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Tech Dictionary



If you have a item you like added to the list please feel free to
e-mail it to David Fellows 


Ever wonder what all those strange, new words mean? Here is a useful guide to the language of the Computer and the Internet.

Symbols Numbers A | B | C | D  | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z










Access Number

Acrobat Reader

Address Book

Alta Vista

Alternate or Alt Key


Animated GIF

Anonymous FTP


Antivirus Program

Archival Memory

Archive File








Audio Board









Boolean Operator

Boot Disk

Boot or Booting

Boot Sector







Cat 5/Category 5






Chat Room


Compressed File






Data Encryption


Dial-Up Access

Domain Name

Domain Name Address



DRAM Memory







EDO/RAM Memory

E-Mail (Electronic Mail)

E-Mail Address

E-Mail List





Favorites Folder

File Folder

File Name




Flame Bait










Graphics Board


Hard Drive



Home Page







IEEE 1284

IEEE 1394

IEEE 802.X

IEEE Printer Cable




IP Address









Keyword Search






MAC Address

Mail Server

Mailing List






Mother Board






Newsgroups (USENET)


NIC Address








PCI Local Bus





Plug and Play






Power Supply








Root Directory






Search Engine

Service Provider



Sound Card


SRAM Memory

Start Up Disk



Switching Hub











Urban Legend




User Id




Video Adapter

Virtual Memory




Web Browser

Web Page

Web Site





Wizard or Wizzard







Zipped File


*.* - A file specification using the asterisk ( or the star key) as a wildcard, which means you can perform some action on the group of files you have chosen, any combination of file names (see file name) and/or extensions (see extension). If you typed find *.doc it would find all files that have a doc extension; while find *.* would find all files in the sub-directory.


/ - Forward Slash (top of character leans to the right).
A character used for parameters that control the execution of a program. If you typed find *.doc it would find all files with the doc extension but only in that sub-directory while find *.doc /s would find all files with the doc extension on the entire drive.  see sub-directory


\ - Back Slash (top of character leans to the left).
A character used to separate directory names. When used as a leading character, it means that the path specification begins from the topmost level for that drive.  Example c:\windows\my documents\Myfile.exe would be a file that can be found on the C Drive in the sub-directory windows in the sub-directory called favorites.  

c:\windows\my documents
c:\windows\my documents\myfile.exe

see sub-directory, path,



10BaseT/100BaseT - An Ethernet standard for base band LANs (local area networks) using twisted-pair cable carrying 10 or 100 Mbs (MegaBits Per Second).


Access Number - The telephone number used by a subscriber to gain access to an online service.  see ISP.


Acrobat Reader - A free program produced and distributed by Adobe Systems, Inc., for displaying and printing documents that are in Portable Document Format.  see PDF.


Address Book - In an e-mail program, a reference section listing e-mail addresses and individuals' names. As a web page, an informal e-mail or URL phone book.  see e-mail, web page, URL


Alta Vista - A World Wide Web search site and portal hosted by Digital Equipment Corporation.  see portal


Alternate or Alt Key - A key included on PC and other standard keyboards that is used in conjunction with another key to produce some special feature or function and is typically marked with the letters Alt.


AMI BIOS - A ROM (Read Only Memory) BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) developed and marketed by American Megatrends Inc. (AMI) for use in IBM-compatible computers.


Animated GIF - A series of graphic images in GIF format, displayed sequentially in a single location to give the appearance of a moving picture. (see GIF)


Anonymous FTP
(File Transfer Protocol)
- The ability to access a remote computer system on which one does not have an account, using the internet's File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Users have restricted access rights with anonymous FTP and usually con only copy files to or from a public directory, often named /pub, on the remote system.


(American National Standards Institute)
- A voluntary, non profit organization of business and industry groups formed in 1918 for the development and adoption of trade and communication standards in the United States.


Antivirus Program - A computer program that scans a computer's memory and mass storage to identify, isolate, and eliminate viruses, and that examines in coming files for viruses as the computer receives them.


Archival Memory - A tape or disk containing files. The files remain when the power is turned off. When you save a file you are saving it to Archival Memory also known as Mass Storage. When you are working on a file you are working in Volatile Memory if the file is not saved to Archival Memory it will not be saved when you close the program.  see Mass Storage, Volatile Memory


Archive File - A file that contains a file or a set of files, such as a program with its documentation and examples. They are also called compressed or zipped files. They can be created and opened or unzipped with WinZip, or PkZip.


(Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)
- A large wide area network created in the 1960s by the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, (ARPA renamed DARPA in the 1970s) for the free exchange of information between universities and research organizations, although the military also used this network for communications. In the 1980s MILNET, a separate network, was spun off from ARPANET for use by the military. ARPANET was the network from which the Internet evolved.


(American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
- A coding scheme using 7 or 8 bits that assigns numeric values to up to 256 characters, including letters, numbers, punctuation marks, control characters, and other symbols. ASCII was developed in 1968 to standardize data transmission among disparate hardware and software systems and is built into most minicomputers and all PCs. By saving a file in ASCII it can be used by 2 different software programs that do not open each others files.


ASCII File - A document file in ASCII format, containing characters, spaces, punctuation, carriage returns, and sometimes tabs and an end-of-file marker, but no formatting information. Also called ACSII file, text file, or text only file.


Associate - This informs an operating system that a particular filename extension is linked to a specific application.


(Advanced Technology Attachment)
- A disk drive implementation that integrates the controller on the disk drive itself. There are several versions of ATA, all developed by the Small Form Factor (SFF) Committee: ANSI group X3T10's official name for the disk drive interface standard commonly known as Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) (see IDE, ATA/IDE Hard Disk Drive)


ATA/IDE Hard Disk Drive
(Advanced Technology Attachment) / (Integrated Drive Electronics)
- ATA and IDE or numerous other interpretations are one and the same thing: a disk drive implementation designed to integrate the controller onto the drive itself, thereby reducing interface costs and making firmware implementations easier.


Attachment - A file that accompanies an e-mail message. The file can be a document, an executable program, or a compressed file containing more than one item, among other types of files.


Audio Board - see Sound Card


Autoexec.bat - A special-purpose batch file (set of commands) that is automatically carried out by the PC computer operating system when the computer is started. The file contains basic startup commands that help configure the system to installed devices and to the user's preferences.


Bandwidth - The data transfer capacity, or speed of transmission, of a digital communications system as measured in bits per second.


(Bulletin Board System)
- A computer system equipped with one or more modems or other means of network access that serves as an information and message-passing center for remote users.


Beta - A new software or hardware product, or one that is being updated, that is ready to be released to users for testing in real-world situations, before it is released to the general public.


(Basic Input/Output System)
- On PC-compatible computers, the set of essential software routines that test hardware at startup, starts the operating system, and supports the transfer of data among hardware devices.


Bit - The smallest unit of information handled by a computer. One bit expresses a 1 or a 0 in a binary numeral, or a true or false logical condition.


Bookmarks - A link to a Web page or other URL that a user has stored in a local file folder in order to return to it later. (see Favorites Folder) (see URL)


Boolean Operator - The four most common boolean operator are AND, OR, XOR, NOT. Boolean operators are often used a qualifiers in web searches. For example if you were looking for a blue Ford truck you would search for truck and ford and blue.


Boot Disk - A floppy disk that contains key system files from a PC-compatible operating system and that can boot, or start, the PC. Also called a Startup Disk.  see startup disk


Boot or Booting - The process of starting or resetting a computer. When first turned on (cold boot) or reset (warn boot), the computer executes the software that loads and starts the computer's more complicated operating system and prepares it for use. Thus, the computer can be said to pull itself up by its own bootstraps. Also called bootstrap.


Boot Sector - The portion of a disk reserved for the bootstrap loader (the self-starting portion) of an operating system.


(Bits Per Second)
- The measure of tramission speed used in relations to networks and communication lines.


Browser - see Web Browser


Bus - A set of hardware lines (conductors) used for data transfer among the components of a computer system.


(Binary Term)
- A unit of data, today almost always consisting of 8 bits. A byte can represent a single character, such as a letter. a digit. or a punctuation mark. Because a byte represents only a small amount of information, amounts of computer memory and storage are usually given in Kilobytes (1,024 bytes), Megabytes (1,048,576), or Gigabytes (1.073,741,824 bytes). (see Kilobytes) (see Megabytes) (see Gigabytes)


Cache - A special memory subsystem in which frequently used data values are duplicated for quick access.


Cat 5/Category 5 - A multi-pair (usually 4 pair) high performance cable that consists of twisted pair conductors, used mainly for data transmission.   Note: The twisting of the pairs gives the cable a certain amount of immunity from the infiltration of unwanted interference. category-5 UTP cabling systems are by far, the most common in the United States. Basic cat 5 cable was designed for characteristics of up to 100 MHz. Category 5 cable is typically used for Ethernet networks running at 10 or 100 Mbps.  see UTP


(Compact Disc-Recordable)
- A type of CD-Rom that can be written on a CD recorder and read on any CD-Rom drive.  see CD-Rom


(Compact Disc-Re
- A type of CD-Rom that can use a CD-RW disk like a hard drive.  Files written to this type of CD-Rom can be erased, edited and deleted.  CD-RW disks can only be read in a CD-RW type of drive.


(Compact Disc Read-Only Memory)
- A form of storage characterized by high capacity (roughly 650 megabytes) and the use of laser optics rather than magnetic means for reading data.


Celeron - Intel's family of budget-priced microprocessor. Celeron chips are based on the same P6 micro architecture as the Pentium II processor. They include an integrated 128-KB cache and support Intel's MMX technology. (see Cache)


Chat - Real-time conversation via computer. When a participant types a line of text and then presses the enter key, that participant's words appear on the screen of the other participant's screen, who can then respond in kind.


Chat Room - The informal term for a data communication cannel that links computers and permits users to converse by sending text messages to one another in real time.


Client/Server - An arrangement used on LANs (local area networks) that makes use of distributed intelligence to treat both the server and the individual workstations a intelligent, programmable devices, thus exploiting the full computing power of each. This is done by splitting the processing of an application between two distinct components; a "front-end" client and a "back-end" server. The client component is a complete, stand-alone personal computer (not a "dumb" terminal), and it offers the users its full range of power and features for running applications. The server component can be a personal computer, a minicomputer, or a mainframe.


Compressed File - A file whose contents have been compressed by a special utility program so that it occupies less space on a disk or other storage device.  see pkzip see winzip


Config.sys - A special text file that controls certin aspects of operating-system behavior in MS-Dos


Cookies - On the World Wide Web, a block of data that a Web server stores on a client system. When a user returns to the same Web site, the browser sends a copy of the cookie back to the server. Cookies are used to identify users, to instruct the server to send a customized version of the requested Web page, to submit account information for the user, and for other administrative purposes. Cookies can be removed from the computer by erasing all files in the c: folder.


(Central Processing Unit)
- The computational and control unit of a computer. The CPU is the device that interprets and executes instructions. By definition, the CPU is the chip that functions as the brain of a computer.


Cyberspace - The universe of environments, such as the internet, in which persons interact by means of connected computers.


Data Encryption - The process of encoding data to prevent unauthorized access, especially during transmission


Demo/Demoware - A partial or limited version of a software package distributed free of charge to use for a period of time. If you like the software you send the required fee.


Dial-Up Access - Connection to a data communications network though a public switched telecommunication network.


Domain Name - An address of a network connection that identifies the owner of that address in a hierarchical format. For example http://www.whitehouse.gov identifies the Web server at the White House. Domain name addresses, together with IP addresses, are the two forms of Internet addresses in common use. The top-level domains may be any of these:
com, edu, gov, int, mil, net, org, a two-letter country code, such as us, uk, or mx.


Domain Name Address - The address of a device connected to the Internet or any other TCP/IP network, in the hierarchical system that uses words to identify servers, organizations, and others.  see TCP/IC


(Disk Operating System)
- A generic term describing any operating system that is loaded from disk devices when the system is started or rebooted


Download - In communications, to transfer a copy of a file from a remote computer to the requesting computer by means of a modem or network.


DRAM Memory
(Dynamic Random Access Memory)
- A form of semi-conductor random access memory. Dynamic RAM's store information in integrated circuits containing capacitors. Because capacitors lose their charge over time, dynamic RAM boards must include logic to refresh (recharge) the RAM chips continuously.


Driver - A hardware device or a program that controls or regulates another device. A software driver is a device-specific control program that enables a computer to work with a particular device, such as a printer or a disk drive.


(Digital Subscriber Line)
- see DSL/ADSL


(Digital Subscriber Line/Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
- A digital communications technology that can provide high-speed transmissions over standard copper telephone wiring. ADSL is the from most likely to be provided. DSL/ADSL is similar to ISDN inasmuch as both operate over existing copper telephone lines (POTS) and both require the short runs to a central telephone office (usually less than 20,000 feet). However, DSL/ASDL offers much higher speeds - up to 32 Mbps for downstream traffic, and from 32 Kbps to over 1 Mbps for upstream traffic.  see POTS


(Digital Video Disc)
- The next generation of optical disc storage technology. With digital video disc technology, video, audio, and computer data can be encoded onto a compact disc.


(Extended Data Output Dynamic Random Access Memory
- A type of DRAM that is faster than conventional DRAM. Unlike conventional DRAM which can only access one block of data at a time, EDO DRAM can start fetching the next block of memory at the same time that it sends the previous block to the CPU.


EDO/RAM Memory
(Extended Data Out / Random Access Memory)
- A type of dynamic RAM that keeps data available for the CPU while the next memory access is being initialized, resulting in increased speed.


(Electronic Mail)
- The exchange of text messages and computer files over a communications network, such as a local area network or the Internet, usually between computers or terminals.


E-Mail Address - A string that identifies a user so that the user can receive Internet e-mail. An e-mail address typically consists of a name that identifies the user to the mail server, followed by an @ and the host name and domain name of the mail server. For example yourname@servername.com


E-Mail List - E-mail lists are also know as electronic discussion groups, list-servs or electronic conferences. An electronic message forwarded to the listserv (software which automatically maintains the list, short for list server) is electronically copied and distributed to each of the group's members via e-mail. There are thousands and thousands of electronic mailing lists on just about every imaginable topic. Membership of the lists may vary from a handful of people to thousands.


Emoticons - A string of text characters that, when viewed sideways, form a face expressing a particular emotion. An emoticon is often used in an e-mail message or newsgroup post as a comment on the text that precedes it.

Common emoticons include
:-) or : )  I'm smiling
;-)   I'm winking and grinning
:-(   I'm sad
;-7   I'm speaking tongue in cheek
:-D   BIG SMILE or I'm over joyed
:-O   either a yawn of boredom or a mouth open in amazement
8-(   Unhappy with glasses
8-)   Happy with glasses
=|:-)=   Uncle Sam


Extensions - A set of characters added to a filename that serves to identify a file as a member of a category ( Example: thefile.doc the .doc tells us this file can be opened with or is associated with Microsoft Word). Extensions are used with windows associations  see associate


(Frequently Asked Questions)
- A document listing common questions and answers on a particular subject.


Favorites Folder - When you find a web site you might like to visit again you can click on the favorites button, then click on add to favorites. This is like a book mark and allows you to return easily. The favorites folder is where your list of favorites is kept.

Sharing bookmarks and favorites
Favorites, are a convenient way to organize and link to Web pages that you visit frequently. If you use Internet Explorer on several computers, you can easily share favorite items between computers by importing them. Also, if you use both Internet Explorer and Navigator, you can keep your favorites and bookmarks up-to-date with each other by importing them between programs.

To import bookmarks or favorites, click the File menu, and then click Import and Export.

To export favorites to bookmarks or favorites on the same or another computer, click the File menu, and then click Import and Export.


Exported favorites are saved as a regular HTML file, so either Internet Explorer or Navigator can import them. You can export a selected folder in your Favorites list, or all of your favorites.
The exported favorites file is fairly small, so if you want to share the favorite items with other people, you can copy it to a floppy disk or folder on a network, or attach it to an e-mail message.


File Folder - A collection of data or files stored in a sub-directory. Almost all information stored in a computer must be in a file. There are many different types of files: data files, text files , program files, directory files, and so on. Different types of files store different types of information. For example, program files store programs, whereas text files store text. A File Folder is a sub-directory that holds files.  see sub-directory


File Name - The name of a file. Different operating systems impose different restrictions on filenames. Most operating systems, for example, prohibit the use of certain characters in a filename and impose a limit on the length of a filename. In addition, many systems, including DOS and UNIX, allow a filename extension that consists of one or more characters following the proper filename. The filename extension usually indicates what type of file it is. Within a single directory, filenames must be unique. However, two files in different directories may have the same name


Find - This is a command located on the start menu. It allows you to filed files you have misplaced.

To find a file or folder:

Click Start, point to Find, and then click Files or Folders.

In Named, type all or part of the file name.

Enter a word or phrase in Containing text if you do not know the name of a file but know a distinctive word or phrase it contains.

If you want to specify the location to start the search, click Browse.

Click Find Now.


Firewall - A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria. Firewalls should be used by everyone that has a direct connection to the Internet. A good software firewall is ZoneAlarm. This is free software from Zone Labs.


Flame - A searing e-mail or newsgroup message in which the writer attacks another participant in overly harsh, and often personal, terms. Flames are an unfortunate, but inevitable, element of unmoderated conferences.


Flame Bait - A posting to a mailing list, newsgroup or other online conference that is likely to provoke flames, often because it expresses a controversial opinion on a highly emotional subject.


Flamer - A person who sends or posts abusive messages via e-mail, in newsgroups and other online forums.


Folder - In graphical user interfaces such as Windows and the Macintosh environment, a folder is an object that can contain multiple documents. Folders are used to organize information. In the DOS and UNIX worlds, folders are called directories or sub-directories


Freeware - Copyrighted software given away for free by the author. Although it is available for free, the author retains the copyright, which means that you cannot do anything with it that is not expressly allowed by the author. Usually, the author allows people to use the software, but not change or sell it.


(File Transfer Protocol)
- A fast, application-level protocol widely used for copying files to and from remote computer systems on a network using TCP/IP, like the Internet. Example LeechFTP allows you to easily upload web page files you have created.


FUBAR - The Failed UniBus Address Register in a VAX. A good example of how jargon can occasionally be snuck past the suits. Also known as an acronym for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition (or other less polite forms) by a person giving a commentary on a project or the world in general. Often misspelled FOOBAR by people who don't understand it's source. (see VAX)


Ghost - Ghost imaging, using ghosting software, is a method of converting the contents of a hard drive -- including its configuration settings and applications -- into an image, and then storing the image on a server or burning it onto a CD. When contents of the hard drive are needed again, ghosting software converts the image back to original form. The Ghost program is a product of the Symantic Company and is included in Nortons Systemworks package.


(Graphics Interchange Format)
- Pronounced jiff or giff (hard g), a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web, CompuServe and many BBSs.  GIF supports color and various resolutions.  It also includes data compression, making it especially effective for scanned photos.  see JPEG


GIGABYTE - One gigabyte is equal to 1,024 megabytes. Gigabyte is often abbreviated as G or GB


Graphics Board - A graphics board (or graphics card) is a printed circuit board that, when installed in a computer, permits the computer to display pictures.  see Video Adapter


Hard Drive - The mechanism that reads and writes data on a hard disk. Hard disk drives (HDDs) for PCs generally have seek times of about 12 milliseconds or less. Many disk drives improve their performance through a technique called cacheing. There are several interface standards for passing data between a hard disk and a computer. The most common are IDE and SCSI.


Hierarchical - Refers to systems that are organized in the shape of a pyramid, with each row of objects linked to objects directly beneath it. Hierarchical systems pervade everyday life. The army, for example, which has generals at the top of the pyramid and privates at the bottom, is a hierarchical system. Similarly, the system for classifying plants and animals according to species, family, genus, and so on, is also hierarchical. Hierarchical systems are as popular in computer systems as they are in other walks of life. The most obvious example of a hierarchical system in computers is a file system, in which directories have files and subdirectories beneath them. Such a file organization is, in fact, called a hierarchical file system. In addition to file systems, many data structures for storing information are hierarchical in form. Menu-driven programs are also hierarchical, because they contain a root menu at the top of the pyramid and submenus below it.


Hoax - Computer hoaxes are the digital age version of the chain letter. There are two kinds of computer hoaxes. The "too good to be true" hoax, and the "doomsday" hoax.
Some popular "too good to be true" hoaxes that are currently in circulation are things like: "send this e-mail to 10 people and get a free dinner from Cracker Barrel" or "the XYZ company is testing it's new e-mail system, for every 10 people that you have send to XYZ you will get a check for $10.00".
Most "too good to be true" hoaxes have a couple of things in common:
1. The hoax mentions a popular company that people recognize.
2. The hoax mentions something that is "almost too good to be true".
3. The hoax includes a "testimonial" from someone who "swears this is true, honest!".
4. The hoax includes the tag line "Send this to everybody you know!"
5. The hoax mentions something about deleting files!"
** Please remember: If it sounds too good to be true - it probably is. **


Home Page - A home page is a web page. In most familiar terms, it is a personal page for an individual. It can also be the basic main page for a more complex web site for individuals, organizations, or web communities. On complex web sites, it is the page which a server will show when no HTML filename is listed (example: http://www.anyweb.com), usually with the name index.html, home.html, or default.html or the same names with the shorter extension .htm.  see HTML, HTM)




(HyperText Markup Language)
- The authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web. A page written in HTML is a text file that includes tags in angle brackets that control the fonts and type sizes, insertion of graphics, layout of tables and frames, paragraphing, calls to short runable programs, and hypertext links to other pages. Files written in HTML generally use an .html or .htm extension. There are hundreds of other tags used to format and layout the information in a Web page. Tags are used to specify hypertext links. These allow Web developers to direct users to other Web pages with only a click of the mouse on either an image or word(s).


Hub - A common connection point for devices in a network. Hubs are commonly used to connect segments of a LAN. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all segments of the LAN can see all packets.
A passive hub serves simply as a conduit for the data, enabling it to go from one device (or segment) to another. So-called intelligent hubs include additional features that enables an administrator to monitor the traffic passing through the hub and to configure each port in the hub. Intelligent hubs are also called manageable hubs.
A third type of hub, called a switching hub, actually reads the destination address of each packet and then forwards the packet to the correct port.  see Switch, Switching Hub


(Intelligent Drive Electronics or Integrated Drive Electronics)
- An IDE interface is an interface for mass storage devices, in which the controller is integrated into the disk or CD-ROM drive. Although it really refers to a general technology, most people use the term to refer the ATA specification, which uses this technology.    see ATA


(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
- Pronounced I-triple-E. Founded in 1884 as the AIEE, the IEEE was formed in 1963 when AIEE merged with IRE. IEEE is an organization composed of engineers, scientists, and students. The IEEE is best known for developing standards for the computer and electronics industry. In particular, the IEEE 802 standards for local-area networks are widely followed.


IEEE 1284 - The IEEE standard for high-speed signaling though a bi-directional parallel computer interface


IEEE 1394 - A very fast external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of up to 400 Mbps (400 million bits per second). Products supporting the 1394 standard go under different names, depending on the company. Apple, which originally developed the technology, uses the trademarked name FireWire. Other companies use other names, such as Ilink and Lynx, to describe their 1394 products. A single 1394 port can be used to connect up 63 external devices. In addition to its high speed, 1394 also supports isochroous data -- delivering data at a guaranteed rate. This makes it ideal for devices that need to transfer high levels of data in real-time, such as video devices. Although extremely fast and flexible, 1394 is also expensive. Like USB, 1394 supports both Plug-and-Play and hot plugging, and also provides power to peripheral devices.  see USB
IEEE 802.X - A set of network standards developed by the IEEE. They include:

IEEE 802.1: Standards related to network management.

IEEE 802.2: General standard for the data link layer in the OSI Reference Model. The IEEE divides this layer into two sub layers -- the logical link control (LLC) layer and the media access control (MAC) layer. The MAC layer varies for different network types and is defined by standards IEEE 802.3 through IEEE 802.5.

IEEE 802.3: Defines the MAC layer for bus networks that use CSMA/CD. This is the basis of the Ethernet standard.

IEEE 802.4: Defines the MAC layer for bus networks that use a token-passing mechanism (token bus networks).

IEEE 802.5: Defines the MAC layer for token-ring networks.

IEEE 802.6: Standard for Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs).


IEEE Printer Cable - A cable used connect a printer to a PC's parallel port that adheres to the IEEE 1284 standard.  see IEEE 1284


Image - A stored description of a graphic picture, either as a set of brightness and color values of pixels or as a set of instructions for reproducing the picture.


Internet - The mother of all networks. First incarnated beginning in 1969 as the ARPANET, a U.S. Department of Defense research testbed. Though it has been widely believed that the goal was to develop a network architecture for military command-and-control that could survive disruptions up to and including nuclear war, this is a myth; in fact, ARPANET was conceived from the start as a way to get most economical use out of then-scarce large-computer resources. As originally imagined, ARPANET's major use would have been to support what is now called remote login and more sophisticated forms of distributed computing, but the infant technology of electronic mail quickly grew to dominate actual usage. Universities, research labs and defense contractors early discovered the Internet's potential as a medium of communication between humans and linked up in steadily increasing numbers, connecting together a quirky mix of academics, techies, hippies, SF fans, hackers, and anarchists. The roots of this lexicon lie in those early years. Thus was created a global network connecting millions of computers. More than 100 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions. Unlike online services, which are centrally controlled, the Internet is decentralized by design. Each Internet computer, called a host, is independent. Its operators can choose which Internet services to use and which local services to make available to the global Internet community. Remarkably, this anarchy by design works exceedingly well. There are a variety of ways to access the Internet. Most online services, such as America Online, offer access to some Internet services. It is also possible to gain access through a commercial ISP (Internet Service Provider).  Networks interconnect worldwide and use the Internet Protocol (IP).  see IP,  ISP)


(Internet Protocol)
- Pronounced as two separate letters. IP specifies the format of packets, also called datagrams, and the addressing scheme. Most networks combine IP with a higher-level protocol called Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which establishes a virtual connection between a destination and a source. IP by itself is something like the postal system. It allows you to address a package and drop it in the system, but there's no direct link between you and the recipient. TCP/IP, on the other hand, establishes a connection between two hosts so that they can send messages back and forth for a period of time.  see TCP/IP


IP Address - IP addresses, together with domain addresses are the two forms of Internet addresses in common use. IP addresses consist of four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by dots.
(Industry Standard Architecture)
- The bus architecture used in the IBM PC/XT and PC/AT. It's often abbreviated as ISA (pronounced as separate letters or as eye-sa) bus. The AT version of the bus is called the AT bus and became a de facto industry standard. Starting in the early 90s, ISA began to be replaced by the PCI local bus architecture. Most computers made today include both an AT bus for slower devices and a PCI bus for devices that need better bus performance. In 1993, Intel and Microsoft introduced a new version of the ISA specification called Plug and Play ISA. Plug and Play ISA enables the operating system to configure expansion boards automatically so that users do not need to fiddle with DIP switches and jumpers.  see PCI


(Internet Service Provider)
- A company that barely existed before 1993. ISPs sell Internet access to the mass market. While the big nationwide commercial BBSs with Internet access (like America Online, CompuServe, GEnie, Netcom, etc.) are technically ISPs, the term is usually reserved for national, regional or local providers like Earthlink.net,  Bellsouth.com or Road Runner.com and many others who resell Internet access cheaply without themselves being information providers.


Java - Java is a general purpose programming language with a number of features that make the language well suited for use on the World Wide Web. Small Java applications are called Java applets and can be downloaded from a Web server and run on your computer by a Java-compatible Web browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer. A high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally called OAK, and was designed for handheld devices and set-top boxes. Oak was unsuccessful so in 1995 Sun changed the name to Java and modified the language to take advantage of the burgeoning World Wide Web. Java is an object-oriented language similar to C++, but simplified to eliminate language features that cause common programming errors. Java source code files (files with a .java extension) are compiled into a format called bytecode (files with a .class extension), which can then be executed by a Java interpreter. Compiled Java code can run on most computers because Java interpreters and runtime environments, known as Java Virtual Machines (VMs), exist for most operating systems, including UNIX, the Macintosh OS, and Windows. Bytecode can also be converted directly into machine language instructions by a just-in-time compiler (JIT).


Java Script - A script language (with little in common with Java) developed by Netscape for writing short programs embedded in a web page. It is supported by Netscape from version 2.0 on and Microsoft and AOL browsers from version 4.0 on. Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 partially supports some features of JavaScript. It allows you to add scripts to your web pages, which are interpreted by your browser. JavaScript is not Java. Java is a programming language, JavaScript is more an extension to HTML and all you need to run it is your browser.


(Joint Photographic Experts Group)
- A graphical format that is widely used in WWW pages. It is particularly well suited to photographs and 3D or VRML images where there is a continuous range of colors or shades. It is a lossy format that can reduce the image in file size by as much as 80 to 90 percent. It does this by reducing the detail in the image. JPEG files use a .jpg or less commonly, .jpeg or .jpe extension.  see GIF


JPG - see JPEG


Keyword Search - Keywords are words which describe your topic, they can be general or specific to your topic. Make a list of possible keywords before you start a search on the Internet. When you are creating a web page you will want to add as many keywords as are applicable so search engines can locate your page. You can also use keywords to create an open form database. By adding keywords you can search for entries that do not have a specific field in the database. (see search engines, see database)


Kilobyte - A thousand bytes (actually 1024 bytes).


(Local Area Network)
- A group of computers, that are physically connected in a way that lets them communicate and interact with each other.


LINK - An active connection to another web page, location in a web page, file, or other Internet resource. Selecting the link takes you to the new location or resource.


MAC Address
(Media Access Control Address)
- Given to a device in a network. It consists of a 48-bit hexadecimal number (12 characters). The address is normally assigned to a device, such as a network card, when it is manufactured


Mail Server - A computer that holds email messages for clients on a network. If you have an e-mail account, your e-mail goes to your service provider's mail server to be held until you are ready to download it to your computer.


Mailing List - See E-Mail List


Megabyte - When used to describe data storage, 1,048,576 bytes. Megabyte is frequently abbreviated as M or MB. Can also be used to describe data transfer rates, as in MBps, it refers to one million bytes per second.


Megahertz - One Megahertz or MHz represents one million cycles per second. The speed of microprocessors, called the clock speed, is measured in megahertz. For example, a microprocessor that runs at 200 MHz executes 200 million cycles per second. Each computer instruction requires a fixed number of cycles, so the clock speed determines how many instructions per second the microprocessor can execute. To a large degree, this controls how powerful the microprocessor is. Another chief factor in determining a microprocessor's power is its data width (that is, how many bits it can manipulate at one time). In addition to microprocessors, the speeds of buses and interfaces are also measured in MHz.


(Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
- A standard that lets electronic musical devices communicate with each other. Music stored in MIDI format contains instructions for playing the music, rather than the digitized audio signal itself.


(Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
- The standard for attaching binary files to Internet mail messages. Its usage has been extended to identifying and handling file types encountered by web servers and browsers. Binary types include audio, video, graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, executable programs, etc. An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and receive files using MIME. When binary files are sent using the MIME standard they are converted (encoded) into text for mailing and then decoded by the receiving mailer. If the receiving mailer is not MIME compliant, the file is received in encoded form. You will need to decode the e-mail before you can read it.


- A modem is used between a computer and a phone or cable line to convert the computer's digital signal to an analog signal for the phone line and vice versa.


Mother Board - The main circuit board of a microcomputer. The motherboard contains the connectors for attaching additional boards. Typically, the motherboard contains the CPU, BIOS, memory, mass storage interfaces, serial and parallel ports, expansion slots, and all the controllers required to control standard peripheral devices, such as the display screen, keyboard, and disk drive. Collectively, all these chips that reside on the motherboard are known as the motherboard's chipset. On most PCs, it is possible to add memory chips directly to the motherboard. You may also be able to upgrade to a faster PC by replacing the CPU chip. To add additional core features, you may need to replace the motherboard entirely.


Mouse - A device that controls the movement of the cursor or pointer on a display screen. A mouse is a small object you can roll along a hard, flat surface. Its name is derived from its shape, which looks a bit like a mouse, its connecting wire that one can imagine to be the mouse's tail, and the fact that one must make it scurry along a surface. As you move the mouse, the pointer on the display screen moves in the same direction. Mice contain at least one button and sometimes as many as three, which have different functions depending on what program is running. Some newer mice also include a scroll wheel for scrolling through long documents. Invented by Douglas Engelbart of Stanford Research Center in 1963, and pioneered by Xerox in the 1970s, the mouse is one of the great breakthroughs in computer ergonomics because it frees the user to a large extent from using the keyboard. In particular, the mouse is important for graphical user interfaces because you can simply point to options and objects and click a mouse button. Such applications are often called point-and-click programs. The mouse is also useful for graphics programs that allow you to draw pictures by using the mouse like a pen, pencil, or paintbrush.

There are three basic types of mice:

1. Mechanical: Has a rubber or metal ball on its underside that can roll in all directions. Mechanical sensors within the mouse detect the direction the ball is rolling and move the screen pointer accordingly.

2. Optomechanical: Same as a mechanical mouse, but uses optical sensors to detect motion of the ball.

3. Optical: Uses a laser to detect the mouse's movement. You must move the mouse along a special mat with a grid so that the optical mechanism has a frame of reference. Optical mice have no mechanical moving parts. They respond more quickly and precisely than mechanical and optomechanical mice, but they are also more expensive.

Mice connect to PCs in one of several ways:
1.  Serial mice connect directly to an RS-232C serial port or a PS/2 port. This is the simplest type of connection.
2. PS/2 mice connect to a PS/2 port.
3. USB mice connect to a USB port.
Cordless mice aren't physically connected at all. Instead they rely on infrared or radio waves to communicate with the computer. Cordless mice are more expensive than both serial and bus mice, but they do eliminate the cord, which can sometimes get in the way.


Nethics - Nethics is ethics on the net. It is about behaving as legally and honorably in cyberspace as you would in real time. Being in cyberspace does not give you immunity from the laws of your own country, or those of the country you are visiting via computer.


- Contraction of InterNET etIQUETTE, the etiquette guidelines for posting messages to online services, and particularly Internet newsgroups. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions (i.e., avoiding flames), but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. For example, netiquette advises users to use simple formats because complex formatting may not appear correctly for all readers. In most cases, netiquette is enforced by fellow users who will vociferously object if you break a rule of netiquette.
Newbie - A newcomer to the nets, who reveals his or her inexperience by lack of knowledge of net conventions, netiquette, vocabulary, and know-how.  You should have patience with these folks you were a newbie once yourself.
Newsgroups (USENET) - Same as forum, an on-line discussion group. This is the name given to publicly accessible electronic notice or bulletin boards. The term newsgroup is deceptive in that the discussions rarely involves "news", they are really topic discussion groups. On the Internet, there are literally thousands of newsgroups covering every conceivable interest. To view and post messages to a newsgroup, you need a news reader, a program that runs on your computer and connects you to a news server on the Internet.  see USENETS


(Network Interface Card )
- An expansion board you insert into a computer so the computer can be connected to a network. Most NICs are designed for a particular type of network, protocol, and media, although some can serve multiple networks. All NIC's are assigned a MAC address at time of manufacture.


NIC Address - An IP address is given to the NIC by the network. This will allow the network to fine the computer when it needs to send it information. If you know the IP or NIC address and you have special software you can access your computer from a remote location.  In windows 98 you can find your NIC address with winifconfig.exe.  Start the program then click on the NIC you are using.


Packets - A packet is a self-contained bundle of data sent over a packet switching network. Packets are typically less than 1500 bytes in size. Longer files are broken into multiple packets for transmission and reassembled at the other end. A packet includes a header with to and from addresses, relation to other packets (sequencing), and error checking information.


Partition - To divide memory or mass storage into isolated sections. In DOS systems, you can partition a disk, and each partition will behave like a separate disk drive. Partitioning is particularly useful if you run more than one operating system. In addition, partitioning on DOS and Windows machines can improve disk efficiency. This is because the FAT system used by these operating systems automatically assigns cluster size based on the disk size: the larger the disk, the larger the cluster. Unfortunately, large clusters can result in a wasted disk space, called slack space. There is an entire sector of the software industry devoted to building utilities that let you partition your hard disk.
Soft partitioning, on the other hand, does not physically affect the disk at all, but it fools the Finder into believing that the disk is partitioned. The advantage of this is that you can partition the disk without affecting the data on it. With hard partitioning, it is usually necessary to reformat the entire disk.


Password - A secret word or code which you need together with your user id, to connect to your account, or to another computer on the Internet. It is important for security reasons to keep your password secret, you should also ensure that your passwords are not easy to guess, so don't use your own name. Passwords are important to protect the privacy of your information.


Path - In file storage, the route followed by the operating system though the drives and directories in finding, sorting, and retrieving files on a disk or network.


PCI - see PCI Local Bus


PCI Local Bus
(Peripheral Component Interconnect Local Bus)
- A local bus standard developed by Intel Corporation. Most modern PCs include a PCI bus in addition to a more general ISA expansion bus. Many analysts, however, believe that PCI will eventually supplant ISA entirely. PCI is a 64-bit bus, though it is usually implemented as a 32-bit bus. It can run at clock speeds of 33 or 66 MHz. At 32 bits and 33 MHz, it yields a throughput rate of 133 MBps. Although it was developed by Intel, PCI is not tied to any particular family of microprocessors.


PDF - Adobe's Page Description Format also call Portable Document Format. It is often used as a format which allows much more complete, controlled layout of a page and its graphics and text than conventional HTML does. It requires a browser plug-in to see a web page in PDF format. To create a page in PDF format, you need Adobe Acrobat, not the free Acrobat Reader.


Pentium - A 32-bit microprocessor introduced by Intel in 1993. It contains 3.3 million transistors, nearly triple the number contained in its predecessor, the 80486 chip. Though still in production, the Pentium processor has been superseded by the Pentium Pro and Pentium II microprocessors. Since 1993, Intel has developed the Pentium III and more recently the Pentium 4 microprocessors.


(Platform for Internet Content Selection)
- A model for associating labels with content in header metadata, originally devised to help parents and teachers and filtering software control children's access to the net.  See the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) PICS Page for further information.


PkZip - One of the most widely used file compression methods. PKZIP was developed by PKWARE, Inc. in 1989 and distributed as shareware. Files that have been compressed using PKWARE are said to be zipped. Decompressing them is called unzipping.

The PK stands for Phillip Katz, the author of the programs. You can download a fully functional evaluation version from the PKZip Download Page. http://www.pkzip.com


Plug and Play - Refers to the ability of a computer system to automatically configure expansion boards and other devices. You should be able to plug in a device and play with it, without worrying about setting DIP switches, jumpers, and other configuration elements. The Plug and Play (PnP) specification has made PCs more plug-and-play, although it doesn't always work as advertised.


(Point Of Presence)
- A Point of Presence usually refers to a city or location where a network can be connected to. For example, if an ISP or other Internet company says they have a POP in Vancouver, this means they have a local telephone number in Vancouver and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network.  see ISP


(Post Office Protocol)
- A protocol for client-server e-mail systems. If you are using software like Eudora or Pegasus or the mail clients in Netscape or Microsoft Iinternet Explorer, your address to collect mail often will begin with pop. For example, Delphi e-mail accounts use an address of pop.delphi.com to collect mail.


Post - A post is a message you send via email to an email list or discussion group


(Power On Self Test)
- A series of diagnostic tests that run automatically when you turn your computer on. The actual tests can differ depending on how the BIOS is configured, but usually the POST tests the RAM, the keyboard, and the disk drives. If the tests are successful, the computer boots itself. If the tests are unsuccessful, the computer reports the error by emitting a series of beeps and possibly displaying an error message and code on the display screen. The number of beeps indicates the error, but differs from one BIOS to another.


(Plain Old Telephone Service)
- Which refers to the standard telephone service that most homes use. In contrast, telephone services based on high-speed, digital communications lines, such as ISDN and FDDI, are not POTS. The main distinctions between POTS and non-POTS services are speed and bandwidth. POTS is generally restricted to about 52 Kbps (52,000 bits per second). The POTS network is also called the public switched telephone network (PSTN).


Power Supply - The component that supplies power to a computer. Most personal computers can be plugged into standard electrical outlets. The power supply then pulls the required amount of electricity and converts the AC current to DC current. It also regulates the voltage to eliminate spikes and surges common in most electrical systems. Not all power supplies, however, do an adequate voltage-regulation job, so a computer is always susceptible to large voltage fluctuations. Power supplies are rated in terms of the number of watts they generate. The more powerful the computer, the more watts it can provide to components. In general, 200 watts should be sufficient.


(Point to Point Protocol)
- Point to Point Protocol. Along with the older SLIP, a protocol that is used with a dialup to complete a TCP/IP network connection from a remote site.


Processor - Short for microprocessor. A silicon chip that contains a CPU. In the world of personal computers, the terms microprocessor and CPU are used interchangeably. At the heart of all personal computers and most workstations sits a microprocessor. Microprocessors also control the logic of almost all digital devices, from clock radios to fuel-injection systems for automobiles. 

Three basic characteristics differentiate microprocessors:
1. Instruction set: The set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute.
2. bandwidth : The number of bits processed in a single instruction.
3. clock speed : Given in megahertz (MHz), the clock speed determines how many instructions per second the processor can execute.
In addition to bandwidth and clock speed, microprocessors are classified as being either RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) or CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer).
The higher the value, the more powerful the CPU. For example, a 32-bit microprocessor that runs at 50MHz is more powerful than a 16-bit microprocessor that runs at 25MHz.   see CPU


Protocol - A standard for the exchange of information. Different computers and operating systems and software are able to communicate with each other on the Internet, because of the adoption of protocols.


(Random Access Memory)
- Pronounced ramm. A type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers.

There are two basic types of RAM:
1. dynamic RAM (DRAM)
2. static RAM (SRAM)
The two types differ in the technology they use to hold data, dynamic RAM being the more common type. Dynamic RAM needs to be refreshed thousands of times per second. Static RAM does not need to be refreshed, which makes it faster; but it is also more expensive than dynamic RAM. Both types of RAM are volatile, meaning that they lose their contents when the power is turned off.
In common usage, the term RAM is synonymous with main memory, the memory available to programs. For example, a computer with 32M RAM has approximately 32 million bytes of memory that programs can use. In contrast, ROM (read-only memory) refers to special memory used to store programs that boot the computer and perform diagnostics. Most personal computers have a small amount of ROM (a few thousand bytes). In fact, both types of memory (ROM and RAM) allow random access. To be precise, therefore, RAM should be referred to as read/write RAM and ROM as read-only RAM.


(Read Only Memory)
- Pronounced rahm. Computer memory on which data has been prerecorded. Once data has been written onto a ROM chip, it cannot be removed and can only be read. Unlike main memory (RAM), ROM retains its contents even when the computer is turned off. ROM is referred to as being nonvolatile, whereas RAM is volatile. Most personal computers contain a small amount of ROM that stores critical programs such as the program that boots the computer. In addition, ROMs are used extensively in calculators and peripheral devices such as laser printers, whose fonts are often stored in ROMs. A variation of a ROM is a PROM (programmable read-only memory). PROMs are manufactured as blank chips on which data can be written with a special device called a PROM programmer.


Root Directory - The top directory in a file system. The root directory is provided by the operating system and has a special name; for example, in DOS systems the root directory is called  \ or backslash. For the root directory of the C drive this would be shown as c:\. The root directory is sometimes referred to simply as the root.  see \ or Backslash


Router - A router connects networks together, controlling the routing of packets from source to destination and providing alternate paths when necessary. Routers are more sophisticated than bridges, connecting networks of different types (for example, star and token ring), and making logical routing decisions on the basis of available data. Typically a router hands off packets to another router along the path until the destination is reached.


(Rich Text Format)
- A standard formalized by Microsoft Corporation for specifying formatting of documents. RTF formatting allows you to copy files between programs that do not have a common file format, like Word and Lotus 123. RTF files are actually ASCII files with special commands to indicate formatting information, such as fonts and margins. Other document formatting languages include the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is used to define documents on the World Wide Web, and the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which is a more robust version of HTML


(Read The Fabulous Manual)
- or other words to that effect.  A commonly used abbreviation in online forums and email, in response to foolish questions or questions already answered in the FAQ. see FAQ


(Small Computer System Interface or Small Computer Standard Interface)
- Pronounced "scuzzy," SCSI is a parallel interface standard used by Apple Macintosh computers, PCs, and many UNIX systems for attaching peripheral devices to computers. Nearly all Apple Macintosh computers, excluding only the earliest Macs and the recent iMac, come with a SCSI port for attaching devices such as disk drives and printers SCSI interfaces provide for faster data transmission rates (up to 80 megabytes per second) than standard serial and parallel ports. In addition, you can attach many devices to a single SCSI port, so that SCSI is really an I/O bus rather than simply an interface. Although SCSI is an ANSI standard, there are many variations of it, so two SCSI interfaces may be incompatible. For example, SCSI supports several types of connectors. Other interfaces supported by PCs include enhanced IDE and ESDI for mass storage devices, and Centronics for printers. You can, however, attach SCSI devices to a PC by inserting a SCSI board in one of the expansion slots. Many high-end new PCs come with SCSI built in. Note, however, that the lack of a single SCSI standard means that some devices may not work with some SCSI boards.

The following varieties of SCSI are currently implemented:
SCSI-1: Uses an 8-bit bus, and supports data rates of 4 MBps
SCSI-2: Same as SCSI-1, but uses a 50-pin connector instead of a 25-pin connector, and supports multiple devices. This is what most people mean when they refer to plain SCSI.
Wide SCSI: Uses a wider cable (168 cable lines to 68 pins) to support 16-bit transfers.
Fast SCSI: Uses an 8-bit bus, but doubles the clock rate to support data rates of 10 MBps.
Fast Wide SCSI: Uses a 16-bit bus and supports data rates of 20 MBps.
Ultra SCSI: Uses an 8-bit bus, and supports data rates of 20 MBps.
SCSI-3: Uses a 16-bit bus and supports data rates of 40 MBps. Also called Ultra Wide SCSI.
Ultra2 SCSI: Uses an 8-bit bus and supports data rates of 40 MBps.
Wide Ultra2 SCSI: Uses a 16-bit bus and supports data rates of 80 MBps.


Search - In Windows 98 you can search for files located on your storage devices by using the find function.  Click on the start button on the desk top then click on find. If you are looking for a file you have misplaced click on files or folders. In the named section type the file name. If you are looking for more than one file you can use wildcards. In the lookin box type the letter of the drive you are wanting to search. Make sure the include subfolders is checked. Then press Find Now.  see wildcards


Search Engine - A utility that will search the Internet, an Intranet, a site, or a database for terms that you select. Search engines on the web consist of four elements:

1. a program that roams the area to be searched, collecting data records (typically, web pages) and links to more data. These are variously known as spiders, worms, crawlers, or other colorful names.
2. Commercial databases, on the other hand, may collect data records in other ways, such as systematically entering the full text of newspapers or journals.
3. A database or collection of records recovered by the spiders or other type of collector an index of the database collected to enable fast access to terms that you search for and their supporting records.
4. Indexes may be enhanced by controlled vocabularies.
Each of the major search engines differs in its approach to these four elements.


Service Provider - see ISP


Shareware - Software that is offered for free for downloading in hopes that the user will decide to keep it and pay a fee for it after trying it out.


(Serial Line Internet Protocol)
- SLIP and PPP are two different types of software used to connect a computer to another computer via a modem. When you run either SLIP or PPP software on your computer to connect to your ISP's (Internet Service Provider) computer, then for the duration of the connection, you are assigned an IP address and become part of the Internet.  see ISP


Sound Card - An expansion board that enables a computer to manipulate and output sounds. Sound cards are necessary for nearly all CD-ROMs and have become commonplace on modern personal computers. Sound cards enable the computer to output sound through speakers connected to the board, to record sound input from a microphone connected to the computer, and manipulate sound stored on a disk. Nearly all sound cards support MIDI, a standard for representing music electronically. In addition, most sound cards are Sound Blaster-compatible, which means that they can process commands written for a Sound Blaster card, the de facto standard for PC sound. Sound cards use two basic methods to translate digital data into analog sounds:

FM Synthesis mimics different musical instruments according to built-in formulas.

Wavetable Synthesis relies on recordings of actual instruments to produce sound. Wavetable synthesis produces more accurate sound, but is also more expensive.


Spam - Flooding message boards, newsgroups, mailing lists, or your mailbox with off topic messages usually ads or promotions or deliberate disruptions. It is a major violation of netiquette, and it violates member agreements in most places and can lead to account cancellation. The term was inspired by an old Monty Python sketch about a repetitive menu with spam, spam, eggs, and spam.


SRAM Memory
(Static Random Access Memory)
- Pronounced ess-ram. SRAM is a type of memory that is faster and more reliable than the more common DRAM (dynamic RAM). The term static is derived from the fact that it doesn't need to be refreshed like dynamic RAM. While DRAM supports access times of about 60 nanoseconds, SRAM can give access times as low as 10 nanoseconds. In addition, its cycle time is much shorter than that of DRAM because it does not need to pause between accesses. Unfortunately, it is also much more expensive to produce than DRAM. Due to its high cost, SRAM is often used only as a memory cache


Start Up Disk - A diskette from which you can boot your computer. Normally, your computer boots from a hard disk, but if the hard disk is damaged (for example, by a virus), you can boot the computer from a bootable diskette. With the startup disk you can get your files even if windows will not boot. For this reason, it's a good idea to make sure you always have a bootable diskette on hand. In Windows 98, you can create a bootable diskette by following these steps:

1.Insert a blank, formatted diskette in the floppy drive
2. Select Start->Settings->Control Panel
3. Open Add/Remove Programs
4. Select the Startup Disk tab and press the Create Disk… button.


Sub-Directory - A directory below another directory. Every directory except the root directory is a subdirectory. In Windows 98 and Windows/NT, subdirectories are called folders.


Switch - (1) In networks, a device that filters and forwards packets between LAN segments. Switches operate at the data link layer (layer 2) and sometimes the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI Reference Model and therefore support any packet protocol. LANs that use switches to join segments are called switched LANs or, in the case of Ethernet networks, switched Ethernet LANs.

The difference between a hub and a switch is very important. A hub allow you to connect many computers together but it shares the bandwidth.  If you have 4 machines connected to a 100 mbs system the available bandwidth is divided between the 4 computers giving each machine 25 mbs.  A switch does not divide the bandwidth, each computers gets a full 100 mbs 

(2) A small lever or button. The switches on the back of printers and on expansion boards are called DIP switches. A switch that has just two positions is called a toggle switch.

(3) Another word for option or parameter -- a symbol that you add to a command to modify the command's behavior.


Switching Hub - Short for port-switching hub, a special type of hub that forwards packets to the appropriate port based on the packet's address. Conventional hubs simply rebroadcast every packet to every port. Since switching hubs forward each packet only to the required port, they provide much better performance. Most switching hubs also support load balancing, so that ports are dynamically reassigned to different LAN segments based on traffic patterns.

Some newer switching hubs support both traditional Ethernet (10 Mbps) and Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) ports. This enables the administrator to establish a dedicated, Fast Ethernet channel for high-traffic devices such as servers.


Systemworks - A program for Windows products by Peter Norton and sold by Symantec.  This program help fixes many problems that occur with windows.  If your computer won't shut off properly or if there is an error message that keeps recurring, this program can help.


T-1 - A digital communications circuit that transmits at 1.54 Mbps.


T-3 - A digital communications circuit that transmits at 45 Mbps.


Tag - In reference to web pages, a tag is an HTML command used in laying out a web page and providing links to resources.


(There Ain'g No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)
- From Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.  Used in connection with the Internet.


(Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol)
- The protocols that are the basis for transmitting and routing data packets on the Internet. The Internet Protocol is the one thing that all current Internet sites have in common. The basic TCP/IP model has five layers of interaction:

1. Physical or Data Transport Layer. This most basic layer moves data over cables based on the physical address of each Network Interface Card (NIC). The most common types are ethernet and token ring.
2. Data Link Layer. This layer frames the packets of data that are sent through the network. PPP, frame relay, and X.25 operate at this layer. Bridges connect local networks at this layer.
3. Network or Internet Protocol Layer. This layer puts an Internet Protocol wrapper around the data with source and destination addresses in its header. Routers, which connect networks together, operate at this layer.
4. Transport Layer. This layer governs the setting of suitable packet sizes, segmenting and reassembling data, detection of errors, and flow control.
5. Application Layer. This layer provides for standard interfaces for such functions as message handling and file transfer and remote login. It allows, for example, for different e-mail programs to be used, as long as they conform to the standard interface.


TELNET - A protocol that lets you log in to a remote computer and use programs and data that the remote owner has made available, just as if it were your local computer. For more information and examples, see the Telnet FAQ.


(The End Of The World As We Know It)
- This is usually heard soon after your Information Technologist has said we can not convert the existing data or NO I can not get that file back or NO the hard drive is not going to be OK.


Tetrabyte - A thousand Gigabytes.


Urban Legend - An oft-told tale on the Internet that is untrue, but refuses to die. They keep reappearing in newsgroups, e-mail discussion lists, and message bases. The stories themselves are interesting and when newcomers read them for the first time, they are often passed along as fact. They may have been once true as in the Craig Shergold get-well card story, a hoax like the GOOD TIMES VIRUS, or a joke, like the expensive Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe. They often appear with variations, so that get-well cards become business cards, or Neiman-Marcus becomes Mrs. Fields instead.


(Uniform Resource Locator)
- The standard method of giving the address for any resource on the WWW. A URL might look like this: http://www.example.com/examples.html. The most common use of a URL is to enter it in a web browser to access that page on the Internet. Every page on the Internet has a unique identifying address or URL. If you already know the URL of a useful site, then simply type that address in the address bar at the top of the browser screen and press Enter and you will be taken directly to that site.


(Universal Serial Bus)
- An external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of 12 Mbps. A single USB port can be used to connect up to 127 peripheral devices, such as mice, modems, and keyboards. USB also supports Plug-and-Play installation and hot plugging. Starting in 1996, a few computer manufacturers started including USB support in their new machines. It is expected to completely replace serial and parallel ports.


Usenet - A distributed bulletin board system that runs on news servers, UNIX hosts, online services and bulletin board systems. Collectively, USENET is made up of all the users who post to and read newsgroup articles. The USENET is the largest decentralized information utility available today.


User Id -
(Unshielded Twisted Pair)
- A popular type of cable that consists of multi-pair unshielded wires twisted around each other. Due to its low cost, UTP cabling is used extensively for local-area networks (LANs) and telephone connections. UTP cabling does not offer as high bandwidth or as good protection from interference as coaxial or fiber optic cables, but it is less expensive and easier to work with


VAX - Virtual Address eXtension. The most successful minicomputer design in industry history, possibly excepting its immediate ancestor, the PDP-11. Between its release in 1978 and its eclipse by micro computers after about 1986.


Video Adapter - A board that plugs into a personal computer to give it display capabilities. The display capabilities of a computer, however, depend on both the logical circuitry (provided in the video adapter) and the display monitor. A monochrome monitor, for example, cannot display colors no matter how powerful the video adapter. Many different types of video adapters are available for PCs. Most conform to one of the video standards defined by IBM or VESA. Each adapter offers several different video modes. The two basic categories of video modes are text and graphics. In text mode, a monitor can display only ASCII characters. In graphics mode, a monitor can display any bit-mapped image. Within the text and graphics modes, some monitors also offer a choice of resolutions. At lower resolutions a monitor can display more colors. Most adapters have their own graphics coprocessor for performing graphics calculations. These adapters are often called graphics accelerators. Video adapters are also called video cards, video boards, video display boards, graphics cards and graphics adapters.


Virtual Memory - An imaginary memory area supported by some operating systems (for example, Windows but not DOS) in conjunction with the hardware. You can think of virtual memory as an alternate set of memory addresses. Programs use these virtual addresses rather than real addresses to store instructions and data. When the program is actually executed, the virtual addresses are converted into real memory addresses. The purpose of virtual memory is to enlarge the address space, the set of addresses a program can utilize. For example, virtual memory might contain twice as many addresses as main memory. A program using all of virtual memory, therefore, would not be able to fit in main memory all at once. Nevertheless, the computer could execute such a program by copying into main memory those portions of the program needed at any given point during execution. To facilitate copying virtual memory into real memory, the operating system divides virtual memory into pages, each of which contains a fixed number of addresses. Each page is stored on a disk until it is needed. When the page is needed, the operating system copies it from disk to main memory, translating the virtual addresses into real addresses. The process of translating virtual addresses into real addresses is called mapping. The copying of virtual pages from disk to main memory is known as paging or swapping.


Virus - A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems. Since 1987, when a virus infected ARPANET, a large network used by the Defense Department and many universities, many antivirus programs have become available. These programs periodically check your computer system for the best-known types of viruses. Some people distinguish between general viruses and worms. A worm is a special type of virus that can replicate itself and use memory, but cannot attach itself to other programs.  see Worm


WAV - Waveform Audio. A common audio file format for DOS and Windows computers (.wav).


Web Browser - A Web browser is the software program that you use to view WWW pages. There are several available, two of them are Netscape and Microsoft's Internet Explorer. You are probably using a graphical browser because this allows you to view pictures as well as text.


Web Page - A document on the World Wide Web. Every Web page is identified by a unique URL or address.  see URL


Web Site - In the World Wide Web (WWW) a web site is a computer system that runs a Web server, and has been set up for publishing documents on the Web.


Whois - An Internet utility that you can use to look up information about an Internet site in the registry database at Internic or elsewhere. You can enter a name like Delphi, a domain address like delphi.com, or a full or partial IP address and get information on the site's name, address, points of contact, etc. The utility can be run with your own PPP or net account, or most shell accounts, or you can use the Network Solutions Whois web page for domain names and the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN) for IP addresses. There are also WHOIS servers in Europe (RIPE), Australia, and Asia-Pacific Network Information Center (ARIN). Many more WHOIS servers are maintained for particular organizations. A very complete list of Internet WHOIS servers is kept at MIT. WS-FTP Pro, an excellent shareware FTP program, also provides whois and other utilities in its package.


Wildcards - A special symbol that stands for one or more characters. Many operating systems and applications support wildcards for identifying files and directories. This enables you to select multiple files with a single specification. For example, in DOS and Windows, the asterisk (*) is a wild card that stands for any combination of letters. The file specification

therefore, refers to all files that begin with m. Similarly, the specification

refers to all files that start with m and end with.doc.

Many word processors also support wild cards for performing text searches.


WinDoctor - A program used to help with problems with Windows. Program is included in SystemWorks.


WinZip - A compressed file format (.zip). Many files available on the Internet are compressed or "zipped" in order to reduce storage space and transfer times. WinZip makes it easy for Windows users to work with archives. WinZip features an intuitive point-and-click drag-and-drop interface for viewing, running, extracting, adding, deleting, and testing files in archives with a standard Windows interface. WinZip provides the same "friendly face" for all the aforementioned archive formats. You can download a fully functional evaluation version from the WinZip Download Page. http://www.winzip.com


Wizard or Wizzard - 1. A person who knows how a complex piece of software or hardware works, especially someone who can find and fix bugs quickly in an emergency.
2. The term wizard is also used for someone who has extremely a high-level of problem-solving ability.
3. A person who is permitted to do things forbidden to ordinary people; one who has admin privileges on a system.  The extra Z is an indication of an especially laid back person under fire.
see guru, geek, alpha geek, lord high fixer, oh so deep magic, heavy wizardry, incantations, magic spells, rain dance, wave a dead chicken and many many more.


Worm - A self-replicating program that reproduces itself over a network. The most famous worm is the one created by Robert Morris at Cornell that shut down many unix computers on the Internet in 1988. Currently making the rounds is a Windows worm named happy99.exe (or Trojan-Happy99 or I-Worm.Happy) that masquerades as a fireworks show, replaces your wsock32.dll file, and sends copies of itself along with e-mail or news messages you post. For more on this and how to remove it, see the Symantec Anti-Virus Research Center.


(World Wide Web)
- This is a global hyper-text-based information system which allows users to explore that Internet around the world. It is an attempt to organize all documents on the Internet as a set of hypertext documents which are searched via "links". These links are to other files on the same computer or to files held on another computer. The technical definition of the WWW is the global network of hypertext (HTTP) servers that allow text, graphics, audio and video files to be mixed together. The second, more loosely used definition is the entire range of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS, and other such tools


(What You See Is What You Get)
- Pronounced WIZZYWIG.  The term applies to word processors and web page development software where you manipulate text and images directly without writing codes (such as HTML or dot codes) for each attribute.


Zipped File - A compressed file. Many files available on the Internet are compressed or "zipped" in order to reduce storage space and transfer times. Use PKZIP, WinZip or another program to unzip the file


Ztree - ZTreeWin is a text-mode file/directory manager for all versions of Windows 98 and later (ME,NT,2000 and XP).

It has been developed as the successor to the legendary DOS file-manager XTreeGold (tm), which its owners have abandoned in today's GUI-centric computing world.

Anyone who has used this remarkable program will be aware of its superior capabilities as a text-mode, tree-structured file-manager - but will also likely be aware that its limited memory support, and lack of long filename support are today a major issue. ZTreeWin is a 32-bit Windows program that has been developed to provide all the powerful functionality of the past, (and much more!), while avoiding the limitations of the old DOS-based program. A few advantages of ZTreeWin:

1. No 640K memory barrier...log an unlimited number of disks and files

2. Support for long file and directory names

3. Full support of third-party archivers, with most popular programs pre-configured out of the box.




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Last modified: June 04, 2008