resource links main page   site map   sivideo home

Computer Terms

Go to: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | X-Y-Z

Abend: Abnormal ending. Various things may cause your program to abend, for example, exceeding job resource estimates.

Account: A data record in the computer indicating a person's authorization level and available resources. At the Computer Center, there are two levels of accounts: master accounts and subaccounts. See the Computer Center document Account Identification and Dataset Prefixes for a description of each.

ADN (Advanced Digital Network) -- Usually refers to a 56Kbps leased-line.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) -- A method for moving data over regular phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. An ADSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line. A commonly discussed configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber to receive data (download) at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not mega bytes) per second, and to send (upload) data at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. Thus the Asymmetric part of the acronym. Another commonly discussed configuration would be symmetrical: 384 Kilobits per second in both directions. In theory ADSL allows download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second. ADSL is often discussed as an alternative to ISDN, allowing higher speeds in cases where the connection is always to the same place. See also: bit, bps and ISDN

Anonymous FTP See: FTP

ANSI: American National Standards Institute: The principle United States organization for the development and publication of industry standards.

Applet A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network. The current rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent. See also: HTML and Java

Archie A tool (software) for finding files stored on anonymous FTP sites. You need to know the exact file name or a substring of it.

Archive: Offline storage system for data which is not actively being used.

ARPANet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) -- The precursor to the Internet. Developed in the late 60's and early 70's by the US Department of Defense as an experiment in wide-area-networking that would survive a nuclear war. ARPANET evolved into the Internet; the name ARPANET was officially retired in 1990. See also: Internet

Ascenders A text formatting term: The portion of any character which extends above the height of a lower case "m". See also descenders.

ASCII (pronounced as-kee) (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) -- The ANSI standard code for sending alphanumeric characters through electronic equipment such as computers and terminals. ASCII uses an 8-bit code for character representation; 7 data bits and a parity bit. IBM is big and powerful enough to stick with their own code for their main frame computers: EBCDIC.

Asynchronous: A method of transmitting blocks (or packets) of data that permits arbitrary spacing between individual characters. Transmission is controlled by start and stop bits at the beginning of each block.

Top of Page

Backbone A high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway within a network. The term is relative as a backbone in a small network will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network. See also: Network

Backup: To make a copy of a data set for safety purposes. Backups can be either to disk or tape. Many users backup their data each and every time a file is modified. It's a good habit to get into.

Bandwidth How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression. See also: 56k Line, Bps, Bit and T-1

Baseline: A text formatting term: The baseline of a text is the lower-most point of the body of the letters, not including descenders (the lower parts of letters like "g" and "j").

BASIC: Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code: A simple to learn and easy to use programming language.

Baud In common usage the baud rate of a modem is how many bits it can send or receive per second. Technically, baud is the number of times per second that the carrier signal shifts value - for example a 1200 bit-per-second modem actually runs at 300 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 300 = 1200 bits per second). See also: Bit and Modem

BBS (Bulletin Board System) -- A computerized meeting and announcement system that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download files, and make announcements without the people being connected to the computer at the same time. There are many thousands (millions?) of BBS¹s around the world, most are very small, running on a single IBM clone PC with 1 or 2 phone lines. Some are very large and the line between a BBS and a system like CompuServe gets crossed at some point, but it is not clearly drawn.

Binary: A numbering system with only two digits; 0 and 1, where 0=off and 1=on.

Binhex (BINary HEXadecimal) -- A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII) into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can only handle ASCII. See also: ASCII, MIME and UUENCODE

Bit (Binary DigIT) -- A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerized data. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second. See also: Bandwidth, Bps, Byte, Kilobyteand Megabyte

BITNET (Because It's Time NETwork (or Because It's There NETwork)) -- A network of educational sites separate from the Internet, but e-mail is freely exchanged between BITNET and the Internet. Listservs, the most popular form of e-mail discussion groups, originated on BITNET. BITNET machines are usually mainframes running the VMS operating system, and the network is probably the only international network that is shrinking. The individual computer systems which belong to BITNET are called nodes. Many institutions have more than one system which is a BITNET node. BITNET has recently merged with CSNET (Computer Science Network) to form CREN (Corporation for Research and Educational Networking.)

Block: In communications, a group of individual data elements sent, received or stored as a unit to increase transmission efficiency. See also packet. Also a text formatting term: In some text editors or word processing packages, there are block commands which allow you to mark (or select) a block of text to be treated or processed as a unit.

bpi: Bits Per Inch per track: A measure of the recording density on magnetic computer tape. For example, on a nine track tape written at 1600 bpi, you can store 1600 bytes (200 80 character records) on an inch of tape.

Bps (Bits-Per-Second) -- A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place to another. A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second. See also: Bandwidth AND Bit

Broadband cable: A type of cable used in computer networks which can carry several messages at the same time, but which is somewhat difficult to install and manage. In contrast to baseband cable, broadband cable multiplexes multiple independent signals onto one cable.

Browser A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources. See also: Client, Netscape, Mosaic and Home Page (or Homepage)

Buffer: A storage device which compensates for the differences in the rate of data flow during data transmission between devices.

Bug: An error in either computer hardware or software. Finding and correcting errors is known as debugging.

Byte A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made. See also: Bit

Top of Page

CCITT: Consultative Committee International Telegraph and Telephone: An international committee that sets standards for international communications. The CCITT standard data modems needed for telephone communications on the ADN Computer Center's public dial-in telephone lines are: CCITT V.22-bis for 2400 baud; CCITT V.32 for up to 9600 baud; and CCITT V.32-bis for up to 14.4 Kbaud.

Certificate Authority An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections. See also: Security Certificate and SSL

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) -- A set of rules and scripts (computer language) that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the CGI program) talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard. Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from a web server and does something with it, like putting the content of a form into an e-mail message, or turning the data into a database query. You can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing cgi-bin in a URL, but not always. See also: cgi-bin and Web

cgi-bin The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored. The bin' part of cgi-bin is a shorthand version of binary, because most programs were refered to as binaries. In real life, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text files -- scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on the same machine. See also: CGI Channel: A special purpose computer used for communication between a main computer and an external device, such as a disk or tape.

Client A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a Server software program on another computer, often across a great distance. Each Client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of Server programs, and each Server requires a specific kind of Client. A Web Browser is a specific kind of Client. See also: Browser and Server

Client-server computing: A distributed computing network system in which each transaction is divided into two parts: a front end client, and a back end server, which are two different devices or programs. See RPC. See also Peer-to-peer computing.

Compiler: A program that translates a high level symbolic language to a low level machine language, FORTRAN, Pascal, and PL/I are familiar compilers.

COM port: The DOS name of the serial ports on PC's.

Compression: Running data through an algorithm which reduces its size to reduce the space or bandwidth needed to store or transmit it.

Cookie The most common meaning of Cookie on the Internet refers to a piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the Server. Depending on the type of Cookie used, and the Browser's settings, the Browser may accept or not accept the Cookie, and may save the Cookie for either a short time or a long time. Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online shopping cart information, user preferences, etc. When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes a Cookie, the Server is able to use the information stored in the Cookie. For example, the Server might customize what is sent back to the user, or keep a log of particular user's requests. Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount of time and are usually saved in memory until the Browser software is closed down, at which time they may be saved to disk if their ³expire time has not been reached. Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to the CIA, but they can be used to gather more information about a user than would be possible without them. See also: Browser and Server

CREN: Corporation for Research and Educational Networking: The result of the merger of BITNET and CSNET (Computer Science NETwork).

Control character: A byte of data (a character) whose occurrence initiates, modifies or stops an operation.

Coupler: An acoustic device sometimes used to establish a phone connection between electronic devices such as a terminal and a computer.

CPU: Central Processing Unit: The "brain" of the computer which performs most computing tasks.

Crop: A text formatting term: To trim the edges of a graphic image, removing part of the image.

CRT: Cathode Ray Tube: A terminal with a TV screen and keyboard.

CSNET: Computer Science Network. A larger computer communication network consisting of universities, research institutions, and commercial concerns, which merged with BITNET to form CREN.

CTS: Clear To Send: When using DCE (Data Communications Equipment; a modem is a common example), the CTS indicates that the DCE is ready to accept data.

Cyberpunk Cyberpunk was originally a cultural sub-genre of science fiction taking place in a not-so-distant, dystopian, over-industrialized society. The term grew out of the work of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and has evolved into a cultural label encompassing many different kinds of human, machine, and punk attitudes. It includes clothing and lifestyle choices as well. See also: Cyberspace

Cyberspace Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer the word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information resources available through computer networks.

Cylinder: As related to magnetic disks, a cylinder is a vertical column of tracks on a magnetic disk pack; since the read/write heads can read from any track on the cylinder without being moved in or out, storing multi-track files on cylinders is quite efficient. Cylinder is also used as a unit of storage space.

Top of Page

DARPA: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: The US government agency that funded research and experimentation which lead to the Internet network.

DASD: Direct Access Storage Device. A data storage device such as a magnetic disk storage unit which allows the operating system to directly access specific data stored on it without having to read through the data before it. This is as opposed to a sequential access device such as magnetic tape.

Debug: The process of finding and eliminating software or hardware "bugs" (errors).

Default: The assumed value or action taken when no explicit one is specified.

Descenders: A text formatting term: The portion of any character which extends below the baseline. See also Ascenders and Baseline.

Dial-up lines: A telephone line reserved for communication between the computer and remote terminals. When you call a dial-up line, the computer answers and a connection is made which enables you to logon to your account. Dial-up lines enable you to use a computer system from any location that has a telephone, a modem or coupler, and a terminal or a microcomputer running a terminal emulation program.

Digerati The digital version of literati, it is a reference to a vague cloud of people seen to be knowledgeable, hip, or otherwise in-the-know in regards to the digital revolution.

Disk Drive: A very fast input/output device that consists of one or more spinning magnetic disks. A moving arm allows direct read or write access to data recorded on the disks.

Distributed computing: See client-server computing.

Domain Name The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names. It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name. See also: IP Number

DOS: Disk Operating System: The name of the operating systems on most brands of personal computer contains the acronym DOS. Often when DOS is used without further description, the operating system being referred to is either PC DOS, the operating system used on IBM personal computers, or MS DOS, the variety of DOS that runs on IBM compatible computers.

Dots per inch: See Resolution.

Download: To transfer information stored in a remote computer to your (local) microcomputer.

Driver: When information is passed from one type of device to another, usually the electrical and mechanical requirements of the two devices are different; software drivers are used to translate data which is to be sent another device so that device can properly process it. (For example, a printer specific driver may be used to prepare a document formatted by a word processing package for printing on different types of printers, or the same printer used in different modes.)

Duplex: (1) A text formatting term: Printing on both sides of the paper. (2) A computer communications term: Half duplex: data transmission in only one direction at a time; and Full duplex: simultaneous data transmission in both directions.

DSR: Data Set Ready: When using DCE (Data Communications Equipment; a modem is a common example), the DSR indicates that the DCE is ready to use.

Top of Page

E-mail (Electronic Mail) -- Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses (Mailing List). See also: Listserv and Maillist

EBCDIC: Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code: A scheme of assigning characters to each of the 256 possible combinations of 8 bits (1 byte). Several other schemes are also used, such as BCD and ASCII.

echo or Echoplex: Governs the appearance of characters on your VDT screen. Echo on means that the characters are sent back to the screen by the receiving computer; Echo off means that they are not.

Editor: An interactive program that allows you to input, update, delete and store information on the computer. The information may be programs, data, or actual textual material such as letters or dissertations.

Electronic Form: A text formatting term: The name that Xerox systems uses for a predefined graphic overlay form. The must common use of an overlay is to print a letterhead.

EIA: Electronic Industries Association: A standards development organization for electrical and functional characteristics of interface equipment.

Emulation: Using software which makes a PC behave as though it were a terminal, or which alters the characteristics of a user's terminal to act as a different type of terminal.

Encrypt: To make temporarily unreadable. Datasets can be encrypted to ensure privacy.

Ethernet Baseband protocol and technology for the cables and specialized circuitry which is used to physically connect the machines on a (local) network. An Ethernet is a specific type of network which was developed by Xerox, and is now supported by many manufacturers. Communication is at 10 Mbps, in a "broadcast medium" (similar to a party line telephone): every machine on a particular Ethernet network looks at the Ethernet address on each packet as it goes by to see if it is for them. When a transmitting data station on an ethernet detects another signal being transmitted (a "collision"), it stops sending, sends a jam signal, and then waits for a variable time before trying again. See also: Bandwidth, LAN

Top of Page

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) -- FAQs are documents that list and answer the most common questions on a particular subject. There are hundreds of FAQs on subjects as diverse as Pet Grooming and Cryptography. FAQs are usually written by people who have tired of answering the same question over and over.

FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) -- A standard for transmitting data on optical fiber cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-second (10 times as fast as Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3). See also: Bandwidth, Ethernet, T-1 and T-3

Fiber-optic cable: A thin, flexible cable which conducts modulated light transmissions. It is more expensive than other types of network cabling, but it is not susceptible to electromagnetic interference and is capable of higher data transmission speeds.

File: A collection of information stored in any of numerous forms on any of numerous devices. A file may contain programs, data, or text.

File server: A device holding files which are available to everyone connected to a LAN. The file server's software allows it to provide the machines on the LAN with remote disk drives which function as if they were attached directly to their machine.

Finger An Internet software tool for locating people on other Internet sites. Finger is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal information, but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a particular Internet site. Many sites do not allow incoming Finger requests, but many do.

Fire Wall A combination of hardware and software that separates a LAN into two or more parts for security purposes. See also: Network and LAN

Fixed Pitch Fonts: A text formatting term: A font in which all the characters have the same width (as in a mechanical typewriter). Also known as "mono-spaced fonts".

Flame Originally, flame meant to carry forth in a passionate manner in the spirit of honorable debate. Flames most often involved the use of flowery language and flaming well was an art form. Electronic communications lack the the clues given by the body or voice in more personal methods of communication, are are therefore much more easily misunderstood. More recently flame has come to refer to any kind of derogatory comment no matter how witless or crude. See also: Flame War

Flame War When an online discussion degenerates into a series of personal attacks against the debators, rather than discussion of their positions. A heated exchange. See also: Flame

FLOP: FLoating point OPeration: An operation is a computer action which is specified by a single computer instruction or a high level language statement, and a floating point operation is an operation made on a floating point number. The time used for an average FLOP is a measure of a computer's speed (see Megaflop).

Floppy Disk: A small portable flexible magnetic disk used for data storage on many microcomputers. Floppies come in 3 and a half and 5 and a quarter inch sizes, with several densities and formats.

Folio: A text formatting term: The lines at the top or bottom of a page that contain the page number, publication name, publication data, volume numbers, and so on.

Font: A text formatting term: A complete assortment of printer characters in a particular type style, typeface, size and orientation. Most fonts include letters, numbers, punctuation and some special symbols. Note that the Roman (normal), Italic, Bold and BoldItalic typeface forms of any type style and size are each separate fonts. A font family is a complete set of characters in the same type style, including all sizes and typefaces, such as bold, italic, underline, et cetera.

Footer: A text formatting term: One or more lines of text that appear at the bottom of every page.

FORTRAN: FORmula TRANslating language: An old but still very common programming language used in the scientific field. FORTRAN was the first high-level language to become widely used. The current language standard was developed in the 1970's, and is known as FORTRAN 77.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) -- A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous ftp servers. Full duplex: A method of communication between two computers (or devices) that enables simultaneous transmission in both directions.

Top of Page

Gateway The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.

Generic Font: A text formatting term: A representation of alphameric characters on a screen that may not reflect what the final characters will look like. Utilities that allow the viewing of printer formatted text on your screen generally use generic fonts.

Gigabyte 1000 Megabytes See also: Byte and Gigabyte

Gopher A widely successful method of making menus of material available over the Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server style program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client program. Although Gopher spread rapidly across the globe in only a couple of years, it has been largely supplanted by Hypertext, also known as WWW (World Wide Web). There are still thousands of Gopher Servers on the Internet and we can expect they will remain for a while. See also: Client and Server

Top of Page

Half duplex: A method of communication between two computers (or devices) that allows transmission in only one direction at a time.

Handshaking: An exchange of predetermined signals between two computers or between a computer and a peripheral device such as a modem or a printer. Handshaking allows the computer to ascertain whether another device is present and ready to transmit or receive data.

Hard copy: Usually hard copy means paper, but presumably can mean any printed computer output, such as microfilm.

Hardware: The physical devices that make up a computer system.

Hard disk: A magnetic disk storage device used on larger microcomputers. Hard disks are similar to the disk storage on mainframes, and are permanently installed in the micro.

Hardwired Connections: Lines that are physically connected to a network. Terminals connected with hardwired connections can communicate at 9600 baud.

Header: (1) A text formatting term: One or more lines of text that appear at the top of every page of a document. (2) A computer communications term: Control information which is added before data when it is encapsulated for network transmission.

HELP: An online system of information about various commands and programs, available on all of our mainframe interactive systems, and also internally in many interactive software packages.

hit As used in reference to the World Wide Web, hit means a single request from a web browser for a single item from a web server; thus in order for a web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics, 4 hits would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page, and one for each of the 3 graphics. Hits are often used as a very rough measure of load on a server, e.g. Our server has been getting 300,000 hits per month. Because each hit can represent anything from a request for a tiny document (or even a request for a missing document) all the way to a request that requires some significant extra processing (such as a complex search request), the actual load on a machine from 1 hit is almost impossible to define.

Home Page (or Homepage) Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. Check out so-and-so's new Home Page. Another sloppier use of the term refers to practically any web page as a homepage.

Host Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as WWW and USENET. See also: Node and Network

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) -- The coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear, additionally, in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a World Wide Web Client Program, such as Netscape or Mosaic.

HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol) -- The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).

Hub: Generally, a device which serves as the center of a network.

Hypertext Generally, any text that contains links to other documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.

Hyphenation: A text formatting term: Breaking up words at syllables or other natural dividing points so that the lines of text are properly balanced. Hyphenation can be achieved in several ways: some programs let you manually insert discretionary hyphens which are only visible when they fall at the end of a line of text, some programs insert hyphens -- automatically based on a dictionary of words, and some programs use a logic formula or algorithm to hyphenate words.

Top of Page

IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: An international professional society that issues standards and is a member of ANSI and ISO. IEEE LAN standards are the predominant LAN standards today, including standards similar or virtually identical to Ethernet and Token Ring.

IMAP: Interactive Mail Access Protocol: A client-server protocol similar to POP which allows electronic mail be retrieved from a server to a personal computer; but is better suited to having the PC manipulate mail that stays on the host machine.

Interactive processing: A computer system where a person can communicate directly with the machine by means of a terminal. The user enters commands which are immediately executed by the computer which sends the results of the command back to the user's terminal. See also Batch processing.

Input: The information that a computer or a particular computer program takes in.

Inside Margin: A text formatting term: The left margin of a right-hand (odd-numbered) page, and the right margin of a left-hand (evennumbered) page. The inside margin is often wider than the opposite margin to accommodate binding.

Interface: A shared boundary defined by a common physical interconnection and signal characteristics and meanings.

Internet(Upper case I) The vast collection of inter-connected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's. The Internet now (July 1995) connects roughly 60,000 independent networks into a vast global internet. internet(Lower case i) Any time you connect 2 or more networks together, you have an internet - as in inter-national or inter-state.

Intranet A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use. As the Internet has become more popular many of the tools used on the Internet are being used in private networks, for example, many companies have web servers that are available only to employees. Note that an Intranet may not actually be an internet -- it may simply be a network.

Inverse Landscape printing: A text formatting term: The rotation of a page design to print text and graphics horizontally, and upside down across the 11 inch width of the paper. Duplex landscape texts are sometimes printed in landscape on the front of the page and inverse landscape on the back; then when the pages are joined at the top, the reader can flip though the packet with all the text in the same orientation. See also Landscape, Portrait and Inverse Portrait printing.

Inverse Portrait printing: A text formatting term: With a sheet of paper held with the 8.5 inch side horizontal and the 11 inch side vertical (up), text which is printed upside down is called inverse portrait. See also Portrait and Landscape and Inverse Landscape printing.

I/O: Input/Output: The receiving or sending of data to or from the computer.

IP Number (Internet Protocol Number) -- Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 187.321.786.2 Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember. See also: Domain Name

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) -- Basically a huge multi-user live chat facility. There are a number of major IRC servers around the world which are linked to each other. Anyone can create a channel and anything that anyone types in a given channel is seen by all others in the channel. Private channels can (and are) created for multi-person conference calls.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) -- Basically a way to move more data over existing regular phone lines. ISDN is rapidly becoming available to much of the USA and in most markets it is priced very comparably to standard analog phone circuits. It can provide speeds of roughly 128,000 bits-per-second over regularphone lines. In practice, most people will be limited to 56,000 or 64,000 bits-per-second.

ISO: International Standards Organization: An organization established to develop standards to facilitate the international exchanges of goods and services and to develop mutual cooperation in areas of intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic activity.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) -- An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money.

Top of Page

JANET: Joint Academic Network: A university network in the United Kingdom.

Java Java is a network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to your computer or files. Using small Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators, and other fancy tricks. We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the Web using Java, since you can write a Java program to do almost anything a regular computer program can do, and then include that Java program in a Web page. See also: Applet

JDK (Java Development Kit) -- A software development package from Sun Microsystems that implements the basic set of tools needed to write, test and debug Java applications and applets

Justification: A text formatting term: Adjusting the spacing within a line of text such that each line of text begins "left justified" or ends "right justified" at the same place. An exception to justification is the line before a forced break or a blank line, such as the last line of a paragraph.

Top of Page

Kbps: 1024 (or kilo) Bits Per Second: A measure of the speed of transmission of computer data. See also Baud.

Kerning: A text formatting term: The amount of space between letters, especially certain combinations of letters that must be brought closer together than others in order to create visually consistent spacing between all letters. The letters AW, for example, may appear to have a wider gap between then than the letters NM unless there is a special kerning formula set up for the AW combination.

Kilobyte A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (2^10) bytes. See also: Byte, Bit

Top of Page

LAN (Local Area Network) -- Communication systems which link several computer devices and allow them to use each other's resources effectively. The machines are usually geographically close to one another (a maximum of one or two miles). The "devices" linked by a LAN may include computers terminals, printers, disk drives. Each device on a LAN is a "node". LAN Manager is a distributed file system developed by Microsoft, and LAN Network Manager and LAN Server are IBM products.

Landscape printing: A text formatting term: The rotation of a page design to print text and graphics from left to right horizontally across the 11 inch width of the paper. See also Inverse Landscape, Portrait and Inverse Portrait printing.

Laser printing: A text formatting term: Printers which use a toner based laser system for printing. Laser printers use a laser to scan an image onto a photosensitive drum or belt and then transfer the image to the paper. Some typesetters also use laser technology in conjunction with their photochemical processing, but these are usually referred to as phototypesetters rather than as laser printers. See also xerographic printing engine.

Layout: A text formatting term: The arrangement of text and graphics on a page.

Leading: A text formatting term: The amount of vertical spacing, expressed in points, between the baselines of two lines of text. The term leading is carried over from the days of metal type; it referred to placing strips of lead between lines of type to increase the space between the lines. See also Vertical Justification.

Leased-line Refers to a phone line that is rented for exclusive 24-hour, 7-days-a-week use from your location to another location. The highest speed data connections require a leased line. See also: 56k Line, T-1 and T-3

Line Edit: The old method of working interactively with a computer, where you work one line at a time.

Line printer: A text formatting term: A printer which prints pages (even graphics) one line at a time, as opposed to a page printer, which prints an entire page at once.

LISP: List Processor: A high level, list processing language commonly used in artificial intelligence and computer research. LISP is different from most other programming languages in several ways; a major difference is that recursion is used as a control structure rather than iteration (looping) which is common in most programming languages.

Listserv The most common kind of maillist, Listservs originated on BITNET but they are now common on the Internet. See also: BITNET, E-mail and Maillist

Local echo: Specifies that the characters you type are to be "echoed", or set to your terminal for display, by your terminal. This is needed only when neither the remote computer you are using nor the communications system echoes the characters, as in half duplex communication.

Login Noun or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a computer system. Not a secret (contrast with Password).
Verb: The act of entering into a computer system. See also: Password

Logon: The process of initiating an interactive computer session. During logon, you tell the computer which system you want to use and who you are. You will also enter your private password during logon.

Logoff: The LOGOFF command is used to tell the computer that you are done with an interactive session. It must be entered at the close of each of your sessions, or you may find all your units used up the next time you logon (either because someone stole your account, or because the computer continued executing your last instruction indefinitely).

Top of Page

M: Mega: In most areas M stands for a million, but in computer usage M represents 1024K or 2 to the 20th power.

Macro: A single, symbolic programming language statement that, when translated, expands to a predefined series of statements.

Maillist (or Mailing List) A (usually automated) system that allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the maillist. In this way, people who have many different kinds of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.

Mainframe: a large, multi-user computer.

Megabyte A million bytes. A thousand kilobytes. See also: Byte, Bit and Kilobyte

Megaflop (MFLOP): One million operations per second: the unit used to rate computer (especially supercomputer) performance.

Memory: The part of a computer system which is used to run programs. The word memory is used to refer to the capacity of the system (for example, a 1 meg machine), and also to the actual chips that provide the memory (a memory upgrade). See also RAM and ROM.

Metacode: The internal codes used within a system.

Microcomputer: Small computers, inexpensive enough to be purchased by individuals and small businesses. Also called Personal Computers. IBM, AT&T, APPLE, Radio Shack, Zenith and Commodore are common manufacturers of micros.

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) -- The standard for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files, etc. An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard. When non-text files are sent using the MIME standard they are converted (encoded) into text - although the resulting text is not really readable. Generally speaking the MIME standard is a way of specifying both the type of file being sent (e.g. a Quicktime video file), and the method that should be used to turn it back into its original form. Besides email software, the MIME standard is also universally used by Web Servers to identify the files they are sending to Web Clients, in this way new file formats can be accommodated simply by updating the Browsers¹ list of pairs of MIME-Types and appropriate software for handling each type.

Migration:The process of compacting and moving data for the purpose of storage and backup. A secondary purpose of migration is to compress the data to save storage space. See also Archive.

MINITAB A general purpose, highly interactive statistical computing system designed especially for students and researchers who have little or no previous experience with computers.

Mirror Generally speaking, to mirror is to maintain an exact copy of something. Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers to mirror sites which are web sites, or FTP sites that maintain exact copies of material originated at another location, usually in order to provide more widespread access to the resource. Another common use of the term mirror refers to an arrangement where information is written to more than one hard disk simultaneously, so that if one disk fails, the computer keeps on working without losing anything.

Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator) -- A device that you connect to your computer and to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers through the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does for humans.

Mono-Spaced Fonts:A text formatting term: A font in which all the characters have the same width (as in a mechanical typewriter). Also known as "fixed-pitch fonts".

MOO (Mud, Object Oriented) -- One of several kinds of multi-user role-playing environments, so far only text-based. See also: MUD and MUSE

Mosaic The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh, Windows, and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic has been licensed by several companies and there are several other pieces of software as good or better than Mosaic, most notably, Netscape.

MUD (Multi-User Dungeon or Dimension) -- A (usually text-based) multi-user simulation environment. Some are purely for fun and flirting, others are used for serious software development, or education purposes and all that lies in between. A significant feature of most MUDs is that users can create things that stay after they leave and which other users can interact with in their absence, thus allowing a world to be built gradually and collectively. See also: MOO and MUSE

Multiplex: To interleave information from different sources on a single channel.

MUSE (Multi-User Simulated Environment) -- One kind of MUD - usually with little or no violence. See also: MOO and MUD

Top of Page

Name Server & Name Resolution: A server provided on a network which resolves network names into network locations.

Nanosecond (nsec):One nanosecond is 10 to the -9th seconds.

Netiquette The etiquette on the Internet and E-mail.

Netizen Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet, or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic responsibility and participation.

NEWSNET: See Usenet.

Netscape A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The Netscape browser was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Netscape has grown in features rapidly and is widely recognized as the best and most popular web browser. Netscape corporation also produces web server software. Netscape provided major improvements in speed and interface over other browsers, and has also engendered debate by creating new elements for the HTML language used by Web pages -- but the Netscape extensions to HTML are not universally supported. The main author of Netscape, Mark Andreessen, was hired away from the NCSA by Jim Clark, and they founded a company called Mosaic Communications and soon changed the name to Netscape Communications Corporation. See also: Browser and Mosaic

Network Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.

Newsgroup The name for discussion groups on USENET. See also: USENET

NIC (Networked Information Center) -- Generally, any office that handles information for a network. The most famous of these on the Internet is the InterNIC, which is where new domain names are registered. Another definition: NIC also refers to Network Interface Card which plugs into a computer and adapts the network interface to the appropriate standard. ISA, PCI, and PCMCIA cards are all examples of NICs.

NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol) -- The protocol used by client and server software to carry USENET postings back and forth over a TCP/IP network. If you are using any of the more common software such as Netscape, Nuntius, Internet Explorer, etc. to participate in newsgroups then you are benefiting from an NNTP connection. See also: Newsgroup, TCP/IP and USENET

Node Any single computer connected to a network.

NSFnet: National Science Foundation NETwork: A network based on the Internet protocol suite established by the NSF to connect the NSFfunded national supercomputer centers. NSFNet is part of the Internet network.

Null modem: A box or cable which joins two computing devices directly rather than over a network.

Top of Page

Offline: Logically or physically disconnected from the computer. For example, a reel of tape is offline storage.

Online: Connected and accessible to the computer or Internet.

Operating System: The controlling program(s) that oversee the operation of the computer. Some operating system functions are job scheduling, low level input/output handling, and job accounting. Often abbreviated as "o/s". The most widely used o/s is Windows 95.

Orphans: A text formatting term: The first line of a paragraph is called an orphan when it is separated from the rest of the paragraph by a page break. See also Widows.

Output: (1) Data transferred from a computer's internal storage unit to some storage or output device. (2) The final result of data that have been processed by the computer or a particular computer program.

Overlay: A text formatting term: A predefined graphic overlay form, which is stored on the printer and which may be printed on an output page, independent of any other text or graphics on the page. See also Electronic Form.

Top of Page

Packet Switching The method used to move data around on the Internet. In packet switching, all the data coming out of a machine is broken up into chunks, each chunk has the address of where it came from and where it is going. This enables chunks of data from many different sources to co-mingle on the same lines, and be sorted and directed to different routes by special machines along the way. This way many people can use the same lines at the same time.

Page Description Language: A text formatting term: In desktop publishing, a program that allows you to use a microcomputer to describe to a printer the graphics elements used in page layout and design. Adobe PostScript is the de facto standard of page description languages.

Page printer: A text formatting term: A printer which prints an entire page at a time, as opposed to a line printer, which prints pages (even graphics) one line at a time.

Package: See Software Package.

Packet: A sequence of bits including data and call control signals (headers), arranged in a specific format, which is sent (switched) together as a single identity.

Parallel communication: A form of computer communication in which data is transmitted using parallel electronic paths. See also serial communication.

Parallel processing: The ability to process "chunks" or blocks of a program simultaneously. To do this, the computer has to have several CPU units and the software to coordinate them, or it must be able to simulate such a situation.

Parity Bit: An extra check bit added to the binary representation a character to make it conform to the parity checking method used.

Parity Check: A method of error detection that checks whether the sum of bits in each character received conforms to a given protocol. In odd parity, the sum of the bits (including the parity bit) must be odd; if a pattern would otherwise be even, the parity bit is set to 1 to maintain oddity. In even parity, the opposite convention is used. In mark or no parity, no parity checking is done.

Pascal: A modern block-structured programming language, with a simple and well defined syntax. Pascal was designed to be a simple language for teaching purposes, and is widely used as such.

Passthrough: A software facility which, when used during an interactive computer session, allows you to open another session on the same or a different computer, while keeping your original session. See also TELNET.

Password A code used to gain access to a locked system. Good passwords contain letters and non-letters and are not simple combinations such as virtue7. A good password might be: Hot$1-6 See also: Login

Peer-to-peer computing: As opposed to client-server computing, in peerto-peer computing, each network device runs both the client and server portions of an application. See also client-server computing.

Peripherals: Any device which is attached to a computer system or LAN. Devices such as printers, disks and tape drives which are often attached to computers or LANs.

Phototypesetting: A text formatting term: Producing a page image on photosensitive paper, as when documents are printed on a Linotronic 100 or 200 typesetter. This process is sometimes referred to as cold type to distinguish it from the older method of casting characters, lines, or whole pages in lead, which is called hot type.

Pica: A text formatting term: A unit of measure equal to 1/6 inch, or 12 points. Pica is also used to describe a font which is 10 characters per inch.

PING: Packet INternet Groper: The ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) provides message packets to report errors and other information in IP processing; PING uses ICMP echo messages and its reply to test the reachability of a network device.

Pitch: A text formatting term: The unit of measure for the size of (fixed width or mono-spaced) fonts; it is equal to the number of characters which will print in an inch; e.g. a 12-pitch type prints twelve characters per inch.

Pixels: See Resolution.

PLATO: An interactive educational computer system using text and graphics to teach a wide range of subjects. An example of Computer Assisted Instruction.

Plug-in A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape® browser and web server. Adobe Photoshop® also uses plug-ins. The idea behind plug-in¹s is that a small piece of software is loaded into memory by the larger program, adding a new feature, and that users need only install the few plug-ins that they need, out of a much larger pool of possibilities. Plug-ins are usually created by people other than the publishers of the software the plug-in works with.

Point: A text formatting term: The smallest unit of measure in typographic measurement. There are 12 points in a pica, and 72 points in an inch.

PNS: Personal Name Service: An electronic mail alias service which allows personalized aliases for electronic mail addresses. Every faculty and staff member who is included in the online faculty/staff directory database may select a PNS alias from a set of suggested aliases, all of which are based on his or her full name.

POP (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol) -- Two commonly used meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dial up phone lines. So if an Internet company says they will soon have a POP in Belgrade, it means that they will soon have a local phone number in Belgrade and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A second meaning, Post Office Protocol refers to the way e-mail software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or shell account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail. See also PPP

Port A pathway for data flow in and out of a computer. On PC's, a port is a slot or plug where cables for input and output devices are attached.

Portrait printing: A text formatting term: The normal printing orientation for a page, i.e., printing horizontal text across the 8.5 inch dimension of a 8.5 by 11 inch page. See also Inverse Portrait and Landscape and Inverse Landscape printing.

Post Processing: A post processing program process the output from another program. The most common use of a post processor is with systems which have one general program which processes user input and generate generic output, which contains no system or device dependent information. This device independent output is then passed to a post processor which creates final output which is specific for a particular machine or output device.

Posting A single message entered into a network communications system. E.g. A single message posted to a newsgroup or message board.

PostScript: A text formatting term: In desktop publishing, PostScript is the page description language used by the Apple LaserWriter and other high resolution printers and typesetters. At UIC, several of the remote Xerox 4045 laser printers can print PostScript output.

PPP (Point to Point Protocol) -- Most well known as a protocol that allows a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections and thus be really and truly on the Internet.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) -- The regular old-fashioned telephone system.

Print server: A networked computer system that receives and manages print requests from other network devices. Like a file server, a print server allows the machines on a LAN to share a single printer and also handles the printing queue for the printer.

Protocols: A set of rules or procedures implemented in both hardware and software to facilitate communications and provide a well defined interface between different hardware and software systems. The protocol rules govern format, timing, sequencing and error handling. A protocol converter is a device which translates between one communications protocol and another.

Proportional Fonts: Printer type styles in which each character occupies a different width in the output line, depending on the actual physical width of the character. Thus, in a proportional font, the character "i" is much less wide than the character "w".

Top of Page

RAM: Random Access Memory: The memory that is available on a computer for storing data and programs that are currently being processed. It is automatically erased when the power is turned off. Information in the RAM which needs to be stored for future use must be saved onto a disk or a tape. See also ROM and memory.

Random Access: The process of selecting information in a arbitrary order, not based on the physical order or sequence of its storage.

Recto page: A text formatting term: The right-hand page of a duplex printed document with facing pages. See also verso page.

Required Blank: A text formatting term: A blank or space which is processed by a word processing package in a slightly different manned from a normal blank. Required blanks print as blanks, but a line break cannot occur at a required blank, nor will additional space be added at a required blank to justify a line of text.

Resolution: A text formatting term: The number of dots per inch used to represent a graphics image. The term "pixels" is also used for "dots" in this context. High resolution images look smoother and have more dots per inch than do low resolution images. The resolution of images displayed on the screen is usually lower than that of the final laser printout. Laser printers print 300 dots (or pixels) per inch or more; typesetters print 1,200 dots (or pixels) per inch or more.

Response Time: The time measured from when you enter a command until you receive a response at the terminal.

RFC (Request For Comments) -- The name of the result and the process for creating a standard on the Internet. New standards are proposed and published on line, as a Request For Comments. The Internet Engineering Task Force is a consensus-building body that facilitates discussion, and eventually a new standard is established, but the reference number/name for the standard retains the acronym RFC, e.g. the official standard for e-mail is RFC 822.

RJE: Remote Job Entry: Refers to an application which is batch rather than interactive. In RJE environments, jobs are submitted to a computing facility and output received later.

ROM: Read Only Memory: Stored permanent systems instructions which are never changed; ROM is generally installed by the manufacturer as part of the system. See also RAM and memory.

Router A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the connection between 2 or more networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on.

RPC: Remote Procedure Call: the basis of distributed (client-server) computing. Remote procedure calls are specified by clients and executed on servers, with the results returned over the network to the clients.

RS-232: A standard connection for serial computer communications as described by the Electronics Industry Association (EIA). The standard specifies the physical connections between computers and other devices, such as modems and printers and defines characteristics of the electrical signals sent through the connection.

Top of Page

Sans Serif: A text formatting term: Type styles without serifs, such as Helvetica, Avant Garde and Geneva. See also Serif.

SAS: (Formerly Statistical Analysis System) A software system for data analysis. SAS provides tools for information storage and retrieval, data modification, report writing, file handling, and statistical analysis. SAS/Graph provides a complete graphics system, for plotting on a variety of printers and graphics terminals. There is also a Full Screen Package for full screen data entry. SAS includes interface routines for linking with the other available statistical packages.

SAS/Graph: The graphics portions of the SAS statistical analysis system.

SCRIPT: A text formatting term: A text-formatting program which takes as input a file containing unformatted text and special formatting commands and produces an output file of formatted text suitable for printing.

Security Certificate A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection. Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs to, who it was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique identification, valid dates, and an encrypted fingerprint that can be used to verify the contents of the certificate. In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have a valid Security Certificate.

Sequential Access: Reading data from a file whose records are organized on the basis of their successive physical positions. To reach a specific record, all records previous to that record must be read, in order. Magnetic computer tapes are sequential access storage device.

Serial communication: A form of computer communication in which data is transmitted one bit at a time over a single path. See also parallel communication.

Serif: A text formatting term: A line crossing the main strokes of a letter. Type styles that have serifs include Times, Courier, New Century Schoolbook, Bookman, Palatino and New York. See also Sans serif.

Server A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g.Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. See also: Client and Network

Shared File System (SFS):Lets users organize their files into groups known as directories and selectively share those files and directories with other users.

Simplex: (1) A text formatting term: printing only on one side of the paper. (2) A computer communications term: Simplex data transmission is in only one direction.

SIMSCRIPT: A higher level language designed specifically for simulation.

Site: An organization or facility where a host computer is located. Also interchangable and/or short for Internet Site or Web Site. As in: be sure to visit our site often.

SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) -- A standard for using a regular telephone line (a serial line) and a modem to connect a computer as a real Internet site. SLIP is gradually being replaced by PPP.

SMDS (Switched Multimegabit Data Service) -- A new standard for very high-speed data transfer.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) -- The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet. SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact. Almost all Internet email is sent and received by clients and servers using SMTP, thus if one wanted to set up an email server on the Internet one would look for email server software that supports SMTP.

SNA: Systems Network Architecture: An IBM developed specification for the logical structure, formats, protocols, and operational sequences for reliable transfer of data among SNA users and applications. SNA also includes specifications for controlling the configuration and operation of a network.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) -- A set of standards for communication with devices connected to a TCP/IP network. Examples of these devices include routers, hubs, and switches. A device is said to be SNMP compatible if it can be monitored and/or controlled using SNMP messages. SNMP messages are known as PDU's - Protocol Data Units. Devices that are SNMP compatible contain SNMP agent software to receive, send, and act upon SNMP messages. Software for managing devices via SNMP are available for every kind ofcommonly used computer and are often bundled along with the device they are designed to manage. Some SNMP software is designed to handle a wide variety of devices.

Software: The programs and data that make computer hardware function.

Software Package: A program or set of programs that usually perform a specific function. Programming (i.e., the development of a computer program in some higher level programming language) is generally not necessary when using a software package; specialized statements and/or data are used instead. SAS and SPSS are examples of statistical packages.

Spam (or Spamming) An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn't ask for it. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python skit which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone's low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. (Spam is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat product.) E.g. Mary spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message to each.

Spooler: A program which manages requests or jobs submitted to it for execution, selection requests for execution in an orderly manner from a queue. Print spoolers are a common example.

SPSS: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences: A software system for data management and analysis. SPSS may be used for many univariate and multivariate statistical analyses and has facilities for sorting and merging files and manipulating data. SPSS can deal automatically with complex files.

SQL (Structured Query Language) -- A specialized programming language for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application will have its own version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) -- A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. SSL used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers and web servers. URL's that begin with https indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity. In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate, which each side's software sends to the other. Each side then encrypts what it sends using information from both its own and the other side's Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can de-crypt it, and that the other side can be sure the data came from the place it claims to have come from, and that the message has not been tampered with.

Sysop (System Operator) -- Anyone responsible for the physical operations of a computer system or network resource. A System Administrator decides how often backups and maintenance should be performed and the System Operator performs those tasks.

Standard: A set of rules or procedures, either commonly used (de facto standards) or set by official decree (de jure standards).

StarLAN: A LAN developed by AT&T (IEEE 802.3 1Base5.A standard).

Start bit: A signal, usually a binary "0", used to alert to the receiving machine the beginning of a byte of data.

Stop bit: A signal, usually a binary "1", sometimes used to indicate the end of a byte of transmitted data.

Store and forward: A message switching technique in which messages are temporarily stored at intermediate points between the source and the destination until the required network resources are available. BITNET (CREN) is a store and forward network; the Internet is not.

Style:A text formatting term: The overall appearance of a font is referred to as the style. The type styles have names, such as Helvetica, Courier, and so on. (Note: there is some disagreement on the usage of this term; sometimes "style" is used to refer to the degree of boldness or slant of a particular font within a family [e.g., Bold], which is more commonly referred to as the typeface.) See also typeface.

Supercomputer: A large mainframe computer; usually reserved for computers with the fastest speeds and largest memory. These computers usually have an architecture that is different from regular mainframes. The main difference lies in the ability to perform vector and/or parallel processing.

Synchronous transmission: a method of data transmission in which characters are sent at a fixed rate, with the transmitter and receiver synchronized.

System Crash: A breakdown of either the operating system or the hardware, resulting in the system's halting, often very abruptly, and throwing its users off.

Top of Page

T-1 A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen, full-motion video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second. T-1 is the fastest speed commonly used to connect networks to the Internet.

T-3 A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second. This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion video.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) -- This is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software.

TELL-A-GRAF: A conversational graphics system, which may also be run in batch mode. The user creates graphics by entering simple commands which resemble English sentences. Only a few commands are required to produce a graph because TELL-A-GRAF will supply values for any unspecified features. Graphs may be stored and reused, and data can be read from external files.

Telnet The command and program used to login from one Internet site to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the login: prompt of another host.

Terabyte 1000 gigabytes.

Terminal A device that allows you to send commands to a computer somewhere else. At a minimum, this usually means a keyboard and a display screen and some simple circuitry. Usually you will use terminal software in a personal computer - the software pretends to be (emulates) a physical terminal and allows you to type commands to a computer somewhere else.

Terminal Emulation Program: Software, which is generally run on personal computers, which performs terminal emulation, allowing the computer to be used as a terminal for interactive use of another computer. See emulation.

Terminal Server A special purpose computer that has places to plug in many modems on one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine on the other side. Thus the terminal server does the work of answering the calls and passes the connections on to the appropriate node. Most terminal servers can provide PPP or SLIP services if connected to the Internet.

Text Editor: An interactive program that allows you to input, update, delete and store information on the computer. The information may be programs, data, or actual textual material such as letters or dissertations.

Text-formatting: The (automatic) layout of a text for the printed page. When used in conjunction with text editors, text formatting programs allow computers to be used for preparing documents: letters, papers, manuscripts, theses, resumes, and the like. The text of the document is specified by the author, using the text editor, and its layout on the page is performed by the text formatter, following instructions laid down by the programmer and by formatting commands embedded in the text by the author.

Text wrap: A text formatting term: The ability to wrap text around graphic images on a page layout. Some desktop publishing systems have an automatic text wrap feature that will shorten lines of text when a graphic image is encountered. In other systems, you need to change the length of lines by changing the column margins or by inserting hard carriage returns to shorten the lines.

Time-out: A time-out occurs when one network device expects to hear from another but does not receive the reply within a specified period of time. After a time-out, the information is either retransmitted or the link between the two devices is broken.

Track: A unit of measure for space on a disk. On our MVS disk devices (IBM 3350's), a track holds 19,069 bytes.

Tree: A data structure similar to a linked list, except that each element carries with it the address of two or more other elements, rather than just one. Trees are an efficient way of storing items which must be searched for and retrieved quickly.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written in an online forum.

Twisted pair: A type of data communications cable that consists of pairs of insulated wires which have been twisted together in a regular spiral pattern. A relatively low-speed transmission medium which is commonly used for telephone and, increasingly, for data networks.

Typeface: A text formatting term: The degree of slant or boldness in a font, examples are Normal (also known as Roman), Italic, Boldface, Boldface Italic and Slant. (Note: Sometimes "style" is used to indicate degree of boldness or slant, and "typeface" used for the overall appearance.) See also Style.

Top of Page

UNIX A computer operating system (the basic software running on a computer, underneath things like word processors and spreadsheets). UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

USENET: Usenet is the set of people who exchange articles tagged with one or more universally-recognized labels, called "newsgroups" (or "groups" for short). Usenet began in 1979, and is one of the largest and oldest cooperative networks.

User: Any person who uses a computer or a particular software or hardware system. More specifically, user is sometimes used to refer to the user's computer identification tag, used as an address for electronic mail.

User ID: The account prefix that is unique to each subaccount. It can also be used to logon to the computer, and is mail address of each subaccount.

Upload:To transfer information stored in the user's system to a remote computer system.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) -- The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this: -- The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a WWW browser program, such as Netscape, or Lynx. See also: Browser and WWW

USENET A world-wide system of discussion groups, with comments passed among hundreds of thousands of machines. Not all USENET machines are on the Internet, maybe half. USENET is completely decentralized, with over 10,000 discussion areas, called newsgroups. See also: Newsgroup

UUCP: UNIX-to-UNIX Copy Program: A protocol for communications between UNIX systems, and also a UNIX based network which is close associated with USENET.

UUENCODE (Unix to Unix Encoding) -- A method for converting files from Binary to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across the Internet via e-mail. See also: Binhex and MIME

Top of Page

VDT: Video Display Terminal: an input/output device with a display screen and an input keyboard.

Vector processing: Processing all the elements of a vector simultaneously. In order to do this, the computer has to have one or more vector pipes. The length of the pipe differs between supercomputers.

Veronica (Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) -- Developed at the University of Nevada, Veronica is a constantly updated database of the names of almost every menu item on thousands of gopher servers. The Veronica database can be searched from most major gopher menus. See also: Gopher

Verso Page: A text formatting term: The left-hand page of a duplex document with facing pages. See also Recto page.

Vertical justification: A text formatting term: The ability to adjust the spacing between lines of text (leading) in fine increments to make columns and pages end at the same point on the page. The TeX typesetting system can do this.

Virtual: Virtual refers to anything that seems real but is actually simulated by the operating system. For example, virtual memory is really disk storage made to look like real memory.

VM: Virtual Machine:The main operating system running on the Computer Center's IBM 3090 mainframe computer. Under VM, each person is considered to be the operator of his own "virtual" machine, the functional equivalent of a real machine.

VM/CMS: Virtual Machine/Conversational Monitor System: see CMS.

VSAM: Virtual Storage Access Method: A very fast random access file system that allows non-sequential retrieval of records based on the value of keys within them.

VTAM: Virtual Telecommunications Access Method: a set of program that control communication between nodes and applications programs running on a host system.

Top of Page

WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers) -- A commercial software package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information, and then making those indices searchable across networks such as the Internet. A prominent feature of WAIS is that the search results are ranked (scored) according to how relevant the hits are, and that subsequent searches can find more stuff like that last batch and thus refine the search process.

WAN (Wide Area Network) -- Any internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus. Insurance companies, banks and other multi-location businesses also have WAN in order for the field offices to communicate with headquearters and share common data bases. See also: Internet, LAN and Network

WATBOL: WATerloo COBol: A student version of COBOL written at the University of Waterloo.

Web See: WWW

Widows: A text formatting term: The last line of a paragraph is called a widow when it is forced onto a new page by a page break and is separated from the rest of the paragraph. See alsoOrphans.

Word Wrap: A text formatting term: Automatic adjustment of the number of words on a line of text, as they are being entered and displayed on the screen, to match the margin settings. The carriage returns that result from automatic word wrap are called "soft" carriage returns to distinguish them from the "hard" carriage returns, which result when is pressed to force a new line. Word wrap is usually available in the "what you see is what you get" word-processing systems which are common on microcomputers.

Workstations: Micro or minicomputers which are nodes on a computer network and which can be used to perform a number of tasks by using their own resources as well as by tapping into the other devices which are shared on the network.

WWW (World Wide Web) -- Two meanings - First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) which are the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be mixed together.

WYSIWYG pronounced Wizzy-wig: A text processing term that means - - What You See Is What You Get - It's used to describe systems which display full pages of formatted text and graphics on the screen. Some programs are more wizzy-wig than others. The term is also used to describe word processing programs that display different fonts on the screen.

Word Processing: The use of computers to prepare documents. On microcomputers, integrated word processing packages that handle all three tasks are more common (e.g. WordPerfect and DisplayWrite).

Top of Page

Xerographic printing process: A text formatting term: In the xerographic printing process, printed output is produced using a imaging process. A light source (generally a laser) scans the image onto a photosensitive belt. The list discharges areas on the belt where the image is not to appear. A dry toner of carbon mixed with a plastic binder is then picked up by the remaining charged areas of the belt. The toner is then transferred to a sheet of paper and melted onto its surface.

XON/XOFF: A protocol for controlling the flow of data.

ZIP: Data compression and file packaging programs for personal computers. An example is PKZIP which is available on the ADN Computer Centers public personal computers. Another is WinZip. See also ARCUTIL.

Go to: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | X-Y-Z

top of page   resource links main page   site map home

Classic Captioned Movies   Feature Films   Special Interest Videos

Stan Nicotera - e-mail:
Special Interest Video Sales Group, PO Box 968, Englewood, FL 34295
Phone 941-473-2601 - Fax 941-473-2701

© Copyright 1995 Stan Nicotera. All rights reserved.
Copyright notice pertains to all documents, files, pages, processes and text contained herein.