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partition - A hard drive can be partitioned into smaller segments. Sometimes this is done to increase the efficiency of the disk by reducing the size of the minimum allocated space for each file or to segment the required backup.


Pascal - A computer programming language often used to teach individuals how to program named after the mathematician Pascal.


passive matrix display - A type of LCD (liquid crystal display) screen found on portable computers where wires form a grid in front and behind the liquid crystals. Pixels are activated when a current is generated at the intersection of these wires. Unlike active matrix displays in which each pixel has a unique circuit, the passive matrix display does not refresh as fast and other nearby pixels on the screen can be accidentally activated from residual currents given a lower quality image.


path - A path describes the location of a file. The path usually starts with a hard drive or peripheral storage device followed by a directory pathway, followed by the file name. For example, c://documents/personal/familyphone.doc. (See also absolute path name, directory path name, and relative path name.)


PC - personal computer. PC originally referred to the IBM PC but now is used to refer to any IBM compatible personal computer.


PCI - peripheral component interconnect. A new computer bus that is faster than previous versions and allows cross-platform compatibility for cards other than requiring different software drivers.


PDA - personal digital assistant. A small, hand-held computer that is used for a variety of simple tasks including organizers, word processing, etc. The common ones include the Palm Pilot and Apple’s Newton. Most PDAs are less powerful than laptop computers but their small scale is a strong draw for many users.


pdf - portable document format. A format that is cross-platform compatible and well-suited for web document transfer because it retains full formatting when printer. PDF was developed by Adobe for its Acrobat Reader.


Pentium - A chip developed by Intel for PCs. The newer Pentium chips are called Pentium Pro and have both a L2 cache and new architectural design.


Peripheral - Any device that attaches to the computer through a port.


Perl - An interpreted language used in many web applications.


personal computer - PC. PC originally referred to the IBM PC but now is used to refer to any IBM compatible personal computer.


personal digital assistant - PDA. A small, hand-held computer that is used for a variety of simple tasks including organizers, word processing, etc. The common ones include the Palm Pilot and Apple’s Newton. Most PDAs are less powerful than laptop computers but their small scale is a strong draw for many users.


Ph - An online database searching function found on some email programs to search for individuals at the domain the email program uses.


pica - A unit of measure used with printing where 6 picas equals where inch.


PICT - A Macintosh-based graphics format.


Pilot - A popular PDA.


pixel - Short for picture element. It is the smallest addressable unit (a “dot”) found on monitors or printed documents. It can be used as a measure of resolution as in pixel per inch. Each pixel has a color and intensity associated with it.


platform - A term used to characterize the hardware and/or software of a computer. The hardware platform may be, for example, a 604 PowerPC Macintosh with a or a PC with a Pentium Pro 6. A software platform usually refers to the operating system being used and its version; for example, a Windows 2000 or MacOS 9.0 operating system.


Plug and Play - PnP. A PC computer design and hardware specifications such that any peripheral that is plugged in is automatically recognized and configured to work with that particular platform.


plug-in - A component designed to run in tandem with a software application to enhance the application’s capability. For example, with web browsers there are plug-in that permit the reading of pdf, audio, and video files.


PnP - Plug and Play. A PC computer design and hardware specifications such that any peripheral that is plugged in is automatically recognized and configured to work with that particular platform.


point - A unit of measure for printed text. A point is 1/72 of an inch. A typical font size is 12 points, which corresponds to 6 lines of 12-point text per inch.


point size - A unit of measure for fonts sometimes called font size. A point is 1/72 of an inch. A typical font size is 12 points, which corresponds to 6 lines of 12-point text per inch.


Point-to-Point Protocol - PPP. A protocol that allows connection to the Internet via modem. Another protocol that also permits such a connect is SLIP.


POP - Post Office Protocol. A protocol used for email applications to connect a single user (client) to a server to download email. Other protocols are used for server-to-server email transfers (see SMTP).


pop-up menu - A menu that remains unseen until activated by clicking on an icon or text.


port - A place to attach a device such as a monitor, printer, scanner, or modem. Associate with each active port will be an operating system address.


portability - The ability of an application to work on various platforms or with various operating systems.


portable document format - pdf. A format that is cross-platform compatible and well-suited for web document transfer because it retains full formatting when printer. PDF was developed by Adobe for its Acrobat Reader.


portrait - The orientation of a document or graphic to be vertical; i.e., the width is less than the height. See also landscape.


POST - Power-on self test. A BIOS procedure used to identify and test the computer prior to the operating system being loaded.


Post Office Protocol - POP. A protocol used for email applications to connect a single user (client) to a server to download email. Other protocols are used for server-to-server email transfers (see SMTP).


PostScript - A language used to describe printed text and graphics written by Adobe.


Power-on self test - POST. A BIOS procedure used to identify and test the computer prior to the operating system being loaded.


PowerPC - A RISC processor developed by Apple, IBM, and Motorola and used with Macintosh computers and supporting several different operating systems including the MacOS and Windows NT.


PowerPC Platform - common hardware reference platform. A hardware architecture that uses the PowerPC CPU and a PCI bus. The PowerPC Platform is found in Macintosh computers but supports other operating systems. (Also called the CHRP.)


PPP - Point-to-Point Protocol. A protocol that allows connection to the Internet via modem. Another protocol that also permits such a connect is SLIP.


PRAM - parameter RAM. PRAM is a portion of RAM that is used on Macintosh computers to store system information such as time, date, Control Panel settings, etc. The PRAM is maintained with a small battery so information is not lost when the computer is shut down. Occasional corruption of the PRAM information occurs and can be corrected by “zapping” the PRAM.


print spooler - A software program used to queue print jobs. Spooler stands for “simultaneous print operations online.”


processor - The computer’s CPU.


proportional font - Proportional fonts are fonts whose characters take up more or less space depending on the individual character. For example, an “i” will take less space than an “o” will. Proportional fonts are also called variable width fonts. Common examples include Times and Helvetica. Fixed width fonts are fonts whose characters all take up the same amount of space.


protocol - A set of standards that allows two computers or devices to communicate with one another, Computers that have different platforms and/or operating systems can communicate with one another as long as they have a common protocol. Protocols are also used for the timing, sequencing, and error-checking of data transmissions.


peripheral component interconnect - PCI. A new computer bus that is faster than previous versions and allows cross-platform compatibility for cards other than requiring different software drivers.


pull-down menu - A menu that is activated by clicking on a menu title. The menu remains as long as the mouse button is held, is clicked in a region outside of the pull-down menu, or after a specified time interval.


push technology - In the client/server relationship, data that is sent to the client computer without the client requesting it. For example, an unwanted email message.


Q

query - The process of extracting a subset of a database.


queue - A list of items to be processed by a computer. For example, a printer often will have a print queue for the list of jobs to be printed.


QWERTY - The standard American-English typewriter keyboard arrangement. The name comes from the first six top row letters on the keyboard.


R

radio buttons - A button on the desktop that allows the user to select an option. Radio buttons are interdependent on one another: When one is selected the others are automatically de-selected unlike check boxes. Radio buttons could be used, for example, to select the type of credit card one is using to purchase over the Internet; the choices might be Visa™, Mastercard™, Discover™, or American Express™. Radio buttons are used here since only one option is possible.


RAM - random access memory. A temporary storage location for the CPU to use and access data quickly. The memory is short term: When the computer is shut off, the data is lost. "Random access" refers to ability of the information to be accessed without going through other data as would be the case in, for instance, a tape cassette. RAM is not a permanent or semi-permanent storage medium like the hard drive.


random access memory - RAM. A temporary storage location for the CPU to use and access data quickly. The memory is short term: When the computer is shut off, the data is lost. "Random access" refers to ability of the information to be accessed without going through other data as would be the case in, for instance, a tape cassette. RAM is not a permanent storage medium like the hard drive.


read only memory - ROM. Memory that is permanent: A program or some data is written into the memory chip at the time of manufacturer. It can be read but not altered (hence, "read only") and is not lost when power is shut off.


real-time - A loosely defined term in which a computer process occurs almost "instantaneously." For example, computers used in science laboratories to collect data and return the "massaged" data back within a few seconds for instant feedback to the student would be considered real-time processing.


red, green, blue - RGB. A color model system that uses red, green, and blue (the primary colors) in an additive color system to create the other desired colors on computer monitors and video images. Other color models include CYMK and HLS.


reduced instruction set computer - RISC. A computer chip architecture that has fewer, simpler instructions built into the chip. The RISC chips can perform many of the same functions that CISC chips can by combining the simpler instructions to perform the more complex tasks. The RISC chips is faster than the CISC chips because RISC chips can process the combination of instructions faster than the CISC chips can processor the larger, more complex instructions. Many common chips use the RISC design including the PowerPC.


relative path name - The address of a file or directory in relationship to another directory or file, usually a working directory or on the Internet, relative to the page being browsed. The relative path name usually does not contain a drive or protocol but usually does contain subdirectories, if needed, followed by the file name with each part separated by a slash. When going "up" to a higher level directory or subdirectory, a "../" is commonly used. For example, a file ("business_schedule") in the "work" subdirectory in the "Documents" directory may have a relative path name to the file "shopping list" in the "personal" subdirectory as "../personal/shoppinglist." That is, a file with an absolute path name "c://documents/work/business_schedule" could have a relative path name to the "shoppinglist" in "personal" of "../personal/shoppinglist." (See also absolute path name, directory path name, and path.)


remote - Typically refers to electronically accessing a computer's data over a network at a site distant from that computer (i.e., from another room, building, city, etc.).


resolution - A measure of the quality of an image either in print form or on a monitor. In printers, resolution is usually characterized as dots per inch, DPI, while monitor resolution usually uses the number or size of the pixels in a unit area. The higher the DPI or the larger the number of pixels per unit area, the higher the resolution of the image.


RGB - red, green, blue. A color model system that uses red, green, and blue (the primary colors) in an additive color system to create the other desired colors on computer monitors and video images. Other color models include CYMK and HLS.


Rhapsody - An operating system designed by Apple and relatively newly released. It is based on the Unix system, but has been designed to mimic a variety of other operating systems. At this time it is not used commonly on Apple's personal computers but is used more with servers and other more commercial applications.


rich text format - rtf. A word processing document format that can be opened by many word processors. An rtf document can be read by many word processors and retains a great deal of the formatting in the document, as opposed to text files which can be read by nearly all word processors but contain only minimal formatting.


RISC - reduced instruction set computer. A computer chip architecture that has fewer, simpler instructions built into the chip. The RISC chips can perform many of the same functions that CISC chips can by combining the simpler instructions to perform the more complex tasks. The RISC chips is faster than the CISC chips because RISC chips can process the combination of instructions faster than the CISC chips can processor the larger, more complex instructions. Many common chips use the RISC design including the PowerPC.


ROM - read only memory. Memory that is permanent: A program or some data is written into the memory chip at the time of manufacturer. It can be read but not altered (hence, "read only") and is not lost when power is shut off.


root directory - The highest, upper level directory on the hard drive in which all other directories are found.


router - Hardware and software used to route signals and data between different networks using similar or dissimilar protocols. The router assigns a path for the data transmission between the network server providing the data and the network requesting it.


rtf - rich text format. A word processing document format that can be opened by many word processors. An rtf document can be read by many word processors and retains a great deal of the formatting in the document, as opposed to text files which can be read by nearly all word processors but contain only minimal formatting.


S

saturation - Saturation describes how "deep" a color is on a range between gray and the color of interest. A high saturation corresponds to a strong or deep color. Saturation is one part of the HLS color model system.


scaleable font - A font in which the characteristics of the font have been described but the size is arbitrary; that is, the character can be scaled to any size. (See also TrueType fonts.)


scanner - A hardware device that optically scans an image and converts it into a digital image. Many computers have scanners and OCR software so sheets of text can be scanned and converted into editable word processing documents.


screen capture - The process of capturing the image or text on a monitor screen and saving it as a graphic image.


script - A short set of instructions usually that performs a simple task. The script is interpreted or run by another program.


scroll - The process of moving up or down, or left or right, across an image or text document.


scroll bar/scroller - A bar typically found on the right hand side and bottom of an image or document. The scroll bar contains a scroll box and 2 arrows to scroll up/down or left/right.


scroll box - The box contained in the scroll bar. The scroll box shows the relative position of the information displayed on the monitor as compared to the entire document. That is, if the scroll box is in the middle of the scroll bar, the current text shown is in about the middle of the document. The scroll box can be dragged by the mouse to make an image or text document move up/down or left/right.


SCSI - small computer system interface. A disk format used by most common platforms, in which the controller electronics reside within the drive housing removing the need for a separate adapter. Other formats include UltraSCSI, IDE, and EIDE.


Secure Sockets Layer - SSL. A protocol designed by Netscape to assure privacy by encrypting messages, authenticating them, and assuring message integrity for data typically sent between a client’s browser and a host server. Messages sent via SSL use https in the beginning of the URL. Authentication and encryption is achieved by using information from the required Security Certificate that is sent by each partner in this communication to one another. Information from the Security Certificate is used as part of the encrypting code so only the two computers have the key to de-crypt the messages.


serial - The process of transferring data one bit at a time. This is different from parallel where many bits of data can be received simultaneously.


serial line Internet protocol - SLIP. A protocol that allows connection to the Internet via modem. Another protocol that also permits such a connect is PPP.


serial port - The port in which serial devices are connected to the computer. Such devices typically include mice, keyboards, modems, and some printers.


server - A computer on the network that provides service to client users. The services typically include file transfers, printing jobs, and database access. Because of the high demands on servers from many clients, servers are often more powerful and robust computers than the typical desktop computer.


shareware - Software publicly distributed and created by programmers for profit. Often, the software can be downloaded freely, used for a specified time without charge, and then the author requests that the program be paid for or discarded. Sometimes if purchased, additional options are provided to the purchaser.


shielded cable - A cable that has an insulating layer to reduced electromagnetic interference.


shortcut key - A key stroke that performs a task such as opening, printing, or closing a file. In Macintosh computers, many shortcut key strokes involve the "'open apple' + letter" or "option key + letter." In Windows-based systems, many shortcut keys include the "alt + letter" stroke.


SIMM - single inline memory module. A pre-assembled RAM module that contains many smaller memory chips. A SIMM has a 72-pin connector allowing for 32-bit data transfer, half the data transfer rate of DIMMs (dual inline memory module).


simple mail transfer protocol - SMTP. An email protocol used to transfer email messages between two servers. In addition to this protocol, another protocol is needed to connect between the server and the client before the client can receive messages; e.g., POP.


single inline memory module - SIMM. A pre-assembled RAM module that contains many smaller memory chips. A SIMM has a 72-pin connector allowing for 32-bit data transfer, half the data transfer rate of DIMMs (dual inline memory module).


sleep -

1. The process of suspending a computational process without terminating it. The computations can be re-started after some event triggers it.

2. On desktop computers, an option to go into a low-energy mode. This process is usually engaged after a user-specified amount of time without any input device (e.g., a mouse or keyboard) being used. The event that re-activates the computer is often a mouse movement or a key stroke.


SLIP - serial line Internet protocol. A protocol that allows connection to the Internet via modem. Another protocol that also permits such a connect is PPP.


small computer system interface - SCSI. A disk format used by most common platforms, in which the controller electronics reside within the drive housing removing the need for a separate adapter. Other formats include UltraSCSI, IDE, and EIDE


SMTP - simple mail transfer protocol. An email protocol used to transfer email messages between two servers. In addition to this protocol, another protocol is needed to connect between the server and the client before the client can receive messages; e.g., POP.


software - A set of instructions to make hardware perform some task. Operating systems, scripts, applications are all forms of software.


source code - The uncompiled software instructions of an application written in a programming language like C. The source code is compiled into machine language and then executed.


spam - The process of sending out large amounts of unwanted and unrequested email. Email addresses can be obtained from electronic businesses or from educational institutions, sometimes with and sometimes without their knowledge or permission.


special character - A character that is not a letter, number, or the space. For example, the dollar sign, $.


spool - The process of transferring data into a storage location before sending it to a peripheral device like a printer. In this way, the sending computer can continue to operate until the printer is available or the printing is done.


SQL - structured query language. The programming language used to access relational databases. All SQL-capable databases support a common set of SQL commands though individual applications may have their own unique SQL features.


SRAM - static RAM. A type of RAM that contains capacitors. Since capacitors can store energy, the SRAM is faster than most DRAM which requires refreshment but slower than most caches. Data transfer can occur in about 10-20 nanoseconds with SRAMs while DRAMs can transfer data in about 60 nanoseconds.


SSL - Secure Sockets Layer. A protocol designed by Netscape to assure privacy by encrypting messages, authenticating them, and assuring message integrity for data typically sent between a client’s browser and a host server. Messages sent via SSL use https in the beginning of the URL. Authentication and encryption is achieved by using information from the required Security Certificate that is sent by each partner in this communication to one another. Information from the Security Certificate is used as part of the encrypting code so only the two computers have the key to de-crypt the messages.


startup disk - A disk (or CD) used to start the computer. It is often used when an operating system is corrupted or a hard drive crashes thus preventing the computer from being started up. (Also called system disk.)


static RAM - SRAM. A type of RAM that contains capacitors. Since capacitors can store energy, the SRAM is faster than most DRAM which requires refreshment but slower than most caches. Data transfer can occur in about 10-20 nanoseconds with SRAMs while DRAMs can transfer data in about 60 nanoseconds.


structured query language - SQL. The programming language used to access relational databases. All SQL-capable databases support a common set of SQL commands though individual applications may have their own unique SQL features.


subdirectory - A directory that resides in or is "below" another directory. For example, a directory called "Personal" in the "Documents" directory.


submenu - A menu that appears after the user selects a higher-level menu option from the menubar. Most submenus have a small triangle next to them which implies a series of choice for that menu item exists. For example, if under the "File" choice of a menubar is an "Import" option with a small triangle, the series of options that appears when the small triangle is selected (spreadsheet, picture, or object) is the submenu.


subnets - A method that divides a network into small pieces to improve routing.


subtractive color system - Uses CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) and defines a color by subtracting a percentage of cyan, magenta, or yellow from white.


SuperDrive - A Macintosh floppy disk drive that can access several different disks (e.g., 400kB, 800kB, and 1.4 MB, and PC disks).


SuperVGA - Specifications to enhance VGA's monitor output. VGA supports a 640x480 pixel resolution with 8-bit graphics color (256 colors) while SuperVGA supports resolutions greater than 640x480 and more than 256 colors.


surge suppresser - An electrical device used to prevent electrical power surges from reaching your computer. The device has a circuit breaker built in which is flipped when an electrical surge comes through. Many power strips have surge suppressers built in.


synchronous - A process that occurs in "real time." An example from distance education would be a lecture given "live" over the Internet with microphones in both the host and remote sites so questions from a remote site can be asked and answered immediately. In contras, a question sent via email would be asynchronous since there is typically a time delay between when the message is sent and when a reply is received.


syntax - The "rules" followed in a language. For example, in some programming languages, a semicolon is required at the end of each line of instruction.


system - System can mean several things. It is often used to mean an operating system, or can be used to refer to a computer, its monitor, the software, and other peripherals that are packaged together in a bundle.


system board - The main circuit board of the computer that contains the CPU, the RAM, the SBus, the ports, the BIOS, and expansion slots. (Also called motherboard.)


system disk - A disk (or CD) used to start the computer. It is often used when an operating system is corrupted or a hard drive crashes thus preventing the computer from being started up. (Also called startup disk.)


T

tagged image file format - TIFF. A standard graphics format used with high resolution bit mapped graphics.


TB - terabytes. Approximately 1,000,000,000,000 bytes (about 1 trillion bytes), 1,000,000,000 kilobytes, 1,000,000 megabytes, or 1000 gigabytes. Exactly 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, 1,073,741,824 kilobytes, 1,048,576 megabytes, or 1,024 gigabytes calculated from 2 to the 40th power.


TCP/IP - transmission control protocol/Internet protocol. A protocol developed by the US Department of Defense as a means of transferring data between computers. It is used widely throughout the Internet and still used by the US DoD.


telephony - Using telephone technology.


Telnet - A protocol that enables a user to login from one server to another. Telnet protocol is usually used for text transmissions (as opposed to graphics, video, and audio).


terabyte - TB. Approximately 1,000,000,000,000 bytes (about 1 trillion bytes), 1,000,000,000 kilobytes, 1,000,000 megabytes, or 1000 gigabytes. Exactly 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, 1,073,741,824 kilobytes, 1,048,576 megabytes, or 1,024 gigabytes calculated from 2 to the 40th power.


text area - A multi-line area used to contain text. In the web, a text area box contains text in one font that can be part of the page or used as a means to submit information from the client to the host.


text field - Same as a text are except is only one line in height.


text file - A file that uses the ASCII format. This is one of the simplest formats and can usually be read by any computer or word processor, and is useful in file transfers. It is also commonly called an "ASCII text file" or “ASCII file” and contains very little or no formatting.


TIFF - tagged image file format. A standard graphics format used with high resolution bit mapped graphics.


tiled window - Windows that do not overlap on the desktop of a PC with Windows or Macintosh computer. Typically, the desktop is filled with the windows; if there are 2 open windows, each fills 50% of the desktop; if there are 3 windows open, each fills 33%; etc. In this way, each window is visible at all times though a smaller portion is visible as more windows are open. See also cascade windows.


timecode - With videos, a time stamp placed on each frame.


title bar - The top of a window that usually contains the title of the file, and some window controls to close, re-size, or hide the window.


toggle - A button or switch that is either “on” or “off.” An “off” button that is clicked is turned “on” while an “on” button that is clicked is turned “off.”


toolbar - A set of often used commands. The toolbar can consist of icons, text, or icons and text. The tool bar can vary in size (small icons versus large icons) and location (horizontal at the top of the window, horizontal below the window, or vertical on the left-hand side are common locations).


toolbar button - A specific button in the toolbar. The button can be a toggle or a simple command (like open a file).


transmission control protocol/Internet protocol - TCP/IP. A protocol developed by the US Department of Defense as a means of transferring data between computers. It is used widely throughout the Internet and still used by the US DoD.


transparent - There are several definitions for transparent. 1) An action run by a program that is done without user intervention. 2) In web graphics, an image whose background takes on the background of the window it is placed in.


Trash Can - A window with an icon usually on the desktop. Items to be deleted are placed in this window; once the item has been deleted, it is removed from the Trash Can.


Trojan horse - Taken from mythology, the Trojan horse was used by the Greeks to defeat the Trojans at Troy. In computers, it is a program that purports to do one thing yet does something else; usually, Trojan horses are intended to damage or harass other users and their computers. See also worms and viruses.


true color - A monitor system that has at least 24-bit graphics divided among the 3 primary colors, red, green, and blue (RGB). Each color is allocated 8 bits which translates into 256 different possible hues of red, 256 hues of green, and 256 hues of blue. Since each color is independent of the other, this leads to 16.7 million possible colors (256 x 256 x 256) which has a greater resolution than a human eye and hence is considered to lead to accurate (i.e., true) colors.


TrueType fonts - Fonts that are scaleable to any size and appear the same on the monitor as they do after output to a device.


twisted-pair wire - A pair of wires that are twisted together and typically used in telephone and other communication lines. The two wires are used for transmitting and receiving signals, and the twisting of the two wires reduces induction between them.


U

UltraSCSI - A disk format used by most common platforms, in which the controller electronics reside within the drive housing removing the need for a separate adapter. Other formats include SCSI, IDE, and EIDE.


uniform resource locator - URL. A standard for locating data (i.e., files) on the world wide web. Typically, the URL has the form, protocol://host/localinfo where the protocol is ftp, http, gopher, etc., the host would be for example, aol.com, and the localinfo would be the directories, subdirectories, and file name to reach that specific file.


uninterrupted power supply - UPS. A power supply that can be used as a backup supply when the regular power source is interrupted. Most computer system don’t require this except for systems that are operational 24 hours a day like servers.


UNIX - An operating system designed in 1972 by AT&T Bell Laboratories that features multiuser, multitasking and extensive networking capabilities. It is a common operating system on many servers.


upload - The process of transferring data from one computer to another. Usually, upload refers to the transfer of data from a client computer to a host server. The opposite of download.


UPS - uninterrupted power supply. A power supply that can be used as a backup supply when the regular power source is interrupted. Most computer system don’t require this except for systems that are operational 24 hours a day like servers.


URL - uniform resource locator. A standard for locating data (i.e., files) on the world wide web. Typically, the URL has the form, protocol://host/localinfo where the protocol is ftp, http, gopher, etc., the host would be for example, aol.com, and the localinfo would be the directories, subdirectories, and file name to reach that specific file.


USB - universal serial bus. A serial port that is much faster than many parallel ports but not as fast as a Firewire port. It has many characteristics of a SCSI port and can connect a series of devices in a chain.


user - Any person/device that connects to a networked computer.


user account - A set of data about the user stored on the computer that the user accesses. Each user will have their own user account on the server accessed.


universal serial bus - USB. A serial port that is much faster than many parallel ports but not as fast as a Firewire port. It has many characteristics of a SCSI port and can connect a series of devices in a chain.


V

VAX - A minicomputer built by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), that had terminal computers attached to them.


variable width - As applying to fonts, variable width fonts are fonts whose characters take up more or less space depending on the individual character. For example, an “i” will take less space than an “o” will. Variable width fonts are also called proportional fonts. Common examples include Times and Helvetica. Fixed width fonts are fonts whose characters all take up the same amount of space.


vector graphics - Images that are composed of vectors: lines that have a direction, a start, and an end point. Vector graphics have the advantage that they can be scaled without loss of resolution.


VGA - video graphics array. The specifications for video output for PCs. VGA supports a 640x480 pixel resolution with 8-bit graphics color (256 colors).


video graphics array - VGA. The specifications for video output for PCs. Video graphics array supports a 640x480 pixel resolution with 8-bit graphics color (256 colors).


video RAM - VRAM. Video RAM is a type of dynamic RAM (DRAM) dedicated for higher speed video graphics. For video, both the processor and frame buffer must share the same signal line and buses. In video RAM, a separate line and bus is provide for the processor and the frame buffer.


virtual reality - VR. A technology designed to create an interactive, entirely new environment for the user, usually in 3 dimensions, that provides input to all the senses.


virtual memory - A process of creating “extra” RAM by using the hard drive as a temporary RAM. A segment of the hard drive is allocated to virtual memory; if an application requires more memory than is available, the active components of the application are loaded into the RAM while the other inactive parts are load into the virtual memory. The downside to this is that virtual memory is much slower than RAM so the application runs slower if components in virtual memory are used.


virus - A segment of programming code that copies itself and can often have a destructive intent. It has similar behavioral characteristics of real viruses in that there can be a trigger to get it started (like a date code or re-booting), it can “reproduce” itself by using the computer’s own hardware and software, it can cause significant damage, and it can be transferred to another computer when files are exchanged either with floppies or via a network. Usually, the viruses are platform specific, and different computers have different susceptibilities with Unix machines being the most impervious and Windows 95/98 being much more susceptible.


VR - virtual reality. A technology designed to create an interactive, entirely new environment for the user, usually in 3 dimensions, that provides input to all the senses.


VRAM - video RAM. VRAM is a type of dynamic RAM (DRAM) dedicated for higher speed video graphics. For video, both the processor and frame buffer must share the same signal line and buses. In VRAM, a separate line and bus is provide for the processor and the frame buffer.


W

W3C - World Wide Web Consortium. A non-profit, advisory board that makes recommendation about the future directions of the Internet.


WAIS - wide area information server. An information retrieval system that searches text strings on the Internet.


web - The collection of all the interconnected networks that contain texts, graphics, images, audio, and video data. Though commonly viewed as all http protocol networks, the web also includes the ftp, gopher, and WAIS networks as well.


web browser - An application used to view and interact with the world wide web and interpret HTML code. Also called a browser. The two most common browsers are Netscape Communicator, Microsoft Internet Explorer.


WebTV - A box that converts an ordinary television into a receiver of web pages.


what you see is what you get - WYSIWYG. Pronounced “wizzywig.” WYSIWYG means that what is shown on the monitor is what will be seen in an output device like a printer.


wide area information server - WAIS. An information retrieval system that searches text strings on the Internet.


wildcard - Wildcards are characters that can represent several or any characters. Often used during searches, wildcards are often “*” or “?.” For example, a search for individuals living in Missouri that was searched by “Miss*” where the * represents any other characters after the “Miss” would yield a search result of those individuals in Missouri and Mississippi.


Windows - A GUI interface operating system written by Microsoft that can refer to a some or all of the Windows operating systems developed (Windows 3.1, Window 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT, and Windows CE).


Windows 3.1 - An interface system that operates in tandem with MS-DOS. As such, Windows 3.1 is not an operating system but rather MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 together create a GUI operating system.


Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 - The MS-Windows operating systems developed after Windows 3.1 for PCs.


Windows NT - An operating system designed to provide networking capabilities. Windows NT is designed to be platform independent, is fully multitasking, and is very robust.


word wrap - A word processing feature that moves the words to the next line as the line being typed fills up. In this way, an “enter” or “return” does not need to be hit at the end of each line to keep it in view.


world wide web - www. The collection of all the interconnected networks that contain texts, graphics, images, audio, and video data. Though commonly viewed as all http protocol networks, the web also includes the ftp, gopher, and WAIS networks as well.


World Wide Web Consortium - W3C. A non-profit, advisory board that makes recommendation about the future directions of the Internet.


workstation - Generally used to mean a high-end desktop computer with strong calculation capabilities and/or graphical prowess. The most common example is the Silicon Graphics Workstation which has tremendous graphical strengths.


worm - An unwanted application that duplicates itself (like a virus) but does not have usually do the same amount of damage as a virus. Where a virus might erase a hard drive, a worm copies itself until the hard drive or RAM is completely filled.


write-protect - To prevent an unintended or unauthorized writing to a file or disk.


www - world wide web. The collection of all the interconnected networks that contain texts, graphics, images, audio, and video data. Though commonly viewed as all http protocol networks, the web also includes the ftp, gopher, and WAIS networks as well.


WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get. Pronounced “wizzywig.” WYSIWYG means that what is shown on the monitor is what will be seen in an output device like a printer.


X


Y


Z


Sources:


"Everything you wanted to know about your Mac," Larry Hanson

Prentice Hall (http://vig.prenhall.com/), Indianapolis, IN, 1993

ISBN: 1-56830-058-1


Matisse's Glossary of Internet Terms

(http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary.html)

Matisse Enzer (http://www.matisse.net)

Copyright ©1994-2000


Microsoft Corporation's Glossary and Acronyms

(http://www.Microsoft.com/hwdev/glossary.htm)

Microsoft Corporation (http://www.Microsoft.com/)

Copyright ©1999 All rights reserved.


The Network Page: Standard Computer-Term Glossary

(http://blake.sunderland.ac.uk/~ta5wpr/computer.htm)

Constructed as part of a course assignment for third year engineering students: An assessment of computer systems. Constructed at Sunderland University (http://www.sunderland.ac.uk)


PC Cables Direct.Com's Computer Glossary Terms

(http://www.pccablesdirect.com/main/guide/glossary.htm)

PC Cables Direct, Inc. (http://www.pccablesdirect.com)

3307 Langdon Road

Angier, N.C. USA 27501

Copyright ©1999


Saugus.net: Glossary of computer terms

(http://www.saugus.net/computer/terms.shtml)

Part of the Home Page for city of Saugus, MA (http://www.saugus.net/)

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000 Saugus.net


Sun Global Glossary Collection: Global Glossary

(http://www.sun.com/glossary/glossary.html)

Sun Microsystems Inc. (http://www.sun.com/)

901 San Antonio Road

Palo Alto, CA 94303

USA

Copyright ©1994-2000.


University of Chicago Campus Computer Stores

A Glossary of Computer Related Terms (http://www-ccs.uchicago.edu/technotes/misc/Glossary/)

University of Chicago (http://www-ccs.uchicago.edu/)

Copyright ©1997
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