Glossary of Computer and Internet Terms
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Acrobat is a program from Adobe that lets you capture a document and then view it in its original format and appearance. Acrobat is ideal for making documents or brochures that were designed for the print medium viewable electronically and capable of being shared with others on the Internet. To view an Acrobat document, which is called a Portable Document Format (PDF) file, you need Acrobat Reader. The Reader is free and can be downloaded from Adobe. You can use it as a standalone reader or as a plug-in in a Web browser.
Acrobat is actually a set of products. The latest version includes a "toolkit" that lets you scan in or otherwise capture documents created with Word, Publisher and other desktop publishing products. The resulting PDF files can then be available for viewing either directly with the Reader or they can be viewed as embedded files within the browser.
ActiveX is the name Microsoft has given to a set of "strategic" object-oriented programming technologies and tools. The main technology is the Component Object Model (COM). Used in a network with a directory and additional support, COM becomes the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM). The main thing that you create when writing a program to run in the ActiveX environment is a component, a self-sufficient program that can be run anywhere in your ActiveX network (currently a network consisting of Windows and Macintosh systems). This component is known as an ActiveX control. ActiveX is Microsoft's answer to the Java technology from Sun Microsystems. An ActiveX control is roughly equivalent to a Java applet.
If you have a Windows operating system on your personal computer, you may notice a number of Windows files with the "OCX" file name suffix. OCX stands for "Object Linking and Embedding control." Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) was Microsoft's program technology for supporting compound documents such as the Windows desktop. The Component Object Model now takes in OLE as part of a larger concept. Microsoft now uses the term "ActiveX control" instead of "OCX" for the component object.
One of the main advantages of a component is that it can be re-used by many applications (referred to as component containers). A COM component object (ActiveX control) can be created using one of several languages or development tools, including C++ and Visual Basic, or PowerBuilder, or with scripting tools such as VBScript.
Currently, ActiveX controls run in Windows 95/98/NT/2000 and in Macintosh. Microsoft plans to support ActiveX controls for UNIX.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line).
A DSL line where the upload speed is different from the download speed. usually the download speed is much greater. See also: DSL, SDSL
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 common rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent. See also: HTML, Java
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 to connect together computers that were each running different system so that people at one location could use computing resources from another location. See also: Internet, Network, WAN
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange).
This is the defacto world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111.
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
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 57,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression. See also: Bit, bps, T-1
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, 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. In the early 1990's there were many thousands (millions?) of BBS?s 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 AOL gets crossed at some point, but it is not clearly drawn.
Information consisting entirely of ones and zeros. Also, commonly used to refer to files that are not simply text files, e.g. images. See also: MIME, 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, Bit, bps, Byte, Kilobyte, Megabyte
A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place to another. A 56K modem can move about 57,000 bits per second. See also: Bandwidth, Bit
A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources. See also: Client, Server, URL, WWW
BTW (By The Way).
A shorthand appended to a comment written in an online forum. See also: IMHO
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
An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections. see also: SSL
CGI (Common Gateway Interface).
A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the ?CGI program?) talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard. See also: Server, WWW
The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored. See also: CGI
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, Client, Server
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 Browsers' 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 users' 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 "expire 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, Server
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.
Defragmentation is the process of locating the noncontiguous fragments of data into which a computer file may be divided as it is stored on a hard disk, and rearranging the fragments and restoring them into fewer fragments or into the whole file. Defragmentation reduces data access time and allows storage to be used more efficiently. Some operating systems automatically defragment storage periodically; others require that the user occasionally use a special utility for this purpose. Windows 98 comes with a built-in defragmenter as a "system tool" that the user can run. Windows NT did not come with a defragmenter because its file system, NTFS, was designed to minimize fragmentation; however, NT users often find one necessary and several vendors provide defragmenters. Windows 2000 comes with a "light" version of the Diskeeper defragmenter; some users (especially corporate users) use Diskeeper or some other full-function defragmentation program to manage storage efficiency and performance. Windows 7/8/10 come with a utility called "Disk Defragmenter."
"Defrag" is a short form of the verb to defragment and sometimes the name of the utility used for defragementing, which is also called a defragmenter.
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. For example, the domain names: sanpetecomputers.com, mail.sanpetecomputers.com, workshop.sanpetecomputers.com can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than 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 (sanpetecomputers.com in the examples above). 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
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line).
A method for moving data over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. A DSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line (however a DSL circuit is not a leased line. A common configuration of DSL allows downloads at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes) per second, and uploads at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. This arrangement is called ADSL: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Another common configuration is 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. DSL is now a popular alternative to Leased Lines and ISDN, being faster than ISDN and less costly than traditional Leased Lines. See also: ADSL, Bandwidth, ISDN, Leased Line, SDSL
Email (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. See also: SMTP
A very common method of networking computers in a LAN. There is more than one type of Ethernet. By 2001 the standard type was "100-BaseT" which can handle up to about 100,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer. See also: Bandwidth, FDDI, LAN
An intranet that is accesible to computers that are not physically part of a companys' own private network, but that is not accessible to the general public, for example to allow vendors and business partners to access a company web site. Often an intranet will make use of a Virtual Private Network. (VPN.) See also: Intranet, Network, VPN
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
FAQs are documents that list and answerthe 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 10-BaseTEthernet, about twice as fast as T-3). See also: Ethernet, T-3
A combination of hardware and software that separates a Network into two or more parts for security purposes. See also: Network
FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites. FTP is a 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". FTP was invented and in wide use long before the advent of the World Wide Web and originally was always used from a text-only interface. See also: Login, WWW
The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example America Online has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.
GIF (Graphic Interchange Format).
A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG. See also: JPEG
1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring. See also: Byte
Invented at the University of Minnesota in 1993 just before the Web, gopher was a widely successful method of making menus of material available over the Internet. Gopher was designed to be much easier to use than FTP, while still using a text-only interface. 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, FTP, WWW
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. See also: Browser, HTML, Server
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." See also: Browser, WWW
Hangup (or "Hang")
A hangup, also called a hang, is a condition that sometimes occurs when computer programs conflict or do not run properly. The computer seems paralyzed. Clicking the mouse has no effect, regardless of where the arrow or cursor is placed.
Sometimes a hangup will resolve itself. In some instances, the loading of a large amount of data (for example, downloading a complex Web page) can appear as a hangup. If you see an hourglass symbol, you should wait a couple of minutes before concluding that the system is hung up. But if the pointer appears and you cannot get a response by clicking on anything or by striking various keys on the keyboard, you will have to terminate the application or reboot the computer.
Pressing CTRL, ALT, and DEL at the same time will usually allow you to exit the program in question. If this does not work, you can press the CTRL, ALT, and DEL twice in rapid succession, and the computer should reboot. This is called a warm boot. You will lose all data in memory in this case. Sometimes even this does not work. In the extreme, it will be necessary to power-down the computer and then power-up again (a cold boot). This is a last resort, because it will cause the operating system to shut down improperly, and may produce hard-drive errors.
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 SMTP (email) and HTTP (web). See also: Network, SMTP
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. The "hyper" in Hypertext comes from the fact that in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or an image, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a "Web Browser". HTML is loosely based on a more comprehensive system for markup called SGML. See also: Browser, Hypertext, WWW
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).
The protocol for moving hypertextfiles 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). See also: Client, Hypertext, Server, WWW
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. See also: HTML, HTTP
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).
IMAP is gradually replacing POP as the main protocol used by email clients in communicating with email servers. Using IMAP an email client program can not only retrieve email but can also manipulate message stored on the server, without having to actually retrieve the messages. So messages can be deleted, have their status changed, multiple mail boxes can be managed, etc. IMAP is defined in RFC 2060. See also: Email, POP, RFC
internet (Lower case i).
Any time you connect 2 or more networks together, you have an internet - as in inter-national or inter-state. See also: Internet (Upper case I), Network
Internet (Upper case I).
The vast collection of inter-connected networks that are connected using the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early 70's. The Internet connects tens of thousands of independent networks into a vast global internet and is probably the largest Wide Area Network in the world. See also: internet (Lower case i), Network, WAN
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. Compare with extranet. See also: Extranet, internet (Lower case i), Internet (Upper case I)
IP Number (Internet Protocol Number).
Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 126.96.36.199. 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. Many machines (especially servers) also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember. See also: Domain Name, Server, TCP/IP
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network).
Basically a way to move more dataover existing regular phone lines. ISDN is 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 regular phone lines. In practice, most people will be limited to 56,000or 64,000 bits-per-second. Unlike DSL, ISDN can be used to connect to many different locations, one at a time, just like a regular telephone call, as long the other location also has ISDN. See also: DSL
ISP (Internet Service Provider).
An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money.
Java is a network-friendly programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java is often used to build large, complex systems that involve several different computers interacting across networks, for example transaction processing systems. Java is also becoming popular for creating programs that run in small electronic devicws, such as mobile telephones. A very common use of Java is to create 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. See also: Applet, JDK
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group).
JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art. See also: GIF
A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (210) bytes. See also: Byte
LAN (Local Area Network).
A computer network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building. See also: Network, VPN, WAN
Refers to line such as a telephone line or fiber-optic cable 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: DSL, ISDN
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 connecting to a computer system by giving your credentials (usually your "username" and "password") See also: Password
A million bytes. Actually, technically, 1024 kilobytes. See also: Byte, Kilobyte
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions).
Originally a standard for defining the types of files attached to standard Internet mail messages. The MIME standard has come to be used in many situations where one computer programs needs to communicate with another program about what kind of file is being sent. For example, HTML files have a MIME-type of text/html, JPEG files are image/jpeg, etc. See also: HTML, JPEG
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 copies of material originated at another location, usually in order to provide more widespread access to the resource. For example, one site might create a library of software, and 5 other sites might maintain mirrors of that library. See also: FTP, WWW
Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator)
A device that connects a computer to a phone line. A telephone for a computer. A modem allows a computer to talk to other computers through the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does for humans.
A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The Netscape (tm) browser was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
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. See also: internet (Lower case i)
The name for discussion groups on USENET. See also: USENET
NIC (Network Information Center).
Generally, any office that handles information for a network. The most famous of these on the Internet was the InterNIC, which was where most new domain names were registered until that process was decentralized to a number of private companies. See also: Domain Name, Network
Any single computer connected to a network. See also: Network
Open Source Software.
Open Source Software is software for which the underlying programming code is available to the users so that they may read it, make changes to it, and build new versions of the software incorporating their changes. There are many types of Open Source Software, mainly differing in the licensing term under which (altered) copies of the source code may (or must be) redistributed.
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 along different routes by special machines along the way. This way many people can use the same lines at the same time. You might think of several caravans of trucks all using the same road system. to carry materials. See also: Internet (Upper case I), Router
A code used to gain access (login) to a locked system. Good passwords contain letters and non-letters and are not simple combinations such as virtue7. A good password might be: 5%df(29). But don't use that one! Make up your own. See also: Login
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. See also: Browser, Server
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 a way that e-mail client software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain an account from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) 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. Another protocol called IMAP is replacing POP for email. See also: Client, Email, IMAP, ISP, Server
Three (3) meanings. First and most generally, a place where information goes into or out of a computer, or both. E.g. the serial port on a personal computer is where a modem would be connected. On the Internet port often refers to a number that is part of a URL, appearing after a colon (:) right after the domain name. Every service on an Internet server listens on a particular port number on that server. Most services have standard port numbers, e.g. Web servers normally listen on port 80. Services can also listen on non-standard ports, in which case the port number must be specified in a URL when accessing the server, so you might see a URL of the form: gopher://peg.cwis.uci.edu:7000/. This shows a gopher server running on a non-standard port (the standard gopher port is 70). Finally, port also refers to translating a piece of software to bring it from one type of computer system to another, e.g. to translate a Windows program so that is will run on a Macintosh. See also: URL
Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is or is intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a "Portal site" has a catalog of web sites, a search engine, or both. A Portal site may also offer email and other service to entice people to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence "portal") to the Web.
A single message entered into a network communications system.
PPP (Point to Point Protocol).
The most common protocol used to connect home computers to the Internet over regular phone lines. 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. See also: Modem, SLIP, TCP/IP
A Proxy Server sits in between a Client and the "real" Server that a Client is trying to use. Client's are sometimes configured to use a Proxy Server, usually an HTTP server. The clients makes all of it's requests from the Proxy Server, which then makes requests from the "real" server and passes the result back to the Client. Sometimes the Proxy server will store the results and give a stored result instead of making a new one (to reduce use of a Network). Proxy servers are commonly established on Local Area Networks. See also: Client, HTTP, LAN, Network, Server
PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).
The regular old-fashioned telephone system.
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 the Internet, as a Request For Comments. The proposal is reviewed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (http://www.ietf.org/), 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 message formats is RFC 822.
A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the connection between 2 or more Packet-Switched networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the source and destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on. See also: Network, Packet Switching
SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line).
A version of DSL where the upload speeds and download speeds are the same. See also: ADSL, DSL
A (usually web-based) system for searching the information available on the Web. Some search engines work by automatically searching the contents of other systems and creating a database of the results. other search engines contains only material manually approved for inclusion in a database, and some combine the two approaches. See also: WWW
A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection. See also: SSL
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 can (and often does) have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. See also: Client, Network
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 realInternet site. SLIP has largely been replaced by PPP. See also: PPP
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol).
The main protocol used to send electronic mail from server to server on the Internet. SMTP is defined in RFC 821 and modified by many later RFC's. See also: Email, RFC, Server
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. SNMP is defined in RFC 1089. See also: Network, RFC, Router, TCP/IP
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.). See also: Maillist, USENET
SQL (Structured Query Language).
A specialized 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 slightly different version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL. A example of an SQl statement is: SELECT name,email FROM people_table WHERE country='uk'
SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet.
Sysop (System Operator).
Anyone responsible for the physical operations of a computer system or network resource. For example, a System Administrator decides how often backups and maintenance should be performed and the System Operator performs those tasks.
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 lines are commonly used to connect large LANs to the Internet. See also: Bit, Flame War, Internet (Upper case I), LAN, Leased Line
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-motionvideo. See also: Internet (Upper case I), LAN, Leased Line
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol).
This is the suiteof protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now included with every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software. See also: Internet (Upper case I), Packet Switching, Unix
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. See also: Host, Login
1000 gigabytes. See also: Gigabyte
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.
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.
UDP (User Datagram Protocol).
One of the protocols for data transfer that is part of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. UDP is a "stateless" protocol in that UDP makes no provision for acknowledgement of packets received. See also: Packet Switching, TCP/IP
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. Apple computers' Macintosh operating system, as of version 10, is based on Unix. See also: Server, TCP/IP
URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).
An address for s resource available on the Internet. The first part of a URI is called the "scheme". the most well known scheme is http, but there are many others. Each URI scheme has its own format for how a URI should appear. Here are examples of URIs using the http, telnet, and news schemes: http://www.sanpetecomputers.com/resources/glossary.html, telnet://well.sf.ca.us, news:new.newusers.questions. See also: URL, URN
URL (Uniform Resource Locator).
The term URL is basically synonymous with URI. URI has replaced URL in technical specifications. See also: URI, URN
URN (Uniform Resource Name).
A URI that is supposed to be available for along time. For an address to be a URN some institution is supposed to make a commitment to keep the resource available at that address. See also: URI
A world-wide system of discussion groups, with comments passed among hundreds of thousands of machines. Not all USENET machines are on the Internet. USENET is completely decentralized, with over 10,000 discussion areas, called newsgroups. See also: Newsgroup
VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Usually refers to a network in which some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is "virtually" private. See also: Internet (Upper case I)
WAN (Wide Area Network). Any internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus. See also: internet (Lower case i), LAN
WWW (World Wide Web).
Frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major 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. See also: FTP, Gopher, HTTP, Internet (Upper case I), URL
XML (eXtensible Markup Language).
A widely used system for defining data formats. XML provides a very rich system to define complex documents and data structures such as invoices, molecular data, news feeds, glossaries, inventory descriptions, real estate properties, etc. As long as a programmer has the XML definition for a collection of data (often called a "schema") then they can create a program to reliably process any data formatted according to those rules.