Glossary / Technology

Computers Glossary

1000BaseT: 1000Mbps CSMA/CD Ethernet LAN that operates on Category 5e UTP/STP cabling and utilizes the star con
100BaseT: 100Mbps CSMA/CD ethernet LAN that operates on Category 5 UTP/STP cabling. Utilizes the star configur
10Base2: IEEE standard for baseband Ethernet at 10Mbps over RG-58 coax cable to a max distance of 185 meters.
10Base5: IEEE standard for baseband Ethernet at 10Mbps over heavy coax cable for a maximum distance of 500 me
10BaseT: 10Mbps (Megabits per second) CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) LAN th
128K: Uncommon modem operating speed, rarely seen, the intended result of signal acceleration.
28.8K: Lowest end operating speed for modems as set by the FCC. Operates at 28.8 Kbps.
32-bit-16-bit: There are many advantages that 32 bit has over the 16 bit applications. 32 bit application have thei
56K: Most common modem (modulation/demodulation) speed. Generic term for modems that can receive data at
802.1: Standard defining Network Bridging. Bridges also known as Layer 2 Switches because they operate at t
802.11a: Standard defining wireless networking that operates on the 5GHz band at a speed of 54Mbps. Shorter r
802.11b: Standard defining wireless networking that operates on the 2.4Ghz band at the speed of 11Mbps.
802.11g: Standard defining wireless networking that operates on the 2.4Ghz band at the speed of 54Mbps.
802.11n: Standard defining wireless networking that improves upon prior standards by using Multiple Input Mul
802.15: Standard defining the Personal Area Network (PAN) and Wireless PAN, a network consisting of connecte
802.16: Standard defining Broadband Wireless Access, aka WiMAX technology.
802.2: Standard defining Logical Link Control (LLC), which provides flow and error control over the upper D
802.3: Standard defining wired Ethernet. Typically LAN technology with some WAN applications. Works on the
Absolute Address: The exact memory location of data or a specific location within a device.
Absolute Reference: A formulated cell reference that will not adjust when used to calculate the sum of specific cells. M
Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP): A dedicated interface between the video adapter and the motherboard's North Bridge. AGP is 32 bits w
Access Light: The LED on the front of a device indicating that it is reading or writing data.
Access Point: A networking connection device that is also known as the base station. This is a wireless hardware c
Access Time: The time that elapses from the moment information is requested and the information is delivered. Usu
Active Matrix: A type of LCD (liquid crystal display) structure that is actively controlled by a diode or transisto
Active Server Pages (ASP): Developed by Microsoft and is designed as a web server extension which is a default scripting langua
Active X: A software technology developed by Microsoft. This is based on other technology Microsoft developed
Actuator: Device that performs an action or outputs a signal in response to a signal from a computer.
Adapter: A device that serves as an interface between dissimilar devices. Often also called a circuit board,
Address: The location of a particular piece of data or other information found on a computer.
Address Bus: One or a series of electrical conductors that are used to carry the binary address from the micropro
Addressing: A method of identifying a resource (such as a program) or piece of information (such as a file) on a
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI): A standard developed by Intel, Toshiba, and Microsoft that implements advanced power managment funct
Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA): This is a disk drive implementation developed by the Small Form Factor (SFF) Committee that integrat
Adware: A software program that is designed to run once a web page has been accessed. This is usually in the
Aero: Aero is the name of Windows Vista's new graphical interface that gives users an exciting new desktop
AGTL Signaling: (Assisted Gunning Transistor Logic) AGTL and AGTL+ use the same signaling protocol only at different
Algorithm: A formal set of instructions that can be followed to perform a specific task, such as a mathematical
Alias: A shortcut or 'friendly name' that points to a file folder or application. As an example, when you e
Aliasing: This refers to the distortion in a sound or image generation. A sound distortion occurs when digital
Alternating Current (AC): Electricity running from the wall outlet. 120 Volts at 60Hz through a fuse or circuit breaker that c
AMD: (Advanced Microchip Devices) A semiconductor manufacturer and is a major competitor of Intel. They m
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII): The commonly used 256 character set containing letters, numbers, and special characters. The graphic
Ampere (Amp): Basic unit for measuing electrical current.
Analog: Anything whose behavior corresponds with the behavior of something else, especially if the correspon
Anti-Static Mat: A pad on which computer components should be placed to prevent damage through electro-static dischar
Antialiasing: Software designed to make diagonal or curved lines appear smooth and continuous. Aliasing refers to
Antivirus: Software that prevents files containing viruses from being executed on a computer, as well as detect
AppleScript: It is a kind of English-like language that is used to write specific script files which have the abi
AppleShare: This is Apple's network system. It is to the Macintosh what FTP is to the PC.
Applet: An applet is a small program generally written in the Java programming language that was designed to
AppleTalk: A protocol suite developed by Apple Computer in the early 1980s, was developed in conjunction with t
Application: An application is a program that is designed to perform specific tasks. A few examples of some popul
Application Server: This is a specialized server based in a client/server network that has the sole responsibility of ru
Archie: Or ArchiePlex which is an Archie gateway for the World Wide Web. It can locate files on Anonymous FT
Archive: This usually defines old files that are no longer in use and are stored for possible future use or r
Archive Bit: The bit in a file's attribute byte that indicates whether the file has been modified since the last
Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU): Arithmetic Logic Unit. This is a mathematical core circuitry that applies to all computers central p
Artificial Intelligence (AI): This is the area of computer science focusing on creating machines that can engage on behaviors that
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL): High speed transmission technology commonly used for Internet access. ADSL sends information asymmet
Asynchronous: 1) not synchronous; not occurring or existing at the same time or having the same period or phase. 2
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM): A high-bandwidth low delay transmission technology.
AT Attachment Packet Interface (ATAPI): A specification that defines device-side characteristics for IDC peripherals like CD-ROM and tape dr
ATX: A common motherboard form factor that has been in use since 1995 characterized by a double row of re
Audio-Video Interleaved (AVI): AVI is the most common format for audio/video data on the personal computer. Used with DIVX and XVID
autoexec.bat: A root directory batch file that is responsible for executing commands at system startup.
Available Memory: Memory not currently in use by the operating system, drivers, or applications.
Average Access Time: The average time it takes for a disk drive to begin reading data placed anywhere on the drive. This
Average Seek Time: The average amount of time it takes to move the heads of a hard disk from one random cylinder locati
Backbone: This computer term describes the main line or series of connections in a network. The backbones are
Backup: To copy files to a second source or media in an effort to safeguard the original version. When compu
Backward Compatibility: The purposeful design of software and hardware to work with previous versions of the same applicatio
Bad Sector: A sector on a disk or disk drive that cannot reliably store data because of a flaw in the media or d
Bandwidth: 1) The measure of the range of frequencies within a band required to transmit a particular signal. T
Base-2: The computer numbering system that consists of two numerals: 0 and 1. Also known as binary.
Baseband: A method of transmission that sends a digital or analog signal in its original form, not changed by
Baseband Transmission: The transmission of digital signals over a limited distance. ARCnet and Ethernet LAN's use baseband.
Basic InputiOutput System (BIOS): A program burned onto ROM (read-only memory) that controls the interfacing of devices and software w
Batch File: A file that has the .BAT extension. This file usually contains a sequence (or batch) of commands. A
Baud: Pronounced bawd>. This term is named after J.M.E. Baudot who invented of the Baudot telegraph code.
Bay: An opening in a computer case (chassis) for the purpose of holding disk drives or other externally m
Bayonet Network Connector (BNC): In computing, a Bayonet Network Connector is commonly used in the CCTV industry, usually installs on
Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC): A popular computer programing languge developed in the mid 1960s. Each statement is translated and e
Beta: A testing stage for products (both hardware and software) that are being developed. It is referred t
Bezel: A panel for cosmetic purposes that covers the face of an electronic device.
Binary: A basic numbering system that consists of ones and zeros.
Bit - Binary Digit: The smallest part of binary code, represented logically by 0 and 1 and electrically by 0 and 5 volts
Bit Depth: Bit Depth can be referred to as Color Depth or Pixel Depth. It refers to a method of measurement whe
Bitmap: A file format used for digital imagery. This format maps an image pixel (or bit). All computer syste
Bitmap (BMP): A Microsoft Windows image file format.
Bits Per Second (BPS): The number of binary digits that can be transmitted per second.
Blog: (Slang term for a Weblog) A blog is a person journal that can be accessed publicly and allow people
Blu-ray: Also known as Blu-ray Disc. This is an optical disc format that was developed to enable recording, p
Bluetooth: Radio technology that connects electronic devices without using a cable. Data and voice can be excha
Boolean Logic: A type of mathematical logic named after its designer George Boole. This binary algebraic system is
Boot: The process of turning on the computer and beginning the process of loading the programs and operati
Boot Disk: This refers to a diskette that is formatted to actually boot your computer from. They were created a
Boot Sector Virus: A virus that infects the boot sector of a disk. Booting the system then loads the virus into the har
Bridge: A bridge is a computer networking device used to make a connection and pass along packets of data be
Broadband Transmission: A term used to describe analog data transmission. Requires the use of modems. Many different sets of
Browser: A browser is the software used for viewing pages on the web. Two examples are Microsoft Internet Exp
Buffer: A block of memory used as something of a holding tank for the temporary storage of data, usually exi
Buffered Memory: Using a buffer to isolate the memory from the controller reduces the load on the chipset. This allow
Bug: A flaw, error, or defect in a program.
Bulletin Board Service (BBS): A program designed to bring people together where they can carry on discussions and download files w
BUS: A bus is a grouping of wires that allow the flow of data from one area of the computer to another. I
Bus Mastering: A technique that allows certain advanced bus architectures to delegate control data transfers betwee
Byte: A collection of 8 bits that make up a character. When referring to RAM (random access memory), it in
Cable Modem: A cable modem is a type of Internet connection that is transmitted through a coaxial cable. The bene
Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS): Cable Modem Termination System. Typically, this system is found in a cable companies headend or dist
Cache: A very high speed type of memory that is similar to random access memory (RAM). The difference in RA
Cache RAM: Cache (commonly referred to as SRAM) is responsible for storing frequently requested instructions an
Capacitor: An electronic component that consists of two plates separated by insulation that is designed to stor
Cascade: A method of connecting circuits together in series to make the output of one, the input of the next.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): Stands for Cascading Style Sheets. This is a language designed to work with HTML documents on the We
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT): Among the first computer monitors, still occasionally found today. Works by creating a beam of elect
Central Processing Unit (CPU): Contains several million transistors and acts as the brain of the computer. All information and inst
Centronics: A 36-pin parallel port interface standard that most printer manufactures conform to.
Channel: A channel in computing is a specific bandwidth and frequency combination.
Character Set: All the letters, numbers, symbols, and other characters that a computer can use to present data. Als
Chassis: The physical framework of a computer system that houses all of the internal devices, wiring, and pow
Chipset: A chip or set of chips that integrates into the clock generator, bus controller, system timer, inter
Circuit Board: A collection of circuits on a sheet of plastic with all contacts made through a strip of pins. Usual
Client: A client is commonly referred to as a program or a process that requests information from other prog
Client-Server: A network type where every computer is either a server with the role of sharing resources with clien
Clipboard: A temporary data (text and graphics) storage facility used when transferring data to a new location.
Clock Speed: The clock speed is the frequency which determines how fast devices that are connected to the system
Clone: An imitation or copy of the original. Usually refers to building a computer system that is based on
Cluster: In a Windows environment, Cluster refers to the allocated space within files measured in units. A cl
Clustering: This is a way of connecting two (or more) computers together using clustering hardware so that they
CMOS: Most commonly, CMOS refers to a battery powered chip that resides on the Motherboard and is responsi
Coaxial Cable: A data transmission cable praised for its high bandwidth, immunity to interference (eg: EMI) and cur
COder-DECoder (Codec): 1) Short for Compressor/Decompressor. This technology is used for compressing and decompressing data
Cold Boot: A cold reboot also referred to as a hard boot. This occurs when a computer user must switch the comp
Collision: This is a problem that is a result from two or more device attempting to send a signal along the sam
Color Graphics Adapter (CGA): Stands for Color Graphics Adapter. Introduced by IBM as their first microcomputer color standard. Th
Command: An instruction that is issued to the computer from a command line or prompt.
Command Line: Commands you type to run an application. You can type commands at an MS-DOS prompt or in the Run dia
Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL): A computer programming language invented during the second generation of computers and designed to m
Common Gateway Interface (CGI): The 'Common Gateway Interface'. CGI provides a gateway for HTML pages to interact with other applica
Compact Disc Read-Only Memory (CD-ROM): A durable and low cost circular optical storage device widely used to store large amounts of informa
Compact Disk (CD): A 12cm optical disk that contains digitally encoded information.
Compact Disk Recordable (CD-R): A CD that can have information written to it one time by a CD recording device. May have multisessio
Compact Disk Rewritable (CD-RW): A rewritable CD or a recording device that handles them. Can be rewritten by a CD recording device a
Compiler: This is an application that converts a programming language into a machine language program.
Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS): A type of chip design that requires little power to operate. In PCs, a battery-powered CMOS memory a
Component Objec Module (COM): Stands for Component Object Module. This is a Microsoft standard created to allow for the communicat
Compressed File: A file that has been reduced in size using one or more compression techniques, like .RAR, .ZIP, .TAR
Compression: This refers to the reduction of a file size. This technology is very helpful in saving time and spac
Computer Assisted Design and Drafting (CADD): A graphics software designed to assist users develop on-screen projects, usually rendering in either
Config.SYS: The configuration file for DOS systems. Each time a DOS computer boots up, it reads from the CONFIG.
Constraint: A data rule that limits a searches possibilities through preset algorithms. The constraint could inc
Contrast Ratio: This is a dynamic range measurement method. It measures the contrast ratio as it applies to images a
Controller: A controller is a device responsible for transferring data from a computer system to peripheral devi
Controller Card: A card or adapter containing the controlling electronics for one or more devices like hard disks, ty
Conventional Memory: In a DOS environment, this would refer to a memory portion that is made available to DOS programs. I
Core Speed: The internal speed of a processor. Faster than the system's bus speed and regulated by the clock mul
CPE: This refers to ports or other equipment supplied by the manufacture so that the end user can connect
Crash: A malfunction that can be hardware or software related that brings work to a halt. Most are software
Critical Mass: The scale or volume at which processes become self-perpetuating. In Web publishing, it is said that
Cursor: A cursor is a blinking indicator designed to mark the place of text where a person may be working wi
Customer Information Control System (CICS): Customer Information Control System. A general purpose IBM mainframe-based transaction management sy
Cyberpunk: The term Cyberpunk could be used to describe an individual that hacks their way in to computer syste
Cyberspace: Author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer describes a more highly developed form of the Interne
Daemon: This refers to a program that is designed to run continuously in the background and is activated by
Daisy Chain: A hardware configuration in which devices are connected one to another in a series. The SCSI interfa
Data: This refers to the information that is stored on a computer system.
Data Bus: Data Buses are used on a systems motherboard and contain a group of parallel conductors also known a
Data Communications: The moving or sharing of encoded information between two or more data sources using an electronic me
Data Conversion: Refers to translating data from one format to another. It is most commonly used to reformat data tha
Data Mining: Sorting through data to identify patterns and establish relationships. Data mining parameters includ
Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS): This is a cable modem standard that was developed by CableLabs. It handles the incoming and outgoing
Data Rate: A speed measurement that calculates how fast information is moved from one place to another. This is
Data Striping: A method of separating data from one disk drive and distributing it across several hard disks. The b
Database: Anything that accepts data is a database. A pile of newspapers is a database. A computer database ha
Daughter Card: Often called Daughter Board. it is a printed circuit board that plugs into another circuit board (us
DECnet: A proprietary set of networking protocols developed by the Digital Equipment Corporation. It was the
Decoder: A software, hardware or circuit that is designed to translate a coded or scrambled signal in to a re
Decryption: This is a process of converting information in to a readable form that has been encrypted by the use
Dedicated Line: This refers to a phone line that is a phone line that is connected for one purpose. Many computer us
Default: Any setting in a device or piece of software that is the assumed setting, as unchanged by the user o
Defragmentation: The process of rearranging disk sectors so files are stored on consecutive sectors in adjacent track
Degauss: To remove magnetism from a device. The term is usually used in reference to color monitors and other
Delimiter: A text character that marks the beginning and/or end of a unit of data or separates different data c
Demodulation: This is a process used by some phone companies that convert an analog signal in to digital signal fo
Desk Top Publishing (DTP): A PC Term that describes a program that enables you to design, create and print a variety of project
Desktop: Once an operating system finishes loading and you are able to see the graphical background and progr
Desktop Window Manager (DWM): This new visual style (Aero Glass) and look in Windows Vista is powered by Windows Vista's Desktop W
Device Driver: A program that resides in memory and is loaded to control a device. Most devices like sound cards, g
Diagnostics: Programs used to check the operating levels of a computer system and determine if and where there ar
Dial-Up Line: This is a telephone line that is connected to a server. When it is called, tones are exchanged betwe
Dial-Up Networking: This is a feature that was used by the Windows 95, 98 and Unix operating systems. It allows for the
Digital: A system that defines data in a discrete, non-fluctuating (i.e., non-analogue), numerical method. Si
Digital Light Processing (DLP): A video projection technology that uses hundreds of thousands of rotating mirrors to project high qu
Digital Signal Processor (DSP): DSP is a technology that is commonly used in devices such as sound cards, fax machines, cellular pho
Digital Video Disc (DVD): Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc. This popular technology was first introduced in 1996.
Digital Video Interactive (DVI): A standard that integrates digital motion, still video, sound, graphics, and special effects in a co
Direct Current (DC): The type of electricity produced from a transforming device, such as the power supply in a computer,
Direct Digital Signal (DDS): Stands for Direct Digital Signal. It refers to a network that uses digital infrastructure equipment
Direct Memroy Access (DMA): This is a method of bypassing the central processing unit (CPU) and handling data transfers between
Direct X: Developed by Microsoft for its Windows operating systems. This technology was designed to provide a
Directory: In computing, this refers to the separate entities of a file system. A directory can contain thousan
Disc Operating System (DOS): This is a command line operating system that was created by Bill Gates while he was working for IBM.
Disk: Typically refers to a magnetic or optical storage medium on which information can be accessed, for e
Disk Cache: A portion of memory on the motherboard or another card or controller that is used to store informati
Display Adapter: The interface between the computer and the monitor. Transmits the signals that, in turn, appear as i
Distributed Network: A network using multiple locations. This process if very effective when a specific job can be dynami
Docking Station: Equipment that allows a laptop or notebook computer to use peripherals and accessories normally asso
Domain: A domain is a computer, web site or network that is connected to the Internet. A typical domain name
Domain Name: This is a unique identifier of an organization attached to the Internet. Domain names are used to ma
Domain Name Service (DNS): This service changes alphabetical domain names in to IP (Internet protocol) addresses. While domain
Dongle: A device that attaches to a computer to control access to a particular application. Dongles provide
Dot Pitch: An image measurement taken from center to center between stripes or phosphor dots on monitor. The sm
Dots Per Inch (DPI): An image measurement standard that measures an images resolution as it applies to printers. It measu
Double Data Rate (DDR): Stands for 'Double Data Rate.' A type of advanced SDRAM designed to deliver data at a double rate of
Downstream: This term refers to any information that is being received by a computer system. If the information
Downstream Frequency: Refers to the frequency that is used when transmitting information between the CMTS and cable modem.
Drive Bay: An allocated space inside a computer case where an internal device such as a; floppy, CD-ROM or DVD-
Driver: A driver is a software program that is the driving force behind a device. Each computer device needs
Dual Core: This refers to a new Central Processing Unit (CPU) structure. The difference between a single core a
Dual In-Line Memory Module (DIMM): DIMM is a later version of memory than that of its earlier SIMM (Single In-line) counterpart. A DIMM
Dual In-Line Package (DIP): This is a type of chip that was most popular when memory was directly installed on the motherboard.
Dumb Terminal: This refers to a monitor a keyboard setup that can receive, enter, transmit and display information
Duplex: This refers to a communication channel that has the ability to transmit in both directions. This is
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP): This is a process of dynamically allocating IP addresses so that they can be reused. This provides a
Dynamic Hypertext Mark-Up Language (DHTML): Stands for Dynamic HTML. This term applies to many web design standards such as HTML, JavaScript and
Dynamic Link Library (DLL): This refers to a file that contains executable code that can be used by many different programs at t
Dynamic Programming Language: This dynamic programming language has the ability to change the program structure as it runs.
Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM): Dynamic Random Access Memory. This is a common type of random access memory that is used in personal
Dynamic URL: A Web site that is database driven can produce dynamic URLs. Or a URL of a Web site that is produced
E3: Similar to the North America T3 high speed digital transmission, the E3 European counterpart is capa
Edge Connector: The part of a circuit board that contains a series of contacts that is then inserted into an expansi
Electrical Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM): Electrical Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. This type of memory can be reprogrammed and erase
Electro-Static Discharge (ESD): The grounding of static electricity. A sudden flow of electricity between two objects. The primary c
Electronic Document Management (EDM): Using specific document management software, users can capture and retrieve documents in image, audi
Electronic Email (E-Mail): Stands for Electronic Mail. This is a system of relaying messages across the Internet, from one Inte
Embed: When adding an element from one document to another document. Example: A sound file is created in on
Emulation: This term refers to a program or device that has the ability to imitate another. A common example wo
Emulator: A hardware or software tool used the imitate the function of another hardware or software device.
Encryption: Encryption is the process of converting data into 'unreadable code' is so that unauthorized people c
Energy Star: A certification program started by the environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star certified comput
Enhanced IDE: This is an enhanced version of the ATA-2 standard for managing the interface between secondary stora
Enhanced Integrated Development Environment (EIDE): Enhanced Integrated Development Environment. This an enhanced version of the IDE hardware technology
Environment: The interaction of all things external to a physical platform. This could be made up of software, ha
Error Checking and Correction (ECC) Memory: A method of detecting and correcting system memory errors by adding additional bits and using a spec
Error Message: A word or message that indicates to the user that an error has occurred with a program or device.
Error Rate: In many cases, it may be acceptable if an input device generates a certain number of errors. This is
ESD Testing: Electro Static Discharge testing is one kind of test that hardware usually has to pass to prove it i
Ethernet: A networking system that enables high speed data communication over coaxial cables. The Ethernet net
Executable File: An executable file or has a file extension of .EXE. It is a type of binary file designed to be direc
Expanded Memory: Anther term for Expanded Memory is EMS (Expanded Memory Specification). In a DOS based system there
Expansion Bus: A group of control lines that provide a buffered interface to devices located either on the system b
Expansion Card: This is a circuit card that it attached to the motherboards expansion slot. By using an expansion ca
Expansion Card: A circuit board that plugs into an expansion slot on the motherboard to provide access to additional
Expansion Slot: The slot on the motherboard designed to be filled by expansion cards. See above.
Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC): It is also called the Extended ASCII Code. This is a common asynchronous code used by IBM. It is pro
Extended Data Output (EDO) Memory: Short for Extended Data Output, a type of dynamic random access memory. EDO memory is much faster th
Extended Memory: This memory expands upon a DOS systems existing conventional memory.
Extended Memory Specification (XMS): A procedure developed jointly by AST Research, Intel Corporation, Lotus Development, and Microsoft C
eXtensible Markup Language (XML): Like HTML, XML is a markup language, but unlike HTML, it is not limited to Web documents. XML lets W
eXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSL): A formatting language standard that defines how the data fields in a XML document will be viewed by
External Device: A peripheral or device that is installed outside of the computer system.
External Modem: A modem that is separate from the actual computer system and is self-contained in its own box. Becau
Extranet: An extranet is similar to an intranet. They both use Internet protocols. The difference is that the
FAT 16: This was an older FAT (File Allocation Table) that was designed for use in the MS-DOS system. FAT 16
FAT 32: A new version of the file allocation table (FAT) available in Windows 95 OSR 2 and Windows 98. FAT32
Fault Tolerance: The ability of a system to respond gracefully to an unexpected hardware or software failure. There a
Fax Modem: A device you can attach to a personal computer that enables you to transmit and receive electronic d
FDISK: A disk partitioning program used by several different operating systems to create the master boot re
Fetch: The process of 'fetching' a data or instruction item from memory and writing it to a register. The '
Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI): A standard for transmitting data on optical fiber cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-se
Fiber Optic: An alternative to copper wire for transmitting information. In fiber optics, pulses of light represe
File Allocation Table (FAT): Basically this is a table of contents in a directory that tells the computer what all is in there. L
File Server: A computer or a file storage device on a network that allows other computers on the same network acc
File Sharing: This is the most important feature of the Internet. This is a method of allowing one server to give
File Transfer Protocol (FTP): A method of transferring files over the Internet. May or may not require the client to have an accou
FireWire: IEEE standard number 1394. A serial I/O interface boasting transfer rates up to 400MB/sec, 800MB/sec
Firmware: Software (programs or data) that has been written onto read-only memory (ROM). Firmware is a combina
Flash Memory: This type of non-volatile memory has the ability to retain its information even when there is no pow
Floppy Disk: A removable disk using a flexible magnetic media in a plastic case. 3.5'' floppy disks are sometimes
Flow Chart: A graphical representation of planned activities, operations or tasks. Usually, flow charts are used
Folder: As displayed in a graphical user interface, simulates a file folder that contains other objects, sim
Form Factor: The physical dimensions of a given device. If two devices are said to have the same form factor then
Formal Specification: These specifications exist to satisfy predefined properties of a device or program. The word 'formal
Format: The organizing and allocation of sectors on a disk adhering to the chosen format standard. Formattin
Forms: A web page element that uses text fields, radio buttons and check boxes to process predefined data.
FORmula TRANslator (FORTRAN): Developed in 1954 by IBM, it is a high-level programming language, most widely used for scientific a
Freeware: This is a shortened version of Free Software. Programmers offer their work without wanting pay in re
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): An FAQ is a file or document where a moderator or administrator will post commonly asked questions a
Front Side Bus: This is the main pathway for data transfer in a PC. It connects all of a computers major components,
Full Duplex: Refers to the transmission of data in two directions simultaneously. For example, a telephone is a f
Gateway: A hardware or software tool that converts between two dissimilar applications. For example, an email
General Protection Fault: GPF, short for General Protection Fault, is a computer condition that causes a Windows application t
Gigabyte (GB): 2 to the 30th power (1,073,741,824) bytes. One gigabyte is equal to 1,024 megabytes.
Glyph: A graphic symbol whose appearance conveys information; for example, the vertical and horizontal arro
Gopher: A method of distributing information by computers that has waned in popularity to ftp. Most gopher f
Graphical Interchange Format (GIF): Pronounced 'jif.' It is an image format created by Compuserve.
Graphical User Interface (GUI): A program interface that takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities to make the program
Half-Duplex: Refers to the transmission of data in just one direction at a time. For example, a walkie-talkie is
Handshaking: The process by which two devices initiate communications. Handshaking begins when one device sends a
Hard Boot: A hard reboot (also known as a cold reboot) is when power to a computer is cycled (turned on and off
Hard Disk: High-capacity disk storage unit with a non-removable hard storage medium. The platters in a hard dis
Hardware: These are the physical items including your computer and floppy discs.
Hayes Compatible: Hayes Microcomputer Products is one of the leading manufacturers of modems and has developed a langu
Headend: Central distribution point for a CATV system. Video signals are received here from satellites and ma
Heat Sink: A component designed to lower the temperature of an electronic device by dissipating heat into the s
Helper Application: This is an application your browser uses to manipulate a downloaded program.
Hertz (Hz): A measurement for frequency that is used internationally, and indicates one cycle per second.
Hexadecimal Number: A number encoded in base-16. Includes the letters A-F and 0-9. For example, the hex number 8BF3 equa
Hidden File: A file that is not displayed in a directory listing because the files attribute byte is set to hide
High Memory Area: In DOS -based systems, the high memory area refers to the first 64K of extended memory.
High Speed Technology (HST): Before the invention of the CCITT V.32 modem standards for 9600 BPS modems, US Robotics invented a p
Host: A computer on a network that provides services to other computers on the network. Unless you have yo
Hot Fix: Novell, Inc.'s term for the feature of their network file server operating system, Novell NetWare, w
Hot Swappable: This refers to a device that is designed to be removed or replaced while a system is turned on witho
Hotlist: List of URLs saved within the Mosaic Web browser. (Bookmark in Netscape.)
Hub: A common connection point for devices in a network. Hubs are commonly used to connect segments of a
Hybrid: A device or system combining two types of mechanisms, circuits, or design approaches, each of which
Hybrid Fiber-Coxaial (HFC): Older CATV systems were provisioned using only coaxial cable. Modern systems use fiber transport fro
Hyper-Threading: (HTT = Hyper Threading Technology) is Intel's trademark for their implementation of the simultaneous
Hypertext: This is a mark-up language that allows for non-linear transfers of data. The method allows your comp
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): A language used to format text files on the web. HTML is based on pairs of tags that are inserted in
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): The protocol that dictates the methods browsers and servers use to communicate over the Internet. HT
I-O Port: An I/O Port is used to communicate to and from devices, such as a printer, disk, or keyboard. I/O po
Icon: A small video display that acts as an activation link when clicked on.
IEEE 802 Standards: 802 refers to the family of standards dealing with local area networks (LAN) and metropolitan area n
Image Map: Typically, an image map is graphical representation (also known as 'hot spots') containing predefine
Infrared: A light that is so red that it is not viewable to the naked eye. It uses this invisible beam of ligh
Inkjet Printer: A printing technology that utilizes print nozzles that spray ink onto the page. Not as fast or clean
Input: Anything that is entered into the computer either through peripheral devices like a keyboard, mouse,
Input - Output (I-O): A circuit path that enables communications between the processor and other devices.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): A non-profit professional organization with 365,000 members in 150 countries, dedicated to the advan
Instruction Set: The set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute.
Integrated Circuit: Another name for a chip, an IC is a small electronic device made out of a semiconductor material.
Integrated Development Environment (IDE): A programming environment integrated into an application. For example, Microsoft Office applications
Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE): Specifically refers to a hard disk with the disk controller integrated into it. Also refers to the A
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): Basically a way to move more data over regular existing phone lines. ISDN is available to much of th
Interface: This is any type of point where two different things come together. Most often, the term is used to
Interlacing: A display technique that enables a monitor to provide more resolution inexpensively. With interlacin
Interleaving: A recording method that reduces data errors during playback. Instead of the file being written in a
Internal Device: Any device installed inside a computer case or chassis.
Internal Modem: A modem that resides on an expansion board that plugs into a computer. In contrast, an external mode
International Standards Organization (ISO): Someone has to say what is the standard for transferring data. These people are it. You'll find them
Internet: The Internet is a super-network. It connects many smaller networks together and allows all the compu
Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP): A message control and error-reporting protocol between a host server and a gateway to the Internet.
Internet Information Server (IIS): A Web server that runs on the Windows NT/2000 platforms. It allows the creation of web-based applica
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP): IMAP is gradually replacing POP as the main protocol used by email clients in communicating with ema
Internet Protocol Security (Ipsec): A set of protocols developed by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and designed to provide prote
Internet Service Provider (ISP): A company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider gives you a
Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX): A networking protocol used by the Novell NetWare operating systems. Like UDP/IP, IPX is a datagram p
Interrupt: A signal informing a program that an event has occurred. When a program receives an interrupt signal
Interrupt Request (IRQ): A dedicated channel between main components in a computer used to tell the CPU to stop working and r
Intranet: A private network for communications and sharing of information that, like the Internet, is based on
ISA: The bus architecture used in the IBM PC/XT and PC/AT. It's often abbreviated as ISA (pronounced as s
Italics (i): A type style with slightly slanted characters, used for emphasis. Best used to set off quotes, speci
JAVA: A high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally called OAK, and
JavaScript: JavaScript is a scripting language used in web development, primarily in websites. It was designed t
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG): Pronounced 'J-Peg.' It's an image format that allows for compression when stored.
Joystick: An input device used in computer gaming, primarily for games that utilize flight simulation. May als
Jumper: A plastic covered metal clip that sets over two pins on a circuit board. Jumpers connect pins, compl
Just-In-Time (JIT): This is a type of Java compiler that interprets a class file, then compiles the information into nat
K56Flex: A technology developed by Lucent Technologies and Rockwell International for delivering data rates u
Kerberos: The name 'Kerberos' was derived from Greek mythology which refers to the three-headed dog that guard
Kernel: The central module of an operating system. It is the part of the operating system that loads first,
Keyboard Macro: A series of keystrokes that are automatically input when a single key is pressed. Used often in Offi
Keyboard-Video-Mouse Switch (KVM): A piece of hardware that connects two or more computers to a single keyboard, monitor and mouse. Ima
Keygen: (Key Generator). Refers to a program that will automatically generate a registration or serial numbe
Kilobyte (KB): This is about a thousand bytes of space. In reality, it's two to the 10th power or 1,024 bytes.
L1 Cache: Stands for level one cache. A memory cache that is built into the CPU core to temporarily hold data
L2 Cache: Stands for level two cache. A memory cache housed outside the processor core, but still a part of th
Laptop Computer: A computer system that is smaller than a briefcase but larger than a notebook. Typically has a clams
Laser Printer: A type of printer that is a combination of an electro-static copying machine and a printer. An elect
Layer: In networking, layers (also called Levels) refer to software protocols. Each layer builds on the lay
Light-Emitting Diode (LED): Abbreviation of light emitting diode, an electronic device that lights up when electricity is passed
LimeWire: A peer-to-peer Gnutella file sharing client which allows network users share files. LimeWire is a fr
Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD): A feature that helps users to troubleshoot their networks. LLTD automatically detects multiple netwo
Linker: A program specifically designed to combine or link together a large number of programs forming a sin
Linux: A version of UNIX that runs on a variety of hardware platforms including x86 PCs, Alpha, PowerPC and
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD): A type of display used in digital watches and many portable computers. LCD displays utilize two shee
Live Script: This is the former name of Java Script. There are few updates between the two.
Local Area Network (LAN): A computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building o
Logical Block Addressing (LBA): In a system using an enhanced BIOS and Operating System that supports the use of LBA, it would then
Login: To attach to a computer. It has also come to represent your User ID command.
Login Script: This is the small text file that is run by the server gateway to make the attachment between it and
Loopback: A diagnostic test that returns the transmitted signal back to the sending device after it has passed
Low Voltage Differential (LVD): A differential logic scheme using lower voltage levels than HVD.
Macro: A file containing a sequence of instructions that can be executed as one command. These commands can
Mainframe: Mostly a mainframe is only a mainframe when compared to a desktop computer. It's bigger and much mor
Master Boot Record (MBR): A small program that is executed when a computer boots up. Typically, the MBR resides on the first s
Matrix: As an Internet term, this would refer to computers setup within a network and all of them having to
Media: 1) Objects on which data can be stored. These include hard disks, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, and tapes.
Media Access Control (MAC) Address: In networking, MAC Address refers to the globally unique hardware address of an Ethernet network int
Medium Attachment Unit (MAU): An Ethernet device used for sending and receiving transmissions between the AUI (Attachment Unit Int
Megabyte (MB): About a million bytes of space. Actually it's 2 raised to the 20th power or 1,048,576 bytes of space
Megahertz (MHz): A unit of measurement indicating the frequency of one million cycles per second.
Memory: Internal storage areas in the computer. The term memory identifies data storage that comes in the fo
Memory Address: This refers to the actual location of physical memory. These unique identifiers are assigned at the
Memory-Resident Program: A program that stays in memory after it has been loaded, using up more memory than application softw
Metadata: A collection of data that summarizes other data. This data is formatted to describe certain aspects
Microcomputer: A category of computer that is generally used for personal computing, for small business computing,
Microprocessor: A silicon chip that contains a CPU. In the world of personal computers, the terms microprocessor and
MIFARE: A leading communication protocol for contactless and dual interface smart cards. MIFARE technology i
Mini Structured Query Language (MSQL): A lightweight client/server database that is the popular choice for open source developers. It is de
Minicomputer: A nearly obsolete term used to describe an older computer usually around the size of a refrigerator.
Minislot: Basic timeslot unit used for upstream data bursts in the DOCSIS standard.
Minitower: A PC system case style that is shorter than a full or mid-sized tower.
Mirror: In computing. this means to make an identical copy something. Usually, web sites use this to provide
Modem: Stands for MOdulator/DEMODulator. This is a word created out of the beginning letters of two other w
Mosaic: The first Web browser to have a consistent interface for the Macintosh, Windows, and Unix environmen
Motherboard: The main circuit board of a microcomputer. The motherboard contains the connectors for attaching add
Moving Picture Expert Group (MPEG): A format to make, view, and transfer both digital audio and digital video files.
MP3: Stands for MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group) Audio Layer 3. This is a compression standard that was
MP4: Stands for MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group) - 4. Finalized toward the end of 1998, this became an
Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME): A standard that allows for the attachment of files such as images, sounds and animations to electron
Multimedia: The integration of sound, graphics, animation, video, and text into one environment on a computer. A
Multimedia Extensions (MMX): A technology created by Intel Corporation that enhances audio and video capabilities. MMX is found i
Multiple Service Operator (MSO): A cable TV service provider that also provides other services such as data and/or voice telephony.
Multiplexer: This is a piece of hardware that allows one item to take the place of several. An example would be u
Multisession: A term used with CD-ROM recording to describe a recording event. Multisession capability allows data
Multitask: In computing, to run several programs, sequences, or applications simultaneously.
Multiuser System: A configuration or computer system in which computer terminals share the same central processing uni
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI): An interface as well as file format standard for using a musical instrument with a computer and reco
Nanosecond: A billionth of a second. Many computer operations, such as the speed of memory chips, are measured i
Native: The relationship between a transport user and a transport provider, both being based on the same tra
NetBIOS Extended User Interface (NetBEUI): A networking protocol used primarily with Windows NT and suited to small peer-to-peer networks.
Network: A system in which multiple computers and linked for the purpose of sharing data and peripherals, lik
Network Adapter: This is a hardware unit that connects a device to a communication line. For wide area networks (WAN)
Network Basic Input - Output System (NetBIOS): A commonly used networking protocol originally developed for LANs. Operates on the Session and Trans
Network Card: Also, Network Interface Card or NIC. This is a component of a computer that enables the computer to
Network Interface Card (NIC): An adapter installed in an expansion slot or integrated onto the motherboard and allows the computer
New Low-Profile eXtended (NLX): The NLX form factor features a number of improvements over the previous design LPX form factor and b
Newsgroup: An online discussion community found on the USENET system. These groups cover thousands of different
Node: In networks, a processing location. A node can be a computer or some other device, such as a printer
Noise: Interference (static) that destroys the integrity of signals on a line. Noise can come from a variet
Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA): A method of configuring a cluster of microprocessor in a multiprocessing system so that they can com
Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM): Any type of memory that is made non-volatile by connecting it to a constant power source, such as a
North Bridge: The main portion of the motherboard chipset that acts as an interface between the processor and othe
Notebook Computer: A very small computer, approximately the size of a notebook used for writing. The term is often used
NT File System (NTFS): One of the file system for the Windows NT operating system (Windows NT also supports the FAT file sy
NT Loader (NTLDR): A program loaded from the hard drive boot sector that displays the Microsoft Windows NT startup menu
Null Value: In computer programming, this represents something of no value. A null value could also indicate tha
Object: Something that contains both the data and the application that operates on that data.
ODBC Administrator: Developed by Microsoft for its Windows operating systems. The icon for the ODBC is named 'Data Sourc
OOP: Stands for Object Oriented Program. A larger program made up of smaller objects.
Opacity: The quality that defines how much light passes through an object’s pixels. If an object is 100 per
Open Systems Interconnection (OSI): A reference model developed by the International Organization of Standardization. It splits networki
Operating System (OS): The most important program that runs on a computer. Every general-purpose computer must have an oper
Optical Disk: A disk that encodes data as a series of reflecting pits that are read and written by a laser beam.
Oracle: A high-end database management software created by Oracle Corporation. Oracle's relational database
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): Any manufacturer that sells its product to a reseller. Most often refers to the original manufacture
OSI Reference Model: (Open Systems Interconnect) A network communications software standard that consists of a seven laye
Output: Information that has been processed by the computer and is then sent to an output device, like a har
Overclock: To run a microprocessor faster than the speed for which it has been tested and approved. Overclockin
Overclocking: The act of running a device like a processor or graphics card, faster than the speed that has been d
Overwrite: To write data on top of existing data, erasing the existing data.
Packet: A unit of data formatted to transmit through a network. A packet is sent from a source to a destinat
Parallel Port: A parallel interface for connecting an external device such as a printer. Most personal computers ha
Parity: An error-checking method that utilizes an extra bit that is sent to the receiving device to determin
Partition: A portion of a hard disk that functions as a separate unit. A single hard disk can be divided into s
Passive Matrix: An older form of LCD (liquid crystal display) technology that processes pixels using row-and-column
Patch Panel: In networking a patch panel connects all networked computers to the incoming and outgoing lines of a
Path: A path can be described as a file's address on your file system, describing where the file lives: An
PC Card (PCMCIA): PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. Roughly credit-card sized
Peer-To-Peer (P2P): A type of network in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities. This d
Pen Drive: A small keyring-sized device that can be used to easily transfer files between USB-compatible system
Peripheral: Any external device attached to a computer. Examples of peripherals include printers, disk drives, d
Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI): A local bus standard developed by Intel Corporation. Most modern PCs include a PCI bus in addition t
Phishing: Short for Password Harvesting Fishing. It is the luring of sensitive information, such as passwords
PHP: (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language used to create dynamic W
Pin Grid Array (PGA): A type of chip package in which the connecting pins are located on the bottom in concentric squares.
PING: Packet Internet or Inter-Network Groper; a utility used to determine whether a particular computer i
Pinout: A diagram or table that describes the purpose of each pin in a chip or connector, or each wire in a
Pipeline Burst Cache: A type of memory cache built into many modern DRAM controller and chipset designs. Pipeline burst ca
Pipelining: A processor performance enhancement process that allows for a second instruction to be performed bef
Pixel: Short for Picture Element, a pixel is a single point in a graphic image. Graphics monitors display p
Platform: A combination of hardware and operating system you use, for example, the 'NT platform' is a PC runni
Plotter: A computer output device that draws images on paper using a pen. A plotter draws real lines rather t
Plug and Play (PnP): A technology developed by Microsoft and Intel that supports plug-and-play installation. PnP is built
Plug-In: This is a program that your browser uses to manipulate a downloaded file. It differs from a Helper A
Point of Presence (POP): A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with
Point to Point Protocol (PPP): It's a software application that allows an attachment to a server.
Port: A plug or socket that enables external devices to be attached to a computer. Can also refer to a log
Port Replicator: A device used in mobile computing that plugs into the laptop and provides all the ports for connecti
Portable Document Format (PDF): A technology developed by Adobe and was designed to capture all of the elements of a printed documen
Portal: A web site that aims to be an entry point to the World-Wide Web, typically offering a search engine
Power On Self Test (POST): A series of diagnostic tests that run automatically when you turn your computer on. The actual tests
Power Supply: A component of a computer that transforms the electricity from the wall outlet from AC to DC so that
Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE): (pronounced 'pixie') Created by Intel, it is one of their WfM specification components. A PXE-enable
Primary Cache: Primary cache is the cache located closest to the CPU. Usually, primary cache is internal to the CPU
Primary Key: A set of one or more values in a database that uniquely identifies a record in a table.
Primitive: This refers to low-level objects or older older objects that can be introduced in to a higher-level
Processor: A processor is a device that processes programmed instructions and performs tasks. Your processor se
Program: A set of instructions or steps telling the computer how to handle a problem or task.
Programmable Logic Device (PLD): A digital integrated circuit that can be programmed by the user to perform a wide variety of logical
Programmable Read-Only Memory (PROM): A special memory chip that is blank when first purchased. It can be written to by the user by using
Programmed Input-Output (PIO): A method of data transfer in which the host microprocessor transfers data to and from memory via the
Proof Theory: This deals with the actual 'logic' of the programming. Using mathematical analysis techniques, the p
Proprietary: Anything invented by one company that uses components only available from that one company.
Protocol: An agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices. The protocol determines the followi
Proxy Server: A server that acts as an intermediary between a workstation user and the internet so that the enterp
PS-2 Port: A type of port developed by IBM for connecting a mouse or keyboard to a PC. The PS/2 port supports a
Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM): A method of modulating digital signals using both amplitude and phase coding. Used for downstream an
Quadrature Phase-Shift Keying (QPSK): A method of modulating digital signals using four phase states to code two digital bits per phase sh
Quartz: A powerful graphics system that delivers a rich imaging model, on-the-fly rendering, anti-aliasing,
Query: This is to make a computer request of a database.
QuickTime Player: A multimedia technology developed by Apple Computer. Developed to display video, sound, animation, g
QWERTY Keyboard: The modern standard keyboard or typewriter keyboard. Gets its name from the characters across the to
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): RFID first appeared in tracking and access applications during the 1980s. It is a method of remotely
Radio Frequency Interference (RFI): A high-frequency signal radiated by improperly shielded conductors. RFI can interfere with the opera
Rambus In-Line Memory Module (RIMM): RIMM is a synchronous dynamic random access memory (RAM) module that is used on newer motherboards.
Random Access Memory (RAM): All memory accessible at any instant by a processor. Called random because of the random placement o
Ranging: The process of automatically adjusting transmit levels and time offsets of individual modems, in ord
Raster Graphics: A technique for presenting a picture as a matrix of dots. It is the digital counterpart to the analo
RDRAM: Rambus DRAM technology is a system-wide, chip-to-chip interface design that allows data to pass thro
Read-Only Memory (ROM): Stands for Read-Only Memory. A semiconductor-based memory system that stores information permanently
Real Player: Developed by RealNetworks, this is a cross-platform multi-media player.
Real Time: The actual time in which a program or event takes place. In computing, it refers to a mode under whi
RealAudio: This is a method of playing sounds invented by Rob Glasser that creates a buffer between the supplyi
Reboot: To restart a computer. In DOS, you can reboot by pressing the Alt, Control and Delete keys simultane
Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC): A computer processing architecture that requires fewer instructions to run applications, thus increa
Redundant: Array of Inexpensive (or Interconnected) Disks. A performance enhancing method of storing the same d
Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID): A category of disk drives that employ two or more drives in combination for fault tolerance and perf
Refresh: Generally, to update something with new data. For example, some Web browsers include a refresh butto
Refresh Rate: Refers to the speed in which an image can be flashed or re-drawn on a monitors screen. The higher th
Registered Memory: This memory uses 'registers' which are extra chips designed to delay the flow of data. By delaying t
Registry: The system configuration files used with Windows 9x and NT to store settings about installed hardwar
Relational Database: A method in which data is stored in multiple tables so that the data can be organized by pre-defined
Remote Access Services (RAS): A feature built into Windows NT that enables users to log into an NT-based LAN using a modem, X.25 c
Repeater: A device that receives weak incoming signals, boosts the signal and then retransmits the signal. Its
Request Parameter List (RPL): A VTAM (Virtual Telecommunications Access Method) control block that contains parameters necessary f
Resolution: Refers to the sharpness and clarity of an image. The term is most often used to describe monitors, p
Resource: Generally, any item that can be used. Devices such as printers and disk drives are resources, as is
Ribbon Cable: A flat cable with wires that run in parallel to each other, like those used for IDE or SCSI.
Rich Site Summary (RSS): XML format for distributing news headlines on the Web, also known as Really Simple Syndication.
Ripper: This refers to a software application capable of transferring digital audio files from a CD to a har
RJ-11: Short for Registered Jack-11, a four- or six-wire connector used primarily to connect telephone equi
RJ-45: Short for Registered Jack-45, an eight-wire connector used commonly to connect computers onto a loca
RJ-45: A standard connector used in networking with twisted pair (UTP/STP) cabling. Looks much like a telep
Root Directory: The main directory on any hard disk or floppy disk. It has a fixed size and location and cannot be r
Rootkit: A set of programs used by hackers to gain access to information contained in your operating system a
Router: A device that connects any number of LANs. Routers use headers and a forwarding table to determine w
Routing Switch: A switch that also performs routing operations. Usually a switch operates at layer 2 (the Data Link
Scalable: Basically, a scalable system or system architecture is one that can be modified in its size or confi
Scalar Processing: A process that calculates numbers in sequence.
Scope: In computer programming, this would refer to a specific identifying enclosing context. Each programm
Screen Flicker: This is generally referring to the flickering of a display screen and can be caused by a number of f
Search Engine: This is the working part of a database or application.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is a process of arranging a web site's content to obtain high rankings in various search engines
Secondary Cache: Also referred to as 'Level 2 cache' or 'L2'. In general, L2 cache memory resides on a separate exter
Sector: A section of one track defined with identification markings and an identification number. Most secto
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications acr
Semantics: A relationship between words, phrases or any other allowable constraint and their actual meaning. Th
Semiconductor: This refers to a material that is not a good conductor of electricity (copper) nor a good insulator
Serial: The transfer of data characters one bit at a time, sequentially, using a single electrical path.
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA): A computer bus designed to transfer data to and from a hard drive using serial signaling technology.
Serial Port: A port, or interface, that can be used for serial communication, in which only 1 bit is transmitted
Serialization: A sequence of commands that execute orders in a database.
Server: This is a mainframe computer that serves the other computers attached to it.
Service ID (SID): Used in the DOCSIS standard to defines a particular mapping between a cable modem (CM) and the CMTS.
Shadowing: A technique used to increase a computer's speed by using high-speed RAM memory in place of slower RO
Shareware: Software distributed on the basis of an honor system. Most shareware is delivered free of charge, bu
Sheet Tab: In spreadsheet applications, this would refer to a tab at the bottom of a work sheet that acts as a
Shell: Just like the shell of an egg is the outermost layer, in computer technology, this refers to the out
Shielded Twisted Pair: The same as UTP network cabling only that it has a metal sheath or braid around it to reduce interfe
Short Message Service (SMS): A popular wireless service that is used for sending and receiving short messages up to a maximum of
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP): When you're exchanging electronic mail on the Internet, SMTP is what keeps the process orderly. It's
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP): Stands for 'Simple Network Management Protocol'. It was developed in 1988 and has become a standard
Simplex: A one directional communications circuit that can only either transmit or receive, but not both. Two
Single In-Line Memory Module (SIMM): A small circuit board that can hold a group of memory chips. Typically, SIMMs hold up 8 (on Macintos
Single In-Line Package (SIP): Abbreviation of single in-line package, a type of housing for electronic components in which the con
Skype: This is a peer-to-peer voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). This Internet telephony network was crea
Slot: A physical connector on a motherboard to hold an expansion card or memory module. In older models, C
Small Computer System Interface (SCSI): It is pronounced 'scuzzy,' and is a parallel interface standard used by Apple Macintosh computers, P
Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (SODIMM): These memory modules are typically used in laptop and notebook computers where space and low power c
Socket: A receptacle on a motherboard that processors or chips can be plugged into. The slot varies by the t
Socket 7: Socket 7 is a connection format used on older processors such as the Cyrix M2, AMD K6 and K6-2.
Socket 8: The Socket 8 connection format was exclusively used on Intel Pentium Pro and Pentium II OverDrive pr
Software: This is a program, the actual code the computer reads. All other stuff is hardware. A floppy disc is
Software Modem: A modem implemented entirely in software. Software modems rely on the computer's processor to modula
Source Code: Computer programs or operating systems are originally written by a human being in a programming lang
South Bridge: The lower-speed component in the chipset. The South Bridge connects to the PCI bus and contains the
Spam: This is to transmit unwanted messages, usually over email, to a great many people.
Spoofing: To fool. In networking, the term is used to describe a variety of ways in which hardware and softwar
Spooling: The process of storing a device (eg: printer) output signal in a queue, while the device can take on
Standby: An optional operating state with diminished power consumption. Of all the reduced power states, it u
Standoff: A small, non conductive spacer used to keep the underside of the motherboard from coming into contac
Static: As a web site term, this is used to describe a web page that is not interactive. The webmaster write
Static Random Access Memory (SRAM): SRAM is a type of memory that is faster and more reliable than the more common DRAM (dynamic RAM). T
Steganography: This refers to a method of concealing data inside of data. The secret information can be hidden insi
Streaming: 1) In tape backup, data is transferred from the hard disk as quickly as the tape can record, so that
Structured Query Language (SQL): (Structured Query Language) A specialized programming language for sending queries to databases. Mos
Subroutine: A procedure that performs a specific function; usually a process that may be needed several times or
Subscriber Unit (SU): An alternate term for cable modem.
SuperFetch: A memory management technology in Windows Vista that is designed to launch applications more quickly
Suspend: A mode of operation with reduced power consumption. More power is conserved than with the Standby mo
Swap File: A swap file is an area on your hard disk used as virtual memory. It's called a swap file because vir
Swap Space: Disk space used by the kernel as "virtual" RAM. It is slower than RAM, but because disk space is che
Switch: In networks, a device that filters and forwards packets between LAN segments. Switches operate at th
Switching Hub: A high-performance hub, also called a 'switching hub' that can recall what devices are connected to
Synchronize: Refers to two or more elements, events or operations programmed to occur at a predefined moment in t
Synchronous: Synchronous can refer to: (1) A communications method that transmits a group of characters as a bloc
Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH): A method used for multiplexing many circuits with a low bit rate onto fewer circuits with a higher b
Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM): This is a newer type of DRAM that has the ability to run at much higher clock speeds than convention
Synchronous Graphic Random Access Memory (SGRAM): This is a type of DRAM used commonly on graphics accelerators and video adapters. Like SDRAM, SGRAM
Syntax: Grammatical structuring of data using a special code that defines how this special code is used to f
System: A combination of the hardware, software, and firmware. A system typically consists of components (or
Telnet: One of the TCP/IP Protocols. It allows a connection to another computer over dedicated phone lines.
Temporary File: A file temporarily created by a program for its own use. Typically set to be hidden from the user.
Terabyte (TB): A unit of information storage equal to 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, or, 1000 Gigabytes. 2 to the 40th po
Terminal: A device whose keyboard and display are used for sending and receiving data over a link. A terminal
Terminal Emulation: This is an application that allows your terminal to act as a dumb terminal.
Terminator: A device attached to the end-points of a bus network or daisy-chain. The purpose of the terminator i
Thin Client: Typically, a Thin Client will have little or no software installed and does not recieve its informat
Thread: In online discussions, a series of messages that have been posted as replies to each other. A single
Throughput: The amount of data transferred from one place to another or processed in a specified amount of time.
Time Constant: In electronics, this term refers to a measured amount of time that current or voltage rises or falls
Toggle: A function that allows a user to switch back and fourth between an OFF and ON position.
Token Ring: A type of LAN in which workstations relay a data packet called a token in a logical ring configurati
Toner: An ultra-fine colored plastic powder used as the printing media in laser printers and photocopiers.
Top Down Testing: Also known as 'Bottom Up Testing'. It exists as an incremental testing strategy to ensure that desig
Topology: In networking, this refers to the physical or logical arrangement of a network. Physical Topology wo
Transceiver: Short for transmitter-receiver, a device that both transmits and receives analog or digital signals.
Transfer Rate: The speed at which a disk drive can transfer information between its platters and your CPU. The tran
Transistor: A device composed of semiconductor material that amplifies a signal or opens or closes a circuit. In
Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL): A digital electronics term used to describe a class of integrated circuits derived from two transist
Transmission Control Protocol-Internet Protocol (TCP-IP): A set of protocols to link dissimilar computers across many kinds of networks. The primary protocol
Transparent: Something that occurs without being known to the user.
Trojan: A type of computer virus that is loaded into an unsuspecting users system via a host program such as
Troubleshooting: The act of determining the cause of a problem through a series of tests and/or queries.
True Color: Refers to any graphics device or software that uses at least 24 bits to represent each dot or pixel.
Turnkey System: A system that already contains all the components and programs required for operation. The vendor ta
Twisted Pair: A type of cabling in which two small insulated copper wires are wrapped and twisted around each othe
UDMA: A protocol developed by Quantum Corporation and Intel that supports burst mode data transfer rates o
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The naming scheme used to identify sites and files on the Internet. URLs combine information about t
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS): A backup power unit that provides continuous power when the normal power supply is interrupted. UPS
Universal Serial Bus (USB): A 12Mbit/sec interface over a four wire connection. Can support up to 127 daisy chained devices. Ver
UNIX: This is an operating system developed by AT&T. It's big push it that it allows one server to service
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP): The most common and inexpensive network cabling, available for multiple category standards such as 3
Uploading: The process of transferring files from a local computer to a remote computer, network or Web server.
Upstream: The data flowing from the Cable Modem to the CMTS.
Upstream frequency: The frequency used to transmit data from the CM to the CMTS. Normally in the 5-42 MHz range for US s
User: Someone attached to a server or host.
Utility Program: A program developed to run within an Operating System to perform a specific service.
V.90: A standard for 56-Kpbs modems approved by the International Telecommunication Union(ITU) in February
VBScript: Based on the Visual Basic programming language. VBScript was developed by Microsoft as an answer for
Veronica: Stands for Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives. A database of menu nam
Video Graphics Array (VGA): A type of PC video display technology and adapter that supports text and graphics. VGA output is ana
Video Random Access Memory (VRAM): A kind of high-speed memory used for the computer's display. VRAM must be fast to keep up with the s
Virtual Device Driver (VDD): In Windows systems, a special type of device driver that has direct access to the operating system k
Virtual Disk: A RAM disk in which a section of system memory is set aside to hold data, as though it were a number
Virtual Environment: An environment that uses audio and video computer simulations.
Virtual Machine: A self-contained operating environment that behaves as if it is a separate computer. For example, Ja
Virtual Memory: When applications call for more random access memory (RAM than is installed on a computer, the opera
Virtual Private Network (VPN): A data network that uses the public telecommunications infrastructure, but maintains privacy through
Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML): A form of application that gives a 3-D effect to pictures sometimes allowing you to 'move' through t
Virtual Telecommunications Access Method (VTAM): The SNA software that runs on IBM mainframes and implements the functions of network control, networ
Virus: A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A network that allows for real-time conversation by sending digital voice information in the form of
Voltage Regulator: A device that smooths out voltage irregularities in the power fed to the computer, to prevent damage
VxWorks: An Operating System developed by Wind River Systems. It is a real-time software development environm
Wait State: A brief delay added before a microprocessor executes an instruction, to allow time for slower memory
Wake-on-LAN (WOL): This technology is used to remotely wake up a sleeping or powered off PC over a network. When the sy
Warm Boot: Rebooting the system by using a software command rather than turning the power off, then on. The sys
WAV: Stands for WAVeform sound format. Microsoft's format for encoding sound files.
Web Client: When using a web browser to display web pages hosted by a web server, your computer would be acting
Web Server: A computer that runs specific software to serve web pages to the Internet.
Weblog: (Same as blog) This is a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Similar to a person
White Papers: These are documents created to help guide you in the use of a particular piece of hardware or softwa
Wide Area Network (WAN): A network in which computers are connected to each other over a long distance, using telephone lines
WiFi: Wireless Fidelity - Otherwise known as Wireless Networking, commonly using the 802.11b protocol. Har
Wiki Software: An online application that allows users to add and edit web content.
Windows Media Player: Developed by Microsoft Corporation, this is a audio video player that can also handle MP3 files. The
WinFS: (Windows File System) WinFS is the code name for the next generation storage platform in Windows 'Lo
Workgroup: Persons sharing files and data between themselves.
Workstation: The computer attached to the Internet.
World Wide Web (WWW): A graphical information system based on hypertext that enables a user to easily access documents loc
Write Protect: Prevents a disk from being overwritten by covering a notch, or repositioning a switch, depending on
X2: A technology developed by U.S. Robotics (now 3COM) for delivering data rates up to 56 Kbps over plai
Zero Insertion Force (ZIF): Sockets that require no physical force to be used in order to insert the chip. Primarily used with m
ZIF Socket: Zero Insertion Force socket. A special socket for plugging in integrated circuits easily. The socket
Zip Drive: An external drive that supports 100MB magnetic media on a 3.5 inch removable drive.
Zone Information Protocol (ZIP): This is an application that allows for the compression of application files.

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