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There are 317 names in this directory beginning with the letter F.
f

(femto-). One quadrillionth or 10-15.

F

(farad). A measurement of electrical charge, named after Michael Farady. One farad is the storage capacity of a capacitor having a charge of 1 coulomb on each plate and a potential difference of 1 volt between the plates.

F keys

Function keys. A set of special keys on a computer keyboard that are numbered F1, F2, etc. that perform special functions depending on the application program in use.

face change character

A control character that changes the shape and/or size of a selected area of type.

face time

Time that is spent face-to-face with someone, rather than communicating through a computer.

facsimile

(FAX). A document sent over telephone lines, originally by means of a special facsimile machine which scans a document and transmits electrical signals to print a copy of the document on the other end. Now computers can send faxes with fax software and a modem, so a fax can be sent from computer to fax machine, from fax machine to computer, or from computer to computer without requiring a printout.

factor

A quantity by which another quantity is multiplied or divided.

failure

The malfunction of a system or component; the inability of a system or component to perform its intended function. A failure may be caused by a fault.

failure-directed testing

Software testing using knowledge of the types of errors made by the system in the past that are likely to reoccur.

fall back

A modem protocol feature which allows two modems which are experiencing transmission errors to renegotiate their connection at a lower speed.

fall forward

A modem protocol feature which allows two modems which used the fall back option because of data corruption to return to a higher speed connection if the transmission improves.

fan

A cooling device that circulates air in a computer; fans are necessary to keep the computer from overheating.

fanfold paper

Continuous paper with holes on the edges, folded like a fan with each page folded the opposite direction of the page before. Fanfold paper is used in tractor-feed dot matrix printers; after printing, the pages are separated along the perforations and the edge strips are torn off.

FAP

File Access Protocol.

FAQ

Abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions. Newsgroups, mailing lists and Internet sites often have a list of the most frequently asked questions about their subject, with answers. Newbies who have questions will find it useful to check the FAQ first. There are readily available FAQs about general use of the Internet and online services.

farad

(F). A measurement of electrical charge, named after Michael Faraday. One farad is the storage capacity of a capacitor having a charge of 1 coulomb on each plate and a potential difference of 1 volt between the plates.

FARNET

Federation of American Research Networks.A nonprofit corporation, established in 1987, dedicated to advancing the use of computer networks for research and education.

FAST

Federation Against Software Theft. A nonprofit organization in the UK, formed in 1984 by the software industry, whose aim is eliminating software piracy and educating the public about the effects of software theft.

fast packet multiplexing

A combination of fast packet technology and time-division multiplexing. Fast packet multiplexing speeds transmission by making it possible to start sending a packet before the whole packet has been received.

fast packet switching

A technology used to transmit data, voice, and images over wide area networks at high speed, by sending short packets of data. Asynchronous transfer mode is one form of fast packet switching.

fast page mode

A kind of DRAM memory. Fast page mode improved upon the original page mode memory by eliminating the column address setup time during the page cycle. For a while, fast page mode was the most widely used access method for DRAMs; it is still used on many systems. One benefit of FPM over page mode memory is reduced power consumption. See also page mode memory.

fast page mode memory

A kind of DRAM memory. Fast page mode improved upon the original page mode memory by eliminating the column address setup time during the page cycle. For a while, fast page mode was the most widely used access method for DRAMs; it is still used on many systems. One benefit of FPM over page mode memory is reduced power consumption. See also page mode memory.

fast page mode RAM

A kind of DRAM memory. Fast page mode improved upon the original page mode memory by eliminating the column address setup time during the page cycle. For a while, fast page mode was the most widely used access method for DRAMs; it is still used on many systems. One benefit of FPM over page mode memory is reduced power consumption. See also page mode memory.

Fast Wide SCSI-2

A version of SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) that has a 16-bit bus, a 68-pin adapter, and a maximum cable length of 9.8 feet. It can transfer data at 10-20 megabytes per second, and can be used attach a maximum of 16 devices.

FAT

File Allocation Table. A special file located in sector 0 on a disk, which contains information about the sizes of files stored on the disk and which clusters contain which files.

fat application

The version of an application that takes up the most memory. Often this is because it has specifications for many different models of computer. Selecting the version specifically for the computer it will be used on saves space.

fat binary

A program file that contains machine code for more than one type of CPU. The correct code is selected automatically according to what type of computer it is installed on. The fat binary file takes more space than a file which is specific to one type of computer, but it can be useful for switching between platforms, or for a user who is unsure which version to get.

fat client

In a client/server environment, a client that does most or all of the processing leaving little or none that must be done by the server.

fat server

In a client/server environment, a server that does most or all of the processing leaving little or none that must be done by the client.

FAT32

File Allocation Table 32. An improvement on the file allocation table (FAT) in Windows 95, the release of Windows 95 known as OSR2, and Windows 98. FAT32 raises the number of bits used to address clusters and makes each cluster smaller. FAT32 supports hard disks of up to 2 terabytes (2,048GB), which is a thousand times greater than Windows 95's previous 2GB limit. FAT32 also greatly increases the number of clusters on a logical drive, providing greater storage efficiency. Versions of Windows 95 before FAT32 have too much slack space caused by allocating a large amount of disk space to even the smallest files.

FatBits

A MacPaint tool that makes it possible to edit a graphic image one pixel at a time.

fault

An accidental condition, or a manifestation of a programming mistake, that may cause a system or component not to perform as required.

fault tolerance

The ability of a system to keep working in the event of hardware or software faults. Fault tolerance is usually achieved by duplicating key components of the system.

Favorites

A feature in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser that enables the user to record URLs that will be frequently used by adding them to a special menu. The equivalent in Netscape Navigator is Bookmarks. Once an URL is on the list, it is easy to return to that web page simply by clicking on the link in the list, rather than retyping the entire URL.

FAX

Facsimile. A document sent over telephone lines, originally by means of a special facsimile machine which scans a document and transmits electrical signals to print a copy of the document on the other end. Now computers can send faxes with fax software and a modem, so a fax can be sent from computer to fax machine, from fax machine to computer, or from computer to computer without requiring a printout.

fax log

A feature that can be programmed to keep copies of incoming and outgoing faxes.

FAX-out

A service that allows users of a bulletin board (BBS) who do not have fax machines to send faxes by posting them on the BBS.

fax/modem

A combination fax and data modem which is either an external unit that plugs into the serial port or an expansion board that is installed internally.A faxmodem makes it possible to fax a document straight from the computer, but cannot scan documents which are not in the computer. Most modems now are faxmodems.

FC

Font Change. A control character that changes the shape and/or size of a selected area of type.

FC/AL

Fiber Channel/Arbitrated Loop.

FCC

Federal Communications Commission. A U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and foreign communications. The FCC sets rates for communications services; determines standards for equipment; and controls broadcast licensing.

FD

1. Floppy Disk. A removable, portable magnetic disk on which data and programs can be stored. Also called diskettes, floppies are flexible plastic. The older 5-1/4 inch disks are more flexible; the 3-1/2 inch disks have a hard protective case around them and are the primary size used now. 2. Full Duplex. A communications channel which transmits data in both directions at once.

FD/HD

Floppy Disk/Hard Disk.

FDD

Floppy Disk Drive. The disk drive where a floppy disk is stored.

FDDI

Fiber Distributed Data Interface. An ANSI standard for 100 Mbit/s data transmission through fiber optic cable, in a token ring setup. Many local area networks can be linked together with a backbone that uses FDDI.

FDM

Frequency Division Multiplexing. Using several frequencies on the same channel to transmit several different streams of data, from different sources, simultaneously. A technique used for cable TV.

FDx

Full Duplex. A communications channel which transmits data in both directions at once.

feature

A property or behavior of software or hardware.

feature key

The Macintosh key with the cloverleaf (or propeller), also called the command key; equivalent to the alt key on some keyboards.

FEC

Forward Error Correction. A method of catching errors in a transmission by sending extra bits which are used on the receiving end to check the accuracy of the transmission and correct any errors.

FED

Field Emitter Display.

Federal Communications Commission

(FCC). A U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and foreign communications. The FCC sets rates for communications services; determines standards for equipment; and controls broadcast licensing.

Federal Internet Exchange

(FIX). Or Federal Internet Exchange. One of the connection points between the North American governmental internets and the Internet.

Federal Intrusion Detection Network

(FIDNET). An extensive computer monitoring system, developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to protect U.S. government and private data networks from being attacked by terrorists or hostile foreign governments.

Federal Networking Council

(FNC). A group made up of representatives from DoD, NSF, NASA, etc., which coordinates networking in U.S. Federal agencies.

Federal Research Internet Coordinating C

(FRICC). The body responsible for coordinating networking among United States federal agencies, which was later replaced by the Federal Networking Council (FNC).

Federation Against Software Theft

(FAST). A nonprofit organization in the UK, formed in 1984 by the software industry, whose aim is eliminating software piracy and educating the public about the effects of software theft.

Federation of American Research Networks

(FARNET).A nonprofit corporation, established in 1987, dedicated to advancing the use of computer networks for research and education.

feedback

Return of part of a system's output to its input, so that a control device can use information about the current state of the system to determine the next control action. For example, for a thermostat to control the temperature in a room, it must continually have feedback about the current temperature in the room. Feedback is used intentionally with vacuum tube amplifiers, oscillators, etc.; an example of unintentional feedback is the high-pitched sound that results when a microphone is too close to a speaker. Feedback is also used to mean human response to a human or computer; as in interactive programs, in which the user's feedback determines what the program does.

feedback form

A form for user input. Many World Wide Web pages have electronic feedback forms.

FEFO

First Ended, First Out. A message ordering in which, among messages of the same priority level, the messages which are finished first will be transmitted first.

female connector

A socket into which a male connector is plugged.

femto-

(f). One quadrillionth or 10-15, as in femtosecond, femtojoule, femtometer.

femtosecond

One quadrillionth of a second.

FET

Field Effect Transistor. A semiconductor device used in CMOS circuits.

fetch

A computer cycle in which it locates the next instruction to execute.

Fetch

A Macintosh FTP program by Jim Matthews of Dartmouth College, in which a little dog (screen icon) runs to fetch the file for downloading.

FF

Form Feed. ASCII character 12: control-L. Feeding a form through a printer to the top of the next page. Printers that use forms often have a form feed button (FF) to push. The computer operator can signal a form feed to the printer with the control-L.

FFD

Flicker Free Display. A computer screen that has a fast enough refresh rate that no flicker can be detected; this kind of display is easier on the eyes.

FFS

Fast File System.

FFT

Fast Fourier Transform.

FHSS

This is the acronym for the word frequency-hopping spectrum. This is one of two types of spectrum radio. It is characterized by a carrier signal that hops randomly but the sequence in understood from frequency to frequency.

fiber optics

(FO). The transmission of data in the form of pulses of light. Fiber optics uses cables containing glass or silica fibers no thicker than a human hair. There is very little signal loss, and information can be transmitted at high speed over long distances. Fiber optic cables do not have problems with external noise like wire cables do, and are better for transmissions requiring security.

fiber-distributed data interface

(FDDI). ANSI standard for 100 Mbit/s data transmission through fiber optic cable, in a token ring setup. Many local area networks can be linked together with a backbone that uses FDDI.

fiber-optic cable

A cable that carries laser light, encoded with digital signals, rather than electrical energy. Made of thin fibers of glass, fiber-optic cables can transmit large amounts of data per second. Fiber-optic cables cannot be tapped by remote sensing equipment because they do not emit electromagnetic radiation.

fiber-optic connector

One of several types of devices used to join pairs of optical fibers together. Some of the types are ST connectors, SMA connectors, MIC connectors, and SC connectors.

Fibonacci series

Named after Leonardo Fibonacci, Italian mathematician; an infinite series of integers beginning 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, . . . in which each succeeding term is the sum of the two immediately preceding. Many formations in nature exhibit the Fibonacci series, such as pine cones and pineapples. The Fibonacci series is used in binary searches.

FIDNET

Federal Intrusion Detection Network. An extensive computer monitoring system, developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to protect U.S. government and private data networks from being attacked by terrorists or hostile foreign governments.

FidoNet

A worldwide network of personal computer hobbyists which offers e-mail, discussion groups, and downloads.

Fidonews

The weekly online newsletter of FidoNet.

field

One of the items in a database record: for example, Name, City, Zip Code, etc. A field may have a specific number of characters or may vary. A group of fields make up a record.

field effect transistor

(FET). A transistor in which the current between a source terminal and a drain terminal is controlled by a variable electric field. FETs can be used to make circuits with very low power consumption.

field name

The name for a field in a database record; for example, Name, Telephone Number, Amount Due, etc.

field separator

A character, such as a comma or tab, used to separate the fields in a database record.

field squeeze

An option in a mail merge operation that deletes blank spaces in text when certain fields have no data in them.

fielded database

A database composed of data in fields, rather than a fulltext database, which is a collection of text files and documents.

FIFO

First In First Out. A method of storage in which the data stored for the longest time will be retrieved first.

fifth generation computer

The next generation of computers, beginning in the late 1990s, which will expand the use of artificial intelligence.

Fifth Generation Project

A project the Japanese government began in 1981 in the attempt to develop a new, more advanced generation of computers that could work with data in more intelligent ways and understand human languages. The project ended in 1992.

file

1. A block of information in the form of bytes, stored together on a computer or external digital storage medium, and given a name. A file may be a program, a document, a database, or some other collection of bytes. 2. To store in a file.

file allocation table

(FAT). A special file located in sector 0 on a disk, which contains information about the sizes of files stored on the disk and which clusters contain which files.

File Attach

A function that allows a file to be attached to a BBS mail message.

file compression

Compression of data in a file, in order to reduce the amount of space needed for storage or to speed up transmission of the file.

file conversion

Changing a file from one format to another. Many programs can convert files of another format that are opened within them; for example, a TeachText file can be converted into Word format simply byopening it in Word. There are conversion programs whose main purpose is to change a file from one format to another.

file extension

A notation after the end of a file's name which indicates the type of file it is. The extension follows a period; for example, LETTER.BAK (the extension “BAK” indicates this is a DOS backup file). DOS and Windows extensions must be three letters or less; Macintosh extensions can have more letters, or can be deleted.

file format

The way a file stores information.

file name

A name assigned to a file, which may be numbers, letters, or both. Some file names require extensions which give information about what kind of files they are. (Example: in the file name AUTOEXEC.BAT, .BAT is the extension.)

file not found

A DOS error message which means the computer cannot locate the file. Check the spelling of the filename or look in another directory.

file recovery program

A program that restores files that have been damaged or unintentionally deleted. Norton Utilities has a file recovery program.

file server

A computer that stores files for access by other computers.

File System Tree

The overall structure for naming, storing and organizing files in an operating system.

file transfer

Transferring a copy of a file from one computer to another.

file transfer program

A program that enables the user to copy a file from one computer to another.

file transfer protocol

(FTP). A client/server protocol for exchanging files with a host computer. Examples are Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem and Kermit.

file transfer, access, and management

(FTAM). The OSI remote file protocol and service. More at FTP.

file update

The addition, alteration, or deletion of data from a file.

FileMaker

A Macintosh or Windows NT database program from FileMaker, Inc.(www.filemaker.com), Santa Clara, Calif. The FileMaker program was originally created by Claris. FileMaker Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple.

filename extension

A notation after the end of a file's name which indicates the type of file it is. The extension follows a period; for example, LETTER.BAK (the extension “BAK” indicates this is a DOS backup file). DOS and Windows extensions must be three letters or less; Macintosh extensions can have more letters, or can be deleted.

files

1. Blocks of information in the form of bytes, stored together on a computer or external digital storage medium, and named. A file may be a program, a document, a database, or some other collection of bytes. 2. Stores in a file.

fileserver

A computer that stores files for access by other computers.

fill pattern

In a graphics program, a solid color, screen, or other pattern used to fill a box or selected area.

fill-out form

A hypertext interface which is like a paper fill-out form, and may have fields to type into, radio buttons, and pull-down menus. Two browsers that support fill-out forms are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

FILO

First In Last Out. A method of storage in which the data stored first will be retrieved last.

Financial Services Markup Language

(FSML). A language developed by the Financial Services Technology Consortium to control the identification and processing of electronic checks.

Financial Services Technology Consortium

(FSTC). A nonprofit organization whose membership includes banks, government agencies, universities, and high-tech businesses; FSTC is interested in developing e-commerce and making it practical. The FSTC's Electronic Check Project team created the Signed Document Markup Language (SDML) and the Bank Internet Payment System (BIPS).

find file

A utility that can be used to find files by name.

Finder

The part of the Macintosh system software that controls the desktop, including the icons, clipboard, and scrapbook. The Finder is the top level of the file hierarchy and enables the user to find and copy files. The Finder software must be in the System Folder to work.

finding aids

Tools such as indexes or guides, which can be used to find things.

Finger

A UNIX command that enables a user to find another user's login name and e-mail address, and sometimes other information; it is necessary to know the name of the computer where the other person has an account.

Finger of Death

(FOD). A wizard command in a MUD which eliminates a player, normally used only in the case of players whose behavior is impossible.

FIPS

Federal Information Processing Standard.

Fire Wire


firewall

An electronic boundary that prevents unauthorized users from accessing certain files on a network; or, a computer used to maintain such a boundary.

firewall architecture

The design of a firewall. Firewalls have evolved into three standard architectures: the dual-host gateway, the screened-host firewall system, and the demilitarized zone firewall.

firewall code

The software part of a firewall; the code that prevents unauthorized users from accessing certain files on a network.

firewall machine

The hardware part of a firewall; a dedicated computer that interfaces with computers outside a network and has special security precautions built into it in order to protect sensitive files on computers within the network.

firewalls

A firewall is a hardware and/or software boundary that prevents unauthorized users from accessing restricted files on a network. The part of the network that is not behind the firewall is available to whoever logs on. There are three standard firewall architectures: the dual-host gateway, the screened-host firewall system, and the demilitarized zone firewall.

FireWire

The former name for High Performance Serial Bus. A serial bus developed by Apple Computer and Texas Instruments (IEEE 1394). The High Performance Serial Bus can connect up to 63 devices in a tree-like daisy chain configuration, and transmit data at up to 400 megabits per second. It supports plug and play and peer-to-peer communication between peripheral devices.

firmware

Software stored in ROM or PROM; essential programs that remain even when the system is turned off. Firmware is easier to change than hardware but more permanent than software stored on disk.

First Ended, First Out.

(FEFO). A message ordering in which, among messages of the same priority level, the messages which are finished first will be transmitted first.

first generation computer

One of the original computers built in the late 1940s and early 1950s, using vacuum tube technology. One of these computers filled an entire room and had many operating stations. Examples include ENIAC, the Mark 1, and the IAS computer.

first generation language

Machine language, expressed as numbers.

First In First Out

(FIFO). A method of storage in which the data stored for the longest time will be retrieved first.

First In Last Out

(FILO). A method of storage in which the data stored first will be retrieved last.

FIX

Federal Internet Exchange. One of the connection points between the North American governmental internets and the Internet.

fixed disk

A hard disk that is not removable during normal use.

fixed point

A way of storing and calculating numbers that have a fixed decimal point; for example, integers, or calculations of money amounts in which the decimal point always has two digits after it. See floating point.

fixed point number

A number in which the decimal point has a fixed position.

fixed wireless

Wireless devices or systems in a fixed location. Fixed wireless devices do not need to use satellite feeds or local phone services as mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs use.

fixed-length field

A database field that has a fixed size; for example, a field for a telephone number that allows entry of only ten digits. A variable length field can be expanded.

fixed-pitch type

Pitch is the number of characters per inch in a given typeface. In fixed-pitch type, every character has the same width; in proportional-pitch type, some characters are wider than others.

flame

An angry message on a newsgroup or mailing list, often a personal attack instead of a remark relevant to the subject under discussion. Also, to post such a message.

flame bait

A newsgroup posting that is designed to provoke a flame war.

flame off

Words sometimes used to indicate the end of a flame.

flame on

Words sometimes introducing the beginning of a flame.

flame war

A heated argument in a newsgroup or other public electronic forum, often resulting in personal insults and other angry remarks that are off the subject.

flamer

A person who habitually flames.

flaming

Sending angry or inflammatory messages, either by e-mail or newsgroup posting. Flaming is considered bad netiquette.

Flash

(Shockwave Flash). A file format for delivering interactive vector graphics and animations over the World Wide Web.

flash memory

A small printed circuit board that holds large amounts of data in memory. Flash memory is used in PDAs and laptops because it is small and holds its data when the computer is turned off.

FlashBack

A Mac program from Aladdin that allows the user to add unlimited undos to applications. FlashBack works with virtually any program, to instantly recover files that have been damaged, erased or overwritten.

flat file database

A database used to manage a simple collection of information; for example, an address book. A flat file database is similar to a relational database, but it only has one table.

flatbed scanner

A scanner which has a flat piece of glass the document is put on to be scanned. One of the problems with a hand-held scanner is keeping the scanner steady; this problem is eliminated with a flatbed scanner because the document is stationary and a mechanically-operated scanning head moves beneath the glass. A flatbed scanner also works better than a sheet-fed scanner when the documents have cut and paste layout that might fall off.

flavor

Type, kind.

floating point

(FP). A decimal point that can be in any location. Memory locations set aside for floating point numbers can store .234, 1.23, 3.2, etc.

floating point accelerator

(FPA) Special hardware for performing mathematical calculations with floating-point numbers; the FPA may function as a coprocessor to the central processing unit. A floating-point accelerator is a larger piece of hardware than a floating-point unit, which may be on a single chip; however, both perform the same function.

floating point coprocessor

A coprocessor that assists the central processing unit by handling calculations involving floating point numbers.

floating point number

A number that can have its decimal point in any position. A memory location usable for a floating point number could store .234, 1.23, etc. Floating point numbers can be written in scientific notation; for example, 2.32E5, or 2.32 x 10^5, which is 232,000. A special floating point unit (FPU) is sometimes used to make calculations with these numbers.

floating point operations per second

(FLOPS). A unit of measurement of a computer's speed in handling floating point calculations.

floating point unit

(FPU). A coprocessor which handles operations with floating point numbers.

flood

In Internet Relay Chat, to dump a large amount of text onto a channel, thus interrupting the discussion; this is considered rude.

floppy disk

(FD). A removable, portable magnetic disk on which data and programs can be stored. Also called diskettes, floppies are flexible plastic. The older 5-1/4 inch disks are more flexible; the 3-1/2 inch disks have a hard protective case around them and are the primary size used now.

floppy disk drive

The disk drive where a floppy disk is inserted.

floppy drive

The disk drive where a floppy disk is inserted.

FLOPS

Floating Point Operations Per Second. A unit of measurement of the performance of a computer.

floptical disk

A kind of magnetic disk that uses optical technology to align the head along the tracks, by means of grooves in the disk. These disks have a much higher density than regular floppy disks, and therefore can store more data.

flow control

The control of transmission between communications devices, to make sure the sender does not send data until the receiver is ready to receive it. Flow control may be achieved by means of hardware or software. If a low-speed device is receiving a high-speed transmission, a buffer is used to store data until the receiver can accept it.

flu

Computer slang for a bad computer virus.

flush left

Alignment of text on the left margin.

flush right

Alignment of text on the right margin.

flux transition

A change of magnetic polarity.

flying mouse

A mouse that can be lifted off the desk and used as a three-dimensional pointer.

FM

Frequency Modulation. Encoding a carrier wave by modulating its frequency in accordance with an input signal.

FM synthesis

Frequency Modulation Synthesis. Synthesizing musical sounds by using one waveform to modulate the frequency of another waveform. FM synthesis is an older technique used on inexpensive sound cards, and has a tinny sound. It is being replaced by wavetable synthesis, which more closely simulates the sounds of acoustic musical instruments.

FMV

Full-Motion Video. Video that runs at the same rate at which it was filmed. Moving video images and sound available on a computer; usually stored on CD-ROM because of the large size of the files.

FNA

Free Network Address.

FNC

Federal Networking Council. A group made up of representatives from DoD, NSF, NASA, etc., which coordinates networking in U.S. Federal agencies.

FNT

Abbreviation for font.

FO

Fiber Optics. The transmission of data in the form of pulses of light. Fiber optics uses cables containing glass or silica fibers no thicker than a human hair. There is very little signal loss, and information can be transmitted at high speed over long distances. Fiber optic cables do not have problems with external noise like wire cables do, and are better for transmissions requiring security.

focus

1. A point of convergence (for example, of rays, particles, or geometrical lines); in a camera or telescope, a point of convergence of light rays that results in an image, after reflection by a mirror or refraction by a lens or optical system. 2. A point of concentration. 2. The part of a dialog box that receives input from the keyboard or mouse. 3. A window where the user can input data by means of the keyboard or mouse, also called the focus window. 4. To bring to a focus.

FOCUS

Federation on Computing in the United States. The U.S. branch of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).

Focus

A database management system from Information Builders, Inc., for PCs, minicomputers, and mainframes.

focus window

In some computer systems (such as the AIX environment), a window where the user can input data by means of the keyboard or mouse.

FOD

Finger of Death. A wizard command in a MUD which eliminates a player, normally used only in the case of players whose behavior is impossible.

folder

On Macintosh and Windows 95 screens, files can be organized by placing them into folders that look like office file folders. These folders correspond to directories in DOS.

wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/, editor Denis Howe.

followup posting

A Usenet posting which is a response to a previous posting.

font

A complete set of type characters in a particular style and size.

font cartridge

A small attachment plugged into a printer that contains ROM chips for additional fonts.

font change character

(FC). A control character that changes the shape and/or size of a selected area of type.

font editor

A program for designing fonts, or modifying existing fonts.

font family

A set of fonts of the same typeface but in different sizes and with different variations such as text, bold, italic, bold italic, demibold, etc.

font foundry

1. A place where metal is cast by melting and pouring it into molds. 2. A company where fonts are made. Originally fonts were cast in metal; now fonts are distributed as data stored in computer files.

font generator

Software that changes a scalable font into a bitmapped font, which is then stored in memory for later use. The font generator does not simply enlarge the letters, but must adjust their shapes as they get bigger.

font metrics

Font metrics for a typeface are measurements that describe the width, height, thickness, etc. for each character in a font, plus interglyph spacing, spacing of underlines, and kerning pairs.

font 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.

font scaling

The ability of a printer to print a font in any required size if it has instructions for the outlines of the letters.

font size

The size of the characters on the computer screen or on a printed page, usually measured in points. There are 72 points to an inch. Half-inch letters are therefore 36 points; quarter-inch letters are 18 points. Regular type in newspapers, reports, and letters is usually from 10 to 12 points; subheads are usually somewhere around 14 to 18 points; titles may be around 24 to 36 points; headlines can be 48 to 72 points or larger.

FontAgent

A Mac utility designed to repair and optimize fonts, from Insider Software.

foo

A word used on the Internet to substitute for an indefinite person, object, quantity, etc., similar to the way “X” or “John Doe” would be used. For example, “Send e-mail to [email protected]

foo file

A temporary file. See also foo.

footer

Text that appears at the bottom of every page in a document. Footers can be set up with a template in word processing and page layout programs; the software allows the user to set up where the page numbers will be, then automatically gives a different page number for each page.

footnote

Text at the bottom of a page, which is usually preceded by a superscript number that corresponds with a number in the body of the page, and which gives additional information on the subject cited, or provides the source of the cited material. Sometimes footnotes are marked with a dagger, asterisk, or other symbol instead of with numbers.

footprint

The amount of desk space that an object takes up; a smaller computer has a smaller footprint and allows more room for other items on the desk.

force justified

Forced to justify. A line which is too long may be force justified to override automatic hyphenation or word wrapping; the type will be squeezed into one line. Normal justified text sets the last line of a paragraph flush left; therefore any line with a hard return automatically sets flush left unless force justified. For design purposes on business cards, letterheads, etc., force justifying may be used to spread out a line that is short.

force quit

A command that forces the computer to quit whatever program or operation it is running. The force quit is often used to escape from a condition in which an error has caused the computer to freeze.

foreground

The program or job in the foreground is the one the user is actively working with, and is in the foreground on the computer screen. Other processes may be running in the background at the same time; for example, the computer may be preparing a file to print.

foreground task

The task that requires the user's attention while another task runs in background. See background task.

Foreign File Access

An extension for the Apple operating system that makes it possible to read CD-Audio (ISO 9660) and CD-ROM (High Sierra Format) discs.

Foreign Key

Used in database management systems as a key which identifies records in a different table.

form feed

(FF). ASCII character 12: control-L. Feeding a form through a printer to the top of the next page. Printers that use forms often have a form feed button (FF) to push. The computer operator can signal a form feed to the printer with the control-L.

form support

The ability of a browser or server to display and process interactive forms, such as a form on a WWW page that asks for feedback from visitors.

form view

A display of one item or record out of a table, presented as a form, rather than table view which shows a number of records.

format

The organization, arrangement, and final form of a production.

format disk

To prepare a disk so a computer can read and write data on it. Formatting a disk includes creating the physical tracks and sector identification, and creating the indexes specific to the operating system it will be used on. Floppy disks can be bought preformatted or can be formatted by the user with a program on the computer.

format document

To format a document means to set the alignment, spacing, borders, header styles, fonts, and other elements that determine how the document will look.

format program

Software that erases a disk and prepares it for use.

formatted text

Text which has control codes indicating the fonts, bold or italic type, margins, indents, columns, tabs, headers and footers, and other attributes.

forms

Sections of a WWW page that can be used to interact with the Web site by entering information either through typing in text, selecting one of a number of radio buttons, selecting from a scrollable list, or clicking in a checkbox. To use forms on a Web site, a browser that supports forms is needed, such as the current version of Netscape or Internet Explorer.

forms support

The ability of a browser or server to display and process interactive forms, such as a form on a WWW page that asks for feedback from visitors.

FORmula TRANslator

(FORTRAN). The first high-level programming language for scientific and mathematical applications, developed by IBM in 1954.

FORTH

A fourth-generation programming language developed by Charles Moore in the late 1960s. The first use of FORTH was guiding the telescope at NRAO, Kitt Peak. It has also been used with games and robotics.

FORTRAN

FORmula TRANslator. A high-level programming language for scientific and mathematical applications, developed by IBM in 1954.

forum

A discussion group on a particular subject that is hosted by a BBS, a newsgroup, or a mailing list, or another online service.

forward analysis

A way of analyzing which makes it possible to determine certain properties of the output of a program by knowing the properties of the input.

forward compatible

Describes software that is compatible with later versions of the same program. Also called upward compatible.

Forward Error Correction

(FEC). A method of catching errors in a transmission by sending extra bits which are used on the receiving end to check the accuracy of the transmission and correct any errors.

FOSSIL

Fido Opus Seadog Standard Interface Layer.

foundry

1. A place where metal is cast by melting and pouring it into molds. 2. A semiconductor manufacturing plant that makes chips for other companies. 3. A company where fonts are made (font foundry).

Fountain

A virtual reality modeling language (VRML) viewer for Windows.

Four-color printing

Printing in full color, accomplished with four color separations: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK).

fourth-generation computer

A computer built using large-scale integration (integrated circuits that contain more than 100 logic gates) or very large-scale integration (integrated circuits containing 10,000 or more logic gates). Microcomputers are fourth-generation computers.

fourth-generation language

A language that is more advanced than third-generation language, in which the commands are closer to regular spoken language. Fourth-generation languages were written to streamline operations formerly done with third-generation languages, such as database queries.

FOV

Field Of View. A term used in virtual reality.

Fox Software

The software company that developed FoxBASE+ and FoxPRO.

FP

Floating Point. A decimal point that can be in any location. Memory locations set aside for floating point numbers can store .234, 1.23, 3.2, etc.

FPA

Floating Point Accelerator. Special hardware for performing mathematical calculations with floating point numbers; the FPA may function as a coprocessor to the central processing unit. A floating-point accelerator is a larger piece of hardware than a floating-point unit, which may be on a single chip; however, both perform the same function.

FPLA

Field Programmable Logic Array.

FPM

Fast Page Mode. A kind of DRAM memory. Fast page mode improved upon the original page mode memory by eliminating the column address setup time during the page cycle. For a while, fast page mode was the most widely used access method for DRAMs; it is still used on many systems. One benefit of FPM over page mode memory is reduced power consumption. See also page mode memory.

FPS

Frames Per Second. A unit used to measure computer and display performance. A frame is one complete scan of the display screen. Each frame consists of a number of horizontal scan lines; each scan line includes a number of pixels on the computer screen. The number of horizontal scan lines represents the vertical resolution and the number of pixels per scan line represents the horizontal resolution of the display. The refresh rate, or the number of times the displayed image is refreshed per second, is measured in frames per second.

fps

Frames per second. A measurement of the speed at which pictures (frames) are displayed in sequence in a film or video. The more frames displayed per second, the smoother the motion appears. Full-motion video uses 30 fps or more.

FPT

Forced Perfect Termination.

FPU

Floating Point Unit. A coprocessor which handles operations with floating point numbers.

FQDN

Fully Qualified Domain Name. The full name of a system, containing its hostname and its domain name.

FRAD

Frame Relay Access Device. A combination of hardware and software that is used to convert communications packets from formats like TCP, SNA, IPX, and others into frames that can then be sent over a frame relay network.

fragment

In network communications, a piece of a packet. Sometimes a communications packet being sent over a network has to be temporarily broken into fragments; the packet is reassembled when it reaches its destination.

fragmentation

The storage of a file on a disk in fragments which are not next to each other. When a file is stored, the data is placed in whatever disk areas are available, which may mean breaking it into fragments. Defragmenting puts all the fragments of each file together and the areas of free space together, thus speeding up access time and making more free space available on the disk.

FRAM

Ferroelectric Random Access Memory. Non-volatile semiconductor memory good for 10 years.

frame

1. A variable-length packet of data that is transmitted in frame relay technology. 2. One complete scan of the computer display screen. 3. In video or film, a single picture of a series that, displayed in sequence, creates the illusion of motion. 4. In computer graphics, the boundary that surrounds a graphic image. 5. On World Wide Web pages, a bordered area that acts as an independent browser window.

frame grabber

A board that can be plugged into the computer which makes it possible to capture single frames from a video and digitize them.

frame rate

The rate at which frames, the individual pictures that in sequence create the illusion of motion, are displayed in a film or video. Frame rate is measured in frames per second (fps).

frame relay

A protocol for sending small packets of data over a network. Frame relay uses packets of variable length, unlike cell relay, and requires less stringent error detection than other forms of packet switching because it is designed to take advantage of the more reliable circuits that have become available in recent years. Frame relay is often used for wide area networks, where it can transmit data at high speed more efficiently than point-to-point services. Frame relay is used with digital lines.

frame relay access device

(FRAD). A combination of hardware and software that is used to convert communications packets from formats like TCP, SNA, IPX, and others into frames that can then be sent over a frame relay network.

Frame Technology Corporation

Developers of FrameMaker desktop publishing program. Frame Technology later was taken over by Adobe.

FrameMaker

A desktop publishing program developed by Frame Technology Corporation, available for UNIX, Macintosh and Windows.

frames

On World Wide Web pages, a frame is a bordered area that acts as an independent browser window. There can be a number of frames within the same page, and they can be separately scrolled, linked, and viewed. Sometimes a frame can be used to view an entirely different website without leaving the original site that contains the frame. To view a page that has frames, one must use a WWW browser that supports frames, such as the current versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer.

frames per second

(fps). A measurement of the speed at which pictures (frames) are displayed in sequence in a film or video. The more frames displayed per second, the smoother the motion appears. Full-motion video uses 30 fps or more.

free software

Software that is free from licensing fees and has no restrictions on use; it can be freely copied, redistributed, or modified.

Free Software Foundation

(FSF). A nonprofit organization which promotes the development of free software. The GNU project is one of the best-known activities of the Free Software Foundation.

free space

Empty space on a hard drive, available for loading programs or data. The description of a program for a new user normally indicates the amount of free space needed to load the program. A program that calls for 4 megabytes of free space will take up 4 megabytes on the hard drive.

free speech online

A movement promoted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations to protect the right to freedom of expression in network communications, and specifically to protest the Communications Decency Act and similar legislation. Some WWW pages have icons on them supporting free speech online.

free storage

Available storage.

free Web page

(FWP). There are some World Wide Web sites that offer free Web pages to the general public or a selected group of users. There are other sites that offer a free Web page along with membership.

Freenet

A community-based bulletin board system which is part of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN), a Cleveland, Ohio, organization whose aim is to make computer networking as available as public libraries. Freenets are operated by volunteers and funded by donations.

freenet

An organization that provides Internet access to the public for free or for a small contribution.

Freeserve

A popular UK Internet service provider which has no monthly subscription fee, relying instead on call revenue plus premium rate income for calls to its telephone support lines.

freeware

Freeware is software that is available free of charge, but which is copyrighted by the developer, who retains the right to control its redistribution and to sell it in the future. Freeware is different from free software, which has no restrictions on use, modification, or redistribution.

freeze

The condition of a computer when the pointer and everything on the screen is frozen in place, and the computer does not respond to commands; one kind of crash.

frequency

The number of repetitions per unit time of a complete waveform, from peak to trough; for example, the rate of signal oscillation in sound waves or electric current. Frequencies are measured in cycles per second, or Hertz.

frequency division multiplexing

(FDM). Using several frequencies on the same channel to transmit several different streams of data, from different sources, simultaneously. A technique used for cable TV.

frequency modulation

(FM). Encoding a carrier wave by modulating its frequency in accordance with an input signal.

frequency modulation synthesis

FM synthesis. Synthesizing musical sounds by using one waveform to modulate the frequency of another waveform. FM synthesis is an older technique used on inexpensive sound cards, and has a tinny sound. It is being replaced by wavetable synthesis, which more closely simulates the sounds of acoustic musical instruments.

Frequency Shift Keying

(FSK). Frequency modulation of a carrier signal by a digital signal, in which changes in frequency represent 0s and 1s.

FRICC

Federal Research Internet Coordinating Committee. The body responsible for coordinating networking among United States federal agencies, which was later replaced by the Federal Networking Council (FNC).

FRICC

Federal Research Internet Coordinating Committee. A committee founded to coordinate networking in U.S. Federal agencies. The forerunner of the FNC.

friction feed

A method of using rollers or some other device to pass ordinary paper through a printer, unlike the tractor feed method which requires paper with holes at the sides.

friendly name

An easily-used and natural language name for something that may have a more technical designation. For example, a modem on a network could be called z2x/144 or a more friendly name like Modem2.

frisbee

Computer slang for a CD-ROM.

fritterware

Software that gives a user more options and capabilities than are really needed for practical purposes. The user fritters away the time trying all the options and fiddling around with it.

front end

A small computer through which a user communicates with a larger computer; or, a program that provides a user-friendly interface to another, harder-to-use, program.

FrontPage Extension

Server-side extensions for Web servers which allow the processing of Microsoft FrontPage scripting tags.

frowney

A frowning face :-( (emoticon).

frozen

1. The condition of a computer when the pointer and object on the screen do not move, and the computer does not respond to commands; one kind of crash. 2. No longer being updated; for instance, a software version that is no longer being improved, but is kept available for use on older systems that can not use the newer version.

fry

To send too much electrical current through a computer or component, resulting in damage.

fry the screen

To send a flame message.

fsb

Front Side Cache

fsb

Front Side Cache

FSF

Free Software Foundation. A nonprofit organization which promotes the development of free software.

FSK

Frequency Shift Keying. Frequency modulation of a carrier signal by a digital signal, in which changes in frequency represent 0s and 1s.

FSML

Financial Services Markup Language. A language developed by the Financial Services Technology Consortium to control the identification and processing of electronic checks.

FSN

Full-Service Network. A video network that makes it possible for the television to work like a computer, through the use of special equipment; users have access to video, home shopping, interactive games, and other services.

FSTC

Financial Services Technology Consortium. A nonprofit organization whose membership includes banks, government agencies, universities, and high-tech businesses; FSTC is interested in developing E-commerce and making it practical. The FSTC's Electronic Check Project team created the Signed Document Markup Language (SDML) and the Bank Internet Payment System (BIPS).

FT3

Same as T3 line. A connection made up of 28 T1 carriers, used to transmit digital signals on fiber-optic cable at 44.736 megabits per second. T3 can handle 672 voice conversations or one video channel.

FTAM

1. File Transfer and Access Method. A way of transferring files between dissimilar systems. 2. File Transfer, Access, and Management. The OSI remote file protocol and service.

FTM

Flat Tension Mask (Zenith).

FTP

File Transfer Protocol. A client/server protocol for exchanging files with a host computer. Examples are Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem and Kermit.

FTP by mail

A service offered by DEC which makes it possible for people without Internet access to get copies of files available by anonymous FTP, by sending a message with just the word “help” in the body to .

FTP Explorer

An FTP client that has an interface based on Windows 95’s File Manager.

FTP site

An Internet site where users can upload or download files.

Fujitsu

A Japanese elecronics corporation.

full featured

Having all available features; the most advanced version (of hardware or software).

full path

A designation of the location of a file which includes the root directory and the descending series of subdirectories leading to the end file.

full-adder

The arithmetic and logic unit of a computer performs binary addition by means of logic circuits called half-adders and full-adders. A half-adder adds one-digit binary numbers; a full-adder handles larger binary numbers in combination with a half-adder, and can carry over numbers. For larger numbers, more full-adders are used – one for each digit in the binary numbers added.

full-duplex

A communications channel which transmits data in both directions at once.

full-motion full-screen video

Video that fills the full display screen and shows lifelike smooth motion, instead of the video on some CD-ROMs and Internet downloads which is in a tiny window and only shows jerky movement. Full-motion, full-screen video is made possible by compression programs such as MPEG, which make video files small enough to transfer to the computer at high speed.

full-motion video

(FMV) Video that runs at the same rate at which it was filmed. Moving video images and sound available on a computer; usually stored on CD-ROM because of the large size of the files.

full-service network

(FSN). A video network that makes it possible for the television to work like a computer, through the use of special equipment; users have access to video, home shopping, interactive games, and other services.

full-text database

A large collection of text files or documents, which are indexed and searchable. Also called a textbase.

fully qualified domain name

(FQDN). The full name of a system, containing its hostname and its domain name.

fully qualified name

A qualified name that specifies all classifying names in the hierarchical sequence that fully defines it.

function keys

A set of special keys on a computer keyboard that are numbered F1, F2, etc. that perform special functions depending on the application program in use. Also called F keys.

functional unit

One of the units within the CPU that has a specific job to do, such as the arithmetic and logic unit.

fusing

The permanent bonding of toner to a printed page, accomplished in the fusing system of a printer or photocopier by use of heat and pressure.

fuzzy computer

A computer that is designed to use fuzzy logic.

fuzzy logic

A formal system of logic in which numbers on a scale from 0 to 1 are used instead of the values “true” and “false” as absolutes, to accurately represent the fact that some questions do not have a simple yes or no answer. Fuzzy logic was developed by Lofti Zadeh of the University of California, Berkeley.

fuzzy search

A type of search that returns not only exact matches, but also answers that are close. A fuzzy search can be useful when the user is not sure of the spelling, or wants to find information about a broad subject area.

FWP

Free Web Page. There are some World Wide Web sites that offer free web pages to the general public or a selected group of users. There are other sites that offer a free web page along with membership.

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