Glossary of Computer Terms - Continued
- Micro Computer Architecture, an alternate slot design used in early computers
to provide 32 bit access, also the bus associated with such slots.
- Megabyte (Mb)
- 1024 kilobytes or 1048576 bytes (2 ** 20 bytes)
- A measure of frequency in millions of cycles per second. Can be used to
compare relative speed of CPUs which carry out the same number of operations per
cycle but meaningless in comparing different types of CPUs
- the row of names which appears under the title and any drop-down lists which
appear if you select one of the names
- modulator/demodulator, converts digital signals to analog and vice versa,
used to connect a digital device (such as a computer) to an analog device
(such as a phone line) allowing communication
- the tv like display attached to the computer, comes in varieties with names
like CGA, EGA, VGA, super VGA which indicate the maximum resolution of the displayed
- the main circuit board inside of the computer
- a pointing device that when moved around the desk moves a pointer around the
- mouse button
- one of the two or three buttons at the top edge of the mouse, used to perform
actions on the object pointed at by the mouse pointer.
- the speed differential between the CPU and the FSB.
- also known as pre-emptive multi-tasking. The operating system shares the
computer resources between two or more applications so that the applications
appear to be running simultaneously.
- Network Interface Card, used to attach a computer to a network
- operating system
- a collection of computer programs that control the execution of other
programs, it schedules jobs, assigns memory locations, and controls I/O,
(see DOS, OS/2, windows NT)
- open data base connectivity, a common interface that windows programs can use
to access most databases.
- object linking and embedding, allows creation of compound documents
where parts of the document have been created using different applications.
- optical resolution
- the true resolution of a scanning device.
- option buttons
- also known as radio buttons The little circles that appear to the left
of some fields. They are used to select one from a number of choices. Where
a dot appears in the circle the associated condition applies and the other
conditions listed do not apply. In text mode option buttons are usually
shown as ( ).
- an operating system which allows each application program to run in its
own separate protected region (see also Windows NT)
- where a single character or block of text is selected, the next character
typed will replace the selected text. To turn overtyping on or off press the
- a section of a hard drive treated by the operating system as a separate
- peripheral component interconnect, a newer style of slot for add-on
cards, usually 32 bit but sometimes extended to provide 64 bit access, usually
white, also the bus associated with such slots.
- practical extraction and report language, an interpretive programming
language commonly used to write CGI scripts.
- any part of the computer not contained within the same case as the CPU
- Petabyte (Pb)
- 1024 Terabytes or 1 125 899 906 842 624 bytes (2** 50 bytes)
- PHP hypertext preprocessor (originally called personal home page),
a server side scripting language that can be used to provide interactive pages
on the internet
- personal information manager, a suite of programs including address book,
diary, and scheduling functions
- picture element, a single dot displayed on your monitor
- a method of temporarily connecting to a mail server in order to download email
addressed to you.
- Power On Self Test, a series of tests run to check the computer hardware
when the computer is first turned on.
- a device that attaches to your computer that will convert images and text from your
computer into an image on paper
- a visual indication provided by a command line interface to show that the
program or operating system is ready to accept another input
- redundant array of inexpensive disks, methods of using a number of smaller cheaper
disks instead of larger (and hence more expensive) disks to provide higher capacity
drives and also redundancy in the event of hard drive failure. There are six different
versions of RAID and most allow for the content of one drive to be recreated from the
content of the others.
- random access memory, the memory that the computer uses to run your programs
- Relational Database
- A file containing a number of tables. Each table contains logically related
data eg. a table to contain name and address details. A special program (called
a database engine or optimizer) determines the most efficient way to access
the information and controls all access. Several users can access the data at the
same time and data being updated by one user will be locked to prevent conflicting
updates requested by another user.
- rambus dynamic random access memory, the type of main memory used by
top end Pentium 4 systems.
- red green blue, the primary colours, used by most computer monitors and TV
- read only memory, used by the computer to store the startup routines (see BIOS)
- a device that attaches to your computer that will convert printed
material into images on the computer.
- the movement of text as it rolls up or down the screen.
- small computer system interface, a computer bus system allowing a number
of different types of devices to be attached to the same interface card
- synchronous dynamic random access memory, a type of memory used by most
current low to mid range systems for their main memory.
- standard generalized markup language, the generalized markup system upon which
other markup languages such as HTML and XML are based.
- Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a method used to transfer email between computers
that are permanently connected to the network.
- a combination of keys which when pressed together perform a function without
having to traverse menus to reach it eg. Ctrl-X = cut, Ctrl-C = copy, Ctrl-V =
- one of a number of special sockets usually aligned along the back of the
motherboard to allow add-on cards to be installed
- computer programs, stored as magnetic or electric fields, they have no
- Structured Query Language, pronounced Sequel. A standardized set of commands
used to access relational databases.
- super VGA
- a display mode greater than 640 x 480 dots (eg. 800 x 600 , 1024 x 768,
1280 x 1024, 1600 x 1280)
- task swapping
- also known as concurrent multi-tasking. Where one application can give up
control of the computer to another application and when control is returned
will resume from where it left off.
- a communications protocol that allows computers attached to one another
via network hardware or dial up connections to share information. Used by
computers attached to the internet.
- a method of connecting to a remote computer and carrying out operations on
that computer as if it were your own
- Terabyte (Tb)
- 1024 Gigabytes or 1 099 511 627 776 bytes (2** 40 bytes)
- a piece of software that appears to perform some useful function
but having its primary and more destructive purpose concealed.
- a row of buttons etc. which may appear at the top of a window under the menu
- the process of transferring data from your computer to a server
- universal resource locator, addresses used to identify specific documents
on the web.
- universal serial bus, one means of connecting peripheral devices to your computer.
- a 32 bit extension to the 16 bit ISA standard slot specifically designed
for high speed graphics cards,now superseded by PCI and AGP
- video graphics array, a display mode of 640 x 480 dots
- a piece of software that can replicate itself across computer networks, often
carrying a destructive payload with it.
- virtual private network, a wide area private network that piggybacks off of the
internet. The message packets between the computers on the VPN are transferred using
the internet but can only be interpreted by computers on the VPN.
- wireless application protocol, used to connect mobile devices to the web
- the world wide web is that part of the internet where pages of information stored
for later display by browsers
- a graphical user interface which runs on DOS, allows you to switch between
programs and return to the same point at a later time
- Windows NT/2000/XP
- an operating system which allows each application program to run in its
own separate protected region (see also OS/2)
- Windows 95/98/SE/ME
- modern version of DOS with the windows graphical interface included
- the amount of data corresponding to the size of the data bus of the
computer, eg. the word length on a 32 bit data bus is 4 bytes
- Working Directory
- the directory which will be assumed for all file references where a
directory is not specified.
- code deliberately introduced into a computer in order to perform an action
different from and contrary to that intended by the user
- write once read many
- World Wide Web, a part of the internet where documents written in HTML
can be downloaded via HTTP and viewed in a web browser
- a screen resolution of 1024 x 768
- extensible markup language, a subset of SGML that can be used to
create tags that describe the data contents
- Yottabyte (Yb)
- 1024 Zettabytes or 1 208 925 819 614 629 174 706 176 bytes (2** 80 bytes)
- Zettabyte (Zb)
- 1024 Exabytes or 1 180 591 620 717 411 303 424 bytes (2** 70 bytes)
- zip file
- a file that has been compressed
- ZIP drive
- a disk drive produced by Iomega which uses removable disks having a
capacity of 95.7Mb each (100,000,000 bytes) or 238.4Mb (250,000,000 bytes).