ByteSmith, Inc.
Information Technology Specialists
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Technology Terms

   A lexicon of technology terminology.


Dictionary

Select a range:

A-B

access time The performance of a hard drive or other storage device - how long it takes to locate a file.
active program or window The application or window at the front (foreground) on the monitor.
alert (dialog box) A message that appears on screen, usually to tell you something went wrong.
alias An nickname which represents an application, file, or folder. For example, a domain name is an alias for an IP address.
analog Not digital. This is data in the form of a continuous flow. A record or a tape is analog. Digital, on the other hand, is in pieces or samples.
ANSI American National Standards Institute. This is the place that sets standards for data communications, like the Internet.
application A computer program. It does things when called upon. A shortened version gave Java its name: applet.
Archie Search tool used to find resources stored on Internet-based FTP servers.
ASCII Pronounced "askee". American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Basically, a standard plain text data format for exchanging information between computers or programs.
ASP Active Server Pages. An invention from Microsoft that runs on their server software.
Asynchronous Transferring data with the help of start and stop bits that indicate the beginning and end of each character being sent.
AVI Audio/Video Interleaved. Microsoft's format for encoding video & audio for digital transmission.
backbone The main thoroughfare of the Internet where all networks come together. It's the spinal cord, so to speak, that connects all of the ribs (networks) together.
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.
bandwidth The carrying capacity of a wire attached from one computer to another. It is usually measured in the amount of bits carried. You know that 28.8 modem you have? It will allow a bandwidth of 28,800 bits per second.
baud This is a measurement of the amount of data that can be transferred in one second. Example: A 14.4 baud modem can transfer 14,400 bits of information in one second.
BBS Bulletin Board Service
binary A basic system of numbering using ones and zeros. Computers only understand binary information.
BIOS Basic Input/Output System. This is the little set of programs that lets all the different parts of the computer talk to each other.
bit The smallest piece of information used by the computer. Derived from "binary digit". In computer language, either a one (1) or a zero (0). One binary digit (1 or 0) *"bit" is derived from the contraction b'it (binary digit) -> 8 bits = one byte.
Bit/s Data transfer is often in terms of the number of these "bits" that can be moved in a second.
bmp It's a bitmap image, up of little dots.
boot To start up a computer.
bps Data transfer is often in terms of the number of these "bits" that can be moved in a second.
browser Software program, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, used for viewing & browsing information on the Internet.
buffer The buffer is a section of the computer where data is stored before being used. This buffering allows time for an application to fix differences in bit rates among other things. It creates a space of time for compensation.
bug A programming error that causes a program to behave in an unexpected way.
burst Most people know this from "pipeline burst cache." Burst means to send data in a large package all at one time rather than small bits over a longer time.
bus An electronic pathway (wire) through which data is transmitted between components in a computer.
byte A unit of space. It is also used to represent a series of seven or eight ASCII code digits representing a character. A piece of computer information made up of eight bits.