History of computing by pengxuebo


									Miscellaneous Notes
background reading


History of computing .......................................................................................................... 1

General Quotes: .................................................................................................................. 2

Computer Dates .................................................................................................................. 3

Bill Gates and Microsoft ..................................................................................................... 4

History of Microsoft Windows ........................................................................................... 7

Central Processing Units ..................................................................................................... 8

Some Google Software ..................................................................................................... 10

COMPUTER WORDS (JARGON) .................................................................................. 11

History of computing
(sourced from wikipedia.org)

Originally, the term "computer" referred to a person who performed numerical calculations under
the direction of a mathematician, possibly with the aid of a variety of mechanical calculating
devices such as the abacus onward. Examples of early calculating devices, the first ancestors of
the computer, included the abacus and the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek device for
calculating the movements of planets, dating from about 87 BCE. The end of the Middle Ages
saw a reinvigoration of European mathematics and engineering, and Wilhelm Schickard's 1623
device was the first of a number of European engineers to construct a mechanical calculator

Charles Babbage was the first to conceptualize and design a fully programmable computer as
early as 1837, but due to a combination of the limits of the technology of the time, limited finance,
and an inability to resist tinkering with his design, the device was never actually constructed in his
lifetime. A number of technologies that would later prove useful in computing, such as the punch
card and the vacuum tube had appeared by the end of the 19th century, and large-scale
automated data processing using punch cards was performed by tabulating machines designed
by Hermann Hollerith.

During the first half of the 20th century, many scientific computing needs were met by
increasingly sophisticated, special-purpose analog computers, which used a direct mechanical or

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electrical model of the problem as a basis for computation. These became increasingly rare after
the development of the programmable digital computer.

A succession of steadily more powerful and flexible computing devices were constructed in the
1930s and 1940s, gradually adding the key features of modern computers, such as the use of
digital electronics (invented by Claude Shannon in 1937) and more flexible programmability.
Defining one point along this road as "the first computer" is exceedingly difficult. Notable
achievements include the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, a special-purpose machine that used valve-
driven (vacuum tube) computation, binary numbers, and regenerative memory; the secret British
Colossus computer (1944), which had limited programmability but demonstrated that a device
using thousands of valves could be made reliable and reprogrammed electronically; the American
ENIAC (1946) — which was one of the first general purpose machine, but still used the decimal
system and incorporated an inflexible architecture that meant reprogramming it essentially
required it to be rewired and Konrad Zuse's Z machines, with the electromechanical Z3 (1941)
being the first working machine featuring automatic binary arithmetic and feasible programability.

The team who developed ENIAC, recognizing its flaws, came up with a far more flexible and
elegant design, which has become known as the stored program architecture, which is the basis
from which virtually all modern computers were derived. A number of projects to develop
computers based on the stored program architecture commenced in the late 1940s; the first of
these to be up and running was the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, but the EDSAC was
perhaps the first practical version.

Valve-driven computer designs were in use throughout the 1950s, but were eventually replaced
with transistor-based computers, which were smaller, faster, cheaper, and much more reliable,
thus allowing them to be commercially produced, in the 1960s. By the 1970s, the adoption of
integrated circuit technology had enabled computers to be produced at a low enough cost to
allow individuals to own a personal computer of the type familiar today.

General Quotes:
"A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible
exception of handguns and tequila." ~ Mitch Ratcliffe

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver error."

"As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error." ~ Weisert

"If you give someone a program, you will frustrate them for a day; if you teach them how to program, you will
frustrate them for a lifetime."

"To err is human, but for a real disaster you need a computer."

"You know you're a geek when... You try to shoo a fly away from the monitor with your cursor. That just
happened to me. It was scary." ~ Juuso Heimonen

"I invented it, Bill made it famous." ~ David Bradley (wrote the code for Ctrl-Alt-Delete on the IBM PC)

"Computers can solve all problems apart from the unemployment they create."

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Computer Dates
Sourced from http://inventors.about.com/

      1936 Konrad Zuse - Z1 Computer First freely programmable computer.
      1942 John Atanasoff & Clifford Berry
              ABC Computer Who was first in the computing biz is not always as easy as ABC.
      1944 Howard Aiken & Grace Hopper
              Harvard Mark I Computer The Harvard Mark 1 computer.
      1946 John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly
              ENIAC 1 Computer 20,000 vacuum tubes later...
      1948 Frederic Williams & Tom Kilburn
              Manchester Baby Computer & The Williams Tube Baby and the Williams Tube
              turn on the memories.
      1947/48 John Bardeen, Walter Brattain & Wiliam Shockley
              The Transistor No, a transistor is not a computer, but this invention greatly
              affected the history of computers.
      1951 John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly
              UNIVAC Computer First commercial computer & able to pick presidential winners.
      1953 International Business Machines
              IBM 701 EDPM Computer IBM enters into 'The History of Computers'.
      1954 John Backus & IBM
              FORTRAN Computer Programming Language The first successful high level
              programming language.

                       Stanford Research Institute, Bank of America, and
      1955 (In Use 1959)
              General Electric
              ERMA and MICR The first bank industry computer - also MICR
              (magnetic ink character recognition) for reading checks.

      1958 Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce
             The Integrated Circuit Otherwise known as 'The Chip'

      1962 Steve Russell & MIT
              Spacewar Computer Game The first computer game invented.
      1964 Douglas Engelbart
              Computer Mouse & Windows Nicknamed the mouse because the tail came out
              the end.
      1969 ARPAnet The original Internet.
      1970 Intel 1103 Computer Memory The world's first available dynamic RAM chip.
      1971 Faggin, Hoff & Mazor
              Intel 4004 Computer Microprocessor The first microprocessor.
      1971 Alan Shugart &IBM
              The "Floppy" Disk Nicknamed the "Floppy" for its flexibility.
      1973 Robert Metcalfe & Xerox
              The Ethernet Computer Networking Networking.
      1974/75 Scelbi & Mark-8 Altair & IBM 5100 Computers The first consumer computers.
      1976/77 Apple I, II & TRS-80 & Commodore Pet Computers More first consumer
      1978 Dan Bricklin & Bob Frankston
              VisiCalc Spreadsheet Software Any product that pays for itself in two weeks is a
              surefire winner.

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       1979 Seymour Rubenstein & Rob Barnaby
              WordStar Software Word Processors.
       1981 IBM
              The IBM PC - Home Computer From an "Acorn" grows a personal computer
       1981 Microsoft
              MS-DOS Computer Operating System From "Quick And Dirty" comes the
              operating system of the century.
       1983 Apple Lisa Computer The first home computer with a GUI, graphical user interface.
       1984 Apple Macintosh Computer The more affordable home computer with a GUI.
       1985 Microsoft Windows Microsoft begins the friendly war with Apple.

Bill Gates and Microsoft
Sourced from: http http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history

Family and Early Childhood
On October 28, 1955, shortly after 9:00 p.m., William Henry Gates III was born. He
was born into a family with a rich history in business, politics, and community
service. His great-grandfather had been a state legislator and mayor, his grandfather
was the vice president of a national bank, and his father was a prominent lawyer.
[Wallace, 1992, p. 8-9] Early on in life, it was apparent that Bill Gates inherited the
ambition, intelligence, and competitive spirit that had helped his progenitors rise to
the top in their chosen professions. In elementary school he quickly surpassed all of
his peer's abilities in nearly all subjects, especially math and science. His parents
recognized his intelligence and decided to enroll him in Lakeside, a private school
known for its intense academic environment. This decision had far reaching effects
on Bill Gates's life. For at Lakeside, Bill Gates was first introduced to computers.

First computing Experience

In the Spring of 1968, the Lakeside prep school decided that it should acquaint the student body
with the world of computers [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. Computers were still too large and costly
for the school to purchase its own. Instead, the school had a fund raiser and
bought computer time on a DEC PDP-10 owned by General Electric. A few
thousand dollars were raised which the school figured would buy more than
enough time to last into the next school year. However, Lakeside had
drastically underestimated the allure this machine would have for a hand full
of young students.

Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and a few other Lakeside students (many of whom
were the first programmers hired at Microsoft) immediately became
inseparable from the computer. They would stay in the computer room all
day and night, writing programs, reading computer literature and anything
else they could to learn about computing. Soon Gates and the others started
running into problems with the faculty. Their homework was being turned in
late (if at all), they were skipping classes to be in the computer room and worst of all, they had
used up all of the schools computer time in just a few weeks. [Wallace, 1992, p. 24]

In the fall of 1968, Computer Center Corporation opened for business in Seattle. It was offering
computing time at good rates, and one of the chief programmers working for the corporation had
a child attending Lakeside. A deal was struck between Lakeside Prep School and the Computer
Center Corporation that allowed the school to continue providing it's students with computer time.

Saturday, August 06, 2011                                                              Page 4 of 15
[Wallace, 1992, p. 27] Gates and his comrades immediately began exploring the contents of this
new machine. It was not long before the young hackers started causing problems. They caused
the system to crash several times and broke the computers security system. They even altered
the files that recorded the amount of computer time they were using. They were caught and the
Computer Center Corporation banned them from the system for several weeks.

Bill Gates, Paul Allen and, two other hackers from Lakeside formed the Lakeside Programmers
Group in late 1968. They were determined to find a way to apply their computer skills in the real
world. The first opportunity to do this was a direct result of their mischievous activity with the
school's computer time. The Computer Center Corporation's business was beginning to suffer
due to the systems weak security and the frequency that it crashed. Impressed with Gates and
the other Lakeside computer addicts' previous assaults on their computer, the Computer Center
Corporation decided to hire the students to find bugs and expose weaknesses in the computer
system. In return for the Lakeside Programming Group's help, the Computer Center Corporation
would give them unlimited computer time [Wallace, 1992, p. 27]. The boys could not refuse.
Gates is quoted as saying "It was when we got free time at C-cubed (Computer Center
Corporation) that we really got into computers. I mean, then I became hardcore. It was day and
night" [Wallace, 1992, p. 30]. Although the group was hired just to find bugs, they also read any
computer related material that the day shift had left behind. The young hackers would even pick
employees for new information. It was here that Gates and Allen really began to develop the
talents that would lead to the formation of Microsoft seven years later.

Roots of Business Career

Computer Center Corporation began to experience financial problems late in 1969. The company
finally went out of business in March of 1970. The Lakeside Programmers Group had to find a
new way to get computer time. Eventually they found a few computers on the University of
Washington's campus where Allen's dad worked. The Lakeside Programmers Group began
searching for new chances to apply their computer skills. Their first opportunity came early the
next year when Information Sciences Inc. hired them to program a payroll program. Once again
the group was given free computer time and for the first time, a source of income. ISI had agreed
to give them royalties whenever it made money from any of the groups programs. As a result of
the business deal signed with Information Sciences Inc., the group also had to become a legal
business [Wallace, 1992, p. 42-43]. Gates and Allen's next project involved starting another
company entirely on their own, Traf-O-Data. They produced a small computer which was used to
help measure traffic flow. From the project they grossed around $20,000. The Traf-O-Data
company lasted until Gates left for college. During Bill Gates' junior year at Lakeside, the
administration offered him a job computerizing the school's scheduling system. Gates asked Allen
to help with the project. He agreed and the following summer, they wrote the program. In his
senior year, Gates and Allen continued looking for opportunities to use their skills and make some
money. It was not long until they found this opportunity. The defense contractor TRW was having
trouble with a bug infested computer similar to the one at Computer Center Corporation. TRW
had learned of the experience the two had working on the Computer Center Corporation's system
and offered Gates and Allen jobs. However thing would be different at TRW they would not be
finding the bugs they would be in charge of fixing them. "It was at TRW that Gates began to
develop as a serious programmer," and it was there that Allen and Gates first started talking
seriously about forming their own software company [Wallace, 1992, p. 49-51].

In the fall of 1973, Bill Gates left home for Harvard University [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. He had
no idea what he wanted to study, so he enrolled as prelaw. Gates took the standard freshman
courses with the exception of signing up for one of Harvard's toughest math courses. He did well
but just as in high school, his heart was not in his studies. After locating the school's computer
center, he lost himself in the world of computers once again. Gates would spend many long
nights in front of the school's computer and the next days asleep in class. Paul Allen and Gates
remained in close contact even with Bill away at school. They would often discuss ideas for future

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projects and the possibility of one day starting a business. At the end of Gates's first year at
Harvard, the two decided that Allen should move closer to him so that they may be able to follow
up on some of their ideas. That summer they both got jobs working for Honeywell [Wallace, 1992,
p. 59]. As the summer dragged on, Allen began to push Bill harder with the idea that they should
open a software company. Gates was still not sure enough to drop out of school. The following
year, however, that would all change.

The Birth of Microsoft
In December of 1974, Allen was on his way to visit Gates when along the way he stopped to
browse the current magazines. What he saw changed his and Bill Gates's lives forever. On the
cover of Popular Electronics was a picture of the Altair 8080 and the headline "World's First
Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models." He bought the issue and rushed over to Gates's
dorm room. They both recognized this as their big opportunity. The two knew that the home
computer market was about to explode and that someone would need to make software for the
new machines. Within a few days, Gates had called MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry
Systems), the makers of the Altair. He told the company that he and Allen had developed a
BASIC that could be used on the Altair [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. This was a lie. They had not
even written a line of code. They had neither an Altair nor the chip that ran the computer. The
MITS company did not know this and was very interested in seeing their BASIC. So, Gates and
Allen began working feverishly on the BASIC they had promised. The code for the program was
left mostly up to Bill Gates while Paul Allen began working on a way to simulate the Altair with the
schools PDP-10. Eight weeks later, the two felt their program was ready. Allen was to fly to MITS
and show off their creation. The day after Allen arrived at MITS, it was time to test their BASIC.
Entering the program into the company's Altair was the first time Allen had ever touched one. If
the Altair simulation he designed or any of Gates's code was faulty, the demonstration would
most likely have ended in failure. This was not the case, and the program worked perfectly the
first time [Wallace, 1992, p. 80]. MITS arranged a deal with Gates and Allen to buy the rights to
their BASIC.[Teamgates.com, 9/29/96] Gates was convinced that the software market had been
born. Within a year, Bill Gates had dropped out of Harvard and Microsoft was formed.

                           Cartoons by Randy Glasbergen

Saturday, August 06, 2011                                                             Page 6 of 15
History of Microsoft Windows
Sourced from http://www.computerhope.com

1983 Microsoft Windows was announced November 10, 1983 and sells for
1985 Microsoft Windows 1.0 is introduced in November, 1985 and is initially sold
for $100.00.
1987 Microsoft Windows 2.0 was released December 9, 1987 and is initially sold
for $100.00.
1987 Microsoft Windows/386 or Windows 386 is introduced December 9, 1987
and is initially sold for $100.00.
1988 Microsoft Windows/286 or Windows 286 is introduced June, 1988 and is
initially sold for $100.00.
1990 Microsoft Windows 3.0 was released May, 22 1990. Microsoft Windows 3.0
full version was priced at $149.95 and the upgrade version was priced at $79.95.
1991 Microsoft Windows 3.0 or Windows 3.0a with multimedia was released
October, 1991.
1992 Microsoft Windows 3.1 was released April, 1992 and sells more than 1
Million copies within the first two months of its release.
1992 Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1 was released October, 1992.
1993 Microsoft Windows NT 3.1 was released August, 1993.
1993 The number of licensed users of Microsoft Windows now totals more than
25 Million.
1994 Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was released February, 1994.
1994 Microsoft Windows NT 3.5 was released September, 1994.
1995 Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 was released June, 1995.
1995 Microsoft Windows 95 was released August, 1995 and sells more than 1
Million copies within 4 days.
1996 Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 was released August, 1996.
1996 Microsoft Windows CE 1.0 was released November, 1996.
1997 Microsoft Windows CE 2.0 was released November, 1997.
1998 Microsoft Windows 98 was released June, 1998.
1998 Microsoft Windows CE 2.1 was released July, 1998.
1999 Microsoft Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) was released May 5, 1999.
1999 Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 was released 1999.
2000 Microsoft Windows 2000 was released February 2000. 2000 Microsoft
Windows ME (Millennium) released June 19, 2000.
2001 Microsoft Windows XP is released October 25, 2001.
2003 Microsoft Windows Server 2003 is released March 28, 2003.
2005 Microsoft announces it's next operating system, codenamed "Longhorn" will
be named Windows Vista on July 23, 2005.

Saturday, August 06, 2011                                            Page 7 of 15
Central Processing Units
Sourced from http://www.pcmech.com

Intel 80186 (1981)
The 186 was a popular chip. Many versions have been developed in its history. Buyers could
choose from CHMOS or HMOS, 8-bit or 16-bit versions, depending on what they needed. A
CHMOS chip could run at twice the clock speed and at one fourth the power of the HMOS chip. In
1990, Intel came out with the Enhanced 186 family. They all shared a common core design. they
had a 1-micron core design and ran at about 25MHz at 3 volts.

Intel 80286 (1982)
A 16-bit processor capable of addressing up to 16 MB of RAM. This chip is able to work with
virtual memory. What is that? See Memory. The 286 was the first "real" processor. It introduced
the concept of protected mode. This is the ability to multitask, having different programs run
separately but at the same time. This ability was not taken advantage of by DOS, but future
Operating Systems, such as Windows, could play with this new feature. This chip was used by
IBM in its Advanced Technology PC AT. It ran at 6 MHz, but later editions of the chip ran as high
as 20 MHz. These chips are considered paperweights today, but many still use these things

Intel 386 (1988)
This chip started it all. With this chip, PCs began to be more useful than just a nice boat anchor.
The 386 was the first 32-bit processor for PCs. It could, as a result, crunch twice as much data on
each clock cycle and it could play around with 32-bit cards. It can talk to as much as 4 GB of real
memory and 64 TB of virtual memory. This little badboy could also team up with a math
coprocessor, called the 80387. It could also use processor cache, all 16 bytes of it. The reduced
version of this chip is the 386SX. This is a low-fat chip, cheaper to make. It talked with the cards
via a 16-bit path. 386s range in speed from 12.5MHz to 33MHz.

386 chips were designed to be user friendly. All chips in the family were pin-for-pin compatible
and they were binary compatible with the previous 186 chips, meaning that users didn't have to
get new software to use it. Also, the 386 offered power friendly features such as low voltage
requirements and System Management Mode(SMM) which could power down various
components to save power.

Overall, this chip was a big step for chip development. It set the standard that many later chips
would follow. It offered a simple design which developers could easily design for.

Intel 486 (1991)
This was the next generation in processor. It brought the brains of a 386 together with an internal
math coprocessor. Plus it was much faster. This chip has been pushed to 120 MHz and is still in
wide use today.

The first member of the 486 family was the 486SX. It was very power efficient and performed well
for the time. The efficient design led to new packaging innovations. The 486SX came in a 176
lead Thin Quad Flat Pack(TQFP) package and was about the thickness of a quarter.

The next members of the 486 family were the DX2s and DX4s. Their speeds were obtained due
to the speed-multiplying technology which enabled the chip to operate at clock cycles greater
than that of the bus. They also introduced the concept of RISC. Reduced instruction set
chips(RISC) do just a few things, but really fast. This made this chip more efficient and set it apart

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from the older x86 chips. The DX2 offered 8 KB of write-through cache and the DX4 offered 16
KB. This cache helps the chip maintain its one clock cycle per instruction given through the use of

It was split into SX and DX versions. Both were completely 32-bit, but the SX lacks the math
coprocessor. Nevertheless, the SX version is roughly twice as fast as the 386. Actually, the math
coprocessor in the SX is there, just disabled for financial purposes, I'm sure.

The Pentium Chip
(sourced from http://help.lockergnome.com)

The Pentium brand was created by Lexicon Branding - a branding firm that is responsible for other tech
logos such as Apple's PowerBook, RIM's Blackberry, Palm's Tungsten and Zire, or Adobe's InDesign - in
1992. Intel introduced the brand in March of 1993 with the first Pentium processor, which originally should
have been named i586. The fact that numbers are not able to be trademarked, reportedly prompted Intel to
switch to a dedicated name for its processors.

The first Pentium CPU debuted as a 60 and 66 MHz chip, integrated 3.1 million transistors and was built in
an 800 nm production process. The original Pentium carried a now famous floating point flaw referred to as
the "FDIV bug," which ended up costing Intel an estimated $450 million in recall cost and prompting the
company to create its "Validation Labs," a 3500-employee organization that tests processors before their
release into mass production.

The second generation Pentium was the "Pentium Pro," which was based on the P6 architecture and
released in November 1995. The chip was built in 350 nm, carried 5.5 million transistors and initially ran at
clock speeds of 150 and 200 MHz. Just about a year later, Intel introduced the Pentium MMX, the first chip
to receive significant components from Intel's development team in Haifa, Israel. Also produced in 350 nm,
the MMX ran at 166 and 200 MHz.

The Pentium II came in May of 1997 with 7.5 million transistors and initial clock speeds of up to 266 MHz.
The successor Pentium III (250 nm to 130 nm) followed 18 months later in February of 1999 with 450 MHz,
but eventually took Intel above the 1 GHz mark in 2000. The chip was first to introduce a much criticized
serial number and was Intel's processor in the "Gigahertz race" with AMD. Pressured by its competitor, Intel
lost the race to launch the first GHz chip by a few days and was not able to ship Pentium III-based GHz
chips in large quantities initially. In July of 2000, Intel announced a 1.13 GHz Pentium III chip that was
described as "the most unreliable and instable CPU Intel has ever released" in a review of Tom's Hardware
Guide, which prompted Intel to recall the processor.

The Pentium 4 introduced the "NetBurst"-architecture in November of 2000. It was the firm's first new design
since the P6 generation, and has lead Intel from the 180 nm "Willamette" chip to today's 65 nm Pentium D
dual-core CPUs. Willamette debuted with 42 million transistors, 1.4 and 1.5 GHz. Today's 65 nm Pentium D
900 carries 376 million transistors and is expected to reach speeds up to 3.6 GHz, while the single core
Pentium 600 series is up to 3.8 GHz.

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Some Google Software
Google Earth - 3D Earth browser
*      Zoom from space to street level — tour the world
*      Find maps, driving directions, hotels, restaurants, and more

Google Desktop - Desktop companion
*      Find all your email, files, web history, and more
*      Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar

Picasa - Photo organizer
*       Find, edit, and share your photos in seconds
*       Easily remove red eye and fix photos

Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer - Search toolbar
*      Search from any web page and autofill forms
*      Block annoying pop-ups

Google Pack Screensaver - Photo screensaver
*      Enjoy photos from your personal collection
*      View pictures full screen or as a collage

Google Talk - Voice and IM application
*      Call or send instant messages to your friends for free
*      Get a free account using your mobile phone

Various Other Software
Mozilla Firefox - Web browser
Mozilla Corporation
*       Browse the web quickly and securely
*       Switch between pages quickly with tabbed browsing

Ad-Aware SE Personal - Antispyware utility
*      Safely detect and remove spyware
*      Protect your privacy with powerful features

Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition - Antivirus utility
*      Protect your PC from viruses, worms and Trojan horses
*      Includes 6-month subscription to protection updates

Adobe Reader 7 - PDF reader
Adobe Systems
*      View, print, and search PDF files
*      Launches up to 50% faster than Reader 6.0

RealPlayer - Media player
*      Play popular media formats, organize music and videos
*      Transfer music to iPod and other portable media players

Saturday, August 06, 2011                                             Page 10 of 15
Sourced from http://panania.ling.mq.edu.au

There are many words that describe specific computer functions.
A modest list and definition follows.

ACCOUNT a method of allowing a user to access a computer. It contains their details,
and their data.
ALGORITHM a set of rules or a standard procedure that provides the solution to a
ALPHANUMERIC describes characters that include the letters of the alphabet and
ANALOG a continuously variable entity. As opposed to digital.
ANY KEY not a specific key on the keyboard, but one of them, you choose. Sometimes
a program requires a key pressed, but the actual key is unimportant.
ARGUMENT the name of extra data that may be required to qualify an instruction.
ASCII an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is the
8 level code used by the computer.
ASSEMBLER a computer language used for programming microprocessors directly.
ASYNCHRONOUS a mode of operation that is not synchronised, used often by serial
BASIC an acronym for Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. A
programming language.
BATCH a file of executable instructions, of the type normally entered from a keyboard.
BINARY a number system based on two digits, 1 and 0, and used by computers.
BIT an abbreviation for Binary Digit, used by computers, as an information unit, that
can contain a binary number (maximum value 1).
BOOLEAN a form of algebra to determine a system process (devised by George Boole,
an English mathematician)
BOOT to start a computer. Derived from pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.
BUG an error in a program. The historical name derives from an early
electromechanical computer which was making errors, and the cause was an insect
caught between two electrical contacts.
BROWSER a program used to display internet information. (for example Netscape or
BYTE a string of binary digits that form one unit, 8 bits long (maximum value 255).
C a computer language used for writing programs and operating systems.
CD an acronym for Compact Disc. A mass storage device on a plastic rigid disc that a
user can read . (640mb capacity)
CHARACTER a letter, number, or symbol.
CHIP another name for an integrated circuit.
CLICK use the left mouse button to select an item.
CLIENT a program that communicates with a server or master.
CODE the actual executable instructions used by a computer.
COMMAND an instruction to a computer, entered from a keyboard.
COMPILER a method of converting a computer language into an executable program.

Saturday, August 06, 2011                                               Page 11 of 15
CONFUSER another name for a computer.
COMPUTER a physical device used for making calculations, executing programs,
transferring data, and displaying information. Consists of a processor, monitor and
CONSTANT a number or piece of data that does not change. As opposed to variable.
CRASH a catastrophic computer error.
CURSOR a pointer to where the next character will be typed
DATA information in the form of facts, concepts, numbers, letters, or symbols.
DEBUG a process of detecting and removing errors.
DEFAULT a characteristic or value that is assumed.
DESKTOP the arrangement or look of your computer screen.
DIGIT a number in a numbering system. It may be binary, octal, decimal, hexadecimal,
or another numbering system.
DIGITAL a variable entity, that can only have specific values. As opposed to analog.
DIGITISE the process used to convert analog information into digital information.
DIRECTORY an area where the names of files are stored.
DONGLE an small electrical device that contains a license to provide software security.
It plugs into the back of a computer.
DOUBLE CLICK to click the mouse button twice in rapid succession (used to execute a
DISC (DISK) a storage medium, circular in shape, used by the computer.
DUMMY VARIABLE a variable which has a value of no concern, often used to satisfy
a function.
EDIT a method of changing data by deletion, insertion, or rearranging.
EDITOR a program used to edit data, usually text. This is a simpler program than a word
EEPROM an acronym for Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. A
PROM that can be erased electrically.
EMAIL means electronic mail. Messages can be sent from one computer to another for
different users.
EPROM an acronym for Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. A PROM that
can be erased with ultra violate light.
ERROR a problem encounter during program execution.
EXECUTE to run a program
EXECUTABLE a file that contains commands or statements that can be executed (it
may have a file extension .EXE)
EXPRESSION a combination of variables, constants, and operators that can be
evaluated to yield a single result.
EXTENSION the last part of a file name that describes its contents (.TXT=text,
.EXE=executable, ....)
EVALUATE to determine the meaning or value of an expression.
FILE a collection of information stored on a disk
FILENAME the name of a file. It conforms to rules. It is usually in 8.3 format (the name
is 8 characters, and the extension is 3 characters) and contains uppercase characters, and
alphanumeric characters.
FLOPPY DISC a small mass storage device used by the computer. It contains a flexible

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physical disc. (variable but commonly 1.44mb capacity)
FOCUS when used as "keyboard focus", means that the keyboard is actually entering
data into only one of the several windows on the screen.
FONT the shape of a character. Common fonts are Times Roman, Helvetica and Arial.
FORM a special piece of paper for a printer. It may have preprinted information on it,
and places reserved for information.
FORMAT the way a document is displayed, regarding margins, fonts, indenting. Also
means the data structure on a disc drive, and the act of doing it.
FUNCTION a logical part of a computer program.
FUNCTION KEY the 12 keys along the top of a keyboard that perform a specific
function. The function can vary, depending on the program.
GB an acronym for Giga (thousand million) Bytes of capacity.
GLITCH any real or imaginary electrical surge that may cause a computer crash or data
GRAPHICS a picture or diagram, as opposed to text.
GUI an acronym for Graphical User Interface. The window and icon display to make a
program easier to use.
HARD DISC a large mass storage device used by the computer. It contains rigid
physical discs. (variable but commonly 20gb capacity)
HARDWARE the physical components of a computer, for example the monitor,
processor, disc drive, mouse and keyboard.
HEXADECIMAL a number system in computers that contains 16 numbers. The
numbers 0 to 9 are used then A to F.
HOUSECLEANING a process to remove redundant files and data. Useful to reduce the
amount of disc space used.
HTML means Hyper Text Markup Language which is the code used to write web pages.
IC an acronym for integrated circuit.
ICON a small symbol on a computer monitor screen that represents a program.
INCREMENT to increase the value by one.
INSTRUCTION an operation performed by a computer.
INTEGER a whole number. Numbers like 0, 1, 2 3 are integers. Numbers like 1.5, and
3/4 are not.
INTEGRATED CIRCUIT many electrical components connected into a single function
unit, used in computers.
INTERFACE a device that connects two dissimilar hardware components together. A
computer uses an interface to connect to the network or printer.
INTERNET a collection of communicating computers sharing information and
conforming to certain addressing rules and communication formats.
INTERPRETER a computer language that is assessed and executed one instruction at a
a time. As opposed to compiling a program prior to execution.
IT an acronym for Information Technology.
ITERATION a program technique, which processes information by examining the data
many times in succession.
JARGON special words for a specific topic.
JOYSTICK a hardware device used mainly for games, as a method of control.
KB an acronym for Kilo (thousand) Bytes of capacity.

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KEYBOARD a device for entering data and controlling a computer. It has many keys
(buttons), some corresponding to the alphabet, some to other special functions.
LOOP a program technique, which processes information by examining the data many
times in succession. Sometimes a program may get stuck in a loop.
LAN an acronym for Local Area Network. Used to allow computers to communicate,
usually within a single building.
LANGUAGE a set of rules, syntax and reserved words, used to write a computer
program. Examples are BASIC, COBOL, C, FORTRAN.
LIBRARY a collection of small parts of a computer program, used for building a larger
LINK a pointer to another internet location or data area.
LINKER a method of building a computer program by adding previously written parts
of a program library.
MB an acronym for Mega (million) Bytes of capacity.
MEMORY the place where a computer stores its data.
MNEMONICS a short name given to an instruction or concept.
MODEM an acronym for Modulate Demodulate. This is a device for converting
computer data into an acoustic form so that it can be sent over a telephone line.
MONITOR a computer hardware device that displays information.
MOUSE a small device used to move a cursor on a screen, to point at an item.
MOUSE MAT the pad beneath a mouse to ensure smooth movement and to prevent
foreign matter entering the mouse.
MICROPROCESSOR the actual device that does the computing in the hardware.
MULTIUSER means a program or computer that can be used simultaneously by more
than one user.
NET a collection of communicating computers sharing data.
NETWORK the physical wires, and devices used to connect computers together.
OBJECT ORIENTED a method of writing programs to make them modular and
OCR and acronym for Optical Character Recognition. A method of turning a printed
document into a text file.
OCTAL a number system based on eight digits, 0 to 7, and used by computers.
OPERATOR a symbol used in an expression to perform a function. For example,
multiply add, subtract.
PASSWORD each user account has a secret password to provide data security. The
password must be 7 characters long and contain 2 numbers. It must be a special word that
is easily remembered by the user, but not in a dictionary, not easily guessable, and not
personally related.
PARALLEL a method of sending data one byte after another. A computer port that uses
this method.
PERIPHERAL a physical device connected to your computer, for example a printer.
PIN an acronym for Personal Identification Number. Used for accessing secure data.
PIXEL an acronym for Picture Element. This is the smallest displayable part of a screen
and determines the picture resolution.
PORT a physical place to connect a computer peripheral to. It often has a port address.
PROCESSOR another name for the microprocessor.

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PROGRAM a set of instructions to perform a function.
PROM an acronym for Programmable Read Only Memory. A ROM that can be user
programmed as opposed to factory programmed.
PROMPT a signal or place that user input is required.
POWER SUPPLY a hardware device, to provide the correct voltages to enable a
computer to run correctly.
RAM an acronym for Random Access Memory. Used in computers for storing and
reading data.
REBOOT starting a computer again.
RECORD a collection of related data elements.
RIGHT CLICK use the right hand mouse button to select an item (used for displaying
properties of an icon or program)
ROM an acronym for Read Only Memory. Similar to RAM, but the data is prestored
and can only be accessed.
ROOT the base of a directory tree or structure.
ROUTE the path used by a computer communication.
SCREEN the displayed information on a computer monitor.
SERIAL a method of sending data one bit after another. A computer port that uses this
SERVER a computer that provides information to client programs.
SOFTWARE data and programs used to make a computer perform a function.
STATEMENT a line in a program that can be an instruction, data, or a comment.
STORE to save data in memory or on a disc.
TEXT simple characters that contain no formatting information.
THUMBNAIL a postage stamp sized picture used to represent a large picture.
URL means Universal Resource Locator which is the address of a web page.
USER a person that uses a computer or facility.
USERNAME each user on a multiuser system has an account with a unique name. This
prevents their data being mixed up with other users data. The username consists of the
first letter of their first name followed by their last name. The total length is to be less
than or truncated to 8 characters.
VARIABLE a data location that can change its value. These are often allocated a name.
WAN an acronym for Wide Area Network. Used to allow computers to communicate,
usually around the world.
WINDOW a framed area of data on the screen that represents a program being
WORD PROCESSOR a program for typing, and changing text, diagrams and pictures,
that includes formatting.
ZIP DISC a medium mass storage device used by the computer. It contains a rigid
physical disc. (variable but commonly 100mb capacity).

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