Computers Encyclopedia

Computers Encyclopedia

If you would like to prepare for school subjects or simply increase your general knowledge, then enjoy our computers encyclopedia. We tried to focus only on very important terms and definitions. We also kept our terminology very brief so that you absorb the concept more quickly and easily.

Computers Glossary (Page 1)

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32-BIT / 16-BIT: There are many advantages that 32 bit has over the 16 bit applications. 32 bit application have their own address space which creates a stable environment for a computer system. Whereas the 16 bit version runs in a shared address space which means if you experience a 16 bit application crash, it can crash the entire system. In addition, 32 bit runs much faster, it can handle multitasking and can handle much longer filenames than can the 16 bit application.
ABANDONWARE: Software that is no longer marketed or distributed by the company that created it, but is obtainable from some other source.
ABSOLUTE ADDRESS: The exact memory location of data or a specific location within a device.
ABSOLUTE REFERENCE: A formulated cell reference that will not adjust when used to calculate the sum of specific cells. Most commonly used in spreadsheet applications.
ACCESS: Refers to the user's ability to view the data collected about him or her, and to challenge its accuracy and completeness. Access is the third principle of " fair information practices, along with (1) Notice, (2) Choice, and (4) Security.
ACCESS POINT: A networking connection device that is also known as the base station. This is a wireless hardware connection device that connects to a wired network to create wireless operation. Its point of access is a local area network (LAN).
ACPI: Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. This interface was first introduced in 1996 and was developed to control computer devices power distribution. For example, if a device was currently not in use, the ACPI would turn this device off to create more power where necessary for smoother operation.
ACTIVE MATRIX: A type of LCD (liquid crystal display) structure that is actively controlled by a diode or transistor. This allows for each pixel to be independently controlled which produces excellent color resolution.
ACTIVE X: A software technology developed by Microsoft. This is based on other technology Microsoft developed such as; COM (Component Object Model) and OLE (Object Linking and Embedding). Active X defines how applications share information. While Active X gives much more freedom as to how certain applications are viewed, it has inherent security risks.
ACTUATOR: Device that performs an action or outputs a signal in response to a signal from a computer.
ADDRESSING: A method of identifying a resource (such as a program) or piece of information (such as a file) on a network. Methods of addressing vary considerably from network-to-network.
ADWARE: A software program that is designed to run once a web page has been accessed. This is usually in the form of banner or popup advertisements. Adware can also be designed to be installed on your system without your consent or knowledge. These forms of adware are usually referred to as "spyware" and are used to monitor your surfing habits so that their software can deliver better targeted advertisements. In other instances, the software can be designed to monitor your keyboard keystrokes so that the author of the software can gain access to your password protected accounts. This type of adware is referred to as "malware" due to its malicious intent.
AERO: Aero is the name of Windows Vista's new graphical interface that gives users an exciting new desktop look and feel. It stands for-Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open. It is designed to be very aesthetically pleasing. It's effects include -Glass effects, Advanced Window Management features, Desktop Composition which creates a more stable experience. Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open. It is designed to be very aesthetically pleasing. It's effects include -Glass effects, Advanced Window Management features, Desktop Composition which creates a more stable experience.
AFFIRMATIVE CONFIRMATION: Refers to a site's or an Internet Service Provider's use of personal data to tailor or modify the content or design of the site to specifications affirmatively selected by a particular individual. For example, you may permit a shopping site to use the record of your book purchases to make recommendations of other publications that may interest you. The site will thus display a list of its recommendations every time you visit.
AGGREGATE: A collection of information in which no individual information can be distinguished or identified. Aggregated information can be used to determine the characteristics of a group, such as "Sixty percent of our users are over 35.".
AGP: Stands for Accelerated Graphics Port. This interface specification was developed by Intel Corporation. It was designed to give lower costing graphics cards much faster access to the main memory on personal computers.
AGTL SIGNALING: (Assisted Gunning Transistor Logic) AGTL and AGTL+ use the same signaling protocol only at different voltage levels. AGTL+ operates at 1.5V signaling levels, while AGTL operates at 1.25V.
AI: Stands for Artificial Intelligence. This is the area of computer science focusing on creating machines that can engage on behaviors that humans consider intelligent. The ability to create intelligent machines has intrigued humans since ancient times, and today with the advent of the computer and 50 years of research into AI programming techniques, the dream of smart machines is becoming a reality. Researchers are creating systems which can mimic human thought, understand speech, beat the best human chess player, and countless other feats never before possible.
ALGORITHM: A formal set of instructions that can be followed to perform a specific task, such as a mathematical formula or a set of instructions in a computer program.
ALIAS: A shortcut or 'friendly name' that points to a file folder or application. As an example, when you enter in a user name for an application, this user name would be an 'alias'.
ALIASING: This refers to the distortion in a sound or image generation. A sound distortion occurs when digitally recording high frequencies with a low sample rate. An image distortion occurs when a printer, monitor or graphic file has an insufficient amount of resolution to display an image properly.
AMD: (Advanced Microchip Devices) A semiconductor manufacturer and is a major competitor of Intel. They manufacture the Athlon, Duron, and K6 CPU chips.
ANALOG: Anything whose behavior corresponds with the behavior of something else, especially if the correspondence varies continuously rather than in steps. For example, the height of the liquid in a thermometer is an analog of the temperature. The signals that go from a computer to a composite monitor are analog voltages.
ANONYMITY: A recipient cannot reply to the message and that email sender's identity (identity meaning the user's real email address or other identifying information such as IP address data) is not known and cannot be known - even by the tool company. (ALSO SEE PSEUDONYMITY AND PSEUDONYMOUS PROFILING).
ANONYMIZER: An anonymizer is essentially a shield between your computer and the Internet that relays Web traffic through an intermediary server. It hides personally identifying information-such as IP address, browser software used, surfing patterns, etc.from any Web site you visit, and prevents sites from adding any cookies or other files to your computer. Anonymizers working in the same way as many firewalls.
ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE: Detects and removes computer viruses.
APPLESCRIPT: It is a kind of English-like language that is used to write specific script files which have the ability to automate the actions of the computer systems and applications that run on it.
APPLESHARE: This is Apple's network system. It is to the Macintosh what FTP is to the PC.
APPLET: An applet is a small program generally written in the Java programming language that was designed to provide interactivity on web pages.
APPLETALK: A protocol suite developed by Apple Computer in the early 1980s, was developed in conjunction with the Macintosh computer. Appletalk's purpose was to allow multiple users to share resources, such as files and printers. The devices that supply these resources are called servers, while the devices that make use of these resources (such as a user's Macintosh computer) are referred to as clients. Hence, appletalk is one of the early implementations of a distributed client/server networking system.
APPLICATION: An application is a program that is designed to perform specific tasks. A few examples of some popular applications are-Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Internet Explorer. Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Internet Explorer.
APPLICATION SERVER: This is a specialized server based in a client/server network that has the sole responsibility of running specific applications within that network.
ARCHIE: Or archieplex which is an Archie gateway for the World Wide Web. It can locate files on Anonymous FTP sites in the Internet.
ARCHIVE: This usually defines old files that are no longer in use and are stored for possible future use or reference.
ARITHMETIC LOGIC UNIT (ALU): Arithmetic Logic Unit. This is a mathematical core circuitry that applies to all computers central processing units (CPU). ALU mathematically and logically calculates the results of binary data.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A branch of computer science that studies how to endow computers with capabilities of human intelligence.
ASCII: It stands for "American Standard Code Information Exchange" and is pronounced (ask-ee). A standard code or protocol for displaying characters and transferring data between computers and associated equipment. It was developed for the purpose of information exchange among the following:, Associated equipment, Data communications systems, Data processing systems. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number-0000000 through 1111111. 0000000 through 1111111.
ASP: In computing, this stands for "Active Server Pages". Developed by Microsoft and is designed as a web server extension which is a default scripting language for writing vbscript.
ASYNCHRONOUS: 1-not synchronous; not occurring or existing at the same time or having the same period or phase. Not synchronous; not occurring or existing at the same time or having the same period or phase.
ATA: Short for "Advanced Technology Attachment", this is a disk drive implementation developed by the Small Form Factor (SFF) Committee that integrates the controller on the disk drive itself. There are many versions of ATA, which include:, ATA-Also known as as IDE, supports one or two hard drives, a 16-bit interface and PIO modes 0, 1 and 2., ATA-2-Supports faster PIO modes (3 and 4) and multiword DMA modes (1 and 2). Also supports logical block addressing (LBA) and block transfers. ATA-2 is marketed as Fast ATA and Enhanced IDE (EIDE)., ATA-3-Minor revision to ATA-2., Ultra-ATA-Also called Ultra-DMA, ATA-33, and DMA-33, supports multiword DMA mode 3 running at 33 mbps., ATA/66-A version of ATA proposed by Quantum Corporation, and supported by Intel, that doubles ATA's throughput to 66 mbps., ATA/100-An updated version of ATA/66 that increases data transfer rates to 100 mbps. Also known as as IDE, supports one or two hard drives, a 16-bit interface and PIO modes 0, 1 and 2., ATA-2 Supports faster PIO modes (3 and 4) and multiword DMA modes (1 and 2). Also supports logical block addressing (LBA) and block transfers. ATA-2 is marketed as Fast ATA and Enhanced IDE (EIDE)., ATA-3 Minor revision to ATA-2., Ultra-ATA Also called Ultra-DMA, ATA-33, and DMA-33, supports multiword DMA mode 3 running at 33 mbps., ATA/66.
ATM: Asynchronous Transfer Mode. This is an International standard for cell relay where multiple service types (such as data, video or voice) are communicated in cells that are of a fixed length (53-byte).
ATX: This doesn't stand for anything that I could find. It is a very popular specification for motherboards in computing. It was designed to take the older AT motherboards, often referred to as "Baby AT" (an earlier standard) and rotating it 90 degrees to allow for more available space for add-in cards.
AUTOEXEC.BAT: A root directory batch file that is responsible for executing commands at system startup.
AVI: Stands for "Audio/Video Interleaved". To date, AVI is the most common format for audio/video data on the personal computer.
BACKBONE: This computer term describes the main line or series of connections in a network. The backbones are connection points where high-speed data on the Internet connects to networks.
BACKUP: To copy files to a second source or media in an effort to safeguard the original version. When computer, the first rule is to backup your files regularly. Even if you think you have the most reliable of computers, you just never know when its time is up. It is recommended that you keep your backup copy in a separate place from the original.
BANDWIDTH: A measurement of how much data that can be sent through a connection. The measurement is usually in bits per second.
BASEBAND: A method of transmission that sends a digital or analog signal in its original form, not changed by modulation. While this form of transmission can be much more reliable than its Broadband counterpart, it is much slower.
BATCH FILE: A file that has the .BAT extension. This file usually contains a sequence (or batch) of commands. A batch files set of commands can be executed all at once by the batch file name rather than by each individual command name.
BAUD: Pronounced bawd>. This term is named after J.M.E. Baudot who invented of the Baudot telegraph code. Commonly, the baud rate of a modem is how many bits it can send or receive per second. Technically, baud refers to the number of times per second that the carrier signal shifts value. As an example, a 1500 bit-per-second modem actually runs at 375 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 375= 1500 bits per second).
BBBONLINE: The Better Business Bureau's Online privacy seal program that certifies eligible Web sites, holding sites to baseline privacy standards. The program requires its licensees to implement certain fair information practices and to submit to various types of compliance monitoring in order to display a privacy seal on their Web sites.
BBS: Stands for Bulletin Board Service. A program designed to bring people together where they can carry on discussions and download files where all of the other members of the service can monitor these transmissions in real time.
BETA: A testing stage for products (both hardware and software) that are being developed. It is referred to as the "beta version".
BINARY: A basic numbering system that consists of ones and zeros.
BIOS: Stands for Basic Input/Output System. The BIOS gives the computer a little built-in starter kit to run the rest of softwares from floppy disks (FDD) and hard disks (HDD). The BIOS is responsible for booting the computer by providing a basic set of instructions.
BIT: (Binary digit) This refers to a single digit number. It is either a 1 or a zero. The binary digit is the smallest unit of computerized data.
BIT DEPTH: Bit Depth can be referred to as Color Depth or Pixel Depth. It refers to a method of measurement where using the number of bits to define each pixel in an image to determine its color range. The larger the Bit Depth, the larger number of tones (grey scale or color) are available to properly display the digital image.
BITMAP: A file format used for digital imagery. This format maps an image pixel (or bit). All computer systems use this file format. Some of the common types of bitmap file formats would be-BMP GIF JPEG PCX PNG TGA TIFF- BMP GIF JPEG PCX PNG TGA TIFF.
BLACKLIST: A list of "bad" email addresses (spam) or inappropriate Web sites. Some filtering and blocking tools can be set up to prevent access to Web sites on the blacklist or to prevent email from addresses on the blacklist from entering your inbox.
BLOCKING SOFTWARE: Computer programs that filter content from the Internet and block access to some Web sites or content based on specified criteria. Parents, teachers, or caregivers can use blocking software to prevent access to certain Web sites and other information available over the Internet. (See also "Client-based filter" and "Filtering software").
BLOG: (Slang term for a Weblog) A blog is a person journal that can be accessed publicly and allow people to comment on the previously posted comments. When someone posts a comment to a blog this is called "blogging". The person that owns the blog is called a "blogger". Most typically, blogs are updated on a daily basis and use the most basic of formats so that a person with very little background in computing can easily figure out how the blogging system works.
BLUETOOTH: Radio technology that connects electronic devices without using a cable. Data and voice can be exchanged at ranges of up to 10 meters without the need for devices to be lined up together.
BLU-RAY: Also known as Blu-ray Disc. This is an optical disc format that was developed to enable recording, playback, and rewriting of high-definition (HD) video. This technology has a storage capacity far greater than that of traditional dvds. A single-layer disc can hold up to 25GB while a dual-layer disc can hold up to 50GB. DVD disc technologies use a red laser to read and write data. Blu-ray uses a blue-violet laser (hence the name). The benefit of the blue-violet laser over the red laser is its ability to focus the laser spot with greater precision because of its shorter wavelength. A red laser's wavelength is 650nm while the Blu-ray's wavelength is 405nm.
BMP: (pronounced "bimp")-It is a Microsoft Windows image file format known as bitmap. It is a Microsoft Windows image file format known as bitmap.
BNC: In computing, a Bayonet Network Connector is commonly used in the CCTV industry, usually installs on coaxial cable. The benefit of this connector is its ease of installation and its ability to produce a very reliable video signal.
BOOKMARK: A file within a browser in which an Internet user can save the addresses of interesting or frequently used Web sites, so that they are readily available for re-use.
BOOLEAN LOGIC: A type of mathematical logic named after its designer George Boole. This binary algebraic system is used primarily in switching circuits and database searches. Search engines use logical operators called, Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT).
BOOT: Starting up an operating system. If the computer is already running, it is called rebooting.
BOOT DISK: This refers to a diskette that is formatted to actually boot your computer from. They were created as a backup tool in case the normal boot method (hard disk) has failed.
BRIDGE: A bridge is a computer networking device used to make a connection and pass along packets of data between two networking computers using the same protocol.
BROWSER: A browser is the software used for viewing pages on the web. Two examples are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
BROWSER (INTERNET OR WEB BROWSER): A class of programs which enable you to connect to and view web pages. Microsoft Internet Explorer is the web browser most frequently used.
BROWSER HIJACKER: A common spyware program that automatically changes your web browser's home page, even if you change it back.
BUFFER: A place, especially in RAM, for the temporary storage of data for the purpose of speeding up an operation such as printing or disk access. Data from a buffer is available more quickly than data from where the buffer got it. Typically buffers get data before it is needed so it will be ready quickly when it is needed. Similar to cache.
BUFFERED MEMORY: Using a buffer to isolate the memory from the controller reduces the load on the chipset. This allows for more memory chips to be used.
BUG: A mistake in the design of something, especially software which may cause unexpected results.
BULLETIN BOARD: An area of a Web site where users can post messages for other users to read. In most cases, readers can contact the author of a bulletin board message by e-mail. (See also "chat," chat room," and "Discussion group").
BUNDLING: Most often, this refers to the inclusion of software components to complement a purchase of hardware. This term can also refer to the process by which some unwanted spyware can enter your computer, by surreptitiously downloading alongside other, more desirable downloads.
BUS: A bus is a grouping of wires that allow the flow of data from one area of the computer to another. It is thought of that a bus represents a highway that the data travels through in the computer system. In personal computing, some refer to a bus as the Internal bus which connects all of the devices to the CPU and memory. Also, you may hear the term expansion bus, which connects the expansion board with the CPU and memory.
BUS MASTERING: A technique that allows certain advanced bus architectures to delegate control data transfers between the CPU and associated peripheral devices to an add-in board. This gives greater system bus access and higher data transfer rates than conventional systems.
BYTE: A byte is a computer data transfer or data storage measurement. One byte equals 8 bits.
CABLE MODEM: A cable modem is a type of Internet connection that is transmitted through a coaxial cable. The benefits of this technology are that you are able to achieve much faster speeds through a cable connection and that most homes are already setup with a cable TV setup, making the Internet connection very simple.
CACHE: A very high speed type of memory that is similar to random access memory (RAM). The difference in RAM and Cache is that the Cache memory is on the server side and the RAM is stored in the computer system. Cache is much faster than RAM but they both serve the same purpose and that is to remember previously accessed information. Most commonly, the Cache memory is to remember the previously visited web page so that the computer itself doesn't have to spend its resources providing the page.
CACHE RAM: Cache (commonly referred to as SRAM) is responsible for storing frequently requested instructions and data. It is a small block of high-speed memory located between the CPU and the main memory. When your computer processor needs data, it will check the Cache first to see if it is there. If the data is not there, it will retrieve it from the slower main memory.
CADD: (COMPUTER ASSISTED DESIGN AND DRAFTING) A graphics software designed to assist users develop on-screen projects, usually rendering in either 2 or 3 dimensional imagery.
CASCADE: A method of connecting circuits together in series to make the output of one, the input of the next. This kind of end-to-end connectivity is useful in extending the distance of a network.
CATV: Community Antenna Television or Cable TV system. Can be all coaxial or HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) based.
CD-R: (Compact Disk-Recordable) A type of disk drive that can create CD-roms and audio cds. CD-R drives are now standard on home computers. CD writing software is also needed to create cds.
CD-ROM: (Compact Disk-Read Only Memory). An optical disk from which information may be read, but not written. Also refers to a standard disk drive that can read CD-roms.
CD-ROM (COMPACT DISK: Read Only Memory) A computer storage medium which can store large amounts of information; generally used to distribute software or multi-media for use on computers with CD-ROM drives. CD-ROM disks look just like music cds, and cannot be altered by a user. .
CD-ROM:: (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory) A durable and low cost circular optical storage device widely used to store large amounts of information on a personal computer.
CENTRONICS: A 36-pin parallel port interface standard that most printer manufactures conform to.
CGA: Stands for Color Graphics Adapter. Introduced by IBM as their first microcomputer color standard. This graphics card allowed a maximum of four colors at a resolution of 320 x 200 or two colors at 640 x 200.
CGI: The "Common Gateway Interface". CGI provides a gateway for HTML pages to interact with other applications.
CHANNEL: A channel in computing is a specific bandwidth and frequency combination.
CHASSIS: The physical framework of a computer system that houses all of the internal devices, wiring, and power supplies.
CHAT: A feature offered by many online services or Web sites that allows participants to "chat" by typing messages which are displayed almost instantly on the screens of other participants who are using the chat room. Chatting is one of the most popular uses of the Internet. Generally the participants remain anonymous, using nicknames or pseudonyms to identify themselves online.
CHAT ROOM: The name given to a place or page in a Web site or online service where people can "chat" with each other by typing messages which are displayed almost instantly on the screens of others who are in the "chat room." Chat rooms are also called "online forums.".
CHOICE: Refers to companies' providing consumers with options regarding whether and how personal information collected from them may be used for purposes other than those for which it was provided.
CICS: Customer Information Control System. A general purpose IBM mainframe-based transaction management system. CICS is one of IBM's most widely used database / data communications subsystems.

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