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Jargon Buster

56K Speed at which many modems will run. 56K is short for 56Kbps and is the current top-speed modem available. The taster the speed, the quicker you will be able to download web pages, for example.

Address Also known as URL.Websites need an address so that your browser knows how to locate them among the millions of other sites on the internet.So it's important to type them out exactly as they're written.

ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A text code that is used to identify characters in text and HTML documents.

Attachment A file which is transferred together with an email message. For example, you might have a spreadsheet file that you wish to include with your email message to someone.

Autorun The Windows option that starts running the program on a CD-ROM as soon as it is inserted into the CD-ROM drive. This can be turned off so programs don't popup every time a disc is changed.

AGP Accelerated Graphics Port.Port on your PC which allows high-speed graphics,ideal for game playing.

Bandwidth The amount of traffic that your website generates, measured in Megabytes,over a given period.

Backup A second sate copy ot a tile or data. Always keep a backup of important work.

Binary A two state system which uses 1 and 0 as symbols.The basis of computer logic,arithmetic and coding of symbols.A binary digit is called a "bit".

Bitmap (.bmp) A representation, made ot rows and columns ot dots, of an image in the computers memory. The value of each dot - whether it is filled in or not - is stored in one or more bits of data.

Bookmark Word or picture 'marked' so you can jump to it by name from within a  bookmark list.Used by browsers to mark frequently visited websites..

Browser The program that lets you view web pages on the internet. The two most popular are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

CD-ROM Similar to an audio CD disc but containing computer data. Almost all software programs now come on CD-ROM, including Windows 95/98 itself.

Chat Room A bit like the premium rate chat lines you see advertised on late night TV,although most won't cost you and arm and a leg to join in. On the internet, chat rooms enable groups of people to type messages to each other in real-time.

Checkbox A small square box which, when clicked on, displays a cross or tick to show that an option has been selected.

Control Panel This is where many of Windows' settings can be viewed. Here you will find icons for most functions including printers, modems, and sound.

Cursor A flashing shape on the screen that shows you where the next character you type in will appear.When entering text,the cursor is normally a flashing vertical bar.

CRT Cathode Ray Tube. The glass tube used to  produce the picture in a normal computerscreens and television sets.

Database Any collection of information,usually used to refer to information stored on a computer.

Defrag A utility that reorganises (defragments) files and parts of files on your hard disk - puts fragmented files back together.

Desktop In Windows 96/98, the desktop defines what you see on your screen when Windows first starts up.

Dialogue box Shown in Windows, normally used to display a message, which could be a warning, from the program to the user. At the bottom of the dialog box are buttons: OK and Cancel are the two standard buttons.

Download To obtain a file from a website, usually by clicking a word or icon on the web page.

Downloaded A file obtained from a website,usually by clicking a word or icon on the webpage.

DPI Dots per inch. A measure of th equality of an image.The bigger the number, the higher the quality.

DTP Desktop Publishing. A type of software that allows you to arrange text and illustrations on a page.Often used to lay out magazines.

Dot matrix These old- style printers have tiny pins hammering ribbon ink onto paper, in similar fashion to an old typewriter.

Docking station A cradle-like device that connects the camera or PDA to the PC for the transfer of digital images or files.

Driver Software that sits between Windows and a peripheral and translates the instructions from Windows into a form that the peripheral can understand.

DVD(ROM) Digital Versatile Disc.This new medium can store huge amounts of data on one disc that looks lust like a CD, including full length movies, with excellent quality sound and pictures.

E-commerce The word given to selling goods and services over the internet.

Encryption Documents where the data is turned into a code.A key to this code is required to make the data readable again.

Expansion card Can be fitted in a PC to increase functionality. Examples include modems, graphics and soundcards.

Extension The letters after the dot in a file's name. Examples include .doc (for a word document), xls (Excel) and .txt (Notepad). This is how Windows knows which application to use to open a particular file.

Favourites The Favorites folder is used by Internet Explorer to mark frequently visited websites. Also known as a bookmark.

Fonts A collection of characters with predefined styles and sizes - such as Courier 9pt or Times New Roman 11pt

Format Blank disks have to be formatted before they can be used for the first ime. Different types of  computers read from and write to disks in different ways, so you have to ensure that the disk has been prepared for your particular computer.

Firewire A super-fast data link between your PC and devices such as digital camcorders.

Floppy disk Small removable disk for transferring files from PC to PC.

Graphics Card The part of a PC that controls the screens image.Most PCs are fitted with 2D cards as standard - which is all that Windows 95 needs -but many new games require a 3D graphics cards instead.

FTP Stands for File Transfer Protocol. A way of transferring files over The internet, typically using free software such as Cute FTP and WS-FTP. Unlike email attachments, they can be transferred directly without the need for encoding.

HTML HyperText Markup Language.The language used to describe a webpage.

HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol.The language used to describe a webpage.

Hard disk A high-capacity storage device that a PC uses for programs and data, measured in gigabytes. Intormation held on a hard disk is safe when the power is withdrawn.

Icon A smaII picture displayed on-screen to identify an application or file. To open the application or file you simply click on the icon using your mouse.

Inkjet A light, quiet and relatively cheap printer that produces pages by squirting a stream of tiny drops of electrically charged ink at the surface of the paper.

ISDN A hyper-fast telephone line. Good for downloading memory- heavy web pages, very quickly. This, in turn, can save on phone bills.

Internet Wizard A helpful online 'assistant' designed to guide you step-by-step, through a potentially complex process.

Infrared By aligning two infra red ports - these usually look like a rectangular piece of black plastic -you can exchange data using nothing but a beam of infra red light.

ISP Internet Service Providers are the companies, such as Freeserve or AOL, which provide access to the internet.

Java A special language used on websites to create advanced effects, such as animated sequences and interactive buttons and menus.

JPEG A common format for storing pictures in a compressed form, so they take up less disk space. If high compression is used, this reduces detail in the image.

Kb Measure of capacity of a storage device.Equal to 1,024 bytes.

Kbps Kilobytes per second.A measure of the speed of a modem.56K used to be the fastest but there maybe faster these days.

Link/Hyperlink If you click on one of these you'll jump electronically from the webpage you're looking at,to the one that the link 'points' to.Typically,links appear on web pages as blue text,but any object on a page can be a link.When the cursor passes over a link it changes from an arrow to  a pointing hand.

Log on Another way of saying 'connect' when talking about the internet. After turning on your computer, you may decide to log on to the internet.

LCD Liquid Crystal Display. A type of display used by Personal Organisers,PDAs and Laptops to display instead of using a CRT.

Mhz (Megahertz) A measure of how fast the processor in your PC works.For example,a 500Mhz processor carries out 500 million operations per second.

MIDI Musical Instrument Digital Interface.A standardised set of digital messages which specify which note you have pressed,how loud it is,and how long you hold it down.

Mb Stands for megabyte. It can relate to the size ot a file or a measurement of storage space on your PC. It roughly translates to a million characters of text, or 180,000 words, enough for a good-sized novel.

Modem This can either be an external box or an expansion card inside your PC-either way, one end is connected to the PC and the other end to a telephone socket. You will meed a modem it you want to get onto the internet, send email or taxes, and so on with your PC.

Motherboard The main circuitboard in your computer. It's usually varnished green to protect the tiny connections and has the main components and connectors soldered to it.

MP3  A standard for digitally compressing music,meaning music files created using MP3 aren't nearly as big as other types of music files.This means they can be downloaded quickly from the internet onto your hard disk or onto portable MP3 players.

MS-DOS Microsoft Disk Operating System.The standardised operating system before Windows.Manages how files are stored on your PC.

Network A way of connecting serveral computers so that they can share data.

Newsgroup Discussion areas on the internet, where you can post a message and read replies from other people, like an xffice noticeboard.

Online Refers to the internet in general. To be 'online' means to be connected to the internet.

Operating System The software that controls the actions of different parts of  your computers,PCs run the Windows operating system,Apple computers run t the Macintosh Operating System.

OCR Optical Character Recognition. A method of reading from a scanner or from an image file and producing a text file as a result.

Plug-in A small program that allows additional features not available in HTML to be embedded in your webpage.

Processor The chip that is the 'brain' of the computer. The faster the processor,the better the computer will perform.

Parallel port Socket at the back of your PC for connecting to a printer. It sends data to the printer over eight parallel wires.

Partition A way of dividing a hard disk into chunks that can be addressed by separate drive letters. If you buy a 2Gb hard disk, you could, for example, split it into tour 500Mb partitions called C:, D:, E:, and F:.

Peripheral Any external device such as a printer,modem or scanner that requires driver files to be installed into Windows. 

PC Card A credit card- sized device, such as a modem, designed for use on notebook and handheld computers.

PDA A personal hand held computer that maybe able to be docked to a PC to transfer files back and forth.

Portal A website that offers variety of services and resources,such as email,chat,search engines and online shopping.

RAM Random Access Memory.Volatile memory which stores temporary information such as that held by the screen or where programs reside.

Resolution Number of pixels a screen can display in a given area, normally measured in dots per inch (dpi). Dictates clarity of your screen.

ROM Read Only Memory.Non-volatile memory which stores permanent information so that the computer knows how to do things even when switched off.

RSS Really Simple Syndication.A method of news item transfer.

Scanner Device that can convert photos and text to an electronic format that can be manipulated on your PC. The most common type is the flatbed scanner. The picture you wish to scan is placed on a transparent glass 'bed'.

SCSI Abbreviation of Small Computer System Interface. A fast interface standard for attaching peripherals to your computer.

Search engine An online service which takes the strain out of surfing the web by asking you for key words and then providing a list of websites that contain your chosen words - "Mel Gibson say, or "Formula One". Clicking on the listed websites will take you to the relevant web page.

Sequencer A device that lets you copy samples,repeat them,edit them and play around with their order.Software sequencers are almost like wordprocessors for sounds,with facilities like drag-and -drop copying.MIDI sequencers are for playing music using the MIDI system.

Sound card A type of expansion card that fits into a PC expansion slot and is responsible for all the sound and emanating Irom your PC. It is necessary for playing games, multimedia CD-ROMs and for voice and videoconferencing over the internet.

Scripts Programs that run on the web server to make your site interactive,collecting email addresses,for example,orlooking up information in a database.

Server Dedicated computer which provides service to a network of other PCs.On the internet,a server stores webpages.

Taskbar A bar that normally runs along the bottom of the screen in Windows 95/98 and displays the Start button and a list of other programs or windows that are currently active.

Twain A standard way for scanners and some other devices to talk to your computer. It stands for Technology Without An Important Name!

Typeface Sometimes called fonts,there are thousands of different typefaces available,each with their own individual letter shapes and characteristics.

USB Universal Serial Bus.A serial Interface system for connecting external devices,such as printers and scanners to a PC.

URL Universal Resource Locator. Usually starting with http:// or www this is the websites address. As long as your computer is hooked up via a modem and an ISP it can find any website,via the internet.

Utilities Programs that augment the Windows operating system in some small way by performing specific tasks on your PC,such as optimising memory use by compressing disk space.

Virus A destructive program that is hidden in other files and programs that can disable your PC once activated.They are usually transferred via the internet and can only be removed with anti-virus software.

WAP Wireless Application Protocol. A secure method that allows users to access data instantl via handheld wireless devices,like mobile phones and pagers.

Webcam A small camera that attaches to your PC, and which can record either still or moving images. With the right software, you can use a webcam for video- conferencing or for security observation purposes via the internet.

Worksheet Excel itself is a spreadsheet, but the individual screens of rows and columns that you work with are called worksheets.

World Wide Web Within the internet there are thousands of pages of formatted text and graphics that provide a user-friendly face to the internet.

Windows Microsoft's operating system which controls the various parts of your PC -monitor - ,peripherals,keyboards,hard disk etc.The current versionXP and 2000.Older versions are 98,95 and 3.1.

Wizard A helpful "assistant" designed to guide you,step-by-step,through a potentially complex process..

Windows Explorer The filing system of Windows - where you organise,copy,move and delete the programs you use and the files you work on.

Windows Registry A file on your hard drive which tells Windows what hardware and software you have installed on your machine.

Zip file A file which takes up less space having been compressed by one of the many Zip programs, such as WinZip and PKZIP.