Computer Glossary Terms

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10/100/1000 Base-T:
An Ethernet connection method for Local Area Networks using twisted pair cables and operating at 10, 100, or 1000 Mbps. A star connection topology is used with the individual cables terminating at a hub, switch, or router. See also CAT-5, UTP, STP.

A Wi-Fi standard developed by the IEEE for transmitting data over a wireless network. It uses a 5 GHz band and allows data to be transferred up to 54 Mbps. Other standards within the 802.11 family include 802.11b, which transfers data up to 11 Mbps and uses a 2.4 GHz band, and 802.11g, which also uses a 2.4 GHz band, but can transfer data up to 54 Mbps.

A Wi-Fi standard developed by the IEEE for transmitting data over a wireless network. It operates on a 2.4 GHz band and allows for wireless data transfers up to 11 Mbps. A faster standard, called 802.11g, was introduced a few years after 802.11b and supports data transfer rates up to 54 Mbps. This can make a difference in the speed of data transfers within a local network, but since broadband Internet access is limited to around 5 Mbps, a 802.11b wireless connection will not be a bottleneck for Internet access. Most wireless networks are based on either 802.11b or 802.11g.

A Wi-Fi standard developed by the IEEE for transmitting data over a wireless network. It operates on a 2.4 GHz bandwidth and supports data transfer rates up to 54 Mbps. 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b hardware, but if there are any 802.11b-based computers on the network, the entire network will have to run at 11 Mbps (the max speed that 802.11b supports). However, you can configure your 802.11g wireless router to only accept 802.11g devices, which will ensure your network runs at its top speed.

A wireless (Wi-Fi) standard that was introduced in 2007. It supports a longer range and higher wireless transfer rates than the previous standard, 802.11g.
802.11n devices support MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) data transfers, which can transmit multiple streams of data at once. This technology effectively doubles the range of a wireless device. Therefore, a wireless router that uses 802.11n may have twice the radius of coverage as an 802.11g router. This means a single 802.11n router may cover an entire household, whereas an 802.11g router might require additional routers to bridge the signal.
The previous 802.11g standard supported transfer rates of up to 54 Mbps. Devices that use 802.11n can transfer data over 100 Mbps. With an optimized configuration, the 802.11n standard can theoretically support transfer rates of up to 500 Mbps. That is five times faster than a standard 100Base-T wired Ethernet network.
So if your residence is not wired with an Ethernet network, it’s not a big deal. Wireless technology can finally keep pace with the wired network. Of course, with the faster speeds and larger range that 802.11n provides, it is more important than ever to password protect your wireless network.

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Access Point:
A device that allows wireless-equipped computers and other devices to communicate with a wired network.

Access time:
The amount of time it takes a computer to locate stored information.

Active Directory:
An advanced directory application created by Microsoft for use on Windows servers. It is a critical part of Windows server and is used to set permissions, enforce critical updates, and run software on particular machines.

A circuit board that plugs into a computer and gives it additional capabilities.

A person responsible for carrying out the administration of a business or organization.

Asymmetric digital subscriber line, or ADSL, is the technology that enables someone to use their telephone line for both data and voice, simultaneously.

Adware is any piece of software that automatically downloads or displays advertisements. The purpose of this is to bring in extra revenue for the developer. Although adware itself is not particularly harmful, it can be hidden in downloaded files and consistently pop up on a user’s computer. This can cause an annoyance, however a spyware cleaner can be used to remove any unwanted adware.

A short, easy to remember name created for use in place of a longer, more complicated name; commonly used in e-mail applications. Also referred to as a “nickname”.

Anonymous FTP:
Archive sites where Internet users can log in and download files and programs without a special username or password. Typically, you enter anonymous as a username and your e-mail address as a password.

Anti-virus software is used to prevent or remove unwanted malware from infecting a computer. Using this software provides a computer user with a safer working environment and a more efficiently operating computer. There are lots of companies offering anti-virus software including Symantec, McAfee, and Avast.

The phrase anti spam (or anti-spam) refers to any software, hardware or process that is used to combat the proliferation of spam or to keep spam from entering a system. For example, a Bayesian filter is an anti spam software application, and the use of opt-in e-mail is an anti spam process.

A computer program that performs specific tasks or a variety of them.

A collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.

Ascending sort:
Sorting records from A to Z or 0 to 9.

An acronym derived from American Standard Code for Information Interchange (pronounced as-kee). The most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet. In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric, or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s). 128 possible characters are defined.

In this context, a file that is sent along with an e-mail message. ASCII (plain text) files may be appended to the message text, but other types of files are encoded and sent separately (common formats that can be selected include MIME, BinHex, and Uuencode).

The process of identifying yourself and the verification that you’re who you say you are. Computers where restricted information is stored may require you to enter your username and password to gain access.

A technical writer is a professional writer who engages in technical writing and produces technical documentation that helps people understand and use a product or service.

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a copy of a file or other item of data made in case the original is lost or damaged.

Backup Storage:
In computers, backup storage is storage that is intended as a copy of the storage that is actively in use so that, if the storage medium such as a hard disk fails and data is lost on that medium, it can be recovered from the copy.

Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted over a network or modem at any given time. Measured in bits per second, the higher the bandwidth then the more that can be transferred.

A unit of transmission speed equal to the number of times a signal changes state per second. For signals with only two possible states one baud is equivalent to one bit per second.

Blind Carbon Copy; contains addresses of recipients of the message whose addresses are not to be revealed to other recipients of the message.

Binary file:
A file that cannot be read by standard text editor programs like Notepad or Simple Text. Examples: documents created by applications such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect or DOS files with the extension “.com” or “.exe”.

Basic Input/Output System; is a set of programs stored in read-only memory. These programs control the disk drives, the keyboard, and the display screen, and they handle start-up operations.

Short for binary digit, a bit is the most basic unit of data that can be recognized and processed by a computer. A single bit can only hold one of two values: 0 or 1. Computers are often classified by the number of bits they can process at one time, typically 32 or 64 bit.

A list of undesirable websites that you have blocked access to so that searching the internet is safer. The opposite is called whitelist.

A blog (short for web log) is a type of easy-to-maintain website, usually like an online diary, where the blogger publishes comments and discussions using a selection of templates. Most blogs let visitors to the site post their own comments too.

Some users with Bluetooth-enabled mobiles use this technology to send anonymous text messages to strangers. This has been nicknamed ‘bluejacking’.

A wireless networking technology that allows users to send voice and data from one electronic device to another via radio waves.

Bitmap file; a common image format on Windows computers. Files of this type usually have the suffix “.bmp” as part of their name.

A feature available in certain programs like Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Acrobat Reader; it is a shortcut you can use to get to a particular web page (IE and Firefox) or to a specified location within a document (PDF).

Short for bootstrap. To start a computer and load the operating system to prepare the computer to execute an application.

A bot (short for robot) is an automated program that runs over the Internet. Some bots run automatically, while others only execute commands when they receive specific input. There are many different types of bots, but some common examples include web crawlers, chat room bots, and malicious bots.

A term applied to an e-mail message when it is returned to you as undeliverable.

A device used for connecting two Local Area Networks (LANs) or two segments of the same LAN; bridges forward packets without analyzing or re-routing them.

A high-speed internet connection that sends and receives digital information much faster than a dial-up telephone connection and is always available.

Is a software application that allows users to access information on the internet. Popular browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Apple’s Safari.

The act of looking around the internet, or a website, as you would do when walking through a shop.

On a multitasking system, a certain amount of RAM that is allocated as a temporary holding area so that the CPU can manipulate data before transferring it to a particular device.

A defect in the software that causes the computer it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. Some writers now use bug to refer to hardware problems as well.

Business Intelligence:
A broad range of applications and technologies that allow businesses to analyse data in detail and can lead people to make more informed decisions, resulting in improved business processes.

Bus Topology:
Alternatively referred to as a line topology, a bus topology is a network setup where each computer and network device are connected to a single cable or backbone.

A byte is a group of binary digits that a computer processes as a unit to form a character. A byte consists of eight bits. Usually 8 consecutive bits, this collection of information can be used to represent a character on a computer.

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Cable modem:
A special type of modem that connects to a local cable TV line to provide a continuous connection to the Internet. Like an analog modem, a cable modem is used to send and receive data, but the difference is that transfer speeds are much faster. A 56 Kbps modem can receive data at about 53 Kbps, while a cable modem can achieve about 1.5 Mbps (about 30 times faster). Cable modems attach to a 10/100Base-T Ethernet card inside your computer.

A cache is a block of RAM that temporarily stores data that may need to be used in the near future. Internet browsers use cache to store certain data that users may need to access again without the need to have to wait for the screen to load.

A challenge-response test in the form of an image of distorted text the user must enter that to determine whether the user is human or an automated bot.

Generally applies to a data input field; a case-sensitive restriction means lower-case letters are not equivalent to the same letters in upper-case. Example: “data” is not recognized as being the same word as “Data” or “DATA”.

Category 5 cable, commonly referred to as cat 5, is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet.

Category 6 cable, commonly referred to as Cat 6, is a standardized cable for Gigabit Ethernet and other network physical layers that is backward compatible with the Category 5/5e and Category 3 cable standards. Compared with Cat 5 and Cat 5e, Cat 6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise.

Computer-Based Training; a type of training in which a student learns a particular application by using special programs on a computer. Sometimes referred to as “CAI” (Computer-Assisted Instruction) or “CBI” (Computer-Based Instruction), although these two terms may also be used to describe a computer program used to assist a teacher or trainer in classroom instruction.

Carbon Copy; (sometimes abbreviated as “fcc” for “first carbon copy”) is a copy of a note sent to an addressee other than the main addressee.

Creative Commons; is a licences build upon copyright law, signalling the owner’s permission that work can be used in a variety of ways, not automatically allowed under copyright law. Creative Commons search engines can help people discover materials that they can freely and legally share or build upon.

Content Delivery Network; is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver webpages and other Web content to a user based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and a content delivery server.

CD-R drive:
A type of disk drive that can create CD-ROMs and audio CDs. CD-R drives that feature multi session recording allow you to continue adding data to a compact disk which is very important if you plan on using the drive for backup.

Compact Disk, Read Only Memory; a high-capacity secondary storage medium. Information contained on a CD is read-only. Special CD-ROM mastering equipment available in the OIT Multimedia Lab can be reserved for creating new CDs.

CD-RW, CD-R disk:
A CD-RW disk allows you to write data onto it multiple times instead of just once (a CD-R disk). With a CD-R drive you can use a CD-RW disk just like a floppy or zip disk for backing up files, as well as for creating CD-ROMs and audio CDs.

Real-time communication between two or more users via networked-connected computers. After you enter a chat (or chat room), any user can type a message that will appear on the monitors of all the other participants. While most ISPs offer chat, it is not supported by OIT. However, the campus CMS (Carmen) supported by TELR does provide the capability for live chat among students participating in online courses.

Chat room:
A special place on the internet where you can chat to one or more people. – A ‘virtual’ room where users can ‘talk’ with each other by typing. Conversations can be one-on-one or can involve a number of people. Some chat rooms are moderated/supervised.

A client program from Google; enables you to browse the World Wide Web.

To select something on your screen by moving your pointer over it and pressing your mouse button.

A program or computer that connects to and requests information from a server. Examples: Internet Explorer or Firefox. A client program also may be referred to as “client software” or “client-server software”.

Client-server technology:
Refers to a connection between networked computers in which the services of one computer (the server) are requested by the other (the client). Information obtained is then processed locally on the client computer.

A common shorthand for a provided cloud computing service (or even an aggregation of all existing cloud services) is “The Cloud”.

Cloud Computing:
This is the practice of storing content on remote servers that are connected to the internet instead of on your hard drive or local server. With cloud computing, less physical storage space is needed as files are stored remotely. It also brings the benefit of being able to access your data from anywhere that there is an internet connection. Cloud computing is highly automated and reduces the need for a large IT department to manage data.

A computer cluster consists of a set of loosely or tightly connected computers that work together so that, in many respects, they can be viewed as a single system. Unlike grid computers, computer clusters have each node set to perform the same task, controlled and scheduled by software.

Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor; is the semiconductor technology used in the transistors that are manufactured into most of today’s computer microchips. Semiconductors are made of silicon and germanium, materials which “sort of” conduct electricity, but not enthusiastically.

Content Management System is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment.

In computer science this is the text, written and used by programmers and developers, that dictates the actions to be performed by a computer. Also known as source code.

Command line:
A command-line interface or command language interpreter (CLI), also known as command-line user interface, console user interface, and character user interface (CUI), is a means of interacting with a computer program where the user (or client) issues commands to the program in the from of successive lines of text (command lines).

Community forum:
See: “Forum”.

The process of making a file smaller so that it will save disk space and transfer faster over a network. The most common compression utilities are Winrar for PC or compatible computers (.zip files) and or Stuffit (.sit files) for Macintosh computers.

Computer network:
See: “network”.

A term that commonly refers to accessing a remote computer; also a message that appears at the point when two modems recognize each other.

Content filter:
A way of limiting access to material on the internet by examining it before it is shown to the user and deciding whether or not it is acceptable. Often used to restrict access to certain web pages when children are using computers.

A piece of text stored by web browsers that can track user behaviour on websites or be used to remember preferences for future visits.

Software designed specifically for use in a classroom or other educational setting.

The central processing unit or CPU acts as the brain of a computer that oversees all operations and calculations.

A computer term used for a variety of problems that cause your computer to stop working temporarily. Your computer screen may “freeze,” requiring you to restart the computer.

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It is a piece of software used primarily by businesses and is a way to centrally manage all interactions with customers. There are various CRM packages including Microsoft Dynamics and Act by Sage.

Cloud Service Provider; a business model for providing cloud services.

Cascading Style Sheet; A set of rules that define how web pages are displayed using CSS, designers can create rules that define how page.

A special symbol that indicates where the next character you type on your screen will appear. You use your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the cursor around on your screen.

Bullying using technology, such as computers and mobile phones.

Sexual arousal using computer technology, especially by wearing virtual reality equipment or by exchanging messages with another person via the Internet.

A term describing the world of computers and the society that uses them.

also known as domain squatting; is the practice of registering names, especially well-known company or brand names, as Internet domains, in the hope of reselling them at a profit.

The act of harassing someone over the internet.

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Desktop-as-a-Service – Also called virtual desktop or hosted desktop services, it is the outsourcing of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to a third- party service provider.

A special small program that performs a specific task; it may run all the time watching a system, or it can take action only when a task needs to be performed. Example: If an e-mail message is returned to you as undeliverable, you may receive a message from the mailer daemon.

Direct-Attached Storage; is digital storage directly attached to the computer accessing it, as opposed to storage accessed over a computer network. Examples of DAS include hard drives, optical disc drives, and storage on external drives.

Information stored on a computer is often called data. The computer stores everything in files as a series of 1s and 0s. These files are read by programs.

A collection of information organized so that a computer application can quickly access selected information; it can be thought of as an electronic filing system. Traditional databases are organized by fields, records (a complete set of fields), and files (a collection of records). Alternatively, in a Hypertext database, any object (e.g., text, a picture, or a film) can be linked to any other object.

Data Center:
A data center (data centre / datacentre / datacenter) is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices.

Opposite of compressing a file; the process of restoring the file to its original size and format. The most common programs for decompressing files are Winrar for PC and compatible computers (.zip files) and Stuffit Expander (.sit files) for Macintosh computers.

The process of rewriting parts of a file to contiguous sectors on a hard drive to increase the speed of access and retrieval.

A process used to remove magnetism from a computer monitors. Note flat-panel displays do not have a degauss button since magnetism doesn’t build up in them.

Descending Sort:
Sorting records from Z to A or 9 to 0.

On computers like IBM PC or compatibles and Macintoshes, the electronic work area on a display screen where windows and icons for disks and applications reside.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol; a standardized network protocol used on Internet Protocol (IP) networks for dynamically distributing network configuration parameters, such as IP addresses for interfaces and services.

Dialog box:
Sometimes referred to as a window; on a graphical user interface system, an enclosed area displayed by a program or process to prompt a user for entry of information in one or more boxes (fields).

Dial-Up Adapter:
A network component within Windows that enables you to connect to a dial up server via a modem. Users running dial-up connections on Windows computers must have Dial-Up Adapter installed and properly configured.

Dial up connection:
A connection from your computer that goes through a regular telephone line. You use special communications software to instruct your modem to dial a number to access another computer system or a network. May also be referred to as “dial up networking”.

Digital asset:
Intellectual content which has been digitized and can be referenced or retrieved online; for example, PowerPoint slides, audio or video files, or files created in a word processing application, etc.

Sometimes referred to as digital imaging; the act of translating an image, a sound, or a video clip into digital format for use on a computer. Also used to describe the process of converting coordinates on a map to x,y coordinates for input to a computer. All data a computer processes must be digitally encoded as a series of zeroes and ones.

Dual In-line Memory Module; a small circuit board that can hold a group of memory chips. A DIMM is capable of transferring 64 bits instead of the 32 bits each SIMM can handle. Pentium processors require a 64-bit path to memory so SIMMs must be installed two at a time as opposed to one DIMM at a time.

An area on a disk that contains files or additional divisions called “subdirectories” or “folders”. Using directories helps to keep files organized into separate categories, such as by application, type, or usage.

Disaster recovery:
Disaster recovery is the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity. While business continuity involves planning for keeping all aspects of a business functioning in the midst of disruptive events, disaster recovery focuses on the IT or technology systems that support business functions.

Disaster recovery planning:
Also referred to as “DRP”, see: “disaster recovery”.

Discussion group:
Another term for an online newsgroup or forum.

Distance education:
May also be referred to as “online learning” or “eLearning.” A means of instruction that implies a course instructor and students are separated in space and perhaps, in time. Interaction may be synchronous (facilitated) or asynchronous (self-paced). Students can work with various course materials, or they may use tools like chat or discussion groups to collaborate on projects.

Distance learning:
The goal of distance education; distance learning and distance education are often used interchangeably.

A means by which the illusion of new colors and shades is created by varying the pattern of dots; the more dither patterns a device or program supports, the more shades of gray it can represent. Also referred to as halftoning in the context of printing.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act; is a notification to a company, usually a web host or a search engine, that they are either hosting or linking to copyright-infringing material. It provides them notice to remove the copyrighted works.

Domain Name System; a system for naming computers and network services that is organized into a hierarchy of domains. DNS naming is used in TCP/IP networks, such as the Internet, to locate computers and services through user-friendly names.

Part of an Internet address. The network hierarchy consists of domains and subdomains. At the top are a number of major categories (e.g., com, edu, gov); next are domains within these categories (e.g., ohio-state); and then there are subdomains. The computer name is at the lowest level of the hierarchy.

Domain hack:
is a domain name that suggests a word, phrase, or name when concatenating two or more adjacent levels of that domain.

Domain Name:
The part of a network address which identifies it as belonging to a particular domain.

The term DOS can refer to any operating system, but it is most often used as a shorthand for MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system). Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM, MS-DOS was the standard operating system for IBM-compatible personal computers.

The process of transferring one or more files from a remote computer to your local computer. The opposite action is called upload.

Dots per inch; a measure of a printer’s resolution. The higher the number, the better the print quality. A minimum of 300 dpi usually is required for professional quality printing.

Disaster Recovery as a Service; a service that helps recover data in the event of a server failure or natural disaster.

Drag and drop:
The computer function of moving text or icons from one place to another by holding down the left mouse button over them and dragging them to another location on your screen.

Digital Subscriber Line; an always on broadband connection over standard phone lines.

Digital video disk; a type of compact disc that holds far more information than the CD-ROMs that are used for storing music files. A DVD can hold a minimum of 4.7 GB, enough for a full-length movie. MPEG-2 is used to compress video data for storage on a DVD. DVD drives are backward-compatible and can play CD-ROMs.

DVD-RW, DVD-R disk:
A DVD-RW disk allows you to write data onto it multiple times instead of just once like on a DVD-R disk. A DVD disk can hold a minimum of 4.7GB which is enough to store a full-length movie. Other uses for DVDs include storage for multimedia presentations that include both sound and graphics.

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Extensible Authentication Protocol; a general protocol for authentication that also supports multiple authentication methods.

Electronic Commerce or EC (also written as E-commerce, eCommerce or similar variants); is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the Internet. These business transactions occur either business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business.

Electronic data interchange is a standard for communicating data between electronic devices.

Extended Graphics Adapter; a card (or board) usually found in older PCs that enables the monitor to display 640 pixels horizontally and 350 vertically.

Electronic learning; applies to a wide scope of processes including Web-based learning, computer-based instruction, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. Content may be delivered in a variety of ways including via the Internet, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, and DVD- or CD-ROMs.

Electronic signature:
A way of adding a code to messages you send so that they can be proven to have come from you.

Electronic mail; the exchange of messages between users who have access to either the same system or who are connected via a network (often the Internet). If a user is not logged on when a new message arrives, it is stored for later retrieval.

Email address:
An email address tells your email program where to send messages. An address consists of two parts. The first part of the address is the name of the person’s mailbox, where messages are stored. The second part, after the ‘@’ sign, is the name of the organisation where messages should be sent over the internet.

Email archiving:
Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in e-mail messages so it can be accessed quickly at a later date. In the past, companies often relied on end-users to maintain their own individual e-mail archives.

Email Header:
The portion of an e-mail message or a network newsgroup posting that precedes the body of the message; it contains information like who the message is from, its subject, and the date. A header also is the portion of a packet that proceeds the actual data and contains additional information the receiver will need.

A combination of keyboard characters meant to represent a facial expression. Frequently used in electronic communications to convey a particular meaning, much like tone of voice is used in spoken communications. Examples: the characters 🙂 for a smiley face or 😉 for a wink.

Refers to the ability of a program or device to imitate another program or device; communications software often include terminal emulation drivers to enable you to log on to a mainframe. There also are programs that enable a Mac to function as a PC.

This is the method of concealing information so that it is unreadable to unauthorised people.

Encapsulated PostScript; a graphics format that describes an image in the PostScript language.

Enterprise resource planning, or ERP for short, is a type of business application used to centrally manage all business processes and allow businesses to gain insights into how well they are performing in particular areas. SAP, Sage, and Oracle are well known providers of ERP software.

A popular network technology that enables data to travel at 10 megabits per second. Campus microcomputers connected to a network have Ethernet cards installed that are attached to Ethernet cabling. An Ethernet connection is often referred to as a “direct connection” and is capable of providing data transmission speeds over 500 Kbps.

Ethernet card:
An adapter card that fits into a computer and connects to Ethernet cabling; different types of adaptor cards fit specific computers. Microcomputers connected to the campus network have some type of Ethernet card installed. Example: computers in campus offices or in dorms rooms wired for ResNet. Also referred to as “Ethernet adapter”.

An exabyte (EB) is a large unit of computer data storage, two to the sixtieth power bytes. The prefix exa means one billion billion, or one quintillion, which is a decimal term. Two to the sixtieth power is actually 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes in decimal, or somewhat over a quintillion (or ten to the eighteenth power) bytes. It is common to say that an exabyte is approximately one quintillion bytes. In decimal terms, an exabyte is a billion gigabytes.

Expansion card:
Also referred to as an expansion board; a circuit board you can insert into a slot inside your computer to give it added functionality. A card can replace an existing one or may be added in an empty slot. Some examples include sound, graphics, USB, Firewire, and internal modem cards.

A suffix preceded by a period at the end of a filename; used to describe the file type. Example: On a Windows computer, the extension “.exe” represents an executable file.

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Family agreement:
An agreement on how home computers, internet access and mobile phones will be used. Should be drawn up and agreed after discussion between family members and posted up next to the family computer or in a communal space.

Web addresses stored in your browser, letting you go directly to specific websites/web pages. Also known as ‘bookmarks’.

Female connector:
A cable connector that has holes and plugs into a port or interface to connect one device to another.

Sending an offensive or aggressive message over the internet.

A single piece of information within a database (e.g., an entry for name or address). Also refers to a specific area within a dialog box or a window where information can be entered.

A collection of data that has a name (called the filename). Almost all information on a computer is stored in some type of file. Examples: data file (contains data such as a group of records); executable file (contains a program or commands that are executable); text file (contains data that can be read using a standard text editor).

File sharing:
Copying files over the internet by using software that enables you to use other subscribers’ computers like a specialist library. Usually the files contain music, films or programs, but any sort of file can be shared. May also known as downloading.

Refers to: a program that has the function of translating data into a different format (e.g., a program used to import or export data or a particular file); a pattern that prevents non-matching data from passing through (e.g., email filters); and in paint programs and image editors, a special effect that can be applied to a bit map.

A type of directory service on many UNIX systems. Queries take the format firstname_lastname (e.g., jane_doe) or for more complete information, =firstname.lastname (e.g., =jane_doe).

A client program from Mozilla; enables you to browse the World Wide Web.

A method of preventing unauthorized access to or from a particular network; firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or both.

A way to connect different pieces of equipment so they can quickly and easily share information. FireWire (also referred to as IEEE1394 High Performance Serial Bus) is very similar to USB. It preceded the development of USB when it was originally created in 1995 by Apple. FireWire devices are hot pluggable, which means they can be connected and disconnected any time, even with the power on. When a new FireWire device is connected to a computer, the operating system automatically detects it and prompts for the driver disk (thus the reference “plug-and play”).

Flash drive:
A small device that plugs into computer’s USB port and functions as a portable hard drive.

Flash memory:
A type of memory that retains information even after power is turned off; commonly used in memory cards and USB flash drives for storage and transfer of data between computers and other digital products.

An area on a hard disk that contains a related set of files or alternatively, the icon that represents a directory or subdirectory.

A complete assortment of letters, numbers, and symbols of a specific size and design. There are hundreds of different fonts ranging from businesslike type styles to fonts composed only of special characters such as math symbols or miniature graphics.

Is the information that repeats throughout a document at the bottom of the page.

An online discussion group. Online services and bulletin board services (BBS’s) provide a variety of forums, in which participants with common interests can exchange open messages. Forums are sometimes called newsgroups (in the Internet world) or conferences.

A feature of some web browsers that enables a page to be displayed in separate scrollable windows. Frames can be difficult to translate for text-only viewing via ADA guidelines, so their use is increasingly being discouraged.

Copyrighted software available for downloading without charge; unlimited personal usage is permitted, but you cannot do anything else without express permission of the author. Contrast to shareware; copyrighted software which requires you to register and pay a small fee to the author if you decide to continue using a program you download.

The scattering of parts of the same disk file over different areas of a disk; fragmentation occurs as files are deleted and new ones are added.

File Transfer Protocol; a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. FTP is built on a client-server architecture and uses separate control and data connections between the client and the server.

Functional permissions:
Functional permissions are the minimum permissions required by a social networking service in order to do its job: the permissions you need to give to service providers to store and access your data to use your account. Sites may also request additional permissions, for example they might make it a requirement that you agree to let them reuse your content for purposes other than running your account.
You can find out what permissions you are agreeing to by reading carefully the terms of use and privacy policies.

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Graphics Interchange Format; a format for a file that contains a graphic or a picture. Files of this type usually have the suffix “.gif” as part of their name. Many images seen on web pages are GIF files.

Gigabyte (Gig or GB):
A gigabyte (GB) is a measure of computer data storage capacity that is roughly equivalent to 1 billion bytes. A gigabyte is two to the 30th power or 1,073,741,824 in decimal notation. The term is pronounced with two hard Gs. The prefix giga comes from a Greek word meaning giant.

Global Positioning System; a collection of Earth-orbiting satellites. In a more common context, GPS actually refers to a GPS receiver which uses a mathematical principle called “trilateration” that can tell you exactly where you are on Earth at any moment.

The graphical processing unit, or GPU for short, is a microchip that is designed to process all graphical commands.

Granularity refers to the degree to which users can set permissions with regard to their information, the choices a member can make over who gets to see what information and data they upload or create on a site. Most services offer basic permissions within broad friend categories: you can share all your information with no-one, with all friends or with everyone (the public). Granular services allow users more flexibility over what they make available and to whom. Members may be able to assign permissions to different areas of their on-site activity, make parts of their profile or particular blog posts available to specific groups.

Greyware (or grayware) refers to a malicious software or code that is considered to fall in the “grey area” between normal software and a virus. Greyware is a term for which all other malicious or annoying software such as adware, spyware, trackware, and other malicious code and malicious shareware fall under.

When a child abuser tries to start a relationship online with a child for unlawful purposes. Also see online grooming.

Graphical user interface; a mouse-based system that contains icons, drop-down menus, and windows where you point and click to indicate what you want to do. All new Windows and Macintosh computers currently being sold utilize this technology.

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Originally thought of as a computer enthusiast, but now a hacker is normally used to refer to computer criminals, especially those who break into other people’s computer networks.

Hard drive:
A magnetic storage device that holds large amounts of data, usually in the range of hundreds to thousands of megabytes. Although usually internal to the computer, some types of hard disk devices are attached separately for use as supplemental disk space. “Hard disk” and “hard drive” often are used interchangeably but technically, hard drive refers to the mechanism that reads data from the disk.

Hard Copy:
A printed version on paper of data held in a computer; also called a printout.

The physical components of a computer including the keyboard, monitor, disk drive, and internal chips and wiring. Hardware is the counterpart of software.

Is the information that repeats throughout a document at the top of the page.

Help desk:
A help desk is an information and assistance resource that troubleshoots problems with computers or similar products. Corporations often provide help desk support their employees and to their customers via a toll-free number, website and/or e-mail.

Helper application:
A program used for viewing multimedia files that your web browser cannot handle internally; files using a helper application must be moved to your computer before being shown or played. Contrast to a plug-in which enables you to view the file over the Internet without first downloading it.

Your internet browser toolbar will have a button marked ‘history’. If you click on it you can review which sites have been viewed.

Is the introductory page of a website, typically serving as a table of contents for the site.

A computer accessed by a user working at a remote location. Also refers to a specific computer connected to a TCP/IP network like the Internet.

Hypertext Markup Language; is a coding language used for creating web pages. Various instructions and sets of tags are used to define how the document will look.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the set of rules for transferring files (text, graphic images, sound, video, and other multimedia files) on the World Wide Web. As soon as a Web user opens their Web browser, the user is indirectly making use of HTTP.

Connects one piece of information (anchor) to a related piece of information (anchor) in an electronic document. Clicking on a hyperlink takes you to directly to the linked destination which can be within the same document or in an entirely different document. Hyperlinks are commonly found on web pages, word documents and PDF files.

Data that contains one or more links to other data; commonly seen in web pages and in online help files. Key words usually are underlined or highlighted. Example: If you look for information about “Cats” in a reference book and see a note that says “Refer also to Mammals” the two topics are considered to be linked. In a hypertext file, you click on a link to go directly to the related information.

A hypervisor, also called virtual machine manager (VMM), is one of many hardware virtualization techniques that allow multiple operating systems, termed guests, to run concurrently on a host computer. It is so named because it is conceptually one level higher than a supervisory program. The hypervisor presents to the guest operating systems a virtual operating platform and manages the execution of the guest operating systems. Multiple instances of a variety of operating systems may share the virtualized hardware resources. Hypervisors are installed on server hardware whose only task is to run guest operating systems. Non-hypervisor virtualization systems are used for similar tasks on dedicated server hardware, but also commonly on desktop, portable and even handheld computers.

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Infrastructure as a Service; In the most basic cloud-service model, providers of IaaS offer computers – physical or (more often) virtual machines – and other resources.

A graphic representation of a computer program, object, function, folder, or file. Double-clicking on an icon opens the program or file it represents.

Internet Connection Sharing; a feature in Windows that when enabled, allows you to connect computer on your home network to the Internet via one computer.

IEEE 1394 port:
An interface for attaching high-speed serial devices to your computer; IEEE 1394 connectors support plug and play.

Internet Information Server; a group of Internet servers (including a Web or Hypertext Transfer Protocol server and a File Transfer Protocol server) with additional capabilities for Microsoft’s Windows NT and Windows 2000 Server operating systems.

Instant Messaging; a system for exchanging typed electronic messages instantly via the Internet or a cellular network, using a shared software application on a personal computer or mobile device.

Image map:
A graphic overlay that contains more than one area (or hot spot) which is clickable and links to another web page or anchor. Image maps provide an alternative to text links for directing the user to additional information.

Internet Message Access Protocol; is a standard protocol for accessing e-mail from your local server. IMAP (the latest version is IMAP Version 4) is a client/server protocol in which e-mail is received and held for you by your Internet server.

A type of invisible light that some handsets and other devices can use to communicate. Most TV remote controls use the same technology. It is an alternative to radio services like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but requires direct line-of-sight to work.

Input (n):
Information entered into the computer for processing.

Input (v):
To enter information into the computer.

To add information to a file.

A worldwide network based on the TCP/IP protocol that can connect almost any make or model of computers to each other by telephone lines, cables, and satellites.

Internet café:
A public place, usually but not always serving refreshments, where you can pay to access the internet from a computer.

Internet explorer:
A client program from Microsoft that comes pre installed on most new PC or compatible computers; enables you to browse the World Wide Web.

Internet radio:
An audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet; broadcasts consist of a continuous stream. A drawback is the inability to control selection as you can when listening to traditional radio broadcasting.

Internet Troll:
A person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the internet over extremely trivial issues.

is the agency that governs and maintains the name and host registration on the Internet.

IP address:
Internet Protocol address; is an unique number system which is allocated to every computer connected to the internet. Since these numbers are usually assigned in country based blocks, an IP address can often be used to identify the country from which a computer is connecting to the internet. It is not possible to tell the exact address of an individual using the IP address.

Internet Relay Chat; a system that enables two or more Internet users to conduct online discussions in real time.

Interrupt request; refers to a number associated with a serial port on an PC or compatible computer. It usually can be changed by flipping a dip switch. Occasionally, when you’re using a modem connect to the Internet, you may need to adjust the IRQ number assigned to the serial port which connects the modem to avoid conflicts with another device like your mouse.

Internet Service Provider; an organization or company that provides Internet connectivity.

IT Assessment:
An IT Assessment is the practice of gathering information on part or whole of a IT network infrastructure, and then presented in a detailed report. This report typically analyzes the current state or health of technology or services and identifies areas needing improvement or prepare for a some type of system or application upgrade. A IT Assessment can be performed in-house or outsourced to an IT vendor.

Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) is the process of checking that a project, service, or system meets specifications and that it fulfills its intended purpose. If you’ve recently implemented a new technology solution, you may want an independent party to assess the quality of the work.

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A general purpose programming language commonly used in conjunction with web pages that feature animation. Small Java applications are called Java applets; many can be downloaded and run on your computer by a Java-compatible browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer.

A publicly available scripting language that shares many of the features of Java; it is used to add dynamic content (various types of interactivity) to web pages.

Joint Photographic Experts Group; a graphics format which compresses an image to save space. Most images imbedded in web pages are GIFs, but sometimes the JPEG format is used (especially for detailed graphics or photographs). In some cases, you can click on the image to display a larger version with better resolution.

Is a scripting language created by Microscoft, similar to JavaScript.

A word processing format in which text is formatted flush with both the left and right margins. Other options include left justified (text is lined up against the left margin) and right justified (text is lined up against the right margin).

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An abbreviation for kilobyte; it contains 1,024 bytes; in turn 1,024 kilobytes is equal to one megabyte.

Kilobits per second. A way of measuring the speed of a network by counting the number of bits (a single 1 or 0) sent each second. A kilobit is a thousand bytes.

An authentication system developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); it enables the exchange of private information across an open network by assigning a unique key called a “ticket” to a user requesting access to secure information.

The amount of space between characters in a word; in desktop publishing, it is typically performed on pairs of letters or on a short range of text to fine-tune the character spacing.

Most often refers to a feature of text editing and database management systems; a keyword is an index entry that correlates with a specific record or document.

Kilobyte (K, KB, or Kb):
A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is approximately a thousand bytes (actually, 2 to the 10th power, or decimal 1,024 bytes).

Knowledge base:
A database where information common to a particular topic is stored online for easy reference; for example, a frequently-asked questions (FAQ) list may provide links to a knowledge base.

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LAN or local area network is a computer network usually connected by cables that covers a small area such as a home or office.

A small computer, consisting of a screen and a keyboard, which folds in half so that it can be easily carried.

Laser printer:
A type of printer that produces exceptionally high quality copies. It works on the same principle as a photocopier, placing a black powder onto paper by using static charge on a rolling drum.

The vertical space between lines of text on a page; in desktop publishing, you can adjust the leading to make text easier to read.

Learning management system (LMS):
Software used for developing, using, and storing course content of all types. Information within a learning management system often takes the form of learning objects (see “learning object” below).

Learning object:
A chunk of course content that can be reused and independently maintained. Although each chunk is unique in its content and function, it must be able to communicate with learning systems using a standardized method not dependent on the system. Each chunk requires a description to facilitate search and retrieval.

See: “hyperlink”.

an open-source operating system that is based on the UNIX operating system. Linux is free for users to download and use.

A program that manages electronic mailing lists; OIT is responsible for the ListProcessor software and also handles requests from the OSU community or new mailing lists.

LISTSERV, Listserver:
An electronic mailing list; it provides a simple way of communicating with a large number of people very quickly by automating the distribution of electronic mail. At OSU, mailing lists are used not only for scholarly communication and collaboration, but also as a means of facilitating and enhancing classroom education.

Log in, log on:
The process of entering your username and password to gain access to a particular computer; e.g., a mainframe, a network or secure server, or another system capable of resource sharing.

Log out, log off:
To end a session at the computer. For personal computers, you can log out simply by exiting applications and turning the machine off. On larger computers and networks, where you share computer resources with other users, there is generally an operating system command that lets you log off.

Lorem Ipsum:
In publishing and graphic design, lorem ipsum (derived from Latin dolorem ipsum, translated as “pain itself”) is a filler text commonly used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation.

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Metal-as-a-Service; The dynamic provisioning and deployment of whole physical servers, as opposed to the provisioning of virtual machines.

MAC Address:
Media Access Control Address; is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications on the physical network segment. MAC addresses are used as a network address for most IEEE 802 network technologies, including Ethernet and WiFi.

A personal computer introduced in the mid-1980s as an alternative to the IBM PC. Macintoshes popularized the graphical user interface and the 3 1/2 inch diskette drive.

Mac OS:
The operating systems used on Apple Macintosh computers, referred to as Mac OSX since version 10. Mac OS comes pre-installed on Apple computers.

Mail server:
A networked computer dedicated to supporting electronic mail. You use a client program like Microsoft Outlook for retrieving new mail from the server and for composing and sending messages.

Mailing list:
A collection of e-mail addresses identified by a single name; mailing lists provide a simple way of corresponding with a group of people with a common interest or bond. There are two main types of lists: 1) one you create within an e-mail program like Outlook that contains addresses for two or more individuals you frequently send the same message; and 2) a Listserve type that requires participants to be subscribed (e.g., a group of collaborators, a class of students, or often just individuals interested in discussing a particular topic).

Main memory:
The amount of memory physically installed in your computer. Also referred to as “RAM”.

A very large computer capable of supporting hundreds of users running a variety of different programs simultaneously. Often the distinction between small mainframes and minicomputers is vague and may depend on how the machine is marketed.

Male connector:
A cable connector that has pins and plugs into a port or interface to connect one device to another.

Software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer; common examples of malware include viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware.

Managed Workstations:
A Managed Workstation reduces downtime, improves maintenance, increases productivity and data security through an effective blend of Help Desk and on-site support and centralized deployment of software patches and virus protection updates.

Messaging Application Programming Interface; a system built into Microsoft Windows that enables different e-mail programs to interface to distribute e-mail. When both programs are MAPI-enabled, they can share messages.

Megabits per second. A way of measuring the speed of a network by counting the number of bits (a single 1 or 0) sent each second. A megabit is a million bits.

Mobile Device Management; Any routine or tool intended to distribute applications, data, and configuration settings to mobile communications devices. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of a mobile communications network. MDM must be part of a coherent BYOD strategy.

Megabyte (Meg or MB):
A megabyte (abbreviated MB) is 2 to the 20th power bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes in decimal notation.

MHz or mHz:
Megahertz; a measurement of a microprocessor’s speed; one MHz represents one million cycles per second. The speed determines how many instructions per second a microprocessor can execute. The higher the megahertz, the faster the computer.

To shrink the window that a program is using to an icon.

In a graphical user interface, a bar containing a set of titles that appears at the top of a window. Once you display the contents of a menu by clicking on its title, you can select any active command (e.g., one that appears in bold type and not in a lighter, gray type).

Microsoft Exchange:
Microsoft Exchange Server is the server side of a client–server, collaborative application product developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products and is used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure products. Exchange’s major features consist of electronic mail, calendaring, contacts and tasks; support for mobile and web-based access to information; and support for data storage.

Microsoft Windows:
A group of operating systems for PC or compatible computers; Windows provides a graphical user interface so you can point and click to indicate what you want to do.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions; a protocol that enables you to include various types of files (text, audio, video, images, etc.) as an attachment to an e-mail message.

is a name given by webmasters and web-developers to the Google’s algorithm update of 21 April 21 2015. The main effect of this update is give priority to web sites that display well on smartphones and other mobile devices.

Mobile working:
Mobile working refers to the practice of people working away from their offices and needing to stay connected to the company network. This requires hardware such as laptops or smartphones, as well as a secure VPN (virtual private network).

A device that enables a computer to send and receive information over a normal telephone line. Modems can either be external (a separate device) or internal (a board located inside the computer’s case) and are available with a variety of features such as error correction and data compression.

Moderated chatroom:
A chatroom or other service where an adult is watching the conversations to make sure they do not break the hosting company’s policy on online behaviour. This may include inappropriate language, the disclosure of personal information or behaviour which is considered dangerous. Some chatrooms do not have a person watching all the time, but rely on a program that monitors all of the chats and alerts a moderator when particular words appear.

Supervising what goes on in a chatroom, newsgroup, social network or other online service. Online moderation of members’ activities and uploaded files can be provided by social networking services in a number of ways. The UK Home Office Task Force for Child Protection on the Internet (2005) defined these as including: Pre-moderation: in a pre-moderated service, all material supplied by users is reviewed by the moderator for suitability before it becomes visible to other users; Post-moderation: in a post-moderated service, all material supplied by users is reviewed after it becomes visible to other users. The length of time between the material becoming visible and being checked may vary; Sample moderation: a moderator may “patrol” a number of spaces or otherwise examine a sample of content, but not all content is reviewed after publication; Reactive moderation: in a service of this type, moderation takes place only after a request for intervention is made.

A person who reviews and has the authority to block messages posted to a supervised or “moderated” network newsgroup or online community.

The part of a computer that contains the screen where messages to and from the central processing unit (CPU) are displayed. Monitors come in a variety of sizes and resolutions. The higher the number of pixels a screen is capable of displaying, the better the resolution. Sometimes may be referred to as a CRT.

A handheld device used with a graphical user interface system. Common mouse actions include: clicking the mouse button to select an object or to place the cursor at a certain point within a document; double-clicking the mouse button to start a program or open a folder; and dragging (holding down) the mouse button and moving the mouse to highlight a menu command or a selected bit of text.

Mouse wheel:
A wheel in the middle of most computer mice that allows you to scroll up and down a window on your computer screen.

Motion Picture Experts Group; a high quality video format commonly used for files found on the Internet. Usually a special helper application is required to view MPEG files.

Managed Remote Back Up; a service that provides users with a system for the backup, storage, and recovery of data using cloud computing.

Managed Service Provider; A business model for providing information-technology services.

Mean Time Between Failures; is a measure of how reliable a hardware product or component is. For most components, the measure is typically in thousands or even tens of thousands of hours between failures. For example, a hard disk drive may have a mean time between failures of 300,000 hours.

The delivery of information, usually to a personal computer, in a combination of different formats including text, graphics, animation, audio, and video.

The ability of a CPU to perform more than one operation at the same time; Windows and Macintosh computers are multitasking in that each program that is running uses the CPU only for as long as needed and then control switches to the next task.

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Network as a Service; a category of cloud services that provides users with the capability of where the capability provided to the cloud service user is to usinge network/transport connectivity services and/or inter-cloud network connectivity services.

A computer hardware or software server that implements a network service for providing responses to queries against a directory service. It translates an often humanly-meaningful, text-based identifier to a system-internal, often numeric identification or addressing component.

Network Address Translation; is a methodology of remapping one IP address space into another by modifying network address information in Internet Protocol (IP) datagram packet headers while they are in transit across a traffic routing device.

Navigation bar:
A set of links to the main sections of a website which appears on each Web page within that website.

Abbreviation for internet.

Network Basic Input/Output System; is a program that allows applications on different computers to communicate within a local area network (LAN). It was created by IBM for its early PC Network, was adopted by Microsoft, and has since become a de facto industry standard.

A series of electronic devices, such as computers, that are connected together and can freely exchange information. A network can be as few as several personal computers on a LAN or as large as the Internet, a worldwide network of computers.

Network adapter:
A device that connects your computer to a network; also called an adapter card or network interface card.

Network hub:
A common connection point for devices on a network.

Network Infrastructure:
This refers to all the cabling, routers, switches and any other equipment that makes up a computer network. A network can be based on a variety of different technologies and can range from low speed dial up, to high speed fibre optic cabling.

Network Interface Controller; is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network.

Network Load Balancing; a clustering technology offered by Microsoft as part of all Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 family operating systems.

Network News Transport Protocol; the protocol used for posting, distributing, and retrieving network news messages.

Network monitoring:
Network monitoring is the use of a system that constantly monitors a computer network for slow or failing components and that notifies the network administrator (via email, SMS or other alarms) in case of outages. It is part of network management.

Network security:
Network security consists of the provisions and policies adopted by a network administrator to prevent and monitor unauthorized access, misuse, modification, or denial of the computer network and network-accessible resources. Network Security is the authorization of access to data in a network, which is controlled by a network administrator.

Is a discussion about a particular subject consisting of notes written to a central Internet site and redistributed through USENET, a worldwide network of news discussion groups.

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Optical character recognition; the act of using a visual scanning device to read text from hard copy and translate it into a format a computer can access (e.g., an ASCII file). OCR systems include an optical scanner for reading text and sophisticated software for analyzing images.

At-place-of-work-or-business support, typically provided by a technically qualified individual.

A term that has commonly come to mean “not connected to the Internet”.

A term that has commonly come to mean “connected to the Internet and can share data with other computers”.

Online grooming:
Online grooming is defined by the UK Home Office as: “A course of conduct enacted by a suspected paedophile, which would give a reasonable person cause for concern that any meeting with a child arising from the conduct would be for unlawful purposes.”

Open Source:
Is the denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.

OpenType is a format for scalable computer fonts. It was built on its predecessor TrueType, retaining TrueType’s basic structure and adding many intricate data structures for prescribing typographic behavior. OpenType is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

OpenVPN is an open source virtual private network (VPN) product that offers simplified security, a modular network design and cross-platform portability. OpenVPN is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Private licenses are available for individuals or companies wishing to redistribute OpenVPN in modified form.

A client program from Opera software; enables you to browse the World Wide Web.

Operating System (OS):
An operating system (sometimes abbreviated as “OS”) is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer. The other programs are called applications or application programs. The application programs make use of the operating system by making requests for services through a defined application program interface (API). In addition, users can interact directly with the operating system through a user interface such as a command language or a graphical user interface (GUI).

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Peer-to-Peer; a type of connection between two computers; both perform computations, store data, and make requests from each other (unlike a client-server connection where one computer makes a request and the other computer responds with information).

Platform as a Service, in the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform that typically including an operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server.

A unit of transmission in data communications. The TCP/IP protocol breaks large data files into smaller chunks for sending over a network so that less data will have to be re-transmitted if errors occur.

The range of colors a computer or an application is able to display. Most newer computers can display as many as 16 million colors, but a given program may use only 256 of them. Also refers to a display box containing a set of related tools within a desktop publishing or graphics design program.

Refers to an HTML document on the World Wide Web or to a particular web site; usually pages contain links to related documents (or pages).

Parallel port:
An interface on a computer that supports transmission of multiple bits at the same time; almost exclusively used for connecting a printer. On IBM or compatible computers, the parallel port uses a 25-pin connector. Macintoshes have an SCSI port that is parallel, but more flexible in the type of devices it can support.

The act of virtually separating a hard disk so that it behaves as though it were multiple disks.

A secret combination of letters, numbers, and other characters that you create in order to protect the confidentiality of your information on your computer and on the Internet. Often used in conjunction with a username.

Usually refers to an IBM PC or compatible, or when used generically, to a “personal computer”. In a different context, PC also is an abbreviation for “politically correct.”

Personal Digital Assistant; a small hand-held computer that in the most basic form, allows you to store names and addresses, prepare to-do lists, schedule appointments, keep track of projects, track expenditures, take notes, and do calculations. Depending on the model, you also may be able to send or receive e-mail; do word processing; play MP3 music files; get news, entertainment and stock quotes from the Internet; play video games; and have an integrated digital camera or GPS receiver.

Portable Document Format; a type of formatting that enables files to be viewed on a variety computers regardless of the program originally used to create them. PDF files retain the “look and feel” of the original document with special formatting, graphics, and color intact. You use a special program or print driver (Adobe Distiller or PDF Writer) to convert a file into PDF format.

Practical Extraction and Report Language; a programming language that is commonly used for writing CGI scripts used by most servers to process data received from a client browser.

A permanent static hyperlink to a particular web page or entry in a blog.

A petabyte (PB) is a measure of memory or storage capacity and is 2 to the 50th power bytes or, in decimal, approximately a thousand terabytes.

A method of setting up a computer or a program for multiple users. Example: In Windows, each user is given a separate “personality” and set of relevant files.

Pretty good privacy; a technique for encrypting e-mail messages. PGP uses a public key to give to anyone who sends you messages and a private key you keep to decrypt messages you receive.

A type of directory service often referred to as a “phone book”. When accessing this type of directory service, follow the directions from the particular site for looking up information.

An Internet scam that involves misdirecting a user to a fraudulent Web site or proxy server by exploiting weaknesses in DNS (Domain Name Server) server software and hijacking transactions, or by changing certain files in the client software on a victim’s computer. The term pharming is a play on farming and phishing.

A con that scammers use to electronically collect personal information from unsuspecting users. Phishers send e-mails that appear to come from legitimate websites such as eBay, PayPal, or other banking institutions asking you to click on a link included in the email and then update or validate your information by entering your username and password and often even more information, such as your full name, address, phone number, social security number, and credit card number.

Is a script language and interpreter that is freely available and used primarily on Linux Web servers. PHP, originally derived from Personal Home Page Tools, now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, which the PHP FAQ describes as a “recursive acronym.”

Personal Identification Number; are commonly assigned to bank customers for use with automatic cash dispensers. They are also used, sometimes with a security token, for individual access to computer networks or other secure systems. Often have four digits, used like a password.

Packet Internet Groper; a utility used to determine whether a particular computer is currently connected to the Internet. It works by sending a packet to the specified IP address and waiting for a reply.

Ping (Command):
Built into both Windows and UNIX operating systems, is a universal way of testing network response time and performance. The ping command is used by system administrators for diagnostic problems, particularly for testing, measuring, and managing networks.

Stands for one picture element (one dot on a computer monitor); commonly used as a unit of measurement.

A program used for viewing multimedia files that your web browser cannot handle internally; files using a plug-in do not need to be moved to your computer before being shown or played. Contrast to a helper application which requires the file to first be moved to your computer. Examples of plug-ins: Adobe Flash Player (for video and animation) and Quicktime (for streamed files over the Internet).

Plug and play:
A set of specifications that allows a computer to automatically detect and configure a device and install the appropriate device drivers.

Is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded (can be downloaded automatically or manually) through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is portmanteau of “pod” and “broadcast.”

Most commonly the arrow that appears on your computer screen and moves when you move your mouse or touch your trackpad.

Post Office Protocol; is a simple system with limited selectivity. Incoming messages and attachments are downloaded when users check their mail. POP is typically configured to delete the messages on the server after downloading.

Pop-up blocker:
Any application that disables the pop-up, pop-over, or pop-under ad windows that appear when you use a web browser.

When referring to a physical device, a hardware port or peripheral port is a hole or connection found on the front or back of a computer. Ports allow computers to access external devices such as printers.

A page on the Internet with links to and information about other web pages—like a door that gives you access to other rooms.

The act of sending a message to a particular network newsgroup.

A page description language primarily used for printing documents on laser printers; it is the standard for desktop publishing because it takes advantage of high resolution output devices. Example: A graphic design saved in PostScript format looks much better when printed on a 600 dpi printer than on a 300 dpi printer.

PostScript fonts:
Called outline or scalable fonts; with a single typeface definition, a PostScript printer can produce many other fonts. Contrast to non-PostScript printers that represent fonts with bitmaps and require a complete set for each font size.

Point-to-Point Protocol; a type of connection over telephone lines that gives you the functionality of a direct ethernet connection.

The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a method for implementing virtual private networks. PPTP uses a control channel over TCP and a GRE tunnel operating to encapsulate PPP packets.

Print preview:
A software feature that reduces the pages of a document so that a full page can be seen on the screen before being printed. This feature permits the user to spot and correct problems.

Output devices of various types that produce copy on paper.

The paper copy of information produced on a printer.

A program (spelt the American way) is a collection of instructions that tells a computer how to perform a specific task, like show a picture or display a web page or change a document. Every time you want to do something on a computer you need to use one or more progams.

Private cloud:
Private cloud (also called internal cloud or corporate cloud) is a term for a proprietary computing architecture that provides hosted services to a limited number of users behind a secure and robust infrastructure.

A set of rules that regulate how computers exchange information. Example: error checking for file transfers or POP for handling electronic mail.

Refers to a special kind of server that functions as an intermediate link between a client application (like a web browser) and a real server. The proxy server intercepts requests for information from the real server and whenever possible, fills the request. When it is unable to do so, the request is forwarded to the real server.

Public domain software:
Any non-copyrighted program; this software is free and can be used without restriction. Often confused with “freeware” (free software that is copyrighted by the author).

Frequently used to describe data sent over the Internet; the act of requesting data from another computer. Example: using your web browser to access a specific page. Contrast to “push” technology when data is sent to you without a specific request being made.

Frequently used to describe data sent over the Internet; the act of sending data to a client computer without the client requesting it. Example: a subscriptions service that delivers customized news to your desktop. Contrast to browsing the World Wide Web which is based on “pull” technology; you must request a web page before it is sent to your computer.

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Quality of service; is the ability to provide different priority to different applications, users, or data flows, or to guarantee a certain level of performance to a data flow. For example, a required bit rate, delay, jitter, packet dropping probability and/or bit error rate may be guaranteed. Quality of service guarantees are important if the network capacity is insufficient, especially for real-time streaming multimedia applications such as voice over IP, online games and IP-TV, since these often require fixed bit rate and are delay sensitive, and in networks where the capacity is a limited resource, for example in cellular data communication.

A video format developed by Apple Computer commonly used for files found on the Internet; an alternative to MPEG. A special viewer program available for both IBM PC and compatibles and Macintosh computers is required for playback.

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Originally Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, now Redundant Array of Independent Disks; provides a way of storing the same data in different places (thus, redundantly) on multiple hard disks (though not all RAID levels provide redundancy). By placing data on multiple disks, input/output (I/O) operations can overlap in a balanced way, improving performance. Since multiple disks increase the mean time between failures (MTBF), storing data redundantly also increases fault tolerance.

RAID Controller:
A RAID controller is a hardware device or software program used to manage hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs) in a computer or storage array so they work as a logical unit.

Random Access Memory (RAM) is temporary computer memory held on microchips available for use by programs on a computer. Instructions and data are held in RAM while the computer is in use and disappear when turned off. The more RAM a computer has, the more applications a user can run simultaneously. Also referred to as “main memory”.

A set of fields that contain related information; in database type systems, groups of similar records are stored in files. Example: a personnel file that contains employment information.

To sign up for an Internet service by providing personal information, such as your name and email address.

A database used by Windows for storing configuration information. Most 32-bit Windows applications write data to the registry. Although you can edit the registry, this is not recommended unless absolutely necessary because errors could disable your computer.

Remote backup:
Online backup, also known as remote backup, is a method of offsite data storage in which files, folders, or the entire contents of a hard drive are regularly backed up on a remote server or computer with a network connection.

Remote desktop:
A Windows feature that allows you to have access to a Windows session from another computer in a different location (XP and later).

Remote login:
An interactive connection from your desktop computer over a network or telephone lines to a computer in another location (remote site).

Remote monitoring:
See: “network monitoring”.

Remote support:
See: “help desk”.

Red, green, and blue; the primary colors that are mixed to display the color of pixels on a computer monitor. Every color of emitted light can be created by combining these three colors in varying levels.

RJ-45 connector:
An eight-wire connector used for connecting a computer to a local-area network. May also be referred to as an Ethernet connector.

Read Only Memory (ROM); a special type of memory used to store programs that start a computer and do diagnostics. Data stored in ROM can only be read and cannot be removed even when your computer is turned off. Most personal computers have only a few thousand bytes of ROM. Contrast to RAM (random access or main memory) which is the amount of memory available for use by programs on your computer.

Is a collection of computer software, typically malicious, designed to enable access to a computer or areas of its software that would not otherwise be allowed (for example, to an unauthorized user) while at the same time masking its existence or the existence of other software.

Routers are little electrical boxes that pass packets of data among multiple interconnected networks. Routers can filter packets and forward them according to a specified set of criteria.

RSS Feed:
Rich Site Summary is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

Rich Text Format; a type of document formatting that enables special characteristics like fonts and margins to be included within an ASCII file. May be used when a document must be shared among users with different kinds of computers (e.g., IBM PC or compatibles and Macintoshes).

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Software as a Service; a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser.

Safari: A client program from Apple; enables you to browse the World Wide Web.

Safe mode:
A way of starting your Windows computer that can help you diagnose problems; access is provided only to basic files and drivers.

Storage Area Network; is a high-speed network of storage devices that also connects those storage devices with servers. It provides block-level storage that can be accessed by the applications running on any networked servers.

Satellite transmission:
A method of data transmission; the sender beams data up to an orbiting satellite and the satellite beams the data back down to the receiver.

To store a program or data on a storage device such as a disk.

Screen reader:
A software program that translates text on a Web page into audio output; typically used by individuals with vision impairment.

A program that changes the screen display while the user is away from the computer. Without the use of a screen saver, a screen image that remains on display for any length of time can damage the screen.

Scroll bar:
In a graphical user interface system, the narrow rectangular bar at the far right of windows or dialog boxes. Clicking on the up or down arrow enables you to move up and down through a document; a movable square indicates your location in the document. Certain applications also feature a scroll bar along the bottom of a window that can be used to move from side-to-side.

Small computer system interface, otherwise known as “Scuzzy”, is a standard for connecting computers and peripherals together.

To look for something on the Internet using keywords typed into a search engine.

Search engine:
A large, searchable database of links to millions of websites.

Secure server:
A special type of file server that requires authentication (e.g., entry a valid username and password) before access is granted.

Security token:
A small device used to provide an additional level of authorization to access a particular network service; the token itself may be embedded in some type of object like a key fob or on a smart card. Also referred to as an authentication token.

Security updates:
New versions of programs to fix problems that have been found. Often sent out automatically, it is important that security updates are installed as soon as they are released as hackers and malware often try to make use of the errors that are to be fixed.

Section 508:
A 1998 amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973; it states after June 25, 2001, all electronic and information technology developed, purchased, or used by the federal government must be accessible to those with disabilities. Refer to the Section 508 website for more information.

Self-extracting file:
A type of compressed file that you can execute (e.g., double-click on the filename) to begin the decompression process; no other decompression utility is required. Example: on IBM PC or compatibles, certain files with an “.exe” extension and on Macintoshes, all files with a “.sea” extension.

Serial ATA (SATA):
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment OR Serial ATA is a type of connectivity used primarily for hard drives. It is a replacement for Parallel ATA (PATA).

Serial port:
An interface on a computer that supports transmission of a single bit at a time; can be used for connecting almost any type of external device including a mouse, a modem, or a printer.

A computer or computer program which manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network.

Is the act of sending or receiving sexually-explicit images and messages, typically between cell phones. In many countries, sending or receiving nude photographs of an underage person is a felony, and can result in jail time and 20 years as a registered sex offender.

Copyrighted software available for downloading on a free, limited trial basis; if you decide to use the software, you’re expected to register and pay a small fee. By doing this, you become eligible for assistance and updates from the author. Contrast to public domain software which is not copyrighted or to freeware which is copyrighted but requires no usage fee.

A file containing a bit of personal information that you can set to be automatically appended to your outgoing e-mail messages; many network newsreaders also have this capability. Large signatures over five lines generally are frowned upon.

Single In-line Memory Module; a small circuit board that can hold a group of memory chips; used to increase your computer’s RAM in increments of 1,2, 4, or 16 MB.

Short for website. A site is a collection of web pages, usually all located on a single web server, and usually about the same topic.

Slang term for a site template. The skin of a blog, website or profile is the design element that determines how web pages look. Many social networking sites offer users a wide variety of skins allowing members to customise their spaces to better reflect their interests and aesthetic preferences.

A cellular phone that allows you to access email and the Internet.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol; is an Internet standard for electronic mail (email) transmission. First defined by RFC 821 in 1982, it was last updated in 2008 with the Extended SMTP additions by RFC 5321 – which is the protocol in widespread use today. SMTP by default uses TCP port 25.

Snail mail:
A term employed by e-mail users to refer to regular paper mail service.

Social Networking Sites:
web-based services that aiming to build online communities of people with similar interests, providing users with different ways of communicating with each other online.

Soft copy:
Legible version of a piece of information not printed on a physical medium, especially as stored or displayed on a computer.

Is any set of machine-readable instructions that directs a computer’s processor to perform specific operations. Computer software is non-tangible, contrasted with computer hardware, which is the physical component of computers.

Email spam, also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email (UBE), is a subset of spam that involves nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by email. Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk. Spammers collect email addresses from chatrooms, websites, customer lists, newsgroups, and viruses which harvest users’ address books, and are sold to other spammers. They also use a practice known as “email appending” or “epending” in which they use known information about their target (such as a postal address) to search for the target’s email address. Also see “Anti-Spam”.

Solid State Drive, a storage device containing non-volatile flash memory, used in place of a hard disk because of its much greater speed.

Service Set Identifier; a name that identifies a wireless network.

Computer data storage, often called storage or memory, is a technology consisting of computer components and recording media used to retain digital data. There are two types of storage, internal and external. Internal storage is an integral component of a computer; cannot be removed, store to place information in memory for later use. External storage comprises devices that temporarily store information for transporting from computer to computer; such devices are not permanently fixed inside a computer.

Shielded Twisted Pair wiring protects the transmission line from electromagnetic interference leaking into or out of the cable. STP cabling often is used in Ethernet networks, especially fast data rate Ethernets.

Streaming (streaming media):
A technique for transferring data over the Internet so that a client browser or plug-in can start displaying it before the entire file has been received; used in conjunction with sound and pictures. Example: The Flash Player plug-in from Adobe Systems gives your computer the capability for streaming audio; RealPlayer is used for viewing sound and video.

An email message sent to a large number of people without their consent, typically to large numbers of users, usually promoting a product or service. Also known as Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) or junk email.

A program that searches the web for new Web sites.

Sending spam using instant messaging (IM).

An electronic document in which data is arranged in the rows and columns of a grid and can be manipulated and used in calculations.

A general term for a program that secretly monitors your actions, gathers user information, usually for advertising purposes, through the user’s Internet connection. While they are sometimes sinister, like a remote-control program used by a hacker, software companies have been known to use spyware to gather data about customers. The practice is generally frowned upon.

Secure Sockets Layer; the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

Stranger danger:
Stranger danger is the danger to children and adults, presented by strangers. The phrase stranger danger is intended to sum up the danger associated with adults whom adults/children do not know. The phrase has found widespread usage and many children will hear it (or similar advice) during their childhood lives.

A method of showing video clips/films online and also of listening to music online.

An area on a hard disk that contains a related set of files; on IBM PC or compatibles, a level below another directory. On Macintoshes, subdirectories are referred to as folders.

To sign up for a service or website. Usually you will be asked to set up a username and password, and may be asked for personal information like your name, address and age. It is important to check a site’s privacy policy before you do this, as the information may be used in ways you do not expect.

A service provided by a hardware or software company which provides registered users with help and advice about their products.

Is used to describe a rather undirected type of Web browsing in which the user jumps from page to page rather whimsically, as opposed to specifically searching for specific information.

Super VGA (Video Graphics Array); a set of graphics standards for a computer monitor that offers greater resolution than VGA. There are several different levels including 800 x 600 pixels, 1024 by 768 pixels, 1280 by 1024 pixels; and 1600 by 1200 pixels. Although each supports a palette of 16 million colors, the number of simultaneous colors is dependent on the amount of video memory installed in the computer.

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T-1 carrier:
A dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of 1.544Mbits per second; T-1 lines are a popular leased line option for businesses connecting to the Internet and for Internet Service Providers connecting to the Internet backbone. Sometimes referred to as a DS1 line.

T-3 carrier:
A dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of about 43 Mbps; T-3 lines are used mainly by Internet Service Providers connecting to the Internet backbone and for the backbone itself. Sometimes referred to as a DS3 line.

With reference to web design, a method for formatting information on a page. Use of tables and the cells within also provide a way to create columns of text. Use of tables vs frames is recommended for helping to make your web site ADA-compliant.

A compact, book-sized computer.

Tab gird:
A series of preset indentions.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). This is the basic communication language that the internet uses. Other Internet protocols like FTP, Gopher, and HTTP sit on top of TCP/IP.

The process of sending and receiving information by means of telephones, satellites, and others devices.

Conducting a conference by using computers, video, and telecommunications to share sound and images with others at remote sites.

Telephony is the technology associated with the electronic transmission of voice, fax, or other information between distant parties using systems historically associated with the telephone, a handheld device containing both a speaker or transmitter and a receiver.

A generic term that refers to the process of opening a remote interactive login session regardless of the type of computer you’re connecting to.

A pre established format for a document, stored in a computer. The template determines the margins, the type style and size to be used for the text, placement instructions for various elements and design specifications for certain items.

A terabyte (TB) is a measure of computer storage capacity that is 2 to the 40th power, or approximately a trillion bytes. A terabyte is more precisely defined as 1,024 gigabytes (GB). The prefix tera is derived from the Greek word for monster.

Any device that can transmit or receive electronic information.

Terminal emulation:
The act of using your desktop computer to communicate with another computer like a UNIX or IBM mainframe exactly as if you were sitting in front of a terminal directly connected to the system. Also refers to the software used for terminal emulation. Examples: the Telnet program for VT100 emulation and QWS3270 (Windows) and TN3270 (Macintosh) for IBM3270 fullscreen emulation.

The information displayed on a screen or printed on paper.

Text editor:
A system or program that allows a user to edit text.

Text entry:
The initial act of typing that places text in storage.

Tag Image File Format; a popular file format for storing bit-mapped graphic images on desktop computers. The graphic can be any resolution and can be black and white, gray-scale, or color. Files of this type usually have the suffix “.tif” as part of their name.

Third party applications:
Third-party applications are elements of any service which aren’t produced by the host service but by another company or individual. Widgets are often created and managed by other services. All third-party applications have terms of use that are separate to the main provider’s, and these should be carefully checked, particularly when the application requires you to give access to the data and to friend connections you have on a social networking service.

A group of bits transferred between computers on a token-ring network. Whichever computer has the token can send data to the other systems on the network which ensures only one computer can send data at a time. A token may also refer to a network security card, also known as a hard token.

Token Ring Topology:
Token Ring network is a local area network (LAN) in which all computers are connected in a ring or star topology and a bit- or token-passing scheme is used in order to prevent the collision of data between two computers that want to send messages at the same time.

A strip of menu options and buttons that can be clicked to perform certain functions across the top of many software programs.

The device on a laptop computer that takes the place of a mouse.

Tracert (Command):
Is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route (path) and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network.

An alternative to a mouse often found on laptops. It is a small rectangle of touch-sensitive material, so you can move your pointer and/or click by touching it with and moving your.

Troll Hunter:
A person who joins the forums and board just the hunt trolls for their own amusement as well as purpose of clean up the forums.

Trojan horse:
A specific type of computer malware that manifests itself as a desirable application or piece of software. It looks harmless but when opened infects a computer and can allow hackers to steal information or cause unwanted harm to the device.

A technology for outline fonts that is built into all Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Outline fonts are scalable enabling a display device to generate a character at any size based on a geometrical description.

An update of 140 characters or less published by a Twitter user meant to answer the question, “What are you doing?” which provides other users with information about you.

A service that allows users to stay connected with each other by posting updates, or “tweets,” using a computer or cell phone or by viewing updates posted by other users.

Twisted pair cable:
A type of cable that is typically found in telephone jacks; two wires are independently insulated and are twisted around each other. The cable is thinner and more flexible than the coaxial cable used in conjunction with 10Base-2 or 10Base-5 standards. Most Ohio State UNITS telephone jacks have three pairs of wires; one is used for the telephone and the other two can be used for 10Base-T Ethernet connections.

Two-factor authentication:
An extra level of security achieved using a security token device; users have a personal identification number (PIN) that identifies them as the owner of a particular token. The token displays a number which is entered following the PIN number to uniquely identify the owner to a particular network service. The identification number for each user is changed frequently, usually every few minutes.

To enter characters into memory of a computer. For a number of years the verb type began to be replaced by the verb key as a way of emphasizing the difference between a computer and a typewriter.

See: “overwriting”.

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Unshielded twisted pair is the most common kind of copper telephone wiring. Twisted pair is the ordinary copper wire that connects home and many business computers to the telephone company. To reduce crosstalk or electromagnetic induction between pairs of wires, two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other.

The process of transferring one or more files from your local computer to a remote computer. The opposite action is called download.

Uniform Resource Locator; is a string of characters that when typed into an internet browser allows access to a specific page on the internet. A URL essentially acts as a gate to the world wide web. If a URL is not entered, an internet browser will not know the correct web page to access.

Universal Serial B (USB) for short, is a standard connection type used for a wide range of devices. It usually refers to the cables, connectors and ports that connect the external devices to computers. Printers, flash drives, mobile phones, TV sets, and a whole host of other equipment are often connected through USB.

USB port:
An interface used for connecting a Universal Serial Bus (USB) device to computer; these ports support plug and play.

An early non-centralized computer network for the discussion of particular topics and the sharing of files via newsgroups.

Describing hardware or software that is easy to use or understand.

A name used in conjunction with a password to gain access to a computer system or a network service.

Unshielded Twisted Pair is the most common kind of copper telephone wiring. Twisted pair is the ordinary copper wire that connects home and many business computers to the telephone company. To reduce crosstalk or electromagnetic induction between pairs of wires, two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other.

Uniform Resource Locator; a means of identifying resources on the Internet. A full URL consists of three parts: the protocol (e.g., FTP, gopher, http, nntp, telnet); the server name and address; and the item’s path. The protocol describes the type of item and is always followed by a colon (:). The server name and address identifies the computer where the information is stored and is preceded by two slashes (//). The path shows where an item is stored on the server and what the file is called; each segment of the location s preceded by a single slash (/).

Commonly refers to a program used for managing system resources such as disk drives, printers, and other devices; utilities sometimes are installed as memory-resident programs. Example: the suite of programs called Norton Utilities for disk copying, backups, etc.

U Value:
Is a standard unit of measure for designating the height in computer enclosures and rack cabinets. A U is equal to 1.75 inches therefore a 4U chassis is 7 inches high.

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Video sharing site:
A Web site that lets people upload and share their video clips with the public at large or to invited guests. The most popular video sharing sites are YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion.

Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2); is an access technology that exploits the existing infrastructure of copper wires that were originally deployed for traditional telephone service as a way of delivering very-high-speed internet access.

Virtual classroom:
An online environment where students can have access to learning tools any time. Interaction between the instructor and the class participants can be via e-mail, chat, discussion group, etc.

Virtual hosting:
Virtual hosting is a method for hosting multiple domain names (with separate handling of each name) on a single server (or pool of servers). This allows one server to share its resources, such as memory and processor cycles, without requiring all services provided to use the same host name.

This is the method of partitioning one physical server into multiple virtual machines. Each virtual server can run separate operating systems and performs in the same way a physical machine performs.

This is a common term on the internet. It means a simulation of the real thing. The internet itself is often seen as a virtual world where you make virtual friends and become a part of virtual communities.

Virtual memory:
A technique that enables a certain portion of hard disk space to be used as auxiliary memory so that your computer can access larger amounts of data than its main memory can hold at one time.

Virtual reality:
An artificial environment created with computer hardware and software to simulate the look and feel of a real environment. A user wears earphones, a special pair of gloves, and goggles that create a 3D display. Examples: manipulating imaginary 3D objects by “grabbing” them, taking a tour of a “virtual” building, or playing an interactive game.

A malicious computer program, often spread through email messages or attachments, which can secretly obtain information from your computer or render it unusable. Viruses are often transferred across the Internet as well as by infected diskettes and can affect almost every type of computer. Special antivirus programs are used to detect and eliminate them.

Ordinary telephone service.

Voice over Internet Protocol; a means of using the Internet as the transmission medium for phone calls. An advantage is you do not incur any additional surcharges beyond the cost of your Internet access.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a private company network that uses a public network, such as the internet, to connect remote offices or users together on a LAN. The process of connecting to a VPN is called tunnelling. All information is encryped at the IP level to ensure a highly secure log on.

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Walled Garden:
An online environment only containing child-safe content. It offers a high level of security for younger uses but may be a bit too restrictive for older members of the family.

The usually still image on a computer or phone screen. It can be changed and paid for.

A wide area network (WAN) is a computer network that connects a system of LANs over a large distance via copper/fiber optic cables, telephone lines, or radio waves.

Wireless Application Protocol; a set of communication protocols for enabling wireless access to the Internet.

See: “World Wide Web”.

Web Address:
See: “URL”.

Web Browser:
Is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI/URL) and may be a web page, image, video or other piece of content.

A camera, either built in or that can be plugged into a computer, used to send images and video over the internet. Webcams are most often used for video chat.

Web Feed:
See: “RSS Feed”.

A website that is made up of a selection of separate entries, or ‘posts’, usually shown on the home page with the most recent first. Many weblogs are used by people to keep online diaries or write about areas of interest. Often shortened to ‘blog’.

Web Hosting:
Is the activity or business of providing storage space and access for websites.

The person who maintains a specific Web site and is responsible for what appears there.

Web Page:
A hypertext document connected to the World Wide Web.

Web Server:
A program that manages a website and sends web pages to people’s browsers when they ask for them.

Web Site:
One or more related pages created by an individuals or an organization and posted on the internet.

When ‘groomers’ pretend to be children in supervised chat areas, then continue a relationship in personal conversations.

Wired Equivalent Privacy; a security protocol for wireless local area networks defined in the 802.11b standard. WEP provides the same level of security as that of a wired LAN.

A list of trusted websites you have allowed access to so that searching or surfing the internet is safer. The opposite is called blacklist.

Are chunks of code that have been designed to be added easily to a user’s website or profile page. They usually add an interactive or automatically updated element to static web pages, bringing information which is generated or stored on one part of the web to another. They allow you to decorate your space with fun and/or useful content, or bring in content and links to other sites or social networking services you use. Widgets come in all shapes and sizes: a widget might be a mini computer game, a video clip which is uploaded to a video-hosting site, or an update of the latest music someone has listened to or sites they have bookmarked. Widgets are often third-party applications – content from a source other than the web or social networking service.

Wireless Fidelity; A generic term from the Wi-Fi Alliance that refers to of any type of 802.11 network (e.g., 802.11b, 802.11a, dual-band, etc.). Products approved as “Wi-Fi Certified” (a registered trademark) are certified as interoperable with each other for wireless communications.

a website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.

An area on your computer screen where a program, document, Web page, or other information is displayed.

Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.

Supports network client and server computers running Windows and can provide name resolution for other computers with special arrangements. Determining the IP address for a computer is a complex process when DHCP servers assign IP addresses dynamically.

Wireless (networking):
The ability to access the Internet without a physical network connection. Devices such as cell phones and PDAs that allow you to send and receive e-mail use a wireless Internet connection based on a protocol called WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). At this point, web sites that contain wireless Internet content are limited, but will multiply as the use of devices relying on WAP increases.

A special utility within some applications that is designed to help you perform a particular task. Example: the wizard in Microsoft Word that can guide you through creating a new document.

Wireless Local Area Network; the computers and devices that make up a wireless network.

Warehouse management system. Computer software used to manage the storage and movement of inventory throughout a warehouse. Warehouse management software can be integrated with SAP Business One and often uses radio frequency technology to communicate with RFID scanners to enable real time insights to operations.

Word processing:
The electronic processing of creating, formatting, editing, proofreading, and printing documents.

A graphical user interface (GUI) computer with computing power somewhere between a personal computer and a minicomputer (although sometimes the distinction is rather fuzzy). Workstations are useful for development and for applications that require a moderate amount of computing power and relatively high quality graphics capabilities.

World Wide Web:
A hypertext-based system of servers on the Internet. Hypertext is data that contains one or more links to other data; a link can point to many different types of resources including text, graphics, sound, animated files, a network newsgroup, a telnet session, an FTP session, or another web server. You use a special program called a “browser” (e.g., Firefox or Internet Explorer) for viewing World Wide Web pages. Also referred to as “WWW” or “the web”. The world wide web was invented by Tim Bernes-Lee in the CERN Laboratory in March 1989.

A program that makes copies of itself and can spread outside your operating system worms can damage computer data and security in much the same way as viruses.

Wi-Fi Protected Access; a standard designed to improve on the security features of WEP.

An abbreviation for World Wide Web.

What You See Is What You Get; a kind of word processor that does formatting so that printed output looks identical to what appears on your screen.

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A technology that enables data transmission speeds up to 56 Kbps using regular telephone service that is connected to switching stations by high-speed digital lines. This technology affects only transmissions coming into your computer, not to data you send out. In addition, your ISP must have a modem at the other end that supports X2.

Extensible Hypertext Markup Language. A spinoff of the hypertext markup language (HTML) used for creating Web pages. It is based on the HTML 4.0 syntax, but has been modified to follow the guidelines of XML and is sometimes referred to as HTML 5.0.

Extensible Markup Language; A markup language for coding web documents that allows designers to create their own customized tags for structuring a page.

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Y2K (year 2000):
Y2K is an abbreviation for “year 2000.” As that year approached, many feared that computer programs storing year values as two-digit figures (such as 99) would cause problems. Many programs written years ago (when storage limitations encouraged such information economies) are still being used. The problem was that when the two-digit space allocated for “99” rolled over to 2000, the next number was “00.” Frequently, program logic assumes that the year number gets larger, not smaller – so “00” was anticipated to wreak havoc in a program that hadn’t been modified to account for the millennium. This situation was sometimes referred to as “the Y2K problem” or “the millenium bug.”

Yard management system (YMS) is a software system designed to oversee the movement of trucks and trailers in the yard of a manufacturing facility, warehouse, or distribution center.

A yottabyte (YB) is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes or, in decimal, approximately a thousand zettabytes, a trillion terabytes, or a million trillion megabytes.

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zero-day (or zero-hour or day zero) attack, threat or virus is a computer threat that tries to exploit computer application vulnerabilities that are unknown to others or the software developer, also called zero-day vulnerabilities. Zero-day exploits (actual software that uses a security hole to carry out an attack) are used or shared by attackers before the developer of the target software knows about the vulnerability.

A zettabyte (ZB) is a measure of storage capacity and is 2 to the 70th power bytes, also expressed as 1021 or 1 sextillion bytes. One zettabyte is approximately equal to a thousand exabytes or a billion terabytes.

A common file compression format for PC or compatibles; the utility WinZip or Winrar is used for compressing and decompressing files. Zipped files usually end with a “.zip” file extension. A special kind of zipped file is self-extracting and ends with a “.exe” extension. Macintosh OSX also supports the .zip format and has tools that can compress and decompress zip files.

Zip drive:
A high capacity floppy disk drive from Iomega Corporation; the disks it uses are a little bit larger than a conventional diskette and are capable of holding 100 MB or 250 MB of data.

The act of enlarging a portion of an onscreen image for fine detail work; most graphics programs have this capability.

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