(Microsoft) Access – a database program developed by the Microsoft Corporation
access point – wireless network device that connects a wireless network to a wired network
account – a registration for a user of a network system. It is used for controlling access to the system
active window – the window in a WIMP system that is currently being used. It is usually on top of any other open windows
actuator – a mechanism that converts signals into mechanical movements
address bus – the set of conductors that carry the memory address signals between different parts of a computer system
ADSL – abbreviation for asymmetric digital subscriber line. A form of DSL that has a different bandwidth for the upstream and the downstream
AL – abbreviation for artificial intelligence
algorithm – a set of precise rules or instructions for solving a problem
Alt (key) – the alternative key on a computer keyboard that changes the function of the other keys when it is held down
AltaVista – the name of a well-known search engine website
analogue signal – a type of signal that can take any value between a maximum and a minimum
analyst programmer – a person whose job is a combination of systems analysis and computer programming
anorak – a slang term for an eccentric socially inept person with little or no fashion sense and having an obsessive interest in a hobby or subject
ANSI – acronym for American National Standards Institute. An organisation that approves US standards for computing and communications
anti-virus (program or software) – a computer program or set of programs used to detect, identify and remove viruses from a computer system
Apple – the common name for Apple Computer Incorporated, a well-known producer of computers that introduced the WIMP interface on computers such as the Apple Macintosh
Apple Macintosh – a family of personal computers produced by Apple Computer Inc.
applet – a very small self-contained computer program
application layer – the only part of a network communications process that a user sees. It prepares a message for sending over a network by converting the message from human-readable form into bits and attaching a header identifying the sending and receiving
application port – a path available for a particular type of application data to enter or leave a network system
application service provider – a company that makes applications programs available over the Internet usually charging a fee for access to programs
applications (program or software) – a computer program designed to be used for a particular purpose, e.g. a word processor spreadsheet or database program
applications programmer – a person who writes applications programs using a computer language
architecture – the general specification of a system
archive bit – a digital bit stored with a file indicating if the file has been backed up since it was last edited
artificial intelligence – an area of computing concerned with developing computer programs that perform tasks that can normally only be done using human intelligence
ASCII – acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard character encoding scheme.
ASP – abbreviation for application service provider
assembly language – a low-level computer language that uses mnemonics rather than only numbers making it easier than machine code for humans to read and write
asymmetric – having a different signal bandwidth in each direction, i.e. the bandwidth for sending is different from the bandwidth for receiving
asynchronous – not synchronised, i.e. occurring at irregular intervals
AT&T – abbreviation for American Telephone and Telegraph Company. One of the world’s largest IT suppliers.
ATI (Technologies) – the name of a well known company that produces computer graphics cards
ATM – common abbreviation for automatic teller machine. The type of machine used bybanks for enabling customers to withdraw money from their bank accounts
ATM – abbreviation for asynchronous transfer mode. A method of transferring fixed size data packets across a network. It is suitable for transferring video, audio and computer data
authentication – a process that checks the identity of a user or an object
avatar – а graphical icon that represents a real person in a cyberspace system
В channel – the common name for a bearer channel in an ISDN system
backup – to store a copy of data on a storage device to keep it safe
backbone – the main transmission path handling the major data traffic connecting different LANs together
backend – the server part of a client-server conuration that provides a service on a network at the request of a client
backup – the process of storing a copy of data on a storage device to keep it safe / the term used for the copied data
bandwidth – the range of frequencies that can be transmitted over a communications channel
barcode – a sequence of vertical parallel lines used to give items a unique identification number
barcode reader – an optical input device that uses the reflection of a light beam to read barcode labels
BASIC – acronym for Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
batch mode – a process in which all the data is collected and processed together in a batch rather than one at a time as they become available
BBC micro – the name of one of the first microcomputers produced in the United Kingdom and used in schools. Its development was sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corporation
bearer channel – the common name for the part of an ISDN line that carries the data
Instruction Code – a simple high-level computer language often used for teaching programming
B-frame – the common name for a bi-directional frame in an MPEG compressed file
bi-directional frame – a type of image frame used in MPEG compression. It is situated between I and P frames and stores the differences in the image compared with the I or P frame both before and after it
binary – a number system that only uses two digits, i.e. 1 and 0
biometric device – a security device that measures some aspect of a living being, e.g. a fingerprint reader or an eye scanner
BIOS – acronym for Basic Input Output System. A part of the operating system stored on a ROM chip that controls the input and output of data to peripherals
biotechnology – the industrial application of biological science techniques
bit – a small unit of storage capacity. One of the eight binary digits that make up a byte. The term comes from an abbreviation of binary digit.
bitmap compression – a way of reducing the size of a stored image where different digital bits or collections of bits are used to describe each element of an image
(data) block – a collection of data stored together and treated as a single unit
Bluetooth – the name of a high-speed microwave wireless network system developed by a group of companies consisting of Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba. It is used with portable equipment
bookmark – to store a link to a webpage to make it easier to find in the future
boot – to copy a part of the operating system into memory to allow a computer to start up
boot sector virus – a self-replicating program that stores itself in the part of a disk
bridge – a hardware and software combination used to connect the same type of networks or to partition a large network into two smaller ones
broadband – able to carry signals transmitted over a wide range of frequencies
broadcast – to transmit signals that can be picked up by a large number of receivers
browse – to move from webpage to webpage using a Web browser program
(Web) browser – a program used for displaying webpages
ВТ – abbreviation for British Telecom. The organisation that provides the telephone system in Great Britain
buffering – a process of temporarily storing data from a fast source so that it can be fed at a steady rate to a slower system
bug – a fault in a system
bulletin board – an electronic noticeboard system that enables users to display messages for other users to read
bus – a set of conductors that carry signals between different parts of a computer
byte – a unit of storage capacity. A byte is made up of eight bits and stores one character, i.e. a letter, a number, a space or a punctuation mark
С – a general purpose computer programming language that was originally designed for writing Unix systems programs
С drive – the first hard disk in a personal computer
С++ – an object-oriented superset of the С programming language commonly used for writing applications programs for the Microsoft Windows operating system
cache – to temporarily store frequently-used data in fast memory so that it can be accessed more quickly; fast memory used to temporarily store frequently-used data to allow it to be accessed more quickly
callback system – a system that automatically disconnects a telephone line after receiving a call and then dials the telephone number of the system that made the call to reconnect the line. It is used in remote access systems to make sure that connections can only be made from permitted telephone numbers.
cathode ray tube – a display device that uses an electron gun to fire a beam of electrons at a phosphor-coated screen
CCNA – abbreviation for Cisco Certified Network Associate. A starting level networking qualification offered by Cisco, a major network equipment vendor.
CD-ROM) – abbreviation for compact disk read only memory. A read only storage device in the form of a disk that is read using laser light
CD-ROM drive – a storage device for reading CD-ROM disks
cellphone – the common name for a cellular phone
cellular network – a radio communications systems that divides a region into cells so that each region becomes a network with every point connected to a local transmitter within the cell
central processing unit – the electronic processor at the centre of a computer. The term is sometimes used to refer to the combination of the processor and the main memory.
channel – a path for the transmission of data
chat room – a virtual space on a website where online discussions organised around specific interests are held in real-time by users typing text messages
check data – information written to disks in a RAID system which is used to restore data if one of the array drives fail
chip – common name for a microchip. An electronic integrated circuit in a small package.
cleanse – a term used in data mining meaning to remove duplicate information and erroneous data
click – to press and release the button on a mouse
client – a network computer used for accessing a service on a server
client-server application – a program that is accessed from a client computer but most of the processing is carried out on a server computer
clipart – professionally-prepared graphical images stored on a computer system
Clipboard – the name used in Microsoft Windows for the section of memory that temporarily stores data while it is being copied and pasted
clock – the set of electronic circuits used to control the timing of signals and synchronise different parts of a computer system
cluster – a term used in data mining meaning a group of data that has similar features or is based on a limited data range
CMC – abbreviation for computer mediated communication, i.e. the transfer of messages using a computer system
coax(ial) (cable) – a type of shielded cable for carrying signals. It is often used with radio frequency and video signals.
COBOL – acronym for Common Business-Oriented Language
code – a piece of program text written in a programming language; to write the text of a program or part of a program using a computer language
codec – abbreviation for coder/decoder. A program used for converting sound and video signals for use in a computer
COM program – a DOS program with a .com filename extension that loads and runs in 64 kilobytes or less of memory
command interpreter – the part of an operating system that processes commands that are part of a program or are input using a keyboard
Commodore 64 – the model name of one of the first popular personal computers to be made available in the United Kingdom. It had a very good graphics system and was particularly suited to running computer games programs.
Common Business-Oriented Language – a high-level computer programming language. It is the principal transaction processing language used to process the records of large organisations on mainframe computers.
compatible – able to operate on the same type of system or run the same software
compile – to convert a program written in a high-level language into machine code using a compiler
compiler – a program that converts the whole of a program into machine code before the program is used
computer – a general purpose machine that can be programmed to process data in a variety of ways
computer consultant – a person who is paid to advise on computing system issues
computer engineer – a person who designs and develops computer systems
computer language – a language used for writing computer programs
computer operator – a person whose job it is to operate part of a computer system
computer science – the study of computers and their use
computer services engineering technician –
a person who provides a service of maintaining and troubleshooting computers
computer-aided design – the process of designing using a computer program
computer-aided manufacture – the process of manufacturing goods using a computer
computer-mediated communication – a process of transferring messages using computers
computing support – a field of work that provides a service including setting up, maintaining and troubleshooting computing systems and providing technical advice to users
conure – to adjust the settings
control bit – a data bit used to mark parts of a transmitted signal so that the transmission can be controlled, e.g. a ‘start’ bit marks the beginning of a character and a ‘stop’ bit marks its end
control bus – the set of conductors that carry the control signals between the Control Unit and other parts of a computer
corrupt – to damage in such a way that prevents normal use
cp – a Unix command for copying a file
CPU – abbreviation for central processing unit
crack – to break into a computer system in order to steal information or cause damage
crash – to fail suddenly and completely usually referring to the failure of a hard disk
CRT – abbreviation for cathode ray tube
Ctrl + Alt + Del – set of symbols that signify pressing the combination of the control-alternative and delete keys on a computer keyboard at the same time
cut and paste – to remove some data from a file and temporarily store it in the computer’s memory then insert a copy of the data in another position in the same or in another file
cyberbabe – a digital image of an attractive female that is used in programs on the Internet
cybernetics – the study of control and communication in animals and machines. It is used in the design of robots.
cyberspace – the combination of all the data on all the computer networks throughout the world accessed using the Internet
cyborg –a man-machine system or a person made superhuman by a machine or external system that changes the way the body functions
D channel – the common name for a data channel in an ISDN system
data – the information processed by a computer
data bank –a large collection of data that can be accessed by many users and enables them to copy or store data on a particular topic
data bus – the set of conductors that carry the data signals between different parts of a computer
data communications – the transmission and reception of data signals using a communications network and appropriate protocols
data integrity – a measure of how resistant a system is to causing corruption in data while it is being stored or transferred
data mart – a storage system that archives large amounts of data in a way that makes it easy to access
data mining – a process of analysing a large amount of stored data to find new useful information
data warehouse – a computing centre that provides a large collection of data gathered from different sources for data mining
data-delivery system – a system for transmitting data from one computer to another
DDR – abbreviation for double data rate. A type of memory that transfers data on both the up and down cycles of the control signal, making it faster than earlier types of memory
debug – to find and fix faults in a program or system
decipher – to change coded information into normal text
decision tree – an AL technique used in data mining that separates data into subsets then further divides the subsets into smaller subsets until the subsets are small enough to allow the mining process to find interesting patterns and relationships within the data
decode – to decide what a program instruction means
decompress – to remove the compression, i.e. to expand to its original size
decrypt – to recover the original text from an encrypted message
defacing – a computer crime that involves changing the information shown on another person’s website without permission
default – an initial setting that can be changed by the user
denial of service attack – a type of computer crime that involves swamping a server with large numbers of requests
desktop – the main graphical user interface background screen that displays icons for other programs
DHTML – abbreviation for dynamic hypertext markup language. A development of HTML that allows the creation of more dynamic and user-interactive web pages.
dial-up networking – a communications system that allows computers to connect together using a telephone line
differential backup – a type of backup that copies all the selected files on a system that have been changed since the last time a full backup was carried out
digital – an electronic system that has only two states, e.g. off or on
digital cash – electronic currency that is stored on electronically sensitive cards or exists in cyberspace and is used for making electronic purchases over the Internet
digital certificate – an electronic message used to show a transaction is trustworthy. It contains information about the company processing the transaction including their public key and is electronically ‘signed’ by a trusted digital-certificate issuer.
directory – a storage area used for grouping files so that they can be easily located. A directory is sometimes called a folder
disk – a flat circular storage device
disk drive – a storage device for reading from and writing to disks
divider – a vertical bar that divides a Windows Explorer window into two parts. One part shows the drive folders and the other part shows the filenames of the files in the selected folder.
DNS – abbreviation for domain name system
domain name – an identifier used on the Internet in place of the numerical Internet address. It identifies the host, the type and the country code, e.g. holyrood.ed.ac.uk
domain name server – a network server computer used for operating and controlling the domain name system
domain name system – a system of associating the name of a device on a network such as the Internet with its numerical address so that the name can be used by the user and the numerical address can be used by the network system
dot-matrix printer – a printer that prints by hammering pins onto an inked ribbon
doubleclick – to press and release the left-hand button on a mouse two times in rapid succession
download – to copy a file from a server to a client computer in a network; a process of copying a file from a server to a client computer in a network
downstream – the signal path for receiving communications from a server to a client computer in a network
drag and drop – to move data from one location to another with a mouse. Holding down the mouse button while moving the mouse moves the selected data. Releasing the mouse button drops the data in the new location
driver – a systems program that controls a peripheral device
DSL – abbreviation for digital subscriber line
DTP – abbreviation for desktop publishing. A process of designing documents for publishing using a computer system.
duplex – able to transfer data in both directions, i.e. can send and receive data
earth – a common name for an electrical ground point or zero voltage point
ebook – common name for an electronic book
e-business – common term for electronic business, i.e. business that is carried out using the Internet
e-cash – common name for electronic cash
ECC memory – abbreviation for error code correcting memory. A type of memory often used in server computers that automatically fixes simple memory errors without requiring the rebooting of the computer.
e-commerce – the business of buying and selling goods and services on the Internet
editor – a computer program for making changes to text in computer programs or data
edutainment – a system that has both educational and entertainment value
electronic publisher – an organisation that produces e-books
electronic virtual assistant – a computer program represented by an animated screen image that is used to help the user perform particular tasks such as searching the Internet for useful data
email – the common name for an electronic mail message, i.e. a text message sent electronically using a computer; to send an email message
email address – the unique address code used to contact someone using electronic mail
email attachment –a file that is attached to an email message
email program –a computer program used for reading and sending email
encode – to write information in a co-
encrypt – to transform data into coded form to make it secure
encryption – the transformation of data into coded form to make it secure
e-publishing – the production of e-books
e-solution – common term for electronic solutions, i.e. ways of solving a problem or providing a service using the Internet
Ethernet – a widely-used local area network standard that broadcasts packets of data that are addressed to particular devices on the network. Each device on the network reads the address and passes it on to the correct device.
exe program – an MS-DOS executable program that has an .exe filename extension. It can use more than 64 kilobytes of memory and can be located anywhere in the memory.
execute – to perform a computer operation by processing a program instruction
expansion card – an electronic circuit board used for adding facilities to a computer
expert system – an artificial intelligence program that collects and uses human expertise to allow non-experts to solve specialised problems
FAQ – acronym used on websites for frequently-asked question
fetch – to go and get the next instruction or piece of data from memory
Fibre Channel – a high speed interconnection standard used in storage area networks
fibre-optics cable – a type of plastic or glass connector that enables signals to be carried using laser light
field – a section of a database where an item of data is stored
file – a computer program or data stored on a storage device
file server – a main computer that provides a storage area for data files on a network
file transfer protocol – an Internet service that allows users to transfer files from one computer to another
file virus – a virus that attaches itself to a program file
filestore – a collection of computer files stored centrally on a network server
firewall – a combination of hardware and software used to control the data going into and out of a network. It is used to prevent unauthorized access to the network by hackers.
flag – to mark in a way that indicates that a particular condition has occurred
flash drive – an electronic memory storage device that plugs into a computer and acts like a disk drive
flat file database – a simple database in which all the data is stored in one table which is not related to any other table
floppy (disk) – a magnetic storage device in the form of a small plastic disk. Also known as a diskette.
floppy (disk) drive – a common magnetic storage device that reads and writes data on a floppy disk. Also known as a diskette drive.
flowchart – a kind of diagram used by programmers to show the logical steps in a program or by systems analysts to show logical steps in the design of a system
FORTRAN – acronym for Formula Translator. A high-level computing language that was designed by scientists in 1954 and is oriented toward manipulating formulas for scientific, mathematical and engineering problem-solving applications.
frame – a section of a webpage that acts as an independent browser window. Clicking on a link in one frame can cause a webpage to be displayed in another frame, e.g. a menu in one frame can provide links to webpages that are displayed in another frame.
freeware – computer programs that are made available to anyone who wants to use them at no cost to the user
frequency band – a set of frequencies that are used together to provide a path for the transmission of signals
full backup – a type of backup that copies all the selected files on a system whether or not they have been edited or backed up
full-duplex – able to transfer data in both directions simultaneously, i.e. data can be transmitted and received at the same time
games console – an electronic device used for playing computer games
gateway – an interface that enables dissimilar networks to communicate such as two LANs based on different topologies or network operating systems
geek – although it was originally a derogatory term used for an expert lacking in social skills, it is now used in computing to mean a dedicated expert
general-purpose language – a computer language that can be used to write different types of programs
GIF – acronym for graphics interchange format. A way of storing images in a compres-
gigabit – a unit of storage capacity equal to
1 073 741 824 bits
gigabyte – a unit of storage capacity equal to 1 073 741 824 bytes
gigahertz – a unit of frequency equal to one thousand million hertz (cycles every second)
global positioning system – a system that determines the user’s location by comparing radio signals from several satellites
Gnome – a project to build a complete user-friendly Unix-like desktop system based entirely on free software. It is part of the GNU project and part of the OpenSource movement
GNU – a freely distributed portable Unix compatible software system
Google – the name of a popular website that provides a keyword search engine to enable user to search for relevant websites
GPS – abbreviation for global positioning system
graphical (user) interface, GUI – the part of an operating system that allows the user to interact with a computer using graphic images and a cursor
grep – a Unix command for searching through one or more text files for a specific text string
hack hick – to gain unauthorised access to a network system
hacker – a skilled programmer who attempts to gain unauthorised access to a network system
handheld (computer) – a small portable computer that can be held in one hand
hang – to suddenly and unexpectedly stop processing during the execution of a program
hard (disk) (drive) – a common magnetic storage device that reads and writes data on metal disks inside a sealed case
hardware – the physical components of a computer system
high-end package – a set of computer programs with a wide variety of complex features
high-level language – a programming language closer to human language than low-level computer languages such as machine code or assembly language
high-level program – a computer program written using a high-level language
highlight – to select by marking on the display screen
hijacking – a computer crime that involves redirecting anyone trying to visit a certain website elsewhere
Home button – the button icon on a Web browser program that takes you to the starting webpage
homepage – the main start page of a website
host – a computer that provides a service on a network; a program that carries a virus
hotspot – the location of a wireless access point. Often found in public places such as airports, stations and hotels to provide a connection to the Internet
hover – to hold a cursor over an icon for a short period of time
HTML – abbreviation for hypertext markup language. A page description language that uses a system of tags for creating web pages
hub – an electronic device at the centre of a star network topology; a common connection point for devices on a network
humanoid – a robot with human chara-
hyperlink – a text or image in a webpage that causes a related webpage to be displayed or another program to be started when the user clicks on the hyperlink using the mouse
hypertext markup language – a page description language that has a set of tags that can be inserted into a document to make it act as a webpage. The tags determine how the document is displayed on the screen and marks the position of hyperlinks
I/O – abbreviation for input/output
IBM – abbreviation for International Business Machines, the largest computer company in the world. It launched the first personal computer called the IBM PC which quickly became the standard.
IС – abbreviation for integrated circuit. A complete electronic circuit built on a single silicon chip.
icon – a small picture used in a WIMP system to represent a program folder or file
IEEE802.11 – a wireless networking system standard approved by the American regulating organisation called the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
I-frame – the common name for an intra frame in an MPEG compressed file
image editor – a computer program that allows the user to make changes to images
image map – a graphic image with separate areas that contain hyperlinks to different parts of a website
IMAP – acronym for Internet mail access protocol
inbox – the folder in an email program where emails are stored when they are first received
information technology – the study and practice of techniques or use of equipment for dealing with information
inheritance – a key feature of object-oriented programming that allows specific instances of a class to inherit all the properties of the class, e.g. squares are a specific instance of rectangles and inherit all the properties of rectangles
initialise (the hard disk) – to reboot or restart the computer
input – to put data into a system; data put into a system
input device – a piece of equipment used for putting data into a computer
instruction – one line of a computer program
integrated services digital network –
a broadband network communications system that allows the ordinary analogue telephone system to carry digital signals including voice, data, text, graphics and video
Intel – the American company that designs and produces the electronic processors used in most of the computers in the world
intelligent agent – a computer utility program that uses artificial intelligence to perform tasks for the user such as retrieving and delivering information and automating repetitive tasks
interactive – allows two-way communication so that the user can respond or interact with the system
interface – the hardware or software that connects two systems and allows them to communicate with each other
Internet (protocol) address – a 32-bit code number assigned to every node on the Internet. It consists of a series of numbers that identify the major network and the sub-networks to which a node is attached and provides a path that gateways can use to route information from one machine to another.
(Microsoft) Internet Explorer – a free browser program developed by the Microsoft Corporation
Internet mail access protocol – a set of standards for accessing email messages stored on an email server. Initially only message headers are retrieved. Users can then organise or delete messages on the server and download individual messages.
Internet protocol – the basic set of standards for enabling computers to communicate over the Internet
Internet service provider – an organisation that provides Internet connections for a fee
Internet – the connection of computer networks across the world
interpreter – a program that converts other programs into machine code line by line as the programs are being used
intranet – a computer network that is internal to an organisation and uses the TCP/IP protocol in the same way as the Internet
IP – abbreviation for Internet protocol. A part of the TCP/IP protocol used on the Internet.
IP address – abbreviation for Internet protocol address
IRC – abbreviation for Internet relay chat. An Internet service that allows user to have a conversation by sending text messages to each other in real-time.
IS Manager – an abbreviated form of information systems manager. A person who manages a computer-based service that provides information that is useful to a particular organisation.
ISDN – abbreviation for integrated services digital network
ISP – abbreviation for Internet service
provider IT – abbreviation for information technology
Java – an object-oriented computer programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s. Programs written in Java can be used on a wide range of operating systems. It is widely used for developing interactive applications for the Internet
JPEG – abbreviation for joint photographic expert group -the committee that devised a common standard for image file format and compression. JPEG compression is commonly used for photographic images in webpages because it creates very small files
junk email – unwanted and unsolicited email that is normally advertising or trying to sell something
Kb/KB – abbreviation for a kilobyte. A unit of storage capacity equal to 1024 bytes.
Kbit/s – abbreviation for kilobits per second. A unit of signal speed equal to 1024 bits every second. A more common form is kbps.
KDE – a graphical user interface used with the Linux operating system
keyboard – the main electronic input device that has keys arranged in a similar layout to a typewriter
keyword – a word used to categorise documents or records in a file. Keywords can be used by a search engine to find relevant links on the Internet.
kHz – abbreviation for kilohertz. A unit of frequency equal to 1000 cycles every second.
killer application – an application program that is particularly useful and popular, making a computer system very successful
knowledge base – a collection of information that can be easily modified, revised and manipulated to enable the user to solve particular problems
LAN – acronym for local area network
language processor – software that performs computer language translation
laptop (computer) – the largest type of portable computer
laser printer – a printer that prints using toner powder and laser light on a photosensitive drum
LCD – abbreviation for liquid crystal display. An electronic display device that uses liquid crystal cells to control the reflection of light.
link – a common term used for a hyperlink, i.e. the connection of a webpage to another webpage or file
Linux – a clone of the Unix operating system created by Linus Torvalds for use on personal computers
Linux distribution – the Linux-user term for a complete operating system kit complete with the utilities and applications needed to make it do useful things, e.g. command interpreters, programming tools, text editors, typesetting tools and graphical user interfaces
load – to copy a program from a storage device into the computer’s memory
local area network – computers connected together over a small area such as a company department
log – to record the time that an event happened; a record of when an event happened
log on – to connect to a network system account normally using a password
logic bomb – destructive code introduced into a program that is triggered by some event taking place on the computer system at a later time
low-level language – a computer language such as machine code or assembly language that is closer to the form that a computer understands than to that of a human language
machine intelligence – another name for artificial intelligence
Mac OS – the family of operating systems used on the Apple Macintosh range of computers
macro virus – a virus program in the form of a macro program
magnetic tape – a magnetic storage medium in the form of a thin plastic ribbon wound on a reel or a cassette. It is commonly used for backing up data.
mail bombing – a computer crime that involves inundating an email address with thousands of messages slowing or even crashing the server
mail client – an email program that connects to an email server to send and receive email
mail server – a network service that stores email messages and enables email clients to send and receive emails
mailbox – a foldef used by an email server to store a user’s emails
main memory – the electronic memory that holds the programs and data being used
mainframe (computer) – the largest and most powerful type of computer. It is operated by a team of professionals
markup language – a set of tags that can be inserted into a document to indicate its layout and appearance
Mb/MB – abbreviation for a megabyte; a unit of storage capacity equal to 1 048 576 bytes
megahertz – a unit of frequency equal to
1 million cycles every second
memory – the electronic part of a computer system that is used for temporarily storing the programs and data that are being used by the processor
menu – a list of options displayed on a computer screen
menu bar – a row of icons on a display screen that open up menus when selected
metadata – data about data in a document
metalanguage – a language from which you can create other languages
microchip – an electronic integrated circuit in a small package
microcomputer – a personal computer. Smaller and less powerful than a mainframe or a minicomputer.
microprocessor – the main electronic chip in a computer. It can be thought of as the ‘brain’ of the computer because it does the main processing and controls the other parts of the computer. It is sometimes called the CPU.
Microsoft – the common name for the Microsoft Corporation. The company founded by Bill Gates that developed the MS-DOS and Windows operating systems and a variety of software commonly used on desktop computers.
microwave – a high-frequency electromagnetic wave used in data communication systems
minicomputer – a computer that is slightly less powerful and a little smaller than a mainframe
Minix – a compact Unix clone written as a teaching aid by Professor Andy Tannenbaum
modem – short for modulator/demodulator. An electronic device that converts signals to enable a computer to be connected to an ordinary telephone line.
modulation – a process of combining a data signal with a carrier wave by causing the data signal to modify the amplitude frequency or phase of the carrier wave
monitor – the main output device used to display the output from a computer on a screen. See VDU
MOO – acronym for multi-user object oriented. An Internet virtual environment developed from multi-user adventure games that allows many users to interact.
motherboard – the main electronic circuit board inside a computer that holds and connects together all the main electronic components
mouse – a common cursor control input device used with a graphical user interface. It commonly has two or three button switches on top and a ball underneath that is rolled on a flat surface
MP3 – abbreviation for MPEG Audio Layer 3. A Motion Picture Experts Group standard for audio compression.
MPEG – a standard video compression scheme. The term is an acronym for Motion Picture Experts Group a committee that develops standards for audio and video file formats and compression
MS-DOS – abbreviation for Microsoft disk operating system. The command line operating system that was used in the first PCs.
multimedia – the combination of text graphics animation sound and video
NAS – acronym for network attached storage. A device that can be plugged into a network to provide a storage service
natural-language programming – the process of writing programs using a computer language that is very similar to natural human language
Net – the common name for the Internet
Netscape Communicator – a widely used web browser package
NetWare – a widely-used LAN operating system produced by Novell Incorporated
network – to connect a number of computers and peripheral devices together; a combination of a number of computers and peripheral devices connected together
network computer – a computer designed using the industry specification from Oracle and Sun Microsystems for a low-cost basic personal computer that can have an Intel processor or another type of processor and can use a Java-based operating system. It is designed for use on a multi-user network system and is managed centrally. It has no floppy disk drive, CD-ROM drive or hardware expansion slots, i.e. it is a type of thin client
network guru – a person who is an expert in networking and gives talks and advice on the future development of networking
network operating system – an operating system that is used to administer and control a network allowing computers to share hardware and software while providing file security and backup facilities
neural net(work) – an artificial intelligence system that is capable of developing rules from given input so that it learns how to deal with more complex input
newsgroup – an Internet discussion group that uses a restricted area on a server computer to display messages about a common interest
notebook (computer) – a portable computer that is about the same size as a piece of writing paper
object – an object-oriented programming module that has its own properties created by bundling data and program instructions together
object-oriented programming – a type of programming where programs are made from combinations of predefined modules that can be used over and over again
(Microsoft) Office – a widely-used application package developed by the Microsoft Corporation that includes programs used in a typical office, e.g. a wordprocessor and spreadsheet
office application – a computer program or set of programs that are used in a typical office, e.g. a wordprocessor, spreadsheet and database
offline – disconnected from a computer system or the Internet
online – connected to a computer system or the Internet
OOP – acronym for object-oriented prog-
Open Source – part of a system of software development where anyone is free to take a copy of the source code and extend, develop or fix bugs in it
operating system – the set of programs that control the basic functions of a computer and provide communication between the application programs and the hardware
optical drive – a type of storage device that reads or writes data using laser light, e.g. CD-ROM, DVD-RW
optical fibre – a common name for glass fibre cable used in high speed networks. It enables data signals to be transmitted using laser light.
ORACLE – a widely used database management system
OS – abbreviation for operating system
OS X – version 10 of the Apple Macintosh operating system. It is a modular OS and has a desktop with a 3-D appearance. It includes support for UNIX-based applications as well as older Mac applications.
Outlook Express – a free graphical interface email program integrated into the Internet Explorer browser developed by the Microsoft Corporation
(software) package – an application program or collection of programs that can be used in different ways
packet – a fixed size unit of data prepared for transmission across a network. Messages are normally divided into packets before transmission
packet-switching – a method of transferring data across a network by dividing it into packets and transferring the packets individually from node to node then putting the packets together again when they arrive at the destination
page-description language – a type of programming language that uses tags to define the layout of a document, e.g. HTML is a page-description language used to design webpages
palm-size PC – another name for a handheld IBM compatible computer
palmtop (computer) – a portable computer that is small enough to be held in the palm of one hand. See handheld computer.
Pascal – a high-level structured computer language named after the mathematician Blaise Pascal. It is often used in college computing courses to teach programming
password – a secret code used to control access to a network system
payload – the part of a virus that carries out the threat such as displaying a slogan on the screen
payroll package – a set of computer programs used for calculating pay cheques
PC – abbreviation for an IBM type of personal computer
PCI Express – (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) an interface for connecting peripherals to the processor. It is faster than the standard PCI interface.
PDA – abbreviation for personal digital assistant. A small handheld computer providing a variety of tools for organising work, e.g. a calendar, to do list, diary, address list, calculator, etc.
pen-based computer – a small computer that has a pen input device instead of a keyboard
Pentium – a family of processors produced by the Intel Corporation
peripheral – a piece of equipment that is connected to the central processing unit of a computer system
personal computer – a computer designed to be used by one person at a time
P-frame – the common name for a predicted frame in an MPEG compressed file
Photoshop – an image-editing computer program produced by Adobe Systems Inc.
piggybacking – a computer crime that involves using another person’s identification code or using that person’s files before he or she has logged off
PIN – an acronym for personal identification number. A unique number used by electronic systems to indicate who a person is.
platform – distinctive type of computer system that needs software to be written specifically for it, e.g. PC, Apple Mac, etc.
PlayStation – a games console developed by the Sony Corporation
POP – acronym for post office protocol
portable (computer) – a computer that is small and light enough to be carried from place to place. It can usually be powered by batteries
post – to display a message in a computer newsgroup or bulletin board
post office protocol – a message-retrieval protocol used by many mail clients to get messages from a server. It only allows you to download all messages in your mailbox at once and works in ‘pull’ mode, i.e. the receiving PC initiating the connection.
primary disk drive – the main disk drive in a computer. In a PC this is usually a hard disk known as the С drive.
Print Screen – the computer keyboard key that copies the current display screen image to memory or to the printer
printed circuit board – an electronic board that holds and connects the components of an electronic circuit
printer – a common output device used for printing the output of a computer on paper
procedural language – a computer programming language that enables programs to be written using sections of code known as procedures. Each procedure performs a specific task.
processor – the part of a computer that processes the data
program – a set of instructions written in a computer language that control the behaviour of a computer; to write a set of instructions for controlling a computer using a computer language
programmer – a person who writes computer programs
programming – the processes of writing a computer program using a computer language
programming language – a computer language used for writing computer programs
protocol – a set of agreed standards
pseudocode – a way of writing a description of a computer program using a mixture of natural language and computer language code
pull-down menu – a list of choices that appear below a menu title on a display screen when the user clicks on the menu title using a mouse
RAM – acronym for random access memory
random access memory – a type of memory that can be accessed in any order. RAM is the main electronic memory of a personal computer and is used for storing the programs and data being used
real-time – the immediate processing of computer data enabling interactive applications
reboot – to restart a computer operating
record – a section of a database made up of related database fields
recorder (program) – a computer program that allows the user to create their own audio CDs with a writeable CD-ROM drive
Recycle Bin – the folder in Microsoft Windows operating systems where deleted files are stored
resolution – a measure of the quality of a display screen in terms of the amount of graphical information that can be shown on the screen. This partly depends on the number of dots that make up the image.
resolution protocol – a set of standards for software used with internal look-up tables in a TCP/IP network for routing data through a gateway between networks
restore – to put data back into its original location
rip – to extract songs from a CD and turn them into WAV files
ripper – a program that extracts songs from a CD and turns them into WAV files
robot – a mechanical device controlled by a computer
robotics – the study of robot systems
ROM – acronym for read only memory
route – the path that is used to transfer data in a network; to move data from node to node on a network
router – an electronic device that links different networks or parts of a network. It determines the path that a signal should take to reach its destination
run – to execute a program, i.e. to get a program to process the data
salami shaving – a computer crime that involves manipulating programs or data so that small amounts of money are deducted from a large number of transactions or accounts and accumulated elsewhere
SAN – acronym for storage area network. A high-speed interconnection of shared storage devices
save – to copy a program or data to a storage device
scan – to copy text or graphics using a scanner
scanner – an optical input device that uses the reflection of light to copy text or graphics into a computer
(monitor)(display) screen – a computer output device used for displaying text and graphic images
scroll – to move through displayed information smoothly on the screen either horizontally or vertically
scrollbar – the part of a graphical user interface window that allows the user to move through a document by clicking or dragging with the mouse
SCSI – acronym for small computer systems interface. A standard way of connecting peripheral devices to a personal computer system. It is often used to connect hard disks and CD-ROM drives in server computers.
SDRAM – abbreviation for synchronous dynamic random access memory. A type of fast memory that uses a separate clock signal in addition to the normal control signals.
search engine – a program designed to find information on the World Wide Web according to data entered by the user. Search engines are usually accessed from special websites
segment – a subdivision of data created by a network communications transport layer for which a checksum is generated
server – a main computer that provides a service on a network
server farm – a large collection of networked server computers that work together by sharing the service workload
service tag number – a number used to identify a computer for maintenance agreements
shareware – software that is distributed freely and only paid for if the user decides to keep it
shell – a graphical user interface for an operating system
shell script – a text file that contains a sequence of commands for a UNIX-based operating system. In DOS operating systems a shell script is called a batch file.
shift key – the computer keyboard key that is held down to produce uppercase letters
signup – to register with a service
simple mail transfer protocol – a set of standards for sending email from an email client and transferring email between server computers on the Internet
simulation – a programmed virtual environment that imitates a real or planned system
site – a common name for a website
sitemap – a webpage that is used to show the overall layout of a website
smart card – a plastic card containing a processor and memory chip. It can be used to store large amounts of confidential data.
smart card reader – a device used for reading smart cards
smart device – a device that contains an embedded processor and memory
smart phone – a telephone that contains an embedded processor and memory and can process data, e.g. translate English into German, Japanese and French in real time
SMS – abbreviation for Short Message Service. A method of sending text messages that are 160 characters in length or shorter over a mobile phone
SMTP – abbreviation for simple message transfer protocol
software – the programs and data used in a computer
software engineering – the discipline of designing high quality software solutions
software house – a company that designs and produces software
software piracy – a computer crime that involves unauthorised copying of a program for sale or distributing to other users
source code – programming code that has to be processed by a compiler or translator to make object code for use in a computer
spam – unsolicited email sent to large numbers of people indiscriminately usually advertising or trying to sell a product
spreadsheet (program) – a type of application program with an array of cells that is used for calculating formulas
SQL – abbreviation for structured query language. A language used for searching databases.
standard generalized markup language –
the complex metalanguage from which both HTML and XML were created
status bar – a narrow band displayed across the bottom of a window in a Microsoft Windows application to display useful information for the user, e.g. number of pages in a document
stealth virus – a type of virus that hides itself making it hard to detect
storage device – a piece of equipment used for reading from and writing to a storage medium
storage medium – a material used for storing programs and data
streaming – a process of downloading and storing the next part of a data signal while the first part is being used. In this way the data signal, e.g. an audio or video is fed to the slower destination device at a steady rate.
string – a series of data characters which can be a mixture of letters or numbers
striping – a process where data is spread across all drives in a RAID array rather than filling up one disk with data before writing to the next disk in the array
structured language – a computer programming language that requires the programmer to write programs made up of self-contained units or procedures
structured programming – the process of writing a program using a structured programming language
subfolder – a storage area that provides a subdivision of a folder so that stored files can be organised into smaller groups
submenu – a list of choices that is displayed when the user clicks on an item in a menu
sub-network – a self-contained part of a larger network
subpage – a webpage that gives further detailed information about part of the information on a main webpage
supercomputer – the most powerful type of mainframe computer
supervisor (program) – the most important program in the operating system. It is resident and controls the entire operating system. It loads other operating system programs into memory when they are needed
support analyst –a person who provides help to computer users by studying their requirements and designing systems to provide for their needs
support engineer – a professional who provides help for computer users by designing, building, and maintaining computer systems
support technician – a person who maintains and troubleshoots problems with computers
surf – to browse webpages on the Internet in an unplanned way
surge protector – an electronic device that protects equipment from damage due to sudden high voltage or current in the power supply
swipe card – a plastic card with a magnetic strip running across it containing confiden-
synchronise – to cause different processes to occur at the same time
synchronous – occurring at regular intervals and in step with other systems usually controlled by an electronic clock circuit
synthesiser – a device that uses electronic circuits to generate sounds
system tray – a section at the far right of a Microsoft Windows task bar that holds icons for the clock and other programs that run constantly in the background
systems administrator – a person who maintains a multi-user computer system
systems analysis – the study of a system to determine how it can be computerised
systems analyst – a person who designs or modifies information systems to meet users’ requirements. This includes investigating feasibility and cost-producing documentation and testing prototypes of the system.
systems manager – a person who manages a computer system
systems program – a program or set of programs that is used to control the basic functions of a computer system, e.g. operating system programs
systems programmer – a person who specialises in writing systems software such as operating system programs
systems programming – the writing of systems programs
tab – the computer keyboard key that is used to move the cursor to the next tabulation point in a wordprocessor program so that data can be spaced evenly on the screen
tag – a label used in a markup language such as HTML. It is attached to a piece of text to mark the start or the end of a particular function
TCP – abbreviation for transfer control protocol. A part of the TCP/IP protocol used on the Internet.
TCP/IP – abbreviation for transmission control protocol/Internet protocol. The official set of standards for determining the form of the signals used for transmitting data on the Internet.
technophobic – having a fear or strong dislike of technology and technological devices
telecommunications – branch of technology concerned with communications over long distances
telecommunications engineer – a person who works with systems concerned with communications over long distances
telecommute – to communicate with your office by computer, telephone and fax while working a distance from your office, e.g. at home
telephony – the science of audio communication through electric devices. It commonly refers to software that will make a computer act like a telephone.
teleworking – the process of working at home while communicating with your office by computer, telephone and fax. See telecommute.
teller machine – a machine used for taking payments in large shops and supermarkets
telnet – acronym for teletype network. An Internet service that allows a user to connect to a multi-user server using a computer as a terminal.
terminal adapter – a device for connecting an ISDN system to an existing telephone line
text editor – a computer program for editing basic data or program text, i.e. like a basic wordprocessor
TFT display – abbreviation for thin film transistor display. A type of LCD screen display commonly used in portable computers. It uses a separate transistor to control each pixel on the display.
thin client – a low-cost centrally-managed basic computer with a keyboard and display screen processor and memory but no CD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive or expansion slots, e.g. a NetPC or a network computer (NC)
third-generation GSM – the third generation of the Global System for Mobile communication standard. It is the standard for mobile users around the world.
track – a formatted circular magnetic storage area on a computer disk
traffic – the volume of signals or data that passes through a network system
transaction processing – the processing of computer transactions by updating the computer file as each transaction takes place rather than storing them until later to be processed
as a batch
transceiver – short form of transmitter/receiver. A device that both sends and receives signals
transmission control protocol – a set of standards for the delivery of error-free data in communications between computers. It comes into operation once a data packet is delivered to the correct Internet address and application port. It manages the communication exchanges and provides reliable stream service by structuring and buffering the data flow looking for responses and taking action to replace missing data blocks.
transponder – a device that responds to received coded radio signals by automatically transmitting a different coded signal
trapdoor – a technique used in a computer crime that involves leaving within a completed program an illicit program that allows unauthorised – and unknown – entry
Trojan (horse) – a technique used in a computer crime that involves adding concealed instructions to a computer program so that it will still work but will also perform prohibited duties. In other words it appears to do something useful but actually does something destructive in the background.
troubleshoot – to find and fix faults in
troubleshooter – a person who finds and fixes faults in a system
TTS – abbreviation for text to speech. A system where a computer reads text to the user using a speech synthesiser
tuned – set to operate on the same frequency
twisted-pair (cabling) – a common type of network cable that uses two wires twisted together to reduce interference from external signals
UDP – abbreviation for user datagram
undo – to restore a file to the condition it was in before the last change was made
Unix – a popular multi-user multitasking operating system originally designed for mainframe computers.
update – change that provides the latest version; to bring up to date, i.e. to change into the latest version
upgrade – a change that improves the features or performance of a system; to add components to improve the features or performance of a system
upload – to copy a file from a client computer to a server in a network
URL– abbreviation for uniform (or universal) resource locator
USB – abbreviation for universal serial bus. A connector interface standard for attaching peripheral devices to a computer
Usenet – an Internet service that allows users to communicate by means of newsgroups
user datagram protocol – a set of standards for creating a data address in a TCP/IP message. It is used to indicate what application the message is supposed to contact and provides the final routing for the data within the receiving system
user-authentication system – a system that identifies users. This can be done using digital certificates.
username – the network account name assigned to a particular user
utility – a program included with an operating system that can perform useful common routine tasks or housekeeping operations, e.g. foi matting disks or copying files
UTMS – abbreviation for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
VDU – abbreviation for visual display unit.
video memory – the memory used to store graphics ata or a graphics card
videoconferencing – a form of communication over a network that uses video cameras so that the people taking part can see and hear each other
virtual – computer-simulated enabling the user to experience something without needing its physical presence
virtual reality – a simulated three-dimensional environment that surrounds the user and is generated by a computer
virus – a program written with the purpose of causing damage or causing a computer to behave in an unusual way
Visual Basic – a general-purpose programming language with a graphical interface. It is particularly suitable for use by beginners learning how to program
visualisation technology – systems and devices used to create a virtual reality environment
VMS – an operating system used by DEC VAX minicomputers
voice clip – a short sound recording of the human voice
voice recognition – a system that can respond to words spoken by a human being
voice synthesiser – an electronic device that generates sounds that represent the human voice
VoIP – abbreviation for voice over Internet protocol. A set of standards for enabling phone calls to be made across the Internet.
VR – abbreviation for virtual reality
wallpaper – the background graphics on a Microsoft Windows desktop
WAP – acronym for wireless application protocol. A set of standards for allowing users to send emails and access information including video transmissions from the Internet on a mobile phone
Web address – the Internet address of a webpage
Web developer – a person who is employed to create websites
Web mail – a type of email that is accessed from webpages
Webserver – a server computer that stores and provides access to websites
Web space – disk storage space on a web server used for storing webpages
Webmaster – a person who administeis a Web server
Webpage – a hyperlinked document in a web network system
web-ready appliances protocol – a set of standards for enabling domestic appliances to be connected to the Web and to communicate with each other
website – a set of related pages on the World Wide Web
WiFi – abbreviation for Wireless Fidelity. A set of standards for radio-based wireless networks
window – rectangular screen area containing a program folder or file in a WIMP
(Microsoft) Windows – a graphical user interface operating system developed by the Microsoft Corporation. It has been gradually developed into a full operating system.
Windows Explorer – a Microsoft Windows program that allows the user to see the files and folders on all the disks attached to the computer. It can be used for general housekeeping such as moving or deleting files.
wipe – to delete all the files stored on a disk
wirelessly – using radio signals without the need for connecting wires or cables
wireless network – the interconnection of computers using signals carried through the air (usually radio waves) instead of through connecting cables
WLAN – abbreviation for wireless local area network. A network that uses radio waves to connect computers in a small area
WML – abbreviation for wireless markup language. A language similar to HTML used for designing webpages suitable for mobile phones
(Microsoft) Word – a widely-used word processing program developed by the Microsoft Corporation. It is a component of the Microsoft Office package.
wordprocessing – the process of typing and editing text using a wordprocessor
wordprocessor – a type of computer application program used for typing and editing text documents
workstation – a powerful desktop computer used by power users for work that requires a lot of processing, e.g. graphic design
World Wide Web – an information service on the Internet that allows document pages to be accessed using hyperlinks
worm – a program that performs unwanted actions and replicates itself across a network
WRAP – acronym for Web-ready appliances protocol. A set of communications system standards that enable web-connected appliances to communicate
X (windowing) (system) – a windowing system used with different versions of Unix
XML – abbreviation for extensible markup language
Yahoo – the name of a popular Internet search engine website