GLOSSARY OF TERMS

This section is here to provide you with some extra information about the internet and computers generally. Use it as a basic reference.

 

ACCESS RATE  The rate at which a user can transmit over a network connection, measured in bits per second.

 

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) -- A method for moving data over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber’s premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. A DSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line.

A commonly discussed configuration of DSL allows downloads at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes) per second, and uploads at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. This arrangement is called ADSL: “Asymmetric” Digital Subscriber Line.

Another common configuration is symmetrical: 384 Kilobits per second in both directions.

In theory ADSL allows download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second.

DSL is now a popular alternative to Leased Lines and ISDN, being faster than ISDN and less costly than traditional Leased Lines.

 

APPLET A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network. The current rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent.
 

ASCII : American Standard Code for Information Interchange) -- This is the de facto 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.

 

ASP Active Server Pages, popular technique for automatically generating Web pages from a template held on a SERVER in conjunction with customized SCRIPTS, ASP extracts appropriate information from a DATABASE and formats it as HTML before sending it to a BROWSER. ASP is especially for automatically updating corporate information and other pages whose structure rarely changes.
 

ATTACHMENT File included with email.

 

ATM Asynchronous Transfer Mode Packet data protocol for switching, routing and transmission of data. ATM is designed to support very high speeds and multiple services, allowing companies to assign bandwidth dynamically to individual customers.
 

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BANDWIDTH   Size of the data pipeline.  If you increase bandwidth, more data can flow at once. Usually measured in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.
 

BANNER  An advertisement on a Web page. The banner is the most common form of Web advertising. Most banners contain animations designed to catch a browser's eye and trigger a CLICK-THROUGH to a Web site.

BAUD :  In common usage the baud rate of a modem is how many bits it can send or receive per second. Technically, baud is the number of times per second that the carrier signal shifts value - for example a 1200 bit-per-second modem actually runs at 300 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 300 = 1200 bits per second).
 

BIT Short for binary digit; in other words, a one or zero Bits are the building blocks of Internet data. Every digital transmission consists of a stream of bits travelling between two points, and most descriptions of BANDWIDTH measure it in bits per address bits make up a byte.
 

BOUNCED MAIL Email returned to sender.

 

BOOKMARKS Netscape file used to store addresses.

 

BPS Bits per second.  The rate that data is transferred between two modems.  A bit is the basic unit of data.

 

BROADBAND High-speed Internet access.

 

BROWSER Program, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, that allows you to download and display Web documents.
 

BYTE The unit of address for digital storage capacity. A byte is eight bits.

 

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CACHE Temporary storage space.  Browsers can store copies of the most recently visited Web pages in cache.

 

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) -- A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the “CGI program”) talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.

Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from a web server and does something with it, like putting the content of a form into an e-mail message, or turning the data into a database query.

You can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing “cgi-bin” in a URL, but not always.
 

CGI-BIN (The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored.
The “bin” part of “cgi-bin” is a shorthand version of “binary”, because once upon a time, most programs were referred to as “binaries”. In real life, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text files -- scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on the same machine.

 

CLIENT( A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a Server software program on another computer, often across a great distance. Each Client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of Server programs, and each Server requires a specific kind of Client. A Web Browser is a specific kind of Client.

 

CO-LOCATION(Most often used to refer to having a server that belongs to one person or group physically located on an Internet-connected network that belongs to another person or group. Usually this is done because the server owner wants their machine to be on a high-speed Internet connection and/or they do not want the security risks of having the server on their own network.

 

COOKIE(The most common meaning of “Cookie” on the Internet refers to a piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the Server.

Depending on the type of Cookie used, and the Browser’s settings, the Browser may accept or not accept the Cookie, and may save the Cookie for either a short time or a long time.

Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online “shopping cart” information, user preferences, etc.

When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes a Cookie, the Server is able to use the information stored in the Cookie. For example, the Server might customize what is sent back to the user, or keep a log of particular user’s requests.

Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount of time and are usually saved in memory until the Browser software is closed down, at which time they may be saved to disk if their “expire time” has not been reached.

Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to the CIA, but they can be used to gather more information about a user than would be possible without them.

 

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DATABASE  A computerized filing system forming the core of most corporate computer systems. Database are, on the face of it, simple tools used to store and retrieve information. In reality, they are big and complex programs that are subjected to extreme pressure as the demand for sophisticated analysis of corporate data grows. Until fairly recently databases handled only numbers and text, but the acceptance of MULTIMEDIA technologies has added a requirement for storage of more complex forms of data such as video and graphics.

 

DNS Domain name system.  The system that locates the numerical IP address corresponding to a host name.
 

DOMAIN Part of the dns name that specifies details about the host, such as its location and whether it is a part of a commercial (.com), government (.gov), or educational (.edu) entity.

 

DOMAIN NAME A domain name is a unique Internet address that can be used for e-mail, web pages, file transfer and other services. Domain names can be up to 26 characters long and may contain only alphabetic and numeric characters. Currently the domains.com,.net,.org, are available to businesses.
.com         For commercial entities
.org           For organizations usually of a non profit nature.
.net           For network entities
.com.cy    For Cyprus based commercial entities
.org.cy      For Cyprus based organizations

 

DOWNLOAD Retrieve a file from a host computer.  Upload means to send one the other way.

 

DRIVER Small program that acts like a translator between a device and programs that use that device.

 

DSL Digital Subscriber Line.  Encompasses all forms including ADSL. Sometimes xDSL.

 

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E-COMMERCE Broadly, the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet.

 

E-MAIL Short for electronic mail, an electronic message sent from one computer to another, usually text.

 

ETHERNET   A very common method of networking computers in a LAN. Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer.

 

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FAQ  Frequently Asked Questions. FAQs are usually written by people who have tired of answering the same question over and over.


 

FILE  Anything stored on a computer, such as a program, image or document.


 

FINGER  An Internet software tool for locating people on other Internet sites. Finger is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal information, but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a particular Internet site. Many sites do not allow incoming Finger requests, but many do.


 

FIREWALL  Network security system used to restrict external and internal traffic. Can be a  combination of hardware and / or software.
 

FRAME RELAY A standard packet interface protocol, frame relay is designated for data transfer only, so it is not well suited to real-time information such as video conferencing or voice applications.

 

FTP File transfer Protocol.  Standard method of moving files across the Internet. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous ftp servers.

 

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GATEWAY The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols, for example Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.

 

GIGABYTE  1000 or , more likely 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.

 

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HOME PAGE  Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. “Check out so-and-so’s new Home Page.”

Another sloppier use of the term refers to practically any web page as a “homepage,” e.g. “That web site has 65 homepages and none of them are interesting.”

 

HOST Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as WWW and USENET.
 

HTML  HyperText Markup Language.  The Language used to create Web documents.

 

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) -- The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).
 

HYPERTEXT / HYPERLINK / LINK   Generally, any text that contains links to other documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.
 

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IMAP  Internet Message Access Protocol.  Standard email access protocol that`s superior to POP3 in that you can selectively retrieve messages or parts thereof as well as manage folders on the server.
 

INTRANET A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use.

As the Internet has become more popular many of the tools used on the Internet are being used in private networks, for example, many companies have web servers that are available only to employees.

Note that an Intranet may not actually be an
internet -- it may simply be a network.
 

IP Internet Protocol.  The most important protocol upon which the Internet is based.  Defines how packets get from source to destination. It is involved in keeping track of addresses and routing data packets trough the system.
 

IP ADDRESS  Every computer connected to the Internet OR any kind of network, has an IP address (written in dotted numerical notation), which corresponds to its domain name.  Domain Name Servers convert one to the other.
 

IRC Internet Relay Chat. Internet system where you can chat in text, or audio, to the others in real time

 

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) -- Basically a way to move more data over existing regular phone lines. ISDN is rapidly becoming available to much of the USA and in most markets it is priced very comparably to standard analog phone circuits. It can provide speeds of roughly 128,000 bits-per-second over regular phone lines. In practice, most people will be limited to 56,000 or 64,000 bits-per-second.
 

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JAVA  Java is a network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to your computer or files. Using small Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators, and other fancy tricks.

We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the Web using Java, since you can write a Java program to do almost anything a regular computer program can do, and then include that Java program in a Web page

 

JAVA SCRIPT JavaScript is a programming language that is mostly used in web pages, usually to add features that make the web page more interactive. When JavaScript is included in an HTML file it relies upon the browser to interpret the JavaScript. When JavaScript is combined with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and later versions of HTML (4.0 and later) the result is often called DHTML.

JavaScript was invented by Netscape and was going to be called "LiveScript", but the name was changed to JavaScript to cash in on the popularity of Java. JavaScript and Java are two different programming languages.

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KILOBYTE A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (2^10) bytes.

 

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LAN Local Area Network. Computer network that spans a relatively small area such as an office.

 

LEASED LINE   Refers to a phone line that is rented for exclusive 24-hour, 7 -days-a-week use from your location to another location. The highest speed data connections require a leased line.

 

LOG IN / LOG ON Connect to a computer network. Not secret in contrary to Password

 

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MEGABYTE   A million bytes. Actually, technically, 1024 kilobytes.

 

MODEM Modulator/Demodulator. Device that allows to communicate with another over a standard telephone line, by converting the digital data into analogue signals and v/versa.


 

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) -- The standard for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files, etc.

An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard.

When non-text files are sent using the MIME standard they are converted (encoded) into text - although the resulting text is not really readable.

Generally speaking the MIME standard is a way of specifying both the type of file being sent (e.g. a Quicktime™ video file), and the method that should be used to turn it back into its original form.

Besides email software, the MIME standard is also universally used by Web Servers to identify the files they are sending to Web Clients, in this way new file formats can be accommodated simply by updating the Browsers’ list of pairs of MIME-Types and appropriate software for handling
each type.
 

MP3 A compressed music format.
 

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NETWORK   Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.
 

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PLATFORM  Computer operating system, such as Mac OS, Windows, or Linux.

 

POP  (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol) -- Two commonly used meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dial up phone lines. So if an Internet company says they will soon have a POP in Belgrade, it means that they will soon have a local phone number in Belgrade and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A second meaning, Post Office Protocol refers to the way e-mail software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or shell account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail.
 

POP3 Post Office Protocol. An email protocol that allows you to pick up your mail from anywhere on the Net, even if you 're connected trough someone else's account.

 

Portal Web site that specializes in leading you to others.

 

PPP (Point to Point Protocol) -- Most well known as a protocol that allows a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections and thus be really and truly on the Internet.

 

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) -- The regular old-fashioned telephone system. The slowest connection available today.

 

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SERVER  A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. our mail server is down today, that’s why e-mail isn’t getting out. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.

 

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) -- The main protocol used to send electronic mail on the Internet.
SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact.
Almost all Internet email is sent and received by clients and servers using SMTP
, thus if one wanted to set up an email server on the Internet one would look for email server software that supports SMTP.

 

SNMP, (Simple Network Management Protocol) -- A set of standards for communication with devices connected to a TCP/IP network. Examples of these devices include routers, hubs, and switches.

A device is said to be “SNMP compatible” if it can be monitored and/or controlled using SNMP messages. SNMP messages are known as “PDU’s” - Protocol Data Units.

Devices that are SNMP compatible contain SNMP “agent” software to receive, send, and act upon SNMP messages.

Software for managing devices via SNMP are available for every kind of commonly used computer and are often bundled along with the device they are designed to manage.
Some SNMP software is designed to handle a wide variety of devices. us if one wanted to set up an email server on the Internet one would look for email server software that supports SMTP.

 

SPAM or SPAMMING  An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn’t ask for it. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python skit which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone’s low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. (Spam is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat product.)
E.g. Mary spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message to each.

 

SQL  (Structured Query Language) -- A specialized programming language for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application will have its own version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL.
E.g. Mary spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message to each.

 

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TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) -- This is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software.

 

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URL (Uniform Resource Locator) -- The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this:

http://www.matisse.net/seminars.html
or telnet://well.sf.ca.us
or news:new.newusers.questions
etc.

The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a WWW browser program, such as Netscape, or Internet Explorer

 

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VPN (Virtual Private Network) -- Usually refers to a network in which some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is "virtually" private.

A typical example would be a company network where there are two offices in different cities. Using the Internet the two offices merge their networks into one network, but encrypt traffic that uses the Internet link.

 

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WWW - The Web (World Wide Web) -- Frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major meanings - First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) which are the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be mixed