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Glossary

Finding a definition to all those complicated techno abbreviations.

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Anti Virus Software
A program, which is written specifically to locate and remove harmful viruses from your PC. These programs constantly have to be updated to cater to new viruses as they become known.
Browser
An application program, which interprets HTML and presents the final Web Page. Used to "Surf the WWW". Examples include:-
  • Internet Explorer
  • Netscape Navigator
  • Firefox
Client Server
Client/Server distributes the processing of a Computer Application between two computers the Client & the Server - the principal being to exploit the power of each. The Client is normally a PC. The Application Program will access data and perform processing on the Server and using the data obtained via the server more processing tasks will be performed on the Client. More than one user can use the application.
Compression
A technique used to considerably reduce the size of a file without losing any of the original information. The compression process alters the content of the file but this can and is completely recovered by reversing the process.
Cookie
A file that is written to your Hard Disk when you access certain Web Pages. The file contains certain information, often information that you entered when you displayed the page. The next time you access this page a check is done to see if the Cookie exists. The information within the cookie may well influence what happens next.
CPU
Central Processing Unit.
CTRL
A term that represents the control key on the keyboard.
Cursor
A flashing rectangle or line on the screen that shows exactly where you are working. For example, when using a Word Processor the cursor indicates the point at which the characters being typed will be inserted.
Cut and Paste
Just like when we were in Kindergarten - only using the PC instead of scissors and glue. This allows us to remove sections from one document (cut) & place them in another document (paste).

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DNS
The Domain Name System is how the Internet links together the thousands of Networks that it is comprised of. The DNS is utilized whenever you send an Email or access a particular Web Page. Each computer on the Internet has a one of more Domain Names such as "Harrods.co.uk". The .co indicates a commercial organization & the .uk indicates that the computer is in the United Kingdom.
Domain Name
The Domain Name is a unique name that represents each computer on the Internet. (Some machines do have more than one Domain Name. The DNS converts the Domain Name requested by an Internet User into an IP Address. The location of the machine with this IP address is known and the information being requested can then be found. "www.yahoo.com" is an example of a Domain Name. The "com" indicates that Yahoo is a commercial Organization. Other codes include:-
  • ac - Educational institution
  • co - Commercial organization
  • com - Commercial organization
  • edu - Educational institution
  • gov - Non-military government organizations
  • int - International Organizations
  • mil - Military government organizations
  • net - Networks
  • org - non-profit organization
You will also see these codes in URL's such as http://www.taftcollege.edu. These Domain Names are converted to a unique number known as an IP address (the IP stands for Internet Protocol). You will often see the IP address displayed by your Web Browser when you are connecting to a particular computer.
Download
To copy files from another computer to your own PC via a network or using a modem.
Drag and drop
This term relates to a GUI (Graphical User Interface). You can drag a file by clicking its icon with the left-hand mouse button depressed and moving the mouse pointer - the file is dragged along. When you let go of the file pointer the icon is released or dropped. You can use this technique to move a file between directories.
E-Commerce
Business which takes place between companies using services such as the Internet, Electronic data Interchange or Electronic File transfer. Two companies, one the supplier and the other the customer can transmit inquiries, orders, invoices, payments etc. directly through their computer systems.
Email
Electronic Mail - a way of sending other people messages from your PC. Widely used facility on the Internet that basically sends addressed messages over a Network. The message normally gets there in a couple of minutes. Internet users refer to the conventional Mail system as "Snail Mail".
Emoticon
Characters which express human emotions - you may need to rest the side of your head on your left hand shoulder to appreciate them - however some word processors such as Microsoft Word will automatically convert these to the icons. Examples include: -
  • Happy - :-)
  • Sad - :-(
  • Indifferent - :-|
  • A big smile - : D
  • Boredom - :-o
  • A smile & a wink ;-)

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FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions - a term used in magazines and by Software companies to provide users with answers to those questions that we all have to ask.
Firewall
A combination of specialized hardware and software designed to keep unauthorized users from accessing information within a networked computer system.
Frame
This term has many different uses but by far the most frequently used is in relation to Web pages where the Web page being viewed has a number of independent boxes or frames. A common application of this is with a search engine where in the left hand frame you enter the information you want to be searched and the results of this search are presented back in the right hand frame
FTP
File Transmission Protocol - a standard for moving Files from one computer to another. Predominant use on the Internet. Say you have a master copy of this document that you want to put on the Internet. When you make changes to it you use FTP to transfer the updated files to the Internet Service Provider. You can also use FTP on certain computers on the Internet to transfer files to your home computer. A computer on the Internet that specifically stores files for users to FTP to their own computers is called an FTP Site. If the FTP site does not require the user to have their own specific User ID and password, it is called an Anonymous FTP Site.
GIF Files
The most common type of image file used on the Internet. These files are compressed so they take up the minimum amount of space and can therefore be downloaded a lot quicker than other graphics file.
GIF files are typically used for:
  • Backgrounds
  • Displaying banners
  • Advertisements
  • Buttons
These files unlike other graphical file types are limited to 256 colors.
Graphic
A picture or non-text item within a document. Most Web pages will contain a number of Graphics.
Homepage
The page by which a user normally enters a web site. If you click on the button with a picture of a house on it usually you will display the Home Page of the site you are visiting.
HTML
Hyper Text Markup Language - the text based language used to construct web pages, and interpreted by Web Browsers. Web pages are a collection of HTML instructions which you can see by using the View HTML Source option from your Web Browser’s menu.
HTTP
Hyper Text Transmission Protocol is a Protocol that Computers on the Internet use to communicate with each other.
Hyperlink
A highlighted, underlined phrase or word on a web page that can be clicked to go to another part of the page or even to another web page. Many college web sites contain hundreds of hyperlinks.

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ICQ
ICQ stands for "I seek you". It is an Internet program that notifies you of other users who are on the Internet and enables you to initiate contact with these users. You can chat, play computer games, and send messages to them. For more information on ICQ, go to http://www.ICQ.com.
Internet
The Internet is a worldwide computer network through which you can send a letter, chat to people electronically or search for information on almost any subject you care to think of. Quite simply it is a "network of computer networks". It originated in the 1960's in the USA when the United States defense was conscious of having its computer network destroyed by blowing up the central computer. A network was designed around the principle of "unreliable computers" - if one was destroyed or failed the remaining computers could still function. Each computer in the network acknowledges the existence of all of the others.
IP Address
The Internet Protocol address is a unique number that is used to represent every single computer in a Network. All the computers on the internet have a unique IP address. The format of the IP Address is 4 numbers separated by dots e.g. 198.123.124.7.
IRC
Internet Relay Chat is the CB Radio of the Internet. Basically you can "chat" to a number of people by typing simple messages on your keyboard and they are responded to by one or more people from all over the world who happen to be "chatting" to you via IRC.
ISP
Internet Service Provider or sometimes referred to as Internet Access Provider (IAP) is a company which provides access to the Internet for people like you and me. The company handles the link from your PC to the rest of the Internet. The ISP's central computer is linked to the rest of the internet so the person using this service only pays the telephone charges to connect from their home computer to the ISP's central computer
JPEG
JPEG is a type of image file used on the Internet. Like GIF files, JPEG files are compressed. Unlike GIF files JPEG files cannot be interlaced or transparent.
Link
A component of a hypertext document which when clicked with a mouse takes the user to another document or a different section of the current document. The word "mouse" above in this paragraph - which you can see is underlined and blue is an example of how a link appears most of the time on the Internet.
Login/Logon
These are the terms for the process of actually gaining access to the resources on a particular computer - normally this is done by entering a user id and a password.
Logout/Logoff
The process of actually ending your access to a particular computer.
LOL
Laughing Out Loud - an abbreviation used in E-mails and chat rooms. There are a lot of abbreviations for both email and chat rooms. A good source of definitions can be found at TechDictionary.Com: http://www.techdictionary.com/chatsms.html

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Mailbox
The file or directory where your incoming e-mail messages are stored on the computer of your Internet Service Provider.
Mailing/Distribution List
A single E-mail address comprised of several different E-mail addresses. For instance your local college may have a mailing list called "Staff" which contains all of the E-mail addresses of the staff on campus.
Mirror site
An exact copy of a popular website on a different file server - designed to spread the load. The BMW car company has a mirror site - the main site is in the UK, but the majority of users access the mirror site in the United States.
Modem
Modem comes from the two words Modulation and Demodulation. A Modem converts information from Analog to Digital and vice versa. Digital Information is represented in a series of 1's and 0's. Analog information varies continuously such as a sound wave. Typical when you send an E-mail, your Modem converts the digital E-mail message to analog.
MPEG
Moving Picture Experts Group - a standard used on the World Wide Web for video and audio files - compression techniques are used which enable the files to be transmitted across the internet significantly quicker than other audio and video files. The web browser you are using must be capable of running MPEG files
Multimedia
Multimedia is the presentation of video, sound, graphics, text and animation by appropriate software.
Network
A network is basically a series of wires and cables that connect a number of computers. Data is exchanged between computers via these cables. The maximum speed at which the data can be transmitted is called the bandwidth.
News Group (Usenet)
News groups are one of the many facilities available on the Internet. Like most of the internet, News groups are run voluntarily and co-operatively by people like you and me. A News group is centered on a discussion topic an example being rec.sport.swimming. Within these News groups several discussions or threads take place on themes within the discussion topic. A news group devoted to mythological TV characters may have a thread about who is the best fighter out of Xena, Hercules and Gabrielle for instance. If you are having a problem getting something specific to work on your computer there will definitely be a news group to which you can post your problem and it won't take long to get a lot of responses. Unfortunately news groups appear to be the vehicle for a majority of the more undesirable topics that pollute the internet. If you see a particular News group of interest you can "subscribe" to it. Once this has been done you "post" your article and eventually it can be seen by anyone else who subscribes to that particular news group.
The categories of News groups (represented by the first 3 or 4 characters of the name followed by a "." are) :
  • rec - recreational activities
  • biz - business related groups
  • comp - computers including technical discussion & support
  • soc - social issues
  • sci - scientific discussions
  • uk - groups of interest to us English, Scottish, Irish & Welsh
  • alt - Alternative groups
Online Service
A service available to all of us providing:
  • Access to the internet
  • The latest news
  • Special offers for its members
  • Information
  • Chat groups
The most popular of these are
  • AOL
  • CompuServe
  • MSN
  • Earthlink
Operating System
The software that is responsible for running the PC, control and utilization of the hardware and peripherals. Examples include:
  • DOS
  • UNIX
  • WINDOWS 2000
OS
Operating System

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Page
A single HTML document on the World Wide Web. When you are looking at a website, a page is generally what you see in a single browser's frame. If you click on a link it takes you to another page.
Password
The password is a code known only by a user to ensure that the individual who is trying to Login to the computer is the actual person that the User id being used belongs to.
PC
PC - The Personal Computer - Quite simply, a computer designed to be used by one person at a time.
Plug and Play
The concept of adding new components to a PC (such as an external modem) without having to manually configure anything - the operating system does it all for you.
POP
Post Office Protocol - the standard for exchanging E-mail between a users PC and their Internet Service Provider.

PPP
Point-to-Point Protocol - Standard for using a modem and telephone line to connect to the Internet using TCP/IP.

Protocol
A standard process, a set of rules and conditions that perform a particular function. A word, which is very common in PC and Internet Terminology e.g.
  • FTP - File Transmission Protocol
  • IP Address - Internet Protocol address
  • TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol
  • POP - Post Office Protocol
Radio Button
Radio buttons appear a lot in Windows’ applications. They are used when you have to make a choice, i.e. an online Multiple Choice test would contain radio buttons so the student could choose "a" "b" "c" or "d".
Real Audio
Software which allows sound files to be transmitted from the Internet back to the users PC in streams. What actually happens is that the file starts playing (i.e. you hear the music) before all of the data has been received—giving the effect of playing the sound instantaneously
RTF
A file format - stands for Rich Text Format. Developed by Microsoft. Most word processors can process RTF files - the format was developed to enable documents to be transferred between application programs. Rich Text Format Files have the file extension RTF.

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Screen name
A term specific to AOL (America Online) that denotes the name of the user.
Search Engine
One of the most essential tools on the Internet - they help you find web sites relating to a particular subject or the E-mail address of someone you know or articles posted to a Newsgroup or even companies which have a presence on the Internet. Most of the information provided by search engines is categorized so the search can be considerably refined before you even begin. Search engines are basically huge databases containing millions of records which include the URL of a particular web page along with information relating to the content of the web page which is supplied in the HTML by the author. The search engine obtains this information via a submission from the author or by the search engines performing a "crawl" using "robot crawlers" over the internet for information. Some search engines use Spiders to obtain information.
There are a number of facilities available on the web that allow authors to submit their web pages to hundreds of web sites at once. Some search engines use a technique known as ICE to locate information on related topics. The majority of the people on the internet use Yahoo to search for information.
The most popular search engines are:
  • Yahoo
  • Alta Vista
  • Google
  • Hotbot
  • All The Web
Signature
The three or four lines at the end of an Email message that provide additional information about the sender. Application programs such as Internet Mail allow an Email user to create a default Signature that will appear on all Emails sent. Most people include their Email address and a link to their web page if they have one.
Site
A group of Web Pages that collectively represent a company, or individual on the web. A group of Web pages that have been developed together to present information on a specific subject is also a Site (some may say a site for sore eyes).
SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. An accepted standard used extensively on the Internet for transferring Email messages between computers - The standard defines exactly how the message will be sent, any controls, format of the message etc.
Snail Mail
A term that Email clients use to describe the traditional mail or post office service. A note will take seconds to go from London to Sydney via E-mail but a number of days via Snail Mail.
SPAM
Basically sending Emails to people whom in no way asked you to send that information—normally done in huge numbers to promote a product.
Spider
A search engine, which obtains its information by starting at a specified Web Page and visiting each Web Page, that has a link to it from the current page that the spider is accessing. This process continues as it moves it way through the World Wide Web.
Surf
Surfing the net—the most popular activity on the World Wide Web. Looking around the Internet, jumping from web page to web page just going to wherever strikes your fancy at the moment. Just like when you sit with the remote control in your hand flicking through the TV channels—the Internet requires much bigger batteries though.
TCP/IP
TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol and is quite simply a standard set of protocols that was implemented in 1982 and that governs the basic workings of the Internet.
The TCP part is all about ensuring that data is transmitted correctly between two computers. If any errors occur these are detected and the data is retransmitted. The data transmitted is split up into small portions called data packets. The IP part of TCP/IP is how these data packets are moved from one point to another. Each computer on the internet has a unique IP address and the data packets are moved from the source to the destination through many different computers and this is controlled via TCP/IP. This protocol is used on the Internet and also by computers, which are part of a LAN.
Teleconference
A conference held between a number of people in different geographic locations. Each has a PC with a video camera attached. Each person is recorded on the camera and the image is played back on the other participants PCs by a special application program.
Telnet
Telnet is program that is part of the TCP/IP protocol. Its purpose is to allow a user to logon to a computer from a remote location.
Thumbnail
A small version of an image (about the size of your thumbnail). They are slightly smaller than the average toenail. Slightly smaller than the average toenail takes too long too say and is a very silly name, which is why they chose thumbnail.
Thread
This term has many different meanings but the most common is with respect to E-mail and newsgroups where a thread is basically a series of messages or postings all related to the same topic.
Timed Out
Timed out is a term used widely in the world of Information Technology and indicates that some predefined amount of time has been exceeded. If you connect to the Internet or a network and do not use the system for a few minutes then you may get timed out i.e. logged off. This generally happens to free up a connection for someone else to use.
Toolbar
The Toolbar sits across the top or down the side of a particular Window. The toolbar allows the user to perform certain tasks such as opening a file or submitting a print. The toolbar can usually be customized so that the user can add those tasks that are most regularly performed.

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Upload
To copy files from your own PC to another computer via a network or using a modem. Opposite of download.
URL
Uniform Resource Locater - How documents on the WWW are referenced. The URL contains the protocol to be used e.g. HTTP
Usenet (see News Group)
Userid
Each person that is permitted to use a computer can be allocated an identification code that uniquely identifies them to the computer. Normally the user will first be asked to enter this code - their user id followed by their password when they log on to the computer.
Video Conference
A conference held between a number of people in different geographic locations. Each has a PC with a video camera attached. Each person is recorded on the camera and the image is played back on the other participants PC's by a special application program.
Virus
This is a program, which can damage the files on your PC - often created intentionally by hackers to do just that.
Virus Scan
A program, which a PC user will invoke in order to check that their PC contains no known viruses.

WAV
A file type for a sound file, which can be played under windows. When you press the wrong key and the PC plays back a loud "ping", the operating system is actually running a wav file. Wave files have a file extension of "wav".
Web browser
An application program, which interprets HTML and presents the final web page. Used to "Surf the World Wide Web". Examples include:
  • Internet Explorer
  • Netscape Navigator
  • Firefox
Webmaster
The person who is responsible for looking after a particular Web Site
Web page
An HTML document, which contains information that can be seen on the Internet.
Website
A group of Web Pages that collectively represent a company, or individual on the World Wide Web. A group of web pages that have been developed together to present information on specific subjects is also a Web Site.
Windows
Microsoft's flagship operating system introduced to the world in August 1995. Microsoft currently supports Windows ME, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP.
WWW
The World Wide Web - The Internet facility that allows you to browse linked web pages.
WYSIWYG
Stands for What You See Is What You Get basically it means that what you can see on the screen is what you will see on paper when you print the screen contents. Although, the truth of the matter is that sometimes what you see on the screen is not always what you get when you print. Sometimes frames and tables cause the information that is on the screen to come out jumbled when printing. The best thing to do when printing from the Internet is copy the section you wish to print and paste it in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, or Word Perfect and then print from that program. At least that way you will be sure that What You See Is What You Get.
Zip
Zip Files contain vast amounts of information that has undergone compression to reduce the amount of space that the data take up. This file type is very popular on the Internet. An application that, for example, requires five megabytes of disk space can be compressed into a two megabyte zip file that is obviously quicker to download. Two popular Zip programs are PKZIP and WinZip. Both can compress data into a zip file and extract the contents from a zip file. Zip files have a file extension of "zip".

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