Office of Educational Technology - Glossary

Blackboard Learn Glossary PDF Format


ASCII (pronounced as-kee) - An acronym derived from American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is a standard 7-bit code that represents 128 characters. The use of this standard code permits computers made by different manufacturers to communicate with one another.

B, b -  B is the abbreviation of byte; b is the abbreviation of bit.

Background - part of the multitasking capability. A program can run and perform tasks in the background while another program is being used in the foreground.

Backup - a copy of a file or disk you make for archiving purposes. Storage of duplicate files as a safety measure in case the original medium is damaged or lost. (One word as a noun or an adjective: backup procedures; two words as a verb: back up your hard disk.)

Bandwidth - The volume of information that a network can handle (usually expressed in bits per second). The greater the bandwidth, the more quickly data can be downloaded from the Internet or moved from a network to a user’s computer.

Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) - A set of programs stored in read-only memory (ROM) on IBM or IBM-compatible computers. These programs control the disk drives, the keyboard, and the display screen, and they handle start-up operations.

Binary code - The language used by computers in which data and instructions are represented by a series of 1s and 0s.

Bit (b) - An acronym derived from binary digit. The smallest unit of information that can be recognized by a computer. Bits are combined to represent characters. In computer language, either a one (1) or a zero (0). (See also Byte.)

Bitmap - A method of storing a graphic image as a set of bits in a computer’s memory. To display the image on the screen, the computer converts the bits into pixels.

Bloatware - A program that uses an excessive amount of disk space and memory. 

Blog - A blog (short for Web log) is an online diary in which an individual records and publishes his or her thoughts on one or more subjects. A blog devoted to legal matters is known as a blawg.

Blogger - Someone who creates and maintains an online diary.

Bluetooth - A protocol that permits a wireless exchange of information between computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices within a radius of about 30 feet.

Boot (short for bootstrap) -  To start a computer and load the operating system to prepare the computer to execute an application.

Browser - See Web browser.

Buffer - A holding area in memory that stores information temporarily. Also called cache.

Bug - a programming error that causes a program to behave in an unexpected way. A software defect that causes a program to malfunction or cease to operate. Some writers now use bug to refer to hardware problems as well.

Bundled software - Software that is sold along with a computer system; several software programs that are packaged together (also called software suites).

Burn - To record information on a disc such as a CD-R, a CD-RW, a DVD-R, or a DVD-RW.

Bus - An electronic pathway along which electronic signals as data is transmitted between components in a computer.

Byte (B) - An acronym for binary term. The sequence of bits that represents a character. Each byte has 8 bits.

Cache - See Buffer.

CD-R - Compact disc-recordable.

CD-ROM (pronounced cee-dee-rom) - An acronym derived from Compact Disc-Read-Only Memory. A form of optical storage. One compact disc can hold up to 250,000 text pages; it can also be used to store graphics, sound, and video. (See also DVD-ROM.)

CD-RW - Compact disc-rewritable.

Character - A single letter, figure, punctuation mark, or symbol produced by a keystroke on a computer. Each character is represented by a byte.

Chat - A method of communication in which people type text messages to each other, thereby holding a conversation over a network such as the Internet.

Check box - A small box that appears onscreen alongside each option displayed in a dialog box. When an option is selected, an X or a check mark appears inside the box.

Clear - A command to erase information.

Click - To quickly press and release a mouse button once while the cursor (mouse pointer) is positioned over a specific item on the screen. (See also Double-click.)

Clipboard - A holding area in memory where information that has been copied or cut (text, graphics, sound, or video) can be stored until the information is inserted elsewhere. (See also Copy; Cut; Cut and paste.). A portion of memory where the computer temporarily stores information. 

Compatibility - The ability of one type of computer, device, data file, or program to share information or to communicate with another. (See also ASCII.)

Cookie - A small text file that a Web server stores on a user’s hard drive when the user visits certain Web sites. A cookie contains all the information that a user has to submit on a first visit to a particular Web site in order to gain access. When a user revisits that Web site, the cookie makes it unnecessary for the user to enter the same information all over again. The positive aspect of cookies is that they make it possible for users to take advantage of the convenient “shopping cart” feature of many Web sites. Unfortunately, cookies also make it possible for marketing organizations to monitor users’ browsing patterns; users then find themselves the targets of custom-tailored marketing campaigns.

Copy - To reproduce information elsewhere. The original information remains in place. (See also Cut.)

Cracker - The preferred term (rather than hacker) used to refer to a computer criminal who penetrates a computer to steal information or damage the program in some way.

Crash - A malfunction in hardware or software that keeps a computer from functioning. A system malfunction in which the computer stops working and has to be restarted.

Cursor - A special character (usually a blinking underline, dot, or vertical line) that indicates where the next typed character will appear on the display screen. Also known as the mouse pointer (arrow) or I-beam pointer. Microsoft Word refers to the cursor as the insertion point. (See also Prompt.)

Cut - To remove text from its original location and place it on a clipboard. (See also Copy; Paste.)

Cut and paste - To move a block of text from one place to another.

Cyberspace - A realistic simulation of a three-dimensional world created by a computer system; also referred to as virtual reality. Now commonly used to refer to the world of the Internet as a whole.

Data - (the plural of datum) information processed by a computer. Information consisting of letters, numbers, symbols, sound, or images—in a form that can be processed by a computer.

Database - A stored collection of information. An electronic list of information that can be sorted and/or searched.

Default settings - The pre-established settings (for margins, font, type size, tab stops, and so on) that a program will follow unless the user changes them.

Delete - A command to erase information in storage.

Denial of service (DoS) attack - A malicious act intended to shut down a Web site or a network by flooding it with too much information. Users who attempt to visit the site will be denied access.

Desktop - The electronic work area on a display screen.

Desktop computer - A microcomputer that is bigger than a laptop.

Dialog box - an on-screen message box that appears when the computer requires additional information before completing a command.

Digitize - to convert linear, or analog, data into digital data which can be used by the computer.

Disc - A nonmagnetic storage medium that is used in conjunction with optical technology. (See also CD-ROM.)

Disk - A random-access, magnetically coated storage medium used to store and retrieve information.

Disk drive - the machinery that writes the data from a disk and/or writes data to a disk. The component of a computer into which a disk is inserted so that it can be read or written on.

Display screen - A device similar to a television screen and used on a computer to display text and graphics. Also called a video display terminal (VDT) or a monitor.

Document - a file you create, as opposed to the application which created it. Any printed business communication—for example, a letter, memo, report, table, or form. (See also File.)

Dot - The period symbol used in e-mail and Web addresses. Always referred to as a dot (never as a period). Thus the domain name aol.com would be pronounced ay-oh-ell-dot-com. 

Dot-com - An organization that sells its products or services on a Web site (with a URL endng in .com).

Double-click - To quickly press and release a mouse button twice while the cursor (mouse pointer) is positioned over a specific item on the screen. (See also Click.)

Download - to transfer data from one computer to another. (If you are on the receiving end, you are downloading. If you are on the sending end, you are uploading ).

DPI - acronym for Dots Per Inch - a gauge of visual clarity on the printed page or on the computer screen.

Drag - to move the mouse while its button is being depressed.

Drag-and-drop editing - A software feature that allows the user to (1) highlight text to be moved and (2) use a mouse to drag the text to a new location.

Driver - a file on a computer which tells it how to communicate with an add-on piece of equipment (like a printer).

DSL - Digital subscriber line. DSL is a high-bandwidth method of connecting to the Internet by means of telephone lines.

DVD - Digital video disc or digital versatile disc.

DVD-E - Digital video disc-erasable.

DVD-R - Digital video disc-recordable.

DVD-RAM - Digital video disc–random-access memory.

DVD-ROM - Digital video disc–read-only memory.

DVD-RW - Digital video disc–read/write. 

E-book - A small reading device that displays downloaded digital text.

Editing - The process of changing information by inserting, deleting, replacing, rearranging, and reformatting. Also known as changing or customizing.

E-mail (short for electronic mail) - The term e-mail refers to the transfer of messages or documents between users connected by an electronic network. The term is also used to refer to the message that is being transmitted in this way. The original form—E-mail—is rarely seen except at the beginning of a sentence, and industry professionals now commonly write the word without a hyphen—email.

Encryption - Coding confidential data so that only a user with the right password can read the data.

end user - In information technology, the term end user is used to distinguish the person for whom a hardware or software product is designed from the developers, installers, and servicers of the product. The "end" part of the term probably derives from the fact that most information technologies involve a chain of interconnected product components at the end of which is the "user." Frequently, complex products require the involvement of other-than-end users such as installers, administrators, and system operators. The term end user thus distinguishes the user for which the product is designed from other users who are making the product possible for the end user. Often, the term user would suffice.

Escape key - A key that permits the user to leave one segment of a program and move to another. Usually shortened to Esc on the computer keyboard.

Export - To save information from one computer or program to another.

FAQ - Frequently asked question. Pronounced as a word (to rhyme with pack) or as separate letters.

Fax (n.) - A shortened form of the word facsimile. A copy of a document transmitted electronically from one machine to another.

Fax (v.) - To transmit a copy of a document electronically.

Field - A group of related characters treated as a unit (such as a name); also, the area reserved for the entry of a specified piece of information.

File - the generic word for an application, document, control panel or other computer data. A collection of information stored electronically and treated as a unit by a computer. Every file must have its own distinctive name. (See also File name.)

File name - The name assigned to a file stored on a disk.

File transfer protocol (FTP) - A set of guidelines or standards that establish the format in which files can be transmitted from one computer to another. 

Firewall - A security system usually consisting of hardware and software that prevents unauthorized persons from accessing certain parts of a program, database, or network.

f2f - Communicating face to face

FTP - See File transfer protocol.

Folder - an electronic subdirectory which contains files. A storage area on a disk used to organize files.

Font - a typeface that contains the characters of an alphabet or some other letterforms. A typeface of a certain size and style. Includes all letters of the alphabet, figures, symbols, and punctuation marks.

Footer - Repetitive information that appears at the bottom (the foot) of every page of a document. A page number is a common footer. (See also Header.)

Freeze - a system error which causes the cursor to lock in place

Function keys - Keys on a keyboard (for example, F1) that give special commands to the computer—for example, to set margins or tabs.

G or GB - See Gigabyte.

Gateway - A machine that links two networks using different protocols.

gig - a gigabyte = 1024 megabytes.

Gigabyte - A measurement of the storage capacity of a device. One gigabyte represents 1024 megabytes. This term may be abbreviated as G or GB; however, GB is the clearer abbreviation since G also stands for the metric prefix giga (meaning 1 billion). A gigabyte is often referred to as a “gig.”

Gigahertz (GHz) -  A measurement used to identify the speed of the central processing unit. One gigahertz is equal to 1 billion cycles per second. 

Graphical User Interface (GUI) -  A visual computer environment that permits the user to click on icons or select options from a menu.

Graphics - Pictures or images presented or stored using a computer.

Grok - To research and comprehend something in great detail and great depth.

GUI (pronounced goo-ee) - See Graphical user interface. 

Hack - To work on an electronic project.

Hacker - A dedicated computer programmer. The term hacker is sometimes used erroneously to refer to a computer criminal who penetrates and tampers with computer programs or systems. The preferred term for a computer criminal is cracker.

Hard copy - Text or graphics printed on paper; also called a printout. (See also Soft copy.)

Hard disk - A rigid type of magnetic medium that can store large amounts of information.

Hard drive - a large capacity storage device made of multiple disks housed in a rigid case.

Hardware - The physical components of a computer: the central processing unit, the display screen, the keyboard, the disk drive, the modem, the mouse, and the printer. (See also Software.)

Hardwired - Describes something physically built into a system using hardware, instead of being accomplished by programming. 

Header - Repetitive information that appears at the top (the head) of every page of a document. A page number is a common header. (See also Footer.)

Highlight - to select by clicking once on an icon or by highlighting text in a document.

Host computer - A computer that provides information or a service to other computers on the Internet. Every host computer has its own unique host name.

HTML - See Hypertext markup language. 

HTTP - See Hypertext transfer protocol.

Hyperlink - An element in a hypertext document that is highlighted by means of underlining or the use of a different color. When a user clicks the highlighted element, the user is connected with another element in the same document or another document.

Hypermedia - An extension of hypertext that integrates audio, video, and graphics with text.

Hypertext - A technology that links text in one part of a document with related text in another part of the document or in other documents. A user can quickly find the related text by clicking on the appropriate keyword, key phrase, icon, or button.

Hypertext markup language (HTML) - The formatting language used to establish the appearance of a Web page.

Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) -  The protocol used on the World Wide Web that permits Web clients (Web browsers) to communicate with Web servers. This protocol allows programmers to embed hyperlinks in Web documents, using hypertext markup language.

I-beam pointer - A mouse- or keyboard- controlled cursor that looks like a capital I.

Icon - a graphic symbol for an application, file or folder. Icon. A symbol (such as a picture of a trash can or a file folder) that represents a certain function. Whenthe user clicks on the icon, the appropriate function is executed. (See also Graphical user interface.)

ICQ (from I seek you) - An instant messaging service.

Import - To retrieve any text or other information created by one program (for example, images created by a graphics program) and transfer it to another program (for example, a spreadsheet program). 

Information processing - The coordination of people, equipment, and procedures to handle information, including the storage, retrieval, distribution, and communication of information. The term information processing embraces the entire field of processing words, figures, graphics, video, and voice input by electronic means.

Input (n.) - Information entered into the computer for processing.

Input (v.) - To enter information into the computer. 

Input device - A hardware component (such as a mouse, a keyboard, or a microphone) that lets the user input information.

Insert - To add information to a file.

Insertion point - in word processing, the short flashing marker which indicates where your next typing will begin.

Instant messaging (IM) - A chat program that lets people communicate over the Internet in real time.

Interface - The electrical connection that links two pieces of equipment so that they can communicate with each other. Also, the software that controls the interaction between the hardware and the user.

Internet (or Net) - A system that links existing computer networks into a worldwide network. The Internet may be accessed by means of commercial online services (such as America Online) and Internet service providers. 

Internet protocol (IP) address - A unique set of numbers that identifies a computer over a network. 

Internet service provider (ISP) - An organization that provides access to the Internet for a fee. Companies like America Online are more properly referred to as commercial online services because they offer many other services in addition to Internet access—for example, news, travel services, and financial and shopping information.

I/O - An abbreviation for input/output.

IP address - See Internet Protocol address. 

ISP - See Internet service provider.

Java - A programming language designed for programs or applets used over the Internet.

JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group. A format for storing complex graphics in compressed form. The file extension. jpeg or .jpg indicates that a particular file uses this format. 

Justification - Aligning lines of text at the left margin, the right margin, both margins, or the center. Text aligned at both margins is considered fully justified. Text aligned only at the left margin is said to have a ragged right margin.

K or KB -  See Kilobyte.

K - short for kilobyte.

Keyboard shortcut - a combination of keystrokes that performs some function otherwise found in a pull-down menu.

Keyword - A word or phrase that briefly identifies a document. Keywords serve as the basis for a variety of computer operations—for example, conducting an online search. 

Kilobyte - A measurement of the storage capacity of a device. One kilobyte represents 1024 bytes. Kilobyte may be abbreviated K or KB; however, KB is the clearer abbreviation since K also stands for the metric prefix kilo (meaning 1000).

LAN - See Network, local area.

Landscape - in printing from a computer, to print sideways on the page.

Landscape orientation - The positioning of a page so that information is printed across the long dimension of the paper. (See also Portrait orientation.)

Linux - A type of open source software. When combined with other components, Linux serves as an increasingly popular operating system that competes with Microsoft Windows.

Listserv - Any software that manages a mailing list. The most widely used programs are LISTSERV (as distinct from the generic terms listserv and listserve), Listproc, and Majordomo.

Local area network (LAN) - See Network, local area.

Log off or log out (v.) - To exit or leave a computer system. 

Logoff or logout (n.) - The process of exiting a computer system.

Log on or log in (v.) - To access a computer system. Log onto and log into are not correct. 

Logon or login (n.) -  The process of accessing a computer system.

M or MB - See Megabyte.

Malware - Software that disrupts normal computer functions or sends a user’s personal data without the user’s authorization.

Maximize - A command used in a graphical user interface (GUI) that enlarges a window so that it fills a desktop.

Measurements (summary) -
*a bit = one binary digit (1 or 0) *"bit" is derived from the contraction b'it (binary digit) -> 8 bits = one byte
*1024 bytes = one kilobyte
*K = kilobyte
*Kb = kilobit
*MB = megabyte
*Mb = megabit
*MB/s = megabytes per second
*Mb/s = megabits per second
*bps = bits per second
i.e., 155 Mb/s = 19.38 MB/s

MB - short for megabyte.

Megabyte - A measurement of the storage capacity of a device. One megabyte represents more than 1 million bytes. Megabyte may be abbreviated M or MB; however, MB is clearer since M also stands for the metric prefix mega (meaning 1 million). A megabyte is often referred to as a “meg.”

Megahertz (MHz) - A measurement used to identify the speed of the central processing unit. One megahertz is equal to 1 million cycles per second.

Memory - The part of a computer that stores information. (See also Storage.)

Random-access memory (RAM) - The temporary memory that allows information to be stored randomly and accessed quickly and directly (without the need to go through intervening data).

Read-only memory (ROM) - The permanent memory of a computer; a set of instructions that has been built into the computer by the manufacturer and cannot be accessed or changed by the user.

Megabyte - 1024 kilobytes.

Memory - the temporary holding area where data is stored while it is being used or changed; the amount of RAM a computer has installed.

Menu - a list of program commands listed by topic.

Minimize - A command used in a graphical user interface (GUI) that reduces a window to an icon or a label, usually at the bottom of a desktop.

Modem - An acronym derived from modulator/demodulator. A device that (1) converts digital signals into tones for transmission over telephone lines and (2) converts the tones back into digital signals at the receiving end.

Monitor - The display screen of a computer.

Motherboard - The computer’s main circuit board, which contains the central processing unit, the memory, and expansion slots for additional circuit boards called adapters or cards.

Mouse - A hand-operated electronic device used to move a cursor or pointer on the display screen. Mostly used with microcomputers.

Multimedia - The use of several types of media (such as text, graphics, animation, sound, and video) in a document or an application.

Net - See Internet.

Netiquette - A set of guidelines for formatting and composing e-mail messages.

Network - A system of interconnected computers. (See also Notwork; Sneakernet.)

Local area networks (LANs) - use cable to connect a number of computers within the same location or in close proximity.

Wide area networks (WANs) - use telephone lines or other telecommunications devices to link computers in widely separated locations. Internet is a system that links existing networks into a worldwide network.

Newbie - A newcomer to a bulletin board system or some other network facility.

Offline - Refers to the state in which a computer is temporarily or permanently unable to communicate with another computer (even though it is turned on and capable of performing other functions).

Open - To transfer a file from a disk into the memory of a computer. 

Open source software - Software that makes the underlying source code available to all users at no charge. Users may make changes and improvements as long as they do not try to sell the software commercially. Linux is the best example of open source software currently available. 

Operating system (OS) - Software that manages the internal functions and controls the operations of a computer. The system software that controls the computer.

Optical disk - a high-capacity storage medium that is read by a laser light.

OS - See Operating system.

Output - The results of a computer operation.

Output device - A hardware component (such as a monitor, a printer, or a sound speaker) that delivers the results of computer operations to the user.

Password - A user’s secret identification code, required to access stored material. A procedure intended to prevent information from being accessed by unauthorized persons.

Paste - A command that transfers information from a clipboard and inserts it in another location. (See also Cut and paste.)

PC - acronym for personal computer, commonly used to refer to an IBM or IBM clone computer.

PDF - See Portable Document Format.

Peripheral - A device that extends the capabilities of a computer (for example, a printer).

Personal computer (PC) - A microcomputer for personal and office use.

Peripheral - an add-on component to your computer.

Phishing - A type of computer fraud that tries to trick users into revealing their passwords and other confidential information.

Piracy - The illegal copying of software or other creative works.

Pixel - An acronym derived from picture element. The smallest element (a dot) on a display screen. Pixels are used to construct images on the screen.

Platform - A term used to define the type of microprocessor and operating system on which a computer is based.

Plug-and-play - The ability to plug in a peripheral and have it work without difficulty. 

Podcasting - Posting audio files online so that they can be downloaded to a portable audio player such as an MP3 player.

Point - A measurement that indicates the size of a font; 72 points equals 1 inch and 12 points equals 1 pica. (1/72") 12 points = one pica in printing.

Pointer - An onscreen device that indicates the current position of the mouse.

Pop-up menu - any menu that does not appear at the top of the screen in the menu bar. (may pop up or down)

Port - a connection socket, or jack on the computer. A socket on a computer into which an external device (such as a printer cable) can be plugged.

Portable Document Format (PDF) - A format that makes it possible—with the help of Adobe Acrobat—to view documents that employ different fonts, various types of graphics, and complex layouts.

Portrait orientation - Positioning paper so that information is printed across the short dimension of the paper. (See also Landscape orientation.)

Posting - A message entered into a network (such as a newsgroup) or on a Web site.

Print preview - A software feature that reduces the pages of a document so that a full page (or two facing pages) can be seen on the screen before being printed. This feature permits the user to spot and correct problems in format and page breaks.

Printers - Output devices of various types that produce copy on paper.

Printout - The paper copy of information produced on a printer. 

Program - An established sequence of instructions that tells a computer what to do. The term program means the same as software. 

Programming language - The rules, conventions, and specific commands used to write a computer program. Most programs must be converted into machine language or binary code so that the instructions can be performed on a specific computer platform.

Prompt - An onscreen symbol (for example, a cursor) that indicates where to type a command; a message that indicates what action is to be taken.

Proportional font - A typeface in which the width of each character varies (as in this sentence), so that the letter I takes much less space than the letter M. (See also Font.)

Protocol - A set of standards that permits computers to exchange information and communicate with each other.

P2P - Peer-to-peer (network).

RAM - acronym for Random-Access Memory.

ROM - acronym for Read Only Memory; memory that can only be read from and not written to.

Save - to write a file onto a disk.  To store a program or data on a storage device such as a disk.

Save as - (a File menu item) to save a previously saved file in a new location and/or with a new name.

Scanner - An input device that can copy a printed page into a computer’s memory, thus doing away with the need to type the copy. A scanner can also convert artwork and photographs into a digital format and store these in memory.

Screen dump - A printout of what is displayed on the screen.

Scroll - to shift the contents of a window to bring hidden items into view. To move information horizontally or vertically on a display screen so that one can see parts of a document that is too wide or too deep to fit entirely on one screen.

Scroll bar - a bar at the bottom or right side of a window that contains the scroll box and allows scrolling. An onscreen element that allows a user to scroll by using a mouse.

Scroll box - the box in a scroll bar that is used to navigate through a window.

Search engine - A free program that helps Web users locate data by means of a keyword or concept. Among the most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Web Crawler, and Ask.

Server - a central computer dedicated to sending and receiving data from other computers (on a network). A computer that delivers data to other computers (clients) linked on the same network.

Shareware - Software that usually may be downloaded and used initially without charge; the author may subsequently ask for some payment. (Compare with Freeware.)

Shouting - The use of all caps in e-mail. This practice is considered a violation of netiquette and is actively discouraged.

Shut down - the command from the Special menu that shuts down the Mac or PC safely.

Soft copy - Information shown on the display screen. (See also Hard copy.)

Software - files on disk that contain instructions for a computer. The instructions that a computer needs to perform various functions. The term software means the same as program. (See also Hardware.

Spam (n.) -  The electronic equivalent of junk mail; also called unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE). (See also Ham.)

Spam (v.) - To send an e-mail message to a great number of recipients without regard for their need to know. A user who spams sometimes receives a mailbomb in return as a form of retaliation.

Spider - An automated program that searches the Internet for new Web sites and indexes their URLs and content descriptions in a database for examination by a search engine for matches.

Spreadsheet - a program designed to look like an electronic ledger. A program that provides a worksheet with rows and columns to be used for calculations and the preparation of reports.

Spyware - Software that enables a user to track someone’s computer activities without that person’s consent. 

Storage - The memory of a computer.

  • External storage - A magnetic medium such as a disk, or flash drive, used to store information; can be removed from the computer.
  • Internal storage - An integral component of a computer; cannot be removed.

Store - To place information in memory for later use.

Streaming - The process of sending and temporarily storing large amounts of audio or video information in small pieces and playing them back on the computer so that there is a continuous flow.

Style sheet - A collection of the user’s formatting decisions regarding font, type size, margins, justification, paragraph indentions, and the like.

Surge protector - A device that protects computer hardware from being damaged by sudden increases in voltage. A power strip that has circuits designed to reduce the effects of surge in electrical power. (not the same as a UPS)

TCP/IP - See Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.

Telecommunications - The process of sending and receiving information by means of telephones, satellites, and other devices.

Telecommuter - An employee who works away from the office (usually at home) and uses a computer (1) to access needed information on the organization’s intranet and the Internet and (2) to communicate with other employees, suppliers, and customers or clients.

Teleconferencing - Conducting a conference by using computers, video, and telecommunications to share sound and images with others at remote sites.

Template - A pre-established format for a document, stored in a computer. The template determines the margins, the type style and size to be used for the text, placement instructions for various elements (such as the date line), and design specifications for certain items (such as a letterhead). A user can simply call up the appropriate template, insert text where needed, and then print a final document. The user can modify the original template or create a new template to satisfy personal preferences.

Terminal - Any device that can transmit or receive electronic information. 

Text - Broadly speaking, the material displayed on a screen or printed on paper. Within a given document, the term refers to the body of the document as distinct from headers, footers, and other elements.

Thread - A series of posted messages that represents an ongoing discussion of a specific topic in a bulletin board system, a newsgroup, or a Web site.

Touchpad - The device on a laptop computer that takes the place of a mouse.

Touchscreen technology - The technology that permits a user to perform a function simply by touching the screen in an appropriate spot.

Trackball - An input device in which the user rolls a ball (usually with a thumb) to move the pointer.

Transfer rate - The rate at which data is transmitted between two computers or other electronic equipment.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) - A collection of over 100 protocols that are used to connect computers and networks. 

Trojan horse - A type of computer virus that is hidden within an innocent-looking program.

Uniform resource locator (URL) - The specific Internet address for a resource such as an individual or an organization. (See also World Wide Web.)

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) - A battery-powered backup system that provides enough electricity to a computer during a power outage (or, in most cases, a brownout or power surge) so that the user can save files before shutting down the computer. A constantly charging battery pack which powers the computer. A UPS should have enough charge to power your computer for several minutes in the event of a total power failure, giving you time to save your work and safely shut down.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) - A common standard for connecting multiple peripherals to a computer as needed.

Upload - to send a file from one computer to another through a network. To transfer information from a client computer to a host computer.

UPS - acronym for Uninterruptible Power Source. See Uninterruptible power supply.

URL (pronounced you-are-el or erl). - See Uniform resource locator.

USB - See Universal Serial Bus.

User-friendly - Describes hardware or software that is easy to use.

Virtual memory - using part of your hard drive as though it were "RAM".

Virus - A piece of computer code designed as a prank or malicious act to spread from one computer to another by attaching itself to other programs. Some viruses simply cause a humorous message to appear on the screen. Some cause minor glitches, but others cause serious damage to a computer’s memory or disks. Some viruses flood an organization’s Web site, interrupting or entirely preventing access to the organization’s customers. (See also Denial of service attack.)

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) - The transmission of voice communications by means of the Internet Protocol. VoIP is an inexpensive alternative to long-distance telephone calls.

VoIP - See Voice over Internet Protocol. 

WAN - See Network, wide area.

Web - See World Wide Web.

Web browser - Software that permits a user—with a click of a mouse—to locate, display, and download text, video, audio, and graphics stored in a host computer on the Web. The most common Web browsers now in use are Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

Web site - One or more related pages created by an individual or an organization and posted on the World Wide Web. (See also Home page.

Webcam - A video camera that sends live images over the Internet to a Web site. 

Webmaster - The person who maintains a specific Web site and is responsible for what appears there.

Wide Area Network (WAN) -  See Network, wide area.

Wi-Fi - Wireless fidelity. A process that permits high-speed wireless transmission of data. 

Wiki - A procedure that permits a Web site to be continually edited or added to by those who visit the site.

Window - A frame that permits users to view messages they have received or documents they are working on. 

Windows - A Microsoft operating system used on the vast majority of PCs.

Wizard - An interactive feature within an application that helps a user through each step of a task, such as creating a customized document or adding hardware. The term wizard is also used to refer to the person in an organization who can quickly find and fix everyone else’s computer problems.

Word processing - The electronic process of creating, formatting, editing, proofreading, and printing documents.

Workstation - A desktop computer that runs applications and serves as an access point in a local area network. (See also Network.)

World Wide Web - The component of the Internet that combines audio, video, and graphics with text. Also called the Web or WWW. (WWW is sometimes pronounced triple-dub, to avoid pronouncing each W separately.) 

Worm - A type of computer virus that runs a program to destroy data on a user’s hard drive. Worms spread by sending copies of themselves to everyone on the user’s list of e-mail addresses.

WWW - See World Wide Web. 

WYSIWYG (pronounced wiz-zy-wig) -  An acronym derived from what you see is what you get. A computer design standard that lets the user see on the screen how a page will look when it is printed.

Zombie - A computer that has been hijacked by a cracker without the owner’s knowledge and used to perform malicious tasks on the Internet.