Technical Glossary, Reference
ADSL: (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) – A method for moving data over regular telephone lines that is much faster than a regular telephone connection. A common configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber to download at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits per second, and upload at speeds of up to 128 kilobits per second.
See Also: Baud, BPS, ISDN, Modem
Anonymous FTP: To connect to an FTP server without providing a personal login ID and password. Often permitted by large host computers who are willing to openly share some of their system files to outside users who otherwise would not be able to log in.
See Also: FTP, Login, Password
Applet: A small Java program that can be placed (embedded) in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.) on the local computer, and are prohibited from communicating with other computers across a network.
See Also: HTML, Java, Network
ARPANet: (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) – The precursor to the Internet. It was developed in the late 60’s by the US Department of Defense as an experiment in wide-area networking that would survive a nuclear war.
See Also: Internet
ASCII: (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) – The world-wide standard of code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper- and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, and punctuation. There are 128 standard ASCII codes, each of which can be represented by a 7-digit binary number, 0000000 through 1111111.
See Also: Binhex
AU: A common audio file format for UNIX systems (.au).
AVI: (Audio/Video Interleaved) – A common video file format (.avi). Video quality can be good at smaller resolutions, but files tend to be large.
Backbone: A high-speed line, or series of connections, that forms a major pathway within a network. This term is relative, as a backbone in a small network may be much smaller than non-backbone lines in a large network.
See Also: Network
Bandwidth: The transmission capacity of the lines that carry the Internet’s electronic traffic. The greater the bandwidth, the more data that can be moved at one time. Lack of bandwidth can impose severe limitations on the ability of the Internet to quickly deliver information.
See Also: Bps, Bit
BBS: (Bulletin Board System) – An online meeting and information system that allows people to carry on discussions, make announcements and transfer files. There are thousands of BBS’s around the world, varying in size from those running on a single machine with only 1 or 2 phone lines, to massive networks such as CompuServe.
BITNET: (‘Because It’s Time NETwork’ or ‘Because It’s There NETwork’) – A network of educational sites separate from the Internet. Listserv, the most popular form of email discussion groups, originated on BITNET.
Bookmark: A pointer to a Web site of interest. Within browsers, pages can be “bookmarked” for quick reference, rather than remembering and typing the complete URL in the address bar.
See Also: Internet Explorer, Mosaic, Netscape
Cache: A section of memory or the Hard Drive where data can be stored for rapid or frequent access.
CGI: (Common Gateway Interface) – A programming language used to convert data gathered from a web page into another form. A CGI program might turn the content of a feedback form into an email message, or search a server’s database with user-entered keywords.
See Also: cgi-bin, Email, WWW
cgi-bin: The most common directory to store CGI programs on a web server. The “bin” part of “cgi-bin” is an abbreviation of “binary”, dating back to when programs were referred to as “binaries”.
See Also: CGI, Server, WWW
ClariNet: A commercial news service dedicated to a wide range of topics that provides tailored news reports via the Internet. You can access ClariNet news within Usenet newsgroups.
See Also: Usenet
Client / Server: Computer technology that separates computers and their users into two categories. When you want information from a computer on the Internet, you are a client. The computer that delivers the information is the server. A server both stores information and makes it available to any authorized client who requests the information.
See Also: Server
Cookie: A piece of information (login names, passwords, online “shopping cart” items, user preferences, etc.) sent by a web server to a web browser and saved to the computer. These “cookies” can then be used at a later date to restore the information when the web server is accessed again. Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount of time.
See Also: Browser, Log In, Password, Server
Compression: Data files available for upload and download are often compressed in order to save space and reduce transfer times. Typical file extensions for compressed files include .zip (DOS/Windows) and .tar (UNIX).
See Also: Download, PKZIP, Upload
Cyberspace: This term was coined by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information available through computer networks.
See Also: Internet
Dial-In: An Internet account that connects a PC directly to the Internet. These accounts use a software application to connect to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and establish a TCP/IP link to the Internet. To access a dial-in connection, a PC needs either a modem to connect via a regular phone line or a terminal adapter (TA) to connect via an ISDN phone line.
See Also: Internet, ISDN, Modem, TCP/IP
DNS: (Domain Name Server) – A computer running a program that converts domain names into IP addresses and vice versa. Domain Name Servers (also known as Name Servers) are the backbone of the Internet.
See Also: Domain Name, IP Number, Server
Domain Control Panel: A password access section of our site that Domain Registrants and Partners use to make domain modifications, receive proprietary scripting code, and use our management system. Each panel’s content is different and will depend on your status in relation to Registrars.com.
Domain Name: A unique name that identifies an Internet site. A domain name is the Internet’s way of translating a numeric IP address into an easy-to-remember combination of words and numbers. A given machine may have more than one domain name, but a given domain name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names “example.com”, “mail.example.com” and “sales.example.com” can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine.
See Also: IP Number
Download: The process of transferring data from a remote computer to a local computer. When you copy a file from a computer on the Internet to your computer, you are “downloading” that file.
See Also: Upload
Email: (Electronic Mail) – Messages sent from one person to another via the Internet. Email can also be sent to a large number of addresses at once through a Mailing List.
See Also: Internet, List Server, Mailing List
FAQ: (Frequently Asked Questions) – An FAQ is a document that lists and answers the most common questions on a particular subject. It is considered good netiquette (the Internet’s code of conduct) to check for FAQs and read them.
See Also: Netiquette, RTFM
Finger: An Internet tool for locating people on other sites. Finger can also be used to give access to non-personal information, but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a particular site. The most famous finger site was a Coke machine at Carnegie-Mellon University that students had wired to the Internet. They could then finger the machine and find out how many bottles remained and how long they had been in the machine so they wouldn’t walk all the way there and find an empty machine or warm soda.
Firewall: A combination of hardware and software that separates a LAN into two or more parts for security purposes. A firewall is commonly used to separate a network from the Internet.
See Also: LAN, Network
Flame: Originally, to “flame” meant to debate in a passionate manner, often involving the use of flowery language. More recently, flame has come to refer to any kind of derogatory or inflammatory comment, no matter how witless or crude.
See Also: Flame War, Netiquette
Flame War: When an online discussion degenerates into a series of personal attacks against the debaters, rather than a discussion of their positions, it is referred to as a flame war.
See Also: Flame, Trolling
FQDN: (Fully Qualified Domain Name) – The official name assigned to an individual computer. Organizations register names, such as “example.com”, then assign unique names to their computers, such as “mail.example.com”.
See Also: Domain Name
FTP: (File Transfer Protocol) – A common method of moving files between two Internet sites. Most FTP sites require a login name and password before files can be retrieved or sent.
See Also: Anonymous FTP, Log In, Password
Gateway: Hardware or software set up to translate between two different protocols. For example, Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal email format and Internet email format. Another definition of gateway is any mechanism for providing access to another system. For example, AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.
Gopher: A searching tool that was once the primary tool for finding information on the Internet before the WWW became popular. Gopher is now buried under massive amounts of WWW pages.
See Also: Client, Hypertext, Server, WWW
Helper Application: A program allowing you to view multimedia files (images, audio, video) that your web browser cannot handle internally. The file must be downloaded before it will be displayed. There are some plug-ins that allow you to view the file over the Internet without downloading it first.
See Also: Browser, Plug-in
Hit: A “hit” is a single request from a web browser for a single item from a web server. For example, a page displaying 3 graphics would require 4 hits: one for the HTML document, and one for each of the 3 graphics. “Hits” are often used as a rough measure of load on a server; however, because each hit can represent a request for anything from a tiny document to a complex search request, the actual load on a machine from a single hit is impossible to define.
Home Page (or Homepage): Originally, a home page was the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common definition refers to the main web page for any business or personal site.
See Also: Browser, WWW
Host: Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is common to have one host machine provide several services, such as WWW and USENET.
See Also: Node, Network
HTML: (HyperText Markup Language) – The language used to build hypertext documents on the WWW. They are nothing more than plain ASCII-text documents interpreted (or rendered) by a web browser to display formatted text and fonts, color, graphic images, and links.
See Also: Browser, Internet Explorer, Mosaic, Netscape, WWW
HTTP: (HyperText Transfer Protocol) – The protocol for moving hypertext (HTML) files across the Internet. This requires a HTTP client program on one end and a HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used on the WWW.
See Also: Client, Server, WWW
Hypertext: Text in a document that contains a link to other text. Hypertext is used in Windows help programs and CD encyclopedias as well as web pages to link and reference related information across documents.
IMHO: (In My Humble Opinion) – A shorthand term appended to a comment in an online forum or email. IMHO indicates that the writer is aware that they are expressing a debatable or dissenting view.
See Also: BTW, RTFM
Information Superhighway: There is some debate about this term. Some claim it refers to the future, where everyone will have fast, easy access to the Internet and things such as video conferencing will be widely available. Others claim that the Internet as we already know it is the Information Superhighway.
Intranet: A network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software found on the Internet, but is only for internal use. A company web server available only to employees would be an Intranet.
See Also: Internet, internet, Network
IP Number: (Internet Protocol Number) – A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots. 123.45.678.9 could be an IP number. Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number. Most machines also have one or more domain names that are easier for people to remember.
See Also: DNS, Domain Name, Internet, TCP/IP
IRC: (Internet Relay Chat) – A large multi-user live chat facility. There are a number of major IRC servers around the world that are linked to each other. Anyone connected to IRC can create a channel or chat room, and all others in the channel see everything that everyone types.
See Also: Mailing List
ISDN: (Integrated Services Digital Network) – A high-speed way to move data over existing phone lines. In theory, it can provide speeds of roughly 128,000 bits-per-second; in practice, most people will be limited to 56,000 or 64,000 bits-per-second.
ISOC: (Internet SOCiety) – Based in Herndon, Virginia, the Internet Society promotes the Internet and coordinates standards. You can visit their site (http://www.isoc.org/) to learn more or become a member.
Java: A network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems specifically designed for creating programs that can be downloaded to your computer from a web page and immediately run. Using small Java programs (“applets”), Web pages can include features such as animations, calculators and other fancy or interactive tricks.
See Also: Applet
JPG: (Joint Photographic Experts Group) – The name of the committee that designed the photographic image-compression standard. The format (.jpg) is optimized for compressing full-color or grayscale photographic images, and does not work well for line drawings or black-and-white images. JPG images are 24-bit (16.7 million color) graphics.
See Also: GIF, TIFF
LAN: (Local Area Network) – A computer network restricted to a limited area, usually the same building or a floor of a building. Office computers are typically connected to a LAN.
See Also: Ethernet, Network
Leased-line: Refers to a telephone line that is rented for an exclusive 24-hour, 7-days-a-week connection from your location to the Internet. The highest speed data connections require a leased line.
See Also: T-1, T-3
Login: The user- or account-name used to gain access to a computer system. Also, the act of entering or “signing on” to a computer system.
See Also: Password
Lurking: To read through mailing lists or newsgroups and get a feel of the topic before posting your own messages. It is considered good netiquette to “lurk” a while before joining an online discussion.
See Also: Netiquette, Netizen, Spam, Trolling
Mailing List: An email-based discussion group. Sending one email message to the mailing list sends email to all other members of the group. Mailing lists are usually joined by subscribing, and can be left by unsubscribing.
See Also: Email
Masking: To conceal a web site’s URL in some manner, normally by using a domain name. For example, if a URL shows up as “http://www.example.com/” but the web site is actually located at “http://www.somewhere-else.com/example/”, that URL is said to be “masked”.
See Also: Domain Name, URL
MIDI: (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) – A high-quality audio file format (.mid).
See Also: QuickTime
MIME: (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) – The Internet standard for attaching non-text files to standard email messages. Non-text files can include graphics, spreadsheets, word-processor documents, sound files, etc. An email program is said to be “MIME Compliant” if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard.
See Also: Binhex, Browser, Email, UUENCODE
Mirror: To “mirror” something is to maintain an exact copy of it. The most common use of the term on the Internet refers to “mirror sites” which are FTP or web sites that maintain exact copies of material originally stored at another location. Another common use of the term “mirror” refers to writing information to more than one hard disk simultaneously to prevent its loss or destruction.
See Also: FTP, WWW
Modem: (MOdulator, DEModulator) – An electronic device that lets computers communicate with one another, much as telephones work with people. The name is derived from “modulator-demodulator” because of their function in processing data over analog phone lines. Terminal Adapters are often (and mistakenly) referred to as modems.
See Also: Terminal Adapter
Mosaic: The first web browser that was available for Macintosh, Windows and UNIX machines with the same interface for each. The popularity of the WWW began with Mosaic.
See Also: Browser, NCSA, Netscape, Internet Explorer, WWW
MPEG: (Motion Picture Experts Group) – A video file format (.mpeg) offering excellent quality in a comparatively small size. Video files found on the Internet are frequently stored in the MPEG format.
See Also: Compression
Multimedia: A combination of media types in a single document, such as text, graphics, audio and video.
MX Records: MX Records are required to be able to send email to domain names (email@example.com), rather than the actual mail server (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are other methods for forwarding messages from a domain to a mail server, but MX Records are the preferred method.
See Also: Domain Name, Email
NCSA: (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) – One of the five original centers in the Supercomputer Centers Program and a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was founded in 1986, and is responsible for developing Mosaic, the web browser responsible for launching the multibillion dollar dot-com explosion.
See Also: Browser, Mosaic
Netizen: A term referring to a citizen of the Internet, or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic responsibility and participation.
See Also: Netiquette, Internet, Spam, Trolling
Netscape: A web browser created by Netscape Communications Corporation. The Netscape browser was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). It provided major improvements in speed and interface over other browsers, but also engendered debate by being the first to create browser-specific elements for HTML.
See Also: Browser, Mosaic, Internet Explorer, Server, WWW
Network: A network is created any time 2 or more computers are connected together to share resources. When 2 or more networks are connected, it becomes an internet.
See Also: Internet, internet, Intranet
Newsgroup: The name for a discussion group on USENET.
See Also: USENET
NIC(1): (Networked Information Center) – (Networked Information Center) – Any office that handles information for a network can be referred to as an NIC. The most famous of these is the InterNIC, the original ofice of domain registration . Another definition of NIC is Network Interface Card, which plugs into a computer and adapts the network interface to the appropriate standard.
See Also: Domain Names, Network
NIC(2) (Network Information Center) – a unique ID Code issued by Registrars.com to identify contact persons associated with a domain name. There can be up to 3 NIC handles per domain, referred to as ‘ADMIN / TECH / BILL’, each having its own area of responsibility.
See Also: Domain Names
NNTP: (Network News Transfer Protocol) – The protocol used by client and server software to move a USENET posting over a TCP/IP network. Most common web browsers use an NNTP connection to participate in newsgroups.
See Also: Browser, Newsgroups, TCP/IP, USENET
OC-3 and OC-12: High-speed data links capable of transferring data at 155 and 622 Megabits-per-second respectively. OC-3’s and OC-12’s are replacing T-3’s as the backbones of the Internet.
See Also: Backbone, bps, Internet, T-3
Online: When someone is connected to the Internet, they are considered “online”.
See Also: Internet
Packet: A chunk of data. The TCP/IP protocol breaks large data files into smaller “packets” for transmission over the Internet. When the data reaches its destination, the protocol makes sure that all packets arrived without error.
See Also: TCP/IP
Packet Switching: A method of moving data around the Internet that allows many people to use the same lines at the same time. In packet switching, all data being transferred from a machine is broken into packets, with each packet having the address of its origin and destination. This enables packets from different sources to be simultaneously transferred, sorted and directed on the same line.
See Also: Internet, Packet
Password: A code used to gain access to a locked system. Effective passwords should contain both letters and non-letters and not be common or easily guessed words.
See Also: Login
Ping: A program for determining if another computer is presently connected to the Internet.
Pixel: Shorthand for “picture element”, a pixel is the smallest unit of resolution on a monitor. It is commonly used as a unit of measurement.
PKZIP: A widely available shareware utility that allows users to compress and decompress data files.
See Also: Compression
Plug-in: A small piece of software that adds features to a larger software application. Common plug-ins are those for web browsers (RealAudio, QuickTime, etc.) or graphics programs (Kai’s Power Tools, DigiMarc, etc.)
See Also: Browser
POP: (“Point Of Presence” or “Post Office Protocol”) – A Point of Presence usually refers to a city or location where a network can be connected to. For example, if an Internet company says they have a POP in Vancouver, this means they have a local telephone number in Vancouver and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A second definition, Post Office Protocol, refers to the way email software (such as Eudora) retrieves mail from a mail server. Almost all SLIP, PPP or shell accounts come with a POP account as well.
See Also: SLIP, PPP, Leased-Line
Port: (3 definitions) – First and most frequently, a port is where information goes into and/or out of a computer, such as the serial port on a PC. Secondly, a “port” often refers to the number appearing after the colon (:) in a domain name, such as http://www.example.com:7000/. Thirdly, to “port” something refers to translating a piece of software from one computer platform to another (for example, from Windows to Macintosh).
See Also: Domain Name, URL
PPP: (Point to Point Protocol) – The protocol that allows a computer to use a phone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections and connect to the Internet.
See Also: IP Number, Internet, SLIP, TCP/IP
Protocol: Computer rules that provide uniform specifications so that all computer hardware and operating systems can communicate with each other.
PSTN: (Public Switched Telephone Network) – The regular telephone system.
QuickTime: A common video file format created by Apple Computers. Video files found on the Internet are often stored in this format, and require a browser plug-in to be viewed (.mov).
See Also: Midi, Plug-Ins
Register: To pay a software company for a product to receive the full working copy. Registration is most often required for shareware programs, which may be partially disabled or contain “nags” until registered.
See Also: Shareware
RFC: (Request For Comments) – The process for creating a standard on the Internet and the name of the result. New standards are proposed and published online, as a Request For Comments. Any new standards that are established retain the acronym RFC. For example, the official standard for email is RFC 822.
See Also: Email, Internet
Robot: A program that automatically searches the WWW for files and catalogues the results.
See Also: WWW
Router: A computer or software package that handles the connection between 2 or more networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the destination addresses of the packets passing through them to decide which route to send them on.
See Also: Network, Packet, Packet Switching
RTFM: (Read The F***ing Manual) – A commonly used abbreviation in online forums and email, in response to foolish questions or questions already answered in the FAQ. A repository of FAQs can be found at http://rtfm.mit.edu/.
See Also: FAQ
Search Engine: A tool for locating information on the Internet by topic. Popular search engines include Yahoo, AltaVista, and HotBot.
Security Certificate: Information that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection. Security Certificates contain information about its ownership, issuer, valid dates, and an encrypted “fingerprint” that can be used to verify the contents of the certificate. In order for an SSL connection to be created, both sides must have a valid Security Certificate.
See Also: SSL, Protocol, Certificate Authority
Server / Client: A computer or software package that provides a specific kind of service to client software on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software (such as a WWW server) or to the machine that the software is running on (such as a mail server). A single server machine may have several different server software packages running on it.
See Also: Client, Network, WWW
Shareware: Software that is available on a limited free trial basis. Some shareware applications are fully featured products, while others may have disabled features to encourage purchase of the full (“registered”) version.
See also: Freeware, Register
Shell Account: A software application that allows use of another machines’ Internet connection. Users do not have a direct Internet connection; instead, an Internet connection is made through a host computer’s connection.
Signature File: An ASCII text file containing the text for someone’s signature. Most email programs will automatically attach a signature file to all messages sent, eliminating the need to repeatedly type a closing.
See Also: ASCII, Email
Site: A single web page or a collection of related Web pages.
SLIP: (Serial Line Internet Protocol) – A standard for using a telephone line (or serial line) and a modem to connect a computer to the Internet. SLIP is gradually being replaced by PPP.
See Also: Internet, PPP
SMTP: (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) – The main protocol used to send email on the Internet. STMP consists of a set of rules for how the sending and receiving programs should interact.
See Also: Client, Server
SNMP: (Simple Network Management Protocol) – A set of standards for communicating with devices connected to a TCP/IP network, such as routers, hubs, and switches. Software for managing devices via SNMP is available for every kind of commonly used computer and is often bundled along with the device they are designed to manage.
See Also: Network, Router, TCP/IP
SRS: (Shared Registry Server) – The central system for all accredited registrars to access and register/control domain names.
See Also: Domain Names
Spam (or Spamming): To send a message or advertisement to a large number of people who did not request the information, or to repeatedly send the same message to a single person. “Spamming” is considered very poor Netiquette. CAUCE (The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) is an organization dedicated to removing spam from the Internet.
See Also: Netiquette, Netizen, Trolling
SQL: (Structured Query Language) – A specialized programming language for sending queries to databases. Each application will have its own version of SQL-implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases will support a common subset of SQL.
SSL: (Secure Sockets Layer) – A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communication across the Internet. SSL is used mostly, but not exclusively, in communications between web browsers and web servers. A URL that begins with “https” instead of “http” indicates an SSL connection will be used.
See Also: Browser, Server, Security Certificate, URL
Sysop: (SYStem OPerator) – Someone responsible for the physical operations of a computer system or network. A System Administrator (or Sysadmin) decides how often system maintenance should be performed, and the Sysop performs those tasks.
See Also: Network
T-1: A leased-line connection capable of transferring data at 1,544,000 bps. At maximum capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds.
See Also: Bandwidth, Bit, bps, Byte, Ethernet, Leased-line, T-3
T-3: A leased-line connection capable of transferring data at 44,736,000 bps. This is fast enough to view full-screen, full-motion video, which requires a transfer rate of at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second.
See Also: Bandwidth, Bit, bps, Byte, Ethernet, Leased-line, T-1
TCP/IP: (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) – This is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is not available for every major computer operating system. To connect to the Internet, a computer must have TCP/IP software.
See Also: IP Number, Internet, Protocol, UNIX
Telnet: An Internet protocol allowing a PC to connect to a host computer and use that computer as if you were locally connected. This often provides the ability to use all the software and capabilities of the host computer.
See Also: Host
Terminal Adapter: An electronic device that interfaces a PC with a host computer via an ISDN phone line. They are often called “ISDN modems”; however, because they are digital, Terminal Adapters are not modems at all.
See Also: Modem
Terminal Server: A special-purpose computer with places to plug in several modems on one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine on the other side. The terminal server does the work of passing connections on to the appropriate node. Most terminal servers can provide PPP or SLIP services if connected to the Internet.
See Also: Host, LAN, Modem, Node, PPP, SLIP
Upload: The process of transferring data from a local computer to a remote computer. When you copy a file from your computer to a computer on the Internet, you are “uploading” that file.
See Also: Download
URL: (Uniform Resource Locator) – The standard method of giving the address for any resource on the WWW. A URL might look like this: http://www.example.com/examples.html. The most common use of a URL is to enter it in a web browser to access that page on the Internet.
See Also: Browser, HTTP, WWW
USENET: A distributed bulletin board system that runs on news servers, UNIX hosts, online services and bulletin board systems. Collectively, USENET is made up of all the users who post to and read newsgroup articles. The USENET is the largest decentralized information utility available today.
See Also: Newsgroup, Posting, Thread
Veronica: (Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) – Developed at the University of Nevada, Veronica is a constantly updated database of the names of almost every menu item on thousands of gopher servers.
See Also: Archie, Gopher
WAIS: (Wide Area Information Servers) – A commercial software package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information, then makes those indices searchable across networks and the Internet. A prominent feature of WAIS is the ranking (scoring) of the search results, according to how relevant the hits are. See Also: Search Engine
WAV: (Waveform Audio) – A common audio file format for DOS and Windows computers (.wav).
WINSOCK: A Microsoft Windows DLL file that provides the interface to TCP/IP services and allows Windows to use web browsers, FTP programs, and other Internet-related programs.
See Also: Browser, FTP, Internet, TCP/IP
WWW: (World Wide Web) – The technical definition of the WWW is the global network of hypertext (HTTP) servers that allow text, graphics, audio and video files to be mixed together. The second, more loosely used definition is the entire range of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS, and other such tools.
See Also: FTP, Gopher, HTTP, Telnet, Usenet, WAIS
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL): A high-speed digital telephone connection that operates over an existing copper telephone line, allowing the same line to be used for voice calls. ADSL lines offer transmission speeds of at least 512 Kbps, but nowadays usually in the range 1 Mbps to 8 Mbps, and are used mainly for Internet access. The term asymmetric is used because the data flows more quickly from the telephone exchange to the user than from the user to the exchange. The term symmetric is used for connections where the data flows at the same speed in both directions, which is essential for accessing websites where there is a high degree of interactivity.
Asynchronous: “Not at the same time.” Often used to refer to communication by email or via a discussion list, where the recipients of the email or the participants in the discussion do not have to be present at the same time and can respond at their own convenience. A feature of asynchronous learning is that the teachers and learners do not have to be present at their computers at the same time.
Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be sent from one computer to another through a particular connection in a certain amount of time. The higher the bandwidth, the greater the amount of information that can be transmitted in a given time. Bandwidth is usually measured in kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). High bandwidth channels are referred to as broadband which typically means 1.5/2.0 Mbps or higher.
Blackboard: A commercial virtual learning environment package, i.e. a software package that integrates online communications software with content software enabling teachers to create courses that are delivered partially or entirely via the Web. Courses using Blackboard might be mainly text-based, but can be enhanced with images, audio and video.
Broadband: A general term used to describe a high-speed connection to the Internet. Connection speed is usually measured in Kbps and Mbps. Typically, a home user will have a broadband connection using an ADSL telephone line running at 512Kbps to 8Mbps. Educational institutions ideally need a symmetric connection
of at least 8Mbps to ensure smooth trouble-free connections to the Internet when large numbers of students are accessing the Internet all at once.
Digital Divide: Refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard to both their opportunities to access information and communication technologies and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities. The digital divide reflects various differences among and within countries.
Distance Learning: A form of learning that takes place where the teachers and the students are in physically separate locations. Distance learning can be either asynchronous or synchronous. Traditional distance learning includes the mailing of printed materials, correspondence between teachers and students in writing, contact by telephone, and radio and television broadcasts. More recently, distance learning has included E-learning.
E-learning: E-learning is learning that is enabled or supported by the use of digital tools and content. It typically involves some form of interactivity, which may include online interaction between the learner and their teacher or peers. E-learning opportunities are usually accessed via the Internet, though other technologies such as CD-ROM are also used.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Consists of the hardware, software, networks, and media for the collection, storage, processing, transmission and presentation of information (voice, data, text, images), as well as related services.
Knowledge economy: Refers to the use of knowledge to produce economic benefits. The phrase came to prominence in New Zealand in the mid-to late-1990s as a way of referring to the manner in which various high-technology businesses, especially computer software, telecommunications and virtual services, as well as educational and research institutions, can contribute to a country’s economy.
Portal: A Web page, website or service that acts as link or entrance to other websites on the Internet. Typically, a portal includes an annotated catalogue of websites and may also include a search engine, email facilities, a forum and other services, e.g. the Latin American Education Portals Network (RELPE).
Spectrum Management: The spectrum or range of radio frequencies available for communication, industrial, and other uses. Frequency bands or segments are assigned to various categories of users for specific purposes, such as commercial radio and television, terrestrial microwave links, satellites, and
police. National regulatory agencies monitor the occupancy of the radio spectrum and allocate frequencies to individual users or a group of users so as to enable a large number of services to operate within specified limits of interference.
Synchronous: “At the same time.” Often used to refer to communication in a chat room or via videoconferencing, where the participants have to be present at their computers at the same time.
Videoconferencing: A computer-based communications system that allows a group of computer users at different locations to conduct a virtual conference in which the participants can see and hear one another as if they were in the same room participating in a real conference.
Wi-Fi: Also known as wireless networking, Wi-Fi is a way of transmitting information without cables that is reasonably fast and is often used for laptop computers within a business or a university or school campus instead of a Local Area Network (LAN) that uses cable connections. Wi-Fi systems use high frequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of several hundred feet.
WiMAX: An abbreviation for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, WiMAX is a wireless digital communications system that is intended for wireless “metropolitan area networks.” WiMAX can provide broadband wireless access up to 30 miles (50 km) for fixed stations, and 3-10 miles (5-15 km) for mobile stations. In contrast, Wi-Fi is limited in most cases to only 100 – 300 feet (30 – 100m).