tgigeeks Glossary

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Updated 10/09/2013 USB

Glossary of Computer and Internet Terms ( a never ending task ) will be updated regularly

Computer Terminology / Acronyms explained.


ADSL: 'Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line' A broadband technology used to connect to the internet. This connection uses existing telephone lines (twisted pair) Not to be confused with Fibre Optic / Cable.


APPLICATION: A computer program which can manipulate text documents, spreadsheet, photo / video / audio etc. Microsoft Office is an application.


BACKUP: Saving documents or photos to an external media such as a CD / DVD / flashdrive or in recent times an external hard drive and or cloud drives. It can also refer to backing your whole hard drive in the case of disaster recovery.


BETA: A term used where software or an operating system is tested before final release to market. Aas opposed to Alpha, just about redy for market, before RTM (release to market) as a fully fledged product.


BITMAP:: (BMP) A format used to save images using a colour value for each pixel. The files can be quite large. More recently files are saved as jpegs, GIFS and PNG.


Bps: (bits per second) 'bitrate' the speed at which information in a file is read by hardware. The higher the number contains more information but is slower to process.


BROADBAND: An 'always on' internet connection. These come mainly in two flavours, ASDL and Fibre. Prior to this we had 'dial up'.


BROWSER: Simply an application to read information (audio, photos, videos for example) as a web page on the internet. For instance, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome to name but a few.


BUG: Classically, an error or fault in hardware or software preventing normal working of the machine or program.


BUNDLED SOFTWARE: A program downloaded from a website may come with additional rubbish you may not want. It can include malicious software or inferior search engines for instance. Mostly, they are completely useless to the user. Another 'bundling' is the OEM software included on you newly puchased machine. The manufacturer's software and trial software. Most of this needs to be uninstalled on first use.


BYTE: The smallest piece of data measurement. A byte contains 8 bits = to one character.


CABLE: A service provider may supply your internet and TV service by this method including fibre optic technology.


CAPTCHA: A registering device used by some sites to help stop spamming and bots. It works by creating a 'captcha' box whereby you input the distorted text before your final registration. In later years these captchas are becoming almost unreadable and you may have to refresh the box before you can actually read the text.


CC: (Cc:) Found in your email under the To: field. Used to include a recipient but not directly focussed to him.


CD: Compact Disc. The now minimal standard to install software. In the past this was done via a floppy drive / disk. Almost all new machines have DVD drives. A standard CD can contain music, installation software or games. Nearly all software are now supplied on a DVD because of the size of the files. CD-ROM is a read only source of installation software or games, it cannot be overwritten.


CGI: Computer generated imagery. This is used to create special effects in TV / movie and games with computer software.


CHIP: A computer may hold hundreds of these little devices. They replace thousands of valves and transistors that originally made an electronic circuit.


CLOUD COMPUTING: Data is stored and accessed using the internet as opposed to hard drive.


COAXIAL: A coaxial connection can include TV, telephone and internet. It is multi-layered. Used as an alternative to the conventional 'twisted pair' telephone line connection it has been superseded by Fibre Optics in many areas.


CODEC: A program which decrypts, translates information contained in certain audio and video files to allow you to hear or view. Most modern programs include the codecs and you don't have to download new ones.


COMPRESSION: Reducing video and audio detail electronically. It can be uncompressed at the other end.


COMMAND PROMPT: (cmd.exe) A windows command line facility ( command-line interpreter ) ( similar to the old DOS prompt ) useful for running certain utilities, like ipconfig, ping etc.


COOKIES: Cookies normally are just small text files downloaded to your computer / browser to enable websites to remember your visit, preferences etc. However some cookies enable ad tracking so you may want to ensure you clear cookies when logging out of a site and clear history as well. Each browser you use will have these options.


CPU: The real core of your machine, the Central Processing Unit. It is the 'little grey cells' that runs a communications network that requests and answers information at will. It works very hard and to suffer less migraine and stress requires intelligent design and cooling.


CRASH: Ah, the old one! A PC can crash or freeze for many reasons. In general, we could see poor performing hardware, driver errors, peripherals and terrible bloated software as a cause. Caveat emptor, beware before you buy / download. There is much rubbish in the ether.


CURSOR: The flashing vertical line on the screen that shows you where you are and where the next character you type will appear.


CYBERSPACE: A term often used to describe the internet/online environment, but which was originally invented to describe an as yet non-existent wholly interactive virtual world.


DATABASE: A program such as MS Access which allows the storing and organising of data so that it can be retrieved and used in a variety of different ways. Think of it as a very large card index.


DEFAULT: As in default settings, a program with non user defined settings, which can be customised later. Some programs may not work as well with some settings and the user can revert back to default.


DEFRAGMENT: (Defrag) A Microsoft program that optimizes the data storage on the hard drive making the system run more smoothly. Useful in XP and Vista but less so in Win 7.


DESKTOP: What you first see on your screen before you open a program. It contains a wallpaper (background and a selection of icons.


DNS: Domain Name System. A humanised way of reading web addresses as in The IP address for tgi is for instance.


DOMAIN NAME: tgigeeks is a domain name as a web address.


DONGLE: A plug-in device often used via a USB port. In some cases this could be a wireless dongle. Some programs come supplied with a dongle allowing only the licensed user to print or save documents. CAD programs may use this to stop the program being pirated.


DoS: Denial of Service. Attempts to maliciously stop a website working. It 'bombs' overwhelming requests and the sever may not be able handle the traffic.


DOS: Disk Operating System. A computer operating used prior to Windows.


DOTCOM: A company that relies mainly on the internet for its business.


DOWNLOAD: A file transfer from the internet, a song, movie or a document.


DPI: Dots per inch, the higher the DPI an image contains more detail.


DRAG & DROP: Moving a file(s) from one place to another pressing and holding the left mouse button and releasing in the destination folder.


DRIVER: Software to communicate with hardware such as printers, scanners, video cards and the like.


DRM: Digital rights management. A way of limiting the use of certain material to prevent piracy for instance.


DVD: Digital Versatile Disk. A storage medium holding up to 7 times the info of CD. Mostly used for video. Most software now comes supplied on a DVD because of the file sizes.


EMAIL: A way of communication by text or attaching files and sending to a recipient electronically. Smartphones now have this facility.


ENCRYPTION: Scrambling information especially in emails using keys or passwords making it more difficult to read but for the permitted person(s). Files and folders can also be encrypted stored on your hard drive.


EXE: An 'executable' file that launches a program. Only run .exe files from trusted sources as they may contain malicious content.


EXTRANET: A private (intranet) network that can also be viewed via the internet.


FAQ: Frequently asked questions, followed with answers. Found on most websites.


FILE: Any information which can be opened by a certain program, such as a document, image or video.


FIREFOX: A preferred browser by some as opposed to internet explorer. Fully customizable.


FIREWALL: Hardware or software that controls what is passed or received via the internet. It is your first line of defence.


FLASH: As in flash player, may require a plug-in in some browsers. Allows multimedia content to be viewed.


FORUM: A message board used to exchange ideas online. Some are just chatty places to meet up or a forum like ours;


FTP: File transfer protocol. A way of transferring between a computer and a webserver.


GB: Gigabytes. The measurement for hard drives or ram. A hard drive may be quoted as 500gb storage space. Ram (physical memory) can be 4gb, 6gb and 8gb. More powerful machines can run much higher, at a cost.


GIF: Graphics interchange Format. Used where an image can be manipulated for animation / action.


HACKER: A malevolent person who attempts to secure your or a company's or government departments information.


HARD DRIVE: A device that stores magnetically your operating system and files / folders.


HARDWARE: The nuts and bolts of your machine. The case, the motherboard, the hard drive, the DVD drive and the Video card for instance.


HDD: The hardware that contains your operating system and programs


HOMEPAGE: The first page you see when you open your browser. This can be set to instantly open a search engine, like Google or Yahoo, you ISP homepage, or any page you made by default. Some browsers let you have multiple start pages, opened in tabs.


HTML: HyperText Markup Language. A universal code for making websites controlling the way a website is displayed. It was invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the internet we have today.


HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol. The first for letters at the start of an internet address, as in which is a command to request to direct you to an internet address. HTTPS:// (note the additional 's' suggests you are connected to a secure site, such as your bank. Some browsers

may show a padlock icon as well.


HYPERLINK: Is a piece of text, underlined or in blue text that will send you to another website from with in the page you are viewing. As in


ICON: Not to be confused with Marilyn Monroe but a 'thumbnail' picture on your desktop that represents a link to open a particular progam such as MS Word or an image for instance. It usually has a text name underneath to aid direction when clicked upon.


IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol. Transferring emails using this option allows you to receive email on multiple devices, pc / smartphone etc but leaves a copy on the email server. POP3 protocol deletes the message from the server once read. Unless you have changed your settings from the default.


IM: Instant Messaging. Fast communication aside from email. Found in Live mail, Google or as separate apps like GoogleTalk and Pidgin.


INTERNET: The millions of computers, servers connected via telephone lines, cable or satellites. Without it, we would be in reading rooms at the local library.


INTRANET: A private internal internet, run purely within a company, not seen externally unless permissions are granted by an administrator.


IP ADDRESS: Internet Protocol: The numerical address that every computer on the internet has.


ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network: a special digital phone line that offered internet connections of up to 128kpbs when a normal home dial-up was 56kpbs. ISDN has been replaced by broadband technology. We thank the lord for that! Technology has really moved quickly forward in this area.


ISP: Internet Service Provider. A bone of contention with many. 2 words in the phrase may become difficult to come to terms with. 'service' and 'provider'. The two just does not compute.


iTunes: I am proud of the fact that I know nothing about this apparent rip off! Apples normally keeps the doctor away, or so we told (sold).


JAVA: A programming language widely used on the web to run small programs in your browser called applets.


JavaScript: A scripting language developed by Netscape and Sun Microsystems which is used to do things like make new browser windows 'pop up'.


JPEG / JPG: (Joint Photographics Expert Group) A filke extension denoting an image file.


JUNK MAIL: Unwanted and unsolicited email.


kBps: Kilobyte per second, a measure of data transfer through a modem


KEYBOARD SHORTCUT: A combination of the control (Ctrl) key and a letter; Ctrl + P will bring up the printer dialogue box, Ctrl + C will copy to the clipboard and Ctrl + V will paste, for example.


KILOBYTE: Represents 1,024 bytes.


LAN: Local Area Network a small private network of PCs, in an office for example.


LCD: Liquid Crystal Display, a thin electronic screen that has replaced the old CRT. Used in televisions and computers


LINK: Text, image or other item on website when clicked upon take you to another website.


LINUX: A mostly free open-source operating system. It used by web servers as an alternative to MS Windows. It is now becoming very popular for home use. Popular releases include Ubuntu, Mint, Zorin and Fedora.


MAC OS X: An operating for use on Apple computers.


MACRO: A script, when run, will record a chain of actions and repeat them for you.


MAILBOX: Another name for email inbox.


MALWARE: Malicious software designed to damage your computer and or corrupt data.


MEGABYTE: (MB). A measure of computer memory 1,000 kilobytes or 1,000,000 bytes.


MEMORY: The storage and thinking parts of your computer. More storage memory on your hard disk (ROM) means you can save more files and more thinking memory (RAM) means your computer can perform more complex tasks more quickly.


MEMORY STICK: Or flash drive. A USB storage device.


MODEM: A hardware device that is used to the internet via a telephone line.


MONITOR: The display screen, the device you look at.


MOUSE: A device use to point and click.


MP3: A file extension denoting an audio track.


MP4: A video file.


NETBOOK: A very small laptop. Lighter and easier to carry. They can perform as well as a laptop and run for much longer periods on battery.


NETIQUETTE: Etiquette on the internet. For example typing IN UPPER CASE is seen as shouting.


NETWORK: Computers connected and talking to each other either by cables or wirelessly.


OPEN-SOURCE: Software that is mostly free and the code is worked on by collaboration. Firefox the browser and Open Office are examples


OPERATING SYSTEM: The software on your computer which instructs different parts to work. DOS, Windows, Linux and OS X are examples.


PACKET: When files are sent along the internet, the data in them is divided into lots of small packets which are then reassembled in the correct order at the other end.


PAINT: A much underused program included in all flavours of windows. It is basic imaging software which allows you to view and edit images and safe as a particular file extension.


PC: Politically Correct? Nah, Personal Computer, the box you own but is shared with all and sundry.


PCI CARD: Part of your computer that allows you to plug in extra hardware, like sound cards and modems.


PDF: Portable document File. A file extension by Adobe. PDFs are formatted documents that have been fixed in place, and are difficult to edit. This format is commonly used for brochures and formal documents, so that they can be viewed and printed the way the creator intended and not be edited in any way unlike an unprotected Word document.


PHISHING: An attempt to get someone to give you their private data over the internet/email by posing as a reputable company, commonly a bank or financial institution. Also known as spoofing.


PIXELS: Picture Elements. Your screen contains thousands of coloured dots, each one dispays what you see on your monitor.


PNG: Portable Network Graphic. A type of image file which allows images to be transparent (so that other images can be seen beneath them).


POP: Email. Post office Protocol. A method used for transferring emails from one place on the internet to another. Another way of doing this is known as IMAP, and also SMTP.


PROGRAM: A software program is technology which allows you and your computer to perform certain actions - like creating a text document, viewing and editing an image, or watching a video.


PROTOCOL: Simply, a set of rules that tell computers how to transfer data between themselves.


PROXY SERVER: A server on the internet that acts as an intermediary or an unnatural connection to the internet. For example, it can be used to hide your real IP address, or to temporarily store information about websites you visit so that it can be loaded more quickly. However Proxy servers can be used for rather nasty reasons.


QWERTY: The first six letters on a standard English speaking keyboard. It just represents the layout.



Random Access Memory. Temporary space on your computer used for programs which are currently running. Nowadays RAM is the answer to enable 'quick and sleek' computing. However, there is a downside. 32bit Windows can only handle around 3.5gb. 64bit will address much more depending on your processor and motherboard.


RGB: Red Green Blue: a way of combining colours to produce a full spectrum of shades.


ROUTER: A piece of hardware which decides the next network point to which a packet of data on the internet should be sent on its journey towards its final destination.


SCAREWARE: Another scourge of the internet. Scareware includes the malicious content and a very safe site pay for a resolve. I can be received via email or from a web visit. It will purport to come from Microsoft, your bank or your ISP (internet service provider). The scare will offer a 'free' scan. Enabling the free scan activates the program that now will attempt repairs, by Debit or Credit Card. Caveat emptor here. Your bank, Microsoft and your ISP will never ask for login details which ask for passwords.


SCREENSAVER: A program that plays when you're not using your computer screen, so that the screen is obscured from view. Traditionally used to save old-fashioned, obsolete monitors from damage caused by using too much light ('screen burn'), these are now used mostly for security and also for fun. New screens don't require this useless device. Just alter your power settings!


SEARCH ENGINE: An interesting area. We rely in general to google. In fact the term 'to google' has become the norm. What are other options? Bing, mycroft, blekko and the really bloody nasty one Ask. Phew, don't go down that road, especially when you are offered to set new page. It is very poor stuff.


SECURITY PATCH: All programs will release a security patch now and then to update a cock up in their software. Major software manufactures often release new updates to resolve security issues, like Microsoft updates, Adobe, etc. My bone of contention here is manifold with MS and all the others. Sick and tired of repairing something we paid for?


SEO: Search engine optimisation.Things people who run websites with certain text, do so that their sites are picked up by search engines and displayed near the top of search results. This can include making sure there are lots of keywords and links in every page. It took meta tagging out!


SERVER: A very simple, large computer used simply for doing one or two set tasks, such as storing large amounts of information and making it available to the internet. Simple here means that the Operating System may be 'cut down' to perform simple tasks. Solitaire and Freecell may not be included for instance.


SHAREWARE: In principle, free software which people can download and use for 'free' for a set period of time so they can try out some or all of the features before they decide whether or not they wish to pay for it. Caveat emptor; a free download does not mean that the software is free! Some software will work in such a way as to restrict the usage almost forcing you to get the plastic out to get the 'special features' of that said app. The problem arises when you find the program does not do what it is supposed to do! Refund? Forget it. The only free trials I see is where the guilty party are very quickly despatched into the ether. However, there are times 'shareware' can help. An up and coming app/program, the guy needs some £?$€€ to fund a project. It may then become available to the community either as a freebie or a paid app.


SILVERLIGHT: A plug-in by Microsoft which is similar to Adobe Flash and which allows you to view multimedia files on the internet.


SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol: a method used for transferring emails from one place on the internet to another. Another way of doing this is known as IMAP, and also POP. POP3 is normally seen as the way to receive email but we now use multiple devices, work and smartphones. When setting up IMAP you can recieve and save from your original account


SNAILMAIL: The old way of sending mail, post the letter in the box. Postman collects,


SOFTWARE: Software is code which is run by your computer, which tells the computer what to do. This can be anything from photo-editing programs to browsers which allow your computer to view information over the internet.


SOURCE CODE: That which is the content that makes a software work. In most cases like MS Windows, the code that makes it work is not 'available' to the community. However, with some software the cod is in the public domain and programmers will work freely in the background to improve the product.


SPAM: Ah well, you are gonna get it! Between 2 slices of mouldy bread. Spam is the rubbish found in your inbox and your post / letterbox. Crap in the first order, unsolicited, unwanted malicious advertising. Unless you really need penis extension, Viagra -5, or breast implant technology think not to click, drop in the spam box or junk mail. It then should be filtered.


SPOOFING: An attempt to get someone to give you their private data over the internet/email by posing as a reputable company, commonly a bank or financial institution. Also known as phishing. You would normally get this in an email. Banks do NOT ask for details ever! Never input you personal details via an email request.


SPYWARE: A type of vigorous virus software which hides on your computer and gathers your personal data, login and or bank details which could be sent back to a hacker or spammer. A very serious problem.


SSID: A code up to 32 characters long which identifies a network.


TAB: I have one in my local and have to pay it. next week. The tab ( tabulate ) key allows you to get to the next tab marker or the key can be used to quickly get to the next input box in a web browser for instance.


TCP/IP: it would be easier to read here


TIFF: Tagged Image File Format. The TIFF format is / was widely supported by image-manipulation applications especially in the printing industry but now not much used. I once had a 'TIFF' with my ex wife. There is no graphice content, just a piece of paper confirming divorce decree absolute.


TOOLBAR: The first place you will find a toolbar is usually in the header of the browser you use. Sometimes quite useful for shortcuts to a 'tool' you may require. Bookmarks, Fav sites, Facebook or 'quick' access to your YahooMail for example. Toolbars can increase in boredom when downloading certain addons severely stealing real estate on your screen. It is a good idea to unlock them or delete the more useless ones. Some of the worst include, Incredimail and Babylon. They are 'normally' bundled with a suspect download, take over your browser and your homepage. The resulting new 'search engine' can take you further than Bermuda on a good day! ALWAYS!! check your download options and ensure you uncheck the options before complete installation of the software.


TORRENT: A very small file containing information about where BitTorrent can find all the different parts of the file you want to download. Torrents can be used for many reasons, sometimes illegal. The download files are 'seeded' from various sources and you are expected in the same way to share the content to speed the download.


TRAFFIC: The actual usage over the internet, talking the internet or a website with commands via a search engine, this is 'traffic', you ask, they respond. There are many fingerposts and roundabouts to trammel.


TROJAN: A program which appears harmless but is carrying inside viruses, worms or even another program that will damage your computer. A trojan is usually an attachment to an email and is often carrying a program which allows someone to hack into your computer. It is really unfair on the ancient Greeks to apply this term to the modern internet.


TROLL: A person who delights in flaming, to provoke argument especially on forums. Comment fields and blogs are the favourites. They are a bloody pain. Unfortunately hanging these despicable people is not allowed in the UK.


UNIX: Unix is a multitasking, multiuser operating system. Developed as an assembly language. It is a basis for new operating systems generally called Linux, much of the code is used in building new versions of free base operating systems that have a windows architecture but do not use the Microsoft Windows code.


UNZIP: This refers to unzipping or unpacking a compressed file. A useful device to allow you minimise the content of a file using compression. Sometimes, when caught short, could bring you in front of the bench.


URL: Means uniform resource locator. Well, now you know! It is a string of information used by your browser that takes you to a particular 'address', the website. A URL is or for instance. A URL is made up with a combination of separated numbers. Tgigeeks as rendered by the web = and the BBC = If you want to experiment and find the URL as a number, open up the command prompt and type ping or any other site. You will see the numeric address.


USB: Universal Serial Bus. A now industry standard that accepts plug & play to connect your external stuff to the PC. In most cases, software is not required (unless you are installing a printer for instance). Nowadays a USB device is detected and recognised and should work without other intervention. You may find some problems in XP and Vista with recognition. USB 3 is now the up and coming norm, we have moved on from 1.1 and 2.0.

USB 3 offers transfer speeds of 5 Gbit/s and a usable data rate of up to 4 Gbit/s.


WAP: A protocol that does not now exist, 'wireless application protocol' used on the OLD mobile phone network. It implied that an internet connection could be made from certain early mobile phones sold with this facilty. Watching paint dry or grass growing could not be seen as a stream.


WAV: A wave file, music. Was an industry standard for quite a time, the standard now is Mp3.


WI-FI: Wireless fidelity. That which we use to connnect to either a network or the internet. It works without wires. Hence wireless. NAS boxes and nearly all new printers can use wireless.


WINDOWS: The medium that most of us use as in Microsoft Windows. However many other operating systems use a windows interface. MS windows was not the first. Unix had an interface that allowed a point and click interface and so did Apple with the Mac.


WIRELESS: As in WI-Fi above, the way we talk to the internet by a card that is not hardwired by ethernet. Wireless is also used on modern smart phones, Tablets and ereaders.


WORM: Them thingy things that get into your machine and attach to other programs.


WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. What this implies is that what you see in your text editor, Word for instance, is what you see as an A4 page. What you see is either printed or sent as seen on screen. It is also what the recipient sees, a facsimile.