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Word Explanation
ASCII file

American Standard Code for Information Interchange file. A file whose data is in ASCII characters. An ASCII file does not include formatting such as bold, italic, centered text, etc. Each byte in the file is one ASCII character, represented as a number; for example, capital H is ASCII 72. Some ASCII files contain program source code, scripts, or macros written as text. ASCII files are useful in transferring text between files of different formats that can't be imported into each other. An ASCII file can be created with a text editor; some word processing programs, such as XyWrite and Microsoft Word, can also create ASCII files.


(ASYNC) Not synchronized by a common timing signal. In asynchronous communication, each character can be transmitted at any time and is distinguished by a start bit and stop bit; in synchronous communication the start and stop bits are not needed as there is a regular time interval between transmissions. With asynchronous terminals, a transmission can be initiated at either end.


A family of 16-bit and 32-bit microcomputers from Atari Computer, Sunnyvale, California, which became popular for games and for their MIDI interface. Some of the models are the Atari 520ST, 1040ST, Mega ST, STe, STacy, Mega STe, TT, and the Falcon. The Atari 2600, 5500 and 7800 were also popular.


Super Video CD. In many respects, SVCDs are upgraded versions of VCDs. SVCDs use MPEG as its compression standard and can hold between 35 to 60 minutes of full motion video on 74/80 min CDs. SVCDs can be played in DVD players, DVD-ROM and CD-ROM drives.


Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a way for a program running in one kind of operating system (such as Windows 2000) to communicate with a program in the same or another kind of an operating system (such as Linux) by using the World Wide Web's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)and its Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the mechanisms for information exchange. SOAP specifies exactly how to encode an HTTP header and an XML file so that a program in one computer can call a program in another computer and pass it information. It also specifies how the called program can return a response.


A free GNU program designed to work on all UNIX-like operating systems. Its three main components include: The GNOME desktop, The GNOME development platform and The GNOME Office. The GNOME project includes all images, source codes and data files so that users can modify any of the programs as they so choose, and then freely distribute the modified programs.


On the Internet, a skin is a graphic or audio file used to change the appearance of the user interface for a program or for a game character. Skins can usually be downloaded at no charge from sites that provide them. When using a skin, the appearance of the user interface changes, but not the functions available with the program.


Carbon is a set of programming interfaces that let developers build Mac OS X applications that also run on most Mac OS 8 and 9 systems. It's designed to provide a gentle migration path for developers transitioning from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. Carbon makes it possible to take advantage of advanced Mac OS features while preserving developers' investment in learning OS 8 and 9 source code.


Software that sends information about your Internet sessions back to the computer from which it's launched. Spyware is often built into free downloads and works in the background without a user's knowledge. Since it doesn't record an individual's personal information, it's often used to create marketing profiles based on surfing habits.

ER model

(Entity Relationship Model) ER model is a conceptual data model that views the real world as entities and relationships. A basic component of the model is the Entity-Relationship diagram which is used to visually represents data objects.Dr. Peter Chen's original paper on the Entity-Relationship model (ER model) is one of the most cited papers in the computer software field.

key escrow

A policy of the United States government of allowing strong encryption technology to be exported pending the approval of the Commerce Department and under the condition that the company exporting the technology offer a third key to the government. Some United States companies have agreed to participate in the key escrow system. They include Ascend Communications, Cisco Systems Inc., 3Com Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Nortel Networks, Novell Inc., and Sun Microsystems Inc., all members of the Alliance for Network Security.

type gauge

An instrument for measuring type size and leading. Often it is a clear sheet of plastic with letters of different point sizes on it, which can be laid on top of a printed page to compare the letters on the page with standard size letters on the see-through gauge. A type gauge usually includes scales of inches, picas, and points for measuring type leading and distances between other design elements on the page. It may also have examples of lines and bullets in various point sizes.

type scaler

Software that changes a scalable font into a bitmap on the spot when needed in order to display the font onscreen or print the characters. TrueType and Adobe Type Manager are examples.

resident font

A font which is built into a printer’s read-only memory (ROM) chips. PostScript laser printers normally have a collection of resident fonts. Fonts usually included are Avant Garde, Bookman, Courier, Helvetica, New Century Schoolbook, Palatino, Symbol, Times, Zapf Chancery, and Zapf Dingbats. For each resident font, a screen font must be installed on the computer in order to display the font onscreen. Additional fonts, in which both screen font and printer font must be installed on the computer itself, are called downloadable fonts.


Telephony Application Programming Interface. A programming interface that allows PCs to interact with telephone and voice services, developed by Microsoft and Intel.

Tandy Corporation

A Fort Worth, Texas manufacturer of personal computers and electronic components. Tandy started as a leather company, and later bought the Radio Shack chain of stores. The TRS-80, one of the first home computers, was introduced by Tandy in 1977. Later, Tandy manufactured laptop computers and IBM-compatible PCs.

telecommunication control unit

A communications control unit which is operated exclusively by instructions programmed into the computer to which it is connected. It does not have its own internal control programs.

pseudo language

An in-between language which is generated from a source language, but must be further compiled or interpreted before it can be executed. The purpose of the pseudo language is to make it possible to use the same source language on different types of computers.


A device that finds the best path for a data packet to be sent from one network to another. A router stores and forwards electronic messages between networks, first determining all possible paths to the destination address and then picking the most expedient route, based on the traffic load and the number of hops. A router works at the network layer (layer 3 of the OSI model); a bridge works at the data link layer (layer 2). A router does more processing than a bridge does. A router can be hardware or a combination of hardware and software.


An international effort to advance the science of artificial intelligence and robotics by building a team of robot soccer players that can beat a human World Cup champion team. Five-robot teams compete in front of spectators; the robot designers describe the technology they used to get the competitive edge. The largest robots are about 18 inches in diameter.

cable modem

A cable modem is an external device that hooks up to your computer and instead of getting an internet connection through your telephone wire (or another system), you get a connection through your cable network (same place your cable TV connection comes from). Cable modems translate radio frequency (RF) signals to and from the cable plant into Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol spoken by all computers connected to the Internet. Cable modems are designed to take advantage of the broadband cable infrastructure enabling peak connection speeds over 100 times faster than traditional dial-up connections.

Web Hosting

A web hosting company (usually an ISP) leases server space and web services to companies and individuals who wish to present a web or e-commerce presence but do not wish to maintain their own servers. The servers are connected to the same fast internet backbone as the ISP. Cost structures are determined by the amount and complexity of services offered such as Scripting Tools, SQL Databases, Credit Card Processing, etc.

Ultra SCSI-3

A very fast version of SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) which can have an 8-bit or 16-bit bus. The 8-bit version has a 50-pin adapter, transfers data at a rate of 20 megabytes per second, and can connect a maximum of 8 devices. The 16-bit version has a 68-pin adapter, transfers data at 20 to 40 megabytes per second, and can connect up to 16 devices.


Universal Automatic Computer. The world's first electronic general purpose data processing computer, introduced in 1951, and used by the U.S. Census Bureau. UNIVAC 1 was designed and built by the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, which was later acquired by Remington Rand.


(UUCP). A UNIX protocol that makes it possible to copy a file from one UNIX computer to another via a telephone line or direct connection. It is used for Usenet news and electronic mail. Unlike TCP/IP, UUCP requires that a session be established between the two computers in order to transfer files.

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