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Computer Terms

Domain Names:

The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. 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: matisse.net mail.matisse.net workshop.matisse.net can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine. Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names (matisse.net in the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.

Email:

(Electronic Mail) Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses.

Hardware:

In information technology, hardware is the physical aspect of computers, telecommunications, and other devices. The term arose as a way to distinguish the "box" and the electronic circuitry and components of a computer from the program you put in it to make it do things. The program came to be known as the software. Hardware implies permanence and invariability. Software or programming can easily be varied. You can put an entirely new program in the hardware and make it create an entirely new experience for the user. You can, however, change the modular configurations that most computers come with by adding new adapters or cards that extend the computer's capabilities.

Network:

Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.

Peripherals:

A peripheral (pronounced peh-RIHF-uh-ruhl, a noun truncation of peripheral device, ) is any computer device that is not part of the essential computer (the processor, memory, and data paths) but is situated relatively close by. A near synonym is input/output (I/O) device. Some peripherals are mounted in the same case with the main part of the computer as are the hard disk drive, CD-ROM drive, and NIC. Other peripherals are outside the computer case, such as the printer and image scanner, attached by a wired or wireless connection.

Printers:

In computers, a printer is a device that accepts text and graphic output from a computer and transfers the information to paper, usually to standard size sheets of paper. Printers are sometimes sold with computers, but more frequently are purchased separately. Printers vary in size, speed, sophistication, and cost. In general, more expensive printers are used for higher-resolution color printing.

Router:

A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the connection between 2 or more Packet-Switched networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the source and destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on.

Server:

A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. "Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out." A single server machine can (and often does) have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. Sometimes server software is designed so that additional capabilities can be added to the main program by adding small programs known as servlets.

Service Pak:

Service packs are the means by which product updates are distributed. Service packs may contain updates for system reliability, program compatibility, security, and more.

Software:

written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory.

Spam:

An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn?t ask for it. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python skit which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone?s low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources.

Spyware:

A somewhat vague term generally referring to software that is secretly installed on a users computer and that monitors use of the computer in some way without the users' knowledge or consent. Most spyware tries to get the user to view advertising and/or particular web pages. Some spyware also sends information about the user to another machine over the Internet. Spyware is usually installed without a users' knowledge as part of the installation of other software, especially software such as music sharing software obtained via download.

Virus:

A chunk of computer programming code that makes copies of itself without any concious human intervention. Some viruses do more than simply replicate themselves, they might display messages, install other software or files, delete software of files, etc. A virus requires the presence of some other program to replicate itself. Typically viruses spread by attaching themselves to programs and in some cases files, for example the file formats for Microsoft word processor and spreadsheet programs allow the inclusion of programs called "macros" which can in some cases be a breeding ground for viruses.

WEP:

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a security protocol, specified in the IEEE Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) standard, 802.11b, that is designed to provide a wireless local area network (WLAN) with a level of security and privacy comparable to what is usually expected of a wired LAN. A wired local area network (LAN) is generally protected by physical security mechanisms (controlled access to a building, for example) that are effective for a controlled physical environment, but may be ineffective for WLANs because radio waves are not necessarily bound by the walls containing the network. WEP seeks to establish similar protection to that offered by the wired network's physical security measures by encrypting data transmitted over the WLAN. Data encryption protects the vulnerable wireless link between clients and access points; once this measure has been taken, other typical LAN security mechanisms such as password protection, end-to-end encryption, virtual private networks (VPNs), and authentication can be put in place to ensure privacy. A research group from the University of California at Berkeley recently published a report citing "major security flaws" in WEP that left WLANs using the protocol vulnerable to attacks (called wireless equivalent privacy attacks). In the course of the group's examination of the technology, they were able to intercept and modify transmissions and gain access to restricted networks. The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) claims that WEP - which is included in many networking products - was never intended to be the sole security mechanism for a WLAN, and that, in conjunction with traditional security practices, it is very effective.

Windows:

A personal computer operating system from Microsoft that, together with some commonly used business applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, has become a de facto "standard" for individual users in most corporations as well as in most homes. The original 1985 version of Windows introduced to home and business PC users many of the graphical user interface (GUI) ideas that were developed at an experimental lab at Xerox and introduced commercially by Apple's Lisa and Macintosh computers.

Wireless:

A term used to describe telecommunications in which electromagnetic waves (rather than some form of wire) carry the signal over part or all of the communication path. Some monitoring devices, such as intrusion alarms, employ acoustic waves at frequencies above the range of human hearing; these are also sometimes classified as wireless.

Workstation:

A computer intended for individual use that is faster and more capable than a personal computer. It's intended for business or professional use (rather than home or recreational use). Workstations and applications designed for them are used by small engineering companies, architects, graphic designers, and any organization, department, or individual that requires a faster microprocessor, a large amount of random access memory (RAM), and special features such as high-speed graphics adapters. Historically, the workstation developed technologically about the same time and for the same audience as the Unix operating system, which is often used as the workstation operating system. Among the most successful makers of this kind of workstation are Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, DEC, and IBM.