! Important: Before using this website, please read this notice
The Wayback Machine - https://web.archive.org/web/20120208031842/http://www.searchengineoptimising.com:80/glossary/glossary-of-computer-and-internet-terms/display
Home arrow SEO Resources arrow Glossary

SEO Newsletter

SEO Newsletter

Receive HTML?

Glossary of Computer and Internet Terms
A glossary of computer and Internet terms with definitions that are easy to understand.
Glossary Search:

Begins with Contains Exactly matches
View Glossary
Submit Term

There are 596 entries in the glossary.
Pages: 1 2
Term Definition

301 Permanent Redirect

Most SEO experts will use this redirect as it can forward PageRank (and other SE rankings) to the new page.

Active - Matrix

Active - Matrix is a term used to describe the thousands of diodes layed over a grid of film like wires, that make up the screens on flat screen monitors. They work by lighting up in hundreds of different colours when an electrical current passes through them. Transistors are used to keep these diodes on or off and together they form a high quality image on the screen. It is these transistors that give Active - Matrix screens a higher quality than Passive - Matrix screens.


ActiveX is a technology used to view desktop documents in Web browsers as it links interactively with the World Wide Web. In order for ActiveX to work correctly so you can view all Web content, you must make sure you have the latest version of ActiveX installed on your computer.


Adsense is a Google run advertsing program that places Google approved adverts on your website. The adverts are placed based on your sites content and other elements. They create profit for the site owner through a pay per click system, and those wanting to use Adsense have to sign up through Adwords.


ADSL or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is the use of copper lines for transfering data. Unlike SDSL ADSL has different upload and download rates, with the upload speeds being slower, if you have a high upload rate ADSL is not the best option.


Adware is the name used for any free software that needs the user to watch adverts for it to function. The most common forms of Adware are advanced toolbars, games and similar applications.


Adwords are text based Pay for Perfomance adverts that are Google branded. They can be found on Google's site or on other sites which agree to host them. They are hard to block on Googls sites but by using Mozilla extension Adblock they can be blocked from external sites as they are within an IFRAME tag.


An affiliate is someone who has a relationship with an indivdual, larger company or business but is not exclusively governed by them.

Affliate Network

An affiliate network is a network of affiliates and vendors who work together to sell goods. The affiliates market the vendors goods and get financial compensation from them in the form of commisions. The more sales affliates make on a whole range of vendor goods then the more vendors get paid.


AGP or Accelerated Graphics Port is an internal expansion port that is situated on the motherboard. It runs more than twice as fast as a PCI graphics port and creates more realistic images that do not loose quality even when they are moving. As they store graphics in the computers system memory instead of the video memory they improve the computers graphics and increase performance.


AIFF or Audio Interchange File Format was created by Apple as a means of storing audio data that was sampled and of a high-quality. The data can be burned onto a CD and is similar to Windows WAVE files.


AIX or Advanced Interactive Executive is an IBM developed operating system that is Unix-based. It has strong security optoins and is normally used by enterprise servers where operators can divide CPU, disk access and memory between several different tasks.It is backwards compatible and it supports the 62-bit POWER processor from IBM, as well as running the majority of LINUX applications it can support Java 2.


Ajax or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a website development method used to make a webpage's speed and interactivity faster by only exchanging small amounts of data with a server. As it this is carried out behind the users browser the whole webpage does not have to reload every time there is a requested change.

Alert Box

An Alert box is a message in a box that pops onto the screen when you are about to do something which could have a damaging effect. For example if you are going to delete a file an Alert Box will appear asking if you want to continue with the operation, you then have to click on wither 'yes' or 'cancel' to continue.


Humans see everything in analog and all our senses are tuned in to it as our daily lives are a constant stream of analog data. In digital terms analog is estimated in ones and zeros.

Anchor Text

Applications are software programmes that run on a computer. Applications are specific to the function they are meant for, Word for example is a word processing application.


ANSI or American National Standards Institute is a non-profit, private organisation with members who's aim is to improve Americasn businesses competitiveness globally and bring about improvements in the quality of life for Americans. It facilitates conformity assessment systems which are used to test products and services to see if they meet a predetermind standard. If products or services pass these tests their producers are then accredited.


API or Application Program Interface or Application Programming Interface is a system which programmers use to build software for certain operating systems. It uses a series of protocols, commands and functions which are predefined and can work with the operating system in order to save themselves time writing everything fresh.


Apple are a computer development company that make Macintosh computers, they also make a wide range of other products such as iMacs, Power Macs, iBooks and probably the most well known MP3 player in the world the iPod. Apple also have a large range of software programmes like iMovie and iTunes.


An Applet is a Java program that is often embedded within a Web page. Applets can't access system files, resources or devices on a local computer so cannot do any damage if you access Web pages that contain a malevolent Applet.


An application is a piece of software that performs a specific function. For example a game is an application that only allows you to do one specific thing - play games.


Archie is a little used program that found files in FTP servers, the reason it is not used any more is that in order for it to find the files you had to know the exact name of the file. Netscape and Internet Explorer are now more commonly used for this.


ASCII or American Standard Code for Information Interchange is the numerical code that all computers use to represent all letters, both upper and lower case, punctuation and numbers. This prevents computers from using different sets of letters and causing confusion with programmers.


ASP or Active Server Pages is the server side Microsoft developed technology used to create dynamically-generated Web pages.


ATA or Advanced Technology Attachment is the term used to describe a standard interface used to connect CD-ROM drives and hard disks inside a computer without the need of a a specific controller supporting the drive. The motherboard still has to support an ATA connection but there is no requirement for a SCSI card normally used for a SCSI hard drive, for example.


ATM or Asynchronous Transfer Mode is a term that is used to describe a method of sending, or transfering, packets and cells of data that are a fixed size through a network.

Authoring Tool

An Authoring Tool is an application used to write multimedia content destined for the World Wide Web


Autoresponder is most commonly used on email accounts to send an automatic response to any emails sent to a certain email address. It can be run through a mail server or a Web-based interface. Individuals often use an autorepsonder if they will not be checking their emails for a while and anyone who sends one to them will be automatically sent a reply informing them that the individual is not able to respond.


B2B or Business to Business is electronic commerce that takes place in very high volumes and is usually made up of automated processes between different vending partners.


B2C or Business to Consumer is ecommerce that occurs publically through Teleshopping or webshops.


Backbone is system used to carry data to the smaller transmission lines in a network. A local backbone is made up of network lines that connect several LANs together, this creates a wide area network which is linked by the backbone connection.


Backlinks are the incoming links to a website from other websites.

Backside Bus

Backside and Frontside buses are used to carry data back and forth from a computers CPU. The Frontside bus does this between the memory and CPU whilse the Backside bus moves data in and out of the computer's L2 cache. As this data is frequently used it is stored near to the processor, and as a result the computer's CPU can work much faster. Often the Backside bus is as fast as the processor.


Bandwidth is a word used to describe the amount of data that can be sent down a digital connection is a certain time period i.e how many bytes can be sent per second.

Banner Ad

Banner Ads are the advertising links that are often across the top or down the sides of a webpage. They create revenue for the website owner and they can then offer free content.

Base Station

Base Stations are used by wireless computers as an access point. Base Stations are made by Apple Computer, Netgear and others. Every wireless card in a computer can work with any Base Station regardless of manufacturer.


BASIC or Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code was developed in the 1960s and is a computer programming language that enables people to write simplified programs. Now it has changed and grown and can be used to create more complex programs.


Baud is a unit of measurement that states how many electrical signals per second, are sent to networks, modems and other data transfer devices.

Beta Software

Beta Software is software that is still in it's testing phase, it can contain bugs,errors and other problems which are ironed out before the software becomes availble to the general public. If there is a b in a program's properties it is beta software.


The Binary system is a numerical system with only two digits and all computers use it to function. It is favoured because the switches inside a computer can be either on or off (1 or 0) in order to work correctly.


BIOS is pre-installed on every Windows computer and means Basic Input/Output System. It is used when the computer starts up and it checks all the devices and hardware connections on a computer. If everything is functioning the boot up process will begin.


A Bit is the smallest unit of stored computer data. It is a single digit number and normally a page that is full of just text will contain around 16,000 Bits.


A Bitmap is a collection of dots (or bits) that when viewed together form a picture. JPEG, GIF, PCX and TIFF are all commonly known forms of Bitmaps. The only downside to a Bitmap is that on closer inspection they are very blocky, so for more detailed work it may be better to use CoralDraw or other Vector graphics packages.


A blog is an online diary or journal that is usually in chronlogical order that is normally about one topic. The entries are known as posts and people can comment on these posts on a blog.


Blu-ray is a recently developed optical disk format which can be used for holding huge amounts of data in HD format. One disk is capable of containing 25GB of data - a CD can only hold 700MB of data while a DVD can hold 4.7GB.


Bluetooth is a wireless connection that is used to transmit data between Bluetooth enabled devices at short range. Laptops, PDAs and mobile phones as well as scanners and printers use Bluetooth frequently.


BMP is the shortened version of Bitmap and is used for saving images and is a raster graphic format.


A Bookmark is function used very much like a tradional bookmark except it is used to bookmark Websites. These are more commonly known as 'favourites' on Internet Explorer and they enable a user to go directly to a website at the click of the mouse.


Boolean is the artifical logic that a computer uses to decide if something is true or false. Boolean uses 4 operators AND, NOT, OR and XOR and it is the combination of true and false within these operators that allows a computer to come to a true or false decision.


Boot is the word used to describe turning a computer on. By turning on your computer you are 'booting' it up.

Boot Disk

A Boot Disk is the term used to describe a disk which a computer can boot up from. They are usually an internal hard drive which is loaded as the computer boots.


Bots are usually used online and they are software programs that are automated and perform specific functions when ordered to. For example they can monitor online chat rooms and can throw people who do not abide by the rules of the chat room out.


Bridges connect LANs together and allow for faster transmission of data between them. A bridge is much faster than a router, but it cannot act as a firewall like the majority of routers do.

Bridge Page

Bridge Pages are used on the Internet and are Web pages which are desinged to be high ranking for certain keywords or phrases which once entered trick you into viewing a different Web page. There are many different names for them including: gateway pages, zebra pages and jump pages.


Broadband is the term used to describe the high speed transmission of data through a single cable. Cable modems are the most popular connection to Internet broadband with DSL being secondary as they use a phone line and are falling out offavour as they are not as fast as Broadband.


A browser is a program that allows a person to access and view pages the Internet. It deciphers the HTML code and presents it neatly formatted on your screen.


Buffer is the term used to describe a method of holding a tiny amount of data before it is needed, and it is usually held in the computer's RAM. The best example of this is when you want to watch a video clip on the Internet the buffer will hold the first 15-20% of the video and then begin to play it. The remaining 75-80% of the video will load as it plays allowing for reduced stalling or skipping.


Burn is term used to described how a CD-writer writes data on a CD. The laser used is highly powered and 'burns' the surface of the CD with the data that is being written to it.


A Bus inside a computer is used to transfer data up and down and is made up of sets of wires. There are several buses inside a computer and they are all different sizes (32 bit or 64 bit for example) and this has an impact on how much data can be transfered at any time.


A byte is a single character made up of a set of eight bits that is inside a computer's memory. These bytes are used to measure the size of files, the space remaining on a hard disk or RAM. One kilobyte is equal to 1024 bytes.

C C++

C was created in the 1970s and is a high-level language for programming. It was initially used for UNIX programs however it is now used for most kinds of application writing. It is easy to use and read and is very memory efficient. C++ or C plus plus as it is pronounced is very similar to C but it contains features that are object-oriented and this means the programmer can also create objects in the coding. As a result C++ makes programming easier and many would say more pleasurable.

Cable Modem

Cable Modems are used to connect computers to the Internet and are over 500 times as fast as dial up modems. ISPs however limit their users transfer rates to maintain bandwidth.


A Cache is used to store recent information in order for it to be re-accessed very quickly. Internet Explorer for instance will cache information from recently viewed Web pages and sites without the need to download the information again. This speeds up browsing as you are accessing the computer's hard disk and not the Internet.


CAD or Computer Aided Design is software that is used for almost all 3D designing and engineers and architects swear by it as it can rotate, resize and move images quickly and has taken over from pencil and paper as the best designing tool.

Camera Raw

Professional photographers like to photo graph in camera RAW as it does not automatically correct and compress files as most digital cameras do. It allows them to make their own corrections as they are unprocessed.


CD is the term used for the circular disk that was created in the 1980s. CDs can hold 700MB of data and this data (stored in the form of notches) is read by a laser in a CD player's optical drive.


CD-R (Compact Disk Recordable) is a CD which is able to have data written to it. A CD burner must be used for this. Although they can hold audio data they can also be used to store other data such as Power Point presentations and Word documents.


CD-ROM or Compact Disk Read-Only Memory are CDs that are able to be read by a computer as long as it has an optical drive. CD-ROMs cannot be changed or wiped and contain a large amounts of different data as they are not formatted the same way as CDs. They are usually retail software.


A CD-RW (Compact Disk Re-Writable) is a Rewritable CD that can have data burned onto it. The difference between a CD-R and a CD-RW is that a CD-RW can be written on countless times, it cannot however be overwritten and needs to be erased first. Due to their nature CD-RW are not the best way of backing up data so it would be better to use a CD-R.


CDMA or Code Division Multiple Access was developed in WW2 as a form of wireless transmission. It was later patented by Qualcomm and is used by many mobile phone companies.


Certificate or SSL or secure certificate is an installed file on a Web server and is there to prove the identity of the site and ensure it is secure. This gives consumers added security when shopping online and they are verified by Thawte or other third party companies.


CGI or Common Gateway Interface is a way of passing requested information from a program that has been executed on a Web server to a client.


A Character is anything that can be created from a computer keyboard. This means all letters, symbols, numbers, punctuation etc. Characters are always one byte long.


Chipset is the term used to describe the construction of integrated circuits. Chipsets in devices are all different, even different Pentium 2 and 3 Processors have different Chipsets.


CISC or Complex Instruction Set Computing is a microprocessor that contains a huge number of computer instructions which start off as extremely simple and go up to highly complex and specific. The idea behind the design was originally to process complex orders and instructions in the best way, however trial and error proved that by using small and short instructions this process would happen much faster. As a result the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing was developed and now PowerPCs are entirely RISC - based. Pentium processors on the other hand are CISC -based with some RISC features.

Clean Room

A Clean Room is a room where highly sensitive equipment is produced in order for it to stay free from contamination. Microprocessors are made in clean rooms and the air in them is constantly filtered.


Client is the term used to describe a system that can access a service, which is usually remote on another computer via a network.

Clip Art

Clip Art is a collection of different images and pictures that can be imported onto documents. They are usually arranged into files that show the type of images within them for example - animals, flowers, boats etc.


A Clipboard is part of your computer's RAM that stores images or sections of text to be placed elsewhere. When you use the copy or cut command the item you have selected will be put on the clipboard until you click paste and place it where you want it. You can also copy and paste web addresses.

Clock Speed

Clock Speed is the term used to measure the rate that a processor can complete it's processing cycles. They are normally measured in Megahertz (1,000,000 cycles per second) and Gigahertz (1,000,000,000 cycles per second).


The term Clone was first coined in the 1980s when rival computer companies began to produce Windows - based computers. These ran exactly the same as IBM computers and used much of the same hardware and software. There are now many companies who make Windows-based personal computers, or PCs as they are now known.


A Cluster can mean two different things. The first meaning refers to sectors on a disk, the smallest sectors can be identified and accessed on a hard dick but a cluster is a group of these that identifies a file and typically a file will be made up of several clusters. The second meaning refers to groups of computers that are connected, usually by Ethernet and they are often used for processing data (normally scientific). As all the computers are performing the same function (complex scientific calculations or decryption) they are known to be engaging in parallel computing.


CMOS (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) is a term used to describe the means of creating transistors. The word complimentary relates to how they will produce a positive or negative charge. Transistors that are CMOS-based only use one charge per time so they are very efficient and are only in use when a charge goes through them. Processors that have these CMOS -based transistors can run incredibly fast without overheating and the CMOS memory in a computer (the part of the memory that remembers the date and time) runs on a such low power that a Lithium battery can sustain it for years.


CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black) these colours are the four main colours used for printing documents. Computers screens use Red, Blue and Green, CMYK colours can be blended to make various colours and shades and are known as subtractive.


Codec or Coder Decoder is the term used to describe the method in which audio and video files are compressed to save space and then decompressed in order to be played. MPEG and AVI are two of the most popular forms of video files with WAV and AIFF being the most popular for audio files.


ColdFusion is a middleware programming language that is tag-based and mainly used in the writing of Web -based applications.

Compact Flash

Compact Flash (CF) is a form of memory that tends to be used in digital cameras.


A Computer in the strictest sense is a programmable machine that will act under instruction. Nowadays a computer is thought of as a PC, laptop or Mac, but in truth the monitor, mouse and keyboard are not part of this.

Computer Ethics

Computer Ethics are an unwritten set of rules and morals that surround the use of computers. Popular topics of computer ethics are privacy and the concerns that arise from it and other things such as how computers fit into society.


Configuration is the term used to describe the more technical aspects of a computer, the RAM, processor, hard drive and other such parts.

Controller Card

A Controller Card is the interface between a computers motherboard and the other parts of the computer. All devices attached to a computer such as a mouse or printer need a controller to work. If you are looking to add a SCSI drive to your computer you will need to use a controller card (these normally fit into a PCI slot).


Cookies are data that is sent to your computer when you have visited a Website. If you revisit the site the cookie will load particular pages depending on what information is contained in it.


Copy is the term used when a document or image is copied and placed on the computers clipboard ready to be pasted elsewhere.


A Counter is usually placed on a Website to record the number of visitors to the site.


CPA or Cost Per Action is the term used to describe the fee that is charged each time a desired action is completed by a user, this can take the form of reading a number of pages or downloading particular software.


CPC or Cost Per Click is the term used to describe the fee that is charged each time a banner ad or HTML link is clicked by a user.


CPL or Cost Per Lead is a lead that needs to be fulfilled in order to get a credit, this can be a valid email address or a survey fully filled out.


CPM or Cost Per 1000 Impressions is the term used to describe the buying of advertising space in a particular media.


CPS or Cost Per Sale is the term used when a fee is charged for every purchase a user makes.


CPU or Central Processing Unit is sometimes thought of as a computers brain. And like a brain it controls everything that the computer does from the most complex task to the most basic function.


A Crawler or Web spider is a type of bot that searches the Internet in a specific, automated way and they are often used by search engines to refine searches.


CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the method used to try to create a personable feeling between an Internet company and it's customers. And many online companies are now buying into the idea that they need a strategy to help them to create a more friendly, customer orientated online experience


A Cron is a Unix system task that is periodically run. These can take the form of an email sent out once a week or a directory being backed up every two weeks.


Crossplatform is any software application that can be successfully run on any computer. Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop are two examples of this.


CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) is a method of firing electrons from a tube onto phosphors on the front of a TV or monitors display. When the phosphors are hit they light up and the result is then projected onto the screen in a mixture of blue, green and red. As the electrons are magnetically guided you can get interference on the screen if there are any magnetic devices nearby. LCD displays are now replacing CRT as they don't have the problem with magnetic interference and they are thinner.


CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a term of computer language that describes any structured document and it's presentation in HTML, XML or XHTML. This blueprint is upheld by the World Wide Web Consortium.


CTP (Composite Theoretic Performance) is a way of measuring a computer processors performance. The resulting calculations are used to benchmark performance and computer companies use them to measure the number of theoretical operations can be performed by their computers in one second.


CTR (Click Through Ratio) means the number of times (ratio) that a person has clicked through a banner ad during the time it has been live.


A Cursor has two meanings. The first is the pointer of your mouse that is shown on the computer screen, and it can be used to open documents or go into programs by double clicking the mouse. The second is the flashing line which will show you where you have typed to in a body of text. This line can be moved around and repositioned in order to highlight sections of text and cut and paste them elsewhere.


Cyberspace does not really have an exclusive definition, instead it refers to the virtual world that computers inhabit. It now also encompasses the Internet and people refer to an email being sent through cyberspace when it is sent.


A Daemon is a program that is always running on a computer and it is responsible for sending actions to devices when it receives input. For example a printer daemon sends information to a printer when someone wants something printing.


Dashboard was first introduced with the arrival of the Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and it is a user interface that enables access to 'widgets' which show many different things such as the time, date and personal information like phone numbers and addresses. There are also collections of widgets that do other thingssuch as allow the user to play games and keep up to date with sports news etc. To view the dashboard you must click the dashboard icon or press F12, to activate the dashboard widgets you simply drag or click them onto the desktop, to deactivate them click the close box.


A Database is a structured way of holding data, and this data is usually organised in rows and columns although some more modern databases can contain images and audio/video files.


DBMS (Database Management System) is a software system which standardises the storage of data for easy retrieval, cataloging and questioning of data. Examples of DBMSs are Microsoft Access and FileMaker although there are many different versions. As these databases must be able to communicate with each other it is important that you install Open Database Connectivity software to enable connectivity.


DDR or Double Data Rate is an up to date version of SDRAM (computer memory) that is twice as fast as it's predecessor. It is also called DDR-SDRAM and due to its efficient performance (it can both send and receive signals in half the time) it is often used in notebook computers.


DDR2 (Double Data Rate 2) is a faster, advanced version of DDR memory and like DDR it can send data on the rising and falling edges of the processors clock cycles although it is twice as fast. DDR2 RAM has an improved design to DDR RAM and this gives the DDR2 RAM a larger bandwidth and this allows a greater volume of data to be passed through the RAM chip.

Dead Link

A Deadlink is a link to a Web page (or server) that is continually unavailable. They are very common on the Internet but very unprofessional.


Debug is the term used to describe the process of getting rid of any 'bugs' in a computer program. When in development these bugs can occur in the programming but before a program can be released to the public they must be debugged so that any problems are eliminated.


A Debugger is a program that enables programmers to find bugs in their programs. Debuggers run the program and highlight any codes which are causing the problems so the programmer can alter them. Often they run through the program step by step and provide detailed descriptions of what ahs gone wrong and when.


Default is a preset computer program option, for example if you are creating a text document using Netscape Communicator the default text would be 'Times'. The default option in any program is normally the one that a person would choose, but you can customise the program by choosing different options if you like.


Defragment, or defragmenting is a method of increasing the performance of your computer by defragmenting the hard disk.


The Deguass button on a computer monitor demagnetises the screen and thus improves the colour. Modern monitors don't have the degauss button as they automatically demagnetise themselves. Flat screen monitors don't have this as magnetism doesn't occur in them.


Delete in computer terms means get rid or erase. You can delete files, text and whole documents, this is done from text by pressing the delete button when the cursor is behind the text, or you can delete from inside a body of text by highlighting a section then pressing delete.


Desktop is the term used to describe your computer's first screen that contains your icons. Many people put frequently used programs and files on their desktop, much like a real desktop so they have easy access to them.

Desktop Publishing

Every time a document is printed is published. Desktop Publishing it the term used to describe this act, it also enables images and text to be placed on the same page ready for publishing without the need of large printing presses and cutting and placing of images on sheets of paper.


DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is used by a network server to appoint IP addresses to computers that are networked. Large networks that need setting up are vastly helped by DHCP as it will automatically assign an IP address from a master list to any computer connected to it.


DHTML (Dynamic HTML) is a mixture of HTML, a scripting language (such as JavaScript) which is client side and Cascading Style Sheets to create interactive Web sites.

Dialog Box

Dialog Box is the term used to describe the window that will appear on the screen when dialog with the user needs to occur. These boxes will usually have options to choose from in them such as save or cancel. Once you have selected your option the changes will be saved and the box will disappear.


Digital is the term used to describe the 1s and 0s that all data is made up of. As computers are digital machines that use the binary system they will only read on or off, but this is translated into music or video (in the case of CDs and DVDs).


To Digitise anything you will turn it from analog to digital. To create a digital file it must be sampled and the higher the sampling rate the better quality the result. A CD for instance will sample at a rate of 44.1kHz which means it samples audio 44,100 times per second.


DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module) is a tiny circuit board holing memory chips. DIMMs are able to transfer a great deal of data at once as the use a 64-bit bus to the memory.


Direct3D is a Microsoft developed API that contains a collection of functions and commands used to operate 3D objects. It enables programmers to write much less code and makes managing 3D objects easier.


A Directory is a system that is used for storing information such as files rather like an electronic filing system. A subdirectory is a directory that is inside another one.


DirectX is used by developers to create software that is normally used in video games and can control sound effects and video playback. This makes a game for instance look a lot more controlled and uniform.


DLL (Dynamic Link Library) is a file that has a range of information and functions accessed through a Windows program. Once the program starts links are created to the .dll files that will be needed. If the link is static it will only operate whilst the program runs, if it is dynamic it will run when needed, making the task more efficient.


DNS (Domain Name Server) is a storage system that contains domain and host names on a sort of allocated database on the Internet and other networks. Its most crucial function however is appointing IP addresses for every host name and creates a list of each e-mail accepting mail exchange servers for every domain.

DNS Record

DNS Records are text that is stored in zone files and used for the translation of domain names to IP addresses. As the information is purely text is of key importance that the correct text is written otherwise mistakes can occur.

Domain Name

Domain Name is the name used (which is unique) to define and identify a computer that is on the Internet from the other systems also on the Internet.


Dongle has two meanings. The first means a type of security key which is plugged into a USB port on a computer or laptop and allows only the authorised owner of the dongle to use the computer. The second is an Ethernet card adaptor for a laptop. They are sued because an Ethernet cable is usually too big to fit into a network interface card.

Doorway Page

Doorway Pages fake Web pages that are SEO optimised in order to rank very highly in a search engine, they then trick you into watching another Web page.

Dot Pitch

Dot Pitch is the term used to describe how sharp the picture on a Cathode Ray Tube monitor is. They are organised in millimetres and the finer the picture the lower the number. Most CRT monitors are around .25 - .28 and anything larger would make a fuzzy picture. A dot pitch is different to a pixel as they are smaller and pixels are mapped onto the dots.

Double Click

Double Click means clicking your mouse twice. It usually has to be done in quick succession, although most computers in the System Preference or Mouse Control Panal allow you to lengthen the amount of time needed to double click successfully. By performing a double click you are asking the computer to do something specific such as open a file.


Download is the term used when one computer collects any information form another computer.


Drag is the term used when you drag an item on your computer screen, you can do this with icons to move them around or you can drag things from one folder to another. Drag is a very useful feature when using Graphical User Interfaces .


A computer Driver is a file (which is normally small) that enables a computer to communicate with specific hardware devices. Drivers are in .dll files in Windows based computers.


DRM (Digital rights Management) is the term used to describe the systems related to the copyright of electronic media. This helps companies who publish electronic media such as video and audio files monitor who is accessing them and can prevent unauthorised plays.


DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is the term used to describe the technology used to transfer data over a telephone line and connect to the Internet. It is faster than a normal telephone connection which helps transference.


DTD (Document Type Definition) is a term used to define the attributes and tags used in XML or HTML documents.


DV (Digital Video) is different to analog video as it records in binary (1s and 0s) rather than frame by frame and as a result can be edited on a computer. Digital video camcorders and other such devices can, using a Firewire (IEEE 1394) cable export the footage directly to a computer. An analog to digital converter must be used to transfer analog video to a computer.


DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) is an optical disc that is able to store a great deal more information than a CD, this makes large applications and films to be stored on one disk.


DVD+R (Digital Versatile Disc Recordable) is a DVD that is able to be recorded on and the single sided discs can store 4.7GB of data and the double-layered can store 8.5GB. DVD+R is not as common as DVD-R but can still be played on the majority of DVD players and DVD-ROM drives.


DVD+RW (Digital Versatile Disk Rewritable) is similar to a DVD+R only it can be rerecorded and rewritten on (as long as the disk has had all data removed first) they are only available as a single sided disk but can still hold 4.7GB of data. They are the perfect choice for anyone wishing to make backups of data and they can be written onto using a burner supporting DVD+RWs.


DVD-R (Digital Versatile Disc Recordable) is a DVD which can be written or burned onto. They hold 4.7GB of data and can only be recorded onto once.


DVD-RAM (Digital Versatile Disc Random Access Memory) are very much like DVD-RW and DVD+RW however they need to be put into a enclosing cartridge before they can be played, but these will not fit into a normal DVD player.


DVD-RW (Digital Versatile Disk Rewritable) is very similar to a DVD-R except the data on it can be wiped in order for it to be written on again. DVD-RW area good choice to use to backup data and they are capable of holding 4.7GB, however they are not double sided and in order to write anything to a DVD-RW you must have a burner that supports DVD-RW.


DVI (Digital Video Interface) is a term used for the video connection port that will support analog and digital displays.


DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is a video recorder that instead of using video cassettes uses a hard drive to record, play back, fast forward etc. DVRs however have one feature that a video recorder does not and that is that it can put live TV on pause and record whatever the current program is in real time.

Dynamic Page

A Dynamic Page is a Web page that is constantly changing or being updated. Many search engines will favour these kind of pages.


E-Commerce is a term used to describe any business conducted over the Internet. There are two main forms of E-Commerce and they are B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer)


E-Mail is a way of sending messages to other people with E-Mail addresses via the Internet.


Edutainment is a mixture of two words education and entertainment and it is a form of electronic learning that is also entertaining.


Emoticons are mixtures of symbols that are used to represent other things in text : ) for example is meant to show a smiley face.


Encryption is the term used when data is mixed up and scrambled so it cannot be read without it first being decoded by the correct decoding key.

End User

When computer hardware or software is developed it is developed for an end user (the person who will be using it).


EPC is the term used that means for Earnings Per Click.


EPS (Encapsulate PostScript) is a format of image files that is only compatable with PostScript printers. It is mainly used for file transference between different graphics applications.


EPV stands for Earnings Per Visitor.

Error 400

Error 400 (Bad Request) is the term used when a person tried to get a computer to perform an invalid demand.

Error 401

Error 401 (Unauthorised) is the term used when a client does not have the required amount of authorisation to enter a site.

Error 403

Error 403 (Forbidden) is the term used when a request is not allowed as the requester does not have access.

Error 404

Error 404 (Not Found) is the term used when something that has been requested no longer exists.

Error 500

Error 500 (Internal Server Error) is the term used when the server found an unknown problem and cannot continue with a request to a URL.

Error 501

Error 501 (Not Implemented) is the term used when a server doesn't support a called protocol or service type.

Error 503

Error 503 (Service Unavailable) is the term used when a connection times out because the server took too much time to answer.


Ethernet is the term for the most popular connection computers in a LAN utilise. Ethernet ports are slightly bigger than a normal phone jack.


EUP (Enterprise Unified Process) is the software development method that enables the production of software in an organised way. EUP is made up of six phrases: Inception in which the project begins and its merits looked at. Elaboration in which costs and other development issues are discussed and evaluated. Construction in which the software is created, tested and written. Transition in which the software is put on public release and any problems from the end users are noted and acted upon. Production in which the software is maintained and kept active by the developers and supporting staff. And finally retirement in which the software is decommissioned or retired and production ceases, this usually happens when a newer version is created.


An Exabyte is expressed as 2 to the 60th power or 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes, however it is so big that it is seldom used.


An Exbibyte is expressed as 2 to the 60th power, or 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes and an exbibyte is a single unit of data storage.


FAA (Free For All link page) is a term used to describe a Web page that is specifically created to rank highly for a Web site.


FAQ is a term that means Frequently Asked Questions and is a text list of commonly asked questions and their answers that a user may have about software


FAT32 (File Allocation Table) is the term used for the method that Windows uses to store data on a hard drive. It helps your computer to find files even if they have been fragmented. As it uses a greater number of bits in order to recognise a cluster it is a better version of FAT. FAT32 has a serious amount of storage space - 2 terabytes on a hard disk which is more than enough for a home computer user.


Favicon (Favourites Icon) is a term used to describe an icon that has been designed for a particular website, which if you put the web address into your favourites will put the icon next to the name of the web site.

Fiber-Optic Cable

Fibre-Optic Cables are cables that are made of extremely thin strands of glass or other material which is transparent and capable of carrying beams of light. Data can be sent through fibre-optic cables at the speed of light, due to the fact that they are light-based. A laser transmitter sends the signal and it is translated back into data when it reaches the end and this is used by a computer. Fibre-optic cables are useful as they are not able to be interfered with by noise or vibrations, the only downside to them is that they are very fragile. Due to this they are usually installed underground but this is expensive and mending broken fibre-optic cables is a difficult, expensive and time consuming process.


A File is an accumulation of data that is stored together under one name. Files can contain text files, images, audio and video clips and even applications. Applications can also be files, such as iTunes and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

File Extension

A File Extension is a letter code at the end of a file name that shows what type of file it is. The code .txt shows that it is a text document. The majority of file extensions are three characters long however they can be one to five long. A file extension will also provide information to the computer about which operating system should be used to open it.

File System

A File System is located on a computers hard drive and they contain all the files in a directory. This root directory will be created when you format the hard disk and every time you add a new file to it, it will be put in the appropriate directory.


FiOS (Fibre-Optic Service) is provided by Verizon and is a form of fibre-optic data communication. It not only provides this service to companies but also to residential homes and is called a FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) service.


A Firewall is used to protect a client machine or networked server from any unauthorised access. A firewall can be either software of hardware-based and routers are a hardware device that has an inbuilt firewall. Monitoring and restricting software programs are also classed as firewalls as they only allow particular messages from the Internet enter the network.


Firewire is a recently developed high-speed interface and is used to attach devices, such as MP3 players, to a computer. The standard transfer speed for Firewire is 400Mbps which is roughly thirty times faster than a 1.1 USB port, although a more recent version of Firewire can transfer twice as fast as the originals.


Firmware is the programmed instructions on a hardware device. It is kept in the flash ROM of the device and unlike standard ROM flash ROM can be rewritten and erased. As this is semi-permanent you will have to update certain devices as new software become available.


Flash is the term used to describe Macromedia's Web animation technology. These animations don't occupy much space as they are vector based and they allow designers to include highly colourful images and texts to Web pages. In order to view these animations you will need a Flash plug in installed, but they are usually inbuilt into the majority of browsers.

Flash Memory

Flash Memory is a kind of EERROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) and is normally used to store BIOS settings in the ROM of a computer. Sections of the memory can be erased in a flash or single action and most modems use this as the memory writes in blocks not bytes, thus making it straightforward to update. Flash memory can also be used in mobile phones and other devices.

Flat File

A Flat File is a type of database that uses a plain text file to store data. Every line of a text file will holds one record with the fields being sectioned by tabs or commas. As it has such a simple structure a flat file is not able to contain multiple tables, as a relational database will. However, most flat file databases can be imported into FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Access.

Floppy Disk

A Floppy Disk stores data on it magnetically and is coated in iron oxide similar to a hard disk. They are covered by a hard casing to protect it.


Folders on a computer are a way of storing files on your hard drive. You can name all the folders for ease of retrieval. Computers also store folders that contain information about the computers operating system.


Font is the different styles of characters that can be produced using word processing applications.


Before any storage device can be recognised by your computer it must be formatted. To do this to a disk you must text it and write a new address table or directory structure onto it. In order to erase a hard drive it must be reformatted and this is done by using a disk utility program. Once you have reformatted a disk it will appear to be blank but it will still contain the files although they will not show up as the directory structure has changed.


FPU (Floating Point Unit) is a processor that was developed in order to deal with calculations that had floating numbers in them. By using a separate processor it means that the calculations are done more efficiently.


Frame in computer terms can have a few different meanings. HTML frames are used on some web sites and they allow for several pages to be shown at the same time. Frames are also used in desktop publishing and graphics and they are a rectangular shaped area that is used to insert text and images easily onto a page. Frames are also used in animation and video and a frame is a single picture within a series of pictures that when played together at a certain speed (video is typically shot at 24-30 frames every second) create a seamless moving picture.


Frames is the Netscape developed method for HTML extension which allows for a web page to be split up into sub pages.


Freeware is a type of software that it free. It can be shared between people, downloaded and all without payment. The only restriction on freeware is that it is under copyright so cannot be marketed as the creation of anyone other than it's creators.


Frozen is a state that your computer can go into when the screen freezes. You will normally be unable to move the cursor and usually the only solution is to re-boot your computer.


FSB (Frontside Bus) is a connection between a computers processor and the RAM and other areas of the computers motherboard such as the AGI card and the system chipset.


FTP( File Transfer Protocol) is a standardised method of file transference between computers that have very different operating systems. The FTP is part of the application layer that is within the Internet protocol suite.


Gateway is the term used to describe a bridge between two networks that can either be made of software or hardware. Gateways are used when you send an e-mail or when you access a Web site. These gateways allow data to be transferred between computers and are an essential part of communication via a computer.

Gateway Page

A Gateway Page is a Web page that is cleverly designed in order to be highly ranked in search engines and they are meant to trick a visitor into watching another page. They can also be known as zebra pages, entry pages and many other names.


A Gibibyte is a term used for a single unit of data storage. It can be expressed as 2 to the 30th power, or 1,073,741,824 bytes.


GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a term used to describe a common graphic image that is often seen on the Internet and online services.


A Gigabyte is approximately one billion bytes and it is used to measure the space on a disk or a computers memory.


GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) is a term used to describe the act of inputting incorrect data into a computer program, if you put something in that is of no use, you will get something useless in return.


GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is the term for a collection of tools that collect and interpret information regarding the Earths surface. It is used to create maps and charts and 3D models which represent the Earth's surface. It is used by the Government to analyse growth of cities or by the police to work out fast routes from one place to another. It can also be used to assist in the computer generation of landscapes.


A Gopher is a means of finding information through the use of a text interface. The whole system works on a client - server basis in which a gopher client server will search through other gopher servers. Menus which contain links to programs and documents are used in place of hyperlinks.


GPS (Global Positioning System) is a military developed satellite navigation system that enables the exact position, speed and direction of travel of an object fitted with GPS. Today many cars use GPS systems to help the driver with directions.


GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a processor used for 3D functions that contains one chip. It is normally used for special effects such as 3D motion and lighting effects.


GUI (Graphical User Interface) is a graphical interface on a computer and it enables the user to drag and drop objects rather than type in text into the command line.


A Hacker was once known as a person who was an expert in programming, now it is used to refer to someone who can hack their way through the security systems of a network or computer system. This can be done on many levels, from working out a password to creating a code or program to get into such systems.


A Halftone is an image that is comprised of a number of small dots, instead of a continuous tone. The dots used can be different shapes, sizes and colours and they are normally larger to show darker colours and smaller to show lighter colours.


Handle is a term that originated from CB radio but it is more commonly used in online chat rooms. It is a name that people call themselves such as Veloria77 that does not reveal their true name to other people.

Hard Disk

A Hard disk is located inside your computer and is made up of magnetic disks in a spindle which are called platters. They are used to store information magnetically which means the data is still intact even when the computer is turned off. Every time a program is installed or data saved it will be saved to the hard disk.

Hard Drive

A Hard Drive houses the hard disk and it is used to store data magnetically on a series of stacked disks. Each hard drive is a little larger than the palm of your hand yet it can still hold around 100GB of data.


HDTV ( High Definition Television) is a new video standard that is of a high quality has been created in order to replace the traditional SDTV. It has many advantages over SDTV which include: digital signals, which reduce interference and improve picture quality, the picture is also shown in 16:9 ratio which is closer to how humans view the world thus making them more realistic. HDTV also has a higher resolution which further improves picture quality as it is finer and sharper. However in order to be able to view HDTV you will need to have a HD compatible television.


HDV is the next step up from Mini DV and the term stands for High-Definition Video. HDV must be recorded using a HD camcorder and it captures a high resolution image in 16:9 format.


Hexadecimal is a way of representing numbers which is 16-base rather than the normal 10-base system. Instead of adding one every ten numbers, each number can have 16 values. As using a hexidecimal system is more efficient it is often used ion computing.


HFS (Hierarchical File System) is a term used to describe the file organisation on a Macintosh computers hard drive. Every time a hard drive is formatted for use with a Macintosh the files will be put into a HFS and this, in turn will create a directory of files. Windows cannot access these files as they are only Mac compatible.


A Hit is the term used to describe a file request that is on a webserver. Hits are not an accurate way of counting the traffic to your web site however as each graphic file and HTML document will be classed as one hit.

Home Page

A Home Page is the term used to describe the first or front page of a web site. More often than not it will have a list of contents for the web site.


Host is the term used to describe a computer on a network that will act as a server for all of the other computers on the network. A Web host would be the computer that provided a Web sites content for all the other computers that accessed it.


When a cursor is rolled over a link on a Web page and it changes from a pointer to a hand it is known as hovering. Cascading style sheets can be used by web programmers to change the appearance of the link when hovered over, these changes can be making the link turn a different colour or be underlined.


HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a kind of markup language that is specifically used in the creation of web pages.


HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the main way of conveying information over the world wide web.


HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the main way of conveying information over the world wide web.


A Hub is a device that enables a number of computers to be connected together in a network and it acts as a central connection. It is normally Ethernet based and enables any information that is sent to flow to any computer on the specific network.


Hyper-Threading is an Intel Corporation developed technology that is used to enable a processor, such as an Intel Xeon to have two threads of information being executed at the same time.


A Hyperlink is a link within a body of hypertext that allows direct access to the referenced text within another document.


Hypertext is a user interface paradigm that will display documents that have cross references to other documents which are known as hyperlinks. These hyperlinks will show the document which is linked for a brief period.


ICF (Internet Connection Firewall) is a form of computer protection that is a feature of Windows XP. When ICF is enabled it will log in Windows of each request that is incoming from other systems that are also on the Internet. If a user has requested something it will not be affected as it is only unsolicited requests that are blocked. As ICF will only limit incoming traffic it means that any data that is sent from your computer can still be infected by a virus. Multiple computers should have ICF enabled through the router.


An Icon is a symbol or picture that is used to represent a program or an object which is on your computer. Files that are on your desktop are examples of icons as the recycle bin on Windows and the Trash can on Macintosh.


ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) is a way of allowing multiple computers to access the Internet through the same IP address and Internet connection. The usual way of doing this is to use a router connected to a modem which then is connected to all the computers.


IDE (Integrated Electronics Device) is the most popular hard drive interface around, the electronics controller is integrated into the drive and it will support a hard drive with 50GB of data.


IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) is an organisation that is non-profit that reviews all aspects of computer science and electronics standards. The standards that are developed by the IEEE usually become International standards even though the organisation is American. One example of a popular device that has been standardised by the IEEE is the IEEE 1394 interface or Firewire.

Illegal Operation

An Illegal Operation is a message that will be flashed up on your computer when there has been an error in a program you are trying to run. The most likely cause of these is bug in the program you are using.


IM (Instant Messaging) is a method of communication via the internet whereby users are in private chat rooms and can see which of their list of buddies is online at any time and invite them to chat. You can have more than one chat room open at any one time and have as many conversations as you like.

Image Map

An Image Map is used in HTML and relates to the co-ordinates of a specific image. They are created in order to hyperlink various areas of the image to certain destinations image maps are used to link parts of an image together without having to separate the image.


IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is used to access e-mails on a server, this cuts out the need to download them onto your local hard drive. This is different to POP3 which is another very popular protocol for e-mail which requires anyone wanting to read their e-mails to download them onto their own hard drive first. Using an IMAP mail server means that the user can access and read their e-mails on any computer they like as the e-mails will remain on the sever until they are downloaded. Mac OS X Mail and Microsoft Outlook will let you decide the type of protocol your mail server will use but it is important to choose the right one otherwise you will not be able to send or receive e-mails.


An Impression is counted each time a visitor looks at a Web page. One user can create many impressions on one web site as they could view a page many times over. A unique impression however is only created the first time they look at the page.


Infotainment is a mixture of two words information and entertainment and it is used to describe something that is entertaining but informative. Channels like the Discovery channel would be classed as infotainment channels.


Inkjet is possibly the most popular kind of consumer printer. Inkjet printers work by spraying droplets of ionised ink (which is sprayed through a magnetic plate) onto the paper. Inkjet printers are continually improving, although they are still not as high quality as laserjet printers.


Install is the term used when you put any new software onto your computer, it will be installed on the computers hard drive. You can either install a new program from a CD or you can go online and download new software or new versions of software.


An Installer is used whenever you want to put new software onto your computer. It works by putting the compressed the data contained in the software and writing it to your computers hard drive. Compression is used as it cuts down on the space taken up on the hard drive. Installers are also used to update existing software and they are used by double clicking on the correct icon. As soon as the installer is finished the new software is ready to run.

Integrated Circuit

Integrated Circuits are small chips that can be used in many different ways from an oscillator to even computer memory. They are made up of silicon and contain up to millions of capacitors, resistors and transistors. Digital IC's work by using logic gates which will work with 0s and 1s - a low signal will result in a 0 and a high signal will be a 1. Digital IC's are used in most electronic consumables. Analog IC's work by using continuous values only, they can take an input of any variety and output a different value. Analog IC's are normally used in radio frequency amplification.


Video is often compressed by interlacing it, this is done by only showing every other horizontal line of the image being displayed. As this is done very quickly it appears, to the human eye, to be smooth and seamless. Sending images that are interlaced means that only half the bandwidth is needed and this is the basis of PAL and NTSC formats. The only drawback with interlaced images is that fast pictures may become blurred, HDTV and DVD on the other hand draw each line individually which means the image is clearer.


The Internet was developed during the Cold War as a method of communicating via a network. Today it is one of the most popular ways of sharing information and it stretches across the world. Data that will travel over large distances will go along massive lines which are known as the Internet backbone. Millions of computers and networks make up the rest of the Internet and the large providers such as ANS and UUNET strive to make sure that connections are constantly working and running fast to keep up with the demand for them.


InterNIC (Internet Network Information Centre) is an organisation who's aim is providing domain name registration and Internet information services. It was originally developed by the National Science Foundation and is now run by ICANN.


Intranet is an internal form of the Internet, many businesses have their own Intranet that contains information relating to the business and only those within the organisation have access to it.


IO (Input / Output) is a term for the belief that everything in computer terms has input and output. For example typing a document using a keyboard would be the input and the output would be the text appearing on the screen. The I/O is handled by the computers CPU as this will route the data along the correct path.


IP (Internet Protocol) is a term used for the set of standards which govern the sending and receiving of data using the Internet.

IP Address

IP Address is a term that is used very much like a telephone number, except it only refers to machines (usually computers) when they are using the Internet to transfer data. Internet protocol is used in these transfers and the IP addresses are used in order to make sure that data is received and sent to the correct machine.


IPX (Internetwork Packet Exchange) is a kind of networking protocol that is connectionless, in other words a connection does not have to be maintained. It is based on Novells NetWare and is used to connect networks. As it is connectionless if a connection is broken it will just carry on from when the connection was broken. Another advantage of this is that it will only be in use when you connect to a network so system resources are not taken up needlessly.


IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a method of online communication that takes place in real time over the Internet. In order to use it you have to be on the same IRC server and connect to the same channel. Chat rooms use this method to allow users to chat to each other.


IRQ (Interrupt Request) is a term used to describe the managing of various hardware operations on one processor. When a program is run it will send an interrupt request to the processor that lets the program join the list of requests running.


ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) is a kind of bus used to add extra expansion cards to PCs. They are used to add extra cards such as a video card and they come in two versions, an 8 bit that will support 8 and 33 Mhz clock speeds (which is a 62 pin connection) and the 16 bit which has 98 pin connections and can also support the same speeds.


ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is a method of transferring data that is much faster than using a dial up modem. As ISDN uses a large bandwidth transmission that is digital it is capable of sending a lot of data at any one time. Normally an ISDN connection can support speeds of up to 128K ps, and the newer versions are getting faster all the time.


ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) is an organisation that works in conjunction with standards institutes in over 150 countries world wide and helps set the standards for products and technologies. This work involves making the production of products safer and efficient but also makes products much more standardised for consumers.


ISP (Internet Service Provider) is a term used for the organisation or business that provides the Internet and it's related services to a consumer. These companies are usually telecommunications companies and they will provide things such as domain name hosting, dial up and broadband access and all other Internet services for a fee.


IT (Information Technology) is the term used for anything under the umbrella of computer technology or the people who work with these technologies. As you can imagine it is a broad spectrum, covering things from hardware and software to Web development and programming.


IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a technology that is telephony based and can recognise a combination of voice commands and touch tone. This gives the user the ability to access databases over the phone. Usually there will be a menu of options for you to choose from that are prerecorded and these can range from the very basic, to more complex instructions such as the caller having to tell the service their account number and other details. The IVR system can then recognise this input and react accordingly.


Java is a programming language that is object oriented. It was initially created to replace C++ however its feature set is more like objective C.


JavaScript is a scripting language that is object-oriented and is based on the concept of prototypes. The syntax of JavaScript is close to that of Java, but it more closely linked to Self. JavaScript is mainly used in Web sites.


JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a format for images that is popular. It is normally used to encode photographic pictures and art.


JSP (Java Server Page) is a Sun Microsystems developed alternative to active server page technology that was developed by Microsoft. As JSP is Java based it is very good for creating dynamic pages for web sites as it allows information from databases to be accessed by a server.


A Jumper is a a type of on/off switch that is actually a tiny metal connector. It is used when altering the configuration of hardware. A jumper is normally made out of two pieces of wire and a piece of metal which when connected together, or switched on, form the circuit. If the connection is broken, the jumper is switched to off. A group of jumpers together, or a jumper block is used to inform the computer of the configuration of a particular device. Jumpers are located on sound cards, motherboards, modems and many more places.


Kbps is used to describe the rate of data transfer and one typical modem speed is 56 Kbps. The Kb part means Kilobits, and the ps part means per second.


Kernal is a term that is normally only used by computer experts and refers to the base layer of a computers operating system. Operating systems are created in layers with each layer being responsible for a certain function such as disk access. The kernal is responsible for memory management and hardware-software interaction, the better the kernal of a computer, the better the computer.


A Keyboard is a board that has numbered and lettered keys on it that is one of the major input devices for a computer. The keys are laid out in the QWERTY style and they are arranged in such a way that makes typing easier.


A keystroke is the typing of one character on a keyboard.


A Keyword is a word that is used within a section of text in order to be search engine optimised.

Keyword Density

Keyword Density is the term used to describe the occurence of a keyword within a Websites content. A good keyword density is around 2-3% anything over 4.5% is too keyword dense and can be counter productive in terms of SEO.

Keyword Phrase

A keyword phrase is very much like a keyword but it is a phrase such as "cheap mobile phones" and is used with Website content to maximise SEO.


A Kibibyte is a data storage unit that can be expressed as 2 to the 10th power, or 1,024 bytes


A Kilobyte is a data storage unit that can be expressed as 2 to the 10th power, or 1,024 bytes. However this is not 100% accurate as it is estimated.


LAN or Local Area Network is used to describe a number of computers that are all linked to the same network. Many large companies have all their computers and printers networked for example.


Latency is the term used for the amount of time it takes to move a packet of data across a network. As soon as a packet is sent and the computer is waiting to confirm receipt this is know as latent time. The latency and bandwidth speed are the two main factors in how quickly your connection speed is.


LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is the name for the very thin screens that are often used in TVs, laptop screens and other flat monitors. They work by placing an electronically charged substance in between a pair of electrodes. By increasing and decreasing the current that passes through it different colours can be created. LCD screens will use up a lot less electricity as they function by blocking light, not emitting it like a CRT screen does.


LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) is a method of making directory access available over the Internet. It works over TCP/IP networks and as it is an open protocol it lets any computer store the data from it. LDAP is a more up to date and streamlined version of an earlier directory X.500.


Leaderboards are a type of online advertisement that is 728?0 pixels. They can contain animations as well as text and when a person clicks into one they will be directed to the Web site of the advertiser.


A Leaf is a file that is contained within a directory on your computer's hard drive. A folder is known as the branch in these directories.


A Link is a word or phrase on a Web site that is usually highlighted and a different colour to the rest of the text. By clicking on these links you are taken to a new Web site or Web page. Normally when you place your cursor over a link it will turn in to a small hand.

Link Farm

Link Farms are a collection of Web pages that are created to contain many hyperlinks in order to direct you to a specific Web site or Web pages. Link Farms are normally program created.

Link Popularity

Link Popularity is a term that is used to measure the quality and the amount of other Web sites that can link to a specific Web site on the World Wide Web.


Linux is a type of operating system that is derived from Unix. It was created by Linus Torvalds as he wanted more options than Unix offered, he then distributed it freely which meant many more people began to use it and as a result it is now very popular. It is a very good choice of operating system for computer enthusiasts and is supported by Intel, Motorola and many more.


Listserv is a program that is used to send out e-mails to a mailing list automatically. When a person subscribes they are added to the list, when they unsubscribe or report the e-mails as spam they often end up getting more e-mails.


A Localhost is a local computer that a program runs on. Your computer would be the Localhost if it was running a Web browser. When more than one computers are running a program then the localhost must be defined. A Web server could be started on one computer, then a remote access program might be used on another and these programs would then be run on computers that were not the local host.

Logic Gate

Logic Gates are used to perform logical functions which are basic. Digital integrated circuits are built on logic gates and they will take in two binary values and output one, either 1 or a 0. Microprocessors have millions of logic gates and all together there are seven different types of logic gate.


Login is the use of a username and password to gain entry to a computer or Website that is password protected.


Lossless is a method of compressing files without any quality loss. It can be done with video and audio files and works by rewriting the file more efficiently as it is compressed. The lossy method of compressing files is still capable of compressing the files smaller than lossless however.


Lossy is file compression method that can result in a loss of quality from the original. It can be used for JPEGs and MP3s and the loss of quality can be seen in JPEGs through things such as jagged edges in images and a watered down sound quality on audio files.


LPI (Lines Per Inch) is the term used to measure a halftone printed image's resolution. The higher the LPI the better the quality of image. Magazines will use a lpi of around 133 or more.

Mac Address

Mac Address (Media Access Control Address) is a term that describes the unique number assigned to each device that is located on a network. Every single Ethernet or WiFi card has them as do network cards and as they are entered during the manufacture they cannot be altered.

Mac OS

Mac OS is the operating system for Macintosh computers and it has been in existence for a number of years now (since 1984). It has been updated several times and there are newer versions in existence.

Mac OS X

Mac OS X is the newest version of the Mac OS operating system. It's development began in the 1990s when Apple realised that their system needed an overhaul. The majority of the system was written from scratch but some of it was based on the NEXTSTEP operating system that was used on the now defunct NeXT computers.


Macintosh is the name of the computers that are made by Apple computers. The Macintosh was the first computer to use click and drag (graphical user interface) technology which meant that the user could directly interact with the system. Macintosh have extended their range and now produce many different types of product such as the iMac, Power Mac and PowerBook


Macro is the term used for a set of individual commands that are used in a group in certain programs, such as Word and Excel.


A Mainframe is a computer that is used for very high volume work such as controlling massive databases and generating reports.


Malware (Malicious Software) is a term used to describe any software that has a malicious intent. These include things like viruses and worms which can cause untold damage to your computer if allowed. In order to protect your computer it is essential that you have up to date anti-virus protection.


Mbps (Megabits Per Second) is a measurement of data transfer speeds over high bandwidth connections such as Ethernet. It is equal to 1,000 kilobits.


MCA (Micro Channel Architecture) is an IBM developed expansion bus that enables the fitting of extra cards on a computers motherboard. Examples are USB, Firewire or SCSI.


A Mebibyte is a single unit of storage used for data that can be expressed as 2 to the 20th power, or 1,048,576 bytes.


Media is a term used to describe any kind of communication device such as a radio, television set or telephone. In computer terms it is more commonly referred to as equipment such as hard drives, memory cards and other such media storage devices.


A Megabyte is a unit of storage for data and can be expressed as 2 to the 20th power, or 1,048,576 bytes.


Megahertz is a term used in the measurement of processor speeds and equals 1,000,000 cycles per second.


Memory is the term used to describe the digital storage of data.

Memory Stick

Memory Stick is a removable storage device that was developed by Sony and is used in digital camcorders and cameras. There are two types of memory stick which are different sizes and have different storage sizes.

Menu Bar

A Menu Bar is a horizontal strip that goes across the top of various programs and is used to access and use different parts of a program.

Meta Search Engine

A Meta Search Engine is a type of search engine that performs its search by searching other search engines. As a result it gives a comprehensive list of many other searches.

Meta Tag

A Meta Tag is used to provide data about data in a structured way.


Metadata provides additional information about data, for example if there is an image in a body of text it provides the information about the image, the size of it, colours etc. Metadata in the form of meta tags are commonly used on Web sites to give information regarding keywords and other SEO data.


A Metafile can have two meanings, the first one refers to a file which contains all the data about other files, or metadata. The second type is used to define the coordinates of images and objects in computer graphics. They are mainly used for vector graphics, although they can also be used in raster graphics.


A Microprocessor lays inside a computer and is responsible for the computations the computer performs. Microprocessors come in different speeds but their performance is heavily reliant on other factors such as the amount of RAM your computer has, the bus and the programs your computer runs.


MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is the term used for the tool that musicians use in order to link instruments which are electrical to computer equipment. As every single note is digitally recorded it is easy to edit and alter the sound of the music and this makes it a favourite. The only drawback to this is that you need to have MIDI compatible software and hardware to play tracks.

Mini DV

Mini DV are the tapes that record digital video and audio from a digital camcorder and a single tape measuring 2.6 ?1.9 x 0.5 inches will hold 80 minutes of data. This makes vastly reduces the size of the camcorders and makes for increased usability.


MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) is the term used to measure a computer processors raw speed. However as the measurement doesn't factor in things such as a computers RAM and other aspects which can effect its speed.


A Mirror is a computer term that means an FTP or Web server that has the same files on it as another server. They are used to provide an access point when the main server is overrun with requests.

Mirror Site

A Mirror Site is an exact copy of a Web site and are used to provide more access to the information contained on it.


A Mnemonic is an aid to memory that is made up of words or numbers. For example Naughty Elephants Squirt Water is used by children to remember the compass points.


Modem (Modulator/Demodulator) is a term used to describe the internal or external device that is used to communicate computer to computer via telephone lines. Originally modems were dial up but due to their slow speeds they are being replaced by DSL and cable modems.


Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is a form of interface that is organised so large organisations can utilise e-learning or learn over the Internet. This method of learning is opening up new gateways to learners who wish to learn at home and educators can provide the appropriate online course.


The Motherboard is the main circuit containing board inside a computer and it holds memory expansion slots, CPU, the ROM and many other things. In short it controls your computer.


A Mouse is a device that is controlled by the users hand and has two buttons which allow the user to click on objects and moving the mouse will point the mouse to whichever function is needed. The mouse's motion is controlled by a wheel which shows through the underside.


MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) is a compressed audio file that is normally one tenth of the size of an audio clip. They produce near CD quality and they are very popular as they are an excellent storage option.


MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) is a standard developing group that defines the standards for digital video and audio compression. The term can also be used with reference to a type of video or audio file that contains the same quality as a standard recording.


Multimedia is the term used to describe multiple integrated forms of media. A multimedia presentation would include both audio and video clips for example. DVDs and CDs are thought to be multimedia formats as they can hold different types of data.


Multiplatform is the term used to describe software that can be run on different operating systems. Games for example are developed to run on various gaming devices.


MySQL is a type of structure/ query language- based open source (free to download) relational database management system. It is mainly used for modifying information within a database and can be used in many applications but is most commonly used in web servers. Web sites that use MySQL have database information on them which needs to be accessed from the source so it stays relevant, and these are known as being dynamic Web pages. sharpened.net is one example of a database driven Web site and a language like PHP will be used to access the script.

Name Server

A Name Server is used to translate domain names to IP addresses, this means you don’t have to know the IP address in order to get onto a Web site, you can just type in the domain name instead. Every domain name must have at least two servers when it is registered. This is in order to provide backup if the first server is down.


NAT (Network Address Translation) is used to translate a number of computer IP addresses that are on a local network into one IP address. This tends to be used by the router to connect the computer to the network. An extra security level is added as if any other computer from outside of the network tries to access any of the computers it will only see the routers IP address.

Native File

A Native File is a file that can only be saved and recognised by the program it was created in. The "Save As" command allows you to save a file in a different format, Microsoft Word for example can save files in .txt or .rtf formats even though they are not the native formats.


NetBIOS (Network Basic Input / Output System) was created by IBM as an improvement on BIOS. BIOS is an interface between a computers hardware and it's operating system. NetBIOS adds networking options to the standard.


Netiquette is the ettiquette a person should follow when using the Internet, this includes things like not doing anything that is likely to upset or annoy other people. Online chat rooms, newsgroups and e-mails are three areas where netiquette is very important. If you are unsure about the netiquette of a chat room you are in you should take some time to watch others and see how they behave.


A Network is the term used for a group of connected computers in order to share data.


A Newbie is a person who is new to using the Internet or any other technology.


A Newsgroup is a form of online chat room where people talk about a certain topic. Messages are posted to the news server and these are then sent to everyone on the list for that group. Newsgroups can be moderated or unmoderated (a moderator will decide what messages can be shown to everyone else).


NIC (Network Interface Card) is used to connect a computer and a network cable. Such cards come in Base-T Configurations of 10,100 or 1,000. A 100 card can support data transfer speeds of 100 Mbps and they come in PCI and ISA versions.


NNTP (News Network Transfer Protocol) is used by newsgroups to interact between the newsreader programs and the news servers. It is basically responsible for the functioning of a newsgroup.


NOC (Network Operations Centre) is the term used for the location of a company's networking equipment and their servers. NOCs can either be internal or externally located and most small company's tend to have their's internally, whereas larger company's will have a specific location dedicated to their NOC.


Node is the name given to any device or system that is connected to a network. A network could have a file server, four computers and three printers and this would mean it had eight nodes on it. As every device on the network has its own network address it is easy to keep track of where data is going to and from.


NTFS (New Technology File System) is a system of filing that was introduced by Windows NT and is more reliable than previous file systems. It includes fault tolerance which is method of repairing hard drive errors without an error message being displayed. As detailed transaction logs are kept most hard disk errors are prevented and if an error does occur it is possible to recover files.


NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) is the North American standard for video, it uses 525 lines per frame which is less than PAL but the frame rate is higher than PALs at 30 per second which results in a lower resolution than PAL but a smoother motion.


Null is used when something has no value. It is not 0 as 0 has a value. In boolean tests 0 and null both have a false value and as a result boolean texts are favoured by programmers as they will show if a variable has a value or not.

Null Character

A Null Character has all it's bits at zero. The numeric value is zero and normally represents the end of a character string and is used by programmers in when determining the length of a string. In databases null characters can be used to fill in any blanks.


A Nybble is 4 bits and therefore half of a byte. A nybble can have 16 possible values and it can be called a 'hex digit'. Nybbles can be called 'quadbits' in data communications as they have 4 bits.


OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a type of software that is used to adapt a text that has been scanned into a readable and editable word document.


ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) is a standardised method of data transference between databases. Every application that runs OBDC will be able to access information on any OBDC compatible database.


OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is the term used when one manufacturer makes equipment for another company to be sold under their name.


Offline is term used when a computer is not connected to other devices or it is not turned on.


OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) is a way of analysing database information from several databases at once. This is multidimentional so can carry out the same task in several different databases at the same time.


OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) is Microsoft developed framework which lets you move objects between applications. For example, you can take an image and put it into a word document.


Online is the opposite of offline and enables a computer to communicate with all other devices that are online.

Open Source

Open Source or OSS (Open Source Software) is a way of sharing software that is under license. Most of these programs will have an Open Source Definition written into their license agreement.


OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) allows developers to create graphics that are almost identical on any operating system or hardware that supports OpenGL. Silicon Graphics developed this 3D graphics language.

Operating System

Operating System is the central control program that will run a computer and it is the first program to load. It's heart is called the kernal and it stays in the computers memory.

Optical Drive

Optical Drive is the term used to describe the lasers inside a drive that can read CDs and DVDs.

Optical Media

Optical Media means any disks that can be read by a laser such as CDs, DVDs, CD-ROMs etc.


OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) is a method used by local networks to find the shortest path from one router to another. The only prerequisite is that the network is IP based.


P2P (Peer to Peer) is the term used to describe computers that can connect to each other via the Internet. As the computers are on the network they don't need to use a central server. So each computer will become both the file server and the client.


A Packet is the term used for a small amount of data that can be sent over a network. Every packet has the name and address of its origin and its destination and any information regarding any related packets that are sent with it. Packets sent from many computers can be directed and redirected so that they all reach the correct destination.


Pagerank is the term used to describe the algorithms used to numerically weigh any hyperlinked documents that are to be indexed by a search engine. Google uses them to determine a Web sites relevance in a search.

Parallel Port

A Parallel Port an interface that is usually located on the back of old computers and it was used to connect printers and other external devices. This 25 pin connector is sometimes referred to as a Centronics interface (Centronics were the company that developed them) or a printer port. the latest version is called an Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) and can transfer data ten times faster than the original Parallel Port, although it looks likely that USB and Firewire interfaces will be the most popular choice.


Parse is a term used to describe the process of separating a line of information, usually files or a command into it's individual parts.


A Partition is a component of a hard disk, they are needed when formatting a hard disk as you have to tell the computer how many partitions you wish to use, then the computer will refer to each partition as an individual disk. This is useful if you want to have several operating systems running on your computer. Another use is that many partitions can actually help to free up memory as they take up less space than a large cluster.


Passwords are a line of characters and/or numbers that is personal to the user and helps to authenticate them when accessing a computer. It is always best to choose a password that is not easily worked out by others.


Paste is a term used once you have cut or copied some information (either text or an image) onto the clipboard of your computer. This information is held in the computers RAM ready to be pasted into another document or file and this is done by a click of your mouse. It is important to remember that you can only paste into the same document or same program.


Payload is the term used to describe any body of data that is sent over the Internet. Each time data is transmitted it will consist of a header, which is the information relating to the source of the data it's target and the payload, which is the data that is collected at the target.


PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is the term used to describe the fiberglass or other thin material that is used to make a motherboard, network interface card or RAM chips. They are usually printed with electrical wires connecting the different components on the PCB.


PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) is the term used for a hardware bus that can be used in all computers (Macs included) that enables the use of add-on cards. Graphics cards now tend to use an AGP slot. A PCI is located on the back of a computer. If you want to use an expansion card, check your computer has a PCI.


PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) was created in 1989 and is responsible for developing standards for laptop expansion cards. It is more commonly known however for the cards that the organisation actually standardises. The cards come in three sizes and they can be changed whilst the computer is operating and the computer doesn't have to be restarted for them to be recognised.


PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) are a small hand held device that acts very much like an electronic notebook, diary and calculator - you can even access the Internet with them.


PDF (Portable Document Format) is a multi platform format for files that allows people to view a document from a range of applications on any computer and it will look the same. In order to view a PDF document you must have Adobe reader installed on your computer.


A Pebibyte can be expressed as 2 to the 50th power, or 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes.


A Peripheral is a device that can be connected to a computer such as a mouse or keyboard and these are classed as input peripherals. Printers and monitors are output peripherals, external hard drives on the other hand are both input and output peripherals.


Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language) is a type of programming language that takes features from many different languages.


A Permalink, or permanent link is a link to a URL that is permanent, it will always relate to a particular news item or blog.


A Petabyte is a unit of storage that is only used in reference to a number of hard drives or other data collections. It is expressed as 2 to the 50th power, or 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes.


Pharming is a method of manipulating those who use the Internet by redirecting them to false Web sites. DNS servers are used to translate a domain name into an IP address and then redirects the suer to the Web site. Once this has happened the information will be soted on the users DNS cache if they ever revisit the site. Pharming poisons the information stored on a users DNS cache and is then able to redirect the user to which ever site the hacker has designated.


Phishing is method that phishers use to try to get personal data about people. This can be done in many ways, such as sending out fake e-mails that look very much like they are legitimate. These e-mails will normally ask you to part with personal information, either by clicking into a link or by sending out false forms to fill in and e-mail back. If you are ever suspicious of an e-mail go to the Web site that claims to have sent it and check the details, DO NOT ever click through an e-mail that you suspect to be false. If once you get to the Web site of whoever was supposed to have sent you the e-mail (ebay for example) see if there are any alerts there for you. If not it is likely that the e-mail was a phishing attempt. Also reputable companies such as ebay will be addressed to you by name or your user name.


PHP is a programming language that is open source. It is mainly used for applications that are server side and it is useful in the development of dynamic web content.


PIM (Personal Information Manager) is one a kind of software application that acts very much like a personal organiser. It has a note and address book and a planner, they can also include clocks and other useful features. PDAs often feature a PIM.


Ping is the term used for a test that can be performed to see if a Internet system is in working order. By Pinging a server you can see how fast it's response time is and by pinging a large amount of computers you can work out potential bottlenecks on the Internet. If you send a ping every few minutes your ISP will not disconnect you for having idle time.


As a computers processor is capable of handling millions of instructions at the same time there needs to be a method of doing this, and that is where a pipeline comes into use. A pipeline allows instructions to be carried out all at the same time without having to wait until a previous one had finished.


Pixel (Picture Element) is the name for one of the millions of tiny dots that togther form an image on a computer screen. They are so small that they cannot be seen individually unless you set the resolution on your screen very low. One pixel can only be one colour at any time but together they can form different shades. There are various colour blends that can be used with pixels in order to create a wide range of colours.

Plain Text

Plain Text is a method of writing text without formatting it in any way. There is no italics, underlining or bold or even different fonts. As a result of this it is a very efficient way of storing text, Notepad uses plain text for example.


A Platform is thought to be the operating system of a computer. A computer that ran Windows XP would be classed as running on a Windows platform for example.


Plug-ins are add ons for software that enhance the capabilities of the program. There are also browser plug-ins such as QuickTime from Apple and this will allow a user to play various multimedia files within their own browser. These plug-ins are usually free and can be downloaded from the Internet.


PNG (Portable Network Graphic) is an alternative format to GIF that is lossless and they can support 16-bit greyscale and 48-bit colour. They can compress files up to 25% better than GIF, however, unlike GIF it does not support animation, although a format that does is in development.


POP3 is a standard for receiving e-mail and it is a client /server protocol in which e-mails that you are sent are held on your server until you download them. Once these e-mails are downloaded they will get deleted.


A Popunder is very much like a popup only instead of popping up on your screen it will open up a browser that is underneath your open windows. As a result you may not notice it for several hours.


A Popup is a form of advertising that will 'popup' in a new browser when you are on a Web site. They are seen as a bit of a nuisance and you can install software to block popups so they do not interupt you.


A Port can have three meanings, the first is used to connect devices to a computer such as a printer or keyboard. Examples of these type of ports are Ethernet and USB. The second type of port is used to describe which type of protocol a server that is on the Internet will use. The third use of the term port refers to editing a software's programming code so that it can be used and run on a different platform.


A Portal is the initial starting point that can be used to access other areas of the Internet or Intranet, on the Intranet they are know as EIP (Enterprise Information Portals).


PostScript is type of PDL (Page Description Language) that is used when describing a page's graphical and text content. PostScript has eliminated the need for proprietary typesetting that went on in previous systems where a page that had text, images and some line art had to be assembled manually and separately, then photographed and finally pased to the printing plate when copies could be created.Adobe PostScript enables users to make high quality content for pages that can be a mixture of line art, graphics and text that can be read on various devices. Adobe Acrobat has now been developed that can create PDF documents.

Power User

Power Users are people who use their computers for more than just typing up reports, sending emails and surfing the Internet. They need the best top end computers due to their needs which usually include designing, video editing and other such computer reliant purposes.


PPC (Pay Per Click) is a method of Internet advertising where every time a person clicks on an advert (normally placed by the side of search results on a search engine) the advertiser gets charged.


PPGA (Plastic Pin Grid Array) is an Inter Celeron used processor design which allows the heat created by the processor to be quickly dispelled. This in turn prevents your computer from over heating.


PPL (Pay Per Lead) is a form of payment structure whereas the publisher gets paid by the advertiser based on how many leads are created by an advertisement.


PPP (Point to Point Protocol) is an Internet standard that is used with dial-up connections. It defines how your modem swaps packet data over the Internet with other systems. If you use a dial up Internet connection you will be using PPP.


PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) is a kind of Macintosh memory that is used for system setting storage, these are things like time settings. All Macs have PRAM but the settings will be different on different Macs. If you find that your Mac is not behaving normally you could try resetting the PRAM and this is done by P,R, command and Option keys at the same time as you turn the Mac on. When the startup chimes for the second time the PRAM has been reset although it is important to note that you will have to reset the time etc once you have done this.


Any program that runs on a computer is a process. These processes can be anything from the most simple spell-checker to a huge application and they are all made up of threads. As computers perform many backgrounds tasks your computer has more processes than programs running. In order to see all the processes that are running you can access the task manager by pressing ctl-alt-delete.

Progressive Scan

Progressive Scan is a way of drawing every line in a video signal in sequence. Before this interlaced scans were used which only drew every other line, so a progressive scan is not only faster but it is smoother. Television before HD used interlaced video and this produced less of a flickering image than a progressive scan so is still the norm for many sets.


In order for computers to successfully communicate with each other they need to use a standard set of instructions and rules. And this is known as a protocol.

Proxy Server

Proxy Servers are used by large companies and it a server that every networked computer must pass through before gaining Internet access. Using a proxy server improves the Internet connection and as it caches web pages they don't have to reload so the process is faster. Another use of a proxy server is restricting access from networked computers onto certain Internet sites, these are usually those with questionable content.


PSA (Public Service Announcement) is a Web site advertisement that is not commercial.


Qbasic is a type of programming language that is based in DOS that interprets the language.


Query is the term used when an object requests some information from within a database and subsequently a database of the requested information is created.


Queue is basically a comprehensive "to do" list for a computer. When a job is awaiting processing it joins the queue, if there are no other jobs in the queue (if they are sent to the printer for example) it will be printed straight away, however if there is a queue but the printing is urgent you can move it to the top of the list.


QuickTime is an Apple developed multimedia technology. It is used for making and storing audio and video (.mov) files. The software is available for most operating systems.


QWERTY is the layout of a standard English computer keyboard and the name comes from the first 6 letters on the keyboard from the left hand side


Raid (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is the term for using multiple disks for storing data, when they are placed in a RAID Configuration they will appear to be one large disk which operate better than single disks. As the disks can be accessed and read at the same time the hard drive access time becomes faster.


RAM (Random Access Memory) is a memory system that is made of chips attached to the computers motherboard. When a program is opened it will be loaded from the hard drive to the RAM, this makes the programs run faster and the more RAM your computer has the faster it is.

Raster Graphic

Raster Graphics are the most common form of images, and are made up of grids of pixels. The more pixels they contain the more disk space they occupy.

Raw Data

Raw Data is data that is unprocessed and can be kept in a file or even be elsewhere on the hard disk. Information that is on a database is considered to be raw.

Raw File

A Raw File is a collection of data that has not been processed or altered in any way. Camera RAW is one type of raw file as it contains images that have not been processed until the computer opens the image.


RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory) is the fast computer memory that is available and it was created by Rambus. As the transfer speed is so high (1Ghz and above) it is normally used in video graphics accelerator cards.


Readme is a file that has important information about a particular software program. They are called Readme in order to grab the users attention and the files normally contain installation instructions and other valuable information.

Reciprocal Link

A Reciprocal Link is a link that is directly between two things, normally Web sites. Their purpose is to attract visitors for each other.


Recursion is a repeated process where a specific function will call itself as part of a subroutine. These are functions that repeat themselves over and over during its execution and are known as recursive functions. As recursion doesn't need much code it is a very efficient way of programming. It is important however that these recursive functions are correctly incorporated otherwise the recursive function will be in an infinite loop.

Recursive Function

A Recursive Function is repeated process where a specific function will call itself as part of a subroutine, this leads to greater efficiency in programming.


A Referrer is the URL of a previous Web page that another is accessed from via a link.

Refresh Rate

The Refresh Rate is the times a computer screen refreshes (redraws) itself every second. Most refresh rates are between 60 and 85Hz.


Microsoft Windows has a database of the software installed on the computer and it normally consists of six parts: HKEY_User which contains all the user information for every single user on the system. HKEY_Current _User which has all the current users preferences. HKEY_Current_Configuration which where the printer and display settings are stored. HKEY_Classes_Root which contains OLE information and file assosications. HKEY_Local_Machine which has the installed applications, hardware and operating system settings. HKEY_Dyn_Data which contains some performance data. It is important that you only alter the registry information if you know what you are doing otherwise it could cause major problems for your computer, the program that used is regedit.exe

Remote Access

Remote Access is a method of gaining access to a computer remotely. Before remote access can work remote client software must be installed on the local machine and remote server software must be installed on the remote machine. A password and username are also needed to confirm authorisation. Remote access is good for working from home or for transferring data between machines, it is also used by administrators companies to adjust the server machines.

Remote User

A Remote User is method of working on a computer in a remote location and it can be done over the Internet and require a password and user name.


Resolution can be used in two ways. One is with regard to how finely printers print and is measured in dots per inch. Pictures with a high dpi are sharper than the printed image. The other way is in regard to a computer monitor, which is measured in pixels. A monitor that has a resolution of 640 ?480 means the monitor will have 640 pixels going horizontally and 480 pixels going vertically.


RGB (Red Green Blue) is the three colours of light that a computer screen uses and combines to form all the other colours in the spectrum. Printers use cyan, yellow, magenta and black to create the various colours.

Rich Text

Rich Text is a type of text that can be formatted in different ways like underlining, bold, italics and the use of various different fonts and sizes. Rich text can be further customised with the use of personalised spacing and headers. Word processors use their own way of creating rich text documents so you cannot open an AppleWorks document in Lotus Word Pro. However it is possible to save rich text documents in a generic format (Rich Text Format) and will open them without the formatting.

Right Click

Right Click is the methosd of clicking on the right hand button of a mouse. It is normally used to open up a contextual menu, if you right click on the background of the desktop a menu that says "Change Desktop Background" will pop up. The right click button is also used in video games.


When audio is recorded on a computer the audio signal needs to be captured and saved digitally on the hard drive. As ripping an audio track involves it being converted to an MP3 ripcording is the simultaneous act of ripping and recording of the audio signal. Many people use ripcording to download satellite radio, Internet radio and digital TV radio you do need the right ripcording software to do this though.


RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) is a microprocessor that drastically reduces the amount of instructions that are needed to perform certain computations. This makes the microprocessor the most efficient and fastest ones around.


Robots.txt is a convention that stops web spiders and other robots from gaining access to all or certain parts of a web site. The specifications for this are found in the top level directory contained in the web site.


ROM (Read Only Memory) is the memory that holds information about the hardwired instructions used when a computer boots up. PCs use the BIOS program in the RAM to do this.


Root is a term for a computer high level directory. On a Windows PC C:/ is the root directory for the C drive. The majority of users can access their own directory only, whereas a root user can gain access to any of the folders from the root directory down. By doing this a user can change and modify the system without other users knowing this.


A Router is the name of a hardware device that will route data from a LAN to a different network connection. This enables only authorised computers to access and connect to other systems.


RSS (RDF Site Summary) is a method of updating a web site's content in XML format. It is used to update news stories and software updates. An RSS enabled browser is needed to access these feeds.


RTF (Rich Text Format) is a Microsoft developed standard that is used in the creation of formatted text files. It will contain information like text size and style and as it is universal it can be read by the majority of word processors.


Runtime is the name for the state that a program is in when it is running. The term is normally used by programmers when a problem or error has occurred and these are known as runtime errors. Memory leaks are a good example of a runtime error.


RUP (Rational Unified Process) is from Rational and is a software development process and is divided into four sections which are: Inception which is the basic idea of the project and where resources needed are drawn up. Elaboration which is where possible costs, applications of software and resources are evaluated even further. Construction which is where the software is designed and written and where the testing occurs. Transition which is when the software is made available to the public on release and any adjustments that are needed are performed. This method is very useful as it provides a clear structure to develop software without excess costs.

Safe Mode

Safe Mode is used by Microsoft Windows and it is a method of running the operating system on the smallest amount of files needed. Instead of a vendor-specific driver it will use a VGA display driver, which means the monitor will be working in a resolution of 640?80 with only 16 colours. Mice, scanners, printers and other peripherals are also turned off in safe mode and as network files and setting are not loaded there is no Internet access. Safe Mode is used if your computer crashes and you have to re- boot, then you will have to repair any corrupted files using a disk utility program. Safe Mode can also be used if your computer is not performing as usual and you have to work out what the problem is by going into safe mode. You can use safe mode when booting you have to hold F8 down.


SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is a type of interface that is used to connect an ATA hard drive to the motherboard of a computer. The transfer rates of SATA are much faster than ATA transfer rates and it is very likely that SATA will take over ATA. As an SATA has its own bus there is no bandwidth competition. As very thin cables are used with SATA it makes for improved airflow inside the computer. Parallel ATAs had to use 40 conductors whereas the SATA uses only 7 which reduces electromagnetic interference.


Scripts are used as a list of instructions that a particular program or scripting engine needs to execute. These scripts are usually in text format within files and written in a scripting language. Windows uses VB and DOS scripts and JSP, ASP and PHP tend to be used to create Web content that is dynamic. VB scripts will run on Windows when double clicked so it is of key importance that you receive as an email attachment from an unknown source. Doing this will enable the VB script to access and alter your computers local files.


SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is an interface that is used to connect devices to your computer. An SCSI interface can be used to connect up to seven devices to a computer without loss of performance.


SD (Secure Digital) is a kind of memory card that is very small and is normally used in things like PDAs, mobile phones and digital cameras. One of the top corners of the card is slanted for ease of insertion. The cards are called 'secure' as they have a copyright built in to them which means that they can only be read by certain devices. This is called the "key revocation" and if you would like more information on this contact the SD Card Association.


SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) is a step up from standard DRAM as it has the capability to alternate between two sets of data when retrieving information. By doing this the delay created when one address bank shuts down awaiting the next one to be opened is eliminated. The term 'synchronous' is used as the SDRAM is sychronised with the computers CPU bus's clock speed, so the faster the bus the faster SDRAM.


SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is used for data transference that is over copper lines, very much like a DSL line. An SDSL connection is symmetric as it has the same up and download speeds. ADSL however, has much slower upload speeds than download speeds.

Search Engine

A Search Engine is a program that is used to search and find files that are on a computer. Search engines have indexes that are constantly updated from which you can find the media content you need by entering particular criteria.


Sectors are the smallest units capable of being accessed on a hard disk. Every single platter on a hard disk is split into tracks that run in a circular pattern round it, as they get bigger as the track moves from the inside of the disk towards the outside. This means that there are more sectors on a disk near the outside, the variance that occurs in every track is known as "zoned-bit recording". A file that is particularly large will take up thousands of these sectors, and physical damage to even one of them can leave the file unable to be read. This kind of physical damage cannot be corrected as a disk utility program can only fix corrupted data. A computer is capable of recognising and skipping these "bad sectors" however it may still not make the disk run correctly. This is another reason that it is important to back up your data.


SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the term used to improve a Websites ranking on a search engine. It is usually in the form of the websites text content and uses keywords to achieve high rankings.

Serial Port

A Serial Port is a PC connection used for peripherals such as modems, mice and gaming devices. A serial port is also known as a COM port, or if you want to be technical an RS-232 port. They come in two kinds, a 9 or 25 pin connection and they are the slowest port on a computer (they can only transmit data one bit at a time) and for the main part have been replaced by the fastest USB ports.


SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is the term used mainly by SEO experts to describe the main competition on a results page. It is used as an easy way of tracking their competition.


A Server is a software application that will carry out a specific task for a user. This can be file serving - where a user can access and store files and data on a common computer. Or it can be application serving - in which the computer will run some sort of software in order to carry out a task for the user. Whilst this is the original meaning of server servers are also now used for mail, web and databases when they use the Internet.

Session ID

Session ID (Session Identifier) is the server value that will be generated for a certain session.


Shareware is a kind of software that is initially free for a certain period of time (usually 30 days) then once the trial period is up you have to pay and register it to keep it (if you want it). Some shareware will disable particular features of the product until you register it as an extra reason to pay for the full version. Normally shareware is cheaper than commercial programs however, as a result they are not always as robust and can be prone to problems. The best place to look for shareware is the Internet and you may be surprised as the variety of system utilities available.


A Shell is a type of computer software program that interprets user commends and enables the operating system to perform particular functions. As a shell is text-based it is known as a command line interface, and this means that a user can type in his / her commands in order to perform functions. The shell is only one layer higher than the operating system so a user is able to perform operations that are not possible using GUI. Such examples are moving and deleting files that could be locked within the system folder. However, a password may still be required and it is important that the user knows the correct syntax to type in the commands. Unix users tend to use shells quite frequently and two of the most popular Unix shells are the C Shell and the Bourne Shell. The majority of computer users will never have to use the shell.


SHTML is the name used for a file name extension which is able to identify Web pages that have SSI commands in them.


SIMM (Single In-Line Memory Module) is one of the older types of memory for computers. As they use a 32-bit bus SIMMs are smaller than the 64-bit bus (DIMMS) that is used in newer computers and if you want to use SIMMs it is better to install two of them.


Skin is the term used to describe a program interface's appearance. If you change the skin the interface will look different but still have the same functions. Skins can be used for many different programs such as Yahoo Messenger and they can make the program's look totally different from one another.


Skyscrapers are another form of Web advertising and they are very much like a banner advertisement, only they are positioned down the left or right hand of the screen and are tall and thin. Like a banner advertisement they can contain text and images and clicking on a skyscraper advertisement you will be taken to the advertisers Web site.


When a press release is released it can often result in increased interest in a particular subject. More often than not, if these releases have a Web link in them which can result in more hits to the site than the site can handle. The server then ends up being unreachable and when this happens the server is said to have been "Slashdotted".


SMART (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is used to keep a check on the health of a computers hard drive and report any errors that may occur in it. This helps to prevent crashes on your computer.


SMS (Short Message Service) are a form of text message that is commonly used in mobile phones. The messages are normally 160 characters long, although sometimes the 224 character 5-bit mode is used. Not only can you get text messages from friends using SMS but you can also subscribe to SMS services which can send you alerts such as news headlines, weather reports and many others. SMS messages do not need the phone they are sent to to be working in order for them to be sent, instead they will be held until the phone is turned on and then received.


SMTP is an easy protocol that is text-based and is used when a message needs to be sent to more than one recipient (once verification has occurred), as soon as the verification is done the message will then be sent. To test an SMTP server you can use a telnet program. TCP 25 is used by SMTP. A DNS record will be used in order to find out the SMTP server for a particular domain name.


SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a way of message transference over the Internet, they are XML formatted and sent using HTTP. HTTP avoids the majority of firewalls as they are the protocol that Web pages are sent via. Every SOAP message is in an envelope and this has a header (which has message ID and information like the date when the message was sent) and a body (which is the message itself). SOAP messages can be sent and received by many different operating systems as the yare all in the same format, so the message will not be changed between a Unix server and a Windows XP machine.


Every time a computer needs to connect to the Internet or a LAN it has to use a software component known as a socket. The network connection will be opened by the socket and data can then be written and read. Windows and Unix-based systems will use sockets and they are an important part of the systems. By using sockets, software developers will be able to build them in to their programs, making the programs network enabled. This makes the operating system able to handle network commands using these built in commands, and as they are used for a number of network protocols, multiple sockets can be in use at any one time.

Solid State

Solid State basically means no parts that move. This is a term used to describe electronic devices that do not contain any moving components. Examples of this are integrated circuits and the motherboard of a computer. Televisions and digital watches use only parts that are solid state are called solid state products. Flash drives are solid state and that is why they are used in MP3 players and other such devices. However hard drives are not solid state, that is down to the spinning plates within a hard drive. Products that are solid state tend to break down less as there are no moving parts.


SPAM or Spamming is used to send unsolicited messages in large volumes through any medium that is uses electronic communication. The most common form of spam is e-mailing advertising although it can be used for other purposes and spam is not just confined to e-mailing.


A Spider is a type of bit used to crawl over data on the World Wide Web and copy visited pages for later use. They are used in search engines to index pages and narrow down searches.


Spyware is software that spies on your computers activities. It can be used to gain information aboutyour Web habits or even credit card information. Spyware can infect your computer through opening an email that contains it, or through a virus on your computer or even when you download an attachment. the worrying things about spyware is that often you do not even know your computer has spyware on it. The best thing to do in order to prevent spyware infecting your computer is to use a good security program.


SQL (Structured Query Language) is a form of computer language. It is used to modify, create and query databases.


SSI (Server Side Includes) is a term used for an easy to use scripting language that is server side. It is normally just used for the web and its main use is to include contents from one file into another one.


SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) are protocols that are cryptographic and provide connections that are secure over the Internet.


Stack is a type of structure for storing data in a computer, in a stack. Every time new data is entered it will be placed on the top of the stack, then when data is taken away it is the last placed on the stack that gets taken. Stack can also relate to a network protocol stack in which computer connections are made up of a series of smaller connections, they are added and taken away in the same way as a data stack.


Standalone is the term used for a device that does not need to be integrated in order to work. A TiVo box which can record TV programs is one example. Standalone items are usually more expensive than integrated devices but they are better if you are looking to customise a home cinema for example. Some software programs can also be standalones, in that they only need the operating system of a computer to run.

Static Page

A Static Page is a web page that is only made up of HTML and is not dynamic.


Streaming is a method of playing back video clips and the like without downloading it first. Shareware and software updates do not stream as they need to download fully in order to operate. QuickTime is one example of documents that can be steaming whilst you are watching them.


String is a programming term that means a continuous line of characters, values or symbols. There can also be binary digit strings.


A Subdomain is used in DNS hierarchies and is a domain that is one part of a domain name that is larger. In the hierarchy the top level will be the root-level domain, then will follow the top-level domains and then the second-level domains and lastly the subdomains.


A Switch is used when networking multiple computers. Consumer switches normally have up to 8 Ethernet ports and are used to connect DSL or cable modems, computers and other switches.High-end switches however are larger and can be rack mounted and can have 50 ports. Switches are further advanced than hubs, as they can limit the traffic flowing in and out of each port in order to maintain the bandwidth for each device connected to it. Unlike a router a switch is unable to provide a log or firewall and a switch can only function in the way the hardware was made for, a router however can be software configured. Switch can also be used in refer to a button or small lever that can be found on computer hardware.

System Hardening

System Hardening is a from of computer protection that goes above the protection that anti virus and spyware protection offers. It works by getting rid of all non-essential software and other utilities as they can give virus's entry to your computer. Reformatting the hard disk may take place and the CD may be listed as the boot device and the computer will be able to start from there if it is neccessary. TCP/IP is usually the only protocol used and file sharing is turned off. Guest accounts are disabled, new user names are created, administration accounts are renamed and unauthorised access attempts are closely monitored. Other methods may also be used in order to harden the system further.

System Requirements

System Requirements are of key importance when you are buying any new software or hardware to use with your computer. If you do not find them out you may end up buying something that your computer will not support. If you are buying a computer game, make sure that your system requirements will allow it to run, similarly if you are buying a printer make sure that you have the correct USB port and available space on your hard drive. The system requirements for your computer can be found on the information that came with your computer.

System Resources

System Resources is used in reference to how much memory your computer has available. The minute your computer is booted up it will 'lose' some of it's system resources, in that it will be using them to run programs and utilities. If you want to increase the available RAM for your computer you can buy extra RAM, just make sure that your computer will be able to handle using it!

System Software

System Software is the collection of programs and files that go to make up your computers operating system. When you install the operating system on your computer it will automatically install the system software. This is responsible for the printer drivers, debuggers, system utilities, other kinds of hardware and file management tools etc. System software is classed as low level software as it is the most basic software your computer needs.

System Unit

System Unit is the box that contains your computer.


Systray is positioned on the left hand side of your computers tool bar. It contains many small icons that represent what programs are running. It also shows the time and if you click into any of the icons they will open up.


T1 is a type of digital data transfer system that is used in most businesses and many educational establishments for their Internet access. As a result of the fast transfer rate 1.544 megabits every second many people can use the Internet at the same time. However too many people using it will cause the system to slow down.


T3 is a digital data transfer system that is 30 times faster than the T1 system.


Tags are using in Web page design to show what should be included on the screen once it loads. In HTML they are one of the more basic formatting tools and if you were wanting to put a table on your web page you would use a tag, then input the table and close the section with a tag.

Tape Drive

Tape Drives are used as a backup device which is rather like a zip drive. Tapes are not practical for normal data storage as they have to go through a lot of tape to read scattered small amounts of data. However as they are cheap and have a large data storage capacity they are ideal to use for backing up data.

Task Bar

The Task Bar is located at the bottom of your computer screen and was created for Windows 95. There is a start button on the left hand side of the task bar and the time and systray in the left hand corner. Every time you open up a new window it will appear on the task bar and you can use it to switch between windows.


TCP IP (Transmittion Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) was developed for military use in transferring data over very long distances. The TCP oversees the verification of the packets of data being delivered and the IP part is responsible for moving data packets between the computers nodes. Since this was so successful it has now become one of the Internets foundations and is inbuilt into all of the major operating systems.


A Tebibyte is a single data storage unit that equals 1,099,511,627,776 bytes. It can be expressed as 2 to the 40th power.


Telnet is a program that enables log in through a text based interface into a Unix computer. Having a Telnet server account means you can access many of the resources of your home computer such as your e-mails and FTP files etc. The only drawback to using this is that you must be adept at using Unix commands and this is trying.


A Template is the starting point for a new document. They can be pre-formatted or you can customise your own templates. They are often used for CV's or business letters and they take the trouble out of formatting a document from scratch.


A Terabyte can be expressed as 2 to the 40th power, or 1,099,511,627,776 bytes. It is used as a single unit of measurement, a 500GB hard drive would only contain half a terabyte of space.