A Simple Computer Glossary

ActiveX Controls
ActiveX controls are reusable software programs. Microsoft designed the Internet Explorer web browser to use ActiveX controls to add functionality to web pages. ActiveX Controls have been greatly criticized for their ability to be used by unethical developers to create computer viruses, trojans and spyware infections. ActiveX controls are unsafe for users of Internet Explorer. The problems occur when a user surfs to a non-trusted web page and that web page contains a malicious ActiveX control.
Any advertising software which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.
Bandwidth in computer networking refers to the data speed supported by a network connection. It is most often expressed in terms of bits per second (bps) or megabits per second (Mps). The term represents the total distance between the highest and lowest signals on the communication channel (band).
A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and web links. Blogs are short for weblogs.
What is Blu-ray? Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD) is the name of a new optical disc format that is rapidly replacing DVD. The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. 
The term Broadband is usually used to describe any high speed connection to the internet.
Cable Modem
A modem designed to operate over cable TV lines. Because the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely fast access to the World Wide Web.
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
A glass tube in which streams of electrons, known as cathode rays, are produced. These rays are used to display images in television sets, computer monitors, etc.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
A central processing unit (CPU), or often simply called a processor, is the component in a computer that interprets instructions and processes data contained in computer programs.
Complementary-symmetry/Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)
CMOS stores information about your computer system as well as the current date and time. Like RAM, this memory needs electricity to keep working, but it only needs a very small amount. A small battery keeps it running for 4-5 years. If the CMOS battery dies, your computer may not start up correctly. You will have to have the battery replaced, and, you will probably have to re-enter the setup information about your computer system.
Refers to connecting a device to a network via a modem and a public telephone network. Dial-up access is really just like a phone connection, except that the parties at the two ends are computer devices rather than people. Because dial-up access uses normal telephone lines, the quality of the connection is not always good and data rates are limited.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
A technology for bringing high-bandwidth information to homes and businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines.
The process of copying a file from an Internet site to the hard drive of a personal computer.
Dual Core CPU (Central Processing Unit – see above)
A dual core CPU refers to a CPU that includes two complete processors in a single integrated circuit (chip). Dual core processors are well-suited for multitasking environments because there are two complete execution cores (brains) instead of one.
Email program
A computer program which users use to create, send, read and store email messages.
Email virus
An email virus will use an email message as transportation, and will copy itself by automatically mailing itself to hundreds of people in the victim’s address book.
A way of coding the information in a file or email so that if it is read by a third party as it travels over a network it cannot be read. Only the persons sending and receiving the information have the key and this makes it unreadable to anyone except the intended persons.
A system that prevents unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be hardware or software, or a combination of both.
FireWire, otherwise known as IEEE 1394, is a high performance connection used to connect computers to external hard disk drives and CD-R/RW recorders as well as consumer electronics devices like digital camcorders, televisions and game consoles. Firewire interfaces come standard on most Apple Macintosh systems and on some PCs.
A design for a set of characters. A font is the combination of typeface and other qualities, such as size and spacing. The term font is often used incorrectly as a synonym for typeface. The font you’re currently looking at is called Arial.
A person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity usually computers.
A clever programmer.
Hard Drive/Hard Disk
Most commonly used computer storage device which reads and writes one or more spinning disks. Hard drives are the storage medium in desktop and laptop computers.
An icon is a tiny picture on the screen that represents a program, file or folder.
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)
A method of accessing electronic mail that are kept on a mail server. It allows an email program to access remote message stores as if they were local. Email stored on an IMAP server can be accessed from a desktop computer at home, a workstation at the office, and a notebook computer while traveling, without the need to transfer messages or files back and forth between these computers.
Internet Protocol (IP) Address
A string of four numbers separated by periods (such as used to represent a computer on the Internet.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Internet Service Provider. A company that provides an Internet connection.
Key logger
Sometimes called a keystroke logger, key logger, or system monitor, it is a hardware device or small program that monitors each keystroke a user types on a specific computer’s keyboard.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
A low-power flat-panel display used in many computers. It is made up of liquid crystal that is sandwiched between layers of glass or plastic and becomes opaque when electric current passes through it. The contrast between the opaque and transparent areas forms visible characters.
Mail Server
A mail server is a program that receives incoming email from users and remote senders and forwards outgoing email for delivery. A computer dedicated to running such applications is also called a mail server.
Short for “malicious software” and is used as a term to refer to any software which causes damage to a single computer, server, or computer network.
A million pixels – picture elements – or tiny dots that make up a digital image. It is a measure commonly used to described the image quality that a digital camera is capable of – the more megapixels, the better.
Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)
A standard that allows Internet users to exchange email messages enhanced with graphics, video, and voice as attachments to the body of the text.
Technically bright but socially inept person.
Network Address Translation (NAT)
Network Address Translation is an Internet standard that enables a local-area network (LAN) to use one set of IP addresses for internal traffic and a second IP address for external traffic. A NAT box (router) is located where the LAN meets the Internet and makes all necessary IP address translations. NAT provides a type of firewall by hiding internal IP addresses.
Office Suite
A collection of powerful programs for business and home use. Suites make it easy for users to create and share information in databases, spreadsheets, and word processors, as well as other applications like presentation software.
Phishing is email fraud where the perpetrator sends out legitimate looking emails that appear to come from trustworthy web sites in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from the recipient.
A pre-recorded audio program that is made available for download (manually or automatically) so people can listen to them on personal computers or mobile devices.
A web site that the user sets up as an entrance to other sites on the internet. A portal typically has search engines, email, news, etc.
Post Office Protocol (POP)
A set of rules by which a computer can retrieve electronic mail from a mail server. The POP server holds the email until the user can retrieve it. POP does not provide for sending email which is usually done via SMTP. POP3 can be used with or without SMTP.
Presentation Program
A computer program used to create and display presentations, usually in the form of a “slide show”. Microsoft Powerpoint is one of the most popular presentation programs.
The QWERTY keyboard is the standard typewriter and computer keyboard in most countries. QWERTY refers to the first six letters on the upper row of the keyboard. The key arrangement was devised by Christopher Latham Sholes whose Type-Writer, as it was then called, was first mass-produced in 1874.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
The best known form of computer memory. RAM is considered “Random Access” because you can access any memory cell directly. RAM is volatile memory — its contents are lost as soon as power to the computer is turned off.
Read Only Memory (ROM)
This memory holds all the basic instructions the computer needs to do very simple stuff, such as making the letter “X” appear on the monitor when you press the “X” key. This memory cannot be changed, so losing power does not affect it.
Ripping (also referred to as digital audio extraction) is the process of copying the audio or video data from one media form, such as DVD or CD, to a hard drive. To conserve storage space, the copied data is usually encoded in a compressed format such as MP3 or WMA for audio, or MPEG-2, or MPEG-4 for video.
Root kit
A rootkit is a collection of programs that enable administrator-level access to a computer or computer network. Typically, a cracker installs a rootkit on a computer after first obtaining user-level access, either by exploiting a known vulnerability or cracking a password. Once the rootkit is installed, it allows the attacker to mask intrusion and gain root or privileged access to the computer and, possibly, other machines on the network.
A format for information syndication, enabling the publishing of data which can then be reused in other contexts. RSS sources are often called feeds, meaning that new information is produced and published regularly and can be obtained from these feeds. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
Pronounced as separate letters and short for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses two keys to encrypt data – a public key known to everyone and a secret key known only to the recipient of the message. Many Web sites use the protocol to obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers. By convention, URLs that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http:.
A computer system that provides client stations with access to files as shared resources to a computer network .
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
This is a set of rules used for sending email over the Internet. Your email program uses SMTP to send a message to the mail server and the mail server uses SMTP to relay that message to the correct receiving mail server. SMTP is a set of commands that authenticate and direct the transfer of electronic mail.
The practice of bidding in the last few seconds of an auction in order to prevent other bidders from outbidding you. The truth is, if you really want an item, sniping will almost always allow you to be the highest bidder, assuming you bid high enough. Many smart bidders, however, simply bid the maximum amount they are willing to spend on an item and don´t worry about it.
Operating instructions for specific task based applications. The computer processors (CPU) carry out these instructions. These include all packaged programs like word processing, image editing, databases, games, and so on. Software has to be written for a specific computer operating system (OS) like Windows, Apple or Linux.
An inappropriate attempt to use email as if it was a broadcast medium by sending the same message to many people who didn’t ask for it.
A computer program that lets the user enter numbers or text into a table with rows and columns. These numbers can be manipulated using formulas.
Computer software that collects personal information about users without their informed consent. The term is often used interchangeably with adware and malware. Personal information is secretly recorded with techniques such as logging keystrokes, recording browsing history, and scanning documents on the computer’s hard disk. Some spyware attempts to track the web sites a user visits and then send this information to an advertising agency. More malicious variants attempt to intercept passwords or credit card numbers as a user enters them into a web form or other applications.
Trojan horse
A Trojan horse is a computer program that pretends to do one thing (like claim to be a picture) but actually does damage when one starts it (it can completely erase one’s files). Trojan horses cannot replicate automatically.
Moving or copying a file from a local computer to a remote network or Web server.
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is used to connect many types of peripherals to a computer including joysticks, mice, keyboards, printers, scanners and external CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW recorders. Computers do not have to be rebooted when a USB device is attached because these devices are automatically recognized by the system. USB version 2.0 is the latest version allowing improved performance. Most modern PCs come equipped with several USB connections.
A virus is a software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the same computer.
Word Processor
A computer program designed to replace the typewriter. A word processor can create, edit, print, and store documents.
A worm is software that uses computer networks and security flaws to create copies of itself. It replicates itself to new computers using the flaws and then begins scanning and replicating again.

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