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AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port):
  • An AGP port is similar to a PCI port but it transfers data independently making the speed difference between the two immense.
  • The PCI slot runs at 33mhz bus while the AGP slot runs at a minimum of 66mhz. For example if your AGP card states that it is 2x this means that it will run at 66mhz x 2 or 133mhz.
  • It is an expansion slot on your motherboard used for a graphics card.
Alpha Testing:
  • The first stages of testing prerelease software or hardware normally done by the members of the development team.
  • This stage is used to get the majority of bugs worked out.
Alt (alternate):
  • When used in combination with other keys, the "Alt" key on the keyboard actually changes the function of another key. For example, when the "Ctrl" (control), "Alt", and "Delete" keys are pressed at the same time it will stop all applications running in Windows and show you, what applications are running and if they are running correctly. Please note: using the ctrl+alt+delete key combination can also reset your computer!
  • Alt is also a tag in Web authoring code that tells the browser when and what text to use if errors occur on a certain graphics that are suppose to be displayed on the site.
  • AMI BIOS is one of the main brands of BIOS chips that motherboard manufacturers use.
Award BIOS:
  • Award BIOS is another one of the main brands of BIOS chips that motherboard manufacturers use.
  • Refers to the way all of the various motherboard components are constructed.
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  • The BIOS is the chip on the motherboard used to set various functions for the motherboard. The BIOS chip can be replaced if the data within either becomes corrupt or erased. You can usually purchase a new BIOS chip either from the chip manufacturer of through the motherboard manufacturer. Most BIOS's such as AMI or Award can be flashed (upgraded) for new settings. The BIOS is the main brains behind the motherboard before Windows etc...start.
  • Bitmaps are animation, static graphics, and fonts created as a series of individual points or pixels that can be edited one at a time. These bitmaps need a program to edit them such as Adobe, Printshop, or Microsoft Paint.
  • The bus is the speed that the motherboard communicates with the CPU. The speed of the processor and the speed of the AGP graphics card determine it, if one is installed. It connects everything on the motherboard together at a certain speed. Remember to take into consideration what BUS speed your processor, memory, and graphics card runs at when purchasing a new system.
  • The amount of information that can be transmitted through a give channel, such as cables, radio channels, etc...
  • Generally used to describe data transfer rates on the internet.
  • The base-2 number system used by computers.
  • Uses "1"s and "0"s.
  • Original computers used a set of physical on(1) and off(0) switches.
Bit (Binary Digit):
  • The smallest unit of data, represented with either an on or off value.
Bits Per Second (BPS):
  • The most common measurement of transfer rate using a modem. It shows how many bits of data can be transferred each second using a modem.
  • The process of the computer loading the operating system for use.
  • A software error that may cause incorrect processing or a system failure.
  • This term was coined because actual insects would get into the switches causing an incorrect binary code to be generated.
Beta Testing:
  • The second stage of testing software or hardware usually done by a select few of end users before the product is released.
  • A collection of 8 bits, The byte usually represents one character's worth of information.
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  • A dedicated bank of memory, usually on the CPU or the motherboard, used to improve the computer's performance. It acts as a temporary storage area used to swap information for quick use. The greater the cache the faster the computer.
CD-R Drive:
  • A compact disk drive that is capable of writing to a blank CD to make a CD ROM, audio CD, etc...
CD-RW Drive:
  • A compact disk drive that is capable of writing and rewriting to make a CD ROM, audio CD, etc...
CD-ROM Drive:
  • A compact disk drive that is capable of reading various CD types. A multi-read CD-ROM is capable of reading various CD types including the CD-R and CD-RW that have information on them.
  • A component of the CPU that produces pulses to synchronize computer operations.
  • A first high-level computer language used in business applications.
  • The matching of software and hardware so to ensure that they will work together properly. Compatibility can be with video cards, CPU's, motherboards, modems, sound cards, etc... Software also carries requirements for it to run properly.
CPU (Central Processing Unit):
  • The part of the computer that processes all of the information by using program instructions, it performs all of the arithmetic calculations, and it makes basic decisions using information values.
  • Also called the Processor
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  • Information in a form a computer can read.
  • A collection of information stored in an organized form.
DIP (Dual Inline Package) switch:
  • A little switch, usually consisting of little tabs that move from on to off, used for various functions on the motherboard, disk drives, video cards, etc...
DIMM memory:
  • RAM Memory that is 168 pin that can run at 66mhz, 100mhz and 133mhz bus speed.
  • Unlike SIMM Memory, DIMMs can be mixed (i.e., one 64 megabyte chip and one 128 megabyte chip).
  • A major graphics language used with Direct X for enhanced graphics.
Direct X:
  • Graphics language created by Microsoft to enhance graphics.
Disk Drive:
  • A storage device, usually EIDE or SCSI, that reads and writes to a magnetic disk.
  • Stands for Disk Operating System.
  • Character based operating system.
  • Requires typing commands rather than the more intuitive "point-and-click" method introduced by the GUI.
DVD (Digital Video Disk):
  • A high-capacity optical disk that can hold between 4.7-17GB of information by utilizing both sides of the disk. It can hold a full-length movie, high graphics game, etc...
  • Looks similar to a CD, but cannot be read in a CD drive.
  • A CD ROM drive that can read the DVD disks using new laser technology.
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EIDE (Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics):
  • A motherboard controller that connects hard drives CD ROM's, etc...
  • The process of coding data to ensure that unauthorized users cannot use it.
  • A network protocol that can support transmitting data using twisted-pair, coaxial and fiber optics cables.
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FAT (File Allocation Tables):
  • A file system used by Windows and DOS that keeps track of the location of data on a disk.
FAT 16:
  • A file system used by Windows 95 and DOS that can partition a hard drive up to 2 gigabytes (GB) and read up to 16 kilobytes (kb) at a time.
FAT 32:
  • A file system used by Windows 95 OSR/2, Windows 98, and DOS that can partition a hard drive up to 8 gigabytes and read up to 32 kilobytes at a time.
  • A gateway used to ensure security when connecting through a network or Internet. It uses certain security gateways that information must pass through in order to be received or sent.
FTP (File transfer Protocol):
  • A protocol used to transfer files across the Internet or Intranet using two computers.
  • Generally faster than transferring using web pages.
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GB (Gigabyte):
  • Approximately one billion bytes, or one thousand megabytes.
  • Current hard drive storage space is measured in gigabytes.
GUI (Graphical User Interface):
  • An interface based on graphics and icons rather than text. Windows is an example of GUI interface while DOS is an example of an interface based on characters.
  • GUIs use the popular "Point-and-Click" mouse-driven interface.
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HTML (HyperText Markup Language):
  • A language that was specifically developed for use on the Internet making a logical structure in hypermedia formats.
  • All web pages are created using HTML.
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Integrated Circuit:
  • A chip containing up to millions of transistors.
  • A worldwide group of interconnected networks linking information on everything from arts to zoology.
ISP (Internet Service Provider):
  • A company that provides users access to the Internet.
  • A network of computers set up like the Internet but on a smaller level.
  • These networks are usually contained to certain organizations or locations (i.e., Colleges, Businesses)
IP address:
  • A numerical individual address given to every computer that uses the Internet.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network):
  • A type of network used to link telephones, computers, fax machines, etc... to the same digital system.
  • Uses a two channel line to provide data transfer rates up to 128 kilobytes per second.
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  • Another type of programming language that can be integrated into HTML.
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K (KB, Kilobyte):
  • Approximately 1000 bytes.
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LAN (Local Area Network):
  • A private network that is used within the same building (or group of buildings) usually using cables to connect the computers together.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display):
  • Flat screen displays usually found on laptops, calculators, and now even for desktop computers.
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  • Introduced in 1997 by Intel, MMX, off the record, stands for MultiMedia eXtensions because 57 instructions were to their CPU's to enhance multimedia applications.
  • A custom-built script built to automate repetitive commands.
MB (Megabyte):
  • Approximately one million bytes or one thousand kilobytes.
MHz (Megahertz):
  • Measures the computer's clock speed. It rates at one million cycles per second.
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface):
  • An interface using electronic instruments and computers to communicate with each other.
  • Allows composition and editing of songs without paper
Memory-Mapped I/O:
  • An address assigned to devices outside the CPU used to communicate with the computer.
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  • An informal name given to the Internet.
NIC (Network Interface Card)
  • An expansion card used to connect personal computers to a larger network.
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  • Connected to a greater network or Internet.
Open GL:
  • Another high-end graphics language that is the competition for Direct3D.
  • Features better performance, and better hardware compatibility than Direct3D.
OS (Operating System):
  • A low-level program that allows the user to interact with the system hardware.
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Parallel Port:
  • A plug on the computer used to connect peripherals to the computer such as printers or scanners. A parallel port supports multiple bits to pass through at the same time.
PC 100 Memory:
  • DIMM memory that is 168 pins and can run at bus speeds of 100mhz.
  • A device connected to the computer.
  • A socket on the outside of the computer used to connect peripherals to the computer.
  • Another name for the CPU.
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  • A request for information from a database usually using a modem or network card.
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RAM (Random Access Memory):
  • A type of memory that is used by the CPU for various instructions by temporarily storing program instructions and data for use.
  • Examples of RAM are SIMMs and DIMMs.
  • Using the right mouse button to select an icon or other resource. Very valuable in Windows!
ROM (Read Only Memory):
  • A type of memory that serves as reference for the CPU as it runs programs.
  • This type of memory cannot be changed.
  • An example of ROM is a CD-ROM.
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SCSI (Small Computer System Interface):
  • A high-speed parallel controller that acts like an EIDE but runs faster than most EIDE devices.
  • It is used to connect devices such as hard drives, CD ROOMS, and other storage devices.
  • 168 pin memory module.
  • Sold in 66mhz, 100mhz and 133mhz bus speeds.
Serial Port:
  • A plug on the outside of the computer used to connect peripherals to the computer.
  • The serial port can only send 1 bit of information at a time.
  • The main computer in a network environment.
  • This computer usually acts as the main storage facility for the network and it acts as a central connector for the rest of the computers.
  • A 72 pin type of RAM memory.
  • Most SIMM modules run at 60 nanoseconds and must be installed in like pairs.
System I/O bus:
  • The main input/output bus that connects the CPU with all the other devices on the system such as graphics cards, hard drives, RAM, CD ROM, etc...
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TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol):
  • The standard protocol that the Internet uses to connect all different users from all different types of systems.
Trojan horse:
  • A program, usually downloaded from the Internet, that seems to perform normally functions while infecting the computer with some type of destructive application.
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  • An operating system widely used on mainframes and workstations.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator):
  • The address of a Web Page or IP address that the user will type in to get to that certain page.
USB (Universal Serial Bus):
  • The new type of port on the outside on the computer that has a higher transfer rate than the parallel port.
  • Unlike the serial port, the USB port can connect device to device (up to 127!) without loss of data.
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  • A program that spreads through the computer, making copies of itself, creating destructive results.
  • It can also be passed from computer to computer through disks.
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WAN (Wide Area Network):
  • Network that connects over a wide area usually using several LANs to connects together.
WWW (World Wide Web):
  • Part of the Internet that is easily accessible using a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape.
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