Computer Jargon Buster by ghkgkyyt


									                                              Computer Jargon Buster

                                    Computer Jargon Buster
1. 10pt
                       Short for 10 point, a typographic measurement. The larger the number, the bigger
                       the text character will appear.
2. 16:9 format
                       The aspect ratio (width:height) of widescreen televisions and cinema screens.
3. 286 processor
                       Early Intel chip used in desktop computers. It was followed by the 386 and 486, and
                       then the Pentium series of processors.
4. 35mm
                       The width of the film used in many traditional cameras. Often used to describe the
                       cameras that use this size of film.
5. 386 processor
                       Early Intel chip used in desktop computers. It was followed by the 486 and then the
                       Pentium series of processors.
6. 3D graphics card
                       An expansion card designed to handle the three-dimensional graphics seen in many
                       of today's top games.
7. 486 processor
                       Early Intel chip used in desktop computers. It was followed by the Pentium series of
8. 56Kbps
                       The fastest standard for traditional modems. Modems convert electronic signals from
                       your computer into sound signals that can be transmitted over a phone line. 56kbps
                       means that a modem is capable of receiving up to 56,000 bits of computer data each
9. 5-pin DIN
                       Archaic PC keyboard connector. It has been superseded by PS/2 and USB connectors.
                       Technology for adding extra features to an application like a web browser. ActiveX
                       components are usually downloaded automatically, or with minimal user interaction.
                       In the context of the internet, an address is the information a web browser needs to
                       locate a particular website. Microsoft's website address, for instance, is www.
                       microsoft. com.
                       Extra features available in most Microsoft applications, but usually requiring
                       installation from the original CD-ROM. For example, Excel's AutoSave feature is an
                       Add-in module, and is only installed upon request.
                       Stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A technology that converts an
                       ordinary household telephone line into an extremely fast internet connection --
                       around ten times faster than a regular 56K modem.
14.Advanced Photo )
System (APS         A photographic film format capable of capturing three different picture sizes. APSbased
                    cameras also benefit from the simplicity of slot-in-and-go loading of the film
                    cartridges. Reprints can ordered from index prints, consisting of thumbnail
                    representations of photos, and supplied with all developed film.
                    Accelerated Graphics Port. A PC interface (either an expansion slot or built-in) used
                    for super-fast 3D graphics facilities. Ideal for handling the 3D worlds depicted in
                    many of today's top games.

                       Signal whose value varies continuously over time. For example, when a person

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                         speaks, the sound wave is an analogue signal, varying smoothly as they talk.
                         Analogue signal information differs from digital signals, which move sharply between
                         fixed values. To help visualise this, consider the difference between an analogue
                         watch face with sweeping hands and a digital watch display, which jumps from one
                         number to the next.
17.Animated GIF
                         Stands for Graphics Interchange Format, a popular file format for storing graphic
                         images, often for use on websites. An animated GIF is simply a string of these
                         images, creating the illusion of moving pictures when played back.
                         A comment or mark added to an image or a document, much like sticking a Post-it
                         note on an office memo to highlight a point of interest.
19.Anti-virus software
                         An application designed to protect PCs from malicious computer code.
                         In a camera, this is an opening that controls the amount of light passing through the
                         Stands for application programming interface, a standard used by computer
                         programmers to allow operating systems and software applications to understand
                         one another.
                         Small utility program within Windows, like Calculator or ScanDisk.
                         A computer software program that enables the user to perform specific tasks. For
                         example, Microsoft Word is used for word processing, while Paint Shop Pro is
                         designed for image-editing requirements.
24.APS Advanced
Photo System             A film format developed by Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Minolta and Nikon that uses a small
                         slot-in cartridge to store the unexposed, exposed and developed film. APS cameras
                         can take panoramic ans well as regular photographs.
25.Artifical Intelligence (AI)
                         The science of simulating or duplicating intelligence using a computer. AI is useful for
                         situations where clear-cut decisions are not possible and for mimicing the behaviour
                         of humans or animals.
26.Aspect ratio
                         A measure of the relative width and height of a display. Traditional television screens,
                         for instance, have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (meaning four units wide by three units
                         high), while modern widescreen sets have 16:9 proportions.
                         Stands for Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface, which is a control
                         technology for devices like CD-ROM and hard disk drives.
                         Stands for Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding, which is Sony's proprietary audio
                         file-compression system, similar to MP3 but with additional security features
                         designed to prevent piracy of copyright material.
                         A computer file, such as a word-processor document or spreadsheet, sent along with
                         an email message.
30.Audio Format
                         In the context of Windows' Sound Recorder program, the choice of storing recorded
                         audio in one of three quality settings – CD, radio or telephone.
                         A feature in a word processor that automatically corrects common spelling mistakes
                         as they are typed.

document                 A facility of most printers and some scanners, enabling documents to be

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feeder (ADF)        automatically fed through the print or scanner mechanism without user intervention.

                    A Windows feature that allows CD-ROM/DVD discs to launch or play as soon they're
                    inserted into a drive.
                    A handy Excel feature that gives an at-a-glance total of a selection of figures.
                    A feature of some image-editing programs that identifies outline shapes in a bitmap
                    graphics and attempts to trace them, resulting in editable vector paths.
                    In computing context, a graphic or icon used to represent a person in an online chatroom
                    or game. Avatars can usually be customised and range from simple images to
                    complex three-dimensional shapes.
                    A type of video file used by windows and usuall played using Windows Media Player.
38.Back up
                    The process of copying your important computer files and documents from your hard
                    disk to removable media (such as Zip or CD-RW discs) or another computer, to
                    protect against loss of the originals.
                    In computing terms, a measure of the maximum amount of data that can be
                    transferred over a connection at any one time. For example, if you connect to the
                    internet using a modem, then the bandwidth is likely to be up to 56Kbps (or 56,000
                    bits of data per second).
                    Noticeable stripes appearing on a print-out – usually only a problem with inkjet
                    Version of a software application or system still in development. Companies make
                    beta versions available to selected testers for evaluation, testing and feedback.
                    Refers to an ability for two-way communication. Most printer cables, for example, are
                    bi-directional, so the computer can send data to the printer and the printer is able to
                    respond with print-job progress information.
                    Newsgroup postings of encoded files (photographs, sound files, video clips and so on),
                    rather than plain text. These are frowned upon except in certain groups, such as
                    those beginning 'alt. binaries. '.
                    A coding system used by computers and other digital devices to store data as a
                    series just two digits – 0 and 1.
                    The use of measurable physical characteristics for idenitification purposes, such as
                    Basic Input Output System. Software built into all PCs, to control the basic operation
                    of devices such as the screen, hard disk and keyboard. When a PC is switched on, the
                    BIOS automatically kicks in, and looks for a drive (like the hard disk) from which the
                    operating system proper can be launched.
                    A contraction of binary digit, which is the smallest unit of computer data. A bit can
                    hold one of two values – 1 or 0. Consecutive bits combine together to form larger
                    units of information. There are eight bits in a 'byte'.
48.Bitmap (BMP)
                    A type of graphic image recorded as many tiny dots (or pixels). Scanned photographs
                    and similar images are often stored in this form. If you use an image-editing
                    application to zoom in on a bitmap image, the pixels will gradually become distinct.

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                       BMP image files tend to be quite large, so other types are more popular.
49.Blanking plates
                       Plastic or metal plates on the back and front of a PC, fitted by manufacturers to cover
                       unused expansion bays. Blanking plates can be easily removed when new devices are
                       In image editing, the combining of one or more graphic layers.
                       A technology that allows devices (computers, phones, printers, etc. ) to communicate
                       with each other wirelessly.
52.Body text
                       Text makes up the bulk of a story, article or chapter, rather than the headings or
                       A way of flagging favourite websites in your web browser for later reference, much
                       like marking a page in a book.
                       Logical propositions, such as AND, OR and IF, often used to refine searches or filter
                       computer data. Named after Boole, a 19th c. English mathematician.
                       The process a PC goes through after it is switched on – performing a quick self-test,
                       loading Windows, and so on.
56.Boot disk
                       A disk containing the operating system components essential for getting a PC up and
                       running. Usually, the boot disk is the computer's hard disk but in times of strife, a
                       suitably-prepared floppy disk can be used to kick-start a PC.
57.Boot sector
                       Area of a disk containing instructions enabling a computer to launch an operating
                       system (such as Windows). These instructions are executed every time the computer
                       starts up.
                       Bits per second. Measure of computer data transmission speed. For example, a
                       56Kbps modem can receive up to 56,000 bits of computer data per second.
                       Refers to high-bandwidth internet connections, such as ADSL.
                       Using a web browser application to look at websites on the net.
                       The short name for a web browser – an application that lets you view pages on the
                       internet. Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator are the two most popular
                       Image-editing tools offer a selection of brushes for 'painting' on the screen. Some act
                       like thick marker pens while others create an aerosol-like effect.
                       Canon's trademarked name for its own inkjet printing technology.
                       A small amount of memory used as a reservoir for data that's provided (usually in
                       spurts) from a source.
                       Technology used by some CD-RW drives to ensure error-free and foolproof disc

66.Bus mastering PCI
                       A technology which reduces the burden on the processor when transferring data to
                       and from the hard disk and other devices.
                       In computer terminology, a bus is the data path on the motherboard that devices use

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                   to communicate with the processor.
                   a unit of computer storage that can hold a single character. 1024 bytes make a
                   kilobyte, or 1Kb.
                   Programming language popular with professional computer software developers, and
                   used to create many of today's top applications.
                   Shorthand for cable television and associated services.
                   A store for frequently-used data or files. Data can be accessed from a cache more
                   quickly than from its original source. Internet Explorer uses a hard disk cache for web
                   pages, while computer processors often have small amounts of very speedy memory
                   as a cache.
                   Stands for Computer-Aided Design, which are special software applications that allow
                   designers and architects to draw precise blueprints on screen, then model them in 3D
                   to see how the design will appear in real life.
73.Caller ID
                   A system which enables a telephone caller's number to be displayed before the
                   handset is picked up. Supported by most telecommunications companies and
                   systems these days.
74.Capture cards
                   A video card that slots into a spare PCI slot in your computer and has the input and
                   output sockets necessary for digitising video.
                   The process of taking an ordinary analogue signal from a camcorder and converting it
                   into digital information to be stored on a computer's hard disk.
                   76.Charge-coupled device (CCD)
                   A light-sensitive component used in digital cameras and camcorders.
77.CD changer
                   A device that can hold several CDs and switch between them as and when required.
78.CD writer
                   A special type of CD-ROM drive, which allows you to create, or 'burn', your own CDs.
                   Standard for compact disc recordable format, or blank CDs onto which information
                   (such as data or music) can be recorded – but only once. Playable on most CD-ROM
                   drives (except some older ones) and CD players. You need a CD-R drive to record
                   onto CD-R discs.
                   A version of the CD, which can store a lot more than just music. This small plastic
                   disc can hold up to 650Mb of data.
81.CD-ROM drive
                   Used for installing software (on CD-ROM discs) and playing multimedia audio and
                   video. Audio CDs can also be inserted.
                   Stands for compact disc rewritable format, or blank compact discs which can be
                   recorded on over and over again.
                   Cheaper but slower version of the Intel Pentium processor, used in budget PCs.

                   A spreadsheet page uses rows and columns to divide a page into cells. Rows and
                   columns are identified with letters and numbers, so each cell has a unique coordinate,
                   such as D15.
                   In the context of monitors, images are made up of three colour 'channels', one each

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                       to represent red, green and blue – or RGB.
86.Chat rooms
                       Online venues for typed chat, rather like the premium-rate chat lines you see
                       advertised on late-night TV. Some even allow you to create cartoon-style characters
                       to represent yourself.
                       Mathematical formula performed on some data to generate a result that will be
                       statistically unique for that data.
                       Broadly speaking, any group of computer chips working together to perform certain
                       functions. For example, a graphics card will have a number of chips – the chipset –
                       designed to handle all graphics output.
                       An audio effect that 'fattens up' the sound of a single instrument, to simulate several
                       playing at once.
90.Chromakey effects
                       Sometimes known as blue-screening because subjects are filmed in front of a blue
                       screen before being 'extracted' from the video. The subject can then be placed on top
                       of another scene, giving the appearance of being somewhere they're not. Without
                       Chromakey, Superman would never have flown.
                       Pressing down once and releasing a mouse button, or other key.
                       A geeky term for an additional piece of software that runs alongside your web
                       browser, allowing you to use services like newsgroups and internet chat.
                       A library of drawings or photographs that you can use in presentations, reports or in
                       desktop-publishing documents. You must check whether there are copyright
                       restrictions if you are intend using the pictures commercially.
94.Clock speed
                       Term used to describe the speed of a computer processor, measured in megahertz or,
                       increasingly, gigahertz – 700MHz or 1GHz (1,000MHz) for example.
                       In image-editing software, a tool that allows you to copy one part of an image and
                       use it as a brush.
                       Stands for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor, and pronounced cee-moss.
                       This is a special computer chip that looks after system set-up information, like date
                       and time and so forth.
                       Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow – the three colours found in a colour inkjet
                       printer cartridge. Sometimes you may see CMYK where K stands for black (if they
                       used B this might be mistaken for Blue).
                       In computing terminology, short for program code – meaning instructions that are
                       intended to be executed by a computer.
99.Colour depth
                       The range of colours with which an image can be displayed. Usually measured in
                       'bits', 1-bit colour gives two colours (usually black and white), 2-bit gives four colours,
                       and so on. A 24-bit colour setting will allow up to 16. 7 millions distinct shades to be
100. Colour picker
                       All painting programs have one, it's the electronic equivalent of a paint palette so you
                       can choose which colour you want to use.
101. COM port
                       Short for communications port, a PC can have up to four of these – COM1 to COM4.
                       It is through these ports that devices can talk to the rest of your PC. Anything fitted
                       to a serial port will be allocated one of these, as will a modem.

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102. Combination keystroke
                     Literally where you have to hold down more than one key at once to access a
                     particular function. Holding down the Alt and Tab keys, for example, lets you cycle
                     through any programs you're running.
103. Command prompt
                     Also known as DOS prompt. The Windows environment lets you point and click to
                     navigate your way around the computer. However, the predecessor to Windows, DOS
                     (disk operating system) requires typed in commands to control the PC – and these
                     are entered at the command prompt.
104. CompactFlash
                     Matchbook-size memory cards with no moving parts. These slot into various devices
                     to store data. Popular with digital cameras and handheld computers.
105. Composite video
                     A type of video signal used by some camcorders, video recorders and TVs in which
                     the red, green and blue signals are mixed together. The aerial connection on a TV set
                     uses composite video.
106. Compression
                     To reduce the size of a file by encoding the data. This is useful for storing files which
                     would otherwise take up lots of disk space, such as picture and video files.
                     Compression also reduces transfer times, meaning files can be sent over the net, or
                     to another disk, more quickly.
107. Configure
                     To tweak the functions of software or hardware to the particular settings you require.
                     For example, Windows can be configured so that it displays a particular colour
                     background, or so that it uses a larger typeface
108. Context menus
                     The context-sensitive menus that pop up when you right-click on something in
                     Windows. What you see on the menu varies according to the task that you're
                     engaged in and the program you're using.
109. Control Panel
                     A collection of icons that allow you to configure the basic functions of Windows and
                     your PC. Within the Control Panel there are icons to define display attributes,
                     keyboard settings, passwords – and a host of other options.
110. Cookies
                     Text files generated by websites you visit and stored on your computer's hard disk.
                     Cookies contain preferences and other information about your use of the sites, and
                     are not harmful.
111. Copy and paste
                     Just like it sounds: selecting part of an image or document in order to place it
112. Coverage
                     In the context of mobile phones, the areas where you'll be able to get a signal. The
                     phone networks tend to quote coverage in terms of population, not actual land area.
                     A network may claim to cover 98 percent of the population, but with most of these
                     people located in cities, vast tracts of the country are signal-free zones.
113. CPU
                     An abbreviation for central processing unit, or processor – the heart of a computer.
                     The CPU does most of the hard work and the faster it is, the better the PC is likely to

114. Crash
                        This is what happens when a software application or operation goes wrong, often
                        freezing the computer. Sometimes, the only way to recover from a crash is to switch
                        the PC off and start again – and this in turn may cause you to lose documents or
                        data you were working on.
115. CRT Cathode
Ray Tube                The glass tube-based technology used to produce an image in most TV sets and
                        computer monitors.

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116. Cursor
                        A flashing shape on the screen showing where the next character you type in will
                        appear. When entering text in a word processor, the cursor is normally a flashing
                        vertical bar. Sometimes, the word cursor is used to describe the on-screen mouse
117. Cut
                        Just like it sounds: this function will delete selected information, such as cells in a
                        spreadsheet or a paragraph in a text document.
118. Data rate
                        The speed at which digital information is transferred from one device to another, and
                        can range from a few kilobits to many hundreds of megabytes per second. Traditional
                        modems, for example, offer download data rates of up to 56Kbps.
119. Data table
                        In the context of a spreadsheet, a table of figures used to create a chart.
120. Database
                        Any collection of information, usually (but not always) used to refer to information
                        stored on a computer. Database software applications usually include powerful search
                        and data-filtering facilities.
121. Daughterboard
                       A small card containing support circuitry for a larger expansion card, plugged into a
                       socket on the main card or connected via a cable.
122. DDR (Double Data
Rate memory)           A type of memory that's twice as fast as ordinary memory. DDR memory is often
                       used in graphics cards can now be found in PCs too.
123. Decoder
                       A home cinema component that converts the surround sound soundtrack on a DVD
                       movie into a signal that's sent to an amplifier. Decoders and amplifiers are often
                       combined into a single unit
124. Decryption
                       The process of making encrypted data readable again.
125. DECT
                       Stands for Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephone, a technology used by some
                       cordless telephones to maintain clear call quality over long distances.
126. Default
                       A standard software or hardware setting. Most programs, including the Windows
                       operating system itself, ask you to make a series of selections in order to perform a
                       task. Sometimes the computer will already have made some selections – these are
                       called the defaults. You can change the defaults to fit your own preference, or accept
                       them as they are supplied.
127. Defragment (or 'defrag')
                       To reorganise the data stored on a hard disk so that it can be accessed as quickly as
                       possible by the computer. A fragmented disk can adversely affect system
128. Degauss
                       To remove the magnetism from a device, usually a monitor. Most monitors degauss
                       automatically but some have a button.
129. Desktop
                       What you see when you first start up a Windows-based computer. The Desktop will
                       display your Taskbar and a selection of icons such as My Computer and Recycle Bin.
130. DHTML Dynamic HTML
                       This is an extended version of the language used to describe web pages, which allows
                       a page to change instantly when certain things happen, for instance the mouse
                       moving over a specified area.
131. Dialogue box
                       A small window that pops up to display or request information. In Windows, Menu
                       options that end with an '…' always open a dialogue box.
132. Dial-up Networking
                       A component of Windows that allows PCs to connect to the internet using a modem

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                          and a telephone line.
133. Diamondtron
                          Tube technology introduced by Mitsubishi in 1993. It uses the same principle as
                          Trinitron aperture grille technology but with three electron guns at the back of the
                          monitor rather than one.
134. Digital
                          Unlike the smooth signal of analogue, digital information consists of discrete parts.
                          An analogy would be a car's gearbox. A vehicle can be in first or second gear, but not
                          first-and-a-half. Computers only recognise digital information, so must convert
                          analogue signals. A soundcard, for example, converts the sound of a recording into a
                          series of numbers the PC can process.
135. Digital camera
                          A camera that stores images in computer memory rather than on light-sensitive film.
136. Digital signature
                          A piece of encrypted data that can be used to verify the identity of someone who
                          sent the message to which it is attached.
137. Digital stabiliser
                          A method of removing small video camera shakes, such as the normal shaking of the
                          operator's hand, by adjusting the picture by a compensating amount. Poorly
                          implemented, it can cause a sudden jerk when you start an intended camera move.
138. Digital zoom
                          Optical zoom is the normal camera method of magnifying a scene by changing the
                          distance between the different elements of the lens. Digital zoom allows even greater
                          magnification by expanding each of the dots, but at some cost to quality.
139. Digitising
                          Changing an analogue signal, such as an audio/video recording, into digital data on a
140. DIMM
                          Dual Inline Memory Module. A slot-in card used to expand the memory of a desktop
141. Directory
                          An old name for what we now call folders. These provide a way of organising files and
                          documents on disk, by grouping related items together.
142. DirectX
                          Windows feature that ensures that all programs work with all the different types of
                          hardware available.
143. Disk spanning
                          Copying data from one disk to several smaller ones, automatically. This allows, for
                          example, a large file to be copied from a hard disk to several floppy disks.
144. Dithering
                      Process of creating colour shades by adjusting the value of adjacent pixels to give the
                      appearance of more colours than a device, usually a monitor or display panel, is
                      actually capable of displaying.
145. Docking cradle/station
                      A receptacle for a portable device, like a palmtop computer or a digital camera, and
                      connected to a PC. Through this, the linked machines can exchange documents and

146. Dolby Pro Logic
                     A way of encoding audio information, developed by Dolby Labs.
147. Dolby Surround Sound
                     A system which literally surrounds the listener with sound, usually employing several
                     speakers positioned around a room and controlled by a special decoder. Surround
                     sound is used in feature films and many TV shows.
148. Domain name
                     The name used to identify a site on the internet, such as computeractive. co. uk or
                     microsoft. com
149. DOS

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                          Stands for Disk Operating System. The standard PC operating system before the
                          dawn of Windows. DOS manages how files are stored on your PC. It is controlled
                          through typed commands.
150. Dot pitch
                          The distance between the dots which make up the image on a monitor.
151. Dot matrix printer
                       Prints by hammering small 'needles' through a typewriter-style ribbon. This type of
                       printer is noisy and only really used where continuous-sheet paper or multi-part
                       forms are required.
152. Dots per inch (dpi)
                       The way the resolution of printed and scanned images is measured. Both types of
                       picture are made up of dots. The more dots there are per inch, the smaller they are
                       and the better the picture looks.
153. Double-click
                       To click twice quickly in succession on a mouse button. If you double-click on an
                       application icon, Windows will then attempt to launch the application.
154. Download
                       Process of transferring files onto your PC directly from another computer. You might,
                       for instance, download pictures and files from the internet.
155. Drag
                       In Windows, the action of clicking on something with the left mouse button, keeping
                       the button pressed and moving (dragging) the object.
156. Drag and drop
                       A feature of operating systems, including Windows, which allows you to easily move
                       and manipulate on-screen objects and files. For example, if you want to delete a file
                       from the Windows Desktop, you move the pointer to the file's icon, click once to
                       highlight it, then press and hold down the left-hand button. The item can now be
                       dragged and dropped into the Recycle Bin.
157. Drag out
                       Click and hold down the left mouse button as you move the mouse.
158. Drive bay
                       A blanked-off space at the front of a desktop PC originally designed for additional
                       floppy disk drives. Now drive bays accommodate all manner of peripherals.
159. Driver
                       Software needed to allow Windows (and other operating systems) to communicate
                       with a peripheral. While Windows has many built-in drivers, often hardware-specific
                       versions will be provided on CD-ROM with a new device.
160. Drop-down menu
                       A list of options displayed beneath a menu bar when you select a menu option, or
                       when you click on a down-pointing arrow in a dialogue box.
161. Dropper tool
                       In image-editing, this is a feature used to set the foreground or background colour of
                       the current drawing tool by simply clicking on part of an image.
162. DSTN
                       A type of flat-panel display used primarily on budget notebook PCs. They are of lower
                       quality than TFT screens.

163. DTP (desktop
publishing)               The design, layout and printing of documents, books and magazines using special
                          software, such as Microsoft Publisher.
164. Dual band
                          A mobile phone that can work at two radio frequencies. Vodafone and Cellnet use the
                          900MHz band, as do most networks around the world. Orange and One2One use
                          1,800MHz. Only a few other countries use 1,800MHz. Dual-band phones can use
                          either frequency, increasing the number of countries they can be used in.
165. DSP
                          Digital Signal Processor. Electronics that apply special effects to digital audio to
                          improve its overall sound or to make it sound like it's in a certain environment, such

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                        as a church or concert hall.
166. DVC
                        Digital Video Cassette, the latest video standard used in digital camcorders only.
167. DVD
                        A type of disc able to store huge amounts of digital data, including full-length movies,
                        with excellent-quality sound and pictures.
168. DVD-R
                        Standard for Digital Versatile Disc-Recordable format, or blank DVDs onto which
                        information (such as data or music) can be recorded – but only once. Playable on
                        most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. You need a DVD-R drive to record onto
DVD-R discs.
169. DVD-RAM
                        One of a number of competing standards for recordable DVD. DVD-RAM can store
                        many gigabytes of data on each side of a disc but can only be used in a DVD-RAM
170. DVD-ROM drive
                        These drives will play both CD-ROM and DVD discs. Huge amounts of data can be
                        stored on one DVD disc, which looks just like a CD, including full-length movies, with
                        excellent-quality sound and pictures.
171. DVD+R
                        One of the emerging recordable DVD standards. It uses DVD+RW disks that are
                        designed to have data recorded on to them time and time again. Movies recorded on
                        to DVD+RW disks are fully compatible with DVD players
172. DVD RW
                        A rewritable version of the DVD-R format whose discs are compatible with most DVD
                        players and DVD-ROM drives
173. DVI (Digital Video
Interface)              A video connection used on some TFT monitors and graphics cards that provides a
                        purely digital connection between a PC and monitor. This gives a higher quality
                        image than using a standard VGA connection.
174. Ecommerce
                        A term used to describe financial transactions over the internet.
175. EAX (Short for '
                        a standard developed by Creative Labs for more authentic and immersive sound
                        reproduction in games.
176. ECP (enhanced capabilities
port)                   A type of high-speed printer port which offers improved performance.
177. EIDE
                        This is an interface for connecting hard disks and CD-ROM drives inside your PC.
178. EISA
                        An enhanced version of the ISA expansion slot, offering faster data transfer speeds
                        for suitable expansion cards.
179. ELSPA
                        The European Leisure Software Publishers Association – a software copyright
                        protection agency and one of the main anti-piracy bodies.

180. Email
                        Short for electronic mail, a system of sending notes and memos between computers
                        via internet.
181. EMS
                        Enhanced Messaging Service. A development of SMS (Short Messaging Service) that
                        allows simple pictures and ring tones to be sent between mobile phones.
182. Emulate
                        An program that is used to make a computer act like another computer. For example,
                        there are programs that can enable a PC to emulate a video arcade game.
183. Encoder
                        In the context of digital music, a piece of software that converts audio CDs to MP3 or
                        some other digital format.

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184. Encryption
                        The science of scrambling data – be it text, audio, or video – so that it can only be
                        read by the authorised sender and recipient. Encryption can also be used to embed
                        identifying markings in data, so that it can't be undetectably falsified.
185. Enhanced parallel
port (EPP)             A modern version of the parallel (or printer) port, which is the 25-pin connector at
                       the rear of your PC where the printer normally plugs in. If your PC was bought in the
                       couple of years or so, it should have an EPP port. This can be important as scanners
                       that plug into the parallel port do require the enhanced version.
186. EPOC32
                       The operating system designed by Psion for its later handheld computers, like the
                       Series 5mx.
187. Equalisers
                       Similar to the tone controls on your hi-fi, although software implementations are
                       usually a lot more comprehensive.
188. Ergonomics
                       A term used to describe efficiency and health for people whilst in their working
189. Ethernet
                       A type of computer network developed by Xerox in the 1970s, allowing a number of
                       PCs to be linked together and communicate with one another.
190. Events
                       An action in Windows, such as opening a document, emptying the Recycle Bin, or
                       shutting down your PC.
191. EVR (Electronic Version
of Return)             The Inland Revenue's computer program that duplicates the paper-based tax return
                       for PAYE taxpayers. It's available free of charge from your tax office and allows you
                       to complete your return on screen.
192. Executable files
                       These are launchable programs, which have the file extension. EXE. Clicking on an
                       executable file will start it running – it may be an application, an animated greeting
                       card or a game, for example. Avoid launching. EXE email attachments, as these may
                       carry computer viruses.
193. Expansion card
                       Card that can be fitted in an expansion slot within your PC to enhance its capabilities
                       in some way – for instance to improve its video or graphics performance.
194. Expansion slot
                       A socket on a computer's motherboard designed to accommodate expansion cards.
195. Expert system
                       A computer program designed to perform the same function as (and so replace) a
                       human expert on a particular subject.
196. Explorer
                       A program supplied with Windows that's used to browse files on your PC. Explorer
                       can be used an alternative to the Windows Desktop.

197. Extension
                        The three-letter code at the end of a filename that indicates the type or format of the
                        file. For example,. BMP is a bitmap,. EXE is an executable program file. These enable
                        Windows to recognise what type of file it's dealing with.
198. Extract
                        The process of expanding compressed files so they can be opened.
199. Fader
                        A vertical or horizontal sliding control used to alter the level of sound or other setting.
                        200. Fades, wipes and dissolves
                        Methods of moving from one scene to another, without a sudden 'jump' cut. Fades let
                        the picture fade in and out from black or white. Wipes are like a curtain moving up,
                        down or across to reveal the picture. And dissolves fade one picture into another.
201. FAQ

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                         Stands for frequently asked questions, usually a text file containing useful
                         information about an application or website.
202. FAT File
Allocation Table        A system used by Windows to organise files stored on a hard disk. Windows 95 used
                        a system called FAT16, Windows 98 and Me use FAT32 that allows, among other
                        things, long filenames.
203. Favorites/Bookmarks
                        Your personal address book of places on the internet that you visit periodically.
                        Bookmark a site and it will be stored in your Favorites/Bookmarks list for future visits.
204. Feathering
                        A term used to describe a print-out of a text or picture which is marred by blurred or
                        irregular edges.
205. Field
                        In a database, a field is an individual container that can hold a particular type of
                        information. For example, if you have a contacts list of your customers, each entry is
                        called a record and the various parts of each record are called fields.
206. File extension
                        The file extension is the suffix – or letters after the dot – in a file's name. Examples
                        include .doc (for a word document) and .xls (Excel) and .txt (Notepad). This is how
                        Windows knows which application to use to open a particular file.
207. File Manager
                        Part of the Windows 3. 1 operating system, since replaced in later versions of
                        Windows by Explorer. File Manager displays lists of all of the files you have stored on
                        your PC's hard disk.
208. Fill
                        The interior area of a vector shape, which may be given a colour, gradient, pattern,
                        texture or a bitmap image.
209. Filter
                        In image-editing, applies a transformation to either improve image quality or produce
                        special effect on all or part of an image. There is a filter for every need from
                        sharpening out-of-focus pictures to wrapping them round spheres.
210. Firmware
                        Basic software permanently stored on a device (such as a graphics card) that
                        controls it's basic operation. Firmware can be upgraded using a process known as
211. Financial manager
                        A program to help you manage your money.
212. Firewall
                        A system that prevents unauthorised access to a computer over a network, such as
                        the internet. Firewalls can be either hardware or software – businesses tend to use
                        the former; home users the latter.
213. FireWire
                        A super-fast data link between your PC and devices such as digital camcorders. Also
                        known as IEEE1394.
214. Flash
                        An application used to create high-quality animations on websites.
215. Flash memory
                        A special type of memory that maintains its contents even when the host machine,
                        like a palmtop computer, is switched off.
216. Flat-panel display
                        Slim monitors, similar to the liquid-crystal displays (LCD) found in notebook
                        computers, designed for use with desktop PCs.
217. Flatbed
                        A type of image scanner that resembles a small photocopier. Place a document face
                        down on the glass scanning bed and the scan-head is moved across it, building up a
                        digital image as it goes.
218. Floppy disk
                        A small, rigid square of plastic used to store data. Inside the case is a circular

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                        magnetic disk (the floppy bit). The most common type of floppy disk is the 1. 44Mb 3.
                        5in version used by almost all PCs.
219. FM
                        Stands for frequency modulation, a method of generating sounds from simple wave
220. FM synthesis
                        An old form of sound generation by soundcards. Still used by games, but doesn't
                        sound as good as newer wavetable synthesis.
221. Folder
                        Files on PC's hard disk are arranged within a system of folders, which group related
                        items together, helping you find the item you need. Folders have names to describe
                        what's in them, for example: My Documents.
222. Font
                        A set of letters, numbers and other symbols in a particular style. Popular Windows
                        fonts are Arial and Times New Roman.
223. Font size
                        This is the measurement typographers use to describe the size of text. Thus, 72pt
                        text is bigger than 34pt text. The text you are reading now is set in 8. 5pt.
224. Footer
                        A special area at the bottom of a word-processor document: type something in here
                        and it will appear at the base of every page.
225. Footprint
                        The desk area occupied by a peripheral, like a printer or scanner.
226. Force feedback
                        A term used to describe joysticks that can wiggle of their own accord, giving tactile
                        feedback in games.
227. Form
                        A document formatted in a certain way for entering data, much like the paper version.
                        Forms are typically used by databases.
228. Format
                        The process of preparing a floppy disk for use with a particular computer and
                        operating system.
229. Formula bar
                        In spreadsheets, this is located at the top of the screen, above the grid of rows and
                        columns. If a selected cell contains a formula, it will be visible in the formula bar.
                        Otherwise any contents in a cell will be displayed in the formula bar. You can, for
                        example, type text directly into a selected cell, or into the formula bar – the result
                        will be the same.
230. Formulas
                        Formulas tell spreadsheets how to act on data stored in cells. For example,
                        '=SUM(B13+B16)' tells the program to add the contents of cells B13 and B16
231. Fragmentation
                        When there's not enough contiguous room to save a file in one physical location on
                        your hard disk, the file will be spread over several smaller locations. This
                        fragmentation is an inevitable consequence of constantly saving and deleting files –
                        especially if space is scarce. Eventually your hard disk will need to be tidied up, or
232. Frame rate
                        The number of images, or frames, shown each second that make up a moving image.
                        The higher the rate, the smoother the moving image. Games and movies in particular
                        benefit from high frame rates.
233. Frame size
                     The size or resolution of each individual frame of video, usually set on capture and
                     dependent on whether you require full screen or a small video window on your
234. Frames (web pages)
                     In the context of web pages, these are used to segment content. One frame might

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                        contain a menu of the website while the other displays the information that you're
                        interested in. The frame borders might be visible but are often hidden.
235. Frames
(web animations)        Animated GIFs contain multiple images (otherwise they wouldn't move) which are
                        held in frames, just like those you would see in a movie reel.
                        236. Freeware
                        Software, often downloadable from the internet, which is then free for you to keep
                        and use.
237. FTP
                        Stands for File Transfer Protocol, which is a way of transferring files over the internet,
                        particularly when maintaining websites.
238. Full duplex
                       The ability of a device (like a modem or sound card) to send and receive data
239. .GIF (GIF = Graphics
Interchange Format) A commonly used graphics file format popular for images displayed on websites.
240. Gameport
                       The D-shaped socket found on most sound cards. This is used to connect game
                       controllers and also doubles as a MIDI interface
241. Gamma correction
                       Correcting the overall brightness of an image to take into account differences
                       between the way a PC reads an image and the human eye.
242. Gb (Gigabyte)
                       A measurement of storage capacity – usually for hard disks. 1Gb is equal to 1,024Mb
243. Gbits/s
                       Gigabits per second. A measure of data transfer rate equal to 1024Mbits/s or
244. General protection
fault                  A fault that occurs when an application incorrectly accesses computer memory,
                       causing the program to crash.
245. Generational loss
                       The loss in quality and detail that occurs every time you copy an analogue signal
                       from source to another. Digital-to-digital copying does not involve any generational
                       loss, unless it's through an analogue medium such as a video-capture card.
246. Geometry controls
                       Features to adjust the shape and size of the image displayed on a computer monitor.
247. GHz (gigahertz)
                       A thousand megahertz – a measure of how fast the processor in your PC works.

248. GM (General MIDI)
                      A standard governing the set of sampled sounds used by all MIDI devices. A GM file
                      created on one device will sound at least similar on another (the instrument samples
                      may vary in quality but not in type).
249. GPRS (General Packet
Radio Service)        A mobile phone standard that provides an 'always on' connection with speeds up to
                      150Kbit/s (existing GSM phones manage 9. 6Kbit/s).
250. GPS (Global
Positioning System) Network of satellites orbiting the earth, and used to pinpoint an exact position on the
                      planet. Used in modern in-car navigation systems and handheld GPS devices.
251. PS Receiver
                      A small (usually handheld) device with a screen that's capable of receiving GPS
                      satellite location information.
252. Gradient
                      The gradual change from one colour to another, as if created by an airbrush. Also
                      known as a 'fountain fill'.

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253. Graphic equaliser
                         A device for correcting undesirable noise output from audio equipment.
254. Graphics card
                     The part of a PC that displays the image you see on your computer's monitor. Some
                     are more advanced than others, featuring connections for video recorders or other
                     similar devices.
255. Graphics processor
                     A dedicated chip on a graphics card designed to controls the images displayed on a
256. Graphics tablet
                     An alternative to the mouse: you move a stylus over a small board just as you would
                     a pen on a piece of paper. Ideal for applications where fine detail is involved.
257. GS
                     An extension to General Midi, offering more control over the way samples are played.
258. GSM (Global System for
Mobile communicationThe digital mobile phone system used in the UK and many other countries.
259. Hackers
                     People who break into other people's computers and networks, often in an attempt to
                     steal sensitive information.
260. Hacking
                     The slang term used to describe illegal access of computer systems by unauthorised
261. Halftoning
                     In laser printing particularly, the simulation of a continuous-tone image (shaded
                     drawing or photograph) with a series of dots.
262. Handheld computer
                     A small computer, about the size of a spectacles case. Handhelds usually have both a
                     screen and keyboard in a folding case. The Psion Revo is an example of a modern
                     handheld computer.
263. Handles
                     In the context of software, small blocks that appear at the sides and corners of a
                     selected object in certain applications. Dragging a handle with the mouse usually
                     resizes the object.
264. Hard disk
                     A high-capacity disk drive fitted in almost all PCs and used to store both applications
                     and the documents and files they create. Hard disks are so-called because they use
                     rigid magnetic disks to store data. Hard disk storage capacity is measured in

265. Hardware
                         Your computer set-up is split into two parts – hardware and software. Software
                         covers the programs that run on your machine, while hardware describes the
                         physical components, like the monitor and keyboard.
266. Header
                         A title that can be inserted at the top of the page, usually in a word-processor
267. Heatsink
                         a block of machined metal, usually aluminium, used to dissipate heat from a hot
                         component, such as a processor.
268. Heuristic
                         A technique for assessing the probability of a file containing a computer virus. Useful
                         for discovering previously unknown strains.
269. Hi8 (also Hi-8)
                         A good-quality, high-band video standard used by camcorders (a high-band version
                         of Video 8).
270. High-band

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                        Enhanced videotape formats, such as S-VHS, S-VHS-C and Hi8, which offer improved
                        picture quality.
271. Homepage
                        The first or main page of a website, usually containing links to more detailed sections
                        or content.
272. Host drive
                        When DriveSpace creates a compressed drive, it keeps part of it uncompressed – the
                        host drive. It's usually a very small part of the disk, but it contains important files
                        that allows your newly compressed drive to work properly.
273. Host
                        The PC that you set up as the 'base' or central PC in your home network. It is usually
                        attached to the printer.
274. HSCSD
                        High Speed Circuit Switched Data. An enhanced version of the GSM digital mobile
                        phone network that can transfer data at speeds up to 28. 8Kbits/s.
275. HTML (HyperText
Mark-up Language)     The language used to create pages for a website. HTML code is written as text that is
                      converted to a web page by a web browser.
276. Hyperlink
                      A clickable link on a web page or in a document that takes you to elsewhere, like to
                      another website or a later page.
277. Hyperthreading
                      Technology developed by Intel that enables one of its newest Pentium 4 processors
                      to behave as two processors for certain tasks, speeding up performance.
278. Icon
                      A small image used by Windows to identify a file or application.
279. IDE
                      Stands for integrated device electronics, which is a standard interface for connecting
                      devices such as hard disks and CD-ROM drives to a PC.
280. Image-editing application
                      Software used to manipulate digital images, either created from scratch or obtained
                      via a scanner or digital camera.
281. Import filter
                      A software feature that allows you read a file created using one application into a
                      different one.
282. Infection
                      Describes the way a virus transfers itself from one computer to another

283. Infrared port
                        An interface that allows you to transmit data via infrared light waves, allowing data
                        to be transferred cordlessly between devices with infrared ports. Most PDAs and
                        notebook computers feature infrared ports, but few desktop PCs are so lucky –
                        limiting the usefulness as a connection method.
284. Ink cartridge
                        A plastic container holding ink, inserted into an inkjet printer. Some cartridges may
                        incorporate the nozzles that will put the ink on the page but they are often just refills
                        that slot into a reusable head.
285. Inkjet printer
                      Type of printer which squirts tiny dots of ink onto the page to form text and images.
                      Almost all inkjet printers print in colour as well as black and white.
286. Instant messenging
                      Real-time text-based communication over a network (usually the internet), using a
                      program such as AOL Instant Messenger.
287. Integrity check
                      A type of virus check comparing previously-stored information about a file to later
                      versions, noting any suspect modifications.

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288. Interface
                         In the context of software, the 'look and feel' of a program, such as its buttons,
                         menus and windows. In hardware terms, it usually refers to a physical connection,
                         like a parallel printer interface.
289. Internet
                         An global network that links millions of computers, using phone and cable links.
                         Users connect to server computers, which act rather like a local phone exchange. A
                         modem connects your PC to the server from home, allowing you to become part of
                         the internet.
290. Internet Explorer
                         Microsoft's internet browser – a program that allows you to 'browse' web pages,
                         manage your favourite web sites, and so on.
291. Internet Protocol
(IP) address            An identifying number of a computer attached to a network. A computer's IP address
                        is similar to a phone number in function. Every computer must have a unique IP
                        address – either a permanent address or one that is dynamically assigned to them
                        each time they connect to the net. IP addresses are written as four sets of numbers
                        separated by full stops; for example, 204. 171. 64. 2.
292. Internet service
provider (ISP)          A company which provides you with an internet connection, either for fixed monthly
                        fee or for the cost of local call charges. Examples of popular ISPs include BT Internet,
                        AOL and Freeserve.
293. Interpolation
                        When scanner software increases the resolution of a scanned image by
                        mathematically guessing extra details.
294. Intranet
                        Has the look and feel of an internet website, and can be explored with a browser
                        such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Unlike the web, access is limited to
                        pages on a company's internal network.
295. IRC (or Internet Relay Chat)
                        A vast, largely un-regulated global network allowing users to type messages in real
                        time – much like a real conversation. Divided into separate rooms, or 'channels'.
296. IrDA Infrared Data Association
                        A standard that allows two devices to communicate with each other via their infrared
                        ports. IrDA-compatible ports are often found on notebook computers.
297. IRQ
                        Stands for interrupt request, which are settings that determine the memory
                        addresses and processor usage for PC add-in cards and devices. You shouldn't
                        change these unless you really know what you're doing.
298. ISA
                        Stands for Industry Standard Architecture, which is an old type of expansion slot
                        inside a PC.
299. ISDN
                        Stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, which is a digital telephone
                        connection providing high-speed data transfer, for such things as internet access.
                        Popular in particular with businesses needing to transfer large amounts of data
                        regularly and reliably.
300. Java
                        A special language used to create advanced effects on websites, such as animated
                        sequences and interactive buttons and menus.
301. Jaz drive
                        A high-capacity storage device made by Iomega. Capable of storing 2Gb of data on
                        removable cartridges.
302. Jitter
                        Read errors caused by the timing electronics inside a CD player or CD-ROM drive
303. Joystick
                        A stick-like device that lets you control actions in games.
304. JPEG (or JPG)

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                        A common format for image files. JPEG images are compressed and the small file size
                        makes them ideal for web pages.
305. Jumpers
                        Little metal pins, found on expansion cards and motherboards, which allow you to
                        change settings manually.
306. Justified
                        Text which lines up with both page margins or both edges of a column.
307. K6
                        Old processor from Intel's rival, AMD. In terms of performance, the K6 is roughly
                        equivalent to a Pentium II processor.
308. Kb (kilobyte)
                        Measure of capacity of a storage device. Equal to 1,024 bytes.
309. Kbit/s
                        Short for kilobits per second, which is a measure of data transfer or modem speed. A
                        kilobit is 1,000 individual bits of computer data, and most computer modems
                        download information at up to 56Kbps.
310. Kb/s
                        Short for kilobytes per second, which is a measure of data transfer speed.
311. Kerning
                        Certain pairs of letters, such as 'A' and 'V', appear too widely spaced at large sizes
                        and need to be squeezed together to look balanced. This is known as kerning and is
                        used regularly in desktop-publishing applications. Can be performed either manually
                        or automatically by software.
312. Keyword
                        A word of particular importance on a web page that can be used by search engines to
                        identify it.
313. KHz (KiloHertz)
                        For digital audio, this refers to the number of samples per second a piece of music is
                        recorded at. Audio CDs use 48KHz samples -- 48,000 samples per second.
314. Knowledge base
                     A structured store of electronic information. Like an interactive encyclopaedia but
                     designed to help with decision-making and problem-solving in a specialised field, not
                     as general reference source.
315. LAN Local Area Network
                     Describes two or more computers connected, either physically or wirelessly, with the
                     ability to share resources, such as printers.

316. Laser printer
                        A type of printer that produces high-quality text and graphics using a laser beam.
                        The beam builds up characters and images as tiny dots on a rotating drum. The drum
                        then attracts ink powder (toner) to these dots. This is then transferred and heatfused
                        to paper.
317. Launch
                        To start up a program, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, by clicking on its icon or
                        selecting it from the Windows Start menu.
318. Layers
                       In image-editing, the equivalent of multiple sheets of glass heaped on top of the
                       drawing canvas. You can draw onto any layer, then change the order, hide them and
                       so on.
319. LCD (liquid-crystal
display)               Technology used to create low-power, slim display panels. Used in everything from
                       digital watches to flat-screen monitors.
320. LED
                       Light Emitting Diode. A low-power electronic device that emits light when an electric
                       current is passed through it.
321. Legend
                       A translation of the symbols or colours used in a chart.

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322. Lens flare
                         A special effect which produces a circular flare of light.
323. Li-ion
                        Short for lithium-ion, which is a sophisticated type of rechargeable battery used in
                        many portable computers and mobile phones. Li-ion cells offer good weight:life ratio
                        and, unlike earlier battery technologies, do not suffer from the so-called 'memory'
                        effects- allowing them to be recharged in haphazard fashion without detriment.
324. Link (or hyperlink)
                        An object on a web page that, when clicked, takes you to another web page. Both
                        text and graphics can be links.
325. Linux
                        An operating system that runs on a variety of computers (including PCs) and can be
                        freely modified and distributed by its users. It was developed by Linus Torvalds.
326. Lithium polymer
                        An expensive type of battery that, for the time being, you'll only see on the most
                        expensive portable devices. Polymer cells can be moulded into unusual shapes,
                        making them suitable for all manner of applications.
327. Low-band
                        A standard videotape format, such as VHS, VHS-C or Video 8.
328. LPT1 (abbreviation for
line printer)           Nowadays more commonly called a parallel port, this a connector at the back of a PC
                        originally developed to connect a printer to the computer. All sorts of devices, like Zip
                        drives and scanners, now make use of this port. A second parallel port will be called
329. LS-120
                        An advanced but little-used version of a standard floppy disk drive, capable of storing
                        120Mb of data on a single disk.
330. Macros
                        In the context of software, an automated series of commands or operations that can
                        be run at anytime. For example, if you always carry out a series of operations on
                        your text to put it into a certain typeface and size, then you can set up a macro to
                        perform this function. In photography, a macro mode allows for close-up shots
                        without distortion.
331. Magic wand
                        In image-editing, a feature that automatically selects an area of similar colour or

332. Magnetic shielding
                       Material that shields loudspeaker magnets, preventing them from interfering with
                       nearby PC or TV screens.
333. Mailing list
                       A service provided by special interest groups that sends regular email updates to its
                       (usually free) subscribers.
334. Mail server
                       The computers at your ISP that handle email coming into your account as well as all
                       the email you send out.
335. Mailbox (or inbox)
                       The folder in your email application that stores your incoming messages.
336. Mail-merge
                       A useful tool included in most word-processing applications that allows you to create
                       multiple documents based on data from another source, usually a database program.
                       Mail merge is particularly useful and time-saving when you want to send the same
                       letter to a group of people whose addresses are kept in your database.
337. Malware
                       A generic term for software designed to perform harmful or surreptitious acts.
338. Masks
                       In image-editing, a feature that allows certain parts of an image to be blocked off.
                       Masked sections are immune to any changes you might make to the entire image.

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339. Master pages
                        In desktop publishing software, anything such as headers, logos or guides placed on
                        a master page will appear on every page in the publication.
340. MBR
                        Master Boot Record. Part of a hard disk read by a computer as soon as it is switched
                        on. The MBR contains information about which hard disk to boot from.
341. Mb/s
                      Short for Megabytes per second, which is a measure of data transfer speed.
342. Mbit/s (megabits
per second)           A measure of data-transfer speed. A megabit is one million bits.
343. Mb (megabyte)
                      A measurement of storage capacity, usually for computer memory. 1Mb is equal to
                      1,024Kb (kilobytes).
344. Megapixel
                      A measure of the level of detail recorded by digital cameras – one megapixel means
                      an image made from one million tiny dots (pixels).
345. Membrane keyboards
                      A type of keyboard that has a plastic membrane grid under the keys. Membrane
                      keyboards tend to have a soft, quiet action.
346. Memory (or RAM)
                      Random Access Memory is the computer's temporary storage area, measured in
                      megabytes (Mb). Anything written to memory will be lost when the power is switched
                      off. Windows 95 needs at least 16Mb to work properly, and double that again to work
                      smoothly. For Windows 98 and beyond, consider 64Mb as a realistic minimum.
347. Memory cards
                      Small cards that can store many megabytes (Mb) of computer data or documents.
                      Often used as a removable storage medium in digital cameras and palmtop
348. Memory stick
                      A type of proprietary memory card designed by Sony. Used to provide slot in,
                      removable storage, for devices such as digital cameras.
349. Message board
                      An internet-based equivalent of an actual message board, where people can post and
                      reply to messages 'posted' by other people.

350. MFD (multifunction
device)               A machine that combines any or all of the functions of a copier, fax, printer and
351. MHz (Megahertz)
                      A measure of how fast the processor in your PC works – 800MHz Pentium III, for
                      example. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number the faster a PC will be.
352. Mic in
                      Sound cards have different sockets at the back so you know what plugs in where.
                      The mic in socket is for the microphone.
353. Microswitched keyboard
                      A type of keyboard where each key has its own tiny switch – these being the
                      microswitches. The switch sits underneath its key. The action that this gives the
                      keyboard is often described as “clicky”.
354. MIDI
                      Stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, which is a standard for controlling
                      electronic musical instruments by computer. One MIDI instrument can be used to
                      control and communicate with another, so that music created on one can be edited
                      on another.
355. Midrange
                      Sound frequencies in the middle of the audio spectrum.
356. MIME
                      Stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, which is a standard for sending files

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                     and other data that is not plain text in mail messages over the internet.
357. MiniDisc
                     Looks like a small floppy disk, but can record up to 74 minutes of digital sound using
                     compression. Used in personal stereos and in-car entertainment systems
358. MiniDV
                     The Digital Video (DV) tape format for digital camcorders.
359. Mirror site
                     A duplicate of a website, usually in a different location, intended to share the load in
                     times of heavy use. Shareware download sites use mirror sites for this very purpose.
360. MMC
                     MultiMedia Card. A postage stamp-size solid-state memory card used by some digital
                     cameras and MP3 players. See also SD card.
361. MMS
                     Multimedia Messaging. Sending and receiving pictures to and from a mobile from.
362. MMX
                     Stands for Multimedia Extensions, a special set of multimedia enhancements built
                     into some early Pentium processors and designed to improve the performance of
                     multimedia applications and games.
363. Modem
                     A device that enables two computers to communicate with each other over a
                     telephone line. A modem is usually needed to connect to the internet.
364. Moderator
                     User who controls who can speak in a moderated chat room.
365. Modulation
                     Way of varying aspect of a sound, such as vibrato or tremolo.
366. Moiré
                     These are interference patterns that may be visible when a monitor displays certain
                     images or patterns. Moiré is a nuisance that can generally be resolved by changing
                     the background colour.
367. Motherboard
                     The main circuit board inside any PC into which every other component connects to
                     and communicates through.
368. Mouse pointer
                     Also known as the pointer, this is what you see on screen when you move your
                     mouse. It usually looks like an arrow.
369. MP3
                     A standard for compressing digital audio. The sound quality of an MP3 file is close to
                     that CD audio but requires only a fraction of the storage space.
370. MPEG
                     Stands for Motion Picture Experts Group, and describes a method of compressing
                     digital video. MPEG-1 compression gives VHS-quality vide, while MPEG-2
                     compression gives high-quality video with CD-quality sound. MPEG-2 compression is
                     used for DVD movies.
371. MS DOS
                     See DOS.
372. MTU
                     Stands for maximum transmission unit, which is the largest collection of data bits
                     that a computer network can transmit.
373. Multimedia
                     Implies that either hardware (such as your PC) or software is capable of handling
                     both video and sound.
374. My Computer
                     Usually you will find an icon labelled 'My Computer' in the top-left corner of your
                     Windows desktop. Double-click on this and a Window will appear, containing icons for
                     any disk drives you have connected to your PC, as well as any printers you have
375. Name
                     In spreadsheets, an easy-to remember identifier for a cell or range.

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376. Nanobot
                        Notional microscopic machines, built using 'nanotechnology'.
377. NetMeeting
                        A software program developed by Microsoft and available free of charge. Allows you
                        to talk and share data with other computer users over the internet; either audio only
                        or, if you've a camera, visually.
378. Net
                        Short for internet, which is a global network of computers you can hook up to
                        through an ordinary phone line.
379. Network
                        A way of connecting several computers and printers so that they can share data.
380. Network Adapter
                       A socket for connecting a PC to an office network or some broadband internet
381. Network interface card
                       Each PC on a network needs a network interface card, into which the network cable is
                       plugged. Most can transfer data at 10Mbits per second (10 million bits per second)
                       but 100Mbit cards are becoming more common.
382. Newsgroups
                       Discussion areas on the internet, where you can post a message and read replies
                       from other people, like an office noticeboard.
383. NiCad
                       Heavy, cheap and basic type of rechargeable battery, which suffers badly from
                       'memory effect' – that is, the problem of a battery not recharging properly if you
                       attempt to charge it up before it is fully exhausted.
384. NiMH
                       Stands for nickel-metal hydride, which is an older type of notebook battery. They last
                       longer if you let them run flat before recharging, which can be inconvenient.
385. Notebook
                       A portable computer, usually around the size of an A4 notebook. Also referred to as
386. NTFS
                       NT File System. A more secure and reliable file system used by Windows NT and XP.

387. OCR
                        An abbreviation of optical character recognition, the process by which printed text is
                        scanned and converted into a computer-editable electronic document.
388. OEM
                        Short for original equipment manufacturer, which refers to components sold to
                        manufacturers purely for incorporation in complete systems. Often, OEM parts are
                        similar to those sold retail, but may be cheaper or sold with different software.
389. Office suite
                        A bundle of useful programs sold in one package. Lotus SmartSuite and Microsoft
                        Office are prime examples.
390. Offline
                        Working with internet software, like an email program, without being connected to
                        the internet, potentially running up telephone charges.
391. On-access
                        A virus checker that runs continuously in the background and checks files each time
                        you access them.
392. Onboard
                        Already fitted to your PC as part of the main circuitry on the motherboard. So
                        'onboard AGP graphics', would mean the PC with built-in AGP graphics facilities. The
                        alternative is a separate expansions card which is attached to the motherboard via a
                        special port.
393. On demand
                        A virus checker in the form of a program which you run whenever you want to check

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394. Online
                        Being connected to the internet.
395. Online instructions
                        A read-me text file that will be installed on your computer during the installation of
                        software, or will be present on the CD-ROM for future reference. Think of it as an
                        electronic manual.
396. Online
                        The time you spend connected to or via the internet.
397. Online Service
                        A company that provides its own online content that's accessible only to fee-paying
                        members, as well as access to the internet proper. AOL is an online service.
398. OpenGL
                        A programming standard used for work such as 3D modelling. Setting a game to use
                        OpenGL can greatly improve the quality of the graphics.
399. Operating system
                        A crucial piece of software which is so important that it loads automatically when you
                        switch on a computer. Windows 98, 2000 and XP are operating systems, as is Mac
                        OSX, Linux, and Palm OS5 (for the Palm handheld computer) Operating systems
                        govern the way the hardware and software components in a computer work together.
400. Optical resolution
                        The true resolution a scanner can 'see' as it passes across a document. Resolution is
                        measured in dots per inch (dpi), so a 300dpi scan will pick up 300 lines of
                        information for each inch of the scanned page.
401. OSR2
                        This was a little-advertised version of Windows 95 distributed with new PCs and
                        never made available to the general public as an upgrade. In many senses it was a
                        test bed for new features that are now standard in later versions of Windows, such as
402. Overclocked processor
                        A processor that has had its operating speed improperly increased.

403. P9D
                        The form used by an employer to tell the Inland Revenue about taxable benefits
                        (such as company cars or accommodation) provided to employees earning less than
                        £8,500 a year. The employee should receive a copy in July each year.
404. P11D
                        The form used by an employer to tell the Inland Revenue about taxable benefits
                        (such as company cars or accommodation) provided to employees earning more than
                        £8,500 a year or to directors. The employee should receive a copy in July each year.
405. P60
                        A certificate, issued annually by employers, that shows an individual's total pay,
                        income tax and National Insurance contributions.
406. Packet
                        Information sent over the internet or other computer networks is split up into
                        packets of data. Each of these includes the destination IP address, so they can travel
                        separately and be rebuilt into the complete message on arrival.
407. Packet Writing
                        A technique (provided through software) that allows CD-Rs and CD-RWs to be
                        treated as floppy disks, with drag-and-drop file management.
408. Page printer
                        General term for printers that, like laser printers or inkjets, process a whole page at
                        a time.
409. Page Wizard
                        A simple series of on-screen forms to generate a page layout based on your
                        preferences. For example, Microsoft Publisher can automatically create a birthday
                        card based on your answers to some simple questions.

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410. PAL
                        Stands for Phase Alternating Line, which is the broadcast TV standard used in the UK
                        and in much of Europe.
411. Palette
                        In an image-editing program such as Paint Shop Pro, a palette will allow a user to
                        select a range of tools or colours to use for drawing or photo-retouching work.
412. Palmtop
                        A PDA or small computer about the size of a pocket calculator. Usually without a
                        keyboard and with a touch-sensitive screen, it will use text recognition for data entry.
                        Most palmtops are supplied with contact management, diary and memo software,
                        while many can access the internet and download email using a mobile phone. Third
                        parties may supply on-screen maps, electronic books and the like.
413. Paper support
                        Plastic trays which provide support for paper feeding into a printer, and for catching
                        printed sheets.
414. Parallel cable
                        Usually used to connect a PC to a printer, but can also be used to link two PCs
                        together. Parallel cables allow data to be swapped between computers at a higher
                        speed than serial cables.
415. Parallel port
                        A single socket on the back of a PC typically used for connecting a printer or a lowcost
416. Parasitic virus
                        Computer virus that spreads by attaching itself to another file, usually a program.
417. Parity error
                        Some types of computer memory have a built-in 'parity checking' system to warn of
                        memory errors that otherwise might not be noticed. If a problem is detected, a parity
                        error warning is produced. If this is repeated frequently, the memory module is
                        probably faulty.

418. Partition
                        A large hard disk can be divided into two or more partitions or 'virtual' drives. Once
                        partitioned, each section is treated by Windows as though it were a completely
                        separate, smaller hard disk.
419. Patch (software)
                       A software file or collection of files that fixes problems with an existing software
                       application by making minor changes to the program.
420. Patch (midi music)
                       In the context of music recording, one of a selection of 128 different instrumental
                       sounds that MIDI can use.
421. Path (file management)
                       In file management, the names of the drive, folder and subfolders that indicate
                       exactly where on a disk a file is stored, like 'C:WindowsMapsMyFile. xls'. This
                       example means that the file MyFile. xls is located in the folder called Maps, which is
                       inside the folder called Windows on your hard disk.
422. Path (drawing software)
                       in drawing software, vector lines, curves and outline shapes. A path is invisible until
                       given a stroke or fill.
423. PAYE
                       Pay As You Earn. The normal system of paying tax if you work for somebody else.
                       Your employer deducts tax from your pay before you receive it.
424. Payload
                       Activity initiated by a virus, such as displaying a message or deleting files.
425. PC Card
                       A credit card-size device for adding anything from a modem to a hard drive to a
                       notebook PC. Requires a PC Card slot (standard on almost all notebooks).

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426. PCI
                         Peripheral Component Interconnect. A high-performance expansion slot for desktop
                         PCs, allowing simple installation of PCI components like sound cards and modems.
427. PDA (Personal
Digital Assistant)       A palmtop computer about the size of a pocket calculator. Usually without a keyboard
                         and with a touch-sensitive screen, it will use text recognition for data entry. Most
                         PDAs are supplied with contact management, diary and memo software, while many
                         can access the internet and download email using a mobile phone or normal phone
428. PDF
                         Portable Document Format. A file format developed by Adobe that allows formatted
                         pages of text and graphics to be viewed and printed correctly on a variety of
                         machines, without the original author having to worry about the recipients. PDF
                         pages created with Adobe Acrobat need to be read with the free Acrobat Reader
429. Peer-to-peer
                         A network connecting two or more computers without a central file server.
430. Pentium 4
                         The latest and fastest member of Intel's Pentium line of processors.
431. Pentium III
                         Until recently the fastest member of the Intel Pentium family of processors. It still
                         continues in parallel with the newer Pentium 4.
432. Pentium II
                         An improved version of Intel's original Pentium processor – it has now been
                         superseded by the Pentium III and discontinued.
433. Pentium MMX
                         A now-obsolete enhanced version of Intel's standard Pentium processor. The MMX
                         part stands loosely for MultiMedia eXtensions, as the chip is optimised to handle all
                         sorts of multimedia-intensive tasks such as playing videos and music.

434. Personal data
                         Any information referring to identifiable individuals; usually (but not always) used to
                         refer to computerised information. Most businesses and organisations storing
                         personal data must register with the Data Protection Commissioner.
435. Phonebook
                         A mobile phone memory used to record the owner's personal numbers, so they can
                         be recalled and dialled easily rather than tapped out each time.
436. Photo cartridge
                         Specialist cartridge of inks designed for printing photographic images. There are
                         often six colours of ink compared to the four used in a normal inkjet print.
437. Piano Roll Editor
                         An on-screen representation of music recording or playback, where a vertical
                         keyboard shows the notes, and the horizontal axis shows elapsed time – this is
                         similar to the punched paper song rolls used in Pianola machines.
438. Piezo
                         A system for inkjet printing, developed by Epson. The print head contains tiny
                         crystals which change shape when an electric current is passed through them, forcing
                         the ink onto the page.
439. PIM
                         Personal Information Manager. A software application that helps you to organise all
                         your personal data by managing your diary, contact list and messages.
440. Pincushion
                         This setting controls curvature of left- and right-hand sides of a monitor's display.
441. Pins
                         In thermal printers, these heat up and press against heat-sensitive paper to form
                         images and text. In dot-matrix printers, they strike an inked ribbon against the paper
                         to make their mark.

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442. Pitch bending
                        A technique much used by guitarists, who change the pitch of a note up or down by
                        pulling the strings across the fretboard.
443. Pitch wheel
                        A small rotating control found on most Midi keyboards that generates pitch-bend
444. PivotTable
                        A built-in Excel macro, or mini program, which summarises large amounts of data.
445. Pixel
                        Short for picture element, which is the smallest part of an image displayed on a
                        monitor or captured by a scanner or digital camera.
446. Pixelation
                        Many digital images are made up of tiny dots. So tiny that to the naked eye they
                        cannot be seen. However, if an image is enlarged or 'blown up' the individual become
                        visible. This process is known as pixellation.
447. Playlist
                        A list of audio tracks (usually MP3s) queued for playback, not unlike a stack of
                        records on an old record player.
448. Platform games
                        These involve jumping and running across 'platforms', fighting foes and collecting
                        sundry objects.
449. Plug and play
                        A standard for Windows PCs that allows peripherals to be connected and used in a
                        matter of moments. In theory, Windows will automatically detect the new device and
                        install any needed drivers from its own database.
450. Plug-in
                        A small program that adds extra features such as streaming video to your web
                        browser or to other applications, and is loaded only when it's needed to display

451. Pocket PC
                         A generic term for any handheld computer that uses the Microsoft Pocket PC
                         operating system.
452. Point size (or pt size)
                         The measurement that typographers use to describe the size of text. One point is
                         approximately 1/72nd of an inch. Accordingly, 72pt text is twice as big as 36pt text.
453. POP3
                         Post Office Protocol 3. A protocol for remotely accessing and retrieving email from an
                         ISP. Most email applications and ISPs use POP3
454. Pop-up menu
                         A menu that can be displayed on the screen at any time by pressing the appropriate
                         key, usually displayed over material already on the screen. Once you have made a
                         choice from the menu, it disappears and the original screen is restored.
455. Port
                         A socket, which is located at the back of the computer's base, where you plug in
                         items like the printer and keyboard.
456. Port scanning
                         using a computer to search for weak spots in other computers connected to the
                         internet, usually for unlawful purposes.
457. Portal
                         A website that offers a variety of services, such as news, weather reports, stock
                         information, email and so on. The information on offer may be personalised for your
                         interests if you have registered with the portal. Most search sites are also portals.
458. Posting
                         To send a message to a newsgroup.
459. PostScript
                         A printer description language, including outline font technology, developed by Adobe.
                         It enables typefaces to be displayed on screen exactly as they will print, and allows

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                   them to print to best effect on different resolution devices.
460. Power Management
                   Power-saving features on a PC, printer or monitor, designed to turn off or put on
                   standby any part of the system that is not needed.
461. Preferences
                   The part of a program that lets you alter various settings and remembers your
                   changes so it looks and behaves how you want it to.
462. Pre-payment
                   No-contract phone services where there is no commitment and no monthly rental
                   charge. Instead users buy calls in advance using pre-paid call vouchers. Pre-payment
                   mobiles start from around £30.
463. Preview
                   In graphics and drawing programs, a mode that allows you to see your artwork in
                   colour with fills and strokes. Some programs offer more than one preview quality
464. Preview pane
                   Part of a window in an email application that lets you read a message without having
                   to first double-click it to open it. This has the disadvantage that some malicious
                   emails can contain HTML which will run automatically in the preview pane, potentially
                   importing a virus to your system.
465. Preview scan
                   A quick 'rough draft' of subject to be scanned at a low resolution. This allows you to
                   pick out which areas of the image you want to scan in greater detail.
466. Print head
                   The part of the printer that actually prints onto the paper. In the case of an inkjet
                   printer, this is the part that squirts ink, in strips, onto the page. In a dot-matrix
                   printer it's the part that hammers a row of pins through the ink ribbon

467. Printer carriage
                        The internal printer mechanism which moves back and forth and to which the
                        cartridge attaches.
468. Processor
                        The chip that is the 'brain' of the computer. The faster the processor, the better a
                        computer will perform.
469. Program
                        Software or applications. Programs tell your computer, and its accessories (the
                        hardware) what to do and how to do it. Examples are Excel, Word, and computer
470. Program Change
                    A MIDI message that selects one of the 128 different instrumental sounds that Midi is
                    able to use.
471. Programming Language
                    The computer instructions that are used to build computer programs. There are many
                    programming languages, with names like C++ and BASIC, and each is designed for a
                    specific purpose.
472. PS/2
                    A set of standards for such things as mouse and keyboard interfaces, originally used
                    by IBM.
473. PS/2 port
                    A small, round 6-pin connector, for plugging a keyboard and/or mouse into a
474. Pt
                    Point size. The measurement that typographers use to describe the size of text. One
                    point is approximately 1/72nd of an inch. Accordingly, 72pt text is twice as big as
                    36pt text.
475. Quantising
                    A way found in MIDI sequencers, including those on your PC, to force badly timed

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                       notes to the nearest 'correct' value, and so keep your recording in perfect time.
476. Quicktime
                   A video file format invented by Apple, and used on both PCs and Macs.
477. QWERTY keyboard
                   The standard English keyboard layout, so called because the first six letters on the
                   top row of the keyboard are QWERTY. Similarly, French keyboards can be referred to
                   as AZERTY while some other languages, including German, use a QWERTZ keyboard
478. Radio button
                   A method of selecting an option in an application dialogue box. Only one button in
                   the control group can be selected: if you change your selection, your first choice is
                   automatically deselected.
479. Rage Pro
                   A type of 3D graphics card made by ATI. It was excellent when first launched but is
                   now almost obsolete. You are most likely to find it or derivatives in corporate
                   machines or notebooks which are unlikely to be used for gaming.
480. RAM
                   Random Access Memory. The computer's working area, used for data storage while
                   the PC is switched on. Its capacity is measured in megabytes (Mb): the more
                   memory your PC has, the more things it can process simultaneously and the faster it
                   will seem. Note that any information in RAM will be lost when the power is switched
481. Rambus
                   A design of memory claimed to offer very high performance, albeit at a high price.
                   Developed by Rambus Inc and licensed to RAM manufacturers, it is found in Pentium
                   III and Pentium 4 systems.

482. Range
                       In a spreadsheet, a defined block of cells. Rather than performing calculations on
                       each cell individually, you can apply a formula to the whole range.
483. RCTC
                       Rewriteable Consumer Time Code. Used on camcorders and video recorders to keep
                       track of recording length.
484. RDRAM
                       Rambus DRAM. A design of memory claimed to offer very high performance, albeit at
                       a high price. Developed by Rambus Inc and licensed to RAM manufacturers, it is
                       found in Pentium III and Pentium 4 systems.
485. RDS
                       Radio Data System. A feature of many radios, especially in cars, which can interpret
                       coded data included with the radio signal to display the name of the radio station and
                       interrupt other programmes with local traffic reports.
486. RealPlayer
                       The software required to play RealAudio and RealVideo files streamed over the
                       internet. A basic version is available as a free download while a more sophisticated
                       version can be bought online.
487. Real time
                      Something that takes place on a computer at the same speed as it would in real life.
                      In real-time games – perhaps a flight simulator – a minute or an hour of game time
                      is the same as in the outside world. In real time graphics processing, the onscreen
                      image or video is rendered as you watch, rather than relying on a pre-recorded
488. RJ-11 (Registered Jack-11)
                      The type of small plug and socket used by modems to connect to a telephone socket.
                      A converter plug is needed before an RJ-11 cable can be plugged into a standard UK
                      telephone socket (RJ-11 is a US standard).
489. RTC
                      Real-time clock. The battery-powered clock inside every PC which keeps track of time

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                       while the system is switched off.
490. Readme file
                       A file created during an application installation that contains useful information.
                       Readme files are usually found in the same Program Files folder as the application
491. Reboot
                       To restart a computer. Normally, this is by using the 'Restart' option on the Windows
                       Start menu. However, it may be necessary to press Control-Alt-Delete or even to use
                       the Reset button if one is fitted to the PC.
492. Record
                       A single entry in a database, comprising a related group of individual 'fields'. Each
                       entry in an address book, for example, is a record.
493. Recycle Bin
                       Where all files deleted in Windows are sent. Shown as a rubbish bin icon on the
                       Desktop, it must be emptied if you want to get rid of deleted files for good.
494. Red-eye
                       A photographic effect where a flash reflects from the back of the subject's retinas,
                       giving their eyes a red glow. The effect can be reduced with a flash that pulses before
                       the photo is taken, making the iris contract and reducing the reflection.
495. Refresh rate
                       Measured in Hertz (Hz) the number of times per second that the image on your
                       monitor is redrawn. Slight changes in the image each time it is updated combine to
                       give the illusion of movement. For a steady image, the higher the refresh rate, the
                       less flicker you will see. A refresh rate over 85Hz is generally accepted as being

496. Registry
                     A database integrated into Windows which stores information on all hardware and
                     software installed on your PC. This includes user preferences, settings and licence
497. Removable storage device
                     Disk drives that use high-capacity disks which can be removed and stored remotely.
                     Typical examples include the Iomega Zip and Jaz products.
498. Reservoir
                     In an inkjet printer, the part that actually holds the ink. In many inkjets, the
                     reservoir is combined with the print head itself to create a single disposable unit,
                     while others have replaceable reservoirs.
499. Resolution
                     The amount of detail shown in an image, whether on screen or printed. For a monitor,
                     it is the number of pixels it can display (typically 1024 x 768 pixels for a 17in
                     monitor). For printers and scanners, resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi);
                     the number of drops of ink or toner that can be printed in a square inch.
500. Reverberation
                     A sound effect which adds the sound of a real environment, such as a room, hall, or
                     cathedral, to create an illusion of depth in the music.
501. RGB image
                     A colour picture created as on a monitor, by combining a value for red, green and
                     blue channels to determine the colour of each individual pixel.
502. Right-click
                     Most actions in Windows are performed by clicking the left mouse button. However,
                     since the arrival of Windows 95, many programs – and Windows itself – make use of
                     the right mouse button click to display a pop-up menu with special functions.
503. RIMM
                     Rambus Inline Memory Module. A 'stick' of RDRAM, used in Pentium III and Pentium
                     4 systems with suitable motherboards.
504. Ring Modulation
                     An audio effect that produces metallic or clanging sounds. The most famous example

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                         is the voices of the Daleks.
505. Ripper
                         Software that can be used to automatically convert CD audio and. WAV files into
                         compressed MP3 or WMA format for later playback, either through your PC or from a
                         portable digital music player.
506. Rip
                         To digitally extract the music data from a CD-ROM or audio CD. Ripping a track from
                         an audio CD is the first stage of compressing it as an MP3 file.
507. RISC processor
                         Reduced Instruction Set Computer processors are designed using a very limited
                         number of simple instructions. They can combine these instructions at high speed to
                         perform much more complex calculations.
508. RMS
                         Root Mean Squared. A way of measuring the power output of speakers. Because the
                         calculation gives values similar to normal use, it is the most honest way of quoting
                         speaker power output and the best way of comparing different models.
509. Roaming
                         Using your mobile phone abroad. You must ask your mobile phone provider to enable
                         roaming, and your operator must have a roaming agreement with the foreign
                         operator. Your phone must be able to use the network technology in the foreign
                         country: in Europe, this will be GSM900 or GSM1800, while GSM coverage in the USA
                         is GSM1900.

510. RSA
                         An internet encryption and authentication system that uses an algorithm developed
                         in 1977 by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman. The RSA algorithm is the
                         most commonly used encryption and authentication algorithm and is included as part
                         of the Web browser from Netscape and Microsoft. It's also part of Lotus Notes,
                         Intuit's Quicken, and many other products.
511. ROM
                         Read Only Memory. Any memory that can be read but not written to. A PC's BIOS
                         uses ROM to store basic system information and instructions which cannot be
512. RTF
                         Rich Text Format. A common file format used to transfer files between different
                         word-processing programs. It preserves most of the formatting of a document.
513. Router
                         A device which is used to connect more than one computer together and/or to the
                         internet as an alternative to a modem. It's so-called because it determines which way
                         data is sent.
514. Sample
                         A recording of instruments or sounds. Samples can be used with a sequencer to
                         make music, or downloaded to a wavetable soundcard so it can reproduce those
                         sounds, combining them and playing them back at different pitches to make music.
515. Satellite speaker
                         Compact, usually cube-shaped speaker designed to reproduce midrange and high
                         audio frequencies. Satellite speakers should be used in conjunction with a subwoofer.
516. Scale
                         To change the dimensions of a picture, keeping it in proportion to its original size.
517. ScanDisk
                         A disk-checking utility incorporated in Windows that can detect and repair minor
                         problems with your disk drives.
518. Scanner
                         A device which uses a light sensor to convert a drawing, photograph or document
                         into data which can then be interpreted by software on your PC. A flatbed scanner

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                         has a flat sheet of glass on which the image or document is placed. The scan head
                         moves below the glass, while with a handheld scanner you move the scanner over
                         the image.
519. SCART
                         A standardised 21-pin connector for two-way traffic of video and audio signals. It is
                         used across Europe to connect TVs, video recorders and other domestic audiovisual
520. Scenario
                         In spreadsheets, a named set of input values you can substitute in a worksheet.
521. Screen grab
                         Also screen shot. An image of what was displayed on screen at a particular moment.
                         A screen is captured to the clipboard in Windows by pressing the Print Screen key.
                         You can then copy it to a graphic file or simply print it off.
522. Screen resolution
                         The number of pixels that are displayed on the screen, making up the image. The
                         more pixels, the higher the resolution and the sharper the picture.
523. Screensaver
                         A program that runs on a computer after a short period of inactivity and displays a
                         moving image on screen. Originally intended to prevent damage to monitors caused
                         by displaying the same image for long periods, many screensavers now incorporate
                         passwords to protect your work from prying eyes.
524. Screen shot
                         Also screen grab. An image of what was displayed on screen at a particular moment.
                         A screen is captured to the clipboard in Windows by pressing the Print Screen key.
                         You can then copy it to a graphic file or simply print it off.
525. Script
                         A short program that's stored on a web server to control part of a website. For
                         example, a script could check that a date you've entered is valid, or move words
                         across the screen.
526. Scroll
                         When a document, an image or a list of items – filenames, fonts – is too long to
                         display in a window you can scroll up or down by clicking on the window's scroll bar
                         (also called the vertical scroll bar).
527. Scroll bar
                         The section of a window – normally grey with a slider control – you must use to scroll
                         around when the window's contents are too large to display at once.
528. SCSI
                         Small Computer System Interface (pronounced 'skuzzy'). An extremely fast
                         connection between such things as disk drives and scanners, and a PC. Up to seven
                         devices can be daisy-chained together and connected to a normal SCSI controller.
529. SD card
                         Secure Digital card. A secure variant of the postage stamp-size solid-state MMC
                         memory card used by some MP3 players.
530. SDRAM
                         Synchronous Dynamic RAM. The type of memory to be found in most modern PCs. It
                         is significantly cheaper than its biggest rival, RDRAM.
531. Search engine
                         A site on the net that indexes the names and addresses of other sites. It enables you
                         to search for sites containing certain keywords, or sometimes even to ask a question
                         in normal language.
532. Search query
                        The text given to a search engine which forms your search on the world wide web. It
                        can be one or several keywords, use special codes, or even be a natural question.
533. Security certificate
                        A piece of data sent from one computer to another designed to prove the authenticity
                        or security of information on the internet.
534. Selection tool
                        In graphics and page layout programs, the icon for this often looks like the dotted

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                       outline of a square. This tool allows you to select items by drawing a square or
                       rectangular shape around them. Once selected, you can manipulate them all at once.
535. Sequencer
                      A device or program that lets you copy samples, repeat them, edit them and play
                      around with their order. The software sequencers supplied with many sound cards
                      are almost like word processors for sounds, with facilities like drag-and-drop copying
                      easily allowing sequences of musical notes to be recorded and played back.
536. Sequential capture
                      A camera setting which will automatically take a series of photographs at set
                      intervals. It is particularly useful for action shots or for time-lapse photography.
537. Serial cable
                      A cable which connects to a serial or COM port. Such leads can connect peripherals to
                      the computer or can be used to link one computer to another.
538. Serial port
                      A socket on the back of a PC used to connect serial devices, also known as a COM
                      port. Often used on a PC to connect an external modem, some digital cameras and
                      PDAs or, formerly, to plug in a mouse.
539. Server
                      A computer on a network (such as the internet) that stores shared information.
                      Servers can also manage shared resources, such as printers.

540. Shareware
                       Programs that you can try out free before deciding whether to buy them or not.
                       Usually much cheaper than conventional software, shareware programs are usually
                       written by individuals and distributed not through shops but via the internet. Most
                       shareware is first supplied as a trial version, which may work fully for a set number
                       of days or may have some features disabled.
541. Sheet-feeder
                       A part of most printers and some scanners. It holds a number of sheets of paper and
                       feeds them into the mechanism automatically, one by one.
542. Shockwave
                       Technology developed by Macromedia that allows web pages to contain interactive
                       multimedia. Typical uses include animations and games.
543. Shortcut
                       A file that acts as a link to something else, such as a program file or disk drive.
                       Double-clicking a shortcut is the same as double-clicking the original file, so they can
                       be placed on the Desktop as a quick way to start programs.
544. Sim
                       Simulation. Used when referring to the simulation game genre.
545. SIM
                       Subscriber Identity Module. The smart card used by all digital mobile phones. The
                       SIM card carries the user's identity and phone number for accessing the network. It
                       also is used for storing the user's personal phonebook and text messages.
546. SIMM
                       Single In-line Memory Module. A 'stick' of RAM, used in 486 and Pentium-based
                       machines. Virtually all modern PCs use DIMMs, Dual In-line Memory Modules.
547. Simulations
                       Games that simulate real life, with the most popular being flight simulators.
548. Single pass
                       A single-pass scanner captures the image in one movement of the scanhead over the
                       picture. Multi-pass scanners must make one pass for each colour channel to be
549. Site
                       Short for website. A linked group of one or more web pages, normally dealing with a
                       particular subject or by a single author. Each page or site has its own distinctive URL

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                        (universal resource locator) or 'address'. This is usually prefixed by the letters www,
                        standing for world wide web.
550. Skin
                        a different, purely cosmetic appearance for an application.
551. Slider bar
                        A control which allows you to change a setting by clicking and 'dragging' a slider.
552. SLR
                        Single Lens Reflex. A type of camera in which the same lens is used for viewing
                        subjects in the viewfinder and for taking pictures. Compact cameras use a separate
                        lens for each.
553. SmartCard
                        a credit card with an embedded microchip for storing personal identification data.
554. SmartMedia
                        A form of solid-state storage used by some digital cameras and MP3 players. Data
                        files, normally photos or music, are stored on small removable cards. These are
                        about the same size as CompactFlash cards, but physically more flexible, being less
                        than 1mm thick.
555. SMS
                        Short Messaging Service. More commonly called text messaging.
556. SMTP
                        Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A standard for sending email messages. SMTP is
                        nowlargely reserved for sending messages rather than receiving them.

557. Smudging
                        In graphics applications, the Smudge tool helps to smooth out any joins between
                        image areas. It is particularly useful where part of your picture has been cloned but
                        you can see where you've painted over a scratch because sometimes cloning isn't
                        subtle enough.
558. Socket 7
                        Connector on your PC's motherboard for Pentium processors or equivalent non-Intel
559. Software
                        Any program or group of programs which tells hardware how it should perform,
                        including operating systems such as Windows, word processors, DTP applications and
560. Solid state
                        A device, such as an MP3 player or memory card, which has no internal moving parts.
561. Sound Blaster
                        Sound card made by Creative Labs. The Sound Blaster was one of the first de facto
                        PC audio standards, and many cards emulate it so they can be used with the
                        hundreds of games that support it.
562. Sound card
                        An expansion card that lets a PC create sounds – game sound effects, music, and so
                        on. Almost all PCs have a sound card as standard but more powerful sound cards can
                        be bought and fitted.
563. S/PDIF
                        Sony/Philips Digital InterFace. A standard for transferring digital audio information
                        between devices. S/PDIF sockets can be both optical and electrical, and found on
                        such things as sound cards and DVD players.
564. Spam
                      Junk email sent to large groups of people offering such things as money-spinning
                      ideas, holidays, and so on. Named after the Monty Python Spam song.
565. Speech recognition
                      Analysing the spoken word via special software so that a PC can recognise it and
                      translate spoken commands into computer actions.
566. Spooling
                      Temporarily transferring data to the hard disk or to some other temporary storage
                      place, before passing it on to its final destination. Most often seen in printing, where

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                      the PC spools data to the hard disk to finalise it before passing it to the printer.
567. Spreadsheet
                      A software application for creating sheets of calculations, set out in rows and columns.
                      They may be used for accounting, budgeting, and any other sort of financial or
                      mathematical calculation. Better spreadsheet programs also have graphical abilities,
                      allowing charts and graphs to be plotted. Leading programs include Microsoft Excel
                      and Lotus 1-2-3.
568. Spyware
                      Software installed (usually surreptitiously) as part of another application installation
                      specifically to monitor and report back on a computer's use.
569. Staff editor
                      Also known as the Score or Notation editor, this displays notes using the traditional
                      'dots on wires' familiar to classically trained musicians.
570. Start button
                      The button on the far left of the Taskbar in Windows. Click on it to access all the
                      programs installed on your computer, as well as printers, and the Control Panel.
                      Paradoxically, you should also click it to shut down your PC.
571. Start page
                      The page that appears when you first start your web browsing program. Also known
                      as the home page, it is user-selectable.

572. Storyboard
                      A series of sketches that symbolise specific scenes from a film or video project, used
                      to help map out ideas in advance.
573. Strategy game
                      A genre of game involving multiple characters or elements, with multiple goals, such
                      as a war game where you must win battles using troops, tanks and aircraft.
574. Streamed
                      When data flows to your PC as needed. Broadcasts over the internet are often
                      streamed so that you don't have to download a whole file before you start listening
                      or watching. However, you cannot generally download streamed files to your hard
                      disk to watch or listen to them later.
575. Stroke
                      In graphics programs, the visible attributes applied to a path, such as weight
                      (thickness), colour, style and so on.
576. Stylus
                      A plastic pointer styled like a pen, used for operating palmtop computers (PDAs) with
                      touch-sensitive screens.
577. Sub-head
                      Smaller than a headline, but larger than ordinary text, sub-heads break up long
                      stretches of text and help readers navigate round more easily.
578. Subwoofer
                      A special type of speaker designed to reproduce deep bass sounds only. Even on a
                      stereo system, only one subwoofer is required because human ears cannot detect the
                      direction of bass frequencies.
579. Surfing
                      Popular metaphor used for describing someone exploring the world wide web.
580. Surround sound
                      A system which literally surrounds the listener with sound, usually employing several
                      speakers positioned around the room controlled by a special decoder. Surround
                      sound is used in all feature films and many TV shows.
581. S-VHS
                      Super-VHS. A good-quality high-band video standard used by camcorders.
582. S-VHS-C
                      Super-VHS-C. A good-quality high-band video standard used by camcorders, but
                      using a smaller cassette than standard S-VHS.
583. S-Video

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                       A higher-quality video connection that carries brightness and colour information
                       separately. Usually found on high-end camcorders and on some graphics and TV
                       tuner cards.
584. Swapfile
                     An area of hard disk space that your PC can use as 'virtual' memory, or RAM. This
                     allows you to have more programs open at once but will be slower than having an
                     equivalent amount of real RAM.
585. Synchro recording
                     Also known as CD synchronisation. Automatically starts and stops a tape or disc
                     when recording a CD.
586. System date
                     This is the date used by the DOS and Windows operating systems. Programs that
                     need to know the date should ask DOS or Windows for the system date, not look
                     directly at the clock.
587. System disk
                     This is a disk that contains all the programs you need to get your PC working, with
                     enough system files to make it boot up and allow you access to the disk drives
588. System files
                     The files that run when the computer starts up, usually containing essential
                     instructions to make installed hardware and software to run properly. The autoexec.
                     bat and config. sys files are system files.
589. System software
                     Controls the hardware and manages the applications on your PC.
590. System Tools menu
                     This folder can be found by clicking the Windows Start button, then looking within
                     Programs/Accessories. In it you will find a number of utilities which are useful for
                     maintaining and troubleshooting your copy of Windows.
591. System Tray
                     Found on the far right of your taskbar, the system tray displays icons showing which
                     programs are always running in Windows, such as an anti-virus program.
592. Tab
                     Dialogue boxes often combine settings for different associated functions. Each 'page'
                     of settings is separated by a tab, as though it were sheets of paper filed away and
                     separated by tabbed dividers.
593. Tab stops
                     Preset points along a line of text, where the cursor will stop when the tab key is
594. Tag
                     Part of the syntax of HTML, the language used to define web pages, tags assign
                     attributes – such as colour and position – to each of the elements of a web page.
595. Talktime
                     The maximum lifespan of a mobile phone battery when used for calling continuously,
                     or the number of minutes included in your monthly fee to your mobile service
596. Tariff
                     Each mobile phone network offers a choice of price plans or 'tariffs'. Some tariffs
                     have low monthly charges, but relatively high call charges. Other tariffs have higher
                     monthly charges but lower caller charges.
597. Tape drive
                     A high capacity storage device based on magnetic tape used for making backups.
598. Taskbar
                     The bar that runs along the bottom of the screen in versions of Windows from 95
                     onwards. It includes the Start button and System Tray, and contains icons for
                     programs that are running.
599. TCP/IP
                     Transmission control protocol/internet protocol. The protocol used to transfer data
                     and information from one internet-connected computer to another.
600. Template

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                        A web page design, document or a spreadsheet that contains all the required
                        formatting for a particular style or type of document. This 'master' can then be used
                        over and over and again, merely filling in the newly changed information or text each
601. Tempo
                       The speed of music, measured in beats per minute (bpm).
602. Text and picture boxes
                       Empty frames designed to hold either words or pictures. They are used in many page
                       layout and graphics programs, and some word processors, to exactly position text or
                       graphic elements on a page.
603. Text box
                       In desktop publishing, a piece of text set apart from the main story on a page – just
                       like this jargon buster box.
604. Text tool
                       Often represented by the letter T and an arrow in image-editing and drawing
                       programs, this tool allows you to add text to the picture or image you are working on.
605. Text messaging
                       Most mobile phones can send and text messages of up to 160 characters to other
                       mobile phones, generally regardless of network or model of phone.

606. TFT (or thin-film transistor)
                         Technology used to create thin, flat colour screens for such things as computer
                         monitors and digital cameras. TFT displays are very high quality and will display clear
                         and bright images using thousands or millions of colours.
607. Thin Ethernet
                         Also called 10Base2, this networking technology uses cable which looks a lot like a
                         thin TV aerial cable and ends in 'BNC' plugs similar to those used by TV aerials.
608. Thumbnail
                         A small (usually postage stamp-size) image used to give a quick preview of a much
                         larger image.
609. TIFF
                         Tagged Image File Format. A standard file format used to store graphic images. It
                         can handle monochrome, grey-scale, 8-bit or 24-bit colour images. TIFF images can
                         be compressed without any loss of detail.
610. Time code
                         Digital signal, part of a video recording, which indicates elapsed time in hours,
                         minutes, seconds, and frames.
611. Time signature
                         The number of beats in every bar, and the musical length of each beat – the classic
                         time signature for pop music is 4/4 time, or four beats to the bar.
612. Timing out
                         Your browser sets a time limit on how long it will try to download a web page before
                         determining that it cannot access the appropriate server. If web access is very slow,
                         you are likely to be 'timed out'.
613. Toner
                         The dust-like powdered ink used by laser printers and copiers. Most types of toner
                         are carcinogenic.
614. Toolbar
                         A strip of icons that runs across the top of most Windows applications. Used to
                         provide quick access to certain important features, such as saving and printing.
615. Toolbox
                         The software equivalent of a mechanic's toolkit. An program's toolbox should contain
                         everything necessary to complete the task in hand. In an image-editing application,
                         the toolbox will have a selection of drawing, colouring and editing tools.
616. Top-level domain
                         The suffix after the final '. ' in a website (or 'domain') name. The most common top
                         level domain is '. com' for 'commercial'. Other examples include '. co. uk' for a UK
                         company and '. org' for a non-profit organisation.

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617. Touchpad
                       A small, touch-sensitive pad, usually a couple of inches square, which acts as an
                       alternative to a mouse on some notebook/palmtop computers. It works by sensing
                       fingertip pressure.
618. Tower
                       A computer system unit which stands upright (as opposed to a 'desktop' version
                       which lays flat). Although bulky, they give plenty of room for future expansion.
619. Trackball
                       A popular alternative to mice, trackballs are pointing devices with a flat base and an
                       upwards-facing ball. You roll the ball around 360 degrees with your fingers or thumb
                       in order to position the cursor.
620. Trackpad
                       A small, touch-sensitive pad, usually a couple of inches square, which acts as an
                       alternative to a mouse on some notebook/palmtop computers. It works by sensing
                       fingertip pressure.

621. Trackpoint
                       An alternative to a mouse on some notebook PCs, this is a small rubberised 'nipple',
                       usually in the centre of the keyboard. Wiggle it like a joystick and the mouse pointer
                       moves on screen. Although they take some getting used to, trackpoints can be more
                       predictable than trackpads in situations like train journeys, where movement can
                       cause ghost cursor placements.
622. Traffic
                       the amount of information being carried by a communication device (usually the
                       internet) at any one time
623. Transceiver
                       A combined radio transmitter and receiver.
624. Transitions
                     In video editing, methods of smoothly cutting from one video clip to another, such as
                     fading between them.
625. Transparency adapter
                     Flatbed scanners can be fitted with an adapter so that you can scan in slides and
                     negatives. Because of lower resolution, image quality is rarely as good as from a
                     dedicated transparency scanner.
626. Transport bar
                     A set of graphic buttons that mimic the stop, start, play, fast forward, rewind, and
                     record buttons that you see on any audio cassette recorder.
627. Trapezoid
                     Setting controlling the width of the top and bottom edges of a monitor's display.
628. Trigger event
                     Event that causes a virus to activate itself and unleash its payload. This can be a
                     particular date – Friday 13, April Fool's Day, Michelangelo's birthday – or perhaps a
                     counter, incremented each time the computer boots, reaching a certain value.
629. Trinitron
                     A CRT monitor technology developed by Sony in 1968. It uses very fine strips of wire
                     (an aperture grille) to deflect the electron beam and ensure colours are displayed
                     correctly. A similar, competing technology is Diamondtron. These monitors are most
                     efficient at producing sharp images, and are ideal for graphic intensive work.
630. Trojan Horse
                     A malicious computer program that's disguised as a different, harmless program. For
                     example, a trojan horse may be disguised as a game but it's actually a program that
                     steals your internet username and password. Trojan Horses don't copy themselves
                     and so are not viruses or worms.
631. TrueType
                     An outline font technology developed jointly by Microsoft and Apple. It enables

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                         typefaces to be displayed on screen exactly as they will print, and allows them to
                         print to best effect on different resolution devices.
632. Tuner presets
                         In a radio tuner, a number of memories that can store your favourite station settings.
633. TV out
                         a socket found on a hraphics card that can be used to make a connection to a TV
                         set's aerial-in socket.
634. TV tuner
                         An expansion card, which, when fitted into a PC, receives TV signals and allows a TV
                         picture to be displayed on your PC's screen.
635. TWAIN
                         Technology Without an Interesting Name. TWAIN is a standard way for scanners and
                         some other devices to talk to your PC. In theory, all TWAIN-compliant image-editing
                         applications, including Paint Shop Pro and PhotoShop, should be able to directly
                         access the image data produced by any TWAIN-compliant scanner or digital camera.
636. Tweeter
                         A loudspeaker designed to reproduce high audio frequencies.

637. Type 1 Postscript
                         An outline font technology developed by Adobe. It enables typefaces to be displayed
                         on screen exactly as they will print, and allows them to print to best effect on
                         different resolution devices.
638. Type II PC Card
                         The most common type of credit card-size expansion card used to add peripherals
                         such as modems to a notebook PC. Fits into a Type II PC Card slot, which is standard
                         on all notebooks.
639. Typeface
                         Sometimes called fonts, thousands of different typefaces are available, each with its
                         own individual letter shapes and characteristics.
640. Undo
                         A command in most programs which reverses your last action. The undo command
                         can really get you out of trouble if you have made a catastrophic error.
641. Uninstall
                         The process of removing unwanted applications from your PC. You might want to do
                         this to free up hard disk space, or simply because you no longer use the program.
                         Most programs have their own uninstall routine, or you can use Windows' uninstall
                         command from Control Panel.
642. Uninstaller
                         A utility that removes Windows programs properly by deleting not just the main
                         program and its folders, but also the smaller ancillary files that are scattered round
                         the hard disk. It should also remove any entries that have been made in your PC's
                         Registry and system files.
643. Uninstalling
                       Process of removing programs from your computer.
644. Universal Serial Bus (USB)
                       A standard which allows quick and easy connection of external peripherals such as
                       scanners and printers to your PC. It supports plug and play, and devices can be
                       added or removed with your PC switched on.
645. Unix
                       A robust, very stable operating system often used by businesses on powerful
                       workstations and large computers, especially when it is important that applications
                       do not crash. The free Linux operating system is a derivative of Unix.
646. Unmetered access
                       Access to the internet for a flat monthly fee, with no additional telephone call charges.
647. Upgrade
                       To improve the performance or specification of your computer by adding more
                       memory, a larger hard disk or making another improvement. Software can also
                       upgraded, usually by updating it to the latest version.

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648. Uploading
                       The process of transferring information to another computer, often for publishing on
                       the internet as a web page. The process normally involves using the File Transfer
                       Protocol, or FTP.
649. UPS
                       Uninterruptible Power Supply. An device that sits between a computer and its main
                       supply to provide a (usually brief) emergency power supply in the event of a power
650. URL
                       Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address of a web page you visit, enabling it to
                       be found from any other computer connected to the internet.
651. USB 2
                       Faster but backwardly-compatible successor to USB that's used by such things as
                       MP3 players and external disk drives.

652. USB hub
                       A small external or built-in device with several USB ports. It connects to your PC and
                       serves as a relay station, allowing you to add multiple devices. External USB hubs
                       can usually be placed on a desk for easy access to USB ports.
653. Usenet
                       Short for users' network, a collection of public groups of messages – newsgroups –
                       which is accessible to a wide variety of computer systems worldwide, both on and off
                       the internet. The act of writing a message that appears on Usenet is called posting.
                       Newsgroups belong to hierarchies, usually divided by geography and interest. For
                       example, news://uk. rec. cycling is a UK-based newsgroup about recreational cycling.
654. User interface
                       This is the face of a computer program – what it looks like to the person sitting in
                       front of the monitor, and how it is used. Windows and the Apple Macintosh have a
                       Graphical User Interface (GUI) which is easier to use than a purely text-based
                       interface like MS-DOS.
655. Utility
                       A program that performs specific tasks on your PC, such as optimising memory use
                       or compressing disk space.
656. V. 90
                       The official International Telecommunications Union (ITU) modem standard capable
                       of receiving data at 56Kbps.
657. Vector
                       Vector graphics are described (eg 'a line from x to y') rather than being made up of a
                       finite number of dots. Because they are rendered as smooth lines, they can be
                       enlarged to any scale without a loss of quality, unlike bitmapped images which will
                       become jaggy when blown up.
658. Velocity
                       MIDI notes have an initial volume related to how fast the note was played. A higher
                       velocity will be louder, and a lower one quieter.
659. VGA
                       Video Graphics Array. A very basic standard for graphics output, specifying that the
                       monitor and graphics card should be able to display 16 different colours at a
                       resolution of 640x480 pixels.
660. VHS C
                       A compact video cassette standard used in camcorders. It offers lower picture quality
                       than S-VHS-C and is more common in low-band camcorders.
661. Video CD
                      A compact disc format that contains low-quality video on a par with VNHS tape.
662. Video-capture card
                      An expansion card for PCs that allows them to record full-motion video sequences to
                      disk from TV receivers, camcorders and other video recording equipment.

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663. Video memory
                         Memory installed on your PC's graphics card and used to generate the on-screen
                         image. The more memory on the card, the higher the possible graphics resolution
                         and the more colours that can be displayed. 16Mb should be considered the minimum
                         standard today, with 32Mb or even 64Mb common in high-end gaming systems.
664. Video phone
                         A phone which includes a camera and screen to combine your conversation with
                         moving video images of the person you're talking to.
665. Video8
                         A lower-quality version of the Hi-8 video standard used in low-band camcorders.
666. Videobites
                      Clips of film that you can view on the Web.
667. Video-conferencing
                      Linking two or more PCs to capture and display video and audio in real time so
                      distant people can see as well as talk to each other.

668. Virtual memory
                         A reserved area of hard disk space that your PC can use as 'virtual' memory, or RAM,
                         whenever it is running short of the genuine article. Also called a swapfile, this allows
                         you to have more programs open at once but will be slower than having an
                         equivalent amount of real RAM.
669. Virtual reality
                         An artificial environment created using a computer. Virtual realities are usually
                         'explored' using such things as 3D goggles to give the impression that the user is
                         'inside' the virtual world.
670. Virus checker
                         A software program specifically designed to scan files, such as those on a floppy desk
                         or received via email, for viruses that may damage your PC. Most virus scanners will
                         warn you of viruses as well as attempting to remove or at least neutralise them.
                         Beware that for full effectiveness you must update your virus checker frequently.
671. Virus
                         A malicious computer program designed to cause at best annoyance and at worst,
                         damage to computer data. Viruses usually spread from computer to computer by
                         'infecting' files that are passed between them, or by automatically sending an email
                         to everyone in your address book. They are often hidden in innocuous-looking files or
                         email attachments, and may lie dormant waiting for a trigger date or event before
                         they launch.
672. Voice recognition
                         Software which can recognise spoken words. It may be able to interpret these as
                         commands which it can obey (voice control), or turn them into text to save you
                         typing (voice recognition).
673. Voicemail
                         An answerphone service which records callers' messages when you're unavailable.
                         This may be in the office or provided by your mobile phone network.
674. Voodoo
                         3D graphics processors designed by the company 3Dfx, which are commonly used on
                         graphics cards designed to speed up 3D games. Different models of Voodoo card
                         have been sold, from the original Voodoo up to the Voodoo 6500, which used four
                         independent graphics chips.
675. Walkthrough
                         In 3D graphical environments, a function that enables the user to take a virtual
                         journey through the streets of their city or location.
676. Wallpaper
                         A pattern or image used as the background to your Windows desktop. It helps to
                         personalise your PC or to promote a corporate identity but serves no other practical
677. Watermark
                         A technique that allows you to print text and graphics as a background, 'behind' what

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                        you're actually typing. It is especially useful for marking a document as Draft or
                        Confidential, or for personalising stationery. So named because the process mimics
                        the watermarks seen on banknotes or writing paper.
678. Watts
                        A measure of power, most commonly used to quantify electrical output. It is often
                        quoted for computer power supplies or amplifiers.
679. WAV file
                     Also known as a Wave file and saved with a. WAV extension. An audio file, used for
                     recording music and other sounds to disk. Because they are uncompressed, WAV files
                     can be very large. The file format was developed by Microsoft and IBM.
680. Wavetable synthesis
                     A technique for synthesising sound by playing back digital recordings of actual
                     sounds and combining them to recreate the original. The wavetable itself is where
                     the recordings are held.

681. WAP
                        Wireless Application Protocol. A specification for transmitting data, particularly to
                        mobile phones and handheld computers. It allows you to access information services
                        and some specially-formatted websites easily from the screen of a mobile device.
682. Web browser
                        A software program developed for navigating the internet, particularly the world wide
                        web. The two most common browsers are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
683. Webcam
                        A video camera designed to connect to your PC. It can be used to record video clips
                        which you can send by email, or to transmit images directly over the internet for
684. Webring
                        A loose collective of websites run by enthusiasts that focus on a particular subject
                        and link to each other.
685. Web
                        Also known as the world wide web or WWW. The web is a collection of online
                        documents housed on server computers around the world, and forms the most visible
                        and easily accessible part of the internet. These are accessed via a web browser.
                        Web pages typically feature text, graphics and photographs, and often video and
                        audio clips. Each page or site has its own distinctive URL or 'address'. This is usually
                        prefixed by the letters www, standing for world wide web.
686. Web pages
                        The online documents stored on internet servers. They link text and images, and
                        often video or audio clips into a coherent whole. Each one can be accessed by typing
                        in its address.
687. Web space
                     An area of disk space on an internet server. This may be on your own machine or
                     rented from an Internet Service Provider. This space can then be used to store web
                     pages for display on the internet.
688. Web-authoring program
                     A piece of software designed to make it easier to create a web page or site. Often
                     with sophisticated functions built in, such programs create the HTML code
                     automatically and allow you to concentrate on the design of the site. Examples
                     include Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia DreamWeaver.
689. Website
                     A linked group of one or more web pages, normally dealing with a particular subject
                     or by a single author. Each page or site has its own distinctive URL or 'address'. This
                     is usually prefixed by the letters www, standing for world wide web.
690. Wildcard
                     A character that can be subsituted for one or more characters in a web search, much
                     like the blank tile in Scrabble.
691. Windows
                     The operating system found on virtually all modern PCs. It allows you to control your

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                       computer and to run programs that let you perform particular tasks.
692. Windows 3. 1
                       An old version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, released in 1992. In a
                       similar way to the Apple Macintosh, it allowed you to control your computer using
                       graphics rather than text commands.
693. Windows 95
                       An old version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, released in 1995. It
                       superseded Windows 3. 1 and introduced a completely new look.
694. Windows 98
                       A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, released in 1998. It
                       superseded Windows 95, fixed a number of problems and made some changes to
                       how the PC worked. It has now largely been replaced in new PCs by Windows Me.

695. Windows 2000
                       A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, released in 2000 and aimed at
                       business users. It is more reliable than other versions, but has poorer support for
                       games playing. It superseded Windows NT.
696. Windows CE
                     A version of the Windows operating system developed specially for use on palmtop
                     computers and personal digital assistants. It takes up much less storage space and
                     memory than normal Windows, but has many fewer capabilities. Now replaced by
                     Pocket PC.
697. Windows Explorer
                     The graphic interface to the Windows filing system. Using images to represent files
                     and folders, it lets you manage documents by moving them between folders and
                     deleting, copying or renaming them.
698. WMV
                     Windows Media Video. A Microsoft file format for video.
699. Windows Me
                     (Windows Millennium Edition). A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system
                     released in 2000. It superseded Windows 98, fixing a number of problems.
700. Windows NT
                     A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system intended for business users.
701. Wi-Fi
                     A catchier name for the 802.11b standard used for wireless networking devices.
702. Wizard
                     An automated online 'assistant' designed to guide you, step-by-step, through a
                     potentially complex process such as faxing, creating a template or changing software
703. WMA
                     Windows Media Audio. A compressed digital music format developed by Microsoft and
                     played back through the latest versions of Windows Media Player. It allows secure
                     encoding of music tracks but is less widely used than MP3.
704. Woofer
                     Type of loudspeaker designed to reproduce low audio frequencies, though not the
                     very deepest bass tones. These may be played back through a sub-woofer.
705. Word
                     Microsoft Word is the sophisticated word-processing software included as part of
                     Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works Suite. It is the most widely-used word processor
                     in the world.
706. Word processor
                     A software application for preparing largely text-based documents, from basic letters
                     to company newsletters and reports. Most word processors go far beyond simple
                     typing, allowing you to add pictures and text effects, link to other documents, and
                     check your spelling and grammar automatically. Common word processors include
                     Microsoft Word and Lotus Word Pro.
707. WordArt

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                 A feature in Microsoft Word that allows you to apply a whole range of special effects
                 to text.
708. WordPad
                 A basic word-processing program included with Windows. It has few sophisticated
                 features but can be used for simple documents without problems. To find it, click on
709. Workbook
                 A spreadsheet file. In spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3, each
                 workbook by default contains several different worksheets or pages of data. It is
                 possible to link the figures on one sheet to those on another, allowing very complex

710. Workgroup
                 A team of people who work together on a task. All of the members of the team use
                 computers connected to a network, which allows them to share files, schedule
                 meetings and send emails between their PCs.
711. Worksheet
                 A single page of data within a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3.
                 Worksheets can be combined into a workbook, allowing each sheet to access, and
                 make calculations using, the figures on another worksheet.
712. Worm
                 A program that transmits and copies itself over a computer network, such as the
                 internet. Not all worms are harmful but many are. Worms are often mislabelled as
                 viruses -- worms cannot attach themselves (or 'infect') other files, viruses can.
                 What You See Is What You Get. Used in word processors, desktop publishing
                 packages, web-authoring software and the like to signify that the on-screen image of
                 your page is the same as the printed output or published web pages. Non-WYSIWYG
                 programs generally force you to use control codes which only take effect on printing:
                 you cannot see the results on screen as you work.
714. x2
                 A technology developed by 3Com (formerly US Robotics) allowing modems to receive
                 at up to 56Kbps. It rivalled K56flex, developed by a consortium including Rockwell.
                 Both technologies have now been incorporated in the V. 90 standard.
715. X-axis
                 The bottom edge of a chart or graph. It is normally used to plot dates or timescales.
                 The left-hand edge is the Y-axis and may be used to show numbers or amounts.
716. XG
                 An extension to the General MIDI standard. Developed by Yamaha, it offers more
                 voices and effects, allowing samples to be played with great expression.
717. XML
                 eXtensible Markup Language. A way of tagging documents for display on different
                 types of machine across the internet. It is more flexible than HTML, the most
                 common standard, because it allows developers to define their own specialised tags
                 or formatting codes.
718. Y2K
                 Shorthand for Year 2000 and, by extension, for the Year 2000 computer problem,
                 better known as the millennium bug. This anticipated problems when computers'
                 clocks rolled over from 1999 to 2000: as many programs use only the last two digits
                 to recognise the year, it was feared that they would reset to 1900. Some PC BIOSes
                 would also cause problems by resting to 1980. However, the issue did not cause as
                 many problems as had been feared.
719. Y axis
                 The left-hand edge of a chart or graph. It is normally used to plot numbers or
                 amounts. The bottom edge is the X-axis and may be used to show dates or
720. Zip drive

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                A high-capacity disk drive designed by Iomega capable of storing 100 or 250Mb of
                information on sturdy pocket-sized disks. These can be used for back-up, as extra
                storage or to transfer files between machines or users. Zip drives can be built into
                your PC or connected externally, using a USB, parallel or SCSI link.
721. ZIP file
                A file or files that have been compressed using a program like PKZip or WinZip to
                save disk space or to make them quicker to email. Bitmap image files compress
                particularly well.
722. Zipping
                Compressing a file using a program such as PKZip or WinZip to reduce the space it
                takes up. Unzipping is the process of decompressing the file to its original form.

723. Zone
                In OCR software, a scanned area which is designated as containing a particular type
                of information, either image or text. Examples include a picture caption or a column
                of text.

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