The following internet related definitions were
obtained from various sources. If there is a definition that you
think should be listed on this page, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A B C
D E F G
H I J K
L M N O
P Q R S
T U V W
AIFF - Audio Interchange File Format. This sound format
was developed by Apple Computer to store high-quality sampled audio
and musical instrument information. AIFF files are similar to the
PC "WAV" files in both size and quality. They are usually
compatible with both PC and MAC.
ANSI - American National Standards Institute. An organization
that works with American industry groups to develop technology standards.
It is also a member of the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO). By working with the standards committees of other nations
to develop standards, ANSI helps make international trade and telecommunications
easier and more efficient. ASCII and SCSI are two examples of technologies
that were standardized by ANSI.
Applet - Applet is a diminutive form of app (application),
and it refers to simple, single-function programs that often ship
with a larger product. Programs such as Windows'
Calculator, File Manager, and Notepad are examples of applets.
ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
This is the de facto worldwide standard for the code numbers used
by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters,
numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each
of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000
through 1111111. (because 2^7 = 128).
.asp - Active Server Page. It is a web page that has one
or more scripts embedded in it. You can tell if you're accessing
an active server page if the suffix of the URL is "Asp"
(as opposed to ".html"). Like CGI-based pages, ASP's are
processed on a Web server before they are transferred to anyone
who accesses them. Asp's are typically used for pages that have
dynamic, or frequently changing, information. A common ASP script
will get input from the user or user's computer, then access a database
on the server, from which it will build and/or customize the page.
ASP - Application Service Provider. Sometimes referred to
as an "app-on-tap," this is a third-party company that
distributes software-based services from a central location to customers
across a wide area network (WAN). In other words, a typical ASP
will offer companies access, via the Internet, to programs and services
that would otherwise have to be stored on their own computer systems.
Application Service Providers are often seen an inexpensive way
for companies and organizations to manage their information services.
There are five main categories of Application Service Providers:
1. Local or Regional ASP - supplies many different application services
for smaller businesses or individuals in a local area. 2. Specialist
ASP - provides applications for specific needs, such as Human Resources
or Web services. 3. Vertical Market ASP - provides support to a
specific industry such as Education. 4. Enterprise ASP - delivers
information and services for high-end business. 5. Volume Business
ASP - supplies small or medium-sized businesses with services in
AVI -Audio Video Interleave, a popular format for video
Bandwidth - In a general sense, this term describes information-carrying
capacity. It can apply to telephone or network wiring as well as
system buses, radio frequency signals,
and monitors. On a more human level, the term can describe a person's
capacity for dealing with multiple projects ("I'd like to update
this database, but I don't have the bandwidth.").
Bandwidth is most accurately measured in cycles per second, or
hertz (Hz), which is the difference between the lowest and highest
frequencies transmitted. But it's also common to use bits or bytes
per second instead.
Bit - Abbreviation: "b". Binary Digit. A single
digit number in base-2, in other words, either a 1 or a zero. The
smallest unit of computerized data. Bandwidth is usually measured
Bitmap - Most pictures you see on your computer are bitmaps.
A bitmap is a really just a map of dots (or bits, hence the name).
Common Bitmap file types include BMP, JPEG, GIF, PICT, PCX, and
TIFF. Because bitmap images are made up of a bunch of dots, if you
zoom in on a bitmap, it gets all blocky. Vector graphics (usually
created in CorelDraw, PostScript, or CAD formats) scale up much
Bot - An automated software program that can execute certain
commands when it receives a specific input. The web searching bots,
also known as spiders and crawlers, search the Web by retrieving
a certain document and recording the information and links found
on it. They then generate catalogs of the sites they have searched
which can later be accessed by a search engine. Bots also function
in chat rooms (IRC). They will do things like greet people when
they enter a chat room, advertise web sites or special deals, or
kick people out of chat rooms with an accompanying nasty message.
Bps - Bits-Per-Second. A measurement of how fast data is
moved from one place to another. A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits
Browser - A program (software) on a home or office computer
that people use as their interface to the World Wide Web. It interprets
HTML code including text, images, hypertext links, java applets,
etc. allowing you to view web sites and navigate from one to another.
The two most popular browsers are Netscape Communicator and Microsoft
BTW - By The Way. A shorthand appended to a comment written
in an online forum, in email, etc.
Buffer - A place for storing data temporarily because it
is being received faster than it can be processed. Usually found
on printers, CDR drives.
Byte - A set of Bits that represent a single character.
Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, in some rare cases there are
Cache - Caches come in many types, but they all work the
same way: they store information where you can get to it fast. A
Web browser cache stores the pages, graphics,
sounds, and URLs of online places you visit on your hard drive;
that way, when you go back to the page, everything doesn't have
to be downloaded all over again. Since disk access is much faster
than Internet access, this speeds things up. Of course, disk access
slower than RAM access, so there's also disk caching, which stores
information you might need from your hard disk in faster RAM.
Certificate Authority - An issuer of Security Certificates
used in SSL connections. An example is Verisign.
CGI - Common Gateway Interface. A set of rules that describe
how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on
the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the "CGI
program") talks to the web server. Any piece of software can
be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the
CGI standard. If you are submitting your name and password to a
site, there is a good chance a CGI is doing to process the data.
You can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing "cgi-bin"
in a URL, but not always. CGI programs are often written in Perl
cgi-bin - the most common name of a directory on a web server
in which CGI programs are stored. The "bin" part of "cgi-bin"
is a shorthand version of "binary", because once upon
a time, most programs were referred to as "binaries".
In real life, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text
files, scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on
the same machine.
Client - A software program that is used to contact and
obtain data from a Server software program on another computer.
Each Client program is designed to work with one or more specific
kinds of Server programs, and each Server requires a specific kind
of Client. A Web Browser is a specific kind of Client.
Cookie - According to Netscape, cookies are a "general
mechanism which server side connections can use to both store and
retrieve information on the client side of the
connection." In English, that means cookies are small data
files written to your hard drive by some Web sites when you view
them in your browser. These data files contain information the site
can use to track such things as passwords, lists of pages you've
visited, and the date when you last looked at a certain page.
Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount
of time and are usually saved in memory until the Browser software
is closed down, at which time they may be saved to disk if their
"expire time" has not been reached.
Database - Can be as simple as a shopping list or as complex
as a collection of thousands of sounds, graphics, and related text
files. Database software is designed to help users organize such
information. While early "flat" databases were limited
to simple, searchable rows and columns, modern relational databases
allow users to access and reorganize data in a variety of ways.
Even more advanced databases let users store and retrieve all kinds
of nonstandard data, from sound clips to video.
DSL - Digital Subscriber Line. A method for moving data
over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular
phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises
are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. The
common Canadian line available is Bell Sympatico.
Another common configuration is symmetrical: 384 Kilobits per second
in both directions. "Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line"
Domain Name - the name of a site. Eg. www.fluxx.net. There
are many top-level domain names such as .com .net, .org, .edu, and
.Countries have domain suffixes eg, .ca for Canada. Domain Names
always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the
left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most
general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but
a given Domain Name points to only one machine.
Download - The process in which data is sent to your computer.
Whenever you get information off the Internet, you are downloading
it to your computer. For example, you might have to download an
upgrade for your computer's operating system in order to play a
new game (especially if you're using Windows). The opposite of this
process, sending information to another computer, is called uploading.
DVD - Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc. A DVD
is a high-capacity optical disc that looks like a CD, but can store
4.7 GB of data. Usually used for full-length movies and very large
data storage. There is a two-layer standard that doubles the single-sided
capacity to 8.5GB. The disks can also be double-sided, ramping up
the maximum storage on a single disc to 17GB. To be able to read
DVDs in your computer you'll need a DVD-ROM drive. DVDs can also
read your CDs, but to play DVD movies on your computer, you'll need
to have a graphics card with a DVD-decoder.
Emoticons - those little happy faces and funny characters
used to express emotion over email and in chats. Due to the lack
of human interaction (sound, facial expression etc.) in computer
mediated communication, people use symbols for smile :) frown :(
wink ;) and more! (these are all sideways by the way) See what you
can come up with! :@)
E-mail - Electronic Mail. Messages, usually text, sent from
one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically
to a large number of addresses called a Mailing List. The most popular
use for the Internet today!
Encryption - The coding or scrambling of information in
a file so that if it can only be decoded and read by someone who
has the correct decoding key. Encryption is commonly used in e-mail
and other data transferring so that if someone were to intercept
the message or data they would not be able to read it. Also used
to protect data transfer while doing on-line transactions such as
bill payments etc.
Ethernet - A very common method of networking computers
in a LAN. Ethernet is the connection that allows the computers to
communicate with each other. Will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second
or 10 mbps (megabits per second) through a copper cable and can
be used with almost any kind of computer.
Extranet - Companies often use extranets to provide nonpublic
information to a select group of people, such as business partners
or customers. So while an extranet may look like an ordinary Web
site, you have to enter a password or use digital encryption to
access it. For example, Federal Express's customers can track packages
on the company's extranet by simply entering a tracking number.
And Bank of America's extranet lets users transfer funds or look
up account balances online. Using an extranet can help companies
save money by allowing customers to find information themselves,
without having to call and talk to a person.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) FAQs are documents that
list and answer the most common questions on a particular site,
product or subject. Most sites have FAQs written by support people
who answer the questions, so you can see if you can find your answer
before submitting the same question.
FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) A standard for transmitting
data on optical fiber cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-second
(10 times as fast as Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3).
Fire Wall - A combination of hardware and software that
separates a LAN into two or more parts for security purposes.
Freeware - Like shareware, freeware is software you can
download, pass around, and distribute without any payment. No 30
day limit, no demo versions, no disabled features -- it's totally
free. Things like program updates and small games are commonly distributed
as freeware. Freeware is still copyrighted, so you can't go sell
it as your own.
FTP - File Transfer Protocol. A common method of moving
files between two Internet sites. FTP is a special way to login
to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending
files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly
accessible databases of files that can be obtained using FTP, by
logging in and downloading them.
Gateway - The technical meaning is a hardware or software
setup that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example
Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary
e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning
of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to
another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.
GIF - Graphic Interchange Format. A common format for image
files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of
the same color. GIFs are compressed graphics files and use a compression
formula originally developed by CompuServe. GIF format files of
simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored
in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images
as well as JPEG.
Gigabyte (GB) - 1024 Megabytes.
Gopher - A widely successful method of making menus of material
available over the Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server style
program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client program.
Although Gopher spread rapidly across the globe in only a couple
of years, it has been largely supplanted by Hypertext, also known
as WWW (World Wide Web). There are still thousands of Gopher Servers
on the Internet and we can expect they will remain for a while.
GPS - Global Positioning System. GPs is a satellite navigation
system used to determine ground position and velocity. Though it
was created and originally used by the US military, GPs is now available
to the general public all over the world. It is currently being
installed in a number of luxury cars, complete with an LCD map that
shows the driver exactly where in the world they are. The advanced
car GPs units can actually speak the directions to a certain destination
to the driver and tell him when to turn or even tell him if he missed
a turn back on 42nd street.
GUI - Graphical User Interface. The acronym is pronounced
"gooey". It allows computer users to interact with their
system by using a mouse instead of by typing in text at a command
line. The two most popular operating systems -- Windows and the
Mac OS -- are GUI based. The idea of a graphical user interface
was first introduced by Apple with the Macintosh in 1984, but the
idea was actually stolen from Xerox.
hit - As used in reference to the World Wide Web, "hit"
means a single request from a web browser for a single file from
a web server; thus in order for a web browser to display a page
that contains 3 graphics, 4 "hits" would occur at the
server: 1 for the HTML page, and one for each of the 3 graphics.
Another way the term "hit" can be used is in reference
to search engine results. When you search for a phrase and the search
engine finds 2000 results, you can say there were 2000 hits. People
often use it to mean how many times a page has been accessed, which
is a correct if not precise use for the term.
Home Page (or Homepage) - Several meanings. Originally,
the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up.
The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business,
organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection
of web pages, e.g. "Check out so-and-so's new Home Page."
Host - Any computer on a network that is a repository for
services available to other computers on the network. It is quite
common to have one host machine provide several services, such as
WWW and USENET.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - The coding language used
to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML
looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround
a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear, additionally,
in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is linked
to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed
using a World Wide Web Client Program, such as Netscape or Mosaic.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) - The protocol for moving
hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program
on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is
the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).
Hypertext - Generally, any text that contains links to other
documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen
by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and
Hub - A small computer that serves as a central connection
for all the computers in a network, which is usually Ethernet-based.
Information sent to the hub can flow to any other computer on the
network. So if you're planning on connecting more than two computers
together, get a hub.
Internet (Upper case I) The vast collection of interconnected
networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from
the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's. The Internet now (July
1995) connects roughly 60,000 independent networks into a vast global
Believe it or not, the Internet was created in 1969, during the
Cold War, by the United States military. It was meant to be a "nuke-proof"
communications network. Today, it consists of countless networks
and computers all over the world, allowing millions of people to
share information. The majority of the information is transferred
on huge lines known collectively as the Internet backbone. Instead
of being regulated by the government, the Internet is now mainly
controlled by the major Internet service providers such as MCI,
Sprint, GTE, ANS, and UUNET. Because these providers make huge amounts
of revenue off the Internet, they are also motivated to maintain
consistent and fast connections which benefits everyday Internet
users like you and me. Many people think the Internet and the World
Wide Web are the same thing. They're not. The World Wide Web is
what you are browsing right now -- it is only part of the Internet.
internet (Lower case i) Any time you connect 2 or more networks
together, you have an Internet - as in international or interstate.
Intranet - A private network inside a company or organization
that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the
public Internet, but that is only for internal use.
IP - Stands for "Internet Protocol." This is what
allows for data to be transferred between systems over the Internet.
People often say "IP" when referring to an IP address.
The two are not necessarily synonymous, but I don't care if you
say IP instead of IP address. I do it, I mean, nobody cares.
IP Number (Internet Protocol Number) - Sometimes called
a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by
Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP. If you have
a standard dial-up account with an Internet Service Provider, you
will either be assigned a static IP address (which is always the
same), or, as in most cases, you will be given a dynamic IP address,
(which changes every time you log on). If you connect through a
network, it is very likely that you have a static IP address. ISPs
and organizations usually apply to the InterNIC for a range of IP
addresses so that all their clients have similar addresses. There
are three classes of IP address sets: Class C, which consists of
255 unique IP numbers, class B which will gives you 65,000 unique
IP addresses, and class A addresses are for very large companies.
Because the InterNIC is actually running out of IP addresses, and
therefore, ranges of IPs, Class A and Class B addresses are very
hard to get. Most large companies have to get multiple Class C addresses
instead. In case you care, the Internet Engineering Task Force,
which brought us the IP protocol in the first place, is working
on a new protocol called "IP Next Generation" or IPng.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) -- Basically a huge multi-user
live chat server that users connect to. There are a number of major
IRC servers around the world which are linked to each other. Anyone
can create a channel and anything that anyone types in a given channel
is seen by all others in the channel. Private channels can (and
are) created for multi-person conference calls.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - Basically a
way to move more data over existing regular phone lines. It can
provide speeds of roughly 128,000 bits-per-second over regular phone
lines. In practice, most people will be limited to 56,000 or 64,000
ISO - International Standards Organization. A voluntary
organization that coordinates industrial standards organizations
in many member countries. Yes, those numbers like ISO 9000. http://www.iso.ch/
ISP (Internet Service Provider) - Once upon a time, you
could only connect to the Internet
if you belonged to a major university or had a note from the Pentagon.
Not anymore: ISPs have arrived to act as your (ideally) user-friendly
front end to all that the Internet offers. Most ISPs have a network
of servers (mail, news, Web, and the like), routers, and modems
attached to a permanent, high-speed Internet "backbone"
connection. Subscribers can then dial into the local network to
gain Internet access--without having to maintain servers, file for
domain names, or learn Unix.
Java - Java is a network-oriented programming language invented
by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs
that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet
and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to your
computer or files. Using small Java programs (called "Applets"),
Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators,
and other fancy tricks.
in conjuction with Netscape which can be integrated into standard
HTML pages. It is based off the Java programming language, but is
used mainly to create interactive web pages. Because of the usefulness
HTML of their web pages to make them more dynamic and interactive.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) - JPEG is most commonly
mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred
to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art
or simple logo art. Like GIFs, JPEGs are cross-platform, meaning
the same file can be viewed equally on both a Mac and PC.
Kbps - Stands for "Kilobits Per Second." Try not
to confuse this with Kilobytes per second (which is 8 times more
data per second). This term is most often used in describing modem
speeds. For example, two common modem speeds are 33.6 Kbps and 56
Kilobyte (K) - A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024
LAN - (Local Area Network) -- A computer network limited
to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building.
Large companies and universities use these networks to share information.
Latency - The time it takes for a data packet to move across
a network connection. While a packet is being sent, there is "latent"
time, where the sending computer waits for a confirmation that the
packet has been received. Latency and bandwidth are the two factors
that determine your connection speed.
LCD - Stands for "Liquid-Crystal Display." LCDs
are very thin displays which are used for laptop computer screens
and flat screen monitors (as well as handheld TVs and video game
devices). The image on an LCD screen is created by sandwiching an
electrically reactive substance between two electrodes. By increasing
or reducing current, LCDs can be lightened or darkened. Since LCDs
are based on the principle of blocking light (rather than emitting
it), they use up much less power than a cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor.
Linux - Pronounced "liniks", this is an operating
system similar to Unix, created by Linus Torvalds. His reason for
developing it was because he wasn't happy with any of the currently
available options (oh, if we all could do that.). His freely distributed
his OS, helping it to gain popularity. Today, Linux is currently
used by hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more) around the
world. I guess computer hobbyists (a.k.a. geeks) love it because
it's very customizable as you can actually add your own source code
to OS itself. However, Linux has also become the choice for some
corporations because it is an inexpensive substitute for UNIX The
current supported hardware platforms are Intel, PowerPC, DEC Alpha,
Sun Sparc, and Motorola.
Listserv® - The most common kind of maillist, "Listserv"
is a registered trademark of L-Soft international, Inc. is a small
program that automatically sends e-mail addresses on a mailing list.
When someone subscribes to a mailing list, the listserv will automatically
add the address and distribute future e-mail postings to that address
along with all the others on the list. When someone unsubscribes,
the listserv simply removes the address.
Login - Noun: The account name used to gain access to a
computer system. Not a secret (contrast with Password). Verb: The
act of entering into a computer system, e.g. Login to the WELL and
then go to the GBN conference.
Maillist (or Mailing List) - A (usually automated) system
that allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their
message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the
maillist. In this way, people who have many different kinds of e-mail
access can participate in discussions together.
Megabyte (MB) - A million bytes. Actually, technically,
Megahertz - A Megahertz is 1 million complete cycles per
second and is used to measure transmission speeds of electronic
devices. The most common area you'll see Megahertz used is in measuring
processor speed (like a 500Mhz pentium III). However, this only
measures the clock speed of the computer's microprocessor - not
the overall speed. Because of this, a PowerPC G3 400 is actually
faster than a Pentium III 500 in most computations. Mac users love
to stress this point. Abbreviation: "Mhz".
Microprocessor - This little chip is the heart of a computer.
The microprocessor, often referred to as just the processor, does
all the computations like adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing,
duplicating, etc. In PCs, the most popular microprocessor used is
the Intel Pentium, whereas Apple Macintosh computers use the PowerPC
chip (developed by Motorola, IBM, and Apple). Microprocessors perform
many operations using instructions that are integrated into each
chip, but software programs can tell the processor to do specific
instructions as well. Megahertz are used to measure the clock speed
of microprocessors but higher Megahertz doesn't always mean faster
speeds. Though a 600-MHz chip has a clock speed that is twice as
fast as a 300-MHz chip, it doesn't mean the computer with the 600-MHz
chip will run all tasks twice as fast. This is because the speed
of a computer is also influenced by other factors, such as the amount
of memory available, the design of the program you're running, and
most importantly, the efficiency of the processor. Some processors
can complete more operations per clock cycle, making them more efficient
that other processors with higher clock speeds. This is why the
PowerPC is usually faster than Pentium chips at that are clocked
at higher Megahertz.
MIDI - Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a popular cross-platform
format for sound files.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) -- The standard
for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages.
Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor
documents, sound files, etc.
An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send
and receive files using the MIME standard.
When non-text files are sent using the MIME standard they are converted
(encoded) into text - although the resulting text is not really
Generally speaking the MIME standard is a way of specifying both
the type of file being sent (e.g. a Quicktime video file),
and the method that should be used to turn it back into its original
Besides email software, the MIME standard is also universally used
by Web Servers to identify the files they are sending to Web Clients,
in this way new file formats can be accommodated simply by updating
the Browsers' list of pairs of MIME-Types and appropriate software
for handling each type.
Mirror - Usually a mirror site is an exact copy of the original
web or ftp site, but kept in a separate location or server so that
the visitor traffic is divided and not clogging up one system.
Another common use of the term "mirror" refers to an
arrangement where information is written to more than one hard disk
simultaneously, so that if one disk fails, the computer keeps on
working without losing anything.
Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator) - A device that you connect
to your computer and to a phone line, that allows the computer to
talk to other computers through the phone system transfer data.
Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does for humans.
Mosaic - The first WWW browser that was available for the
Macintosh, Windows, and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic
really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic
has been licensed by several companies and there are several other
pieces of software as good or better than Mosaic, most notably,
MP3 "MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3." It's the latest standard
and format for compressing audio files. On average, an MP3 is about
one-twelfth the size of the original file. However, the amazing
part about MP3s is that the sound is nearly CD-quality. Because
of their small size and exceptional sound, MP3s have become enormously
popular. In fact, there are many web sites, like MP3.com and RioPort.com,
containing huge archives of MP3 audio files.
To listen to MP3s, you'll need a program like WinAmp (PC) or MacAmp
(Mac). To create an MP3 file from a CD, you'll need an encoder program
to convert the audio track to an MP3 file. "Is this against
the law?", you ask. Well, not really, but the record label
companies are getting worried. To get all your MP3 questions answered,
check out CNET's MP3 Resource Center.
MPEG - Stands for "Moving Picture Experts Group."
The MPEG organization, which works with the International Organization
for Standardization (ISO), develops standards for digital audio
and video compression. The group constantly works to develop more
efficient ways to digitally compress and store audio and video files.
The term also refers to an actual type of multimedia file. MPEG
files, which typically end with ".mpg," are compressed
movies that can contain both audio and video. Though they are compressed
(using the compression algorithms created by the Moving Picture
Experts Group), they still maintain a high amount of quality from
the original, uncompressed movie. This is why so many videos on
the web use MPEG format.
Netiquette - net etiquette refers to etiquette on the Internet.
Based on the Golden Rule, good netiquette is basically not doing
anything online that will annoy or frustrate other people. The three
areas where good netiquette is most stressed are online chat, e-mail,
and Usenet newsgroups. People that spam other users with unwanted
e-mails or flood them with messages have very bad netiquette.
Netscape - A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The
Netscape (tm) browser was originally based on the Mosaic program
developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Netscape has grown in features rapidly and is widely recognized
as the best and most popular web browser. Netscape corporation also
produces web server software.
Netscape provided major improvements in speed and interface over
other browsers, and has also engendered debate by creating new elements
for the HTML language used by Web pages -- but the Netscape extensions
to HTML are not universally supported.
The main author of Netscape, Mark Andreessen, was hired away from
the NCSA by Jim Clark, and they founded a company called Mosaic
Communications and soon changed the name to Netscape Communications
Network - When you have two or more computers connected
to each other, you have a network. The purpose of a network is to
enable the sharing of files and resources between multiple systems.
The Internet is a commonly described as a "network of networks."
Some common types of network connections are through serial, phone,
and Ethernet cables.
Newsgroup - The way newsgroups work is by sending the posted
messages to a news server which then sends them to a bunch of other
participating servers. The groups can be either "moderated",
where someone decides which postings will become part of the discussion,
or "unmoderated", which is what most newsgroups are. To
participate in a newsgroup, you must subscribe to it. It doesn't
cost anything, but some groups can be hard to get into. Nearly all
newsgroups are found on Usenet, which is a collection of computers
around the world.
Node - Any single computer connected to a network.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) - This is what allows
you to scan that paper you printed out, but lost on your hard drive,
back into your computer. When a page of text is scanned into a computer,
at first, all the computer sees is a bunch graphical bits. In other
words, it has no idea that there's text on the page, much less what
the text says. However, an OCR program can convert the characters
on the page into a text document. It usually isn't a perfect translation,
but the newer OCR programs are very accurate. The better ones can
even keep the formatting of the document in the translation.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) - The term refers
to a company that produces hardware to be marketed under another
company's brand. For example, if Sony makes monitors marketed by
Dell Computers, they might be labeled "Dell", but the
OEM is Sony. Operating System Also known as an "OS", this
is the software that actually communicates with computer's hardware.
Without an operating system, all software programs would be useless.
The OS is what allocates memory, processes tasks, accesses disks
and peripherals, and acts as the user interface. With an operating
system, like the Mac OS or Windows 98, Packet A small amount of
computer data sent over a network. Any time you receive data from
the Internet, it comes to your computer in the form of packets.
Each packet contains the address of its origin and destination,
and information that allows it to "connect" to related
packets being sent. The process of sending and receiving packets
is known as "packet-switching". Packets from many different
locations can be sent on the same lines and be sorted and directed
to different routes by various computers along the way.
OS - (operating system) A computer by itself is essentially
dumb bits of wire and silicon. An operating system knows how to
talk to this hardware and can manage a computer's functions, such
as allocating memory, scheduling tasks, accessing disk drives, and
supplying a user interface. Without an operating system, software
developers would have to write programs that directly accessed hardware--essentially
reinventing the wheel with every
new program. With an operating system, such as Windows NT or Mac
OS 8, developers can write to a common set of programming interfaces
called APIs and let the operating system do the dirty work of talking
to the hardware.
Password - A code used to gain access to a locked system
(like in the real world). Usually a combination of letters and numbers,
they always suggest you stay away from using your birthday or middle
name or predictable things like that!
Plug-in - A piece of software that adds features to a larger
piece of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape®
browser and web server. Adobe Photoshop® also uses plug-ins.
The idea behind plug-in's is that a small piece of software is
loaded into memory by the larger program, adding a new feature,
and that users need only install the few plug-ins that they need,
out of a much larger pool of possibilities. Plug-ins are usually
created by people other than the publishers of the software the
plug-in works with.
POP (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol) - Two
commonly used meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol.
A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network
can be connected to, often with dial up phone lines. So if an Internet
company says they will soon have a POP in Belgrade, it means that
they will soon have a local phone number in Belgrade and/or a place
where leased lines can connect to their network. A second meaning,
Post Office Protocol refers to the way e-mail software such as Eudora
gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or shell
account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this
POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your
Port - 3 meanings. First and most generally, a place where
information goes into or out of a computer, or both. E.g. the serial
port on a personal computer is where a modem would be connected.
On the Internet port often refers to a number that is part of a
URL, appearing after a colon (:) right after the domain name. Every
service on an Internet server listens on a particular port number
on that server. Most services have standard port numbers, e.g. Web
servers normally listen on port 80. Services can also listen on
nonstandard ports, in which case the port number must be specified
in a URL when accessing the server, so you might see a URL of the
shows a gopher server running on a nonstandard port (the standard
gopher port is 70). Finally, port also refers to translating a piece
of software to bring it from one type of computer system to another,
e.g. to translate a Windows program so that is will run on a Macintosh.
Portal - Usually used as a marketing term to described a
Web site that is or is intended to be the first place people see
when using the Web. Typically a "Portal site" has a catalog
of web sites, a search engine, or both. A Portal site may also offer
email and other service to entice people to use that site as their
main "point of entry" (hence "portal") to the
Posting - When you send a single message to a newsgroup
or message board and it gets 'posted' up on the board so everyone
can read it.
QuickTime - Most .mov files that you see on the web are
QuickTime movies. Originally developed for Macintosh by Apple computer,
the format is now used by both PC and Mac.
Router - A special-purpose computer (or software package)
that handles the connection between 2 or more networks. Routers
spend all their time looking at the destination addresses of the
packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them
Security Certificate - A chunk of information (often stored
as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a
Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs
to, who it was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique
identification, valid dates, and an encrypted "fingerprint"
that can be used to verify the contents of the certificate.
In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have
a valid Security Certificate.
Server - A computer, or a software package, that provides
a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers.
The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a
WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running,
e.g.Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting
out. A single server machine could have several different server
software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers
to clients on the network.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) When you're exchanging
electronic mail on the Internet, SMTP is what keeps the process
orderly. It's a protocol that regulates what goes on between the
SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending
mail and a program receiving mail should interact.
Almost all Internet email is sent and received by clients and servers
using SMTP, thus if one wanted to set up an email server on the
Internet one would look for email server software that supports
SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) - A set of standards
for communication with devices connected to a TCP/IP network. Examples
of these devices include routers, hubs, and switches.
A device is said to be "SNMP compatible" if it can be
monitored and/or controlled using SNMP messages. SNMP messages are
known as "PDU's" - Protocol Data Units.
Devices that are SNMP compatible contain SNMP "agent"
software to receive, send, and act upon SNMP messages.
Software for managing devices via SNMP are available for every
kind of commonly used computer and are often bundled along with
the device they are designed to manage. Some SNMP software is designed
to handle a wide variety of devices.
Spam (or Spamming) - Any unsolicited mail or mass mailing
can be considered spam. Also, posting the same message to bulletin
boards or Usenet groups is considered spamming. Watch out though,
because when you enter your email address on any given site whether
it is to sign up for a contest or mailing list, they may have the
come from a famous Monty Python skit which featured the word spam
repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone's
low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally
perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. (Spam is
a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed
E.g. Some guy spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message
SQL (Structured Query Language) - A specialized programming
language for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength
and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL.
Each specific application will have its own version of SQL implementing
features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases
support a common subset of SQL.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) - A protocol designed by Netscape
Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications
across the Internet.
SSL used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between
web browsers and web servers. URL's that begin with "https"
indicate that an SSL connection will be used.
SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message
In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security
Certificate, which each side's software sends to the other. Each
side then encrypts what it sends using information from both its
own and the other side's Certificate, ensuring that only the intended
recipient can decrypt it, and that the other side can be sure the
data came from the place it claims to have come from, and that the
message has not been tampered with.
Sysop (System Operator) - Anyone responsible for the physical
operations of a computer system or network resource. A System Administrator
decides how often backups and maintenance should be performed and
the System Operator performs those tasks.
T-1 - A leased-line connection capable of carrying data
at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a
T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds. That is
still not fast enough for full-screen, full-motion video, for which
you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second. T-1 is the fastest
speed commonly used to connect networks to the Internet.
T-3 - A leased-line connection capable of carrying data
at 44,736,000 bits-per-second. This is more than enough to do full-screen,
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
- These two protocols were developed by the U.S. military to allow
computers to talk to each other over long
distance networks. IP is responsible for moving packets of data
between nodes. TCP is responsible for verifying delivery from client
to server. TCP/IP forms the basis of the Internet, and is built
into every common modern operating system (including all flavors
Unix, the Mac OS, and the latest versions of Windows).
Telnet - Telnet is an application that lets you log on to
a Unix computer. Provided you have an account on that Telnet server,
you can then use its resources. A drawback of
Telnet is that it's character-based, so you need to speak Unix to
the other computer.
Terabyte - 1000 gigabytes.
UHF - Ultra High Frequency. A range of spectrum designated
by the FCC for television broadcasts: originally channels 14 to
84, late 14 to 69.
UNIX - A computer operating system (the basic software running
on a computer, underneath things like word processors and spreadsheets).
UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time (it
is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating
system for servers on the Internet.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - This is the alphanumeric
address of any site as opposed to the 188.8.131.52 numbers you may
see. A URL looks like this:
http:// - This tells the computer information it needs to process
the Webpage it finds.
www. - This is the convention that stands for World
Wide Web When typing in a URL, sometimes just the 'ourcompany' portion
will bring up the whole thing (you don't have to type in the http://
and www. and .com - this usually only works for .com sites though)
UUENCODE (UNIX to UNIX Encoding) - A method for converting
files from Binary to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across
the Internet via e-mail.
Veronica (Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized
Archives) - Developed at the University of Nevada, Veronica is a
constantly updated database of the names of almost every menu item
on thousands of gopher servers. The Veronica database can be searched
from most major gopher menus.
VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language) - A way to describe
"worlds" that are displayed in three dimensions for the
user to "walk through" or "fly over."
W3 - The name of the consortium that is steering standards
development for the World Wide Web
WAV - A Windows format for sound files.
WAN (Wide Area Network) - Any Internet or network that covers
an area larger than a single building or campus.
WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get. HTML editors that
let you work with pictures and fonts and colors instead of the direct
code. Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe's PageMill are examples of WYSIWYG
Web - the name given to the network of computers we know
as the world wide web, because the machines are all connected to
each other in a web like pattern.
WWW (World Wide Web) - Frequently used when referring to
"The Internet", WWW has two major meanings - First, generally
used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed
using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools.
Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) which are
the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be accessed
from any computer with a connection to the Internet
XML (Extensible Markup Language) - A system for defining
specialized markup languages that are used to transmit formatted
data. XML is conceptually related to HTML, but XML is not itself
a markup language. Rather it's a meta language, a language used
to create other specialized languages.
zip - An open standard for compression and decompression
used widely for PC. ZIP was developed by Phil Katz for his DOS-based
program PKZip, and it is now used on Windows-based programs such
as WinZip and Drag and Zip. The file extension for ZIP files is
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