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There are 277 names in this directory beginning with the letter B.
b

Bit. Short for binary digit. The smallest unit of information a computer can hold. The value of a bit is 1 or 0.

B

Byte. The smallest addressable unit of storage; the amount of memory space used to store one character, which is usually 8 bits. A computer that has 8-bit bytes (most large and small computers today) can distinguish 28 = 256 different characters. See bits, kilobytes and megabytes.

B channel

On an ISDN (ISDN), a connection that provides voice and data at the same time.

B-)

An emoticon for glasses or sunglasses.

B-ISDN

See BISDN.

B:

The second floppy disk drive in a PC.

B2B e-commerce

Business to business electronic commerce. Businesses conducting transactions with one another via the World Wide Web.

B4

Before. Variant: b4

Babbage, Charles

(1791-1871) A British inventor of computing machines, known as the “Father of Computing” for his contributions. Babbage invented a “difference engine,” which was a device for producing mathematical tables. His “analytical engine” introduced ideas that were later used in electronic computers. Babbage was the first to have the idea of a machine which could be run by a program stored in its memory.

Baby AT

A motherboard used in many PCs, smaller than the original Advanced Technology(AT) motherboard.

back door

A means of disabling a system's security which is deliberately left by designers of the system, often to give access to service technicians or maintenance programmers.

back end

A computer that does the main processing but has a smaller, more friendly computer that the user interacts with (called the front end). 2. A program that takes care of details behind the scenes, performing tasks not directly controlled by the user.

Back Orifice

A hostile application which can be used by a cracker to take remote control of a computer. It appeared in the summer of 1998, then was quickly brought under control by anti-virus and security software programs; the application left a clear 120,000-byte signature.

back up

To make copies of important files in case the originals are damaged. Data can be backed up on external hard drives, floppy discs, CD-ROMs, tape, etc.

backbone

In a hierarchical network, the backbone is the top level, employing high-speed data transmission and serving as a major access point; smaller networks connect to the backbone.

background

The color or pattern on a computer screen which is behind the text and graphic elements.

background noise

Interference in the form of extra signals in a line or circuit.

background task

A task that runs on its own while the user interacts with the computer on another (foreground) task; for example, some computers can run a printer in background while the user edits text or reads other files.

backing up

Making copies of important files in case the originals are damaged. Data can be backed up on external hard drives, floppy discs, backlit

Illuminated from behind; this kind of illumination is used in the LCDs on laptop computers.

backout

The elimination of updates made in a transaction that was interrupted by a system failure.

backslash

The character (ASCII 92), not to be confused with the forward slash / (ASCII 47).

backspace

To move the screen cursor to the left, using the “backspace” or “delete” key, depending on keyboard layout. On a typewriter, a backspace simply moves the carriage back one character or space; on a computer, backspacing deletes the character.

backspace key

A keyboard key that moves the screen cursor to the left, sometimes called the delete key. On a typewriter, a backspace simply moves the carriage back one character or space; on a computer, the backspace key deletes the character.

backup copy

An extra copy of a file kept for safety.

backward-compatible

A backward-compatible version of software is able to coexist with older versions that may have been installed on the machine previously, and able to read files of the older version. Also called downward-compatible.

Bad command or file name

An MS-DOS error message that means it is unable to execute the command as given, or cannot find the desired file or program.

bad disk

A floppy disk that can no longer store information reliably, perhaps because of physical damage.

bad sector

Sectors are pie-sliced divisions of a disk. A bad sector means part of the disk is physically damaged and that data cannot be read from or written to that sector. Sometimes data that is lost because of bad sectors can be restored with utility programs designed for the purpose; if this fails, sometimes special hardware can be used to recover it.

ball printer

A printer that has a metal print head shaped like a ball, with raised characters around its surface. To print, the printer rotates the ball into position to strike each character against a ribbon.

balloon help

A Macintosh help feature that displays a cartoon balloon next to objects on the screen when the user points to them with the cursor. A message in the balloon explains what each feature does and how to use it. The balloons can be turned on and off as needed.

BALUN

BALanced UNbalanced (device).

band

A defined range of frequencies used for transmitting a signal. See also bandwidth.

bandwidth

1. The amount of data that can be sent through a network connection, measured in bits per second (bps). 2. The range of transmission frequencies a network can use, expressed as the difference between the highest and lowest frequencies of a transmission channel (in Hertz, or cycles per second).
High bandwidth allows fast transmission or high-volume transmission.

bang

Exclamation point: ! (ASCII 33).

bang on

To stress-test hardware or software.

bang path

Old-style UUCP email addresses used an exclamation point to indicate each station through which the mail passed on its way to the addressee. They were named “bang paths” because “bang” means exclamation point.

Bank Internet Payment System

(BIPS). A protocol for securely sending payment instructions to banks over the Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard. The Bank Internet Payment System is a project of The Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC).

bar chart

A graph that uses bars to represent the information provided.

bar code

A pattern of bars of various widths and with varying spaces between them, printed on paper or similar material for recognition by a scanner that uses a laser beam or a light source and photocell. Bar codes are used by the U.S. Post Office to encode mail, in stores to price items with the UPC (Universal Product Code), and for many other purposes.

bar printer

A kind of impact printer in which the character slugs are moved on a type bar.

bare bones

Having only the most essential elements; no frills. Computer ads often use this word to describe basic hardware systems.

base 10

Decimal; the numbering system in common use, in which each place to the left or right of the decimal represents a power of 10. The base 10 numbering system uses the numerals 0 to 9. The number one-hundred twenty, for example, is written 120 (1 in the hundreds place, 2 in the tens place, and 0 in the ones place). Computer languages use binary, or base 2, and hexadecimal (base 16), rather than decimal numbers.

base 16

The hexadecimal numbering system, sometimes used as a short way of representing binary numbers. The digits 0-9 are used, plus the letters A-F which stand for numbers 10 through 15. The farthest-right digit is the ones place; the digit next to the left is the 16s place; the next place to the left is 16^2 = 256, etc. Each place is 16 times the place immediately to the right of it. For example, the decimal number 18 would be represented as 12 (1 in the 16s place, 2 in the ones place) in base 16. Hexadecimal (base 16) numbers are often written with the letter h after them; for example, 13h.

base 2

The binary numbering system, which has 2 as its base and uses 0s and 1s for its notation. Binary code is used by computers because it works well with digital electronics and Boolean algebra. The number one in base 2 is written as 1. The number two is written as 10 (1 in the twos position and 0 in the ones position). The numbers three to ten in base 2 are written: 11, 100, 101, 110, 111, 1000, 1001, 1010.

base 8

Also called the octal numbering system. Base 8 numbers use only the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; the second column to the left is the 8s place. For example, 36 in base 8 is 6 ones and 3 eights, or 30 decimal. Base 8 notation can be used as a shortcut for representing six-bit binary (base 2) characters by converting each three bits into one base 8 digit, this way: 011 010 binary = 32 octal = 26 decimal (base 10).

base address

Part of a memory address that is used as a reference point for other addresses, called relative addresses. Base addresses are referred to as segment addresses in IBM PCs and PC compatibles. See also ablsolute address.

baseband

A network technology that uses a single-carrier frequency and is used for short-distance transmission. The complete bandwidth of the channel is used. If more than one message at a time is transmitted, the messages must be interleaved, a technique called time division multiplexing. Contrast broadband.

baseline

Where the bottoms of characters in a line of type (excluding descenders) line up. Typesetters measure leading from baseline to baseline.

baseline to baseline

(B/B or b/b) From the bottom of a line of type to the bottom of the next line of type (excluding descenders), used as a measurement of leading.

Basic

Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. A simple programming language designed in 1963 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at Dartmouth College. Basic was designed as an easy programming language to learn. Beginners can quickly learn to write simple programs. Originally for mainframes, it is now extensively used on personal computers.

Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1).

ROM chip inside IBM PCs and PC-compatibles, which handles all input-output functions. See also BIOS.

Basic language

Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code language. A simple programming language designed in 1963 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at Dartmouth College. Designed as an easy programming language to learn, beginners can quickly learn to write simple programs. Originally for mainframes, it is now extensively used on personal computers.

Basic Network Utilities

(BNU). An IBM set of utilities that make it possible for a user to communicate with AIX and UNIX systems via telephone connections or dedicated lines.

Basic Rate Interface

(BRI). Basic ISDN service at 128 kbps.

Basic Stamp

A tiny computer that can be programmed in Basic, used by robotics hobbyists for a robot brain. It contains a PIC microcontroller.

Basic Telecommunications Access Method

(BTAM). IBM communications software used in some mainframe computers.

BASM

Built-in ASseMbler.

bastion host

On an internal network, the only host which is visible to the Internet through the firewall.

batch

A group of items. In computing, a batch system is one that executes a series of commands which are all given before the program starts to run, instead of an interactive system which requires the user to give commands during the operation.

batch file

A file containing a series of commands for the operating system which are executed automatically in sequence. In DOS, batch files end with .BAT. In UNIX, they are called shell scripts.

batch processing

Processing a group of documents or files all at once. In batch processing, the user gives the computer a job, for example, printing letters to everyone on a mailing list, and waits for the whole job to be done. During the batch job, the user does not interact with the computer. In interactive processing, the user communicates with the computer while the program is running, perhaps giving instructions for each item.

batch session

A session in which an entire file is transmitted or updated without interruption, as opposed to an interactive session which requires input from the operator. See batch system

A system that executes a series of commands which are all given before the program starts to run, instead of an interactive system which requires the user to give commands during the operation.

BatteryMark

A benchmark from Ziff-Davis that measures battery life on notebook computers running Windows 95. It must be run with special hardware, the ZDigit II.

baud

A unit of measure of transmission speed. Named after J.M.E. Baudot (1845-1903), French engineer. Originally baud was used for telegraph transmissions, and meant one Morse code dot per second. Baud is a measure of the number of signal-state changes per second; for example, voltage or frequency changes. It is sometimes, but not always, the same as the number of bits per second.

baudy language

The combination of letter abbreviations (such as IMHO) and emoticons ( :-) ) used in e-mail, chat rooms, and other forms of online communication.

bay

A shelf within a computer case for a hard drive, CD-ROM drive, tape drive, floppy drive, etc. The more bays in a case, the more drives can be added.

bayonet mechanism

The mechansim found in the BNC connector. BNC stands for Bayonet Neill Concelman. Bayonet denotes the coupling mechanism, while Neill and Concelman were the inventors of the N and C connectors. Thus, the bayonet mechanism is a method by which the N and C connectors come together in the BNC connector.

BBC Educational Text to Speech Internet

BETSIE. A software package designed to help blind and visually impaired people surf the Net, from British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC Education Online.

BBN

Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc. A Cambridge, Massachusetts, company which was awarded the original contract to build ARPANET and subsequently has been involved in many aspects of Internet development. 2. In chat, Bye Bye Now

BBS

Bulletin Board System. A computerized version of the bulletin boards found in stores and other public places, where people can leave messages and advertise things they want to buy or sell. BBSs are often run by local computer user groups, and offer downloads of shareware and freeware plus online information and services. There are special interest bulletin boards, including those run by computer companies to provide information on their products. Many BBSs now have web pages.
2. In chat, Be Back Soon

BCC:

Blind carbon copy. Sending a copy of a letter to another person in addition to the addressee, without showing on the original letter that a copy was sent to someone else.

BCD

Binary Coded Decimal. A binary-coded notation in which each of the decimal digits is expressed as a binary numeral; for example, in binary-coded decimal notation 12 is 0001 0010, as opposed to 1100 in pure binary.

BCPL

Basic Computer Programming Language.

Be Inc

Be Inc. is a software developer of the BeOS and the BeIA Operating Systems (OS). The BeOS is an OS designed for a personal computer desktop platform, whereas the BeIA (IA stands for Information Applicance) is an OS specifically designed for Internet appliances. Be Inc. was formed in 1990 by Jean-Louis Gassée.

BeBox

This is a machine Be Inc. revealed on October 3, 1995. Jean-Louis Gassée, the CEO of Be Inc. and former employee of Apple Computers, unveiled it in the hopes of attracting users to its low-cost design and high-tech capabilities.

Because It's Time Network

(BITNET). An academic computer network originally connecting IBM mainframes and VAX systems via leased lines, providing electronic mail, file transfer, electronic mailing lists, and other services. BITNET merged with CSNET, The Computer+Science Network, and became part of CREN, The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking.

beep

A sound emitted by the computer to indicate that something requires the user's attention.

BeIA

This is an operating system (OS) developed by Be Inc. It is designed to run on Internet Applicances and Entertainment Applicances, and touts extremely stable multimedia capabilities, compatibility with most popular Web plug-ins, and the flexibility to conform to the needs of its users (whether they are savvy web surfers, beginners, or Information Technology (IT) professionals).

bell character

The control code (ASCII character 7) which causes an alert bell or tone to sound on the computer.

Bell Laboratories

AT&T's research and development center in Murray Hill, NJ.

Bell Operating Company

(BOC). Also called RBOC for Regional Bell Operating Company. There is a BOC for each of seven regions of the United States.

Bellcore

Bell Communications Research, Inc. A research laboratory for the seven regional Bell Telephone companies in Livingstone, NJ.

bells and whistles

Fancy features added to software or hardware; usually indicates features that are more flashy than practical.

Bench32

A comprehensive benchmark that measures overall system performance under Windows NT or Windows 95.

benchmark

A standard test which is run on a computer, a peripheral device, or a program to give a measure of its performance. Benchmarks are criticized because they can be misleading. The best test of a computer's performance is to test a computer with the exact configuration and doing the same tasks the user intends to do. Many computer magazines put new machines through a series of benchmark tests and compare them.

benign virus

A virus that does not destroy programs or data, but displays a message, perhaps a humorous one, on the computer screen at certain times; intended as a harmless prank.

BeOS

The operating system of the BeBox personal computer, designed by Be Inc. It has a graphical user interface, and supports multitasking and real-time operation. It can be downloaded for free for personal use from Be Inc's homepage, and installed under Windows 95 or 98. Once installed, the OS can be run by simply double-clicking on its Windows icon. Thereafter, the OS exits windows and reboots the system from a large file in the FAT file system. See also BeIA.

BER

1. Basic Encoding Rules. The rules for encoding data described in Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1). 2. Bit Error Rate. The estimated average number of bits sent in error.

Berkeley Internet Name Domain

(BIND). A DNS server implementation developed by the University of California at Berkeley.

Berners-Lee, Tim

Inventor of the World Wide Web. Born in England, he graduated from Queen's College at Oxford University, England, in 1976. While there he built his first computer. In 1984, he took up a fellowship at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, as a software engineer. Looking for a way to improve communications among the High Energy Physics community, Berners-Lee wrote a proposal in 1990 for a hypertext project. The result of this project was HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the common language of the Web. He wrote the first World Wide Web server, HTTPd, and the first client, WorldWideWeb, a hypertext browser and editor which ran in the NeXTStep environment. This program became available on the Internet in 1991. Berners-Lee had written the software in less than two months, and gave it away free. Less than five years later, more than 6 million people were using it. In 1994, Berners-Lee began working at the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He also directs the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards group whose goals are to realize the full potential of the Web and ensure its stability.

Bernoulli drive

A removable hard disk drive made by Iomega Corporation.

Bit Error Rate.

Bertrand Russell

(1872-1970) The English philosopher, author, and mathematician who discovered Russell's paradox: “If the barber of Seville shaves all men in Seville who don't shave themselves, and only those men, who shaves the barber?”

beta

1. A new or revised software version released for beta testing. Typically the beta version will have most if not all of the features the finished product is scheduled to include. 2. The Sony VCR format, later replaced by VHS as the standard for home and industry.

beta testing

The second stage in testing new software: making it available to selected users, who try out the software under normal operating conditions, in the kind of environment in which it will be used. See also beta.

betaware

Software that is given to many users for beta testing before its official release. See also beta and beta testing.

BETSIE

(BBC Educational Text to Speech Internet Enhancer). A software package designed to help blind and visually impaired people surf the Net, from British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC Education Online.

Bezier

This is used in computer graphics. It describes a curve which is produced from a mathematical formula that ensures that the cure will not be interrupted by other Bezier curves.

Bezier curve

Also called Bezier spline. A curve made of a line that is set up to connect two points, but has two other points that influence the shape of the line by “pulling” it toward them into a curve. In computer drawing programs, curves are made by moving onscreen “handles” to adjust the curve’s shape, thus creating a Bezier curve. Bezier curves are named after Pierre Bezier, who discovered the mathematical formula.

Bezier spline

Also called Bezier curve. A curve made of a line that is set up to connect two points, but has two other points that influence the shape of the line by “pulling” it toward them into a curve. In computer drawing programs, curves are made by moving onscreen “handles” to adjust the curve's shape, thus creating a Bezier spline. Bezier splines are named after Pierre Bezier, who discovered the mathematical formula.

BFF

Binary File Format (IBM).

BGP

Border Gateway Protocol. An Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) for routing within autonomous systems, defined in RFC 1267 and RFC 1268.

BHTML

Broadcast Hypertext Markup Language. A markup language based on XML, designed for synchronization of digital television, data, and Internet technologies.

bi-endian

Able to work in either big-endian or little-endian mode, or switch back and forth. An example is the PowerPC processor. See big-endian, little-endian.

BibTeX

LaTeX bibliography software.

bidirectional

Going in two directions.

bidirectional printer

A printer that prints a line from left to right, then the next line from right to left, etc.

Big Blue

The nickname for IBM, based on the color of its logo.

big-endian

A binary data format in which the most significant bit comes first.

bignum

A way of representing very large integers in some computer languages, so that calculations can be made with them.

billion

10^9 (U.S. and Canada); 10^12 (Europe).

binary

A system of numbers having 2 as its base and using 0s and 1s for its notation. Binary code is used by computers because it works well with digital electronics and Boolean algebra.

binary file

A file that contains codes that are not ASCII characters. A binary file could be a file with executable machine language code. Binary files must be encoded in order to transmit them over a network, and decoded on the receiving end. BinHex and uuencode are two programs which can be used to encode binary files.

Binary Large Object

(BLOB). A database field that can hold images, audio, video, long text blocks, or any digitized information.

binary number

A number represented in binary form; for example, the number 101 in binary notation is the same as 5 in decimal notation.

binary-coded decimal

(BCD). A binary-coded notation in which each of the decimal digits is expressed as a binary numeral; for example, in binary-coded decimal notation 12 is 0001 0010, as opposed to 1100 in pure binary.


BinHex

A format in which Macintosh binary files are temporarily encoded as ASCII files for transmission over the Internet. The Internet was originally designed for transferring text messages (7-bit files) from one computer to another. Binary files are 8 bits wide. An 8-bit file transmitted over the Internet can lose one-eighth of its data. BinHex encoding puts the 8-bit wide file into a 7-bit text format. Also, Macintosh files have a resource fork and a data fork; the resource fork is normally lost when a file is converted to a 7-bit format. BinHex preserves the resource fork, as well as the data fork, in Macintosh files. The BinHex format is not a compression format; it makes the file larger, and a file encoded in BinHex format will take longer to transmit. BinHex also converts the file back into its original format after transmission. The filename extension for BinHex files is .hqx. See also Macintosh file, MacBinary.

Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language

(BSML). A proposed public domain protocol for Graphic Genomic Displays, based on SGML and XML. The purpose of BSML is to communicate genetic information more easily. BSML is funded by the National Center for Human Genome Research.

biometric security

A way of authenticating the identity of an individual by using fingerprints, palm prints, retinal scans, or other biological signatures.

bionet

Top-level newsgroup category for a biology newsgroup.

BIOS

Basic Input/Output System. A set of instructions stored on a ROM chip inside IBM PCs and PC-compatibles, which handles all input-output functions.

BIPS

1. Billion Instructions Per Second. 2. Bank Internet Payment System. A protocol for securely sending payment instructions to banks over the Internet and for processing the payment instructions. BIPS instructions conform to the Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard. The Bank Internet Payment System is a project of The Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC).

birds of a feather

(BOF). An informal discussion group on a particular topic, heard especially in connection with USENIX.

bis

Second (in French); “bis” indicates the second release of a standard. For example, in modem data transmission, V.22bis, V.32bis, etc.

BISDN

Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network. A high-speed telecommunications service which can transmit multimedia over the phone line. It uses fiber-optic cable and synchronous transfer mode, and is faster than narrowband ISDN. BISDN can be used for voice, data, fax, e-mail, full motion video, and video conferencing.

bit

1. (b). Short for binary digit. The smallest unit of information a computer can hold. The value of a bit is 1 or 0. 2. Top-level newsgroup category for a BITNET mailing list newsgroup.

bit depth

In bitmap graphics, the number of bits per pixel; the idea of bit depth can also be applied in storing other kinds of information. The number of bits per pixel determines the number of shades of gray or variations of color that can be displayed by a computer monitor. For example, a monitor with a bit depth of 1 can display only black and white; a monitor with a bit depth of 16 can display 65,536 different colors; a monitor with a bit depth of 24 can display 16,777,216 colors. See 4-bit color, 8-bit color, 15-bit color, 16-bit color, 24-bit color, 32-bit color.

Bit Error Rate

(BER). In fiber optics, the ratio of the number of bits received incorrectly to the number of bits transmitted.

bit level device

A device whose input and output are in the form of data bits. Contrast pulse level device.

bit manipulation

Low-level programming that works with individual bits.

bit rate

The speed at which bits are transmitted, in bits per second. Also called data rate.

bit-oriented protocol

A communications protocol in which the control codes are individual bits rather than bytes.

bitmap

An image or other collection of data represented as an array of bits. In bitmap graphics, an image is displayed on the screen as a collection of tiny squares called pixels, which together form a pattern. Each pixel in the image corresponds with one or more bits; the number of bits per pixel determines how many shades of gray or colors can be displayed. “Bitmap” is used to refer to both the image itself and the file that holds the data for the image. See bitmapped font, bitmap display, bitmap graphics, bit depth.

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.

bitmap graphics or bit-map graphics

A way of displaying images on a computer screen in which each picture is represented as an array of little squares called pixels. Each pixel is stored in a specific location in memory, and corresponds to one or more bits. The number of bits per pixel determines the number of colors or shades of gray that can be displayed. Bitmap graphics can be created and edited in paint programs or photo editing programs, and can be stored in a number of file formats. Depending on file format, bitmap graphics can sometimes be imported into word processing, page layout, or spreadsheet programs, or incorporated in World Wide Web pages. Same as raster graphics; contrast vector graphics.

bitmapped font

A font in which each character is formed from pixels arranged to make the shape of the character. Such an arrangement of pixels is called a bitmap.

bitmapped graphics

A way of displaying images on a computer screen in which each picture is represented as an array of little squares called pixels. Each pixel is stored in a specific location in memory, and corresponds to one or more bits. The number of bits per pixel determines the number of colors or shades of gray that can be displayed. Bitmapped graphics can be created and edited in paint programs or photo editing programs, and can be stored in a number of file formats. Depending on file format, bitmapped graphics can sometimes be imported into word processing, page layout, or spreadsheet programs, or incorporated in World Wide Web pages. Same as raster graphics; contrast vector graphics.

BITNET

Because It's Time Network. An academic computer network originally connecting IBM mainframes and VAX systems via leased lines, providing electronic mail, file transfer, electronic mailing lists, and other services. BITNET merged with CSNET, The Computer+Science Network, and became part of CREN, The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking.

bits per inch

(bpi). A measurement of the recording density of a tape or disk.

bits per second

(bps). The rate of data transfer over a communication line. The data rate of a modem is measured in kilobits per second.

bitwise

Working on the level of bits rather than bytes or larger units.

bitwise operators

Programming statements that work on the level of bits.

BIX

Byte Information Exchange. An online computing database from Byte magazine, providing technical support for computer users and information on hardware and
8265″>software products.

biz

Top-level newsgroup category for a business newsgroup.

black widow

A harmful computer program which is downloaded from the WWW as a Java applet.

blank character

ASCII character 32: space bar. The character for the space bar takes up one byte in the computer the same as any other character.

BLAST

BLocked ASynchronous Transmission protocol (CRG).

bleed

Printing in which the ink extends to the very edge of the paper, usually done by printing on a wider sheet of paper, and cutting it down to the correct size.

blind carbon copy

(BCC:). Sending a copy of a letter to another person in addition to the addressee, without showing on the original letter that a copy was sent to someone else.

bloatware

Software that uses excessive memory in proportion to the task it performs, perhaps because of having too many unnecessary features.

BLOB

Binary Large Object. A database field that can hold images, audio, video, long text blocks, or any digitized information.

blue laser

A laser that uses a blue-light emitting diode, based on gallium nitride. Using a blue laser, optical and magneto-optical disks can be produced with a much greater recording density than disks made with infrared lasers.

blue screen of death

An error that sometimes appears on computers running Windows 95 or Windows NT; the screen turns blue, and the computer usually freezes.


Bluetooth

An evolving short-range networking protocol for connecting different types of devices; for example, connecting a mobile phone with a desktop or notebook computer, accessing the Internet via the phone's mobile data system, and even linking the user's voice to the computer. Bluetooth devices can communicate by wireless signals within a 35-foot range, and do not need a line-of-sight connection. Products based on Bluetooth technology will include mobile computers, mobile phones, handheld devices, and peripherals such as headsets and network access points. Other potential uses of Bluetooth are LAN access devices enabling users to switch on a notebook and get on the office network without connecting to an Ethernet cable, devices for telephone and ISDN connections in the home, and embedded technology for use in GSM handsets.

BMP

File extension used for raster graphics stored in bit map format.

BNC

British Naval Connector. A plug and socket connector used most often with coaxial Ethernet cable. The connector is first inserted into the socket, then turned to lock tight by means of a bayonet mechanism . BNC connectors are used in many applications, some of which are flexible networks, instrumentation and computer peripheral interconnections.

BNC T-connector

(British Naval Connector T-connector.) A metal connector shaped like the letter T, which is used with coaxial cables on a 10Base2 network. The ends that form the top of the T connect with network cables, and the other end plugs into the external end of a network card on the back of the computer.

BNS

Backbone Network Service. See backbone.

BNU

Basic Network Utilities. An IBM set of utilities that make it possible for a user to communicate with AIX and UNIX systems via telephone connections or dedicated lines.

board

A slice of insulating material with electronic circuits on one or both sides. See circuit board, expansion board, sound board, motherboard.

BoB

Breakout Box. A testing device for multiple line cables that makes a connection to each line to see if a signal is present.

BOC

Bell Operating Company. Also called RBOC for Regional Bell Operating Company. There is a BOC for each of seven regions of the United States.

BOF

1. Beginning Of File. 2. Birds Of a Feather. An informal discussion group on a particular topic, heard especially in connection with USENIX.

boilerplate

Material that is copied and used over and over; for example, a letterhead or copyright notice. Text (or logos, etc.) set up once, then saved and reused in many documents.

bold italic

Bold italic type has the italic script design but the extra weight of boldface letters and is used for emphasis in typography.

boldface

Boldface, or bold, type characters are thicker and darker than normal text. Most standard type fonts can be made bold in programs that handle type styling, such as word processors, page layout programs, and graphic design programs; boldface can also be indicated in hypertext markup.

boldface font

A font which has specially styled characters that are darker and heavier than normal type, instead of a regular text font that has been made bold.

Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc.

(BBN). A Cambridge, Massachusetts, company which was awarded the original contract to build ARPANET and subsequently has been involved in many aspects of Internet development.

bomb

1. To crash; usually referring to software or system failure. On the Macintosh and Atari ST, a system failure is graphically illustrated with a little bomb icon. 2. Code that is hidden in a program or system, either maliciously or as a prank, which will cause something to happen later on. See logic bomb, time bomb.

Bonnie

An open systems benchmark program that can be run under various versions of UNIX, Solaris, and Linux.

bookmark

A feature of Gopher and most Web browsers. Important links can be saved in a bookmark file so they can be found immediately without having to look up the URL and type it in.

bookmarks

1. Paper or ribbon markers put in a book to mark the page. 2. A feature of Gopher and most Web browsers. Important links can be saved in the bookmarks file so they can be found immediately without having to look up the URL and type it in.

Boole, George

(1815-1864) The mathematician who represented logical reasoning with mathematical formulas; inventor of Boolean algebra. Modern digital computing is based on Boole's work.

Boolean

Having two possible values (such as 0 or 1, on or off, true or false). Referring to a system of algebra and logic developed by English mathematician George Boole.

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.

Boolean data

Data that can have the value of 1 or 0; these values are also represented as yes or no, on or off, true or false.

Boolean logic

Logic derived from Boolean algebra. Boolean logic is the basis of modern digital computing, in which the opening and closing of electronic switches represent the truth values 1 (true) and 0 (false) and the functions AND, OR, and NOT.

Boolean operators

AND, OR and NOT. See also Boolean algebra.

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.

boot

1. To load a computer’s operating system. 2. The process of loading a computer’s operating system.

boot disk

A disk that is used to start a computer.

boot drive

The drive that contains the operating system and is used to boot the computer.

boot up

To load a computer’s operating system.

boot virus

A virus that infects a computer when the computer is booted from an infected disk. A boot virus may make it impossible to start the computer.

boot-up

The process of loading the operating system on a computer; also called boot.

bootable CD

A CD that can be used to boot (start up) the computer.

bootable disk

A disk that contains a loadable operating system and can be used to boot (start up) the computer.

bootleg software

Illegally copied software.

BOOTP

BOOTstrap Protocol. A TCP/IP protocol used to enable a diskless workstation to find its own logical IP address at startup.

bootpc

The bootp client for Linux. It allows a Linux machine to retrieve its networking information from a server, over the network. First bootpc sends out a general broadcast asking for the information; then the server sends the information back.

bootstrap

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.”

BOOTstrap Protocol


Bootstrap Protocol

(BOOTP). A TCP/IP protocol used to enable a diskless workstation to find its own logical IP address at startup.

bootup

See boot-up.

BOPS

Billion Operations Per Second.

Border Gateway Protocol

(BGP). An Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) for routing within autonomous systems, defined in RFC 1267 and RFC 1268.

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.

bot

Short for robot. A computer program that performs a function such as forwarding e-mail, responding to newsgroup messages, or searching for information.

BOT

Beginning Of Tape.

bounce message

A message indicating an electronic mail message was not delivered, either because it was misaddressed or a connection failed.

bounced e-mail

An electronic mail message returned with a notice indicating the transmission failed, either because the message was misaddressed or a connection failed.

Bourne shell

(sh). An early command interpreter and script language for UNIX, by S.R. Bourne of Bell Laboratories.

BOV

Beginning Of Volume.

bpi

Bits Per Inch. A measurement of the recording density of a tape or disk.

Bpi

Bytes per inch.

bpp

Bits per pixel. See bit depth.

BPR

Business Process Re-engineering. To make radical changes in an organization from the ground up in an aim to improve performance and make more efficient use of resources. The concept of BPR generally includes the use of computers and information technology to organize data, project trends, etc.

bps

Bits per second. The rate of data transfer over a communication line. The data rate of a modem is measured in kilobits per second.

Bps

Bytes per second.



braces

1. ASCII characters 123 and 125: { and } . 2. Symbols that are used by computer programmers to mark the beginning and end of a contained area.

brackets

ASCII characters 91 and 93: [ and ] ; left bracket and right bracket.

brain-controlled computer

A computer that can be interfaced with the human brain. One example is a computer system that has been developed to enable totally immobile and speechless people to communicate. A device is implanted into the subject which reads neural impulses from the brain and translates the impulses to the movement of a pointer on the screen. For example, thinking of the left foot causes the mouse to move to the bottom left of the screen.

break key

A key on some keyboards that interrupts whatever process is running. The BREAK key can also be used to restart when the computer freezes or bombs.

Breakout Box

(BoB). A testing device for multiple line cables that makes a connection to each line to see if a signal is present.

BREW

Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless: Qualcomm’s open source application development platform for wireless devices equipped for CDMA technology. BREW makes it possible to create applications that will work on any CDMA handsets.

BRI

Basic Rate Interface. Basic ISDN service at 128 kbps.

brick and mortar

Refers to an organization that has a physical site, rather than a virtual organization.

bridge

A device that governs the flow of traffic between networks or network segments and forwards packets between them. The bridge *ows a message across if it is addressed to the other side; messages within the network are kept within the network, thus making the flow of traffic more efficient.

brightness

The amount of light coming out of the display screen, adjustable with a button or knob on the front of the computer, or by a control panel.

British Naval Connector

(BNC). A plug and socket connector used most often with coaxial Ethernet cable. The connector is first inserted into the socket, then turned to lock tight by means of a bayonet mechansim . See also BNC .

broadband

A transmission medium that can carry signals from multiple independent network carriers on a single coaxial or fiber optic cable, by establishing different bandwidth channels. This technique is called frequency-division multiplexing. Broadband technology can support a wide range of frequencies and is used to transmit data, voice, and video over long distances. Contrast with baseband.

broadband integrated services digital ne

(B-ISDN). A high-speed telecommunications service which can transmit multimedia over the phone line. It uses fiber optic cable and synchronous transfer mode, and is faster than narrowband ISDN. B-ISDN can be used for voice, data, fax, e-mail, full motion video, and video conferencing.

broadcast

A transmission sent to many unspecified receivers at a time by means of a computer network, radio waves, or satellite. Broadcasting differs from multicasting and narrowcasting, in which a transmission is sent to a group of selected receivers. A broadcast is sent to everyone who has the equipment to receive it. On an Ethernet, a broadcast packet is one which is transmitted to all hosts on the network.

broadcast address

A central address which will forward any messages sent to it to all user addresses on a network.

Broadcast Hypertext Markup Language

(BHTML). A markup language based on XML, designed for synchronization of digital television, data, and Internet technologies.

broadcast packet

A packet which is transmitted to all hosts on an Ethernet.

broadcast storm

A chain reaction that can be caused when an incorrect packet broadcast on a network forces many hosts to respond all at once, shutting down the network. This can happen for various reasons, from hardware malfunction to configuration errors and bandwidth saturation. Broadcast storms can be minimized by properly designing the network.

broadcasting

Sending a transmission to many unspecified receivers at a time by means of a computer network, radio waves, or satellite. Broadcasting differs from multicasting and narrowcasting, in which a transmission is sent to a group of selected receivers.

brochureware

A product that is advertised, but not yet available.

Brooks' Law

The more people you add to a late software project, the later it gets. Dr. Fred Brooks was project manager for IBM's OS/360 operating system in the 1960s, which turned out to be the largest, most complex, and riskiest software project ever undertaken by IBM. The lessons Brooks learned from the project were published in 1975 and later updated in The Mythical Man-Month: 20th Anniversary Edition (Addison-Wesley, 1995).

brouter

1. A combination bridge and router. 2. A device which performs bridging or routing functions, depending on which one is needed for the transmission.

brownout

A temporary drop in electric power without the power going completely off. A brownout may make the computer screen flicker, and can cause loss of data that has been entered but not saved yet.

browse

To view, or to look over casually searching for something of interest.

browser

A client program that allows users to read hypertext documents on the World Wide Web, and navigate between them. Examples are Netscape Navigator, Lynx, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Browsers can be text-based or graphic.

browser caching

To make web surfing faster, web browsers store recently visited pages on the user's disk. When the site is revisited, the browser displays pages from the cache instead of requesting them from the server. Reloading will bring up the current page from the server.

BrowserComp

A benchmark that tests browsers for their ability to use forms, audio and video, frames, Java, and other up-to-date World Wide Web technology.

BSA

Business Software Alliance. An alliance of software publishers created to fight software piracy in countries around the world, by educating the public and getting laws passed.

BSD

Berkeley Software Distribution (or Berkeley Standard Distribution or Berkeley System Distribution). Refers to UNIX software and networking products developed at the University of California at Berkeley.

BSD/OS

A commercial version of BSD UNIX, from BSDI (Berkeley Software Design, Inc.). It is an operating system for the 386, 486, and Pentium.

BSDI

Berkeley Software Design, Inc. The company responsible for BSD/OS, a commercial operating system based on BSD UNIX (technology from the University of California at Berkeley).

BSML

Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language. A proposed public domain protocol for Graphic Genomic Displays, based on SGML and XML. The purpose of BSML is to communicate genetic information more easily. BSML is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

BSYNC

Binary SYNchronous Communications (Protocol).

BTAM

Basic Telecommunications Access Method. IBM communications software used in some mainframe computers.

BTOA


bubble jet

The ink jet printer technology used by Canon.

buffer

A reserved area of memory for temporarily holding data. A buffer can hold data being sent from a high-speed device to a low-speed device until the slower device can accept the input; for example, to hold data sent to a printer until the printer is ready for it.

buffer overflow

A condition that happens when a buffer tries to store more data than it can hold. The buffer should stop accepting data when it is full.

bug

An error in a computer program or in the computer's hardware that causes repeated malfunctions.

bullet

A large dot • used as a design element in text; often used to set off each item in a list. This kind of list is called a bulleted list. Example: • Item 1 • Item 2 • Item 3

bulletin board system

(BBS). A computerized version of the bulletin boards found in stores and other public places, where people can leave messages and advertise things they want to buy or sell. BBSs are often run by local computer user groups, and offer downloads of shareware and freeware plus online information and services. There are special interest bulletin boards, including those run by computer companies to provide information on their products. Many BBSs now have Web pages.

BulletProof

An FTP program that is designed to protect data transmissions when the connection is broken. After a broken connection, BulletProof FTP automatically reconnects and resumes the transmission from where it stopped.

bundled software

Software that comes free with the purchase of new hardware, usually a variety of basic programs and sometimes an encyclopedia, sample computer games, or other multimedia software.

Bundy Manufacturing

A Poughkeepsie, New York time-clock company that merged with other companies in 1911 to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, which in 1924 was renamed the International Business Machines Company (IBM).

burn

To write data onto a write-once medium such as a recordable CD-ROM.

burn-in period

A factory test of a new electronic system, designed to catch any obvious problems before the computer gets to the customer. The system is run for a length of time to check for weak components, which often fail within the first few hours the computer is run.

Burroughs

A company responsible for many milestones in computing. In 1886 the American Arithmometer Company was founded to manufacture and sell first commercially viable adding and listing machine, invented by William Seward Burroughs. It was renamed the Burroughs Adding Machine Company in 1905. In 1911 it introduced the first adding and subtracting machine. In 1923 Burroughs came out with a direct multiplication billing machine. In 1925 the first portable adding machine, weighing 20 pounds, made machine computation more popular. A million machines had been shipped by 1928. Burroughs pioneered the first 10-key adding machine in 1953, and magnetic ink character recognition in 1959. In 1961 the Burroughs B5000 Series was the first dual-processor and virtual memory computer. The A Series, forerunner of the ClearPath HMP NX system, appeared in 1981. In 1986 Burroughs merged with Sperry to form Unisys Corporation.

bus

A set of conductors which connect the functional units in a computer. It is called a bus because it travels to all destinations. There are local busses that connect elements within the CPU and busses which connect the computer to external memory and peripherals. The bus width determines the speed of data transmission. Most personal computers use 32-bit busses both internally and externally. Internal busses are configured in parallel; there are also serial busses between computers in networks.

bus bridge

A device that connects two busses together.

bus mouse

A mouse that is plugged into an expansion board rather than a serial port.

business machine

A machine that facilitates filing, word processing, accounting, or other office work. Typewriters, adding machines, cash registers, and computers are all business machines. IBM means International Business Machines.

business process re-engineering

(BPR ). To make radical changes in an organization from the ground up in an aim to improve performance and make more efficient use of resources. The concept of BPR generally includes the use of computers and information technology to organize data, project trends, etc.

business process reengineering


Business Software Alliance

(BSA). An alliance of software publishers created to fight software piracy in countries around the world, by educating the public and getting laws passed.

busses

Conductors which connect the functional units in a computer. See bus.

button

A little clickable box on the computer screen that is a shortcut for a command. A button may have an icon that indicates what it does; for example, a picture of a fax machine which can be clicked on to activate fax software.

button bar

A horizontal strip of buttons across the top of a window which can be clicked instead of entering the equivalent keyboard commands. Some applications allow the user to custom program some of the buttons, and choose whether to hide or display the button bar.

Byron, Ada

Augusta Ada Byron (1815- 1852), daughter of Lord Byron. She was a mathematician and worked with Charles Babbage. The programming language Ada is named after her.

byte

The amount of memory space used to store one character, which is usually 8 bits. A computer that has 8-bit bytes (most large and small computers today) can distinguish 28 = 256 different characters. See bits, kilobytes and megabytes.

Byte

A computing magazine. See also byte

Byte Information Exchange

(BIX). An online computing database from Byte magazine, providing technical support for computer users and information on hardware and software products.

byte-oriented protocol

A communications protocol in which the control codes are full bytes rather than single bits.

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