Dictionary of terms

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3-D graphics
This field of computer graphics is concerned with generating and displaying three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional space, the display screen.

These programs don't cost a penny. The developers support their programs by placing advertisements inside their programs. If you appreciate the work done by these dedicated authors, do them a favor and check out their sponsors. The majority of adware authors have advertisement-free versions of their software available for a small fee. The ads serve as a revenue source for the author, which allows them to stretch their program and update more frequently. A few companies are frequently associated with Adware programs: Cydoor, Radiate, Web3000 and Aureate.
If you need help detecting and removing Adware software from your computer, check out Ad-Aware. It is a free removal tool that detects and removes Adware components that are sometimes left on your system after uninstalling Adware programs.

This type of nickname is usually short and easy to remember. An alias refers to a type of network resource. They are used so that you won't have to remember long and difficult names.

Anonymous FTP
By using the word "anonymous" as your user ID and your e-mail address as the password when you log in to an FTP site, you can bypass local security checks and gain limited access to public files on the remote computer. This type of access is available on most FTP sites.

Sometimes known as a client or an app, an application is a program that performs a specific function. Telnet, Microsoft Word, ICQ, BBEdit and QuickTime are common examples of applications.

These small Java programs can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer. For instance, files, serial devices, modems and printers are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network. The current rule is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet was sent.

You'll usually hear this term referred to in the phrase "Archie search." Archie is a way of automatically gathering, indexing and retrieving files on the Internet. Most good Archie clients are able to FTP files once you've found the information for which you're looking.

An archive is a collection of files stored on an Internet machine. FTP sites are known as archives.

ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange
This is the standard method for encoding characters as 8-bit sequences of binary numbers, allowing a maximum of 256 characters. Text files are customarily called ASCII files.

Authentication refers to any process that ensures that users are who they say they are. When you type your name and password, you are authenticated and allowed access.

AVI: Audio Video Interleave
This is a Windows platform audio and video file type, a common format for small movies and videos. A 20-second movie clip in .avi format could be as much a 3MB in size.



This refers to the difference, measured in Hz, between the highest and lowest frequencies of a transmission. Most people loosely refer to bandwidth as the amount of data that can be transferred over a network connection.

Baud rate

This is a unit used to measure the number of data bits a modem can transfer in one second. One baud is how many signals a modem can handle in one second. Information is measured in bits, and bits come in the signal. Higher baud modems can send and receive more signals in one second, and the faster speeds also cram more bits into a signal.

BBS: Bulletin Board System

This is a computer that typically provides e-mail services, file archives and announcements of interest to the bulletin board system's operator, who is known as a sysop. BBSs started out as hobbies for computer enthusiasts, and were mostly accessible by modem. Most BBSs are connected to the Internet.

BinHex: BINary HEXadecimal

This is a method of converting non-text, non-ASCII into ASCII. This is necessary because Internet e-mail can only handle ASCII.

BinHex: BINary HEXadecimal

This is a method of converting non-text, non-ASCII into ASCII. This is necessary because Internet e-mail can


A technology to remain connected wirelessly, but within a short range. Developed by a consortium of IT and communication giants including Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba, it is a short-range radio technology for Internet and mobile devices for wireless communication amongst them. Radio chops are placed in the devices - ranging from laptops and mobile phones and handhelds - to enable this. See also Wi-Fi


Bookmark means to mark a document or specific place in a document for later retrieval. Nearly all Web browsers support a bookmarking feature that lets you save the URL of a Web page so that you can easily revisit the page.


If you send e-mail and it fails to arrive to its intended recipient for any reason, the message "bounces" and returns to you. The subject line in a bounced message usually says something like: "Undeliverable Mail" or "Message Undeliverable."


A browser is a program used to view, download, upload, surf or otherwise access pages on the World Wide Web. Browsers can be text-based, meaning that they do not show graphics or images, but most are text and graphics-based. Browsers access servers and read HTML pages to translate the code into what we see. The final product is referred to as a rendered Web page. Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer and are examples of Web browsers. The program you are using right now to view this information is called a browser.


A bug is a programming error that causes a program or computer system to perform erratically, produce incorrect results or crash. The term bug was coined when a real insect was discovered to have fouled up one of the circuits of the first electronic digital computer, the ENIAC.



A cache temporarily stores information from a page in your computer. If you request a page that is stored in a cache, your browser retrieves the page from the cache more quickly than it could from its location on the network.
Sometimes you may not want a page to be retrieved from a cache. The page you brought initially may no longer be identical to the page currently offered by the network. If a modification to a particular URL has occurred, you may want the updated page rather than the now stale copy. You can modify your cache preferences in Netscape under Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Cache. Internet Explorer users should go to View > Internet Options > Temporary Internet Files > Settings.


Completely Automated Public Turning test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
Distorted words on websites that you need to key in correctly e.g. when opening a new email account.
Prevents automated harvesting of email ID by spammers.


Careware is software that is freely distributed by way of download. The only payment expected for careware is that the user must demonstrate that they care about something and show that the software is being used to better the user or the user's community.

CERT: Computer Emergency Response Team

The CERT was formed by DARPA in November, 1988, in response to the Internet worm incident.

On November 2, 1988, Robert Morris, Jr., a graduate student in Computer Science at Cornell, wrote an experimental, self-replicating, self-propagating program called a worm and injected it into the Internet. He chose to release it from MIT, to disguise the fact that the worm came from Cornell. Morris soon discovered that the program was replicating and reinfecting machines at a much faster rate than he had anticipated---there was a bug. Ultimately, many machines at locations around the country either crashed or became ``catatonic.'' When Morris realized what was happening, he contacted a friend at Harvard to discuss a solution. Eventually, they sent an anonymous message from Harvard over the network, instructing programmers how to kill the worm and prevent reinfection. However, because the network route was clogged, this message did not get through until it was too late. Computers were affected at many sites, including universities, military sites, and medical research facilities. The estimated cost of dealing with the worm at each installation ranged from $200 to more than $53,000. [1]

CERT exists to facilitate Internet-wide responses to computer security events involving Internet hosts and to conduct research targeted at improving the security of existing systems. They maintain an archive of security-related issues on their FTP server at

CGI: Common Gateway Interface

This is the standard for running programs on a server from a Web page. Gateway programs, or scripts, are executable programs that can be run by themselves. They have been made external programs in order to allow them to run interchangeably under various information servers. Gateways conforming to this specification can be written in any language that produces executable files. Some of the more popular languages include: C or C++, Perl, Python, TCL and shells.


This is another term for Internet Relay Chat.


In Internet terms, it's an application that performs a specific function, such as Telnet or FTP. It's the front-end to an Internet process. In more general terms, a client is a computer system or process that requests a service of another computer system or process. The much talked about client-server architecture refers to a workstation requesting the contents of a file from a server.

Commercial Demo

It is a demonstrational copy released by the manufacturer to entice customers to buy their product. A commercial demo will usually only work for a short period of time. It is usually already tested for bugs and is very similar to the full version of the product. A commercial demo might have certain functions that are disabled or inaccessible.


A cookie is something that you clicked on while using the Internet. The cookie is stored in a text file on your hard drive. This information is usually accessed by a server when you connect to a Web site that requires some information about you or your system. As a user, you log into a system by entering your username and password. A text file is then saved by your browser for later access. This occurrence is called "handing a cookie." It prevents you from having to log in again if you happen to leave the Web site and return later. Cookies are also used in the process of purchasing items on the Web. By saving user information to a text file as someone moves through a shopping Web site, the user can later go to an order form and view all of the items that they have selected.

CRC: Cyclic Redundancy Check

This is an error-checking procedure for data transmission. The sending device performs a complex calculation, generating a number based on the data being transmitted. It then sends that number to the receiving device. The receiving device performs the same calculation after transmission. If the results match, the transmission succeeds. If the numbers don't match, it means the message was received in an altered state, and the data may be incorrect.


This is the "world of computers and the society that gathers around them," as referred to by William Gibson in his fantasy novel Neuromancer. It now loosely refers to the online world and even more loosely to the Internet.


Dedicated Line

This is a communications line that is used solely for computer connections. If you buy an additional phone line for your modem, that's a dedicated line. There are other types of dedicated lines, such as a T3 or a T1 that is used for a larger network entity.

DEK: Data Encryption Key

Much like an actual key used for locking and re-opening doors, DEKs are used for the encryption and decoding of message text, sometimes in the form of a digital signature.


Demoware is limited evaluation software that has some of its features disabled. This software usually allows the use of a fair number of features in order to entice a user to purchase the full product.

DES: Data Encryption Standard

This is a standardized encryption method widely used on the Internet.


This is a widely-used method of accessing the Internet. A dial-up connection uses regular phone lines to connect one computer to another by way of a modem.


Microsoft DirectX is a group of technologies designed by Microsoft to make Windows-based computers an ideal platform for running and displaying applications rich in multi-media elements, such as full-color graphics, video, 3-D animation and surround sound. Built directly into the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems, DirectX is an integral part of Windows 98 and Windows 2000, as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer.


This is a "logical" region of the Internet. People sometimes refer to them loosely as sites. Generally, a domain corresponds to an IP address or an area on a host.

DNS: Domain Name System

The DNS is a static, hierarchical name service used with TCP/IP hosts. It is housed on a number of servers on the Internet. Basically, it maintains a database for figuring out and finding host names and IP addresses on the Internet. This allows users to specify remote computers by host names rather than numerical IP addresses. The advantage of the DNS is that you don't have to remember numerical IP addresses for all of the Internet sites that you want to access.


This means to copy data, usually an entire file, from a main source to a peripheral device. The term is often used to describe the process of copying a file from an online service to one's own computer.

Dynamic HTML

These are instructions written in HTML that enable Web pages to react to user input and produce content that changes each time it is viewed. With dynamic HTML coding, Web pages are created as the information is delivered to your desktop. There are several technologies for producing dynamic HTML, including CGI scripts, Server-Side Includes, cookies, Java, JavaScript, Cold Fusion and ActiveX.


Electronic Frontier Foundation

This is a foundation that addresses social and legal issues arising from the impact of computers on society. You can find them at

Electronic Mail: e-mail

This is a method by which computer users can exchange messages with each other over a network. E-mail is probably the most widely-used communications tool on the Internet. There are many quirky conventions to e-mail, but most entail a "To:," a "From:" and "Subject:" line. One of e-mail's advantages is its ability to be forwarded and replied to easily.


This is the basis of network security. Encryption encodes network packets to prevent anyone except the intended recipient from accessing the data.


This is the standard and probably the most popular connection type for Local Area Networks (LANs). It was first developed by Xerox and later refined by Digital, Intel and Xerox. In an Ethernet configuration, computers are connected by coaxial or twisted-pair cable, where they contend for network access using a Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) paradigm. Ethernet can transfer information at up to 10 Megabits per second (Mb/s).


FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs are widely available on the Internet and usually take the form of large, instructional text files. They are written on a wide variety of topics and are usually the most up-to-date source for specialized information.


This is a UNIX command that retrieves information about a user or group of users on the Internet. When executed, the Finger command usually returns the user's real name, whether or not they have unread mail, and the time and date of their last login. Finger also displays two files that are found in the home directory of the user that at whom you directed the command. These two files, the .PLAN and the .PROJECT files, are simply ASCII text files that can be entered by the user to display any information upon the execution of the command. This protocol has become rare due to privacy concerns.


Firewalls are special computers or computer programs that are set up on a network to prevent intruders from stealing or destroying confidential files.


This is a negative response to an e-mail message or newsgroup posting. If you post an article or send an e-mail to an audience that deems your message inappropriate, expect to get flamed. The most common recipients of flames are users who post commercial messages in public forums, those who post adult material in non-adult areas of the Internet, and users who post or send race or gender-biased comments. The worst sort of flame is known as a mail-bomb. This occurs when the user being flamed opens his or her e-mail and receives a flood of letters with unusually long file attachments that may make the computer crash.


This is a reply to an e-mail or newsgroup posting that continues the conversation or idea. It is more commonly known as a "thread."


This is a network system made up of community-based bulletin board system with e-mail, information services, interactive communications and conferencing. Like public television, they are usually funded and operated by individuals or organizations. Freenet providers are part of the National Public Telecomputing Network, a Cleveland-based organization that works to make computer networking services as freely available as public libraries.


Freeware is... free, just as you'd imagine it! The software was developed just for the sake of providing you, the end user, with a cool new application. If you really like the program, you might take a moment to send the author a thank you note, but there are no strings attached to these programs.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol

This is the most widely-used way of downloading and uploading files across an Internet connection. The File Transfer Protocol is a standardized way to connect computers so that files can be shared between them easily. There is a set of commands in FTP for making and changing directories, transferring, copying, moving and deleting files. Formerly, all FTP connections were text-based, but graphical applications are now available that make FTP commands as easy as dragging and dropping. FTP clients exist for a number of platforms.



This is a kind of go-between device or program that passes information between networks that normally couldn't communicate. What used to be called a gateway is now called a router.

GIF: Graphics Interchange Format

This format was developed by Compuserve using compression technology from Unisys. On the World Wide Web, pictures and graphics that you see on Web pages are usually in GIF format because the files are small and download quickly.


This is an information search and retrieval tool used mostly for research. Gopher information is stored hierarchically on computers across the Internet. It uses a simple protocol that allows a client to access information from a multitude of Gopher servers at one time, creating what's known as "gopher space." The most common search tools in gopher are Veronica and Jughead. Gopher clients exist for most platforms.

GPL: GNU Public License

GPL stands for GNU Public License. Software released under this license is intended to be "free" software. It is free in a free speech sense. The programs themselves are not free. Essentially, you get the source code and binaries.



This is a computer user who works to understand the ins and outs of computers, networks and the Internet. Hackers are generally benign and believe that information should be free.


This is a computer that is attached to a network or the Internet. Hosts allow users on client machines to connect and share files or transfer information. Individual users communicate with hosts by using client application programs.


This is a type of text that allows embedded "links" to other documents. Clicking on or selecting a hypertext link displays another document or section of a document. Most World Wide Web documents contain hypertext.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language

This is the standard way of marking text documents for publication on the World Wide Web. HTML is marked up using "tags" surrounded by brackets. To see what tagged HTML text looks like, select the View Source feature from the menu in the program you are using to view this document, and you'll see a display of the HTML text used to create this page. For help on how to use HTML to make Web sites, see the Tucows HTML site.

HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol

This is the protocol that tells the server what to send to the client so that the client can view Web pages, FTP sites or other areas of the 'Net.


International Corporation for Assigning Names and numbers.
USA Based organisation responsible for registering domain names.

Image Map
This is a single graphic image containing more than one hot spot. Image maps are used extensively on the World Wide Web. Each hot spot in a Web image takes you to a different Web page or to another area of the same Web page.

Instant Messaging

This is a type of communications service that enables you to create a private chat room with another individual. Typically, the instant messaging system alerts you whenever somebody on your private list is online. You can then initiate a chat session with that particular individual.


This is something that connects two separate entities. For example, a user interface is a part of a program that connects the computer with a human operator.


The Internet is a globally linked system of computers that are logically connected based on the Internet Protocol (IP). The Internet provides different ways to access private and public information worldwide.

IP: Internet Protocol

This is an industry standard, connectionless, best-effort packet switching protocol used as the network layer in the TCP/IP Protocol Suite.


The Internet Network Information Center maintains the database for all DNS entries on the Internet.


This is a private network, inside a company or an organization, that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet. The difference is that an intranet is only for internal use. As the Internet has become more popular, many of the tools used on the Internet are being used in private networks. For example, many companies have Web servers that are available only to employees.

IP Address

This is the 32-bit address defined by the Internet Protocol. Every resource on the Internet has a unique numerical IP address, represented in dotted decimal notation. For example, is an IP address. IP addresses are the closest thing the Internet has to phone numbers. When you "call" that number, using any number of connection methods, you get connected to the computer that "owns" that IP address.

IRC: Internet Relay Chat

IRC is like a world-wide party line. IRC allows multiple users to converse in real-time on different "channels." Channels, which have a "#" sign preceding their name, vary in traffic and content. Channel operators moderate the conversation and have the ability to "kick" people from channels, or even ban them if their actions warrant it. IRC clients are available for nearly every platform.

ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network

ISDN technology combines voice and digital network services in a single medium. ISDN makes it possible for communications carriers to offer their customers digital data services as well as voice connections through a single line. CCITT defines the standards relating to ISDN.

ISO: International Organization for Standardization

Founded in 1946, this is an organization of 89 member countries responsible for setting world standards in many electronics areas. Members of the ISO are the national standards organizations of the member countries.

ISP: Internet Service Provider

An ISP is a company that maintains a network that is linked to the Internet by way of a dedicated communication line, usually a high-speed link like a T3. An ISP offers the use of its dedicated communication lines to companies or individuals who can't afford the high monthly cost for a direct connection. Using a modem, you can dial up to a service provider whose computers will connect you to the Internet, typically for a fee.


JAR File: Java ARchive file

A JAR file is a compressed collection of files that contains the class, image and sound files for a Java applet. Any applet may include several files, each of which has to be downloaded along with the Web page in which it appears. By putting them into a single file and compressing that file, download time is saved.


Developed by Sun Microsystems, Java is a programming language that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without the fear of viruses or other harm to your computer or files. Using small Java programs called Applets, Web pages can include functions like animations and calculators. Java is an object-oriented, multi-threaded programming environment. It is best for creating applets and applications for the Internet, intranets and any other complex, distributed network.


JavaBeans is an object-oriented programming interface from Sun Microsystems. It lets you build reusable applications or components that can be deployed in a network on any major operating system platform. Like Java applets, JavaBeans components, or "Beans" as they are more commonly called, can be used to give World Wide Web pages interactive capabilities, like computing interest rates or varying page content based on user or browser characteristics.

JDK: Java Development Kit

This is a software development package from Sun Microsystems that implements the basic set of tools that is needed to write, test and debug Java applications and applets.

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group

This is one of the two most common types of images used on the World Wide Web, the other being GIF. JPEG is named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group, the original name of the committee that wrote the standard.

K L 

LAN: Local Area Network

LANs are now commonplace in most businesses, allowing users to send e-mail and share resources like files, printers and modems. Currently, most larger companies connect their LANs to the Internet, allowing users to connect to resources within or outside the LAN.

Leased Line

This is a dedicated, full-time connection used to link a user or network to an Internet Service Provider or another network.


1. A library can be a collection of files.
2. In programming, a library is a collection of precompiled routines that programs can use.


A link is a text or an image area on a Web page that a user can click on to connect to or reference another document. Links can connect several kinds of documents. Most commonly, links are thought of as what connects two Web pages or Web sites. Links can also reference a different part of the same document, linking to a file which will download to your computer. What actually occurs when you click on a link is determined by the file's MIME type, which is configured on your system. For example, your browser is configured to display Web page files whenever you click on a file whose MIME extension is HTML. Links are also called hyperlinks, hypertext and hot links.



This is a symbol, name or key that represents a list of commands, actions or keystrokes. Many programs allow you to create macros so that you can enter a single character or word that performs a whole series of actions.

Mail Reflector

This is a program that distributes files or information in response to requests that were sent by way of e-mail. Many Listservs have mail reflectors. You can request documents from a reflector by sending messages with the subject line: SEND document name. Mail reflectors are also being used to provide FTP-like services to users with limited Internet access.

Mailing List

This is a list of e-mail addresses that is used to forward messages to groups of people. When you subscribe to a mailing list, you receive all mail sent to that list.


This is a connectivity standard that enables you to hook together computers, musical instruments and synthesizers in order to make and orchestrate digital sound. The term MIDI is used to describe the standard itself, the hardware that supports the standard and files that store information that the hardware can use. MIDI sound files usually have an extension of .mid. If you come across any of these files on the Internet, you will need a helper application configured in order to play them.

Mirror Site

Due to the popularity of some FTP and Web sites, mirror sites came into existence. They are areas on computers that contain exact replicas of the directory structures of other computers. If you have trouble getting connected to an FTP site because of high traffic, you can often connect to a mirror site that contains the same information. Mirror sites are updated at regular intervals. Mirror sites, which we call affiliates or content partners, are what distinguish Tucows from other download sites. Tucows was one of the first Web sites to use affiliates on a large scale.

MOD: Module Format

A MOD-File is a collection of sample data and a description of how to play the samples.

MPE3: Motion Picture Experts Group Audio Layer3

MPE3 is a type of audio compression tool which compresses a song in size (but not in length) without noticeable sound quality loss. Helps in easy transfer over the Internet. Developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group. See below.

MPEG: Motion Picture Experts Group

MPEG is a type of audio or video file that is commonly found on the Internet. In order to hear or see an MPEG movie, you will need to install a helper application or a Web browser plug-in. MPEG is an algorithm for compressing audio and video; it is not to be confused with Motion-JPEG.


Modem means modulate/de-modulate because that's exactly what it does with a signal. A modem is a piece of hardware, either internal or external, that allows your computer to connect to other computers. You can also send faxes and make data connections and voice connections if your type of modem supports it. You will need software, Dial-up Networking, for example, to make your modem work.


This is the person who manages moderated mailing lists, newsgroups or online discussion forums for services like AOL, CompuServe and MSN.


Mosaic is one of the original graphical browsers for the World Wide Web that supports hypermedia. The National Super Computer Association invented the Mosaic browser, which quickly became the industry standard.

MP3: MPEG-1, Layer 3

MPEG-1, Layer 3 is an amazing standard for audio compression. It is capable of 10:1 compression with little loss in quality. An audio sample at CD Quality (44KHz, 16 bit, Stereo) takes up 172KB for every second with a standard WAV Audio file. MP3 compression takes only 16KB per second when compressed at the standard bitrate of 128Kbps. By compressing at lower bitrates, MP3s can be lowered to 12KB per second with some quality loss.

MUD: Multi-User Domain

MUDs are role-playing games that take place on a computer. Users can Telnet to a MUD host and create a character. MUDs can be action, adventure or fantasy-based games. They allow you to save your character for future play. Some MUDs have thousands of registered characters, and most foster a community or culture of their own. These are highly-addictive areas of the Internet, and users can spend many hours enthralled in this type of activity.


This is the use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation and sound in an integrated way.

MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions Encoding

MIME is a standardized method for organizing divergent file formats. The method organizes file formats according to the file's MIME type. When Internet software retrieves a file from a server, the server provides the MIME type of the file, and the file is decoded correctly when transferred to your machine.



A combination of the words "'Net" and "etiquette," this refers to proper behavior on a network, and more generally, the Internet. The key element in Netiquette is remembering that actual people are on the other end of a computer connection, and offensive comments or actions are just as offensive, even if you can't see the recipient. Other rules of Netiquette include not wasting bandwidth or other users' time. For instance, sending unsolicited e-mail attachments constitutes bad Netiquette.


A network is two or more computers that are connected. The most common types of networks are:

NFS: Network File System

This protocol was developed by Sun Microsystems. NFS allows a computer to access and use files over a network as if they were local. This protocol has been incorporated into the products of more than two hundred companies and is now an Internet standard.

NNTP: Network News Transfer Protocol

This is an industry standard protocol for the distribution, inquiry, retrieval, and posting of news articles. There are many popular newsreader programs designed to help you sort through the wealth of data that Usenet contains.



This is the common term for the standard unit of data sent across a network. When you send or request data, it is broken up into packets are rejoined at the destination.

Collective term for non-viral malicious code, spyware, hacker tools, trojans etc.

PAP: Password Authentication Protocol

PAP is one of the many authentication methods that can be used to connect to an ISP. PAP allows you to log in automatically, without having to use a terminal window to type in your username and password. Here is one warning about PAP: passwords are sent over the connection in text format, which means there is no protection if someone is "listening in" to your connection.

PING: Packet Internet Gopher

This is the simplest way to test or time the response of an Internet connection. PING sends a request to an Internet host and waits for a reply, or PONG. When you PING an address, you get a response telling you the number of seconds it took to make the connection. PING clients exist for a number of platforms, or you can use a UNIX or Windows 95 prompt to issue a PING command directly.

POP: Post Office Protocol

This is a protocol designed to allow individual users to read mail from a server. There are three versions: POP, POP2 and POP3. When e-mail is sent to you, it is stored on the server until it is accessed by you. Once you are authenticated, the POP is used to transmit the stored mail from the server to your local mailbox on your client machine.


Postcardware is a kind of freeware that requires only that the user send the software author a postcard as payment. This shows the software provider that someone is actually using the software and lets the user thank the provider personally. The postage stamp also indicates where in the world the software is being used.


This is the sending of an article to a Usenet newsgroup or the placing of a message on a BBS.


This is the person to contact at a particular site to ask for information about the site or to complain about one of his or her user's behavior.

PPP: Point-to-Point Protocol

This protocol provides a method for transmitting packets over serial point-to-point links. PPP is one of the most popular methods for dial-up connections to the Internet since it allows you to use other standard protocols, such as IPX and TCP/IP, over a standard telephone connection. It can also be used for LAN connections.

Program Features

Each program is categorized and then compared against a list of features common to that program's genre. This list may contain as few as five or as many as 50 features. For example, WinAmp is an MP3 player. Our MP3 player list of features includes (among other things): Plays MP3s, Shuffle, Equalizer, Artist/Title Display, Fast Forward/Rewind, and Ripping. WinAmp then receives points for each feature it has and how well that feature is represented. Since WinAmp is not an ideal program for ripping CDs, it would receive a low score in Ripping. WinAmp does, however, feature such extras as: a customizable display, customizable visualizations, skinning options, plays 18 different audio formats, and converts MP3 files to WAVs. All these scores are compiled and translated into cows. Only programs with scores that meet or exceed three cows are selected for hosting on our site.


Protocol, put simply, is the "language" spoken between computers to help them exchange information. More technically, it's a formal description of message formats and rules that two computers must follow to exchange those messages. Protocols can describe low-level details of machine-to-machine interfaces, like the order in which bits and bytes are sent across a wire, or high-level exchanges between allocation programs.



Real-time is an immediate response by a computer system. Real-time can also refer to events simulated by a computer at the same speed that they would occur in real life.


Routers forward traffic between networks. Forwarding decisions are made based on network layer information and routing tables, often constructed by routing protocols.


Search Engine

This is a program that searches one or more documents for specified keywords and returns a list of locations where those keywords were found. Although search engines are really a general class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Alta Vista and Excite that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web and in USENET newsgroups.


Scripts are also know as calling scripts. Scripts are records of keystrokes and commands that can be played back in order to automate routing tasks, such as logging on to an online service.


This is software that you can download, try and decide whether or not it's right for you. If you like it, you pay a nominal fee for the full-featured program. If you don't want to keep it, shareware programs usually either stop functioning after a period of time or they continue to work but will never have all of the features that the purchased version would have.


A server is simply a computer that provides resources, such as files or other information. Common Internet servers include file servers and name servers like the Domain Name Service.


A servlet is a small program that runs on a server. The term was coined in the context of the Java applet, a small program that is sent as a separate file along with a Web page. Java applets, usually intended for use on a client, perform calculations for users or position images based on user interaction.


This is an ASCII text file that can be automatically attached to the bottom of a piece of e-mail or newsgroup posting that identifies the sender. Many signatures use symbols and characters to create images or words to make the sig more interesting.

SLIP (Serial Line lnternet Protocol)

Similar to PPP, SLIP is another standard protocol used to run TCP/IP over serial lines like telephone circuits or RS-232 cables. Unlike PPP, however, SLIP does not work on LAN connections. SLIP used to be the most popular way for dial-up users to access the Internet. PPP has become more popular.

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

This is a protocol used to transfer e-mail. SMTP transfers mail from server to server, and the end user has to use POP to transfer the messages to their machine.


This is the inappropriate use of a mailing list, Usenet or other networked system. Spamming is sending the same message to a large number of people who didn't ask for it. The term might have come from a famous Monty Python skit that features the word "spam" over and over. The term may also have come from someone's low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. Spam, the processed meat product, is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation.


Streaming means that audio, video and text are made available for viewing on your computer even as they are in the process of downloading to your system from a Web site.



This is a term used to denote the type of connection of a host to the Internet. A T1 transmits a DS-1 formatted digital signal at 1.544Mbps.


This is another term used to denote the type of connection of a host to the Internet. A T3 transmits a DS-3 formatted digital signal at 44.746Mbps.

TCP/IP: Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol

TCP/IP is the standard communications protocol required for Internet computers. To communicate using TCP/IP, PCs need a set of software components called a TCP/IP stack. UNIX systems are built with TCP/IP capabilities.

TCP/IP Stack

To properly use the TCP/IP protocol, PCs require a TCP/IP stack. This consists of TCP/IP software, sockets software and hardware driver software known as packet drivers. Windows 95 and above comes with Microsoft's own built-in TCP/IP stack. Apple Macintoshes and most Linux distributions also come standard with TCP/IP capabilities.


This is the Internet standard protocol for connecting to remote terminals. Telnet clients are available for most platforms. When you Telnet to a UNIX site, for example, you can issue commands at the prompt as if the machine were local.

Thumbnail Image

This is a graphic or image purposely made small in order to display multiple images on the same Web page at the same time. This is a popular practice on the Web because it gives the user the chance to choose the image of which they would like to see a larger version. The practice of using thumbnails is also used to display "samples" of images that are "free." When a user clicks on the image, they either need to enter a password in order to get at it, or they are instructed on how to provide payment for the higher resolution larger version before they can actually see it.


This is a slight variation of Telnet used to connect the user to an IBM mainframe. TN3270 clients exist for most platforms.

Token Ring

This is a type of LAN in which networked computers are wired into a "ring." Each computer, or node, is in constant contact with the next node in the ring. A control message, called a "token," is passed from one node to another, allowing the node with the token to send a message out to the network. If the ring is broken by one computer losing contact, the network can no longer communicate. The IEEE 802.5 token ring standard is the most common.


This is the layout of all of the computers on a network and the links that join them.


URL: Universal Resource Locator

More commonly referred to as the URL, the Universal Resource Locator is the entire series that is recognized universally as the address for an Internet resource. Each resource on the Internet has a unique URL. URLs begin with letters that identify the resource type, such as http, ftp or gopher. These types are followed by a colon and two slashes. Next, the computer's name is listed, followed by the directory and filename of the remote resource. The names are controlled by ICANN [International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers]


To upload means to transmit data from a computer to a bulletin board service, mainframe or network.


Usenet groups are more commonly known as newsgroups. There are thousands of groups hosted on hundreds of servers around the world, dealing with various topics. Newsreader software is required to properly download and view articles, but you can usually post an article to a group by e-mail.


This is a program that performs a very specific task, usually related to managing system resources.


This is a method of converting binary information into ASCII. It can be used for posting to Usenet or e-mailing with non-MIME compliant mail readers.


Visual Basic (VB)

Microsoft Visual Basic development system is the world's most popular rapid application development tool.


Vital Information Resources Under Seize.
This program replicates itself on computer systems by incorporating itself into other programs that are shared among computer systems.


WAIS: Wide Area Information Service

This is a distributed information service and search engine that allows natural language input and indexed searching. Many Web search utilities use a WAIS engine.

WAV: Waveform Audio

This is the format for storing sound in files that was developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM. Support for WAV files was built into Windows 95, making it the de facto standard for sound on PCs. WAV sound files end with a .wav extension and can be played by nearly all Windows applications that support sound.

White Pages

White pages are databases containing e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and postal addresses of Internet users. You can search the Internet White Pages to find information about particular users.


This Internet program is related to Finger and the White Pages. It lets you enter an Internet entity, such as a domain, a network or a host, and display a person's company name, address, phone number and e-mail address.


Wireless fidelity allows you to roam with your laptop and stasy connectedc with other computers wireleswly - but only within a particular range. Working on radio frequency, W-Fi lets you access a network or even surf the Net. 802.11b is the most commonly used standard. Many airports, coffee shops and hotels offer free Wi-Fi Internet service. Most new laptops come Wi-Fi enabled. See also Bluetooth.


Winsock stands for Windows Sockets. Winsocks is a set of specifications or standards for programmers creating TCP/IP applications for use with Windows operating systems.

World Wide Web

The "Web" is a collection of online documents housed on Internet servers around the world. The concept of the Web was created by researchers at CERN in Switzerland. Web documents are written in HTML. To access these documents, you have to use a Web browser like Netscape, Microsoft Explorer or Mosaic. When these browsers access a page, the server uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, to send the document to your computer.


A worm is a computer program that replicates itself and is self-propagating. While viruses are designed to cause problems on a local system and are passed through boot sectors of disks and through files, worms are designed to thrive in network environments. Network worms were first defined by Shoch & Hupp of Xerox in ACM Communications (March 1982). The most infamous worm was the Internet Worm of November 1988. It successfully propagated itself on over 6,000 systems across the Internet.

X Y Z 


A Zip file is a Microsoft Windows-based compressed file. It can contain several files and a directory structure. On the Internet, large graphics and programs are usually compressed into ZIP files and then made available for download. After you download this file, you need to use decompression software program to "Unzip" the file. Several popular tools exist for zipping: PKZIP in the DOS operating system, TurboZip Express, WinZip and NetZIP in Windows, MacZip for Macintosh users, and Zip and UnZip in UNIX systems.

Source: Tucows site

Author's Name: Dr. Dipak R. Sarbadhikari
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Updated: 16 Jan 2012

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