Geek Speak

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

A

Applet
A multimedia application written or embedded in the Java language such as animation or sound, viewable only in a Java-enabled browser such as Netscape 2.0 or HotJava.
See Also: Java, HotJava
Anonymous FTP
Users may gain access to a remote server using FTP without actually having an account on that server. The user’s E-mail address is usually given as a password and the user name ‘anonymous’ is assigned to the user by systems supporting this service.
See Also: E-mail, FTP
Archie
A database of anonymous ftp sites and their contents, “Archie” keeps track of the entire contents of these sites, and allows users to search for files on those sites using various different kinds of filename searches.
Archive
Often compressed, archives are usually large files containing several smaller files. Commonly used archive file formats are ZIP, TAR, ARJ, LZH, UC2.
See Also: ARJ
Archive site
Contains archived files of many kinds, available for users to download either by FTP or E-mail.
See Also: Download, E-mail, FTP
ARJ
Allows the user to store one or more files in a compressed format in an archive file. This saves space both in the compression and in the saving of disk sector clusters. Particularly strong compressing databases, uncompressed graphics files, and large documents.
ARPA
(Advanced Research Projects Agency) US governmental organization responsible for creating an experimental network which heralded the beginning of the Internet. Now known as Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
ARPAnet
Network created by ARPA in 1969, primarily allowing data transfer between Government laboratories. (Now defunct).
ASCII
(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) a file containing only text characters: numbers, letters, and standard punctuation.
ATM
(Asynchronous Transfer Mode) a new communications standard that is currently in the later stages of development. ATM is designed to transfer voice, video, and other multimedia data that requires short bursts of large quantities of data that can survive small losses but must be broadcast in real time.
Attachments
Multimedia files that are ‘attached’ to an E-mail; can be text, graphics, sound, video, spreadsheet, database, or even an entire application.
See Also: E-mail

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B

Backbone
A central high-speed network established by a company or organisation for connecting independent sub-networks.
Bandwidth
In simplistic terms, bandwidth is the amount of information travelling through a single channel at any one moment in time.
Baud Rate
Speed at which data travels through a modem, measured in bps (bits per second). Most modems today range from 2400 to over 50,000 bps.
See Also: Modem
BBS
(Bulletin Board System) a computer system usually run by local users making files available for downloading and setting up electronic discussion forums.
Binary
Binary data is a direct representation of the bits stored in RAM on a computer. Much more compact and accurate than ASCII.
See Also: ASCII
Bit
(Binary DigIT) the smallest unit of computerized data, comprising of either a 1 or 0. A combination of bits can indicate an alphabetic character, a numeric digit, or perform a signaling, switching or other function. Bandwidth is usally measured in bits-per-second.
See Also: Bandwidth
Body
In E-mail terms, the part of the message containing the most textual content, sandwiched between the Header and the Signature.
See Also: E-mail, Header, Signature
bps
(Bits Per Second) speed at which data transfer is measured.
Browser
(Often called a ‘Web Browser’) allows the user to search the World Wide Web and other Internet facilities using a Graphical User Interface. Examples are Mosaic and Netscape.
See Also: Mosaic, Netscape
Byte
A unit of data, generally formed from 8 bits. Example: 01101010


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C

CERN
A Lab located in Geneva, Switzerland, where the concept for the World Wide Web was first developed.
CGI
(Common Gateway Interface) an interface-creation scripting program that allows you to make WWW pages on the fly based on information from fill-in forms, checkboxes, text input etc.
See Also: Forms
Client
In a Client-Server relationship, the client is a computer running programs or applications from the server, or accessing files from it.
Compress
The act of discarding redundant or semi-redundant information from a file, thereby making it smaller.
CompuServe
US Internet Service Provider; one of the oldest and biggest.
Cybercafe
A cafe or bar allowing customers to explore the World Wide Web whilst having a drink or snack, usually charged per half-hour of usage.


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D

Daemon
A program that runs in the background whenever needed, carrying out tasks for the user. They ‘sleep’ until something comes along which needs their help; most commonly found on Unix systems.
See Also: Unix
Dialup
‘Dialup Access’ or a ‘Dialup Account’ is when a modem is used to gain access to the Internet via a network.
See Also: Modem
Domain Name
Unique address identifying each site on the Internet, usually of two or more segments separated by full stops.
Domain Name Server
Computers connected to the Internet whose job it is to keep track of the IP Addresses and Domain Names of other machines. When called upon, they take the ASCII Domain Name and convert it to the relevant numeric IP Address.
See Also: IP Address
Domain Name System
Allows users to relate to computers on the Internet by using textual addresses (eg. www.theplanet.net) for ease of use, rather than the IP Address system.
DOS
(Disk Operating System) simple operating system developed by Microsoft, allows extensions by other programs.
Download
When you transfer information off a remote machine connected to the Internet onto your local machine, you are downloading data.
See Also: Upload


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E

EDI Electronic Data Interchange for integration of legacy system information and infrastructure
Electronic mail or Email
Method of communication whereby an electronic message is sent to a remote location and received by another user at a specific E-mail Address.
See Also: Attachments, Body, Header, Signature
Ethernet
A type of network cabling allowing theoretical data transfers of up to 10Mb per second.
Exbibyte
(EiB) 1 152 921 504 606 846 976 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte


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F

FAQ
(Frequently Asked Question) Lists of Frequently Asked Questions (and their answers) covering all manner of topics can be found across the World Wide Web, allowing the user to search for a query that somebody has already found the answer to.
FDDI
(Fibre Distributed Data Interface) is a standard for transmitting data through optical fibre cables at a rate of around 100 million bps.
Filename extension
Commonly a three or four-letter extension on the end of a file name designating the file type. There are hundreds in existence, and new ones frequently being invented. Examples are: .txt (text file), .gif (Graphics Interchange Format).
Finger
A Unix program which displays information about a particular user or all users logged on the system, or a remote system.
See Also: Unix
Firewall
Secures a company or organisation’s internal network from unauthorised external access (most commonly in the form of Internet hackers).
Flame
An insulting or derogatory message usually sent via E-mail as punishment for breach of netiquette. There have been instances of ‘Flame Wars’, when other people join in the heated exchanges. In either case, not recommended.
See Also: E-mail, Netiquette
Forms
Certain Browsers support electronic fill-in forms. A form on a Web Page can be filled in by users all over the world, and the information sent electronically to the relevant domain site.
See Also: CGI, Browser
Freeware
Software allowed to be distributed free by the author, but often with certain conditions applying (ie. the software cannot be modified etc).
See Also: Public Domain, Shareware
FTP
(File Transfer Protocol) one of the main ways files are transferred across the Internet. An FTP Site is that which is provided by a company or organisation as a depository for all kinds of files which users may download.
See Also: Download, Protocol
FTPmail
The process where E-mail is used to access FTP Sites.
See Also: E-mail


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G

Gateway
The interface between two opposing protocols. By means of software and hardware a gateway allows connection between otherwise incompatible networks.
See Also: Protocol
Gibibyte
(GiB) 1 073 741 824 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
GIF
(Graphics Interchange Format) developed by Compuserve, GIF is a platform-independent file format, used extensively throughout the Internet for graphics files. Compresses files using a ‘lossless’ method which ensures picture quality is not diminished.
See Also: Compuserve
.gif
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) filename extension.
Gigabyte (GB)
A thousand Megabytes.
See Also: Megabyte
Gopher
Internet Gopher is a distributed document search and retrieval system. It takes a request for information and then scans the Internet for it. The protocol and software follows a client-server model, and permits users on a heterogeneous mix of desktop systems to browse, search, and retrieve documents residing on multiple distributed server machines.
See Also: Protocol


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H

Header
In E-mail terms, this is the part of the message indicating who the sender is and some other brief details, such as the subject of the message.
See Also: Attachments, Body, E-mail, Signature
Home Page
On the World Wide Web, this is the main navigation page owned by a company, organisation, University, individual, etc, from which hyperlinks are made to other pages on the site (or other sites).
See Also: Hyperlink
Host
You usually connect to a host computer whenever you use the Internet.
HotJava
A Web browser developed by Sun Microsystems expanding traditional browser capabilities by allowing dynamic functions instead of just static text and images.
See Also: Applet, Java
HTML
(HyperText Markup Language) the tagging language used to format Web pages. Allows pictures and text to be combined to create Web documents, and the most important feature – hypertext – making it possible for links to be made between different documents.
See Also: Gif, Jpeg, Tag, World Wide Web
HTTP
(HyperText Transport Protocol) used on the World Wide Web since 1990, this application-level protocol is essential for the distribution of information throughout the Web.
Hyperlink
In World Wide Web pages, hyperlinks are highlighted text or images which, when selected (usually by clicking the mouse button), follow a link to another page. Hyperlinks can also be used to automatically download other files as well as sounds and video clips.
See Also: Download


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I

Image Map
An image with clickable ‘hot spots’, allowing several hyperlinks from a single image file. For example, the image could be of a country, split into different areas, each of which could be clickable and hyperlink to a larger view of that specific area.
See Also: Hyperlink
internet
When spelt with a lower case i, it is a group of two or more networks connected together.
Internet
With a capital I, it is the collection of all the interconnected networks in the world, and is often simply referred to as the ‘net’.
IP
(Internet Protocol) the main protocol used on the Internet.
See Also: Protocol
IP Address
Unique 4-number code designated to every Domain on the Internet. Each Domain also has a Domain Name as well as an IP address to make site addresses easier to remember.
IRC
(Internet Relay Chat) real-time world-wide electronic chat program allowing the user to communicate with other people across the globe.
ISDN
(Integrated Services Digital Network) Digital telephone line allowing faster data transfer rates than existing analog lines. Allows simultaneous transfer of voice, data and video information.
ISP
(Internet Service Provider) A Company or Organisation, such as Planet Online, dedicated to providing businesses or home users access to the Internet, usually for a fee.


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J

Jargon
Like all other specialised subjects, the Internet has its own jargon; a somewhat cryptic language describing technical details. Some jargon is explained in this glossary.
Java
Developed by Sun Microsystems, Java is a Web programming language supporting inline multimedia effects, such as simple cartoon-like animation, background music and continuously updated information in Web pages.
See Also: Applet, HotJava
JPEG
(Joint Photographic Experts Group) a standard of image compression developed especially for use on the Internet. Most photographic images can be highly compressed using this method, without greatly diminishing image quality.
.jpg or .jpeg
Filename extensions given to JPEG graphics files.


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K

Kibibyte
(KiB) One thousand and twenty-four (1024) bytes.
Kilobyte
See for example http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html. A kilobyte is 1000 bytes, a megabyte 1 000 000 bytes, and so on, whilst a kibibyte is 1024 bytes, a mebibyte 1 048 576 bytes, and so on.The binary prefixes and their symbols, developed by Technical Committee (TC) 25 (Quantities and Units) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC – http://www.iec.ch ) with the strong support of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM- http://www.bipm.fr/enus/2_Committees/cipm.html ) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE – http://www.ieee.org ), were adopted in January of 1999 as Amendment 2 to International Standard IEC 60027-2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology – Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics. For reference :
Kibibyte (KiB) One thousand and twenty-four (1024) bytes.
Mebibyte (MiB) 1 048 576 bytes.
Gibibyte (GiB) 1 073 741 824 bytes.
Tebibyte (TiB) 1 099 511 627 776 bytes.
Pebibyte (PiB) 1 125 899 906 842 624 bytes.
Exbibyte (EiB) 1 152 921 504 606 846 976 bytes.
Zebibyte (ZiB) 1 180 591 620 717 411 303 424 bytes.
Yobibyte (YiB) 1 208 925 819 614 629 174 706 176 bytes.


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L

LAN
(Local Area Network) see below.
Leased Line
A rented, high-speed phone link for private use, available 24 hours a day.
Local Area Network
Usually referred to as a LAN, this describes a group of computers commonly in the same building, connected by network cables.
Login
When a user tries to gain access to the Internet through their host computer, they must Login with their password and User ID.


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M

Mailserver
The computer (and software running on it) that allows sorting and retrieval of E-mail messages.
Mebibyte
(MiB) 1 048 576 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
Megabyte (MB)
The unit of measurement for a thousand Kilobytes; a million bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
MIME
(Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) a format designed originally to include images, sounds, animations and other types of documents within Internet mail messages.
Mirror site
An FTP site containing exactly the same files as the site it is mirroring. Sites may be mirrored several times, often in different countries around the world. They relieve the load that can be placed on a very popular FTP site, making it easier for users to gain access and download files faster.
See Also: Download, FTP
Modem
(MODulator-DEModulator) allows the transmission of digital information over an analog phone line.
Mosaic
Web browser written by a group of people at NCSA. Provides a Graphical User Interface for accessing data on the World Wide Web.
See Also: Browser
MPEG
(Motion Picture Experts Group) video compression format used for movie or animation clips on the World Wide Web.
.mpg or .mpeg
Filename extension for MPEG movies.


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N

NCSA
(National Center for Supercomputing Applications) powerful organisation that launched the Mosaic Web Browser in 1993 for Windows, x-Windows and Macintosh platforms.
Netiquette
Informal, largely undocumented set of rules designed to make the Web a polite and civilised ‘society’.
Netscape Communications
Creators of Netscape Navigator, one of the most popular Web browsers. Became notorious after introducing several HTML ‘extensions’ that were unsupported by other browsers.
See Also: Browser
Network Time Protocol
Internet protocol ensuring that the correct time is transmitted.
See Also: Protocol
Network time server
Using Network Time Protocol, you access this machine to get the right time.
Newsgroup
Thousands of Newsgroups exist, distributing information on different subjects using Usenet.
Newsreader
Program that allows the user to read Newsgroup messages via Usenet.
NIC
(Network Information Center) the location where all the data is organised for a certain network.
NNTP
(Net News Transport Protocol) Usenet news uses this transfer protocol for shifting files around the network.
See Also: Usenet


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O

Offline
When your computer performs an operation when it is not connected to any other computers, it is working offline.
Online
Your computer is working online when it performs an operation and is connected to other computers.


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P

Packet
Information moves around the Internet in ‘packets’; chunks of data each with their own destination address. Think of packets as sealed envelopes containing data, with addresses written on them. They all go through the system, and usually end up at the correct destination. The more envelopes the system must handle, the slower the process becomes.
Page
A World Wide Web ‘page’ is the name given to a basic Web document, such as the one you are viewing at the moment.
Pebibyte
(PiB) 1 125 899 906 842 624 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
PKZIP or PKUNZIP
Utilities for easily compressing and uncompressing DOS and Windows files. They use the .zip filename extension.
POP / POP3 Remote Mail Colection
(Post Office Protocol) provides a store-and-forward service, intended to move E-mail on demand from an intermediate server to a single destination machine, usually a PC or Macintosh.
PPP
(Point to Point Protocol) PPP is a kind of Internet connection that allows a computer to use Internet protocols to become a part of the Internet. Requires a modem, a standard telephone line and an account from a service provider.
Protocol
Method by which computers communicate to each other over the Internet in order to provide a service.
See Also: FTP, HTTP, IP, NNTP, POP, PPP, SLIP, SMTP, TCP
Public access provider
An organization that provides Internet access for individuals or other organizations, often for a fee.
Public domain
Refers to software that anybody can use or modify without authorisation.
See Also: Freeware, Shareware


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Q

QWERTY
The type of keyboard layout used in most Western countries.

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R

Resource
A particular object of information provided on the Internet. Can be anything from a picture through to a video or application.

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S

SAP
Stands for Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung or Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.
Scripting language
Series of programmed commands that designate how one computer communicates with another computer.

Self-extracting archiveAn archived file with the filename extension .exe, indicating that when downloaded and run, it will be extracted by the decompressing program around it, without user intervention.ServerWithin a network, a server makes files available to client programs located on other computers when requested.SharewareSoftware distributed freely, but with certain conditions applying to it. Either the software is released on a trial basis only, and must be registered after a certain period of time, or in other cases no support can be offered with the software without registering it. In some cases direct payment to the author is required.See Also: Freeware, Public DomainSignatureThe automatic addition of a few lines at the foot of an E-mail. These usually consist of the sender’s E-mail address, full name and other details.See Also: Body, E-mail, HeaderSLIP(Serial Line Internet Protocol) like PPP, lets you use a modem and phone lines to connect to the Internet without connecting to a host computer.See Also: PPP, ProtocolSmileysCharacters often used in News messages, E-mails and on Web Pages to offer some degree of character or emotion. Example 🙂SMTP(Simple Mail Transport Protocol) often referred to as sendmail, is designed to allow the delivery of mail messages to Internet users.Snail mailWrite a letter. Buy a stamp, put stamp on letter. Walk to the postbox and post letter. Wait a day or two and hopefully it will have reached its intended destination…that’s s n a i l – m a i l.SurfingA popular metaphor used for describing someone exploring the World Wide Web.

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T

Tag
In HTML terms, a ‘tag’ is used for marking-up text in various ways so that it is formatted in a Web document. They are sometimes called ‘Markup Tags’.
See Also: HTML
T-1
Network link used on the Internet allowing speeds of up to 1.54 megabits/second.
T-3
Higher speed (45 megabits/second) Network link used on the Internet.
TCP
(Transmission Control Protocol) works in conjunction with IP to ensure that packets reach their intended destinations.
See Also: Packet, Protocol
TCP/IP
(Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) the two fundamental protocols which form the basis of the Internet.
See Also: Protocol
Tebibyte
(TiB) 1 099 511 627 776 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
Telnet
Terminal emulation program allowing an authorised user to access another computer on the Internet and use that computer as if it were local (when in reality it could be several thousand miles away).
Terminal
Piece of hardware that allows commands to be sent to a computer, usually by means of a keyboard and display unit.
Terminal emulator
Allows a PC to emulate several terminal types.
Thread
In a Usenet group, this is a list of messages loosely relating to one another (using the same ‘thread’).
Timeout
The facility whereby after a certain period of inactivity the connection is dropped.


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U

Unix
An Operating System typically written in C, and designed for multi-user environments. It has TCP/IP built in, and is therefore one of the most popular operating systems for servers on the Internet.
Upload
Transfer of files off a local computer up to a specified remote computer (as opposed to download where files are pulled off a remote machine).
See Also: Download
URL
(Uniform Resource Locator) resource addressing scheme of the World Wide Web. Assists in locating and identification of multimedia resources or multiple copies of resources.
Usenet
Specialised network linking thousands of newsgroups covering every subject under the sun.


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V

Veronica
A resource-discovery system providing access to information resources held on most ( 99% + ) of the world’s gopher servers. In addition to native gopher data, veronica includes references to many resources provided by other types of information servers, such as WWW servers, usenet archives, and telnet-accessible information services.


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W

WAIS
(Wide Area Information Servers) an architecture for a distributed information retrieval system. WAIS is based on the client-server model of computation, and allows users of computers to share information using a common computer-to-computer protocol.
See Also: Protocol
WAP
Wireless Application Protocol server software product available for Windows NT and Unix platforms. It is an open software platform that enables mobile connectivity to a company’s legacy information systems, Internet and Extranet services
Wide Area Network (WAN)
Group of computers located geographically apart, usually belonging to a single company or organisation, connected together using dedicated lines or by satellite to simulate a local network.
WinSock
(WINdows SOCKets) Windows utility program allowing users connected by SLIP, PPP or other direct connection to communicate with other computers on the Internet by TCP/IP.
See Also: PPP, SLIP, TCP/IP
World Wide Web (‘WWW’ or ‘Web’)
Specialised Internet Service allowing users to connect to remote sites, with information presented as text with hypertext links. These links can be used to refer to almost all other resources on the Internet. Graphics can be embedded into Web pages, but can only be viwed using a graphical Web browser. Other applications supported are sound files and movie files.
See Also: Browser, HTML, Internet
Worm
A search utility on the World Wide Web that locates resources following user-determined guidelines.


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X, Y, Z

XMODEM
A popular but slow file transfer protocol.
YMODEM
Another file transfer protocol, slightly faster than XMODEM.
Yobibyte
(YiB) 1 208 925 819 614 629 174 706 176 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
.ZIP
Files that have been compressed using the PKZIP program have this filename extension. They can be decompressed using by Windows and Mac computers.
Zebibyte
(ZiB) 1 180 591 620 717 411 303 424 bytes.
See Also: Kilobyte
ZMODEM
The fastest and most popular file transfer protocol, due to its efficiency and crash recovery properties.

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