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.
June / July 2007. Under construction. This glossary is a work in progress with definitions being added daily. I apologize if the definition you need is not here yet.
Glossary Of Blog, Internet, And Computer Terms R - Z
- RAM Random Access Memory. This is the temporary memory that the processor uses while manipulting data. The computer would be much slower if it had to use the memory in the form of a hard drive, so the RAM is an important component in the speedy operation of the computer.
- Ranking The place in the list of results from a search engine query. Quality of content and relevance to the query are important factors in determining page rankings. Another factor is popularity which is determined by the search engine by counting the number of links into a particular site, especially from sites that are relevant to the subject.
- Refresh The refresh button in a web browser causes a fresh copy of a web page to be downloaded. This might be necessary to get updated informatoion as browsers tend to display a page previously viewed from cache as this is often quicker than downloading a fresh page.
- Router A computer networking device either wired or wireless, that interconnects several computers and peripheral devices. I have 3 computers, for example that all share a single cable Internet connection through a router.
- RSS Short for Really Simple Syndication it is a method for subscribing to feeds from web resources and displaying summaries of them in News Readers. It is a convenient way of monitoring updated content from many sources without having to visit every one of them individually. Any item which seems interesting can be read in full by following a link to the source.
- Save To transfer the current copy of an edit or file to permanent memory on a computer. An unsaved document will be lost when a program is closed or crashes. By writing the data to the disk it becomes an independent copy not requiring the program to be open for it to exist. Saving data regularly stops potential frustrations and loss of data when things go wrong.
- Screen Name A non-de-plume used by web users as an alter ego and way of enlrginging their web personality on the one hand, and a way of hiding in anonymity for less likeable people on the other hand. In some countries like China where a political dimension enters the argument as a heavy handed government seeks to restrict comment. In that case the anonymity has a real value in helping people express a valid opinion. In much of the Western world, however the same argument is often repeated, yet it has much more hollow sound when used by those who use the anonymity to avoid responsibility for rude remarks or discussions involving activities such as piracy and cracking.
- Script A wide range of languages that are useful to modify a program for small or repetitive tasks. They are essentially smaller than a program, but contain instructions for a program to perform a certain task within the program rather than using the processor. A common use for a script could be to automatically perform a non-standard action whenever a certain action is instigated. Geeks regularly use scripts while the average computer user tends to ignore them, or uses them without realizing it.
- Scroll Navigation top to bottom and side to side through a web page, usually accomplished with a small scroll wheel on the mouse.
- Select/deselect To identify to the computer an item that is required for perfrming actions at the present time. This selection process normally involves using the mose to place the cursor over the item to be selected and then clicking on it. Deselecting can be as simple as selecting another item b ut is also accomplished by quitting the program. Within a program like PhotoShop an item may be deselected by choosing a menu item called "deselect".
- SEO Search Engine Optimization. The process of fine tuning a web site so as to improve its search engine ranking. Despite the sale of software to accomplish this, it is still largely an art because it is a balance between competing qualities and no one answer covers all web sites. It includes optimizing the use of keywords, getting the text and image balance appropriate, adding meta tags, optimizing titles, getting listed in web directories, and promoting the web site so that other web sites want to make links to your site.
- Server A computer which hosts web sites and other resources that browsers seek on the Internet. Computers that download files are said to be a client, and those that supply the files are referred to as servers. A server has particular needs so processor and other hardware elements are generally optimized for that job, however any computer can be used as a server. The software itself, is the actual server and it is possible for a single computer to be both a server and client at the same time. A special case is peer-2-peer programs in which effectively the user is behaving as both server and client together. Unlike personal computers which are dominated by Windows and Mac OS X, the server operating system is very likely to be Linux.
- Service Provider The service provider contracts with the user to be a gateway to a network, whether it be the Internet for a computer, or a telecommunications network for a phone, often they are provided together. The service provider allows use of the network so long as monthly fees are paid. Becuse service providers build hardware infrastructure in order to connect your device there is a wide range of qualities of service provided and the user is advised to shop around carefully before commiting to any given service provider.
- Shopping Cart A part of an online shop in which selected items are stored in memory before making the final tally of all selected items for payment.
- Silicon Valley An area south of San Francisco that is regarded as the center of the computer industry. San Jose is the capital of Silicon Valley. The inventor of the x86 microprocessor, Intel, is in Silicon Valley, the maker of the first personal computer, Apple is there, the headquarters of the largest PC manufacturer, Hewlett Packard, and dozens more of the biggest company's in computing and high tech, including Google, Adobe, Cisco, EA, eBay, SanDisk, and Yahoo. There are 7 significant universities in Silicon Valley including Stanford University. These institutions have played an important role in creating the high tech innovation of the area. The electronics industry lead to the coining of the name Silicon Valley in 1971. previously it had been known for orchards.
- Site Short for web site, a collection of files at a web address designated by a domain name.
- Site Map A list of links to the major pages and topics in a web site. It is the online equivalent of an index and can be valuable for navigation, although one of the best reasons for putting one on your web site is that it helps search engines navigate the site too and can help in page rankings.
- SixApart Also called "6A" it is a blogging company founded by Ben and Mena Trott who have a 6 day age difference, hence the name. It started in 2001 when Ben wrote software for Mena so she could write a better blog. The software became known as Movable Type and was offered on the web as a download, becoming an instant hit. From their they have grown to a user base of many millions and bought LiveJournal (13 million users), released a hosted blogging service called TypePad (you are reading a TypePad blog right now), created Vox, and purchased SplashBlog. SixApart has been very successful at attracting some of the best minds in blogging and is innovative, offers the best tech support in the business and can rightly be regarded as a Silicon Valley success story.
- Skype The leading provider of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocal) Internet telecommunications. Skype users can call each other for free, can make calls to conventional phone numbers for a fee, and receive calls.
- Smart Phone A mobile phone that adds PDA capabilities to the phone such as e-mail, connecting to the Lotus network. Most 3G capable phones can do this also, but a smart phone is able to have applications installed for office related purposes such as opening Word documents. A smart phone has an operating system installed, and commonly a small QWERTY keyboard. Now that the iPhone is on the market many people expect large changes to the smart phone market and a move in emphasis from business executives to the needs of the average phone user and a consequent upsuge in smart phone usage.
- Snail Mail Older mail
service in which a letter is physically written, placed in an envelope
and transported to its destination. This can take from one day to a
week. Alrthough e-mail has replaced it for simple personal communication it is still valued for things like cards and bills.
- Social Networking People have always social networked but the Internet
has opened up whole new ways of doing it globally. It is basically a
collection of individuals who are interconnected on a variety of levels
for mutual benefit. Their are many web sites devoted just to social networking such as MySpace and Friendster.
- Software The coded instuctions which are stored in the hard disk and which is able to perform functions on a computer. Without software a computer is just a useless pile of plastics and metals. Similarly without the computer hardware the software is just data unable to perform its designed work. Software is of two types. The operating system which provides a platform for the application software to work on. Without an operating system the programs cannot work, similarly the operating system on its own can perform no useful manipulation of data. Application software are often called programs. Programs perform various functions and can be fairly simple through to very sophisticated and complex.
- SoundEdit 16 V2 (Macromedia) A popular free audio editing program for Macintosh that ceased development in 1997 and is only capable of being used on pre-Intel computers with classic mode yet is sufficiently popular to be still offered by Adobe and available at Softpedia and VersionTracker. Download here.
- SoundEdit Pro A popular Windows based audio file editor which enables many professional style edits of music at an affordable cost (about $40) perfect for editing music for PowerPoint presentations etc. Review and download here.
- SoundStudio Audio editing software for Macintosh. It is aimed at making podcasts, sound for video and game development - its previous user base has objected to the new cost structure (about $80) however podcast makers like certain features including a zoom in/zoom out that enables quick elimination of extraneous sounds like umm's and ahh's in converstion. Review here. Download here.
- Spam Internet junk mail. Every day i am inundated with dozens of unwanted advertisements for penis enlargements, weight reduction, fake Viagra and so on. It is bad enough getting advertising but this mail often uses other peoples addresses unknown to the person owning the address. I would never use one of these poroducts on principle, let alone the fear of a purchase generating even more spam (and the products being fakes) but enough people do purchase to create large profits to the spam kings and make the problem worse than it need be.
- Spider A software robot also called a web crawler which indexes web sites by visiting the sites on a regular basis to check continued relevance to search questions. Popular sites will be "spidered" or crawled every one or two days. The spiders look at keywords, tags, titles and so on. They are also very good at spotting the tricks some people use to artificially boost page rankings like over use of keywords, using invisible text, and so on. If the spiders decide that a site is spamming or otherwise indulging in suspect activities they can "ban" the site, either demoting it to a very poor ranking or eliminating it from the rankings entirely. it is estimated there may be more than 35 billion web sites in existence yet only about 6 billion are indexed by Google and visited by spiders.
- Spoof A type of spam in which the e-mail recieved is deceptively similar to a real web site with which you might do business. These spoof e-mails are usually phishing type spam and seek to trick the victim into revealing personal information including financial details.
- Static Web Site A conventional web site, usually with a standardised menu and information pages that tend not to change very often. The alternatives, a Wiki site, or a blog are designed for constant change and interaction with users. Static web sites obviously are limited in the way they can interact with the public, however they have certain advantages. It is easier to optimize the pages for better search engine rankings, and users are familiar with the standard structure and therefore respond well to the over all site. Static web sites are particularly well suited to sites that have a lot of information to convey and do not need a journalistic approach.
- Stats Statistics information for a web site that reveals numbers of visitors, where they came from, what they looked at and so on. The visits are expressed as hits, page views, bandwidth used, unique visitors and so on.
- Steve Jobs Silicon Valley entrepeneur who co-founded with Steve Wozniak Apple Computer in 1976. Previously he had taken calligraphy classes at college which was the beginning of his life long appreciation of proportion, simplicity, and style which has come to characterize Apple products. The first Apple computer was aimed at enthusiasts but was ahead of other early computers, and subsequent models introduced innovations such as the graphical user interface, and the mouse that substantially defined the style of the modern personal computer, and helped make the computer a desireable consumer item. Internal power struggles within Apple saw Jobs lose his position at the company and Apple computer company make business decisions that saw market share fall dramatically to the point of going out of business. Steve Jobs returned as chairman of the board and has personally overseen future development that has seen the introduction of the iMac, OS X, the iPod, and recently the iPhone which has seen Apple return to prominence as an innovative electronics company redefining the industries it is involved in. At age 52 Jobs has matured into a virtual guru with mythical abilities to produce the ultimate in desireable digital devices.
- Steve Wozniak Co-founder (with Steve Jobs) of Apple computer, Woz was the engineer who designed the revolutionary first Apple computer. Although primitive by today's standards it was "years in front of" the Altair 8800 which was launched a few months earlier. Woz and Jobs made the first computers in Jobs bedroom and his garage. Steve Wozniak as computer architect was a significant contributor to the popularization of the personal computer with user friendly features.
- Streaming Playing audio and video files as they are downloaded from the Internet without first storing them on the hard drive. It requires a fast Internet connection and a powerful computer to accomplish this task successfully.
- Stylus A device that looks like a pen which is used with a specially sensitive surface to input into a computer or smart phone. They are sometimes used for writing, especially on smart phones, but also find use for inputing drawings into computers by artists with such devices as the popular Wacom tablet.
- Subscribe Linking to a feed so that it downloads updates periodically, or providing a summary of new posts as they occur.
- Symbian The most popular operating system on mobile phones with about 80% of the market. While most mobile phones do not have a true computer-like operating system, smart phones need one do deal with Internet functions, documents, and running programs.
- Syndicate The distribution method for published content that connects content to user. The common way to do this is to subscribe to a feed in a news reader. This establishes links between the original content and the user that allows a summary of fresh content to be seen on a regular schedule.
- Tabbed Browsing As I write this page I am using tabbed browsing. The WYSIWYG editor is online in one window with an identifying tab at the top, and when I need to look up something on the web I just click the tab next to it which instantly takes me to another window where I browse other sites to find a resource while keeping the window with the WYSIWYG editor open. When I wish to return to the editor I just click its tab. I can move back and forward between the windows by using the tabs. It is very convenient. That is called tabbed browsing.
- Tablet An input device in which a stylus is moved across a pressure sensitive surface which moves a cursor on a computer monitor. It is a better way of hand drawing an image than using a mouse.
- Tablet PC A kind of personal computer in which the display is in the form of a pressure sensitive tablet. The devices are usually portable and very suitable for use as sketch books, although they have two problems. They tend to be too large, and they tend to be very expensive.
- Tags Instructions and other information contained within the arrow shaped brackets above the comma and period on a standard keyboard that indicate formatting, titles, and so on. The browser uses the tags to display the page in the manner intended by the web designer. Tags can also be navigation aids, enabling related material to be sorted together and located as categories, as an example.
- TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocal / Internet Protocal. The communications protocals on which the Internet is based.
- Teardrops A type of Denial of Service attack.
- Template A saved format for text and graphics on
which new web site pages can be based. Once a template is purchased or made it is easy to dupicate the page then replace filler text and images with ones relevant to the subject. This saves time and enables web sites to be made by less experienced designers.
- Text The portion of a web page that is not an image. All the letters and numbers. On a mobile phone Text (also written txt) is a popular method for sending short messages.
- The Ping Of Death A type of Denial of Service attack.
- Tim Berners-Lee The inventor of the World Wide Web, his parents worked on one of the first computers. They encouraged the use of mathematics at home, including at the dinner table. He built a computer by hand while at Oxford University in the 1970's, but was caught hacking and was banned from using the university computer. In 1980 he proposed using hypertext for the sharing of information. During 1989 and 1990 he developed the concept of the World Wide Web and developed the first browser for it called httpsd. He built the first web site which was made live on 6th August 1991. Tim Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium which continues the development of the web. He now works at MIT.
- TLD See Top Level Domain.
- Tony Buzan A British expert on techniques to do with brain functions, especially memoery skills, creative idea making, reading and note taking and so on. While he is credited with inventing the mind map, in fact the basic ideas have existed for centuries. What he did was formalise these ideas into a particular structure that is suited to software application, give it a memorable name, and then promote the ideas surrounding mind mapping. Mind mapping is one of the most powerful tools that an artist can employ to develop creative concepts and structure future directions. I use mind mapping constantly for web development and other creative ideas.
- Top Level Domain The part of a web address that comes after the dot, so in example.com the dot com portion is the top level domain (also known as a TLD). dot com is the most common TLD. other TLD's include .net .org .edu .info .biz and so on. There are also country specific TLD's. example.com.au is a top level domain that is specific to Australia. Australia is one of a small number of countries that restrict the sale of TLD's so that only a registered Australian business can own an Australian TLD. Some countries deliberately market their country TLD's to all comers everywhere. Many have discovered problems in doing this as criminal operations have bought TLD's of convenience to avoid laws in their own countries and engage in illegal or immoral commerce.
- Touchscreen A display device increasingly common on portable devices in which the display screen is sensitive to direct input from fingers or a stylus and thus replaces conventional means of inputting data.
- Tower One of the most common forms of desktop computer in which most of the computer hardware and software is contained in a vertical box. with the monitor and keyboard as separate items connected by cable or wireless.
- Trackbacks A way of linking to a blog that enables the links to be monitored. It was developed in 2002 by SixApart for Movable Type and has since become an industry standard. Blogger is the only major blogging company that does not use trackbacks.
- Traffic Visitors to a web site. Various stats programs count visitors and display the data as either "hits" or "unique visitors" or as both. As a single visitor can produce many hits it is usually a far larger number and so is the one often quoted to impress people.
- Trojan Malicious code which is disguised as something desireable. It usually doesn't replicate itself but instead when activated could cause multiple problems from directly damaging files to quietly waiting for a remote operator to take control of your computer.
- TWiT A podcast by Leo Laporte
with regular Twitters John C. Dvorak, kevin Rose and others. It is a
fun talkfest on what is current in tech news (the name stands for "This
Week In Tech") It is easy to subscribe to Leo's podcast from iTunes.
- Txt See Text.
- TypePad A hosted blogging service based on MovableType and created by SixApart. Bloggers can have one blog for about $5 a month, and for $10 a month can have unlimited blogs. TypePad has superb technical support, has attractive templates, and bells and whistles built in that are not so easy to implement in free services. While there are free services available TypePad bloggers tend to think they are getting good value for money. This web site is a TypePad blog.
- U Text shorthand for the word "you"
- Ubuntu A popular flavor of the Linux operating system originating in South Africa, hence the name which reportedly means "humanity towards all". Ubuntu aims to be a free operating system which is attractive to the average user.
- UMPC Ultra-Mobile PC. A lightweight tablet PC supported by Intel and Microsoft that includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and touchscreen technology. The special version of Windoows Tablet PC operating system allows input from the thumbs. It has many limitations that have slowed its adoption but the general idea of a more computer like exoperience from a small device is also being pursued by Nokia with its N95 and Apple with its iPhone. So far it is the iPhone which has really caughrt peoples imaginations and it is likely that in coming years there may be some convergence of concepts in this emerging market.
- Unique Visitors A reflection of the true numbers of people visiting a web site it is not the easiest statistic to calculate due the the way the web operates and so many simple statistical counters record "hits". A hit is the downloading of one file, and since several files may be involved in the creation of a single page - each image is a separate file from the text for example - and so one person looking at a page is likely to generate several hits. Page views are also misleading as a web site may have several pages, each of which may be counted as the person navigates the site. The "unique visitors" statistic attempts to count only a single visit to an entire site no matter what they look at while there. It is not always 100% accurate and should be considered a good guide more than anything, but it is the best statistic we have available to measure true visitor numbers. As it is always dramatically less than the hits recorded a combination of ego and marketing propaganda means most web masters prefer to quote the hits figure rather than any other. A wise web master, however, is realistic and takes notice of unique visitor numbers if their stat counter counts these.
- Unix An operating system with origins at AT&T in 1969 that became widespread in academic circles as an open source platform valued for its stability. It has formed the basis for two major modern platforms, Linux and Mac OS X.
- Upload The transfer of a file from your computer to a remote location. This includes all posts to a blog, pages added to your web site and so on. For a reason I have never been able to work out upload speeds are usually considerably slower than download speeds. This is frustrating when uploading lots of files to Flickr, for example.
- UR Texting shorthand for "you are" or "you're".
- URL Short for Uniform Resouce Locator. It is often pronounced like the word Earl but it is also correct to say the letters "U-R-L" It is the unique address of any file on the net. On the World Wide Web all URL's start with https:// this is a code that identifies the characters as a URL. It will also have the top level domain (example.com for example) Each page of any web site will also have a file number that identifies the page. Sometimes this is as simple as index.htm but can also be a long stream of numbers and letters.
- USB Universal Serial Bus. A system for connecting peripheral devices to a computer via a standard port on the computer via a cable and special plug. Thumb drives and Bluetooth are devices that plug directly into a USB port and do not need a cable connection. USB was first developed in 1996 and has become very common. It is generally slower than FireWire.
- Video Blog See Vlog.
- Viral A means of spreading a file in which recipients forward the item to friends. The file or link tends to spread very fast "like a virus". Marketing campaigns these days often try to offer a sweetener that might cause a viral effect but it is hard to predict what will fire peoples imaginations in this way ahead of time. When successful, however, viral spread of information can spread around the web in a surprisingly short time.
- Virtual Reality A simulated reality created by a computer and hardware to display the illusion of the reality. This can take the form of goggles with small built in displays that change according to user head movements. The reality can also be displayed within a self contained space that could for example give the illusion of an aircraft cockpit in flight. Visual display is often accompnied by sounds and vibration/movement effects that can make the immersive experience of virtual reality a powerful tool for training pilots, police for car chases, and for dangerous situations where training in real life is difficult or impractical. Virtual reality is also valued for entertainment purposes.
- Virus A computer program that can reproduce and install itself on a computer without the authorization of the computer user. A virus is similar in behavior of a virus in the biological world. Once a computer is infected the virus can damage and even destroy files, although some are merely annying, displaying a message for example. A virus spreads via discs, e-mails, and so on. The Windows operating system is notorious for being prone to viral infections, whereas both Linux and Mac OS X have had little in the way of virus problems.
- Vista The latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system. It is characterized by enhanced security features, and a user interface called aero which is pretty. It is expected that over the next few years it will displace the popular XP version of the software but its introduction has not been universally enthusiastic.
- Vlog A type of blog made by uploading video, also called a video blog. Vlogs come in two main types - those made by uploading content "as it happens" from a mobile phone. Vlogs can also be professionally made from studio footage. Artists have embraced video blogging as a major new art form. A Vlog differs from a video podcast (sometimes called a "vodcast") in that text and other material accompnies the video material. Video communities such as BBC's Video Nation originated in the 1980's but the first true vlog was posted in the year 2000 by Adrian Miles. Video blogging grew in 2004/5 with support for vodcasting becoming incorporated in iTunes and the growth of Yahoo! Videoblogging Group. YouTube continues this trend. One of the most successful video blogs of all time was Lonelygirl15 which made headlines when it was discovered to be a scripted performance by an actress rather than the real diary of a 15 year old girl as had previously been assumed.
- Vodcast A video podcast often made in a studio. Just as a conventional podcast resembles a radio program, a vodcast resembles a television program.
- VoIP Voice over Internet Protocal. A method for telecommunications over the Internet. Skype is a well known provider of VoIP telephony.
- Wacom Tablet A computer input device for artists. It is a flat plastic surface on which the artist draws with a stylus. The stylus leaves no mark on the tablet but the tablet is sensitive to the position of the sylus and moves a cursor on the computer monitor which leaves marks, lines, and areas of color on a page on the monitor which can be built into a picture and then saved for printing or electronic
distribution. The Wacom Tablet is not the only tablet capable of
inputting drawings but it is the most common and popular. Although
disconcerting to use at first, the hand and eye quickly get used to the
input method and most artists enjoy working this way. It is capable of
very similar effects to traditional media. It is far easier to make art
this way than using a mouse.
- WAP Wireless Application Protocal. An attempt by mobile phone manufacturers to bring Internet content to mobile phones. While being wide spread it has so many limitations that it is often referred to as Worthless Application Protocal. While it can deliver e-mail it can only browse the web in stripped down web pages that users find frustrating and content providers have largely ignored due to an arrogant "we built it, so they will come" attitude on the part of the telco's. Apple's iPhone, with it's Safari browser shows that mobile devices can easily browse the web in a conventional way and makes WAP look very primitive.
- Watermark (1) A visible word, name, or image which is usually translucent but clearly visible over an artist's artwork reproduced on the Internet. They are intended to discourage printing of an artwork that has not been purchased. (2) A hidden notice of copyright embedded or encrypted into an audio or video file or within an image file which identifies the copyright owner unknown to the person who downloads the item. It is intended to identify pirated items so that legal action can be successfully undertaken. This is usually called a digital watermark.
- Web Short for the World Wide Web, the portion of the Internet to do with web sites and locating resorces using the HTTP system, hypertext, and hyperlinks.
- Webby's The Webby's are awarded annually for the best websites in as many as 50 categories. The $250 nomination fee is regarded as steep by many bloggers but the winners get to proudly give acceptance speeches. The speeches are limited to five words which has resulted in a tradition developing of humorous speeches. David Bowie won an award in the 2007 Webby's. His acceptance speech was "I only get five words? Shit, that was five. Four more there. That's three. Two." Webby's have been awarded since 1994 and have both a judges decision and a peoples choice element.
- Web 2.0 A term dreamed up by the media in 2003 to loosely describe some of the new ways that the web is being used. The term suggests there is a second generation version of the Internet but that is not the case as the tools used by web 2.0 have been in existence since the beginning of the web. There is, however a growing awareness of, and use of the more sophisticated possibilities inherent in the Internet. In the early years a simple static web site was wow factor enough and the Internet became dominated by simple web sites. In more recent years we have seen the emergence of wiki type sites, blogging sites, and social networking sites that are all interactive between the users. Web based software has emerged too which has lead to suggestions that eventually the need for desktop based applications will diminish or disappear. In web 2.0 web usage is a complex interplay between all participants. This is more of a concept than any reality but has caught the imagination of many people and the term has become quite common.
- Web Browser A program which is able to locate and display pages located on the Internet. The first major browser, Mosaic, was important in opening up the world wide web to the general public.
- Web Crawler A software robot also known as a spider. Every search engine has these crawlers indexing web sites on a regular schedule. They note things like the age of the web site, the links coming into it, the relevance of the text to various keywords, titles, and so on and they award a page ranking to that site. They are programmed to watch for web tricks like being part of link fams and so on that would be regarded as dishonest means of increasing web rankings. The sites that employ these tactics tend to be demoted in the rankings. Meanwhile web designers are forever trying to figure out the best way to please the web crawlers and go up the rankings.
- Web Designer The person who creates the appearance odf a site, writes the text and tags, places images and so on. The designers job may be limited to just the site design, but commonly the designer is the web master who administers the site.
- Web Hosting A company owns servers and sells bandwidth and disk storage on a monthly or annual basis. The most common form of web hosting allows several web sites to share a single IP and is called shared hosting. Hosting usually offers online software for e-mail, html editing, statistics, domain management and so on in a control panel.
- Weblog A type of web site characterized by dated posts and usually allowing comments to be made by readers. It is usually shortened to blog. Weblogs made with a mobile phone are often called moblogs, and weblogs made from uploaded video is often called a vlog.
- Webmaster The person who administers a web site. This may or may not include designing the site, creating new content, uploading files to a server, paying the hosting fees, and monitoring traffic.
- Web Page A file or series of files located on a server and located with a URL and downloaded by a web surfer.
- Web Safe Colors A palette of 216 colors (6 shades each of red, green, and blue) that was developed in the days when monitors were only capable of displaying up to 256 colors. Amazingly, it is still possible to find the advice that a web site should be constructed only using these colors despite modern monitors being able to display a full range of colors. This sort of advice is many years out of date
- Web Site A web page, or collection of interconnected web pages located on a server and accessible on the Internet via a unique web address (also known as a URL). By entering that URL, perhaps after finding it in a search engine, an electronic connection is made to the remote site, usually to a home page which has a menu of further pages with more information. Websites can be static or interactive. Blogs and wiki are examples of interactive web sites because they have the ability for readers to either make changes or leave comments. Static web sites cannot be changed in this way. Tim Berners-lee, who is the father of the Internet is credited with making the first true web site, but in fact related "home page' sites had existed on the networks that preceeded the world wide web.
- Widget A widget was always a component of a graphical user interface like a button, a small element that could do something but now the term is used by the general public to mean a small plug-in application that can provide a small window with a specific pupose such as displaying the weather forecast, showing stock market movements, or taking a feed from a video camera monitoring traffic conditions. Generally "under the hood" these are little bits of code that enable content from one web site to be embedded in another, or on the desktop of a PC. They are usually third party software and have exploded in use since Apple incorporated them into OS X and now Microsoft Vista has them too. This web site uses widgets to deliver content such as the cartoon and the news headlines.
- WiFi A wireless LAN that has rapidly replaced wired networks at places like airports, coffee shops, libraries, offices, and so on. WiFi networks are usually called "hotspots".
- Wiki A type of collaborative software that allows all users of a web site to edit the site. While this can lead to web site vandalism, the concept has worked remarkably well on the web with more people willing to fix the problems than actually creating the problems. Not all web sites respond well to user interaction in this way, but it is hard to imagine Wikipedia existing without it.
- Wikipedia An online encyclopedia with more than a million articles in the English language version. It was founded by Jimmy Wales
on the principle of openness. Articles are created and edited by
thousands of contributors all over the world. I myself have edited some
art history and technology articles on Wikipedia. Comparisons with
Encyclopedia Brittanica are often made and while the volume of
information is not in doubt, the accuracy of some articles can be
questionable, perhaps because they are sometimes written by well
meaning but not necessarily expert contributors. On the other hand
there are legions of volunteers who try to remove obvious inaccuracies,
or deliberate vandalism by some. There are also many expert
contributors to specialist areas. Its great strength is in articles on
popular culture. The open and continual editing process makes wikipedia
very responsive to articles about the latest tech gadgets, new
celebrities and so on. The main page for Wikipedia is here.
- Windows (1) A (usually) rectangular shaped area in the graphical display of the computer in which can be seen the interface of a program. In modern computers more than one window can be displayed at once although the selected one will be at the front and entirely visible while other windows may be underneath and not visible until selected. The window lies on top of the desktop and generally hides the desktop while that window is open. Windows have menus that change according to the program and allow the user to make input and see the results using a pointing device such as a mouse. (2) An operating system made by Microsoft. Since Windows 95 it has been the most popular operating system in existence and currently is on more than 90% of computers world wide.
- Windows 95 The 5th version of the Windows operating system that introduced a modern look that became instantly popular and was accompnied one of the greatest marketing campaigns in history. Internert Explorer was introduced with Windows 95 and this operating system cemented Microsoft in place as the pre-eminent operating system available.
- Windows Mobile A stripped down operating system for mobile phones. With only around 6 percent of the market it is one of the less popular operating systems in the mobile phone world.
- Windows Tablet Version The version of the Windows operating system designed specifically for tablet PC's.
- Windows Vista The most recent version of the Windows operating system. It has not been as enthusiastically embraced as its predecessors, partly because XP which it replaces is hugely popular.
- Wired A slang term for someone who heavily uses the Internet and uses mobile phones, iPods, and other electronic devices.
- Wireless Using radio frequencies to transmit data between computers and devices instead of wires and cables.
- Word A word processing program that is part of the Micosoft Office suite. Originally developed for the Apple platform it was eventually ported to Windows and became the most common document writing and formatting software in existence,
- World Wide Web A portion of the Internet in which HTTP is used to access resources at groups of files called web sites. The web sites use hyperlinks to interconnect withy other resources all of which are formatted in hypertext markup language (HTML). The Internet includes more than just the World Wide Web, but it is the portion that the general public is most familiar with. Internet resource addresses start with "www" which flags that the resouce is found on the web. Tim Berners-Lee who was the inventor of the Internet said "The World Wide Web is the universe of network-accessible information, an embodiment of human knowledge."
- Worm A self reproducing program which spreads on a network. It is different to a virus in that it does not always seek to damage a file or group of files on an individuals computer but instead always damages the network. A virus on the other hand always damages files on the computer but not necessarily the network.
- WWW Short for World Wide Web.
- XP The most popular operating system of the new millenium from Microsoft. Although it has recently been replaced by Vista, XP remains on the majority of computers and it will be for some considerable time to come. It is well liked.
- YouTube A video sharing web site in which users upload videos for public access. There are some extraordinarily good videos available and watching YouTube can be very entertaining.
- YR Text shorthand for the word "your"