negative voltage
represents the “1” state and the zero voltage represents the “0” state.
See POSITIVE LOGIC.
NESTING: Embedding commands or data in levels of other data so that specific routines or instructions can be executed or accessed continuously in loops, without returning to the main program.
NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR: Currently the dominant World Wide Web browser. Information on the latest version of the browser can be found at
NETWORK ADAPTER: This is the hardware that allows the computers that
are part of a network to communicate with each other.
NETWORK: A system of interconnected computers.
NEWBIE: Someone who is new to the Internet. You cease to be a newbie
almost AS SOON AS YOU LEARN TO STOP TYPING IN ALL CAPS
(which is considered shouting and in very poor taste).
NIBBLE: A sequence of four adjacent bits, or a half-byte. Hexadecimal or
BCD coded digit can be represented by a nibble.
NODE: The endpoint of a network branch or the junction of two or more
NON-VOLATILE MEMORY: A memory where stored data remains
undisturbed by the removal of electrical power.
OBJECT: Something that contains both the data and the application that
operates on that data.
OBJECT CODE: Machine language code produced by a translator program,
such as an assembler, interpreter, or compiler. Instructions in object code
can be executed by a Central Processing Unit (CPU). See SOURCE CODE.
OOP: Stands for Object-Oriented Program. A larger program made up of
OPEN SOURCE: Computer programs whose original source code was revealed to the general public so that it could be developed openly. Software licensed as open-source can be freely changed or adapted to new uses, meaning that the source code of the operating system is freely available to the public. Programmers may redistribute and modify the code, as long as
they don’t collect royalties on their work or deny access to their code.
Since development is not restricted to a single corporation more
programmers can debug and improve the source code faster
OPERATING SYSTEM: A set of instructions that tell a computer on how to
operate when it is turned on. It sets up a filing system to store files and
tells the computer how to display information on a video display. Most PC
operating systems are DOS (disc operated system) systems, meaning the
instructions are stored on a disc (as opposed to being originally stored in
the microprocessors of the computer). Other well-known operating
systems include UNIX, Linux, Macintosh, and Windows.
OPERATION CODE (OP-CODE): Part of a computer instruction word that
designates the function performed by specific instruction. For example,
op-codes for arithmetic instructions include: “ADD”, “SUB”, “MUL” and
OUTPUT: Data that comes out of a computer device. For example, information displayed on the monitor, sound from the speakers, and information printed on paper.
OVERFLOW: An error condition occurring in a computer when a mathematical operation produces a result having a magnitude that exceeds the capacity of the computer’s arithmetic register.
PALM: A hand-held computer.
PASCAL: A high-level programming language that is structured to encourage efficient programming habits (documentation) and is used extensively in educational institutions and engineering environments.
PARALLEL OPERATION: A method of data transmission in which all bits
of a digital word are handled simultaneously with each bit on a separate
line. Although faster and simpler to install and operate than SERIAL
OPERATION, this method requires more transmission lines (real estate).
PARITY: A method of verifying the accuracy of binary data after it has been
transferred to or from a storage area.
PARTITION: A portion of a hard disk that functions as a separate unit.a single hard disk can be divided into several partitions, each of which
functions as a separate drive and has its own volume name (such as D:,
E:, F:, and so on). The purpose is to make the drive more efficient, as the
computer can search smaller sections for a specific file rather than the
entire drive. The verb to partition refers to the process of dividing the
hard drive into partitions.
PC BOARD: Printed Circuit board. A board printed or etched with a circuit
and processors. Power supplies, information storage devices, or changes
PCMCIA(PERSONAL COMPUTER MEMORY CARD INTERNATIONAL
ASSOCIATION): A package in a plastic card form containing
semiconductor memory, particularly FLASH. These cards are plugged
into the card slot in laptop computers.
PDA: Personal Digital Assistant. A hand-held computer that can store daily
appointments, phone numbers, addresses, and other important information. Most PDAs link to a desktop or laptop computer to download or upload information.
PDF: Stands for Portable Document Format. A technology developed by adobe and was designed to capture all of the elements of a printed document and place it in a single image file. This PDF file can be navigated, printed, or attached to an email for sharing. In order to be able to view a PDF file on your computer, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader. Once installed, anytime a PDF file is clicked, the image file will automatically be viewed.
PEER TO PEER: A type of network in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities. This differs from client/server
architectures, in which some computers are dedicated to serving the others.
Peer-to-peer networks are generally simpler and less expensive, but they
usually do not offer the same performance under heavy loads.
PEN DRIVE: A small keyring-sized device that can be used to easily transfer
files between USB-compatible systems. Available in a range of capacities
(and in some cases, with an MP3 player built-in). Plug it into any USB
port and it will be automatically detected by the Operating System.
PENTIUM CHIP: Intel’s fifth generation of sophisticated high-speed
microprocessors. Pentium means “the fifth element.”
PERIPHERAL: A term designating the various kinds of machines and devices that work in conjunction with a computer but are not necessarily part of the computer structure. Typically, peripherals refer to printers, keyboards, monitors, scanners, CD ROM drives, and plotters. A hard drive, floppy disk drive, and a MODEM are considered to be peripheral devices even though they may be physically located inside a computer.
PERSONAL COMPUTER (PC): A single-user computer containing a central
processing unit (CPU) and one or more memory circuits.
PETABYTE: A measure of memory or storage capacity and is approximately
a thousand terabytes.
PETAFLOP: A theoretical measure of a computer’s speed and can be expressed as a thousand-trillion floating-point operations per second.
PICT: Pronounced “Pick,t.” It is another image format.
PLATFORM: The operating system, such as UNIX, Macintosh,
Windows? on which a computer is based.
PLUG-IN: This is a program that your browser uses to manipulate a
downloaded file. It differs from a Helper Application in that the plug-in
works inside the browser window.
PLUG AND PLAY: Computer hardware or peripherals that come set up with
necessary software so that when attached to a computer, they are
“recognized” by the computer and are ready to use.
PLUG-COMPATIBLE: A term that describes the ability of peripherals to be
interchanged without modification.
POLLING: A process in which a number of peripheral devices, remote stations, or nodes in a computer network are interrogated, one at a time, to determine if service is required.
POP (Post Office Protocol): An Internet protocol that enables a single user to read an e-mail from a mail server.
POP (Point of Presence): A site that has an array of telecommunications
equipment: modems, digital, leased lines, and Internet routers. An Internet
access provider may operate several regional PoPs to provide Internet
connections within local phone service areas. An alternative is for access
providers to employ virtual PoPs (virtual Points of Presence) in conjunction
with a third-party provider.
POP-UP MENU: A menu window that opens vertically or horizontally onscreen to display context-related options. Also called the drop-down menu or the pull-down menu.
PORT: An input/output channel (either parallel or serial), terminated at a
connector on the computer. It interconnects the computer’s input and/or
output terminals to an appropriate source and/or destination.
PORTRAIT: A term that designates the position of conventional printing across the width of a page.
POSITIVE LOGIC: This logic represents the reverse of NEGATIVE LOGIC.
It is the more commonly used form of logic. A positive voltage represents
a “1” state and a negative (or zero) voltage represent a “0” state.
POWER PC: A competitor of the Pentium chip. It is a new generation of
powerful sophisticated microprocessors produced from an Apple-
PPP: Stands for Point To Point Protocol. It’s a software application that allows an attachment to a server.
PRINT SPOOLER: A device for temporarily storing data to be printed when the printer is functioning. It provides uninterrupted data entry and editing while the printer is active and while other data awaits transmission to the printer.
PRINTER: A mechanical device for printing a computer’s output on paper.
PROGRAM: A complete sequence of computer software instructions necessary to provide an application, solve a specific problem, perform an action, or respond to external stimuli in a prescribed manner. As a verb, it means to develop a program.
PROGRAM COUNTER (PC): A special-purpose register in the CPU which
contains the address of the next instruction to be fetched and executed.
PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC ARRAY (PLA): An unprogrammed,
general-purpose logic structure in monolithic IC form consisting of an
array of similar, and/or compatible logic gates. Also called
PROGRAMMABLE ARRAY LOGIC (PAL).
PROGRAMMABLE READ-ONLY MEMORY (PROM): A blank read-only
memory (ROM) that is programmed with external programming equipment
after manufacture. Once programmed, it is not re-programmable and is
considered to be a ROM.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE: A series of instructions written by a
programmer according to a given set of rules or conventions (“syntax”).
High-level programming languages are independent of the device on which
the application (or program) will eventually run; low-level languages are
specific to each program or platform. Programming language instructions
are converted into programs in language specific to a particular machine
or operating system (“machine language”) so that the computer can
interpret and carry out the instructions. Some common programming
languages are BASIC, C, C++, dBASE, FORTRAN, and Perl.
PROPAGATION DELAY: The time required for the output of a logic gate to
respond to a combination of input pulses.
PROTOCOLS: Computer rules that provide uniform specifications so that
computer hardware and operating systems can communicate. It’s similar
to the way that mail, in countries around the world, is addressed in the
same basic format so that postal workers know where to find the recipient’s
address, the sender’s return address, and the postage stamp. Regardless
of the underlying language, the basic “protocols” remain the same.
PROXY-SERVER: A server that acts as an intermediary between a workstation user and the internet so that the enterprise can ensure security, administrative control, and caching service. A proxy server is associated with, or part of, a gateway server that separates the enterprise network from the outside network and a firewall server that protects the enterprise network from outside intrusion.
PUCK: An input device, like a mouse. It has a magnifying glass with crosshairs on the front of it that allows the operator to position it precisely when tracing a drawing for use with CAD-CAM software.
PULL-DOWN MENU: A menu window that opens vertically on-screen to
display context-related options. Also called drop-down menu or pop-up
PUSH: The instruction used to deposit a word on top of a stack.
PUSH-DOWN STACK: A dedicated temporary storage register in a computer, sometimes part of system memory, structured so that data (words) in the stack are retrieved in reverse order of entry. See LIFO.
PUSH TECHNOLOGY: An Internet tool that delivers specific information directly to a user’s desktop, eliminating the need to surf for it. PointCast, which delivers news in user-defined categories, is a popular example of this
QUERY: This is to make a computer request for a database.
QUICK-TIME PLAYER: A multimedia technology developed by Apple
Computer. Developed to display video, sound, animation, graphics, text,
music, and 360-degree virtual reality (VR) scenes. Apple makes its
QuickTime plug-in available for free and once installed on your computer
system, you can watch streaming media within a web page.
RAID: Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. A method of spreading
information across several disks set up to act as a unit, using two different
RAM: Random Access Memory. One of two basic types of memory. Portions
of programs are stored in RAM when the program is launched so that the
program will run faster. Though a PC has a fixed amount of RAM, only
portions of it will be accessed by the computer at any given time. Also
RAMDISK (DISK EMULATOR): A portion of a hard drive configured to
emulate a RAM. It accesses information quickly, but its data must be
saved in non-volatile memory for future use. Otherwise, the information
is lost when power is removed.
RANDOM ACCESS: A technique of accessing (reading) a word of data from
a memory structure by the CPU. Since a word in the memory can be
accessed directly, the time required is independent of its location (address)
in the memory structure. It is sometimes called a “direct access” method.
RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM): A volatile, semiconductor storage
structure that accesses temporary data with a random or direct accessing
method. It is more accurately referred to as “erasable read/write” memory.
Data in this memory can be read by the CPU, edited, altered, erased, or
new information written over existing data by computer commands. Its
data must be saved for future access by writing it into a non-volatile
memory. See NON-VOLATILE MEMORY and VOLATILE MEMORY.
READ-ONLY MEMORY (ROM): A semiconductor memory whose data
cannot be erased, or overwritten; it can only be accessed (read) for use
by the CPU. The data in a ROM is of a permanent nature and is programmed
by the ROM manufacturer. In many cases, its programmed information
identifies the dedicated function of a computer. A ROM can also be in the
physical form of a module (tape or disk) that is plugged into a computer
to change its operation from one program to another.
REALAUDIO: This is a method of playing sounds invented by Rob Glasser
that creates a buffer between the supplying server and your computer.
The file is played without downloading it completely.
REAL-TIME: This is a method of processing data the moment it is received.
Batch mode is a term used for a mainframe computer dealing with data
when it has time.
REAL-TIME DATA: Time-dependent data processed by a computer whose
output data is capable of controlling other time-related events, such as
traffic control. Real-time is the actual time it takes for an event to occur.
REBOOT: To restart a computer. In DOS, you can reboot by pressing the Alt,
Control and Delete keys simultaneously. This is called a warm boot. You
can also perform a cold boot by turning the computer off and then on
again. On Macs, you reboot by selecting the “Restart” option from the Special
REFRESH: Generally, to update something with new data. For example, some Web browsers include a refresh button that updates the current display Web pages. This feature is also called reload. To recharge a device with power or information. For example, dynamic RAM needs to be refreshed thousands of times per second or it will lose the data stored in it.
Similarly, display monitors must be refreshed many times per second.
The refresh rate for a monitor is measured in hertz (Hz) and is also called
the vertical frequency, vertical scan rate, frame rate, or vertical refresh
rate. The old standard for monitor refresh rates was 60Hz, but a new
standard developed by VESA sets the refresh rate at 75Hz for monitors
displaying resolutions of 640×480 or greater. This means that the monitor
redraws the display 75 times per second. The faster the refresh rate, the
less the monitor flickers.
REGISTER: A temporary storage unit for quick, direct accessibility of a small amount of data for processing. Most computers include a set of internal registers that can be accessed more quickly than the system’s main memory.
RESIDENT SOFTWARE: The program(s) residing in the main memory of a
computer system. For the convenience of operation, several software programs can reside in RAM after the computer is turned on and booted, and they can be accessed quickly from within another program.
RESOLUTION: Refers to the sharpness and clarity of an image. The term is
most often used to describe monitors, printers, and bit-mapped graphic
images. In the case of dot-matrix and laser printers, the resolution indicates
the number of dots per inch. For example, a 300-dpi (dots per inch)
the printer is one that is capable of printing 300 distinct dots in a line 1 inch
long. This means it can print 90,000 dots per square inch. RS-232-C: Identifies an interconnection standard for serial operation. It specifies the configuration and type of connectors in the computer’s serial I/O port(s) and peripheral serial port(s).
ROUTER: A network device that enables the network to reroute messages it
receives that are intended for other networks. The network with the router
receives the message and sends it on its way exactly as received. In normal
operations, they do not store any of the messages that they pass through.
RIGHT-CLICK: Using the right mouse button to open context-sensitive
SATA: Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. A computer bus designed to
transfer data to and from a hard drive using serial signaling technology.
Because SATA cables are thinner than their ribbon type counterpart, they
can be connected to more devices while maintaining its signal integrity.
SCANNER: An electronic device that uses light-sensing equipment to scan
paper images such as text, photos, and illustrations and translate the images
into signals that the computer can then store, modify, or distribute.
SCRATCHPAD MEMORY: A group of internal registers used for the
temporary storage of data being collected and sorted for immediate
processing. It is analogous to a pad of paper for quickly jotting down
SDRAM: Short for “Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory”. This
is a newer type of DRAM that has the ability to run at much higher clock
speeds than conventional memory.
SEARCH ENGINE: It is a programme that makes it possible to look for and
retrieve material on the Internet, particularly the Web. The most popular
search engine is Google.
SERVER: A computer that shares its resources and information with other
computers, called clients, on a network.
SERIAL: This is a consecutive occurrence of two items on the same channel.
SECTOR: A section of a recording track on a magnetic disk.
SEMICONDUCTOR MEMORY: Data storage devices formed with
semiconductor components (generally monolithic ICs). See RAM, ROM,
PROM, EPROM, EAPROM, EEPROM, and FLASH.
SERIAL OPERATION: A method of data transmission where the data is
handled in sequence, one bit at a time. See PARALLEL OPERATION.
SERVICE ROUTINE: A set of instructions for performing a programmed
the operation, typically, in response to an interrupt command.
SERVER: This is a mainframe computer that serves the other computers
attached to it.
SHAREWARE: Software created by people who are willing to sell it at low
cost or no cost for the gratification of sharing. It may be freestanding
software, or it may add functionality to existing software.
SHAREWARE: This is an application that a programmer makes available to
users for a set amount of time and then asks for a donation. In return for
the donation, a registration number is often returned that can be used to
“turn on” the features of the program.
SHELL ACCOUNT: A software application that lets you use someone else’s
Internet connection. It’s not the same as having your own, direct Internet
connection, but pretty close. Instead, you connect to a host computer
and use the Internet through the host computer’s connection. Most users
connect via shell accounts because of the current high cost to have direct
SHELL: This is a program that sets parameters and acts as a series of
boundaries in which an application can run.
SHIFT: A computer operation consisting of moving a group of adjacent data
bits either to the left or to the right by a prescribed number of positions.
The move is done in a SHIFT REGISTER for a carry-over operation.
SIGNATURE FILE: An ASCII text file, maintained within e-mail programs,
that contains a few lines of text for your signature. The programs
automatically attach the file to your messages so you don’t have to
repeatedly type a closing.
SIMPLEX: Adata transmission mode that provides transmission in one direction only. See FULL DUPLEX and HALF DUPLEX.
SIMULATION: The imitation of a logical operation of one computer by another to measure and evaluate the operation of the computer being designed. Simulation is primarily intended to provide an analysis of program logic, independent of the hardware environment, and is extremely useful for debugging a new software program prior to committing it to ROM.
SKYPE: This is a peer-to-peer voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). This Internet telephony network was created by the same people that created Kazaa (Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis). It was developed as a free desktop software application that gives users the ability to make free Internet phone calls to other Skype users or you can use the application to place and receive phone calls to and from traditional phone lines for a reduced fee.
SLIP/PPP: (Serial Line Internet Protocol/Point-to-Point Protocol) The basic
rules that enable computers to connect, usually by dial-up modem, directly
to other computers that provide Internet services.
SMTP: (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The basic programming language
behind the Internet’s e-mail functions. SMTP is poised for a major upgrade
because it doesn’t provide such simple information as unsend or e-mail
SOCIAL NETWORKING: Social Networking is an online community of
internet users. It provides a virtual community in which the members
with common interests may communicate with each other. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Whatsapp are the most popular Social Networking Sites.
SOFTWARE: This is a program, the actual code the computer reads. All
other stuff is hardware. SOURCE CODE (SOURCE PROGRAM): A set of computer instructions in hard-copy or stored form. When written in a language other than machine language, the source code requires translation by an assembler (or macroassembler), interpreter, or compiler into object code.
SPIDER: A process search engines use to investigate new pages on a web site and collect the information that needs to be put in their indices.
SPREADSHEET: Software that allows one to calculate numbers in a format
that is similar to pages in a conventional ledger.
SPAM: This is to transmit unwanted messages, usually over email, to a great
SPOOFING: To fool. In networking, the term is used to describe a variety of
ways in which hardware and software can be fooled. Email spoofing, for
example, involves trickery that makes a message appear as if it came
from a legitimate business email address.
SPOOLING: The process of storing a device (eg: printer) output signal in a
queue, while the device can take on other actions. When the device is
ready to take on other actions, it will draw from the queue.
The term spooling is derived from the acronym “Spool”: Simultaneous
Peripheral Operations On-Line.
STATE: The logic input or output condition of a binary digital circuit: the state
is either a “0” or “1”.
STACK: A dynamic, sequential data list usually contained in the computer system’s main memory. It has special provisions to access data from
either end. Storage and retrieval of data from the stack is performed
automatically by the CPU.
STATIC MEMORY: A type of semiconductor read/write memory (RAM)
that does not require periodic refresh cycles. As long as electrical power
is ON, the data in a static memory is maintained.
STORAGE: Devices used to store massive amounts of information so that it
can be readily retrieved. Devices include RAIDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs.
STREAMING: Taking packets of information (sound or visual) from the
Internet and storing it in temporary files to allow it to play in continuous
STYLUS AND TABLET: A input device similar to a mouse. The stylus is pen-shaped. It is used to “draw” on a tablet (like drawing on paper) and the
tablet transfers the information to the computer. The tablet responds to
pressure—the firmer the pressure used to draw, the thicker the line appears.
STORAGE CAPACITY: The amount of data that can be retained in a memory unit. It is expressed either by a number of bits or bytes (8-bit words).
STREAMER/STREAMING TAPES: A small tape recorder, usually in cassette
form is used to store data from a hard disk for the purpose of backing up
SUBROUTINE: A short program segment that performs a specific function
and is available for general use by other programs and routines.
SUPERCOMPUTER: The largest mainframe computer featuring exceptionally high-speed operation while manipulating huge amounts of information.
SUPPORT CHIPS: Computer-related circuits other than the CPU. Examples
are: main memory (RAM and ROM), I/O ports, and system bus.
SURFING: Exploring the Internet.
SURGE PROTECTOR: A controller to protect the computer and make up for
variances in voltage.
SVGA: Stands for Super Video Graphics Adapter. It’s a high-level monitor.
SYNCHRONOUS COMMUNICATION: A method of transferring binary data,
in serial form, between computers or between a computer and its
peripherals. Transmission of data is at a rate set by the computer’s clock
with synchronization bits located at the beginning of each message or
block of data.
SYNTAX: A set of grammatical rules defining valid use of specific commands or instructions in a computer language.
SYSTEMS SOFTWARE: A general term for software that supervises,
sequences, and coordinates programs. Systems software may include
programs, such as operating systems, assemblers, interpreters, compilers,
software debugging programs, text editors, utilities, and peripheral drivers.
T1: An Internet backbone line that carries up to 1.536 million bits per second (1.536Mbps).
T3: An Internet line that carries up to 45 million bits per second (45Mbps).
That’s 160 times as fast as a 28.8k modem!
TCP/IP: Stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is
a large grouping of programs and standards that govern how information
moves round the Internet. The protocols were established around 1970-
1980 to allow computers to attach to one another.
TERABYTE (TB): It’s about a trillion bytes. Actually, it’s 2 to the 40th power
or 1,009,511,627,776 bytes.
TERAFLOP: A measure of a computer’s speed. It can be expressed as a
trillion floating-point operations per second.
TERMINAL: This is what you look at when you’re on the Internet. It’s your
TERMINAL EMULATION: This is an application that allows your terminal
to act as a dumb terminal.TEXT EDITOR: See EDITOR.
TELNET: An Internet protocol that let you connect your computer as a remote workstation to a host computer anywhere in the world and to use that computer as if you were logged on locally.
THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE: Software developed by a software company
rather than by a computer manufacturer or user.
THREAD: In online discussions, a series of messages have been posted
as replies to each other. A single forum or conference typically contains
many threads covering different subjects. By reading each message in a
thread, one after the other, you can see how the discussion has evolved.
You can start a new thread by posting a message that is not a reply to an
THROUGHPUT: The number of instructions executed per second, measured
in millions of instructions per second (MIPS) or billions of instructions
per second (BIPS).
TOGGLE: To switch back and forth between two states or conditions of
operation, as in a toggle switch.
TOP-DOWN HIERARCHICAL DESIGN: A hardware and/or software design
approach that starts at the most general level of a machine or software
program. It proceeds, step-by-step, to lower levels, adding detail as the
TRACK: A ring on the surface of a magnetic disk.
TRACKBALL: Input device that controls the position of the cursor on the
screen; the unit is mounted near the keyboard, and movement is controlled
by moving a ball.
TRACTOR-FEED: A pin-fed device for advancing continuous form paper
through a computer printer.
TRANSISTOR-TRANSISTOR LOGIC (T2L): A logic gate family that
provides higher-speed and higher-power than the obsolete DTL logic family.
The first transistor in the circuit performs the required logic. Another
transistor amplifies and inverts the output. Improved pin-compatible
versions of this logic family are called TTL-Schottky (T2L-S) and Low
Power TTLS (LPT2L-S).
TRANSLATOR: See ASSEMBLER, MACRO ASSEMBLER, INTERPRETER,
TRANSPARENT: Something that occurs without being known to the user.
TRI-STATE LOGIC: The term that designates the possible conditions of a
specific logic gate output: “0”, “1” or “undefined”.
TROJAN: A type of computer virus that is loaded into an unsuspecting user’s system via a host program such as a free game. The Trojan can be
programmed by the author to perform many actions once activated by the
user. These actions usually have malicious intent. The term “Trojan” comes
from ancient Greece, where the Greeks used a wooden horse containing
hidden Greek soldiers to gain entrance to the city of Troy.
TRUNCATE: The dropping of digits or characters from one end of a data
item causing loss of accuracy or information.
TRUTH TABLE: A tabulation of all possible combinations of states at the
inputs of a logic gate which will result in a specific logic state at the
output of the gate.
TURNKEY SYSTEM: A complete computer system ready to operate without
any hardware or software modification or addition.
TWAIN: Stands for Technology Without An Interesting Name. I like this, I
found it on another site.
ULTRA-BOOK: An UltraBook is a higher-end type of Sub Note Book defined
UNFORMATTED (UNINITIALIZED) DISK: A blank magnetic disk with no
track/sector identification recorded on it that allows users to implement
their own track/sector identifications.
UNIX: This is an operating system developed by AT&T. It’s big to push it that it allows one server to service many different end-users at one time.
UPLOAD: The process of transferring information from a computer to a
web site (or other remote location on a network) and To transfer information from a computer to a web site (or other remote location on a network).
UPS: Universal Power Supply or Uninterruptible Power Supply. An electrical power supply that includes a battery to provide enough power to a computer during an outage to back-up data and properly shut down.
URL: Uniform Resource Locator.The protocol for identifying a document on the Web.A Web address (e.g., www.census.gov).
A URL is unique to each user. See also domain.
USB: Universal Serial Bus. An industry standard for connecting different
compatible peripheral devices across multiple platforms. Devices include
printers, digital cameras, scanners, gamepads, joysticks, keyboards and
mice, and storage devices.
USER-FRIENDLY PROGRAM: A software program that has been designed
to easily direct the user through the operation or application of a program.
A menu-driven program is considered to be “user-friendly”.
USENET: Another name for Internet Newsgroups. A distributed bulletin board system running on news servers, Unix hosts, on-line services, and bulletin board systems. Collectively, all the users who post and read articles to newsgroups. The Usenet is international in scope and is the largest
decentralized information utility. The Usenet includes government agencies, universities, high schools, organizations of all sizes as well as millions of stand-alone PCs.
USER: Someone attached to a server or host.
UTILITY: A software program designed to perform a computer system’s
routine housekeeping functions, like copying, deleting files, and/or providing techniques to simplify the execution of a program.
V.42bis: A worldwide modem standard for data compression that lets modems reach data transfer speeds of up to 34,000 bits per second.
VDD: Stands for Virtual Device Driver.
VERONICA: Stands for Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to
Computerized Archives. A database of menu names from a large number
of Gopher servers. A quick and easy way to search Gopher resources for
information by keyword.
VGA: Stands for Video Graphics Adapter. This is a lower level color monitor.
VIRUS: An unauthorized piece of computer code attached to a computer
program or portions of a computer system that secretly copies itself from
one computer to another by shared discs and over telephone and cable
lines. It can destroy information stored on the computer, and in extreme
cases can destroy operability.
VIDEO TELECONFERENCING: A remote “face-to-face chat,” when two
or more people using a webcam and an Internet telephone connection
chat online. The webcam enables both live voice and video.
VIRTUAL REALITY (VR): A technology that allows one to experience and
interact with images in a simulated three-dimensional environment. For
example, you could design a room in a house on your computer and
actually feel that you are walking around in it even though it was never
built. (The Holodeck in the science-fiction TV series Star Trek: Voyager
would be the ultimate virtual reality.) Current technology requires the user
to wear a special helmet, viewing goggles, gloves, and other equipment
that transmits and receives information from the computer.
VOCABULARY: A list of operating codes or instructions available to the
software programmer for writing a program in a specific language.
VOLATILE MEMORY: A memory whose contents are irretrievably lost when power is removed. If data in RAM must be saved after power shut-down, back-up in nonvolatile memory (magnetic disk, tape, or CD-R) is essential.
VRML: Stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language. It’s a form of application that gives a 3-D effect to pictures sometimes allowing you to “move” through them.
WAIS: Stands for Wide Area Information Servers. Searches large indexes of
information on the Internet.
WAIT STATE: An internal condition of delay in processing time executed b
the CPU when a synchronizing control signal is not present. Wait states
synchronize the timing of a CPU with the relatively slower access time of
the computer’s main memory.
WAN: Stands for Wide Area Network, like the Internet.
WAV: Stands for WAVeform sound format. Microsoft’s format for encoding
WEBCAM: A video camera/computer setup that takes live images and sends
them to a Web browser.
WINCHESTER DRIVE: See HARD-DISK DRIVE
WINDOW: A portion of a computer display used in a graphical interface that enables users to select commands by pointing to illustrations or symbols with a mouse. “Windows” is also the name Microsoft adopted for its popular operating system.
WINDOWING: The ability of a program to divide a display screen into smaller sub-units that permit portions of different sections of a program, or different programs, to be displayed on the screen, edited, and copied independently.
WORD PROCESSING (WP): The term refers to a program, that allows creating, editing, formatting, displaying, printing, and storage of text with great flexibility and ease. Different WP programs provide different, and
sometimes, more desirable capabilities than others.
WORD: The set of binary bits handled by a computer as a primary unit of
data. The width (number of bits) of a computer word depends on the
hardware design. Wider words imply higher levels of precision, higher
speed, and more intricate instructions. Typically, each location in memory
contains one word.
WORD PROCESSOR: A computer system or program for setting, editing,
revising, correcting, storing, and printing text.
WORLD WIDE WEB (“WWW” OR “THE WEB”): A network of servers
on the Internet that use hypertext-linked databases and files. It was
developed in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist, and
is now the primary platform of the Internet. The feature that distinguishes
the Web from other Internet applications is its ability to display graphics in
addition to text.
WORM (WRITE-ONCE, READ-MANY): A high-density optical disk
memory available in a variety of formats from 5.25″ to 14″. The WORM
can be programmed once, permanently saving a user’s data. It then
becomes an optical disk read-only memory having essentially the same
features as a CD-ROM. Also called CD-R (CD-RECORDABLE).
WORKSTATION: The work area and/or equipment used for computer
operations, including computer-aided design (CAD). The equipment
generally consists of a monitor, keyboard, printer and/or plotter, and other
WORKGROUP: Persons sharing files and data between themselves.
WPG: Stands for Word Perfect Graphics.
WRITE: The process of storing data into memory.
WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. When using most word
processors, page layout programs (See desktop publishing), and web page
design programs, words, and images will be displayed on the monitor as
they will look on the printed page or web page. X-Y-Z
X-Y PLOTTER: A computer-driven printing mechanism that draws coordinate points in graph form.
ZOOM: The process of proportionately enlarging or reducing an image
displayed on a computer monitor.
ZIP: Stands for Zone Information Protocol. This is an application that allows
for the compression of application files.