Glossary of basic terms

APPLICATION
Another name of software or program. Some common types of applications are word processors, spreadsheets, databases etc.

BUG
A mistake or unexpected occurrence in a piece of software or hardware.

CLIPBOARD
The area of the mac's memory that holds what you last "cut" or "copied". You can pass the contents of your clipboard into documents.



glossary


CONTROL PANEL
An accessory that allows you to set things like how sounds, monitor, backgrounds and how fast the insertion point blinks.

CPU(central processing unit)

The central processing unit is made up of circuitry and computer chips, which perform the computer's calculations. The CPU is often what people call the box in which the all of the computer's circuitry is housed.

DESKTOP 

The computer's interface uses a desktop metaphor. The desktop is the gray or colored background you see on the screen when you start your computer. It is the place where you do your work by handling icons and working with pictures that represent your files, folders, and disks.

E-MAIL
Electronic mail allows a computer user to send messages instantaneously to another user's electronic mailbox. To send an e-mail to someone, you must have their e-mail address and you must be connected to a network.

FILE MENU

In all applications, the file menu contains commands for opening, saving, printing and closing documents, quitting the application etc.

FLOPPY DISK

A magnetic storage medium about 3.25 in size, which can be recorded, erased and used over and over again. A floppy disk holds can hold 1.4 megabytes of information.

HARDWARE

The physical components of a computer system. Those things which you can touch.

HARDDRIVE  

A rigid, usually non-removable disk or the disk drive that houses it. Hard disks store much more data and access it much more quickly than floppy disks.

LAUNCHING

Opening an application.

MEMORY

The retention of information electronically, on chips. See a difference in storage. There are two main types of memory: RAM, which is used for the short-term retention of information and ROM, which is used store programs that are seldom changed.

MENU BAR

The horizontal area across the top of the screen that contains the menu titles.

MEGAHERTZ(MHz)

One million cycles per second. a unit of measurement to compare clock speed of computers. The higher the number, the faster the computer.

MODEM

A device that adapts a computer to voice communications(telephone) network. The modem converts the digital pulses from a computer to audio tones, which can be transmitted by a telephone system.

NETWORKING

Two or more computers and associated devices that are connected by communications hard wire(phone wire, network cable, satellite etc.).

PASTING

Inserting something into a document from the clipboard by choosing paste from the edit menu.

REBOOT

To "reboot" means to restart the computer.

SOFTWARE
The instructions that tell a computer what to do. Also called programs or applications.

STORAGE

The long-term retention of information magnetically or optically. It persists after you turn your computer off. Compare this with memory.

SYSTEM FOLDER

A standard folder on Mac hard drives that contain the system file, the finder, and other system software.

ZIP DISK

Just like a floppy disk, except slightly thicker and more durable. A ZIP DISK can hold up to 100 megabytes of information. This is convenient for working with large files, especially graphics.

OS

The basic software that controls a computer's operation.

INTERNET

Established in the 1960s by the US government, the internet was developed so that government agencies and universities could link research centers in response the perceived notion that the Soviet Union was becoming more advanced in the space race. The internet was created as a "de-centralized" network, meaning that there is no one place that makes up the internet. This was done to make sure the internet survived a nuclear war. Today, the internet is a vast collection of e-mail, Usenet groups, FTP sites, and websites, with millions upon millions of users from around the world.

BROWSER 

A program that lets you read information(HTML documents) and navigate the world wide web.

CHAT

A system in which people can communicate by typing messages. Unlike e-mail messages, chat messages are sent and received as you type.

DOMAIN

A name was given to a host computer on the internet.

DRAG

Pointing at an item on the screen, clicking with the left mouse button and while holding the mouse button down, dragging the item to another part of the screen.

HELP/FAQ 

An option on most websites that gives instructions on how to use the site. It is sometimes called  'about this site' or 'FAQ' (frequently asked questions).

WEB DIRECTORY 

A directory(list) of websites that are selected, categorized and organized by people.

SEARCH ENGINE  

A tool that uses various electronic techniques to visit, search, collect and organize data from websites. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask search engines to help you search.

URL

The proper term for referring to web page address.

ATTACHMENT 

A computer file electronically stapled to an e-mail message and sent along with it.

BANDWITH

The capacity of a network connection. Bandwith determines how much data can be sent along the networked wires. Bandwith is particularly important for internet connections since greater bandwidth also means faster downloads.

CACHE 

A small data memory storage area that a computer can use to instantly re-access data instead of re-reading the data from the original source, such as a hard drive. Browsers use a cache to store web pages so that the user may view them again without reconnecting to the web.

CHIP 

A tiny wafer of silicon-containing miniature electric circuits that can store millions of bits of information.

CRASH

A software or hardware problem that causes information to be lost or the computer to malfunction. Sometimes a crash can cause permanent damage to a computer.

COOKIE

A text file sent by a web server that is stored on the hard drive of a computer and relays back to the web server things about the user, his or her computer, and/or his or her computer activities.

DATABASE

A collection of similar information stored in a file, such as a database of addresses. This information may be created and stored in a database management system.

DEBUG

To find and correct equipment defects or program malfunctions.

DEFAULT

The pre-defined configuration of a system or an application. In most programs, the defaults can be changed to reflect personal preferences.

E-BOOK

An electronic reading device that allows a person to view digitally stored reading materials.

DSL

Digital subscriber line. A method of connecting to the internet via a phone line. A DSL connection uses copper telephone lines but is able to relay data at much higher speeds than modems and does not interfere with telephone use.

FIREWALL

A set of security programs that protect a computer from outside interference or access via the internet

FTP

FTP means file transfer protocol. A format and set of rules for transferring files from a host to a remote computer.

HOME

The main page of a website used to greet visitors, provide information about the site or to direct the viewer to other pages on the site.

HACKER

A person with technical expertise who experiments with computer systems to determine how to develop additional features. Hackers are occasionally requested by system administrators to try and break into systems via a network to test security. The term hacker is sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably with the cracker. A hacker is called a white hat and a cracker a black hat.

MULTIMEDIA

Software programs that combine text and graphics with sound, video, and animation. A multimedia PC contains the hardware to support these capabilities.

PALM
A handheld computer.

PDF

Portable document format. A format presented by adobe acrobat that allows documents to be shared over a variety of operating systems. Documents can contain words and pictures and be formatted to have electronic links to other parts of the document or to places on the web.

PROGRAM

A precise series of instructions written in a computer language that tells the computer what to do and how to do it. Programs are also called software or applications.

SERVER

A computer that shares its resources and information with other computers, called clients on a network.

SURFING
Exploring the internet.

STREAMING

Taking packets of information (sound or visual) from the internet and storing it in temporary files to allow it to play in a continuous flow.

WEBCAM

A video camera, computer setup that takes live images and sends them to a web browser.



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