Not quite clear on all that computer terminology?
Here's a glossary of information to help you become more techno-savvy.
- (Advanced Digital Network) -- Usually refers to a 56Kbps leased-line.
- Anonymous FTP
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.
A tool (software) for finding files stored on anonymous FTP sites.
You need to know the exact file name or a substring of it.
(Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) -- The precursor to the Internet.
Developed in the late 60s and early 70s by the US Department of
Defense as an experiment in wide-area-networking that would survive a nuclear
(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.
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A high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway within
a network. The term is relative as a backbone in a small network will
likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network.
How much stuff you can send through a connection. 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.
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).
(Bulletin Board System) -- A computerized meeting and announcement system
that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download files, and
make announcements without the people being connected to the computer at the
same time. There are many thousands (millions?) of BBSs around the world,
most are very small, running on a single IBM clone PC with 1 or 2 phone lines.
Some are very large and the line between a BBS and a system like CompuServe
gets crossed at some point, but it is not clearly drawn.
(BINary HEXadecimal) -- A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII)
into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can only handle
(Binary DigIT) -- A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either
a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerized data. Bandwidth is
usually measured in bits-per-second.
(Because Its Time NETwork (or Because Its There NETwork)) -- A
network of educational sites separate from the Internet, but e-mail
is freely exchanged between BITNET and the Internet. Listservs®,
the most popular form of e-mail discussion groups, originated on BITNET. BITNET
machines are usually mainframes running the VMS operating system, and the
network is probably the only international network that is shrinking.
(Bits-Per-Second) -- A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place
to another. A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second.
A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of
(By The Way) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written in an online forum.
A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits
in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made.
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- Certificate Authority
An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections.
(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
The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs
The bin part of cgi-bin is a shorthand version of
binary, because once upon a time, most programs were refered 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.
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.
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 thier own
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 Browsers 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
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.
Cyberpunk was originally a cultural sub-genre of science fiction taking place
in a not-so-distant, dystopian, over-industrialized society. The term grew
out of the work of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and has evolved into
a cultural label encompassing many different kinds of human, machine, and
punk attitudes. It includes clothing and lifestyle choices as well.
Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer the
word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information
resources available through computer networks.
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The digital version of literati, it is a reference to a vague cloud of people
seen to be knowledgeable, hip, or otherwise in-the-know in regards to the
(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 subscribers 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
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.
- Domain Name
The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have
2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific,
and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more
than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. For
example, the following domain names can all refer to the same machine, but
each domain name can refer to no more than one machine:
Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same
thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names (matisse.net
in the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but
not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group
or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish
a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle
the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.
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(Electronic Mail) -- Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another
via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses
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
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(Frequently Asked Questions) -- FAQs are documents that list and answer the
most common questions on a particular subject. There are hundreds of FAQs
on subjects as diverse as Pet Grooming and Cryptography. FAQs are usually
written by people who have tired of answering the same question over and over.
(Fiber Distributed Data Interface) -- A standard for transmitting data on
optical fiber cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-second (10 times
as fast as Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3).
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.
- Fire Wall
A combination of hardware and software that separates a LAN into two
or more parts for security purposes.
Originally, flame meant to carry forth in a passionate manner in the spirit
of honorable debate. Flames most often involved the use of flowery language
and flaming well was an art form. More recently flame has come to refer to
any kind of derogatory comment no matter how witless or crude.
- Flame War
When an online discussion degenerates into a series of personal attacks against
the debators, rather than discussion of their positions. A heated exchange.
(File Transfer Protocol) -- A very common method of moving files between two
Internet sites. 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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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.
(Graphic Interchange Format) -- A common format for image files, especially
suitable for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF format files
of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in
JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well
1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.
A widely successful method of making menus of material available over the
Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server style program, which
requires that the user have a Gopher Client program. Although Gopher
spread rapidly across the globe in only a couple of years, it has been largely
supplanted by Hypertext, also known as WWW (World Wide Web). There
are still thousands of Gopher Servers on the Internet and we can expect
they will remain for a while.
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As used in reference to the World Wide Web, hit means a single
request from a web browser for a single item from a web server;
thus in order for a web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics,
4 hits would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page,
and one for each of the 3 graphics.
hits are often used as a very rough measure of load on a server,
e.g. Our server has been getting 300,000 hits per month. Because
each hit can represent anything from a request for a tiny document
(or even a request for a missing document) all the way to a request that requires
some significant extra processing (such as a complex search request), the
actual load on a machine from 1 hit is almost impossible to define.
- Home Page (or Homepage)
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-sos new Home
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.
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.
(HyperText Markup Language) -- The coding language used to create Hypertext
documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned
typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate
how it should appear, additionally, in HTML you can specify that a block of
text, or a word, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are
meant to be viewed using a World Wide Web Client Program, such as Netscape
(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).
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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(In My Humble Opinion) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written in an
online forum, IMHO indicates that the writer is aware that they are expressing
a debatable view, probably on a subject already under discussion. One of may
such shorthands in common use online, especially in discussion forums.
(Upper case I) The vast collection of inter-connected networks that
all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the
late 60s and early 70s. The Internet now (July 1995) connects
roughly 60,000 independent networks into a vast global internet.
(Lower case i) Any time you connect 2 or more networks together,
you have an internet - as in inter-national or inter-state.
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 Number
(Internet Protocol Number) -- Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number
consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g.
Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine
does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines
also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.
(Internet Relay Chat) -- Basically a huge multi-user live chat facility. There
are a number of major IRC servers around the world which are linked
to each other. Anyone can create a channel and anything that anyone types
in a given channel is seen by all others in the channel. Private channels
can (and are) created for multi-person conference calls.
(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
(Internet Service Provider) -- An institution that provides access to the
Internet in some form, usually for money.
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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 Development Kit) -- A software development package from Sun Microsystems
that implements the basic set of tools needed to write, test and debug Java
applications and applets
(Joint Photographic Experts Group) -- JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a
format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format
for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art.
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A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (2^10) bytes.
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(Local Area Network) -- A computer network limited to the immediate area,
usually the same building or floor of a building.
- 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.
The most common kind of maillist, "Listserv" is a registered trademark
of L-Soft international, Inc. Listservs originated on BITNET but they
are now common on the Internet.
Noun or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a computer system.
Not a secret (contrast with Password).
Verb: The act of entering into a computer system, e.g. Login to the WELL
and then go to the GBN conference.
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(or Mailing List) A (usually automated) system that allows people to
send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent
to all of the other subscribers to the maillist. In this way, people who have
many different kinds of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.
A million bytes. Actually, technically, 1024 kilobytes.
(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.
Generally speaking, to mirror is to maintain an exact copy of
something. Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers
to mirror sites which are web sites, or FTP sites
that maintain exact copies of material originated at another location, usually
in order to provide more widespread access to the resource.
Another common use of the term mirror refers to an arrangement
where information is written to more than one hard disk simultaneously, so
that if one disk fails, the computer keeps on working without losing anything.
(MOdulator, DEModulator) -- A device that you connect to your computer and
to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers through
the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does
(Mud, Object Oriented) -- One of several kinds of multi-user role-playing
environments, so far only text-based.
The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh, Windows,
and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic really started the popularity
of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic has been licensed by several companies
and there are several other pieces of software as good or better than Mosaic,
most notably, Netscape.
(Multi-User Dungeon or Dimension) -- A (usually text-based) multi-user simulation
environment. Some are purely for fun and flirting, others are used for serious
software development, or education purposes and all that lies in between.
A significant feature of most MUDs is that users can create things that stay
after they leave and which other users can interact with in their absence,
thus allowing a world to be built gradually and collectively.
(Multi-User Simulated Environment) -- One kind of MUD - usually with little
or no violence.
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The etiquette on the Internet.
Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet,
or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic responsibility
A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The Netscape (tm) browser
was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National
Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Netscape has grown in features
rapidly and is widely recognized as the best and most popular web browser.
Netscape corporation also produces web server software.
Netscape provided major improvements in speed and interface over other browsers,
and has also engendered debate by creating new elements for the HTML
language used by Web pages -- but the Netscape extensions to HTML are not
universally supported. The main author of Netscape, Mark Andreessen, was hired
away from the NCSA by Jim Clark, and they founded a company called Mosaic
Communications and soon changed the name to Netscape Communications Corporation.
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
The name for discussion groups on USENET.
(Networked Information Center) -- Generally, any office that handles information
for a network. The most famous of these on the Internet is the InterNIC, which
is where new domain names are registered.
Another definition: NIC also refers to Network Interface Card which plugs
into a computer and adapts the network interface to the appropriate standard.
ISA, PCI, and PCMCIA cards are all examples of NICs.
(Network News Transport Protocol) -- The protocol used by client and
server software to carry USENET postings back and forth over
a TCP/IP network. If you are using any of the more common software
such as Netscape, Nuntius, Internet Explorer, etc. to participate in
newsgroups then you are benefiting from an NNTP connection.
Any single computer connected to a network.
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- Packet Switching
The method used to move data around on the Internet. In packet switching,
all the data coming out of a machine is broken up into chunks, each chunk
has the address of where it came from and where it is going. This enables
chunks of data from many different sources to co-mingle on the same lines,
and be sorted and directed to different routes by special machines along the
way. This way many people can use the same lines at the same time.
A code used to gain access to a locked system. Good passwords contain letters
and non-letters and are not simple combinations such as virtue7. A
good password might be:
A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of
software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape® browser
and web server. Adobe Photoshop® also uses plug-ins.
The idea behind plug-ins is that a small piece of software is loaded
into memory by the larger program, adding a new feature, and that users need
only install the few plug-ins that they need, out of a much larger pool of
possibilities. Plug-ins are usually created by people other than the publishers
of the software the plug-in works with.
(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.
3 meanings. First and most generally, a place where information goes into
or out of a computer, or both. E.g. the serial port on a personal computer
is where a modem would be connected.
On the Internet port often refers to a number that is part of a URL,
appearing after a colon (:) right after the domain name. Every service
on an Internet server listens on a particular port number on that server.
Most services have standard port numbers, e.g. Web servers normally listen
on port 80. Services can also listen on non-standard ports, in which case
the port number must be specified in a URL when accessing the server, so you
might see a URL of the form:
shows a gopher server running on a non-standard port (the standard gopher
port is 70).
Finally, port also refers to translating a piece of software to bring it from
one type of computer system to another, e.g. to translate a Windows program
so that is will run on a Macintosh.
Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is or is intended
to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a "Portal site"
has a catalog of web sites, a search engine, or both. A Portal site may also
offer email and other service to entice people to use that site as their main
"point of entry" (hence "portal") to the Web.
A single message entered into a network communications system.
i.e. A single message posted to a newsgroup or message board.
(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.
(Public Switched Telephone Network) -- The regular old-fashioned telephone
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(Request For Comments) -- The name of the result and the process for creating
a standard on the Internet. New standards are proposed and published
on line, as a Request For Comments. The Internet Engineering Task Force is
a consensus-building body that facilitates discussion, and eventually a new
standard is established, but the reference number/name for the standard retains
the acronym RFC, e.g. the official standard for e-mail is RFC 822.
A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the connection
between 2 or more networks. Routers spend all their time looking at
the destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding
which route to send them on.
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- Security Certificate
A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL
protocol to establish a secure connection.
Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs to, who it
was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique identification, valid
dates, and an encrypted fingerprint that can be used to verify
the contents of the certificate.
In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have a valid
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, thats
why e-mail isnt 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.
Serial Line Internet Protocol) -- A standard for using a regular telephone
line (a serial line) and a modem to connect a computer as a real Internet
site. SLIP is gradually being replaced by PPP.
(Switched Multimegabit Data Service) -- A new standard for very high-speed
(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.
(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 PDUs
- 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.
- 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 didnt
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 someones 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.)
i.e.. John spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message to each.
(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.
(Secure Sockets Layer) -- A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to
enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet.
SSL used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers
and web servers. URLs that begin with https
indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important things:
Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity.
In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate,
which each sides software sends to the other. Each side then encrypts
what it sends using information from both its own and the other sides
Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can de-crypt it, and
that the other side can be sure the data came from the place it claims to
have come from, and that the message has not been tampered with.
(System Operator) -- Anyone responsible for the physical operations of a computer
system or network resource. A System Administrator decides how often backups
and maintenance should be performed and the System Operator performs those
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A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second.
At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in
less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen, full-motion
video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second. T-1 is the
fastest speed commonly used to connect networks to the Internet.
A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second.
This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion video.
(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.
The command and program used to login from one Internet site
to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the login: prompt of another
A device that allows you to send commands to a computer somewhere else. At
a minimum, this usually means a keyboard and a display screen and some simple
circuitry. Usually you will use terminal software in a personal computer -
the software pretends to be (emulates) a physical terminal and allows you
to type commands to a computer somewhere else.
- Terminal Server
A special purpose computer that has places to plug in many modems on
one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine on the other
side. Thus the terminal server does the work of answering the calls and passes
the connections on to the appropriate node. Most terminal servers can
provide PPP or SLIP services if connected to the Internet.
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(User Datagram Protocol) -- One of the protocols for data transfer that is
part of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. UDP is a stateless
protocol in that UDP makes no provision for acknowledgement of packets received.
A computer operating system (the basic software running on a computer, underneath
things like word processors and spreadsheets). UNIX is designed to be used
by many people at the same time (it is multi-user) and has TCP/IP built-in.
It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.
(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
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 Lynx.
A world-wide system of discussion groups, with comments passed among hundreds
of thousands of machines. Not all USENET machines are on the Internet,
maybe half. USENET is completely decentralized, with over 10,000 discussion
areas, called newsgroups.
(Unix to Unix Encoding) -- A method for converting files from Binary
to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across the Internet via e-mail.
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(Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) -- Developed
at the University of Nevada, Veronica is a constantly updated database of
the names of almost every menu item on thousands of gopher servers.
The Veronica database can be searched from most major gopher menus.
(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"
A typical example would be a company network where there are two offices
in different cities. Using the Internet the two offices mereg their networks
into one network, but encrypt traffic that uses the Internet link.
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(Wide Area Information Servers) -- A commercial software package that allows
the indexing of huge quantities of information, and then making those indices
searchable across networks such as the Internet. A prominent
feature of WAIS is that the search results are ranked (scored) according to
how relevant the hits are, and that subsequent searches can find more stuff
like that last batch and thus refine the search process.
(Wide Area Network) -- Any internet or network that covers an
area larger than a single building or campus.
(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 together.
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Country Domain Names
Currently, there are over 200 recognized Country Domain names.
Two-letter abbreviations that represent the country names are used
in addresses seen on the Internet.
.ae United Arab Emirates
.ag Antigua and Barbuda
.bn Brunei Darussalam
.ci Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
.cr Costa Rica
.cz Czech Republic
.do Dominican Republic
.fo Faroe Islands
.gb Great Britain
.hk Hong Kong
.kr Korea (South)
.lc Saint Lucia
.lk Sri Lanka
.nc New Caledonia (French)
.nz New Zealand
.pf Polynesia (French)
.pg Papua New Guinea
.ru Russian Federation
.sa Saudi Arabia
.sk Slovak Republic
.su USSR (former)
.sv El Salvador
.tt Trinidad and Tobago
.uk United Kingdom
.us United States
.vi Virgin Islands (USA)
.za South Africa
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