UNIX sound file format.
Short for “Abnormal end.” An abend is an unexpected or abnormal end to a process. In computer software, it typically refers to a software crash when a program unexpectedly quits. For example, an error in a program’s code may cause it to freeze or crash while running a certain command. The result is an unexpected (and often inconvenient) end to the program. The term “ABEND” was initially used by IBM OS/360 systems as an error message. It is now used by Novell Netware systems and also as a general programming term.
Microsoft Access, often abbreviated “MS Access,” is a popular database application for Windows. Access allows users to create custom databases that store information in an organized structure. The program also provides a visual interface for creating custom forms, tables, and SQL queries. Data can be entered into an Access database using either visual forms or a basic spreadsheet interface. The information stored within an Access database can be browsed, searched, and accessed from other programs, including Web services. While Access is a proprietary database management system (DBMS), it is compatible with other database programs since it supports Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). This allows data to be sent to and from other database programs, such as MS SQL, FoxPro, Filemaker Pro, and Oracle databases. This compatibility also enables Access to serve as the back end for a database-driven website. In fact, Microsoft FrontPage and Expression Web, as well as ASP.NET have built-in support for Access databases. For this reason, websites hosted on Microsoft Windows servers often use Access databases for generating dynamic content.
Example: “The coffee shop provides an access point for customers with Wi-Fi devices.” An access point provides wireless access to a network. Devices connected to an access point can communicate with other devices on the network. They may also connect to the Internet if the access point is linked to an Internet connection, which is commonly the case. Access points that use Wi-Fi are also called base stations.
Stands for “Access Control List” An ACL is a list of user permissions for a file, folder, or other object. It defines what users and groups can access the object and what operations they can perform. These operations typically include read, write, and execute. For example, if an ACL specifies read-only access for a specific user of a file, that user will be able open the file, but cannot write to it or run the file. Access control lists provide a straightforward method of managing file and folder permissions. They are used by most operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Unix systems. While ACLs are typically hidden from the user, they can often be modified using a graphical interface. For example, in Mac OS X 10.5, ACL settings can be edited by selecting a file or folder and choosing “Get Info.” The access control settings can be modified within the “Sharing and Permissions” section of the window. On Unix systems, ACLs can be edited using the chmod() command.
This Microsoft-based technology was built to link desktop applications to the World Wide Web. Using ActiveX development tools, software developers can create interactive Web content for their applications. For example, Word and Excel documents can be viewed directly in Web browsers that support ActiveX. While ActiveX is a useful technology, the downside is that you need to have a up-to-date version ActiveX installed on your machine in order to use ActiveX-enabled content.
An add-on is a software extension that adds extra features to a program. It may extend certain functions within the program, add new items to the program’s interface, or give the program additional capabilities. For example, Mozilla Firefox, a popular Web browser, supports add-ons such as the Google toolbar, ad blockers, and Web developer tools. Some computer games support add-ons that provide extra maps, new characters, or give the player game-editing capabilities. Most add-ons are available as self-installing packages. This means the user can simply double-click the add-on package to install the files for the corresponding program. Other add-ons may require the user to manually move files into specific directories. While not all programs support add-ons, many programs are now developed with add-on support, since it provides a simple way for other developers to extend the functions of the program. However, not all software programs refer to these extra features as “add-ons.” For example, Dreamweaver supports “extensions,” which add extra Web development features, while Excel can import “Add-Ins” that provide the user with extra spreadsheet tools. Many programs also support plug-ins, which may be considered a type of add-on.
A specific site (www, ftp, gopher etc.) on the Internet, often the mailbox of a particular user. If referring to e-mail, an address will usually contain the “at” sign: @. An address is often rendered in lower case.


ADSL (or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is a new technology that can transmit digital information over telephone lines to homes and businesses at higher bandwidths than was previously possible.
Adware is free software that is supported by advertisements. Common adware programs are toolbars that sit on your desktop or work in conjunction with your Web browser. They include features like advanced searching of the Web or your hard drive and better organization of your bookmarks and shortcuts. Adware can also be more advanced programs such as games or utilities.

They are free to use, but require you to watch advertisements as long as the programs are open. Since the ads often allow you to click to a Web site, adware typically requires an active Internet connection to run. Most adware is safe to use, but some can serve as spyware, gathering information about you from your hard drive, the Web sites you visit, or your keystrokes.

Spyware programs can then send the information over the Internet to another computer. So be careful what adware you install on your computer. Make sure it is from a reputable company and read the privacy agreement that comes with it.

Stands for “Accelerated Graphics Port” This is a graphics card expansion port designed by Intel that resides on the motherboard of a computer.

PCI graphics ports typically run at 33 MHz and have a maximum transfer rate of 132 MB/sec. AGP ports, on the other hand, run at 66 MHz and can transfer data up to 528 MB/sec. This allows games and applications to store and retrieve larger, more realistic 3D shapes and textures without slowing down the animation on the screen.

Additionally, AGP cards can store graphics in system memory rather than video memory, which also helps improve performance. Because of these advantages, AGP cards will typically have better performance per MB of VRAM than PCI graphics cards.

Stands for “Audio Interchange File Format” AIFF is an audio format originally developed by Apple Computer for storing high-quality sampled audio data. AIFF files are similar to Windows WAVE files in both size and quality. Both AIFF and WAVE files can hold CD quality audio and therefore can be burned onto an audio CD. Though the AIFF format was created by Apple, audio programs on both the Mac and PC can typically read the files.
The most common web server (or HTTP server) software on the Internet. Apache is an open-source application originally created from a series of changes (“patches”) made to a web server written at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications, the same place the Mosaic web browser was created. Apache is designed as a set of modules, enabling administrators to choose which features they wish to use and making it easy to add features to meet specific needs including handling protocols other than the web-standard HTTP.
Apple is the company that makes Macintosh computers, such as the iMac, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro. Apple also makes several personal electronic devices, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. While Apple is most known for its hardware devices, the company also develops a wide range of software. Examples include the Mac OS X operating system, iLife, iWork, and several professional media applications, such as Aperture, Logic Studio, and Final Cut Studio. Apple has also expanded its reach online with the iTunes Store, App Store, and the new Mac App Store. These services allow you to download media and applications directly to your computer. Apple also has over 300 retail stores worldwide, which offer Apple products and provide Apple product support.
This is a Java program that can be embedded into a Web page. The difference between a standard Java application and a Java applet is that an applet can’t access system resources on the local computer. System files and serial devices (modems, printers, scanners, etc.) cannot be called or used by the applet. This is for security reasons — nobody wants their system wiped out by a malicious applet on a hacker’s website. Applets have helped make the Web more dynamic and entertaining and have given a helpful boost to the Java programming language.
An application, or application program, is a software program that runs on your computer. Web browsers, e-mail programs, word processors, games, and utilities are all applications. The word “application” is used because each program has a specific application for the user.

For example, a word processor can help a student create a research paper, while a video game can prevent the student from getting the paper done. In contrast, system software consists of programs that run in the background, enabling applications to run. These programs include assemblers, compilers, file management tools, and the operating system itself. Applications are said to run on top of the system software, since the system software is made of “low-level” programs. While system software is automatically installed with the operating system, you can choose which applications you want to install and run on your computer. Macintosh programs are typically called applications, while Windows programs are often referred to as executable files.

This is why Mac programs use the .APP file extension, while Windows programs use the .EXE extension. Though they have different file extensions, Macintosh and Windows programs serve the same purpose and can both be called applications.

A database search method which points the Internet user to specific files and FTP sites. Archie can be used to search by subject, title, or keyword.
An archive is simply a descriptive term for a package of files which appear as one file, often compressed.
An article is a message posted to the subscribers of a Newsgroup.
ASCII — (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) This is the world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111
A file included with e-mail.


The major pathways used to carry traffic on the Internet.
Amount of data which can be sent through a connection. Usually measured in bits per second.
Whether you like it or not, much of the Web is run by advertising. Just like television or radio, websites can offer free content by generating revenue from advertising. While you may get tired of Web ads from time to time, most people would agree that seeing a few advertisements here and there is better than paying a usage fee for each website. Perhaps the most prolific form of Web advertising is the banner ad. It is a long, rectangular image that can be placed just about anywhere on a Web page. Most banner ads are 468 pixels wide by 60 pixels high (468×60). They may contain text, images, or sometimes those annoying animations that make it hard to focus on the page’s content. Regardless of the type of banner ad, when a user clicks the advertisement, he or she is redirected to the advertiser’s website.
The term “base station” was first used to refer to the towers you see on the side of the road that relay cell phone calls. These stations handle all cellular calls made within their area, receiving information from one end of the call and transmitting it to the other. In the computer world, however, a base station refers to the wireless access point for computers with wireless cards. It is basically a router that communicates with devices based on the Wi-Fi standard. Some common Wi-Fi configurations include 802.11b and 802.11g. Wireless base stations are made by companies such as Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, Apple Computer, and other manufacturers. Fortunately, as long as the hardware is based on the Wi-Fi standard, all wireless cards can communicate with base stations from any manufacturer.
A unit of calculation for a modem that measures data transmission in bits per second. A 2400 bits per second modem actually runs at 300 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 300 = 2400 bits per second).
Bulletin Board System. A computer system that is accessible by modem. Members can dial in and leave messages, play games, send e-mail, or swap files with other users.
Stands for “Blind Carbon Copy” When you send an e-mail to only one person, you type the recipient’s address in the “To:” field. When you send a message to more than one person, you have the option to enter addresses in the “Cc:” and “Bcc:” fields. “Cc” stands for “Carbon Copy,” while “BCC” stands for “Blind Carbon Copy.” A carbon copy, or “Cc’d” message is an e-mail that is copied to one or more recipients. Both the main recipient (whose address is in the “To:” field) and the Cc’d recipients can see all the addresses the message was sent to. When a message is blind carbon copied, neither the main recipient nor the BCC’d recipients can see the addresses in the “Bcc:” field. Blind carbon copying is a useful way to let others see an e-mail you sent without the main recipient knowing. It is faster than sending the original message and then forwarding the sent message to the other recipients. It is also good netiquette to use BCC when copying a message to many people. This prevents the e-mail addresses from being captured by someone in the list who might use them for spamming purposes. However, if it is important that each recipient knows who your message was sent to, use carbon copy (CC) instead.
A numbering system which uses only the numbers “1” and “0”

e.g. 11001001

An encoding method, commonly used by Macintosh computers.
Stands for “Basic Input/output System.” Most people don’t need to ever mess with the BIOS on a computer, but it can be helpful to know what it is. The BIOS is a program pre-installed on Windows-based computers (not on Macs) that the computer uses to start up. The CPU accesses the BIOS even before the operating system is loaded. The BIOS then checks all your hardware connections and locates all your devices. If everything is OK, the BIOS loads the operating system into the computer’s memory and finishes the boot-up process. Since the BIOS manages the hard drives, it can’t reside on one, and since it is available before the computer boots up, it can’t live in the RAM. So where can this amazing, yet elusive BIOS be found? It is actually located in the ROM (Read-Only Memory) of the computer. More specifically, it resides in an eraseable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip. So, as soon as you turn your computer on, the CPU accesses the EPROM and gives control to the BIOS. The BIOS also is used after the computer has booted up. It acts as an intermediary between the CPU and the I/O (input/output) devices. Because of the BIOS, your programs and your operating system don’t have to know exact details (like hardware addresses) about the I/O devices attached to your PC. When device details change, only the BIOS needs to be updated. You can make these changes by entering the BIOS when your system starts up. To access the BIOS, hold down the key as soon as your computer begins to start up.
Which stands for “Binary DigIT” is a term for information that is represented by the number “1” or the number “0” and transmitted as a discrete (discontinuous) step rather than as a wave. Digital information is transmitted as a series of bits, or “1’s” and “0’s” strung together in various ways.
Most images you see on your computer are composed of bitmaps. A bitmap is a map of dots, or bits (hence the name), that looks like a picture as long you are sitting a reasonable distance away from the screen. Common bitmap file types include BMP (the raw bitmap format), JPEG, GIF, PICT, PCX, and TIFF. Because bitmap images are made up of a bunch of dots, if you zoom in on a bitmap, it appears to be very blocky. Vector graphics (created in programs such as Freehand, Illustrator, or CorelDraw) can scale larger without getting blocky.
Bitrate, as the name implies, describes the rate at which bits are transferred from one location to another. In other words, it measures how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. Bitrate is commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). For example, a DSL connection may be able to download data at 768 kbps, while a Firewire 800 connection can transfer data up to 800 Mbps. Bitrate can also describe the quality of an audio or video file. For example, an MP3 audio file that is compressed at 192 Kbps will have a greater dynamic range and may sound slightly more clear than the same audio file compressed at 128 Kbps. This is because more bits are used to represent the audio data for each second of playback. Similarly, a video file that is compressed at 3000 Kbps will look better than the same file compressed at 1000 Kbps. Just like the quality of an image is measured in resolution, the quality of an audio or video file is measured by the bitrate.
A blog (weB LOG) is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently. It is common for blogs to be available as RSS feeds
This wireless technology enables communication between Bluetooth-compatible devices. It is used for short-range connections between desktop and laptop computers, PDAs, digital cameras, scanners, cellular or mobile phones and printers. Infrared once served the same purpose as Bluetooth, but it had a number of drawbacks. For example, if there was an object placed between the two communicating devices, the transmission would be interrupted. (You may have noticed this limitation when using a television remote control). Also, the Infrared-based communication was slow and devices were often incompatible with each other. Bluetooth takes care of all these limitations. Because the technology is based on radio waves, there can be objects or even walls placed between the communicating devices and the connection won’t be disrupted. Also, Bluetooth uses a standard 2.4 GHz frequency so that all Bluetooth-enabled devices will be compatible with each other. The only drawback of Bluetooth is that, because of its high frequency, its range is limited to about 9 metres.
A boot disk is a disk that a computer can start up or “boot” from. The most common type of boot disk is an internal hard drive, which most computers use to start up from. The operating system installed on the hard drive is loaded during the boot process. However, most computers allow you to boot from other disks, including external Firewire hard drives, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, and floppy disks. In order to function as boot disks, these disks need to have an operating system installed that is understandable by the computer. CD and DVD boot disks are often used to start up a computer when the operating system on the internal hard drive won’t load. This can happen when bad data blocks or other errors occur on the disk. By running a disk repair utility from the CD or DVD, you can often fix the hard drive and restart from it, using the full operating system.
Example: “The computer could not start up from the hard disk because the boot sector was damaged.” A boot sector is the first section of a hard drive or other data storage media. It contains the master boot record (MBR) which is accessed by the computer during the boot sequence. The boot sector may also include a partition map, which defines each disk partition.
Each time a computer boots up, it goes through an initial series of processes. This sequence of events is called a “boot sequence.” During the boot sequence, the computer activates the necessary hardware components and loads the appropriate software so that a user can interact with the machine. The boot sequence starts by accessing the computer’s BIOS on a Windows PC or the system ROM on a Macintosh. The BIOS and ROM contain basic instructions that tell the computer how to boot up. These instructions are then passed to the computer’s CPU, which begins loading information into the system RAM. Once a valid boot disk or startup disk is found, the computer begins loading the operating system into the system memory. After the operating system finishes loading, the computer is ready to be used. The boot sequence can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the computer’s configuration. If the system is booting from a CD or DVD, the boot time may be significantly longer than if the computer is booted from a hard drive. Also, if your computer was turned off unexpectedly, the boot time might increase since the system may perform some additional checks to make sure everything is OK.
This is an automated software program that can execute certain commands when it receives a specific input (like a ro-“bot”). Bots are most often seen at work in the Internet-related areas of online chat and Web searching. The online chat bots do things like greet people when they enter a chat room, advertise Web sites, and kick people out of chat rooms when they violate the chat room rules. Web searching bots, also known as spiders and crawlers, search the Web and retrieve millions of HTML documents, then record the information and links found on the pages. From there, they generate electronic catalogs of the sites that have been “spidered.” These catalogs make up the index of sites that are used for search engine results.
A botnet is a network of computers that are controlled from a single source. While some botnets are used for legitimate cluster computing purposes, most botnets are created for malicious or illegal activities. Some examples include sending spam messages, spreading viruses, and attacking Internet servers. Hackers create botnets by compromising the security of several computers and installing bots, or automated programs, on each system. This is often accomplished by exploiting a security hole in the operating system or a software program. Most users don’t even realize their computers have been compromised since the botnet activity is typically hidden from the user. Therefore, it is smart to make sure your system firewall is turned on and to install antivirus software, which checks your computer for unusual activity on a regular basis.
E-mail returned to sender.
Bits per second. The rate that data is transferred between two modems.
Generally refers to connections to the Internet with much greater bandwidth than you can get with a modem. There is no specific definition of the speed of a “broadband” connection but in general any Internet connection using DSL.
A browser is a user-friendly tool that enables you to navigate around the Web, viewing selected pages. The two most popular browsers are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
The act of navigating the World Wide Web.


C is a high-level programming language that was developed in the mid-1970s. It was originally used for writing Unix programs, but is now used to write applications for nearly every available platform. Compared to most previous languages, C is easier to read, more and more efficient at using memory. C++, pronounced “C plus plus,” is a programming language that was built off the C language. The syntax of C++ is nearly identical to C, but it has object-oriented features, which allow the programmer to create objects within the code. This makes programming easier and more efficient. Because of the power and flexibility of the language, most software programs today are written in C++ or a variant.
These files are commonly used during the installation of software onto a computer. A CABinet file stores a number of compressed files under one name. The files have *.cab extension.
A small fast memory for keeping a local copy of data that has been accessed over the network, and may be needed again.
Common Gateway Interface. CGI scripts are programs which can generate and send back data, such as HTML documents, pictures, or sound.
In Internet Relay Chat (IRC) a channel is a virtual arena where users meet to talk on a particular topic. IRC programs will allow you to call up a list of all active channels.
CLI stands for Calling Line Identification. This allows the called party to identify the caller’s telephone number.
A computer that requests data from another computer, called a server.
A command prompt is used in a text-based or “command-line” interface, such as a Unix terminal or a DOS shell. It is a symbol or series of characters at the beginning of a line that indicates the system is ready to receive input. It other words, it prompts the user for a command (hence the name).
Compression “squeezes” files to save space and transmission time.
A cookie is data that is stored on a client PC, commonly by a Web Site. The cookie is used as an administrative tool, typically to allow for the download of a customized Web page or to track a user’s use of the site.
Stands for “Central Processing Unit.” This is the pretty much the brain of your computer. It processes everything from basic instructions to complex functions. Any time something needs to be computed, it gets sent to the CPU. The CPU can also be referred to simply as the “processor.”


Data decompression is used to restore compressed data to its original form.
Dial-Up Networking is a feature of the Windows operating system that allows connection to the Internet and/or other remote computers.
A connection, such as SLIP or PPP, which makes your computer a live part of the Internet. Also known as full IP access.
Domain Name System. The system that locates the numerical IP address that corresponds to a host name.
A domain name is another way of referring to the Internet address of a computer or group of computers on the Internet. Whereas an Internet address is made up of numbers (e.g. and therefore difficult to remember, a domain name (e.g. is made up of meaningful words.
To download a file is to move it from one computer to another, usually from a central host machine to a local machine.


E-mail (or electronic mail) is the most common method of written communication between users of computers. Additionally, files (including pictures) may be sent as attachments. After an e-mail has been sent it is stored on the recipient’s mail server until collection.


Many Web sites include a list of FAQs (or Frequently Asked Questions). These represent an attempt to anticipate the problems that a user of the site may encounter.
A Mac FTP program which enables the uploading and downloading of files to and from the Internet.
Software and/or hardware that checks incoming data from the Internet to help protect the recipient from potential intrusions.
The Internet equivalent of verbal abuse.
A reply to a USENET newsgroup article (post).
Software for which the author makes no charge. Because the author of the software is making no money, freeware is usually unsupported. See also Shareware.
FTP (or the File Transfer Protocol) allows a user to access and transfer files to and from another computer. Unlike e-mail, it maintains a real time connection between the two computers and is more suited to the error free exchange of large files. “Anonymous ftp” sites will allow anyone to download files from them without knowing a password.


Graphics Interchange Format. A graphics file format created by the CompuServe online information service. GIFs work across platforms (Mac, PC and UNIX). Most Web browsers can display images saved in the GIF format.
The letters “GIF” actually stand for “Graphics Interchange Format”. GIF images use a compression formula originally developed by CompuServe. GIFs are based on indexed collars, which is a palette of at most 256 colours. This helps greatly reduce their file size. These compressed image files can be quickly transmitted over a network or the Internet, which is why you often see them on Web pages. GIF files are great for small icons and animated images, but they lack the colour range to be used for high-quality photos.
A gigabyte is 2 to the 30th power, or 1,073,741,824 bytes. It can be estimated as 10 to the 9th power, or one billion (1,000,000,000) bytes. A gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes and precedes the terabyte unit of measurement. Hard drive sizes are typically measured in gigabytes, such as a 160GB or 250GB drive. The term gigabyte is often abbreviated as simply a “gig” in speech. For example, if you have a 250GB hard drive, you could say, “I have 250 gigs of disk space.” The prefix “giga” comes from the Greek word “gigas,” meaning giant.
Google is the world’s most popular search engine. It began as a search project in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were two Ph.D. students at Stanford University. They developed a search engine algorithm that ranked Web pages not just by content and keywords, but by how many other Web pages linked to each page. This strategy produced more useful results than other search engines, and led to a rapid increase in Google’s Web search marketshare. The Google ranking algorithm was later named “PageRank” and was patented in September of 2001. In only a short time, Google became the number one search engine in the world. According to Google’s website, the company’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” While the Web search remains Google’s primary tool for helping user’s access information, the company offers several other services as well. Some of these include: (Froogle – price comparison shopping), (Image Search – search for images on the Web), (Google Groups – online discussion forums), (Google Answers – answers to questions based on a bidding system), (Google Maps – maps and directions), (Google Earth – lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, the ocean and even galaxies in outer space). Explore rich geographical content, save your toured places and share with others. (Google Toolbar – a downloadable search tool), (Blogger – a free blogging service), (Gmail – Web-based e-mail with several gigabytes of storage), (AdWords – advertising services for advertisers), (AdSense – advertising services for Web publishers) Google has become such a popular search engine that the term “Google” is now often used as a verb, synonymous with “search.” For example, if you are looking for information about someone, you can Google that person using Google’s search engine.
A Gopher site has a hierarchically organised collection of documents, usually readable text files.


  • The first page loaded by your browser when you start up.
  • The main WWW document for a person, group, or organisation.
HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the formatting language in which pages on the World Wide Web are constructed. Browsers interpret HTML and display the pages appropriately. HTML is a subset of SGML (Standard Generalised Markup Language).
HTTP (or the Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the form of dialogue most often used between computers on the Web. It is the acronym that prefixes Web site addresses.
Documents which contain embedded links (often underlined or otherwise differentiated from the rest of the text) which allow the user to easily move among different parts of the same document, or between documents. Example: Click here to jump to the top of the page.


A visual symbol that is used in a graphical display, and which is generally activated by a mouse. The symbol tends to reflect the operation it initiates; for example a picture of a printer to allow printing.
A global network of computers and computer systems which communicate using the Internet protocol.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is a browser, which displays Web pages with its graphical content. It uses HTML code to display the Web pages, and is capable of downloading files.
An Intranet uses Internet protocols and applications over an internal company network.
IP (Internet Protocol) is a protocol which transfers data from one computer to another on the Internet. The data is divided into different packets and then forwarded to the destination.
An IP (or Internet Protocol) address uniquely identifies each computer on the Internet. An IP address is made up of four groups of numbers, each separated by a full-stop; for example, Each time you log on to your ISP you will be allocated a new IP address. This is known as Dynamic IP allocation.
Internet Relay Chat. The live chat area of the Internet in which real time conversations between two or more people take place in virtual “rooms” or channels.
ISDN (or Integrated Services Digital Network) is a digital telephone service, giving higher speed access than the normal Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Available at speeds of 64Kbps (Kilobits per second) and 128Kbps.
Internet Service Provider.
Internet Watch Foundation. Is a UK based charitable organisation which seeks to rid the Internet of illegal material such as websites that contains images of child sexual abuse. The IWF encourages the Internet community to report the finding of any such material. Details are on the IWF Web site.


A computer language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java is used to write programs (applets) that run on a wide range of computers, and are safe and easy to download through the Internet. Using Java, Web pages can feature things like animations, calculations, and games.
Like Java, this is a programming language designed by Sun Microsystems, in conjunction with Netscape, which can be integrated into standard HTML pages. While JavaScript is based on the Java syntax, it is a scripting language, and therefore cannot be used to create stand-alone programs. Instead, it is used mainly to create dynamic, interactive Web pages. For example, Web developers can use JavaScript to validate form input, create image rollovers, and to open pop-up windows.
A graphic file format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPEG images have better picture quality than GIFs, but at the expense of larger file sizes. JPEG files have the extension .jpg


A unit of computer measurement. KB is an abbreviation for kilobyte (1024 bytes).
A newsreader file into which you can enter e-mail addresses or key phrases to prevent unwanted posts from being downloaded.


A LAN (or Local Area Network) is a network that is restricted to a relatively small area, such as a building. Networks covering larger areas, perhaps whole countries are known as Wide Area Networks (or WAN’s).
A private telecommunications line that permanently connects two points.
An area of a hypertext document which, when selected, will take the user to another document or resource. On the World Wide Web, a link (often underlined) is usually a URL pointing to a file, document, site, image, or another page. See also Hypertext and URL.
Software that automatically manages a mailing list, receiving posts and followups and sending groups of them out to all subscribers of the list.


Your Mail Client is the software package that enables you to receive and send email.
Mail Servers are dedicated servers, which handle the storage and routing of email to and from your personal email account.
A topic-oriented conference like a USENET newsgroup except that the messages are distributed by private e-mail. Typically, the Internet user would subscribe to a list by sending e-mail to the Listserv.
A measure of computer memory equal to 1,048,576 bytes, each of which in turn is equal to eight bits, which is the smallest unit of data in the digital system and is symbolised by the number 1 or the number 0.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension. An extension that lets you transmit non-text data (like graphics, audio, video) via e-mail.
A replica Web site set up to share the traffic on a busy site.
MLPPP is extension of the PPP protocol, which allows Multilink 128Kbps (Kilobits per second) ISDN connection.
A modem (modulator/demodulator) converts a digital signal from a PC into an analogue signal that can be transmitted over conventional telephone lines. The modem at the other end of the line then converts the incoming analogue signal back to a digital signal, which the PC can understand.
A compressed video file format.


A name server translates domain names into IP addresses. This makes it possible for a user to access a website by typing in the domain name instead of the website’s actual IP address. For example, when you type in “,” the request gets sent to Microsoft’s name server which returns the IP address of the Microsoft website. Each domain name must have at least two name servers listed when the domain is registered. These name servers are commonly named and, where “servername” is the name of the server. The first server listed is the primary server, while the second is used as a backup server if the first server is not responding. Name servers are a fundamental part of the Domain Name System (DNS). They allow websites to use domain names instead of IP addresses, which would be much harder to remember. In order to find out what a certain domain name’s name servers are, you can use a WHOIS lookup tool.
The etiquette of using the Internet. To avoid breaching Netiquette, make sure that you investigate any FAQs or new user sections of newsgroups.
A system of hardware and software that is connected so as to be accessed by individual users who share the same information and resources, and who may be geographically distant from each other.
Generic term for information transported on the Internet using the nntp (Network News Transport Protocol). Often used to distinguish news from mail.
A newsgroup can be thought of as an electronic notice board, where a message can be read by Internet users worldwide. There are thousands of newsgroups, many of which have been categorised into different discussion groups.
Software for reading and posting articles (posts) and followups to a USENET newsgroup.
Any device connected to a computer network as well as the point at which the devices are connected.


Outlook and Outlook Express is an email clients created by Microsoft. Over the years different versions have been released with improvements.


A short network message sent by one computer to test if another computer is available.
Add-ons for Web browsers. Plug-ins add features such as the ability to display video, or play sound.
A POP (Point of Presence) is the modem which the Internet user dials from their computer to gain access to the Internet.
POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) is currently the standard protocol for receiving email. The POP3 server receives your email and stores it in a unique mailbox , from where you can download using your email client.
The term for an original USENET or mailing list article. To “post” means to submit an article for publication on USENET in one or more newsgroups or to one or more mailing lists. If sent to more than one newsgroup or list the post is said to be “cross-posted”.
Point to Point Protocol (PPP) communicates between remote computers. It supports full duplex communications over various physical media, handles synchronous as well as asynchronous communication and interfaces with the Internet Protocol. Hence it is used for remote access i.e. connecting to the Internet via a phone line.
A set of rules that govern the transmission of data between two computers.
A “local” caching server to which a browser may initially address a request, to avoid sending that request across a slow network link.


Apple Computer’s standard for including full-motion video and digitised sound into application programs


Remote Access is an additional component of the Macintosh operating system that allows connection to the Internet. It provides access to PPP, allowing configuration of the settings needed to access the internet.
Devices that forward packets of data across networks to the correct destination.


Software which scans the World Wide Web, collecting titles and words from Web pages which are stored in a database. The user enters key words to search for and the results of the search (e.g. relevant Web pages containing the key words) are returned to the user. Google, Bling and Yahoo are examples of search engines.
A computer that provides files as shared resources to a computer network.
Copyrighted software that is sold on a trust basis. Users are expected to pay the author if they like or use the software.
A particular “spot” on the Internet or World Wide Web.
Simple Mail Transport Protocol is a TCP/IP protocol used for sending and receiving e-mail.
Posting the same message (often advertising) to multiple newsgroups. Also the bulk e-mailing of unsolicited material to multiple recipients.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an open protocol for securing data communications across networks. Secure Web sites (where you can confidently enter credit card details, personal details, etc.) are indicated by the key at the bottom of your browser (normally broken) being joined together.
“Jumping” or navigating from site to site on the Internet.


TCP / IP (or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is the standard communications protocol used on the Internet. The IP (Internet Protocol) transfers the data from one computer to another while TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) ensures the content of the transmission remains.
/valid. TELNET TELNET lets Internet users log in to computers around the world that are connected to the Internet, and to use them as if they were their own.
The Windows operating system contains a sub-directory on its local hard disk in which copies of downloaded Web pages are stored. Temporary Internet files are stored in this directory in order to allow faster access to Web information on subsequent visits.
A thread is a collection of articles within a newsgroup or forum that follow the same subject.
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, “What are you doing?” by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called “tweets”, to your friends, or “followers.” To make the most of the 140 characters short cuts are used to abbreviate common phrases and expression.


To move a file from one computer to another, usually from a local machine to a host.
A URL (or Uniform Resource Locator) is the dynamic name representation of a Web site’s address. For example, the URL for the IP address is
Stands for “Universal Serial Bus.” USB is the most common type of computer port used in today’s computers. It can be used to connect keyboards, mice, game controllers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and removable media drives, just to name a few. With the help of a few USB hubs, you can connect up to 127 peripherals to a single USB port and use them all at once. USB is also faster than older ports, such as serial and parallel ports. The USB 1.1 specification supports data transfer rates of up to 12Mb/sec and USB 2.0 has a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbps. USB 3.0 is expected to have a transfer rate of up to  5.0 Gbit per second.
Another name for newsgroups.


A piece of software that is intended to compromise an IT system by corrupting, amending or deleting data. Some viruses are relatively harmless, but others have the potential to be extremely harmful.
Stands for “Voice Over Internet Protocol” and is basically a telephone connection over the Internet. The data is sent digitally, using the Internet Protocol (IP) instead of analogue telephone lines. This allows people to talk to one another long-distance and around the world without having to pay long distance or international phone charges.


Windows sound files
Each discrete item of information on a Web site is known as a Web page. Unlike paper documents a Web page can be any size (it entirely depends on the amount of information contained within the page), and it can correspond to any number of paper pages.
A Web site is any number of interlocking Web pages that combine to create an entity with a single, unified purpose.
Windows is the name of the operating systems designed by Microsoft which have evolved from the original MS-DOS (Disk Operating System). Variants of Windows include, Windows 3, 3.x, Workgroups, 95, 98, Vista, XP and Windows 7.


x86 is the generic name for Intel processors released after the original 8086 processor. These include the 286, 386, 486, and 586 processors. Technically, x86 is short for 80×86 since the full names of the processors are actually 80286, 80386, 80486, and 80586.
Stands for “Extensible Markup Language.” XML is used to define documents with a standard format that can be read by any XML-compatible application. The language can be used with HTML pages, but XML itself is not a markup language. Instead, it is a “metalanguage” that can be used to create markup languages for specific applications. For example, it can describe items that may be accessed when a Web page loads. Basically, XML allows you to create a database of information without having an actual database. While it is commonly used in Web applications, many other programs can use XML documents as well.


Yahoo! is one of the Internet’s leading search engines. It is also the largest Web portal, providing links to thousands of other websites. These links include sites from the Yahoo! Directory as well as news stories that are updated several times a day. Besides being a portal and search engine, Yahoo! offers several other services as well. Some of these services include: •Yahoo! Finance – stock quotes and financial information •Yahoo! Shopping – online retail and price comparison services •Yahoo! Games – online games playable over the Internet (Yahoo! Groups – organized discussions among Internet users), (Yahoo! Travel – travel information and booking services), (Yahoo! Maps – maps and directions), (Yahoo! Messenger – instant messaging) Yahoo! Mail – free Web-based e-mail
YouTube is a video sharing website owned by Google that allows users to watch other people’s videos and publish their own. It allows both professional and amateur users to post videos, which can be viewed by anyone in the world with an Internet connection. Videos uploaded to YouTube are available at and may also be posted on other websites. When a YouTube video finishes playing, the user is presented with a list of related videos that he or she may find interesting.


A zip file (.zip) is a “zipped” or compressed file. For example, when you download a file, if the filename looks like this: “,” you are downloading a zipped file. “Zipping” a file involves compressing one or more items into a smaller archive. A zipped file takes up less hard drive space and takes less time to transfer to another computer.


802.11a is a Wi-Fi standard developed by the IEEE for transmitting data over a wireless network. It uses a 5 GHz band and allows data to be transferred up tp 54 Mbps. Other standards within the 802.11 family include 802.11b, which transfers data up to 11 Mbps and uses a 2.4 GHz band, and 802.11g, which also uses a 2.4 GHz band, but can transfer data up to 54 Mbps.
802.11b is a Wi-Fi standard developed by the IEEE for transmitting data over a wireless network. It operates on a 2.4 GHz band and allows for wireless data transfers up to 11 Mbps. A faster standard, called 802.11g, was introduced a few years after 802.11b and supports data transfer rates up to 54 Mbps. This can make a difference in the speed of data transfers within a local network, but since broadband Internet access is limited to around 5 Mbps, a 802.11b wireless connection will not be a bottleneck for Internet access. Most wireless networks are based on either 802.11b or 802.11g.
802.11g is a Wi-Fi standard developed by the IEEE for transmitting data over a wireless network. It operates on a 2.4 GHz bandwidth and supports data transfer rates up to 54 Mbps. 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b hardware, but if there are any 802.11b-based computers on the network, the entire network will have to run at 11 Mbps (the max speed that 802.11b supports). However, you can configure your 802.11g wireless router to only accept 802.11g devices, which will ensure your network runs at its top speed.
802.11n is a wireless (Wi-Fi) standard that was introduced in 2007. It supports a longer range and higher wireless transfer rates than the previous standard, 802.11g. 802.11n devices support MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) data transfers, which can transmit multiple streams of data at once. This technology effectively doubles the range of a wireless device. Therefore, a wireless router that uses 802.11n may have twice the radius of coverage as an 802.11g router. This means a single 802.11n router may cover an entire household, whereas an 802.11g router might require additional routers to bridge the signal. The previous 802.11g standard supported transfer rates of up to 54 Mbps. Devices that use 802.11n can transfer data over 100 Mbps. With an optimized configuration, the 802.11n standard can theoretically support transfer rates of up to 500 Mbps. That is five times faster than a standard 100Base-T wired Ethernet network. So if your residence is not wired with an Ethernet network, it’s not a big deal. Wireless technology can finally keep pace with the wired network. Of course, with the faster speeds and larger range that 802.11n provides, it is more important than ever to password protect your wireless network.