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Word Explanation

Data Terminal Equipment

Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company

A company formed in 1911 from a merger of the Tabulating Machine Company, International Time Recording Company, Computing Scale Company, and Bundy Manufacturing. In 1924 the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company was renamed the International Business Machines Company (IBM).

Control Data

Computer manufacturer of supercomputers; its computers were especially used for government, military, and scientific applications.

  1. An operating system and family of computers from Control Data Corporation including workstations, mainframes, and supercomputers. (Control Data Corporation is now called Control Data Systems). 2. Century Date Change. Another expression for the Y2K date change.
Clipper chip

A microchip originally designed to encrypt telephone messages, later proposed for encoding of data transmissions also. The U.S. National Security Agency wanted to establish the Clipper chip as a national standard, with the federal government holding a master code so it could unscramble transmissions when investigating criminal activity. After much debate, and protests from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the idea of a single encryption standard was abandoned, but the government placed restrictions on the export of encryption software.


The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking. A corporation formed by the merging of BITNET (Because It’s Time Network) and CSNET (Computer+Science Network).


Computer+Science Network. A large computer network, including universities, research labs, and some commercial enterprises. It originated in the United States, and has some members in other countries. CSNET merged with BITNET to form CREN (The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking).

Borland International, Inc.

A Scotts Valley, California software company which is known for Turbo Pascal, Turbo C, Turbo Prolog, and Borland C++. Borland acquired the dBASE database software from Ashton-Tate in 1991. The Borland Database Engine enables remote database access across multiple platforms for Windows machines.

Boolean query

A query using one or more of the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT. For example, a search for all species of snakes which live in North America OR South America, do NOT live in Africa, AND are poisonous. See Boolean algebra.


To load and start the operating system on a computer. It comes from the expression "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps," and is often abbreviated as "boot."

Boolean algebra

A system of mathematics developed by George Boole in the 1850s. Boolean algebra uses the operators AND, OR, and NOT; operations are carried out on variables which can have one of two values: 1 (true) and 0 (false). Combinations of AND, OR, and NOT are used to construct the additional functions of XOR, NAND, and NOR. Boolean algebra is very important in computers.

mail bomb

Massive amounts of electronic mail sent to a single person, with malicious intent to overload the recipient's system. Mail bombing can cause problems not only for the targeted recipient, but also for other users of the networks involved.

megapixel image

In graphic design, an image containing a very large number of pixels, a million or more. Megapixel images have a lot of detail and make very large files.

magnetic bubble memory

A kind of storage used in some lightweight portable computers. A magnetic bubble is a tiny movable magnetized cylindrical volume in a thin magnetic material that in combination with other similar volumes can be used to represent a bit of information.

intelligent hub

A central connecting device in a network that provides intelligent functions as well as forwarding signals. An intelligent hub can provide bridging, routing and switching, and even more complex functions such as network management and LAN emulation. See also active hub, passive hub.

ISDN adapter

A device that connects a computer to an ISDN channel. It is used instead of a modem, and is either an external unit or a plug-in adapter card. Some ISDN adapters have the ability to automatically switch between analog and digital modes.

magic wand

A tool in some photo editing programs that allows the user to select an area of the image to copy, move, color, rotate, enlarge, or transform in other ways. Clicking on a pixel activates the whole area of the same color that is continuous with that pixel.

bitmap display

A computer display in which each pixel onscreen is mapped to one or more bits in memory. Images are generated on the screen as the bit pattern to be displayed is written into video memory. Most current personal computers have bitmap displays, which allow the fast updating of images necessary for graphical user interfaces.


Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. A character recognition system used on bank checks; special ink and characters are used, which can be magnetised for automatic reading.


(Advanced Technology). An IBM PC introduced in 1984. It was the most advanced PC at that time, with an Intel 80286 processor, 16-bit bus, and 1.2MB floppy drive.

gigascale integration

(GSI). ULSI (ultra large scale integration) packs millions of components onto a computer chip. Gigascale integration is a long-term goal of making chips with billions of components on them.

Internet Inter-ORB Protocol

(IIOP). A protocol based on Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), which defines how distributed objects communicate and allows client software on many platforms to access and use the same object on a server. See ORB (Object Request Broker).

Gigabit Ethernet

A standard for a high-speed Ethernet, approved by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802.3z standards committee in 1996. It supports the extension of existing Ethernet and Fast Ethernet standards, providing increased network bandwidth and interoperability among Ethernets at operating speeds from 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. Gigabit Ethernet can be used in backbone environments to interconnect multiple lower speed (10 and 100 Mbps) Ethernets. Its tenfold increase in bandwidth will benefit high performance file servers. It uses the CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) protocol of the original Ethernet standard.

DNS - domain name system

When you send email or point a browser to an Internet domain such as, the domain name system translates the names into Internet addresses (a series of numbers looking something like this: The term refers to two things: the conventions for naming hosts and the way the names are handled across the Internet.

pseudo compiler

A compiler that generates an intermediate language, called a pseudo language, which must then be compiled or interpreted before execution. The purpose of the pseudo compiler is to make it possible to use the same source language on different types of computers.

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