The internet has transformed life, and is popular due to the many benefits it brings. It also has brought a whole new language because, lets face it, there are lots of new things on the web that are nothing like anything that has ever gone before. So new words are invented regularly or old words given new meanings, and that is fine for the geek who lives online, but I know many of my readers may not be so experienced with this new world, and some may be visiting a blog for the first time. This glossary seeks to define in simple language some of the more common of the new internet words.
Words used in the definitions that have their own entries elsewhere in the glossary are colored green. They are not intended as links but to help you navigate around the glossary by making you aware of further information. Links are colored blue.
As there is considerable (and increasing) overlap between the computer, mobile phone, and digital media worlds many words from the mobile phone and digital media world's are included.
As this diary is to do with art there are several terms of particular relevance to artists using computers. Some are described here like the term artists web sites, however terms specifically to do with the use of Painting and other graphics software are described on these other pages.
- Glossary of terms used in graphics and painting
- Software: Animation and 3-D
- Software: Painting and graphics
- Software: Publishing
- Software: Web Design
If you become aware of a word that is not on this list please e-mail me using the email link in the sidebar. As I use Macintosh computers I am not so familiar with much of the Windows world. This list is intended to be as inclusive as possible and if any Windows user cares to send me suggestions of Windows specific words to define (or even better send me the definition) I would be very grateful.
If you bookmark this page you can always easily find the definitions you need for computer and internet words.
Under construction. June/July 2007. These glossary and software pages are a work in progress. Please understand that definitions are being added daily but will take time to finish.
Glossary Of Blog, Internet, And Computer Terms A - E
- 1G The first generation of wireless and mobile phone, or cellular, network communications. It was similar to the radio networks of amatuer radio operators and was capable of voice transmission only. It started in the 1970's with the first truly mobile phones and existed until the 1990's. 1G was an analog system.
- 2G Second generation mobile phone services that began in the 1990's and increased data transmission rates using digital technology. Most consumers knew it only because service providers began shutting down analog networks in favor of the new digital networks. 2G networks still exist, although as more and more consumers demand better mobile e-mail and streaming services the desireability of 2G will inevitably decline
- 2.5G Mobile phone technology that allows increased data rates to greater than dial-up speeds, but less than broadband.
- 2.75G More commonly known as Edge is an add-on technology for 2G and 2.5G that is common around the world, but especially in the USA where the take up of 3G services lags behind most of the rest of the developed world. Edge can be implemented in a number of ways, so its speed varies considerably from the equivalent of 2.5G up to the equivalent of 3G. The slower end of the spectrum is more common than the faster end. Edge has become common because the expense of 3G networks has limited their deployment in many areas. We are seeing the interesting situation of AT&T Wireless in the USA doubling the speed of its notoriously slow Edge network just for the introduction of the iPhone which uses the AT&T network.
- 3G Literally "3rd generation" it is a term used generally for wireless networks and specifically applied to mobile telephone networks in which data rates are dramatically increased to broadband speeds in order to facilitate services beyond voice and the basic data transmission capabilities of WAP and other 2.5G services. 3G phones are able to recieve streaming video including television broadcasts, web browsing and e-mail services that make 3G phones truly portable multi media devices. 3G services have dramatically increased the potential for a greater interaction between the computer and mobile phone worlds, although it has not been until the debut of the Apple iPhone that manufacturers have seriously addressed this issue.
- About (1) In blogging most basic blogs do not have the page structure of static web sites so a conven tion arose of a special page link in the sidebar (often in association with a photo) that took the reader to a page dedicated to personal insights regarding the blog author. This link was simply called "About". (2) On conventional static web sites it is a standard page meant to give information about the web site author. This can be personal, but as static web sites are often business oriented it is often the place where a company presents it's mission statement and objectives as an organisation.
- Acquisition An OS X peer to peer program that it fully integrated with iTunes. It is the best available peer to peer program for downloading music but is less perfect with other kinds of files. It supports gnutella features such as multi source swarm downloading, Ultrapeers, download resumption, and distributed network discovery. It automatically filters files from known spammers, offers preview before the download is finished, has innovative album/artist management, and recommends new artists to try. Costs $18. Macintosh only. Review here. Download here.
- Account (1) The area or facilities available for use by an individual computer user. Accounts are set up where more than one user shares a computer. An ordinary account allows access to only a limited degree of computer functions. An administrator account allows access and control of a wider range of computer systems including the management of standard accounts. The root account enables access to all computer systems. The root account is powerful but dangerous for many users. One of the major differences between the Windows and Macintosh worlds is that the root account is commonly used in Windows whereas Macintosh offers the administrator methods for accessing most of the important functions of the root account while avoiding using the root account directly. This avoids a number of potential problems. (2) Any relationship between party's on the Internet whereby an individual or organisation provides registration details such as name and address and often sets up a user name and password in order to access services. (3) A relationship between individuals and/or company's in which registration details are provided including financial details such as credit card details to facilitate the purchase of goods and services.
- Airport The name given by Apple to its wireless products.
- Amadeus A popular and powerful multitrack audio editor supporting a variety of formats including MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, AIFF, Wave
and many others. It features batch processing, analysis tools, sound effects, and sound repair that enables the removal of hiss and clicks from recordings from analog sources. it is described as "the swiss army knife of sound editing". Macintosh only. Official web site here.
- AMD Advanced Micro Devices headquatered in Sunnyvale, California, is the second largest manufacturer of x86 semiconducters in the world. It started in 1969 when it reverse engineered an Intel clone chip and has been in intense and litigous rivalry with Intel ever since. Today the research departments of both company's vie for leadership of the semiconducter industry and this competition has probably done more than any other single issue to maintain the validity of Moore's Law.
- Analog The way data was encoded before the digital era. Calculations in a adding machine were made mechanically with gears, recordings of music were stored as bumps in a groove, radio and television was transmitted by a signal that went up and down in amplitude, clocks had springs and gears and hands and so on. In each of these cases there is an observable physical movement or shape in the storage and transmission medium that corresponds to the data being used, whether measurement of time, multiplying numbers, or listening to music. Even text documents were analog in that in the typewriter ink was stamped onto paper and then the document was stored on paper in a filing cabinet. Digital data is stored and used electronically purely in a mathematical form, specifically a binary code. This has many advantages over analog.
- AOL Known as America Online since 1989, it was originally Quantum Computer Services offering a product for Atari game consoles in which games could be downloaded. In 1989 AOL for Macintosh was launched, in 1991 AOL for DOS, and in 1993 AOL for Windows. It grew to be the Goliath of Internet service providers with 30 million customers and it merged with Time Warner in 2000. Since then the company lost focus and popularity and now has less than half its customer base of former years. The value of its stock is less than a tenth of what it was a decade ago.
- Apple A technology company started in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The first computer was a kit for enthusiasts but their second computer was a pioneer desktop model. The Lisa model was the first with a modern graphical interface and a mouse. By making computers that were easier to use Apple was a leading force in the acceptance of the personal computer by the general public. The company made several poor decisions in the 1990's and fell on hard times following the forced departure of Steve Jobs. Jobs spent those years developing a new kind of operating system and when he returned in 1999 his operating system was developed into the OS X that helped revitalized the company. New Macintosh models were innovative and the introduction of the iPod helped revolutionize the digital media market. Apple is the only company that designs and manufactures the entire computer experience from the hardware to the operating system and the software programs. It's products are particularly popular among artists as the Macintosh computer is optimized for creative activities. Click here for their web site.
- Applet A software component that cannot operate as an independent program but instead provides a function within another program often as a plug-in. Literally a small app (application). The first applets were a form of AppleScript introduced in 1993. They subsequently were used on all platforms. An examples of a common applet is the Windows Media Player which operates within Internet Explorer or other browsers that support the applet plug-in.
- Application Essentially another name for a type of computer program. Software comes in two types - systems software such as the operating system itself such as Windows or OS X, and applications software which are the end user programs such as Word or a graphics program like PhotoShop. Applications sit on top of systems software as they cannot operate independently.
- Architecture The basic structure of the way computer components and software relate to each other. It is the theoretical and practical aspects of basic computer design that enables all hardware and software components to logically connect so that useful functions are performed. In real world terms the architect creates the plans for a building (computer) and then the builder assembles the materials for the job(hardware), constructs the foundations (operating system) and various tradespeople (applications software developers) erect the structure on top of that.
- ARPAnet The world's first computer network started in 1969 and the predecessor of the Internet. It was a network of electronically connected mainframe computers in the United States in defence establishments and university's. I was designed to bomb-proof computing, the idea being that a nuclear weapon could destroy individual computer's but their usefulness would be maintained by routing data around a decentralized network ensuring survivability of computing power. ARPAnet handled the research traffic while MILnet developed to handle intelligence traffic.
- Art And Image Manipulation Programs There are numerous of these the most famous of which is PhotoShop from Adobe. A free alternative is GIMPshop an open source program that is very similar to PhotoShop. GIMP Portable can be installed on a memory stick and carried from computer to computer. Animations can be made and edited in Flash or Toon Boom Studio, 3-D in Poser, vector art can be edited in Illustrator. Digital painting can be acheived in the expensive and very sophisticated Painter, or the free and simpler ArtRage. There are numerous simple sketching and drawing programs like FlySketch most of which are free or very cheap. According to About the top 10 programs designed specifically for artistic creative expression are: (1) Painter (Windows and Macintosh), (2) ArtRage (Windows and Macintosh), (3) Painter Essentials (Windows and Macintosh), (4) Expression (Windows), (5) SketchBook Pro (for tablet PC - Windows and Macintosh), (6) Project Dogwaffle (Windows), (7) Deleter CGillust (anime and manga - Windows), (8) Twisted Brush (Windows), (9) PhotoArtMaster (Windows), (10) Studio Artist (Macintosh). The About list and further information can be found here. My personal list would probably be: (1) Painter (Windows And Macintosh), (2) Studio Artist (Macintosh), (3) Twisted Brush (Windows), (4) Painter Essentials (Windows and Macintosh), (5) ArtRage (Windows and Macintosh), (6) Project Dogwaffle (Windows),
- Backbone The core system of the Internet. It consists of a collection of high capacity networks on a national basis run by academic, government and commercial organisations. Local service providers hook into this backbone for the transmission of data across the world. This Internet backbone originated with ARPANET in the 1960's, was replaced by NSFNet in 1989. NSFNet was decommissioned in 1995 and since then there has been no central network. Backbone providers interconnect at Internet Exchange Points (IXP) the largest of which is the Amsterdam Internet Exchange. Everyday users of the Internet never see these behind the scenes workings of the Internet because their data moves seamlessly throughout the network.
- Back Up A copy of data on your computer that means the data is not completely lost if your computer malfunctions, you accidentally delete information, your computer is stolen or damaged in fire or flood, or any other misadventure that computers are prone to occurs. Back ups can take several forms including printing the information onto paper or storing it electronically as files on an external hard drive, on another computer, or on online storage. it is best to keep back up files in a different location to the computer. It is also best to make back-ups on a regular schedule, daily and weekly are common time frames. Back-up software enables sophisticated ways of storing data and restoring it to your computer when necessary.
- Bandwidth The amount of data that can be transmitted in a given time. It is a measure of the capacity of the transmission channel and is measured as bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps).
- Benoit Mandelbrot A mathematician born in Warsaw in 1924. He is responsible for popularizing fractals following his accidental discovery of them in the 1970's. They reminded him of natural formations and he went on to demonstrate the fractal nature of phenomena from geology to botany. Fractals soon lept from the theoretical world to art and have become a popular art form. They cannot be made without a computer.
- Bill Gates William Henry Gates III was born in Seattle in 1955. He is the chairman of Microsoft, the software company he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1975. From the beginning he disagreed with fellow hobbyists and opposed the free distribution of software. He was involved in all aspects of the development of software as both architect and entrepeneur. He developed the marketing model that saw MS-DOS and later Windows become the operating system on most computers. He did this through partnerships with computer manufacturers and was in contrast to the approach taken by Apple which was to develop all aspects of the computer from hardware to software. The Gates model prevailed and resulted in Bill Gates being declared the most wealthy man in the world since 1995. Together with his wife he is also one of the world's greatest philantropist's.
- Binary Any mathematical system in which values are represented by one or zero. Computers use binary because the one and zero can be represented electrically by a switch being on or off for example. This most basic piece of data is called a bit and is easy to manipulate within a program, store magnetically, or transmit electronically. While your computer monitor shows graphical representations of letters, numbers and images, it all consists of binary code within the computer program.
- Bit The most basic piece of computer binary data represented by the choice of an electronic switch being on or off. 8 of these bits together make a character called a byte.
- Blog A special kind of web site which is very suitable to a journal type of role. In a blog the blogger posts articles that appear in chronological order and are dated. They normally have the ability for comments to be left by readers and readers can subscribe, if they choose, to a 'feed' from the blog, that is they can get regular updates as new posts are made. Before the internet computer geeks communicated via networks that were a lot like bulletin boards. The first true web site was made in 1992 by Tim Berners Lee and within a short time there were sites that enabled comments that were much like modern blogs. Geeks used them to make logs of various things and the name weblog was first used in 1995. it was shortened to 'blog' in 1999 the same year blogger.com was launched.
- Blogger A person who publishes a blog. They range from teenagers with personal diaries to major corporations publishing numerous business blogs. Journalists in particular are prolific bloggers.
- Blogger.com A free blog publishing tool started in 1999 and as the first mass blogging service is credited with popularizing the blog style of web site among the general public. In 2003 it was purchased by Google and has been intergrated into other Google services. Its great advantage is that it is free to use and has a good blog navigational tool that allows bloggers to randomly visit other Blogger.com blogs. The downside is that like anything that is free, it does not have the wealth of features of a paid-for service. It is, however, sufficient for many peoples needs. Find the Blogger.com web site here.
- Blogging The activity of creating and maintaining a blog (which is a special kind of web site) or several blogs by making posts and uploading images and so on.
- Blogosphere The online community of bloggers and their blogs is affectionately known as the blogosphere. The blogosphere by its very nature is relatively journalistic and can have a major effect on business and politics. Bloggers tend to be very aware of the blogosphere as a community, but everyday there are millions of readers of blog based news services who do not realise that they have entered the blogosphere, nor do they care if truth be known. To hard core bloggers, however this fast paced world of blogging is as exciting as it is informative.
- Bluejacking Sending a message using Bluetooth to another nearby phone that is Bluetooth enabled. It can be done without knowing someone's phone number so it's biggest use is for flirting, and saying hello to attractive people, although it can be used for practical jokes as well.
- Bluesnarfing To extract address and contact information from another person's Bluetooth enabled phone without their authorisation by exploiting the Bluetooth vulnerability of allowing easy exchange of contact information.
- Bluespam Spam that is sent to nearby Bluetooth enabled phones.
- Bluetooth A low powered radio communication system between devices in close proximity (usually less than 10 metres) such as wireless headsets for mobile phones, between phones and other portable devices, and computers. it is convenient for synchronising contacts, calendar appointments, and so on. It can also be used for replacing cable connections to Bluetooth enabled printers and other computer peripherals. It is very similar to WiFi but has less range and both standards are suited to particular uses. It was originally developed by Ericsson in Scandinavia, hence being name after Harald Bluetooth, a Viking king. The Bluetooth icon is a combination of the 2 Viking runes for H and B which are Bluetooth's initials. In 1998 the Bluetooth Special Interest Group was formed by Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, IBM, and Toshiba to set standards for industry wide adoption of the technology. Bluetooth 1.0 had a number of problems that slowed its adoption, but the introduction of wireless headsets and the trouble free nature of later versions has lead to increasing popularity of Bluetooth. Most Macintosh's and some PC's come with Bluetooth built in but USB dongle's are available that allows the transmiter/receiver to be just plugged into a computer USB socket.
- Bluetooth Virus A means of placing a virus into a mobile phone that spreads to other phones via text messages. It arrives as an application via Bluetooth and if the phone user is inexperienced enough to click "yes" it installs itself on the phone's memory card (internal as well as removable). It was first demonstrated in 2004 in the Philippines with a virus called Cabir which infected Symbian based phones. It did no direct harm but drained batteries in its use of Bluetooth to find other phones to send itself to.
- Broadband Any transmission system that allows high capacity two way multi-channel transmission of video, voice and other data. Broadband can be provided in many ways but the two most common methods at present are DSL over the same lines as your landline phone, and cable (the same cable that delivers cable television. Broadband allows the simutaneous transmission of telephone calls, internet browsing, and television reception because each can use a distinct range of frequencies available within those available from the wide spectrum available. Broadband is necessary for Internet users who wish to download data intensive media like music and video. it is fast becoming the standard Internet requirement for most Internet users.
- Browser A software program that is able to locate web pages on the internet and make them viewable in a graphical interface. A browser is able to read and display hypertext. It is the basic program that makes Internet surfing possible for most people. Many believe Mosaic was the first browser (released 1992) but it wasn't, however it was the revolutionary step that put the internet in the hands of ordinary computer users by being the first to automatically display text and images within a single window and make web pages look user friendly. Today the most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
- BTW Text shorthand for the words "By the way".
- Bundling The practice of including more than one item together at the time of sale. A device may well have several items of software included in the deal and it can save the consumer a lot of money where the practice is genuinely meant to add value to a product. Thus it is a good deal for most people to get Painter Essentials plus other goodies bundled with a Wacom Tablet. All too often, however, the bundled software is either not terribly useful when mis-matched with real buyers needs or worse, just a marketing ploy when the consumer discovers that the bundled software is only a demo version with a limited life unless it is purchased within a short time.
- Buttons A web page equivalent of the buttons on electrical devices for turning functions on and off, or for taking you to another page. A menu item could easily be just a hyperlink piece of text, but by being a visual button to press with the cursor it is more attractive to a human user. Small round buttons are called "radio buttons" and take the place of a tick or check in a box when choosing between different items in a form.
- Byte The fundamental unit of information on a computer. There are normally 8 bits together required to make a single character, or byte. The term was coined in 1956 to describe the minimum number to bits that a computer could sink it's teeth into, hence the use of "bite" which had its spelling changed (perhaps to distinguish it from "bit", but more likely because of the common habit of computer architects at the time to change words to make them look geeky.) Today a byte is defined as being 8 bits (hence its other name - octet) but in the early years of computing it was not standardized and there were computers with as little as 4 bit bytes and others woith up to 12 bits per byte. Because computers use a binary (base 2) numbering system and humans use a base 10 system multiplication of bytes looks odd to human eyes and so it is often "rounded" to the nearest human equivalent. So a kilobyte (KB) is actually 1,024 bytes but humans often "round" it off to an even thousand bytes when talking about it.Likewise a megabyte (MB) is really 1,048,576 bytes but people say a million bytes, and a gigabyte (GB) is really 1,073,741,824 bytes and humans tend to "round" it to a billion bytes. This is very convenient for marketing people because they conveniently multiply by the round number and it makes a hard drive look bigger to a buyer than it really is. An Mp3 player sold as being 60 GB is only a little over 55 real gigabytes in capacity. All the manufacturers do this. It is annoying, and worse, there are plenty of people who feel ripped off because their shiny new device that they thought would hold all their music or other data is actually not so big after all. Most of them don't appreciate the difference in the way a byte is described in this case, and frankly they shouldn't have try to understand such a shonky way of doing things.
- Cable (1) Wired connections between electronic devices. When very thin they are often called wires, and when they are thicker, they are mostly called cables. Either way they are designed to carry electrical signals between devices, a printer connected to a computer for example. (2) Fiber optic cable is a continuous strand of clear plastic encased in protective shielding that carries a signal as a beam of light along the cable instead of the electrical signals carried by copper wires. They have many advantages and are becoming more common as the need to transmit broadband signals increases, as vast amounts of data is able to be transmitted in this way.
- Cable Broadband Broadband Internet is commonly called cable broadband. The same cable can be used to transmit cable television at the same time. Cable broadband is generally faster than DSL and is generally preferable in households that already have cable TV. It is normal for broadband speeds to vary according to the number of users online in your local area.
- Cache (1) Special memory that is used by the CPU for holding processing instructions. This is advantageous because cache memory is faster than RAM. (2) Special memory set aside by a browser of recently visited web pages. The users web browsing experience is speeded up if the browser retrieves pages from the cache rather than downloading a fresh copy fdirectly from the web. pressing the refresh button replaces the cache copy with a fresh one from the web which can be important where information is being updated on a web site.
- Cart An online equivalent of a supermarket shopping cart. When purchasing items online selecting an item to buy causes the online shop to remember the item while you select another item for purchase. A single payment is then made for all selected items together.
- Cell Phone An alternative name for Mobile Phone and used particularly in USA and New Zealand.
- CG Shorthand for computer generated graphics
- Compression Reducing file sizes by discarding non-essential information. The way it is done is to discard repeated data. This is a simplified description of how that might occur. In a bitmap every pixel is described for color. Say there is a row of 10 pixels with the first 3 being yellow and the last 7 red. In a full bitmap file every pixel's color ois recorded, but in a compressed file only the begining and end of each color is recorded, in this case pixel 1, 3, 4, 10. The in between pixel information is discarded for saving and sending the file. In this case it is only 40% as big as the original. When the image is needed to be viewed it must be seen in a program that supports the original compression technology. it will then know that it needs to display the remaining pixels in the color designated by the pixels that start and finish that color, so the full image is reconstructed. There are many compression formats available. The most common for images is JPEG most graphics programs and browsers support JPEG files. A common compression format for music is MPEG.
- Computer A machine and its related software that is able manipulate data according to instructions set out in a program. An abacus could be considered a simple ancestor of the computer but the first attempt to design a complex machine for making calculations was by Leonardo da Vinci. Charles Babbage took this same idea to the next level at the end of the nineteenth century and mechanical adding machines became available in this same time period. The first successful true computers, however, had to wait until the electronic valves and transistors of the twentieth century. The needs of the Second World War saw the birth of the "Z3" in 1941, the world's first true computer, and other computers during the next 5 years that started the computing revolution. The next big revolution arrived with the development of the personal computer in the 1970's, and the third revolution was with the advent of the world wide web in the 1990's. Nowadays computers are pervasive. Most people think of computers as the desk top PC or a lap top, but by far the most common type of computer is largely invisible - the embedded computers that control functions in appliances, aircraft, cars and so on. The latest generations of mobile phiones and PDA's have become small computers in reality, and even people who say they cannot use a computer, actually use them regularly in devices without realising it.
- Computing Manipulating data of all kinds such as words, images, and numbers. Computing can occur within the head, but human limitations require that complex data requires at least pen and paper, and even more complex data requires a machine that is programable, has memory, a processor, and an ability to display the results. It is called a computer on good days and less nice names when things go wrong.
- Cookies A file placed on your computer by a web page to record such information as your identity. It sounds unneccessary but in practice enables a better web browsing experience such as visiting sites that reqiuire registration without having to re-register every time, it also allows the page to welcome you using your name, it can see your preferences and shopping history with that page, so that the page is customized just for you. An example of this is I have a subscription for buying audio books. Previously purchased books are recorded in a part of the account page called My Library. There I can give feedback about the books, see what I have read, and download another copy if I lose the files in iTunes for any reason. All of this is possible by other means, but using cookies is by far the fastest, most practical method of acheiving this degree of customization. And for security in my password protected accounts the cookie is needed for my identification each time I visit that account. The down side is that it is possible using cookies for less reputable dealers to place cookies on your computer that may collect information you regard as breaching your privacy. As with anything, be wary of web sites that you cannot trust, and never trust online sites that sell products like viagra, cheap software, and so on.
- CPU The Central Processing Unit, also called the processor or the chip. It is the physical brain of the computer. It is one of the smallest components of the computer, but it is the most important. Its limitations and capabilities determine the speed at which the instructions in a program are carried out.
- Cracking The unethical entering of computer systems, networks, software protection codes, etc for an immoral purpose. Although the general public calls this process hacking, in fact hacking can be done for good purposes, and computer geeks prefer the term cracking for the illegal use of these technical skills. For example a computer technician may need to hack into your computer to retrieve lost data for you, or perhaps a hack might be necessary to modify a computers features. Hacking might also be necessary to discover flaws and vulnerabilities in new software which are then reported to the manufacturer or made public so that people do not get caught. This kind of hacking is done for good reasons and is common practice for those with great computer expertise. The skills involved, however, are similar to those used for illegal purposes, or for personal gain, hence the confusion in the public mind. it is also understandable that those who hack for good purposes (usually called white hats in geekdom) would prefer another name be used by those who hack for evil (called black hats) and so they are called cracker's and their practice is called cracking.
- Cracker Some one who hacks for immoral or illegal purposes, or otherwise indulges in cracking computer systems.
- CRT Cathode Ray Tube. The only practical monitor screen for the first 20 years of computing, it is now being rapidly replaced by flat screens. CRT monitors held a advantage in cost and color reproduction for a long time. Color reproduction in flat screens is now close enough to CRT's to satisfy the average user and the price difference has to be balanced with the ease of use and attractiveness of the flat screens. Nowadays large cumbersome CRT monitors seem like a waste of space.
- Data information, whether it is numbers, images, and words that is stored in a computer and which the CPU processes according to instructions contained in a program. All data on a computer is stored in a binary form.
- Dell An American computer manufacturer with headquaters in Round Rock, Texas. Founder Micheal Dell founded the company in 1984 with $1,000 and had to drop out of school to keep up with demand, but produced his first computers in his dorm room. His idea was to make computers to order and sell direct to the customer, cutting out the middle man, increasing profits for himself while saving money for the buyer. In 1985 he grossed 73 million dollars. The company became the largest manufacturer of PC's and only recently has been relegated to second spot by Hewlett Packard in numbers of computers sold, and by Apple in market capitalisation. Dell is the 25th biggest company in the United States. It recently started selling colored lap tops as part of its drive to return to the top.
- Denial Of Service A malicious attack on a computer or computer network that can take various forms. The targeted computer network is overwhelmed with massive amounts of useless traffic that can bring the network down. Some forms of attack have special names such as The Ping Of Death and Teardrops. These attacks exploit the limitations of TCP/IP. Many organisations design their network, and employ software that can minimise the effectiveness of these attacks.
- Desktop (1) The large piece of computer hardware found at most work stations. The desktop is now considered the largest of the computers that most people would be familiar with but just 30 years ago the early desktops were called micro-computers because main frame computers (the only sort of computer available up until then) took up large space in special computer rooms. The desktop seemed ridiculously small at the time. Most dektops come in the form of a box (either as a flat box or tower) and a separate keyboard and monitor. Some desktops, especially Macintosh desktops, have all the circuitry built into the same container as the monitor. Desktop sales are declining as a percentage of total computer sales with laptop sales increasing rapidly. Some people predict the eventual death of the desktop for many purposes. (2) The basic visual working environment on the screen of the computer without any windows open. In Windows it has icons for commonly used programs and can be regarded as the top level giving access to files. In Macintosh there are normally icons to hard drives but programs are usually kept in the Dock at the side or bottom. Instead the desktop is commonly full of files and documents currently being used or temporarily stored there.
- Developer Usually refers to developers of software for computers. Software development is the engineering excercise of turning an idea for a program that does certain things into the actual software that achieves that goal. It is then turned over to the marketing guru's who unleash it on what they hope is a grateful public. Sometimes they are.
- Dial-up The first means of connecting computers to the Internet was made by establishing an ordinary phone call connection to the service provider and facilitated the wide acceptance of the use of the Internet by the general population in the 1990's. Early on, however its limitations were obvious. Firstly is was slow making web browsing an excersise in waiting for page downloads. Secondly it tied up the users phone line so that people who did a lot of web surfing became hard to contact. Also the computer user could not look at a web page and at the same time phone a company to further inquire about products on that page. Thirdly it had an annoying habit of dropping out at inconvenient times and every connection was the cost of a phone call. While it still exists it is rapidly being replaced by broadband.
- Digital Any electronic system that uses data encoded in binary form. This can be electrical, optical, or magnetic. All computers are digital and older analog forms of storing and using data such as television and music are either now either completely digital or becoming so.
- Digital Art Art that is made on a computer using software, a stylus and a tablet. Much of the new 3D animated movies of recent years showcases the best of digital art techniques, but digital art encompasses a wide range of approaches from traditional painting to sculpture
- Digital Artist An artist who produces a portion (or all) of their artwork digitally on the computer using a tablet and stylus and using any of many possible software programs.
- Digital Drawing This is sometimes a simulation of traditional drawing media made with stylus on a tablet and using a painting program. It can also mean vector drawing which is a completely new form of drawing unique to the computer world. It requires a whole new appraoch to the way a drawing is made but it has come to dominate the world of commercial digtal illustration due to several advantages that are well liked. Illustrator was the first vector drawing program and remains the most popular.
- Digital Painting Painting with a stylus and tablet on a computer using software that simulates the application of paint with brushes.
- Digital Watercolor A software means for simulating the effects of real watercolor. Digital watercolor has some advantages. The watercolor can be kept "wet" for as long as you like. Just as importantly, it can be dried instantly at any time. Just as with the real world medium it has its quirks which need to be learned to get the most out of the medium.
- Directories Online lists of web sites that are usually cataloged together by subject matter. Directories can be an easy way to find web sites and so getting your web site listed on web directories helps other people find you.
- Dmoz The largest directory of web sites on the Internet. It is an open source project run by volunteers and is very successful. It is the directory used by the search engines and it is advantageous to get listed on Dmoz. On the other hand it can be difficult to get listed there.
- DNS Domain Name System - the data query service that connects domain names with IP addresses and ensures that data goes to the right place.
- Documents On a PC all files can be referred to as documents, but most people still think of documents as only those files with writing on them.
- Domain Name A unique web address. Because humans find it difficult to remember long sequences of numbers the unique IP (which consists of numbers) of every web address must have an address consisting of a unique name followed by dot and then a suffix siuch as com, net, info, edu, and so on Domain names are purchased from a registrar and renewed annually. The domain name of this web site is diaryofanartist.com
- Dongle A small devicethat connects to a computer and originally was a kind of hardware "key" that provided authetication for certain programs to work. Now it is just as likely to be a USB device similar in appearance to a memory stick that adds any of various hardware capabilities to a computer. A Bluetooth dongle as an example adds the tiny radio reciever and transmitter that enables the computer to synchronise contacts and calendar appointments with a mobile phone.
- DOS Stands for Disk Operating System. There are two distinctly different forms of DOS, one developed by Apple and used from 1978 to 1983, It is generally called Apple_DOS. The other was developed by MicroSoft for IBM and is generally known as MS_DOS. It was an imitation of an older operating system called CP/M and is primitive by today's standards. MS_DOS was introduced in 1981 under the name PC_DOS. Windows 95 was built on a MS_DOS underpinning. Subsequent operating systems from MicroSoft up to ME continued this approach after which it was abandoned, but the continuing usage of early versions of Windows operating systems means that it is still relatively common. The Apple_DOS was discontinued at a much earlier date and has virtually disappeared.
- DoS Shorthand for Denial of Service attack. It is defined fully under that word listing.
- Download To transfer data from a remote location (say a web site on the Internet to your local computer. Every time you visit a web page you are downloading its contents. Many people are of the mistaken belief that a download is only the special files saved to your disk. In fact it is everything you access on the net. The term is also used now for downloading photos from your camera to computer, whereas transfering music from your computer to an iPod is called syncing. Go figure.
- DRM Digital Rights Management. A method of restricting the electronic transfer of music once purchased. It tends to upset consumers at the same time as doing little to reduce piracy as the music company's intend.
- Dumb Terminal In the old days of gigantic room-filling main frame computers the programming and other practical usage of the computer occured in another room through a terminal that itself made no computations (hence it is called a dumb terminal), but instead was connected with cables and wires to the distant computer.
- Edge A technology add-on to 2G or 2.5G mobile phone sevices that is generally refered to as 2.75G. It was adaopted early in the USA where it is more common than the 3G UMTS technology and is commonly found around the world where the cost of operating the 3G network is prohibitive. In Australia that means mostly outside the capital cities. Edge is often criticized as being slower than 3G but the technology can be implemented in a number of ways so that it can vary from 2.5G speeds up to the equivalent of 3G speeds. it is similar to GPRS but has some significant advantages.
- Electronic A device or system that has something to do with electrons. That means electric, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electro-chemical, and electro-mechanical. In practice most electronic systems are now digital, and electronic is becoming synonomous with digital. In most electronic devices information wich is stored magnetically is converted to electrical impulses which are processed in the chip. Electricity can convert actions into mechanical force or make visual changes on a screen. Computers, iPods, DVD players, and mobile phones are examples of electronic devices.
- Electronic Paper At this point in time electronic paper is more laboratory promise than practical reality. There have been a number of electronic papers produced, each new one better than the last. A flexible 3mm thick one able to reproduce full color was demonstrated recently, but from the very gentle way the technicians were showing off its flexibility I gained the impression that I would not like to try to fold it under my arm like a newspaper and expect it to continue working. Until that happens, electronic paper will remain more dream than something useful.
- E-Mail Electronic mail that was first developed on the early computer networks of the 1970's for scientists to easily communicate with each other. E-mail normally is written in a special e-mail program such as Outlook or Mac's Mail. It is sent via the Internet. When sent it will typically be received by the addressee within seconds in most places in the world. E-mail is so convenient and quick that it has largely displaced conventional mail for most personal written communication. Spam (mass advertising on the web) clogs inboxes and reduces the enjoyment of e-mail for most users.
- E-Paper See electronic paper.
- External Hard Drive A hard drive which connects to a computer via USB or FireWire cables and usually used to back up computer files and otherwise increase the useful storage capacity of a computer.
Delete The removal of data from a hard drive, or at least that is what most people think and it is not entirely true. The data remains there, what actually is deleted is the coding which identifies the data and protects it from being overwritten. When that coding is removed the computer can no longer find the information and since it is not identified that part of the hard drive is available to be overwritten. The data is only lost entirely after it has been overwritten several times and sometimes that never happens. That is why many people have been caught with naughty files even when they thought they had deleted them. What they did not realize is that while they themselves could not access those files, the police could using special technology that reads the deleted files on hard drives. Criminals too can read deleted files of confidential information, bank records and so on. Macintosh users have the option of "secure empty trash" that overwrites deleted files with gibberish, deletes, re-overwrites, deletes etc several times. I believe there is third party software to give Windows users a similar level of security.