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 Buzzwords


Ever wonder what all those strange, new words mean? Here is Help-Nets useful guide to the language of the Internet.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | U | W | Z

 

A

ACCESS NUMBER
ANONYMOUS FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM
ARPANet
(Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

B

BANDWIDTH
BBS
BIT
BOOKMARKS
BOOLEAN
BPS
BROWSER
BYTE

C

CHAT
CLIENT/SERVER
CYBERSPACE

D

DATA ENCRYPTION
DIAL-UP ACCESS
DOMAIN NAME
DOWNLOAD

E

E-MAIL LIST
E-MAIL (Electronic mail)
E-MAIL ADDRESS
EMOTICONS

 

F

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
FIREWALL
FLAMING
FLAME BAIT
FREEWARE
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

G

GIF
GIGABYTE
GOPHER

H

HELPER APPLICATION
HOME PAGE
HTML (Hypertext Markup language)
HTTP (Hypertext Terminal Protocol)
HYPERTEXT

I

INTERNET
IP (Internet Protocol)
ISP (Internet Service Provider)

J

JAVA
JAVA SCRIPT
JPEG

K

KEYWORD SEARCH
KILOBYTE

L

LAN
LINK
LISTSERV
LURKING

M

MAILING LIST
MAIL SERVER
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
MODEM

N

NETIQUETTE
NETHICS
NEWBIE
NEWSGROUPS (USENET)

P

PASSWORD
PACKETS
PDF
PICT
PPP (Point to Point Protocol)
POST

PROTOCOL

R

REMOTE LOGIN
REAL AUDIO/VIDEO

ROUTER

S

SEARCH ENGINE
SHAREWARE
SHELL ACCOUNT
SLIP/PPP (Serial Line Internet Protocol)
SPAM

T

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
TELNET
TROLL

U

USENET
USER ID

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

V

Virus

W

WEB BROWSER
WEB SITE
WWW (World Wide Web)

 

A

ACCESS NUMBER
The telephone number dialed by the modem that lets a computer communicate with an online service or Internet Service Provider.

ANONYMOUS FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
A service available at some Internet sites that gives any user access to data files and applications using FTP. With anonymous FTP, users don't need a special password to retrieve files. Generally nowadays your web browser will handle FTP for you, but if you need to do FTP with via Telnet or a specialist FTP program, your user name for anonymous FTP will probably be anonymous and if you are asked for a password, unless the computer tells you otherwise, use your full e-mail address.

ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM
Software that monitors a computer for viruses and eliminates them before damage occurs.

ARPANet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)
Considered the beginning of the Internet. A worldwide network created in the 1960's that was maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense to facilitate communications between research facilities and universities.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
This code maps letters and other symbols, like periods and commas, to numbers that your computer can understand.
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B

BANDWIDTH
The capacity of the various cables connecting the Internet. It can mean not just the amount of data that can be sent, but also the speed.

BBS
Bulletin Board System. A dial-in service that usually provides information, software, and technical support on a focused topic. Bulletin Boards are to some extent now superseded by newsgroups, e-mail lists and web based discussion lists.

BIT
Binary Digit. The smallest unit of data a computer can handle. Each "bit" has a value of 1 or 0 that the computer interprets as "on" or "off" respectively.

BOOKMARKS
On the Netscape tool bar you will see a menu button BOOKMARKS. This allows you to mark the address (URL) of sources you find useful so that you can return to them easily. To add another site to your list simply choose the Add Bookmark option from the Bookmark menu. The View Bookmarks menu item produces a dialogue box that lets you edit and organise your bookmarks file.

BOOLEAN
A common system of logic that uses operators such as AND, OR, and NOT. For example, a search for "cat and dog" would find files which included both terms. A search for "cat or dog" would find files which included either or both terms. Searching for "cat not dog" would exclude those files which had the term "dog".Boolean logic is worth understanding because most searchable databases (including Internet search engines) will use a version of it. Using Boolean logic can help you create very precise search strategies and maximise the efficiency of your search time.

BPS
Bits Per Second. Measurement of the speed at which data can be transmitted over a telephone or network line.

BROWSER
See WEB BROWSER

BYTE
Equal to either 7 or 8 bits, depending on whether it requires an extra bit, called a parity bit, for error correction. A byte stores a single character of information such as the letter A.
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C

CHAT
Live communication over the Internet Relay Chat service or web based chat. Unlike other forms of Internet communication, chat happens in "real time", so that you can "talk" to each other via a keyboard with the immediacy of a conversation. Using IRC many people from all over the world can "talk" to each other. In general the publicly accessible chat rooms are not suitable for students, but there is software which can allow students to communicate in this way both safely and with considerable educational benefit. For more information about chat, see What is Internet Chat?.

CLIENT/SERVER
A relationship between programs running on separate machine in a computer network. The server is the provider of services, while the client is the user of the services.

CYBERSPACE
Cyberspace is a term invented by the very hip author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. Cyberspace is that place where computer users and computers interact with the network. It is both "out there" and "in here", a reality of cables and computers, but also a place where the weird world of on-line culture happens.
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D

DATA ENCRYPTION
A process that transforms information into random streams of bits to create a secret code for data security.

DIAL-UP ACCESS
This is the means of connecting to another computer using a modem and an ordinary telephone line.

DOMAIN NAME
The unique name that identifies an Internet site. A domain also identifies the area of the Internet which a site belongs, i.e. commercial (.com); government (.gov); education (.edu); military (.mil); and non-profit organisation (.org).

DOWNLOAD
Downloading enables you to move files from one computer to another. It can mean copying files from your computer onto a floppy disk, or from a remote computer to your computer. For more information about downloading, have a look at SOFWeb's Guide to downloading.
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E

E-MAIL LIST
E-mail lists are also know as electronic discussion groups, listservs or electronic conferences. An electronic message forwarded to the listserv (software which automatically maintains the list, short for list server) is electronically copied and distributed to each of the group's members via e-mail. There are thousands and thousands of electronic mailing lists on just about every imaginable topic. Membership of the lists may vary from a handful of people to thousands. For more information about e-mail, see SOFWeb's guide to Electronic Mail Lists.

E-MAIL (Electronic mail)
E-mail involves sending and receiving messages locally or worldwide from one computer to another through a network. You will need an internet account with a service provider who will provide you with an e-mail address. You will also need e-mail software, either the mail programs which come bundled with Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer, or a proprietary e-mail package such as Eudora.

E-MAIL ADDRESS
You need an email address to enable people to email you. This address is much like your street address, it has your name (user id) and your domain (the address for the particular computer your e-mail goes to). SOFWeb's email address is web.feedback@dse.vic.gov.au.

EMOTICONS
When you are using email you only have the text on your computer screen to interpret, unlike face to face communication where you have not only the words, but facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures. Because we lack this important information about mood and feeling, it is very easy to misinterpret computer based communication. To go some way toward solving this problem the Internet community has developed a series of symbols and acronyms which you can use to add expression to your writing. These symbols are called emoticons, and are made up from the symbols on a standard keyboard. The most common one you will see is the smiley face, which indicates that you are being funny :-). Click here for more emoticons and acronyms.
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F

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
An FAQ file is a collection of the answers to questions frequently asked by new Internet users (newbies). An FAQ might cover a particular topic, for example, netiquette, or it might relate to a particular newgroup or e-mail list. An FAQ gives you lots of useful information and it's worth checking the FAQ if you join any discussion group.

FIREWALL
Software or hardware that limits certain kinds of access to a computer from a network or other outside source. Firewall are a security measure to prevent unauthorised access to on-line computers.

FLAMING
Flaming is a very old net tradition. Flaming someone means to use email either personally or through a mailing list or newsgroup, to launch a personal and offensive attack on a person and their opinion. Flaming has nothing to do with lively discussion and everything to do with emotional responses. It can be fun to watch, but no fun at all if you are on the receiving end.

FLAME BAIT
Flame bait is a deliberate attempt to either cause or continue a flame war by posting a comment which is guaranteed to create an argument. It is a fairly common event on the net, but then again, there are a lot of people out there without enough to do with their time. Flame bait is often called trolling, where someone sends a message to an e-mail list or newsgroup which is deliberately intended to start a flame war.

FREEWARE
Software which is made publicly available for no cost at all.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a standard which allows computers of all different kinds to exchange files. For everyday purposes FTP is what allows you to download software and other kinds of files from another computer to yours. See also Anonymous FTP.
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G

GIF
Graphic Interchange Format. A bit-mapped color graphics file format that is the preferred one to use if you want to put a graphic (as opposed to a photo) on a Web page. Web browsers only recognise two image formats, GIF and JPEG (or JPG).

GIGABYTE
Approximately one billion bytes, or one thousand megabytes.

GOPHER
A browsing and searching protocol that lets you find and retrieve text and files. Before the WWW became so popular Gopher space was the standard way of making information available on the Internet. Gopherspace can display ASCII text, and can allow you to download image and sound files, but can't display them. ALthough there are still some Gopher servers around, in general the information which would have been available in gopherspace has migrated to the WWW. A gopher address always begins gopher://.
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H

HELPER APPLICATION
Add-on applications that support sound, image, and other formats that your browser can't support by itself. An example is the Acrobat Reader which allow you to read PDF files.

HOME PAGE
A home page is an initial point of entry to a web of related documents. It contains introductory information, as well as hyperlinks to related resources. A home page often contains internal navigation buttons which help users find their way among the various documents that the home page makes available. Make sure you investigate all the links on the SOFWeb home page to assist you to utilise the resources available to you.

HTML (Hypertext Markup language)
Computer language used to write World Wide Web pages. For more information about HTML, see Learning HTML

HTTP (Hypertext Terminal Protocol)
A WWW address will always begin with http://, this allows your web browser to recognise it as a WWW address.

HYPERTEXT
When you are reading a book, you generally start at the beginning and go on to the end, it won't make a lot of sense if you skip backwards and forwards, but on the WWW you can skip backwards and forwards (or sideways, or anywhere else) and still make sense. In a WWW document there are what are called hyperlinks, they are often coloured or underlined, and clicking on one of these links will take you somewhere else,either on the same computer or sometimes to a computer anywhere else in the world. Although hypertext (hyperlinks or hot links) are an essential part of the WWW, hypertext is not unique to the web, and hypertext applications pre-dated the beginnings of the WWW.
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I

INTERNET
The Internet is the combination of all the linked computer networks world wide, literally the International Network.

IP (Internet Protocol) see TCP/IP listing

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
An ISP is a company which provides access to the Internet to computer users for an agreed price. A list of "Internet Access Services available to Victorian Schools" was distributed to all schools from the Department of Education, Employment & Training in December 1995. A shorter version is also available on SOFWeb.
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J

JAVA
An object-oriented, cross-platform programming language, similar to C++, that is designed for building applications for the Internet.

JAVA SCRIPT
JavaScript is a scripting language, introduced by Netscape. It allows you to add scripts to your web pages, which are interpreted by Netscape Navigator. JavaScript is not Java. Java is a programming language, JavaScript is more an extension to HTML and all you need to run it is your browser.

JPEG
Joint Photographic Expert Group. A file format using a compression technique to reduce the size of a graphics file by as much as 96 percent. JPEG is the preferred file format to use if you want to put a photograph on a Web page.
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K

KEYWORD SEARCH
Keywords are words which describe your topic, they can be general or specific to your topic. Make a list of possible keywords before you start a search on the Internet. For further information see the Search strategies section.

KILOBYTE
A thousand bytes (actually 1024 bytes).
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L

LAN
Local-Area Network. A group of computers, usually in one building, that are physically connected in a way that lets them communicate and interact with each other.

LINK
A word or phrase emphasized in a hypertext document that acts as a pointer to related information. Links in a Web browser are usually underlined and are a different color than the rest of the text.

LISTSERV
Listserv is a piece of software which automates running an e-mail discussion lists. Although mailing lists are often called listservs, in fact there are several other kinds of software which perform similar functions, eg, Majordomo. For more information about e-mail lists see e-mail list.

LURKING
Most people, when they join a new group or organisation, spend a bit of time working out what is going on. It's no different in cyberspace. It is considered sensible when you venture into a new email list of discussion group to spend some time reading the discussion before you join the conversation, just to get the "feel" of the group. This is called lurking. It sounds sinister but is actually good netiquette.
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M

MAILING LIST
See E-mail List

MAIL SERVER
A computer that holds email messages for clients on a network. If you have an e-mail account, your e-mail goes to your service provider's mail server to be held until you are ready to download it to your computer.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
A standard that lets electronic musical devices communicate with each other. Music stored in MIDI format contains instructions for playing the music, rather than the digitized audio signal itself.

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
MIME types are extensions to attached files that tell your computer what kind of program to use to view the file.

MODEM
A modem is a device used for connecting two computers via a telephone line. For more information see Getting connected
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N

NETIQUETTE
Netiquette is the etiquette of using the Internet. Just like everywhere else, there are rules for appropriate behaviour on the Internet. These rules are designed to make life in cyberspace pleasant and comfortable for everyone. See SOFWeb's guide to Netiquette.

NETHICS
Nethics is ethics on the net. It is about behaving as legally and honorably in cyberspace as you would in real time. Being in cyberspace does not give you immunity from the laws of your own country, or those of the country you are visiting via computer.

NEWBIE
A newbie is a new Internet user, it doesn't matter how old you are, if you are new to the net, you are a newbie.

NEWSGROUPS (USENET)
This is the name given to publicly accessible electronic notice or bulletin boards. The term newsgroup is deceptive in that the discussions rarely involves "news", they are really topic discussion groups. For more information about newsgroups, see Newsgroups.
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P

PASSWORD
A secret word or code which you need together with your user id, to connect to your account, or to another computer on the Internet. It is important for security reasons to keep your password secret, you should also ensure that your passwords are not easy to guess, so don't use your own name. Passwords are important to protect the privacy of your information.

PACKETS
A block of data that can be transmitted from one computer to another on a network like the Internet. A packet contains data to be transmitted, data to guide the packet, and data that corrects errors along the way.

PDF
Portable Document Format. A standard used by Adobe Acrobat to display any sort of document on any computer. The Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded as freeware. For more information about PDF, see our Acrobat Reader Help Page

PICT
The default graphics format on Macintoshes. Can't be viewed by web browsers.

PPP (Point to Point Protocol) see also SLIP/PPP
A Protocol which enables a dial up of the Internet to be conducted over ordinary telephone lines.

POST
A post is a message you send via email to an email list or discussion group.

PROTOCOL
A Protocol defines how computers on a network will interact with each other. The most important Protocols for the Internet are TCP/IP.
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R

REMOTE LOGIN see TELNET

REAL AUDIO/VIDEO
A helper application that allows you to download sound/video files over Web pages in real-time. The player can be downloaded as freeware. For more information about playing audio/video over the Internet see Adding multimedia to your web pages

ROUTER
A system which connects one or two networks together and ensures that the data going between them is delivered quickly and efficiently. A router can be either sofware or hardware. For more information about routers see Multi-user access to the Internet
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S

SEARCH ENGINE
A search engine is the term used for the various tools you can use to search the Internet for information. ANZWERS, Alta Vista or Lycos are examples of search engines you can access through SOFWeb.

SHAREWARE
Software distributed via the honor system. You download shareware from the Internet, try it out, and if you keep it, are expected to pay a shareware fee. Shareware is generally much less expensive than commercial software and may be every bit as good. See also Freeware.

SHELL ACCOUNT
When you log into this kind of account, the computer you log into is connected to the Internet, but your computer isn't.

SLIP/PPP (Serial Line Internet Protocol)
SLIP and PPP are two different types of software used to connect a computer to another computer via a modem. When you run either SLIP or PPP software on your computer to connect to your ISP's (Internet Service Provider) computer, then for the duration of the connection, you are assigned an IP address and become part of the Internet.

SPAM
Unsolicited e-mail messages or Newsgroups postings, usually advertising a product.
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T

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
This is the set of protocols that drives the Internet, regulating how data is transferred between computers.

TELNET
A Protocol that enables Internet users to logon to another computer linked to the Internet. This facility allows remote access to a computer anywhere in the world if it also is connected to the Internet. Because there are so many different kinds of computers joined together on the Internet, Telnet software acts a bit like an interpreter, allowing all the different computers to talk to each other.

TROLL
See Flame bait
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U

USENET

See NEWSGROUPS

USER ID
Your Internet user identification. It may be a personal id or a group id. For example your school might have it's own e-mail address, which identifies the school or you might have your own e-mail address. You might need a user id to log onto particular computers or services.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
Every page on the Internet has a unique identifying address or URL. SOFWeb's URL is http://www.SOFWeb.vic.edu.au. If you already know the URL of a useful site, then simply type that address in the location bar at the top of the Netscape screen and press Enter. Alternatively, click on the Open button and type the URL into the dialogue box which appears, hit returned (enter) and you will be taken directly to that site.
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V

Virus
A computer virus is a piece of software which once executed on your computer can cause all kinds of damage. For more information about viruses, and how you can protect your computer from them, see Viruses.
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W

WEB BROWSER
A Web browser is the software program that you use to view WWW pages. You are probably using Netscape, but there are several others, for example Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mosaic, or Lynx, which is a text only browser. Netscape is called a graphical browser because it allows you to view pictures as well as text.

WEB SITE
In the World Wide Web (WWW) a web site is a computer system that runs a Web server, and has been set up for publishing documents on the Web. SOFWeb is one of the Victorian Department of Education's Web sites.

WWW (World Wide Web)
This is a global hyper-text-based information system which allows users to explore that Internet around the world. It is an attempt to organise all documents on the Internet as a set of hypertext documents which are searched via "links". These links are to other files on the same computer or to files held on another computer.
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This Glossary is made from glossaries from the following companies

SOFWEB
State of Victoria (Department of Education, Employment & Training)
Initiative of the SOFWeb Project
Contact: SOFWeb

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 22, 2000

 

 

 

 

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Last modified: March 23, 2001