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Internet - Glossary of Terms
IF YOU FIND THIS GLOSSARY USEFUL, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PRINT IT OUT FOR FUTURE REFERENCE


Address Book:
A handy place to store the E-Mail addresses of the people you contact on-line. All popular E-Mail packages have them.
Applet:
Usually refers to a mini program on a web site that performs some interactive function like providing you with web form-mail, or creating animations.
Attachment:
A separate file that is sent with an E-Mail message, such as a word processing document or image.
Binary:
A method of counting when you only have two digits to work with instead of 10. Numbering starts at 0, 1, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111, 1000. this represents 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Computers count this way because as far as they are concerned, an electric current is either 'on' or 'off', and this is represented by 0 for off, and 1 for on. Thus computers count using a series of switches to determine 'how many'.
Binary File:
Usually a file containing an image or a sound bite.
Bit:
1 computer storage unit. 8 Bits make a Byte, 1024 Bytes make a Kilobyte, 1024 Kilobytes make a Megabyte, 1024 Megabytes make a Gigabyte, and 1024 Gigabytes make a Terrabyte. 1024 seems an odd number, but in fact it is 2 to the power of 10.
Bounce:
What happens to an E-Mail that's sent to an invalid address - basically it's "returned to sender, address unknown."
Browser:
The program on your PC that enables you to interact with the World Wide Web. The most popular ones are Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Firefox these days, although other popular prowsers are Netscape Navigator, Opera, and Mac computers like to use safari, bless their cotton socks.
Bug:
A computer program fault.
Cache:
When you download a web page from the net, your browser stores the images and text in a file called a cache. The next time you want to download those images, the browser first looks in the cache to see whether you have already downloaded those items before, and if you have, it will load them from your PC's cache, instead of off the web, thus saving precious download time.
Chat:
Internet programs that enable you to "talk" to other net users in real time, instead of via E-Mail. The words that you type on the screen, are instantly displayed on the screens of other people logged on at the same time.
Cookies:
Usually harmless mini-programs that a web site will want to add to your PC with the usual intention of either enabling it to recognise you next time you visit, or to find out some information from your computer like who you are, so that it can provide information to the web site owner which he can harmlessly use for statistical information, or for spamming you with E-mail.
Dial-Up:
The type of account or contract, which a private individual has with an ISP, which provides access to the internet via their browser, and the facility of E-Mail, and may provide some web space.
Domain:
Space rented by commercial organisations from an ISP, and on which they may place their web pages, have an E-Mail facility, and statistical facilities etc.
Emoticons:
Often known as smileys, they're shorthand ways of expressing emotion in E-Mail messages by using punctuation marks; eg: :-)
E-Mail:
Electronic Mail which enables you to send and receive messages to and from your computer via the telephone line, and for which a modem is needed.
E-Zine:
A magazine on the web.
Encryption:
A way of scrambling data so only the intended recipient can decipher it.
Firewall:
A software program that prevents people from the internet from accessing a secure area of an Intranet. An Intranet within a group of companies might have the company stock details, prices, and goods availability accessible on the internet, but may not want the general public to have access to its accounts or payroll for instance.
Flash:
A programming language that provides animations
Form Mail:
A form you fill in, on a web site, the output of which is mailed to the owner or a third party. Usually takes the form of a questionnaire, or enquiry form.
Freeware:
Software programs available on the internet, usually free of charge.
FTP:
File Transfer Protocol. A language for uploading and downloading files to and from an internet web site.
Gif:
File extension used for images or pictures on the internet, see also Jpe and Jpg
Hang-up:
This is when a computer starts sulking, it is also referred to as going into an indefinite loop. We would call it loopy - and so it is. Humans also have hang-ups, and tantrums, and computer programmers, being human, thought it best to humanise computers by letting them have hang-ups too. Great isn't it. Makes you feel at home, and it is one thing that computers are good at.
Hardware:
The part of a computer that you can see and touch. There are parts of the computer which you can see, but which you shouldn't touch - but it's still hardware. It's a bit like a woman.
Header:
The gobbledegook at the top of an E-Mail message that's automatically generated by your E-Mail program. It tells you when the message was sent, to whom, by whom, and which path it took through the net.
Hex:
Hexadecimal, is a method of counting that programers use and is based on having 16 digits instead of ten. This might seem odd, but is 2 to the power of 4. Counting starts at 0 to 9, then a,b,c,d,e,f, with f representing 16, and f0 - 17 f1 - 18 etc, thus ff you will find is 255.
HTML:
Hyper Text Markup Language is the program language in which most web pages are written.
HTTP:
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. The transmission language of the internet by which most web pages are passed to your browser.
Hypertext Link:
A link on a web page to another web page or image. Usually indicated by the 'Arrow' curser changing to the image of a hand as the mouse passes over it.
Internet:
See WWW.
Internet Service Provider:
See ISP.
In-Box:
Where your E-Mail messages are received on your PC.
Indexing:
The process carried out by a Spider, which gathers information on behalf of Search Engines, and catalogues it so that when you come along and ask about some obscure item, instead of having to firtle about in dusty dark corners, it can simply look it up in its 'index', and produce it like a rabbit out of a hat.
Intranet:
A private internet local to a single company or group, used for the transfer of information within the group. May be accessible on a restricted basis to the outside world, but secure areas are usually protected by a Firewall.
ISP:
Internet Service Provider, with whom you have to register, and pay for your Dial-up account or commercial web site, and which holds your web pages on its computer; eg., Claranet, BTinternet, GlobalNet, AOL, and others.
Java & JavaScript:
A program language that sits on a web site and performs a function such as an animation. A Java routine may be called an Applet.
Jpe:
File extension used for images or pictures on the internet, see also Gif and Jpg
Jpg:
File extension used for images or pictures on the internet, see also Gif and Jpe
Keyword:
The word or phrase you enter into a search engine to try to find the pages you want.
Mail Bombing:
Sending thousands of E-Mail messages (or a few incredibly large messages to an E-Mail account with the express intention of causing the owner as much aggravation as possible.
Mail Gateway:
The hardware and software used by your ISP to exchange messages with the internet.
Mail Server:
The hardware and software used by your ISP to send and receive your E-Mail.
Mailbox:
Where your messages are saved by your ISP until you decide to download them. When they arrive on your PC, they go into your In-Box.
Millennium Bug:
In the beginning, computers were huge, and their memory capability was small. Today the reverse is true. In the beginning the space on a timer microchip for holding such mundane routines as the date, was at a premium, so short cuts were used. Instead of a date being given eight figures such as 01011998, - First of January, 1998, - it was saved as 010198. This was fine until it occurred to the world to pass the millennium date. Any program that compares dates under the old program code will be confused because it will assume that 010101 comes before 010199, not realising that we are into the next millennium. Computer programs are basically stupid, and when they get confused, they go into an old fashioned sulk, and either produce nothing while they contemplate the problem which causes a hang-up, or produce unpredictable results just like a cantankerous child.
Mime:
Multiple Internet Mail Extensions. A standard way of encoding attachments so that users of different E-Mail programs can send files to each other.
Modem:
The gismo inside your PC that converts text and image data, into telephone squeak, that can then be unscrambled by a modem at your ISP into something resembling what you sent out, and visa versa.
Netiquette:
Good manners, courtesey and help for beginners, friendly attitude on E-Mail, use of emoticons, where your intentions might be misunderstood.
News Groups:
Popular sites accessible normally through your E-Mail program to which you may have access, usually by free subscription, and thousands of these exist for specific interest groups.
Operating Sytem:
The background software on your computer that runs your programmes.
Perl:
A program language that sits on the ISP web site, hidden below a web page that performs a function such as a web page counter, or provides interactive form mail, or creates dynamic web pages, creating them on the fly according to the demands of the viewer - you. This is the most popular language although there are others. Popular is not a good word in this context, because it's a terrible language to have to get your head round, and there are as yet, no short cuts - this is for programmers.
PHP:
Another web programming language like perl above - don't go there unless you are a programmer. Like perl, not for the feint hearted.
Plug-In:
Enhances the capability of your browser to enable it to play video clips, animations, sound, etc.
Public Domain:
The whole area of the internet where shareware, and freeware programs exist.
POP:
Post Office Protocol. The protocol (language), used by your E-Mail program to receive messages from your ISP's mail server.
Pornography:
If you don't know what this is by now, I don't propose to explain, except to say that the web is like an encyclopedia of information - whatever you look up, you are likely to find. For those who are concerned about what the kids might find, there are programs available that will bar certain words from the search engines, and there are programs that will attempt to stop downloads of porn with varying degrees of success.
Script:
A passage of computer program language used with web pages that performs some function. Usually associated with the language name such as Perl Script, or Java Script.
SMPT:
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The standard protocol for exchanging E-Mail on the internet.
Search Engine:
The internet service agent or device which enables you to search the web for subjects of your choice; eg. Yahoo, Alta Vista, Locos, Infoseek, HotBot, Excite, AOL Netfind, LookSmart, Northern Light and Web Crawler, which are the most popular, but there are about 500-600 others out there.
Server:
Otherwise known as an ISP, or internet service provider in this context. It's a computer, and the main brain of a network in any other context, which supplies program and data information to computer terminals.
Shareware:
Software programs available on the internet, usually free for the first month, and then you may be expected to pay something for them.
Snail Mail:
The old fashioned "Royal Mail", - the post if you like.
Software:
The bits of a computer that you can't see or touch, but whose presence is apparent because it enables the computer to do things. In other words - the software is the computer programs.
Spamming:
Sending large quantities of unsolicited, and usually, commercial E-Mail.
Spider:
A software program used by Search Engines to roam the web for new web sites to index.
Spyware:
Malevolent computer mini-programs generating unwanted pop-ups on your browser, and which can steal your email address and send you lots of Spam.
Text File:
A file containing readable text or words.
Unix:
The Operating system used by Internet Service Providers that host web sites on their servers, although some use the NT operating system.
UUEncode:
A method of turning binary files - pictures and images - into text files that can be sent as E-Mail messages. Becoming overtaken by MIME.
URL:
Uniform Resource Locator, gobbledegook for a web site address.
Virus:
A malevolent computer mini-program designed by the unscrupulous, to play tricks with your computer.
Web:
See WWW.
Webmaster:
A person who maintains a web site.
Web Pages:
A file, or group of files, or folders in Windows 95 jargon, for which someone has paid space rental to an ISP to hold on their computer or server. Access to the format of the page is only available to the site owner, or tenant, via a password, but general access to the images of the page or pages is usually available to the whole world.
Web Space:
Same as Web Pages.
Web Site:
A group of web pages on a domain or dial-up account site.
WWW:
World Wide Web. Or "The Web", a collective term for the Internet, all the Search Engines, Internet Service Providers, and the telephone matrix that connects them all together. Some of us called it the World Wide Wait before the days of broadband access!



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Last updated: February 23rd, 2012
Published by:  Lichfield Web Design