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Glossary


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abacusA digital computer that originated thousands of years ago. Calculations are performed by using sliding beads to represent figures and by following rules to perform mathematical operations.
absolute cell reference A spreadsheet cell reference that doesn't adjust when you copy or move a formula.
absolute hyperlink In an HTML document, a hyperlink that fully and precisely specifies the file location of the referenced remote document. An absolute link specifies the protocol (such as http://or ftp://), as well as the name of the computer and the location of the referenced file in the computer's directory structure.
Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) A port specification developed by Intel Corporation to support high-speed, high-resolution graphics, including 3D graphics.
acceleratorA circuit board that speeds up some function of your computer.
acceptable use policy (AUP) An Internet _service provider (ISP) policy that indicates which types of uses are permissible.
acceptance testing In information systems development, the examination of programs by users. See also application testing.
access speed The amount of time that lapses between a request for information from memory and the delivery of the information. Also called access time.
access time See access speed.
accessible software In all applications, Alignment defines the positioning of text within documents: flush left/flush right, left aligned, right aligned, and centered with the margin.
Allow Zero Length propertySoftware that is designed to be easily and conveniently used by people with limited vision, hearing, or dexterity.
accountOn a multiuser computer system, a user information profile that includes the user's name, password, and home directory location. Unlike a profile on a consumer-oriented operating system, an account provides basic security features that prevent users from accessing or overwriting each others' files.
actionA special type of Internet chat group message that describes a behavior.
active cell In a spreadsheet program, the cell in which the cell pointer is located. The contents of the active cell are displayed in the formula bar.
active-matrix LCD A full-color liquid crystal display (LCD) in which each of the screen's pixels is controlled by its own transistor. Active- matrix displays offer a higher resolution, contrast, and vertical refresh rate than less expensive passive-matrix displays. Also called thin film transistor (TFT).
active monitoring In online banking, a security measure in which a security team constantly monitors the system that holds account information for the telltale signs of unauthorized access.
ActiveX control A small program that can be downloaded from a Web page and used to add functionality to a Web browser. ActiveX controls require Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Internet Explorer and are usually written in Visual Basic (VB).
activity light A light-emitting diode (LED) that illuminates when a disk drive is sending or receiving data.
ad network On the World Wide Web, a commercial service that uses cookies to track a user's movements and browsing preferences through all of the network's participating sites. This information is used to present the user with advertisements tailored to the user's interest.
adapter1. A circuit board that plugs into an expansion slot in a computer, giving the computer additional capabilities. Synonymous with card. Popular adapters for personal computers include video adapters that produce video output, memory expansion boards, internal modems, and sound boards. 2. A transformer that enables a computer or peripheral to work with line voltage that differs from its electrical requirements.
Add or Remove Programs An icon in a computer operating system's control panel that allows for proper installation and uninstallation of programs.
advanced intelligent tape (AIT) An advanced, high-end tape backup standard that is used by organizations to back up the entire contents of a file server or other mission-critical systems.
Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) See Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE).
adwareA type of Internet spyware created by advertising agencies to collect information about computer users' Internet habits.
agentAn automatic program that is designed to operate on the user's behalf, performing a specific function in the background. When the agent has achieved its goal, it reports to the user.
alert box In a graphical user interface (GUI), a dialog box that appears on-screen to either warn you that the command you've given may result in lost work or other errors, or that explains why an action can't be completed.
algorithmA mathematical or logical procedure for solving a problem.
algorithmic art In computer art, the use of an unfolding mathematical procedure as a means of artistic expression.
aliasA secondary or symbolic name for a computer user or group of users. Group aliases provide a handy way to send e-mail to two or more people simultaneously.
all-in-one computers A system unit that contains all of the computer's components, including input components and the display.
alphabetic check Ensures that only alphabetical data (the letters of the alphabet) are entered into a field.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) A standard computer character set consisting of 96 uppercase and lowercase letters along with 32 nonprinting control characters. Developed in 1963, ASCII was the first computer industry standard.
analogBased on continuously varying values or voltages. Analog techniques are used for the reproduction of music in standard LP records and audio cassettes. See digital.
analog computerA machine that measures an ongoing process using a continuously variable scale. See digital computer.
Analytical EngineA device planned by Charles Babbage in the nineteenth century. Never completed, this device would have been a full modern computer with an IPOS cycle and punched cards for data input.
analytical graphicsAs opposed to presentation graphics, a type of graphics application in which the user attempts to display all or most of the data so that the underlying patterns become visible.
anchor text In the World Wide Web, the on- screen text of a hyperlink.
animationA method of creating the illusion of movement by saving a series of images that show slight changes in the position of the displayed objects, and then displaying these images in sequence fast enough that the eye perceives smooth movement.
anonymityOn the Internet, the ability to post a message or visit Web sites without divulging one's identity. Anonymity is much more difficult to obtain than most Internet users realize.
anonymous FTP An Internet service that enables you to contact a distant computer system to which you have no access rights, log on to its public directories, and transfer files from that computer to your own.
antivirus program A utility that checks for and removes computer viruses from memory and disks.
applet 1. A small- to medium-sized computer program that provides a specific function, such as emulating a calculator. 2. In Java, a mini- program embedded in a Web document that, when downloaded, is executed by the browser. Both leading browsers (Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer) can execute Java applets.
AppleTalkA networking protocol developed by Apple Computer that enables Apple Macintosh computers to connect by LocalTalk, EtherTalk, and token ring networks.
application file See program file.
application software Programs that enable you to do something useful with the computer, such as writing or accounting (as opposed to utilities, which are programs that help you maintain the computer).
application testing In information systems development, the examination of programs individually, and then further examination of the programs as they function together.
application workspace The area within an application window that displays the document.
archival backup A procedure in which a backup utility backs up all files on the hard disk by copying them to floppy disks, tape, or some other backup medium. See incremental backup.
archival storage See offline storage.
archiveA file that contains two or more files that have been stored together for convenient archiving or network transmission.
area chart See pie chart.
argument set In spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, the part of a mathematical function that contains its passable parameters or variables.
arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) The portion of the central processing unit (CPU) that makes all the decisions for the microprocessor, based on the mathematical computations and logic functions that it performs.
arithmetic operations One of the two groups of operations performed by the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU). The arithmetic operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
arithmetic operators A set of symbols corresponding to the standard operations of grade-school arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
ARPANETAn acronym for the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, from which the Internet developed.
arrow keys See cursor-movement keys.
articleIn Usenet, a message that begins discussion on a new subject. Compare follow- up article.
artificial intelligence (AI) A computer science field that tries to improve computers by endowing them with some of the characteristics associated with human intelligence, such as the capability to understand natural language and to reason under conditions of uncertainty.
artificial system A collection of components constructed by people and organized into a functioning whole to accomplish a goal.
aspect ratio In computer graphics, the ratio between an image's horizontal and vertical dimensions.
assemblerA program that transforms source code in assembly language into machine language readable by a computer.
assembly language A low-level programming language in which each program statement corresponds to an instruction that the microprocessor can carry out.
assistive technology A technology that helps people with limited vision, hearing, or dexterity use the computer comfortably and productively.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) A type of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service for Internet access. ADSL enables download speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps.
asynchronous Not kept in time (synchrony) by the pulses of a system clock or some other timing device.
asynchronous communication A method of data communication in which the transmission of bits of data isn't synchronized by a clock signal, but instead is accomplished by sending bits one after another, with a start bit and a stop bit to mark the beginning and end, respectively, of each data unit.
AT form factor A system unit case design that was introduced with IBM's Personal Computer AT (short for Advanced Technology).
ATA (AT attachment) A hard disk interface originally designed by IBM for its 1984 Personal Computer AT. More recent versions, such as ATA/66 and Ultra ATA (also called Ultra DMA) offer performance approaching that of SCSI hard drives.
ATA-2 Current standard IDE/ATA interface for entry-level devices.
ATA-5 Newest version of the IDE/ATA standard.
attachmentA binary file, such as a program or a compressed word processing document, that has been attached to an e-mail message.
attributeIn HTML, an optional or required setting that controls specific characteristics of an element and enables authors to specify values for these characteristics.
ATX form factor Developed by Intel, the ATX form factor provides better accessibility to system components, better cooling, more full- sized expansion slots, and a more convenient layout for system upgrades.
Audio output A type of computer output that consists of sound, music, or synthesized speech.
authenticationIn computer security, a method of preventing unauthorized users from accessing a computer system, usually by requesting a password.
authoring tools In multimedia, application programs that enable the user to blend audio files, video, and animation with text and traditional graphics.
autocorrectIn a word processing program, a feature that automatically corrects common typographical errors as you type.
automated teller machine (ATM) A computer- based kiosk that provides bank customers with 24-hour access to their funds.
automaticAble to run without human intervention.
automatic guided vehicle (AGV) In computer- integrated manufacturing, a small automated machine that provides supplies where they are needed.
automationThe replacement of human workers by machines.
autorepeatA keyboard function that causes a character to repeat if you hold down the key.
autosaveA software feature that backs up open documents at a user-specified interval.
auxiliary storage See storage.
avatarIn a graphical MUD, a character that represents the person who is controlling the avatar's appearance, movement, and interaction with other characters.

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back door A secret decoding mechanism that enables investigators to decrypt messages without first having to obtain a private key.
backbone In a wide area network (WAN), such as the Internet, a high-speed, high-capacity medium that transfers data over hundreds or thousands of miles. A variety of physical media are used for backbone services, including microwave relay, satellites, and dedicated telephone lines.
background application In a multitasking operating system, any inactive application. Compare foreground application.
background color In HTML, the color assigned to the background of a Web page.
background graphic In HTML, a graphic displayed as a Web page's background. Most browsers automatically repeat (tile) a background graphic so that the image fills the entire page, even if the browser window is enlarged.
backupA file (or group of files) containing copies of important data. These files may be specially formatted so that, should the need arise, they can be used to restore the contents of the hard disk in the event of a hard disk failure.
backup file A copy of a file created as a precaution in case anything happens to the original.
backup utility A program that copies data from a secondary storage device (most commonly a hard disk) to a backup medium, such as a tape cartridge.
bad sector In magnetic storage media such as hard drives, a sector of the disk's surface that is physically damaged to the point that it can no longer store data safely.
bandwidthThe amount of data that can be transmitted through a given communications channel, such as a computer network.
banner ad On the World Wide Web, a paid advertisement—often rectangular in shape, like a banner—that contains a hyperlink to the advertiser's page.
bar chart In presentation graphics, a graph with horizontal or vertical bars (rectangles) commonly used to show the values of the items being compared.
bar code A binary coding system using bars of varying thickness or position that provide information that can be scanned into a computer.
bar code reader An input device that scans bar codes and, with special software, converts the bar code into readable data.
baseline The line on which the base (but not the extender, if any) of each character is positioned. An extender is the portion of certain letters (such as p and y) that extend below the baseline.
BASICAcronym for Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. An easy-to-use high-level programming language developed in 1964 for instruction.
basic input/output system (BIOS) Read-only memory (ROM) built into the computer's memory that contains the instructions needed to start the computer and work with input and output devices.
Basic Rate Interface (BRI) In ISDN, the basic digital telephone and data service that is designed for residences. BRI offers two 56 Kbps or 64 Kbps channels for voice, graphics, and data, plus one 16,000 bps channel for signaling purposes.
batch processing A mode of computer operation in which program instructions are executed one after the other without user intervention. Batch processing uses computer resources efficiently but is less convenient than interactive processing, in which you see the results of your commands on-screen so that you can correct errors and make necessary adjustments before completing the operation.
benchmarkA standard measurement used to test the performance of different brands of equipment.
beta version In software testing, a preliminary version of a program that is widely distributed before commercial release to users who test the program by operating it under realistic conditions.
binary digit See bit.
binary file A file containing data or program instructions in a computer-readable format that is unreadable by humans. The opposite of a binary file is an ASCII file.
binary numbers A number system with a base (radix) of 2, unlike the number systems most of us use, which have bases of 10 (decimal numbers), 12 (feet and inches), and 60 (time). Binary numbers are preferred for computers for precision and economy. Building an electronic circuit that can detect the difference between two states (high current and low current, or 0 and 1) is easy and inexpensive; building a circuit that detects the difference among 10 states (0 through 9) is much more difficult and expensive. The word bit derives from the phrase binary digit.
bioinformaticsA field that develops database software for storing genetic information and making it available for widespread use.
biological feedback device A device that translates eye movements, body movements, and brain waves into computer input.
biometric authentication A method of authentication that requires a biological scan of some sort, such as a retinal scan or voice recognition.
BIOS screen The information seen on the computer screen that provides information about the BIOS software encoded in the computer's ROM.
bitShort for binary digit, the basic unit of information in a binary numbering system.
bit depth In a scanner, the length (expressed in bits) of the storage unit used to store information about the scanned image. The greater the bit depth, the better the scanner's resolution.
bit length In encryption, the length (expressed in bits) of the key used to encode and decode plaintext data. The greater the bit length, the stronger (less breakable) the encryption.
bitmapped graphics Images formed by a pattern of tiny dots, each of which corresponds to a pixel on the computer's display. Also called raster graphics.
bits per second (bps) In asynchronous communication, a measurement of data transmission speed. In personal computing, bps rates frequently are used to measure the performance of modems and serial ports.
biz newsgroups In Usenet, a category of newsgroups devoted to commercial concerns.
block element In HTML, one of two basic types of elements (the other is inline element). A block element starts on a new line and comprises a separate paragraph, or block. Block elements include P (text paragraph), BLOCKQUOTE (indented quotation), and UL (bulleted list).
blue screen of death A feared error message with a blue background that appears when Microsoft Windows NT has encountered an error condition; typically resolved only by system rebooting.
bodyIn HTML, one of two elements that make up an HTML document's global structure. The body contains the text and markup that is visible in a browser window.
body type The font (usually 8- to 12-point) used to set paragraphs of text. The body font is different from the font used to set headings, captions, and other typographical elements.
boldIn character formatting, a character style in which the letters of a font appear thicker and darker than normal.
bookmark A Web browser navigational tool that allows Internet users to tag or mark favorite sites so they can be easily accessed.
Boolean search A database or Web search that uses the logical operators AND, OR, and NOT to specify the logical relationship between search concepts.
bootTo start the computer. See cold boot and warm boot.
boot sector A portion of the computer's hard disk that is reserved for essential programs used when the computer is switched on.
boot sector virus A computer virus that copies itself to the beginning of a hard drive, where it is automatically executed when the computer is turned on.
boot sequence The series of operations that the computer runs through every time the power is switched on or the computer is restarted. See cold boot and warm boot.
bootstrap loader A program stored in the computer's read-only memory (ROM) that enables the computer to begin operating when the power is first switched on.
borderLines that are added to the top, bottom, left, or right side of a paragraph.
bots Miniprograms capable of carrying out a variety of functions on the Internet, such as greeting newcomers to Internet chat groups.
bounce message An e-mail message informing the user that another e-mail message could not be delivered to its intended recipient. The failure may be due to an incorrectly typed e- mail address or to a network problem.
Braille output devices An output device that prints computer output in raised Braille letters, which can be read by people with severely limited or no vision.
branch control structure See selection control structure.
branch prediction A technique used by advanced CPUs to prevent a pipeline stall. The processor tries to predict what is likely to happen.
broadbandA type of data communication in which a technique called multiplexing is used to enable a single transmission line to carry more than one signal.
broadband ISDN (BISDN) A high-bandwidth digital telephone standard for transmitting up to 1.5 Mbps over fiber-optic cables. See Basic Rate Interface and Integrated Services Digital Network.
broken link link On the World Wide Web, a hyperlink that refers to a resource (such as a sound or a Web page) that has been moved or deleted. Synonymous with stale link.
browse view In a database, a way of viewing records one by one.
browserA program that enables the user to navigate the Web. The two leading browsers are Netscape Navigator, part of Netscape Communication's Netscape Communicator package, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. A browser serves as the client for Web and other types of Internet servers.
brute force In programming, a crude technique for solving a difficult problem by repeating a simple procedure many times. Computer spell- checkers use a brute-force technique. They don't really "check spelling"; they merely compare all the words in a document against a dictionary of correctly spelled words.
bubble-jet printer See inkjet printer.
bugA programming error that causes a program or a computer system to perform erratically, produce incorrect results, or crash. The term bug was coined when a real insect was discovered to have fouled up one of the circuits of the first electronic digital computer, the ENIAC. A hardware problem is called a glitch.
buildIn a presentation graphics program, a type of bulleted list in which the bullet items appear one by one. Animation effects enable the new items to slide in from the side.
build-or-buy decision In the development of information systems, the choice of building a new system within the organization or purchasing it from an outside vendor.
built-in function In a spreadsheet program, a complex formula that is automated with a simple command. To add a large column of numbers, for example, you can use the sum function instead of typing each cell address.
bulleted list In Microsoft Word, bulleted lists are useful for listing items or giving instructions.
busA term that describes the pathways that are used to move computer data, especially between peripherals or over a network.
bus mouse A type of mouse that connects to an expansion board mounted on the computer's expansion bus.
bus topology The physical layout of a local area network that does not use a central or host computer. Instead, each node manages part of the network, and information is transmitted directly from one computer to another.
business process reengineering (BPR) The use of information technology to bring about major changes and cost savings in an organization's structure. Also called reengineering.
business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce A type of e-commerce where one business provides another business with the materials and supplies it needs to conduct its operations.
byteEight bits grouped to represent a character (a letter, a number, or a symbol).

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C A high-level programming language developed by Bell Labs in the 1970s. C combines the virtues of high-level programming with the efficiency of assembly language but is somewhat difficult to learn.
C++ A flexible high-level programming language derived from C that supports object-oriented programming but does not require programmers to adhere to the object-oriented model.
cable modem A device that enables a computer to access the Internet by means of a cable TV connection. Some cable modems enable downloading only; you need an analog (POTS) phone line and an analog modem to upload data. The best cable modems enable two-way communications through the cable TV system and do not require a phone line. Cable modems enable Internet access speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps, although most users typically experience slower speeds due to network congestion.
cache memory In Access, the Case statement tests values of a variable as they are input into the program.
cache memory A small unit of ultra-fast memory used to store recently accessed or frequently accessed data, increasing a computer system's overall performance.
calculated field In a database management program, a query that instructs the program to perform an arithmetic operation on the specified data and display the result.
calculatorA device designed to help people solve mathematical problems.
call center A computer-based telephone routing system that automatically connects credit card authorization systems to authorization services.
callback system A method of network control that serves as a deterrent to system sabotage by verifying the user ID, password, and telephone number of the individual trying to access the system.
cancel button In a spreadsheet program, a button positioned near the entry bar that cancels the text inserted in the entry bar area.
Caps Lock A toggle key that switches the keyboard into a mode in which uppercase letters are produced without pressing the Shift key.
car navigation system A computer-based driving accessory that displays digitized maps and tracks the car's location using a satellite- based positioning system.
card reader A device capable of reading information on flash memory cards and transferring it to a computer.
carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) A painful swelling of the tendons and the sheaths around them in the wrist.
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) In Web publishing, a way to specify document formats in which specific formatting attributes (such as alignment, text style, font, and font size) are assigned to specific HTML tags, so that all subsequent uses of the tag in the same page take on the same formats. Like a style sheet in a word processing document, CSS enables a Web designer to make a single change that affects all the text marked with the same tag.
case control structure In structured programming, a logical construction of programming commands that contains a set of possible conditions and instructions that are executed if those conditions are true.
CAT (computerized axial tomography) scanner In health care, a computer-controlled imaging device used to diagnose patients.
category 5 (cat-5) A type of twisted-pair cable used for high-performance digital telephone and computer network wiring.
cathode ray tube (CRT) A vacuum tube that uses an electron gun to emit a beam of electrons that illuminates phosphorus on-screen as the beam sweeps across the screen repeatedly.
Cave Automated Virtual Environment (CAVE) A virtual reality environment that replaces headsets with 3D glasses and uses the walls, ceiling, and floor to display projected three-dimensional images.
CD-R discs Compact disc-recordable storage media that cannot be erased or written over once data has been saved; they're relatively inexpensive.
CD-R drives Compact disc-recordable devices that can read standard CD-ROM discs and write data to CD-R discs.
CD-ROM See compact disc read-only memory.
CD-ROM drive A read-only disk drive that reads data encoded on compact discs and transfers this data to a computer.
CD-ROM jukeboxes Devices that contain as many as 256 CD-ROM drives, providing storage for massive amounts of data.
CD-RW drive A compact disc-rewritable drive that provides full read/write capabilities using erasable CD-RW discs.
CD-RW discs Compact disc-rewritable storage media that allows data that has been saved to be erased or written over. cell 1. In a spreadsheet, a rectangle formed by the intersection of a row and a column in which you enter information in the form of text (a label) or numbers (a value). 2. In telecommunications, a limited geographical area in which a signal can be broadcast.
cell address A In a spreadsheet, a unique identifier associated with each cell.
cell pointer The mouse pointer, when moved across the worksheet, becomes a cell pointer and is shaped like a cross. Use the cell pointer to select one or more cells.
cell reference In a spreadsheet, a way of specifying the value of one cell in another one by entering its cell address.
cell site In a cellular telephone network, an area in which a transmitting station repeats the system's broadcast signals so that the signal remains strong even though the user may move from one cell site to another.
cellular telephone A radio-based telephone system that provides widespread coverage through the use of repeating transmitters placed in zones (called cells). The zones are close enough so that signal strength is maintained throughout the calling area.
centered alignment In word processing, a way of formatting a block of text so that it is centered on the page, leaving both ends unaligned.
central processing unit (CPU) The computer's processing and control circuitry, including the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) and the control unit.
certificate authority (CA) In computer security, a company that verifies the identity of individuals and issues digital certificates attesting to the veracity of this identity.
certificationAn endorsement of professional competence that is awarded on successful completion of a rigorous test.
channel In Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a chat group in which as many as several dozen people carry on a text-based conversation on a specific topic.
character Any letter, number, punctuation mark, or symbol produced on-screen by the press of a key or a key combination.
character code An algorithm used to translate between the numerical language of the computer and characters readable by humans.
character formatting The appearance of text, including character size, typeface, and emphasis.
character set The collection of characters that a given computer is able to process and display on-screen.
charge-coupled device (CCD) A small matrix of light-sensitive elements used in digital cameras and scanners.
chartA graphical representation of data, such as is created by spreadsheet programs.
chart type In a spreadsheet program, a style of chart, such as column chart, bar chart, line chart, or pie chart.
check-screening system A computer system used in point-of-sale (POS) terminals that reads a check's account number and accesses a database of delinquent accounts.
child directory A directory inside another directory.
chipAn integrated circuit (IC) that can emulate thousands or millions of transistors.
chipsetA collection of supporting components that are all designed to work together smoothly on a computer motherboard.
chunksConcise hypertext documents that contain many links to other documents.
circuit switching A type of telecommunications network in which high-speed electronic switches create a direct connection between two communicating devices. The telephone system is a circuit-switching network.
citationIn a word processing document, a reference to a bibliographic item that is referenced within the text. Citation options include footnotes and endnotes.
citation format A set of guidelines for typing footnote or bibliographic information. When you write a paper for a college class, you will be asked to follow a certain citation format.
citing sources Providing enough information about the source of information you are using so that an interested or critical reader can locate this source without difficulty.
classIn object-oriented (OO) programming, a category of objects that performs a certain function. The class defines the properties of an object, including definitions of the object's variables and the procedures that need to be followed to get the object to do something.
clickTo press and release a mouse button quickly.
click-and-mortar In electronic commerce, a retail strategy in which a Web retail site is paired with a chain of local retail stores. Customers prefer this strategy because they can return or exchange unwanted goods more easily. clickstream The trail of links left behind to reach a particular Web site.
client1. In a client/server network, a program that runs on users' computers and enables them to access a certain type of data. 2. On a computer network, a program capable of contacting the server and obtaining needed information.
client program The part of client/server computing that handles interaction with the user and is installed on users' desktop systems. See server program.
client/server A method of organizing software use on a computer network that divides programs into servers (programs that make information available) and clients (programs that enable users to access a certain type of data).
client/server computing A software application design framework for computer networks in which software services are divided into two parts, a client part and a server part.
client/server network A computer network in which some computers are dedicated to function as servers, making information available to client programs running on users' computers.
clip art A collection of graphical images stored on disk and available for use in a page layout or presentation graphics program.
Clip Organizer In Microsoft Office, a repository of clip art and images that can be inserted into a document or presentation.
clipboardA temporary storage location used to hold information after it has been copied or cut. See cut and paste.
clock speed The speed of the internal clock of a microprocessor that sets the pace at which operations proceed in the computer's internal processing circuitry.
clock tick One "beat" of the computer's internal clock.
cloneA functional copy of a hardware device, such as a personal computer. Although clones of Apple Macintosh computers exist, this term almost always refers to clones of IBM computers and their microprocessors. Compare IBM compatible.
closeTo remove a window from the desktop. With some applications, closing the last window terminates the application.
close tag In HTML, a tag that's used to indicate where the heading text stops.
closed architecture See proprietary architecture.
cluster On a magnetic disk, a storage unit that consists of two or more sectors.
coaxial cable A high-bandwidth connecting cable in which an insulated wire runs through the middle of the cable.
COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) An early, high-level programming language for business applications.
code of conduct A set of ethical principles developed by a professional association, such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
code-and-fix In programming, an early method of program development in which the programmer first created a program, and then tried to correct its shortcomings.
codec Short for compression/decompression standard. A standard for compressing and decompressing video information to reduce the size of digitized multimedia files. Popular codecs include MPEG (an acronym for Motion Picture Experts Group), Apple's QuickTime, and Microsoft's AVI.
cold boot A system start that involves powering up the computer. Compare warm boot.
collaboratoryA laboratory that is made accessible to distant researchers by means of the Internet.
collisionIn local area networks (LANs), a garbled transmission that results when two or more workstations transmit to the same network cable at exactly the same time. Networks have means of preventing collisions.
color depth The number of colors that can be displayed on a monitor at one time.
color laser printer A nonimpact high- resolution printer capable of printing in color.
columnIn a spreadsheet, a block of cells going down the screen.
column chart In presentation graphics, a graph with vertical columns. Column graphs are commonly used to show the values of items as they vary at precise intervals over a period of time.
commandA user-initiated instruction that tells a program which task to perform.
command line An area where commands are typed in a command-line user interface.
command-line user interface In an operating system, a variety of user interface that requires users to type commands one line at a time.
commercial software Copyrighted software that must be paid for before it can be used.
common carrier A public telephone or data communications utility.
common carrier immunity A basic principle of telecommunications law that absolves telecommunications carriers of responsibility for any legal or criminal liability resulting from messages transmitted by their networks.
Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) In object-oriented (OO) programming, a leading standard that defines how objects can communicate with each other across a network.
communication device Any hardware device that is capable of moving data into or out of the computer.
compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) A standard for storing read-only computer data on optical compact discs (CDs), which can be read by CD-ROM drives.
compact disc-recordable (CD-R) A "write- once" optical storage technology that uses a CD-R drive to record data on CD-R discs. Once you've recorded on the disc, you can't erase the stored data or write over the disc again. You can play the recorded CD on most CD-ROM drives.
compact disc-rewritable (CD-RW) A read/write optical storage technology that uses a CD- R drive to record data on CD-RW discs. You can erase the recorded data and write new data as you please. Most CD-ROM drives can read the recorded data. CD-RW drives can also write to CD-R discs, but you can write to CD-R discs only once.
CompactFlashA popular flash memory storage device that can store up to 128 MB of digital camera images.
compatibleThe capability to function with or substitute for a given make and model of computer, device, or program.
compatible computers Computer systems capable of using the same programs and peripherals. compiler A program that translates source code in a third-generation programming language into machine code readable by a computer.
complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) A type of semiconductor often used in computers for battery-powered circuits that store the date, time, and system configuration information.
completeness check Determines whether a required field has been left empty. If so, the database prompts the user to fill in the needed data.
complex instruction set computer (CISC) A type of central processing unit that can recognize as many as 100 or more instructions and carry out most computations directly.
Component Object Model (COM) In object- oriented (OO) programming, a standard developed by Microsoft Corporation that is used to define how objects communicate with each other over networks.
component reusability In programming, the capability to create a program module that can perform a specific task and be used in another program with little or no modification.
computerA machine that can physically represent data, process this data by following a set of instructions, store the results of the processing, and display the results so that people can use them.
computer addiction A psychological disorder characterized by compulsive and prolonged computer usage.
computer crimes Actions that violate state or federal laws.
computer ethics A new branch of philosophy dealing with computing-related moral dilemmas.
computer fluency A high level of computer conceptual knowledge and skills sufficient to enable a user to apply the computer creatively in novel situations.
computer information system (CIS) A computer system in which all components are designed to work together.
computer literacy A standard of knowledge and skills regarding computers that is sufficient to prepare an individual for working and living in a computerized society.
computer literate Used to describe persons who are skilled computer and Internet users.
computer network A collection of computers that have been connected together so they can exchange data.
computer science (CS) A scientific discipline that focuses on the theoretical aspects of improving computers and computer software.
computer security risk Any event, action, or situation—intentional or not—that could lead to the loss or destruction of computer systems or the data they contain.
computer system A collection of related computer components that have all been designed to work smoothly together.
computer virus A program, designed as a prank or as sabotage, that replicates itself by attaching to other programs and carrying out unwanted and sometimes dangerous operations.
computer virus author A programmer who creates computer viruses to vandalize computer systems.
computer vision syndrome (CVS) An eyesight disorder, such as temporary nearsightedness and blurred vision, that results from focusing closely on a computer screen for long periods of time.
computer-aided design (CAD) An application that enables engineers and architects to design parts and structures. The user can rotate the design in three dimensions and zoom in for a more detailed look. Also see computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).
computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) Software used to drive computer-controlled manufacturing equipment. CAM systems often use output from computer-aided design applications (CAD).
computer-aided production engineering (CAPE) See virtual manufacturing.
computer-aided software engineering (CASE) Software that provides tools to help with every phase of systems development and enables developers to create data flow diagrams, data dictionary entries, and structure charts.
computer-assisted instruction (CAI) The use of computers to implement programmed instruction. More broadly, CAI describes any use of computers in education.
computer-based education (CBE) A generic term that describes any use of computers for educational purposes.
computer-based training (CBT) The use of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) programs to educate adults.
computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) The integration of computer technology with manufacturing processes.
computerized information system (CIS) A computer-based information system, composed of data, hardware, software, trained personnel, and procedures, that provides essential services to organizations; collects mission-critical data, processes this data, stores the data and the results of processing, and disseminates information throughout the organization.
computer-managed instruction (CMI) The use of computers to help instructors manage administrative teaching tasks, such as tracking grades.
computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) A collection of applications that supports the information needs of workgroups. These applications include e-mail, videoconferencing, and group scheduling systems.
condensed spacing In character formatting, a character style in which characters are squeezed together more tightly than normal.
conditional control structure See selection control structure.
configuration file A file that stores the choices you make when you install a program so that these choices are available each time the program starts.
confirmationA message originated by a program that verifies that a user command has been completed successfully.
congestionIn a packet switching network, a performance interruption that occurs when a segment of the network experiences overload.
congestion management system In transportation engineering, a computer-based system that reduces traffic congestion by means of traffic light synchronization and other techniques.
connectionlessNot directly connected to another computer on the network. A connectionless network protocol enables two networked computers to exchange data without requiring an active connection to exist between them.
connectorA component that enables users or technicians to connect a cable securely to the computer's case. A male connector contains pins or plugs that fit into the corresponding female connector.
consistency check Examines the data entered into two different fields to determine whether an error has been made.
constructivism A school reform movement that places emphasis on students constructing knowledge for themselves rather than learning it by rote.
contact manager A program that helps you keep track of contacts by maintaining a list of addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers. Information is also maintained through the use of a notepad, automatic telephone dialing with a modem, and search and sort capabilities.
contentIn HTML, the text of a document.
content model In HTML, a specification of the type of information that can be placed between the start and end tags of an element.
contentionIn a computer network, a problem that arises when two or more computers try to access the network at the same time. Contention can result in collisions, which can destroy data.
contention management In a computer network, the use of one of several techniques for managing contention and preventing collisions.
context menu See popup menu.
continuous speech recognition The decoding of continuous human speech (without artificial pauses) into transcribed text by means of a computer program.
control method In an information system, a technique used to reduce the flow of information to people who do not need it (such as routing information so that it goes to only those people who really need to see the information).
control structure In structured programming, a logical element that governs program instruction execution.
control unit A component of the central processing unit (CPU) that obtains program instructions and sends signals to carry out those instructions.
conversion utility A special translation program that enables a program to read and create files in formats other than those the program normally creates.
cookie A text file that is deposited on a Web user's computer system, without the user's knowledge or consent, that may contain identifying information. This information is used for a variety of purposes, such as retaining the user's preferences or compiling information about the user's Web browsing behavior.
cooling fan A part of the system unit that prevents components from being damaged by heat.
cooperative multitasking In operating systems, a method of running more than one application at a time. If the active application crashes, however, the whole system must be restarted.
copper wire In telecommunications, a type of network cabling that uses strands of copper coated with insulation.
copy In the editing process, a command that enables the user to duplicate selected text, store this text in a temporary storage location called the clipboard, and insert (paste) the text in a new location.
copy protected Secured against unauthorized copying by some means, such as the inclusion of a necessary piece of hardware.
copyright infringement The act of using material from a copyrighted source without getting permission to do so.
copyright management infrastructure (CMI) Enables vendors of copyrighted digital media to track and control the use and copying of their products after consumers purchase them.
copyright protection scheme A method used by software manufacturers to ensure that users cannot produce unauthorized copies of copyrighted software.
copyrighted Protected legally against copying or modification without permission.
cordless keyboard A type of keyboard that connects to the computer by means of an infrared port.
cordless mice A type of mouse that connects to the computer by means of an infrared port.
corporate espionage The unauthorized access of corporate information, usually to the benefit of one of the corporation's competitors.
cost/benefit analysis An examination of the losses and gains, both tangible and intangible, related to a project.
crackerA computer user obsessed with gaining entry into highly secure computer systems.
crash An abnormal termination of program execution.
credit card authorization A system used in point-of-sale (POS) terminals that connects to an authorization service through a call center each time a credit card purchase is made.
critical thinking The capacity to evaluate the quality of information.
cross-functional team A method of designing products in which people who were formerly separated, such as engineering and finance professionals, work together in a team from the beginning of a project.
cross-platform network A computer network that includes more than one type or brand of hardware and operating system. In many colleges and universities, for example, the campus local area network includes Macintoshes, UNIX computers, and Windows PCs.
cross-platform programming language A programming language that can create programs capable of running on many different types of computers.
cross-platform standard A standard that assures interoperability on two or more brands or types of computers or computer operating systems.
cryptanalysisCode breaking.
cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) An injury involving damage to sensitive nerve tissue due to motions repeated thousands of times daily (such as mouse movements or keystrokes). Also called repetitive stress injury (RSI).
cursor A flashing bar, an underline character, or a box that indicates where keystrokes will appear when typed. Also called insertion point.
cursor-movement keys A set of keys on the keyboard that move the location of the cursor on the screen. The numeric keypad can also move the cursor when in the appropriate mode. Also called arrow keys.
custom software Application software designed for a company by a professional programmer or programming team. Custom software is usually very expensive.
cut and paste An editing operation in which characters or graphics are copied into a temporary storage location (called the clipboard) and then inserted somewhere else.
cybercrimeCrime carried out by means of the Internet.
cybergangA group of computer users obsessed with gaining entry into highly secure computer systems.
cyberlawA new legal field designed to track developments in cybercrime.
cyberphobiaAn exaggerated fear of computing that leads people to avoid computers and may result in physical symptoms.
cyberstalkingA form of harassment in which an individual is repeatedly subjected to unwanted electronic mail or advances in chat rooms.
cylinderA single track location on all the platters of a hard disk. See track and platter.

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dataThe raw material of computing: unorganized information represented for computer processing.
Data Access Page In the Microsoft Access database management system, the object used to post data to the Web.
data archiving The process of transferring infrequently used data to backup devices, where the data will be accessible should the need arise.
data backup The process of making copies of data so that it can be restored in the event of a catastrophic system failure, such as the loss of a hard disk drive.
data bus A high-speed freeway of parallel connections that enables the CPU to communicate at high speeds with memory.
data compression The reduction of a file's size so that the file can be stored without taking up as much storage space and can be transferred more quickly over a computer network. Two types of compression are lossless compression (the compressed file can be decompressed without losing any original information) and lossy compression (some of the original information is permanently removed).
data dependency A microprocessor performance problem in which a CPU is slowed in its functioning by the need to wait for the results of instructions before moving on to process the next ones.
data dictionary In information systems development, a collection of definitions of all data types that may be input into the system, including field name, data types, and validation settings.
data diddling A computer crime in which data is modified to conceal theft or embezzlement.
Data Encryption Standard (DES) A commonly used symmetric key encryption developed by U.S. security agencies.
data file A named unit of information storage that contains data rather than program instructions.
data flow diagram A graphical representation of the flow of data through an information system.
data glove A device that translates hand and arm movements into computer input.
data independence In a database, the storage of data in such a way that it is not locked into use by a particular application.
data integrity In a database, the validity of the stored data; specifically, its freedom from error due to improper data entry, hardware malfunctions, or transmission errors.
data mart A large database that contains all the data used by one of the divisions of an organization.
data mining The analysis of data stored in data warehouses to search for previously unknown patterns.
data processing A professional field that focuses on the use of computers to create transaction processing systems for businesses.
data projector An output device that projects a computer's video output onto a large screen so that an audience can see it.
data redundancy In a database, a design error in which the same data appears more than once, creating opportunities for discrepant data entry and increasing the chance that the data will be processed incorrectly.
data storage hierarchyIn data processing, a means of conceptualizing storage that envisions a scale ranging from the smallest unit of data (the bit) to the largest (the file).
data transfer rate 1. In secondary storage devices, the maximum number of bits per second that can be sent from the hard disk to the computer. The rate is determined by the drive interface. 2. The speed, expressed in bits per second (bps), at which a modem can transfer, or is transferring, data over a telephone line.
data type In a database or spreadsheet program, a particular type of information, such as a date, a time, or a name.
data validation In a database, a method of increasing the validity of data by defining acceptable input ranges for each field in the record.
data warehouse A very large database, containing as many as a trillion data records, that stores all of a firm's data and makes this data available for exploratory analysis (called data mining).
Docked toolbar A docked toolbar is any toolbar that has been placed along the edge of the application window. A docked toolbar can be placed on the top, bottom, right, or left edge of the application window.
databaseA collection of information stored in an organized way.
database file A file containing data that has been stored in the proprietary file format of a database program.
database management system (DBMS) An application that enables users to create databases that contain links from several files. Database management systems are usually more expensive than file management programs.
database object In Microsoft Access, a tool for designing and using database components (including tables, forms, and queries).
database program An application that stores data so that needed information can be quickly located, organized, and displayed.
database server In a client/server computing network, a program that makes the information stored in databases available to two or more authorized users.
database vendor 1. A company that compiles information into large databases. 2. A company that creates and sells database software.
datasheet view In Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel, a data viewing option that enables the user to view the numerical data underlying a chart or a table.
date field In a database, a space that accepts only date information.
daughterboard An auxiliary circuit board that is designed to mount on the surface of a motherboard.
dead key A keyboard shortcut that adds a diacritical mark to the next letter you type.
debugging In programming, the process of finding and correcting errors, or bugs, in the source code of a computer program.
decision support system (DSS) A program that helps management analyze data to make decisions on semistructured problems.
declarative language A language that can be used to identify the components of a text. Synonymous with markup language.
decode One of four basic operations carried out by the control unit of a microprocessor. The decode operation figures out what a program instruction is telling the computer to do.
decrement (v.) To decrease. (n.) A specified unit by which a quantity should be decreased.
defamation An unfounded attack on the character or reputation of an individual or company.
default In a computer program, a fallback setting or configuration value that is used unless the user specifically chooses a different one.
default folder In e-mail, a folder that appears automatically when you set up your e-mail account and cannot be deleted. The inbox folder, sent mail folder, and deleted mail folder are all default folders.
default start page The Web document that appears when you start your Web browser or click the Home button. Most Web browsers are set up to display the browser company's home page, but you can easily change this setting so that the browser displays a more useful default home page.
default user interface In an operating system, the user interface (the means of interacting with the user) that appears automatically, based on preset options in the program. Some operating systems enable users to choose more than one user interface.
deliverable In the development of an information system, the outcome of a particular phase of the systems development life cycle (SDLC).
Delphi An object-oriented programming compiler based on Pascal. Although Delphi is similar to Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB), it has not been able to match Visual Basic's success.
demodulation In telecommunications, the process of receiving and transforming an analog signal into its digital equivalent so that a computer can use the information.
demote In an outlining utility, to lower the status of a heading (for example, by moving it from II to B).
denial of service (DoS) attack A form of network vandalism that attempts to make a service unavailable to other users, generally by flooding the service with meaningless data. Also called syn flooding.
deregulation A type of legislative reform in which government protections or regulations are removed in an effort to spur competition.
desktop computer A personal computer designed for an individual's use. Desktop computers are increasingly used to gain access to the resources of computer networks.
desktop environment A user interface that simulates a knowledge worker's desktop by depicting computer resources as if they were files and folders.
desktop publishing (DTP) The combination of text, graphics, and advanced formatting to create a visually appealing document.
device driver A program file that contains specific information needed by the operating system so that a specific brand or model of device will function.
diacritical mark A mark added to a character in a language other than English, such as an accent, tilde, or umlaut.
dialog box In a graphical user interface (GUI), an on-screen message box used to request information from the user.
Difference Engine A clockwork calculating machine created by Charles Babbage in the nineteenth century and capable of solving equations and printing tables. Technology at the time had not advanced enough to produce this invention.
digital A form of representation in which distinct objects, or digits, are used to stand for something in the real world, such as temperature or time, so that counting can be performed precisely.
digital audio tape (DAT) A magnetic tape backup medium that offers data backup capabilities at relatively low cost.
digital camera A camera that records an image by means of a digital imaging system, such as a charged-coupled device (CCD), and stores the image in memory or on a disk.
digital certificate A form of digital ID used to obtain access to a computer system or prove one's identity while shopping on the Web. Certificates are issued by independent, third-party organizations called certificate authorities (CA).
digital computer A machine that represents data by means of an easily identified symbol, or digit. See analog computer.
digital data storage (DDS) A digital audio tape (DAT) storage medium that stores up to 40 GB of backup data on a single cartridge.
Digital Display Working Group (DDWG) An industry association working to define digital video output.
digital light processing (DLP) projector A computer projection device that employs millions of microscopic mirrors, embedded in a microchip, to produce a brilliant, sharp image.
digital linear tape (DLT) A tape backup medium that offers faster data transfer rates and more storage capacity than quarter-inch cartridge (QIC) or digital audio tape (DAT) drives, at a significantly higher cost.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) A 1998 law that imposes stiff penalties for anyone convicted of disclosing information about how a copyright management infrastructure (CMI) works.
digital rights A type of intellectual property right that gives the holder the lawful ability to sell digital reproductions of a work.
digital signatures A technique used to guarantee that a message has not been tampered with.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) A general term for several technologies that enable high-speed Internet access through twisted-pair telephone lines. Also called xDSL. See Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL).
digital video Digital technologies for capturing and displaying still photography and full-motion images.
digital video camera Camera that uses digital rather than analog technologies to store recorded video images.
digital video disc (DVD) The newest optical disc format, DVD is capable of storing an entire digitized movie. DVD discs are designed to work with DVD video players and televisions.
digital video disc-RAM (DVD-RAM) ) A digital video disc (DVD) format that enables users to record up to 2.6 GB of data.
digital video disc-ROM (DVD-ROM) ) A digital optical disc format capable of storing up to 17 GB on a single disc, enough for a feature-length movie. DVD is designed to be used with a video player and a television. DVD discs can be read also by DVD-ROM drives.
Digital Video Interface (DVI) The standard created by the Digital Display Working Group that provides connections for LCD and other flat panel devices.
digitizing tablet In computer-aided graphics, a peripheral device used with a pointing device to convert hand-drawn graphics into data that a computer can process.
direct access file In business data processing, a type of data file in which the computer can gain direct and immediate access to a particular unit of storage, without having to go through a sequence of data.
Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) A consumer satellite technology that offers cable channels and one-way Internet access. To use DBS for an Internet connection, a modem and phone line are required to upload data.
direct conversion In the development of an information system, the termination of the current system and the immediate institution of the new system throughout the whole organization.
direct memory access (DMA) channels Set of circuits that enable peripheral devices to access the computer's main memory (RAM) directly, without having to go through the CPU.
directory A logical storage unit, often represented as a folder, that enables computer users to group files in named, hierarchically organized folders and subfolders. In magnetic and optical disks, a file that contains a list of all the files contained on the disk and information about each file.
disaster recovery plan A written plan, with detailed instructions, specifying an alternative computing facility to use for emergency processing until a destroyed computer can be replaced.
discrete speech recognition A speech recognition technology that is able to recognize human speech only when the speaker pauses between words.
disgruntled employee A current or former employee who has real or imagined grievances. Most computer crime and sabotage stems from disgruntled employees and embezzlers rather than external intruders.
disintermediation The process of removing an intermediary, such as a car salesperson, by providing a customer with direct access to rich information and warehouse-size selection and stock.
disc A portable storage optical media, such as CD-ROM.
disk A portable storage magnetic media, such as floppy disks, that provides personal computer users with convenient, near-online storage.
disk cache A small amount of memory (up to 512 KB), usually built into the electronics of a disk drive, used to store frequently accessed data. Disk caches can significantly improve the performance of a disk drive.
disk cartridge A removable cartridge containing one or more rigid disks similar to those found in hard disks.
disk cleanup utility A utility program that removes unneeded temporary files.
disk drive A secondary storage mechanism that stores and retrieves information on a disk by using a read/write head. Disk drives are random-access devices.
disk scanner A utility program that can detect and resolve a variety of physical and logical problems related to file storage.
diskette See disk.
display The visual output of a computer, usually portrayed by a monitor or a liquid crystal display (LCD).
display adapter See video adapter.
display type In word processing or desktop publishing, the typeface or font used for titles and heading text. Sans serif fonts are usually chosen for display type.
distance learning The use of telecommunications (and increasingly the Internet) to provide educational outreach programs for students at remote locations.
distributed hypermedia system A network- based content development system in which individuals connected to the network can each make a small contribution by developing content related to their area of expertise. The Web is a distributed hypermedia system.
DMA conflict A common cause of system instability that was caused when users inadvertently configured peripherals so that they competed for the same DMA channel. Occurred before plug-and-play peripherals came into use.
DNS server See domain name server.
document A file created with an application program, such as a word processing or spreadsheet program.
document formatting In a word processing document, options that alter the appearance of the entire document, such as orientation and paper size.
document map In a word processing program, an on-screen window that provides a visual guide to the document's overall organization.
documentation In information systems development, the recording of all information pertinent to the development of an information system, usually in a project notebook.
document-centric In a software suite, a user interface concept in which what counts is the document the user is creating rather than the software being used to create a portion of the document. Menus and toolbars dynamically and automatically change to those relevant to the type of data being edited.
domain In a computer network, a group of computers that are administered as a unit. Network administrators are responsible for all the computers in their domains. On the Internet, this term refers to all the computers that are collectively addressable within one of the four parts of an IP address. For example, the first part of an IP address specifies the number of a computer network. All the computers within this network are part of the same domain.
domain name On the Internet, a readable computer address (such as www.microsoft.com) that identifies the location of a computer on the network.
domain name registration On the Internet, a process by which individuals and companies can obtain a domain name (such as www.c34.org) and link this name to a specific Internet address (IP address).
domain name server An Internet server program that maintains a table showing the current IP addresses assigned to domain names. Also called DNS server or name server.
Domain Name System (DNS) The conceptual system, standards, and names that make up the hierarchical organization of the Internet into named domains.
dongle A small peripheral that must be connected to a user's computer for the particular copy-protected program to function.
dot-com The universe of Internet sites, especially those doing electronic commerce, with the suffix com appended to their names.
dot pitch On a monitor, the space (measured in millimeters) between each physical dot on the screen.
dot-matrix printer An impact printer that forms text and graphic images by hammering the ends of pins against a ribbon in a pattern (matrix) of dots. Dot-matrix printers produce near-letter quality printouts.
double data rate (DDR) SDRAM A type of SDRAM that can both send and receive data within a single clock cycle.
double-click To press and release a mouse button twice quickly.
double-density (DD) A floppy disk format that offers up to 800 KB of storage.
download To transfer a file from another computer to your computer by means of a modem and a telephone line. See upload.
downsizing In corporate management, a cost- reduction strategy involving layoffs to make a firm leaner and more competitive. Downsizing often accompanies technology-driven restructuring that theoretically enables fewer employees to do the same or more work.
downwardly compatible Capable of running without modification when using earlier computer components or files created with earlier software versions.
drag To move the mouse while holding down a mouse button.
drag handle In a graphics program, a small rectangular mark that appears on an image's border that enables the user to drag, scale, or size the graphic image.
drill-down A technique used by managers to view information in a data warehouse. By drilling down to lower levels of the database, the manager can focus on sales regions, offices, and then individual salespeople, and view summaries at each level.
drive A computer storage device, such as the hard disk drive. The name is derived from the motors that "drive" the movement of the media that store data.
drive bay A receptacle or opening into which you can install a floppy drive, a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, or a removable drive.
drive interface The electrical pathway between a secondary storage device, such a hard disk, and the computer. The drive interface is a leading factor in determining the speed of a storage device.
drive letters /b> On PCs, the storage device designation, such as Drive A for the floppy disk and Drive C for the hard disk.
driver A utility program that is needed to make a peripheral device function correctly.
dual inline memory module (DIMM) A plug- in memory module that contains RAM chips. DIMMs use a 64-bit bus to transfer data between the memory and the processor, which is required for many new computers.
dual-inline packages (DIP) Chip packages that are affixed to a socket by means of two parallel rows of downward-facing pins.
dual scan LCD See passive matrix LCD.
dumpster diving A technique used to gain unauthorized access to computer systems by retrieving user IDs and passwords from an organization's trash.
DVD players Digital video disc devices for watching movies.
DVD-R discs Digital video disc-recordable optical storage media that, like CD-R discs, cannot be erased or written over once data has been saved.
DVD-RAM See digital video disc-RAM.
DVD-ROM See digital video disc-ROM.
DVD-ROM discs Optical storage media that can hold up to 17 GB of data.
DVD-ROM drive A read-only disk drive that reads the data encoded on DVD-ROM discs and transfers this data to a computer.
DVD+RW discs Digital video disc-read/write optical storage media that allow you to write, erase, and read from the disc many times.
dye sublimation printer A thermal transfer printer that produces results that rival high- quality color photographs. Dye sublimation printers are slow and extremely expensive.
dynamic random access memory (DRAM) A random access memory chip that must be refreshed periodically; otherwise, the data in the memory will be lost.

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e-book A book that has been digitized and distributed by means of a digital storage medium.
e-book reader A book-sized device that displays an e-book.
e-commerce See electronic commerce.
economically feasible Capable of being accomplished with available fiscal resources. This is usually determined by a cost/benefit analysis.
edit menu In a graphical user interface (GUI), a pull-down menu that contains standard editing commands, such as Cut, Copy, and Paste.
edutainmentSoftware combining education and entertainment that provides educational material in the form of a game so that the education becomes entertainment.
effect In a graphics program, a processing option that changes the appearance of an image. For example, some graphic programs can manipulate a photograph so that it looks like a watercolor painted on textured paper.
electrical engineering (EE) An engineering discipline that is concerned with the design and improvement of electrical and electronic circuits.
electronic commerce The use of the Internet and other wide area networks (WANs) for business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions. Also called e-commerce.
electronic data interchange (EDI) A communications standard for the electronic exchange of financial information through information services.
electronic mail See e-mail.
Electronic Recording Machine—Accounting (ERMA) A computer system developed in 1959 by General Electric that could read special characters. ERMA had a major effect on the banking business, where it was used to digitize checking account information.
electronic vault In online banking, a mainframe computer that stores account holders' information.
electronic warfare In information warfare, the use of electronic devices to destroy or damage computer systems.
electronicsA field within electrical engineering that is concerned with the use of transistors to amplify or switch the direction of electrical current.
elementIn HTML, a distinctive component of a document's structure, such as a title, heading, or list. HTML divides elements into two categories: head elements (such as the document's title) and body elements (headings, paragraphs, links, and text).
element name In HTML, the code name used to differentiate an element, such as a level-one heading (H1) or a paragraph (P).
e-mail Electronic mail; messages sent and received through the use of a computer network.
e-mail address A series of characters that precisely identifies the location of a person's electronic mailbox. On the Internet, e-mail addresses consist of a mailbox name (such as jsmith) followed by an at sign (@) and the computer's domain name (as in jsmith@hummer.virginia.edu).
e-mail attachment XA computer file that is included with an e-mail message.
e-mail client A program or a program module that provides e-mail services for computer users, including receiving mail into a locally stored inbox, sending e-mail to other network users, replying to received messages, and storing received messages. The better programs include address books, mail filters, and the capability to compose and read messages coded in HTML. Also called user agent.
e-mail server An application that sends mail across the Internet and stores incoming mail until it is downloaded by an e-mail client.
embeddingSee object linking and embedding (OLE).
emergency disk A disk that can be used to start the computer in case the operating system becomes unusable for some reason.
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) A yachting safety device that emits a radio signal indicating the device's precise position, which the device determines by using signals from geographical positioning system (GPS) satellites.
emoticonSee smiley.
empty element In HTML, an element that does not permit the inclusion of any content. The
element is an example of an empty element.
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) A graphics format used to print images on PostScript printers.
encapsulationIn object-oriented programming, the hiding of all internal information of objects from other objects.
encryptionThe process of converting a message into ciphertext (an encrypted message) by using a key, so that the message appears to be nothing but gibberish. The intended recipient, however, can apply the key to decrypt and read the message. See also public key cryptography and rot-13.
encryption algorithm A step-by-step method for encrypting and decrypting a message.
encryption key A formula that is used to make a plaintext message unreadable.
end tag In HTML, the closing component of an element, such as . All elements begin with a start tag; most require an end tag.
endnote In a word processing program, a feature that automatically positions and prints footnotes at the end of a document, rather than the bottom of the page.
Enhanced IDE (EIDE) An improved version of the IDE drive interface offering faster data transfer rates, access to drives larger than 528 MB, and access to four secondary storage devices instead of two. Also called ATA-2.
enhanced keyboard A keyboard with 101 keys that is typically supplied with desktop computers in the United States.
enhanced parallel port (EPP) A type of parallel port that, unlike the older Centronics parallel port standard, supports bidirectional communication between the computer and printer and offers significantly faster transmission speeds (up to 2 Mbps). EPP is a standard defined by an international standards body. Compare extended capabilities port (ECP).
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)Considered the first large- scale electronic digital computer ever assembled, created in 1946 by Dr. John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert.
Enter button In a spreadsheet program, a button that confirms the text typed in the entry bar area and inserts this text into the active cell.
enterprise storage system The collection of online, nearline, and offline storage within an organization. The system typically makes use of servers connected to hard disks, massive RAID systems, tape libraries (high-capacity tape systems), optical disc libraries, and tape backup systems.
enterprise-wide system An information system available throughout an organizaion, including its branch offices.
entity-relationship diagram (ERD) ) In the design of information systems, a diagram that shows all the entities (organizations, departments, users, programs, and data) that play roles in the system, as well as the relationships between those entities.
entry-level driveA storage device typically found on the least expensive computers marketed at a given time.
ergonomic keyboard A keyboard designed to reduce (but not eliminate) the chance of a cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), an injury involving damage to sensitive nerve tissue caused by motions repeated thousands of times daily.
error message A message originated by a program that warns the user about a problem of some kind. The user's intervention may be required to solve the problem.
EscA key that is often used to interrupt or cancel an operation
EthernetA set of standards that defines local area networks (LANs) capable of operating at data transfer rates of 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps. About 80 percent of all LANs use one of several Ethernet standards.
Ethernet card A network interface card (NIC) designed to work with Ethernet local area networks (LANs).
ethical principle A principle that defines the justification for considering an act or a rule to be morally right or wrong. Ethical principles can help people find their way through moral dilemmas.
ethicsThe branch of philosophy dealing with the determination of what is right or wrong, usually in the context of moral dilemmas.
e-tickets Tickets for airline flights that are purchased online and can be picked up at small self-serve kiosks in airport terminals.
e-trading site On the Internet, an online brokerage that enables investors to buy and sell stocks without a human broker's intervention.
even parity An error-checking technique that sets an extra bit to 1 if the number of 1 bits in a byte adds up to an odd number.
event-driven In programming, a program design method that structures the program around a continuous loop, which cycles until an event occurs (such as the user clicking the mouse).
exception report In a transaction processing system (TPS), a document that alerts someone of unexpected developments, such as high demand for a product.
exclusion operator In database and Internet searching, a symbol or a word that tells the software to exclude records or documents containing a certain word or phrase.
executable See executable file and executable program.
executable file A file containing a script or program that can execute instructions on the computer. Program files usually use the .exe extension in the filename.
executable program A program that will run on a certain type of computer.
executeOne of four basic operations carried out by the control unit of a microprocessor. The execute operation involves performing a requested action, such as adding or comparing two numbers.
execution cycle In a machine cycle, a phase consisting of the execute and write-back operations.
executive information system (EIS) A system that supports management's strategic planning function.
executive support system (ESS) A type of decision support system designed to provide high-level executives with information summarizing the overall performance of their organization on the most general level.
expanded spacing In character formatting, the provision of extra space between each character.
expansion board A circuit board that provides additional capabilities for a computer.
expansion bus An electrical pathway that connects the microprocessor to the expansion slots. Also called I/O bus.
expansion card See expansion board.
expansion slot A receptacle connected to the computer's expansion bus that accepts an expansion board.
expert system In artificial intelligence (AI), a program that relies on a database of if-then rules to draw inferences, in much the same way a human expert does.
Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC) A character encoding scheme developed by IBM and used on its mainframe computer systems.
extended capabilities port (ECP) A parallel port standard that is virtually identical to the enhanced parallel port (EPP) standard, except that it was defined by two companies in advance of the issuance of the EPP standard.
extended character set A set of characters that can be accessed only by increasing the number of bits per character from the standard seven bits to eight bits (one byte). The extended character set was never standardized, so the PC and Macintosh versions are not compatible.
extended data out (EDO) DRAM A type of dynamic RAM (DRAM) that provides faster speeds because it can begin fetching the next item to be stored in memory at the same time that it is sending an item to the CPU.
extended keyboard A Macintosh keyboard that closely resembles the enhanced keyboard sold with most desktop PCs.
Extensible Markup Language (XML) A set of rules for creating markup languages that enables Web authors to capture specific types of data by creating their own elements. XML can be used in HTML documents.
extensionA three-letter suffix added to a DOS filename. The extension is often supplied by the application and indicates the type of application that created the file.
external drive bay In a computer case, a receptacle designed for mounting storage devices that is accessible from the outside of the case.
external modem A modem with its own case, cables, and power supply that plugs into the serial port of a computer.
extranetA corporate intranet that has been opened to external access by selected outside partners, including customers, research labs, and suppliers.
eye-gaze response system A biological feedback device that enables quadriplegics to control computers by moving their eyes around the screen.

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facsimile machine A device that transmits scanned images via the telephone system (also known as fax machine).
facsimile transmission (fax) The sending and receiving of printed pages between two locations, using a telephone line and fax devices that digitize the page's image.
fair use An exception to copyright laws made to facilitate education, commentary, analysis, and scholarly research.
fall back In modems, to decrease the data transfer rate to accommodate communications with an older modem or across a dirty line. Some modems also fall forward if line noise conditions improve.
Fast ATA An entry-level hard drive interface standard that offers data transfer rates of up to 16 Mbps. Synonymous with Fast IDE and ATA-2.
Fast Ethernet An Ethernet standard for local area networks (LANs) that enables data transfer rates of 100 Mbps using twisted-pair cable; also called 100baseT.
Fast IDE See Fast ATA.
fast-page mode (FPM) DRAM DRAM A type of dynamic RAM (DRAM) that provides faster speeds because it can replace data stored within a row of a data page without having to replace the entire page.
fault-tolerant system A computer system under development by computer scientists that can keep running even if it encounters a glitch in programming.
fax modem A modem that also functions as a fax machine, giving the computer user the capability of sending word processing documents and other files as faxes.
Ffax software A utility program that transforms a modem-equipped PC into a device capable of sending and receiving faxes.
fax-on-demand An information service in which faxes can be requested by means of a telephone call, and then automatically sent to the caller.
female connectors Connectors with receptacles for external pins.
Fetch One of four basic operations carried out by the control unit of a microprocessor. The fetch operation retrieves the next program instruction from the computer's memory.
fiber-optic cable A network cable made from tiny strands of glasslike material that transmit light pulses with very high efficiency and can carry massive amounts of data.
field In a database, an area for storing a certain type of information.
field code In a word processing program, a code that, when inserted in the text, tells the program to perform an operation specified by the code, such as inserting the time and date when the document is printed.
field emission display (FED) A flat-panel display technology that uses tiny CRTs to produce each on-screen pixel.
field name Describes the type of data that should be entered into the field.
file A document or other collection of information stored on a disk and identified as a unit by a unique name.
file allocation table (FAT) A hidden on-disk table that keeps vital records concerning exactly where the various components of a given file are stored. The file allocation table is created at the conclusion of the formatting process.
file compression utility A program to reduce the size of files without harming the data.
file defragmentation utility A program used to read all the files on a disk and rewrite them so that files are all stored in a contiguous manner. This process almost always improves disk performance by some degree.
file finder A utility that enables one to search an entire hard disk for missing file.
file format See format (definition 1).
file infector A computer virus that attaches to a program file and, when that program is executed, spreads to other program files.
file management program An application that enables users to create customized databases and store in and retrieve data from those databases.
file menu In a graphical user interface (GUI), a pull-down menu that contains standard file- management commands, such as Save and Save As.
file server In client/server computing, a computer that has been set aside (dedicated) to make program and data files available to client programs on the network.
file sharing In a local area network (LAN), the modification of a file's properties so that other users may read or even modify the file.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) ) An Internet standard for the exchange of files between two computers connected to the Internet. With an FTP client, you can upload or download files from a computer that is running an FTP server. Normally, you need a user name and password to upload or download files from an FTP server, but some FTP servers provide a service called anonymous FTP, which enables anyone to download the files made available for public use.
file viewer A utility program that can display the contents of a certain type of file.
filename A unique name given to a stored file.
fill In a spreadsheet program, a copying operation that copies the contents of the current cell to the specified range.
fill handle In a spreadsheet program, a fill handle is a rectangular box on a cell corner that can be used to specify the size of a fill area. The fill command fills a range of cells with values from selected cells.
filter In e-mail, a rule that specifies the destination folder of messages conforming to certain criteria.
filtering software A program that attempts to prevent minors from accessing adult material on the Internet.
firewall A program that permits an organization's internal computer users to access the Internet but places severe limits on the ability of outsiders to access internal data.
FireWire port Synonymous with 1394 port. FireWire is Apple Computer's name for 1394 port technology.
first sale doctrine A principle of copyright law stipulating that a person who legally obtains a copyrighted work may give or sell the work to another person without the author's permission.
fixed disk A hard disk that uses nonremovable platters.
flame flame In Usenet and e-mail, a message that contains abusive, threatening, obscene, or inflammatory language.
flash BIOS See flash memory.
flash memory A special type of read-only memory (ROM) that enables users to upgrade information contained in memory chips. Also called flash BIOS.
flash memory card Wafer-thin, highly portable solid state storage system that is capable of storing as much as 1 gigabyte of data. Used with some digital cameras, the card stores digitized photographs without requiring electrical power to maintain the data.
flat file A type of file generated by a file management program. Flat files can be accessed in many different ways but cannot be linked to data in other files.
flatbed scanner A device that copies an image (text or graphics) from one side of a sheet of paper and translates it into a digital image.
flat-panel display A low-power, lightweight display used with notebook computers (and increasingly with desktop computers).
flicker An eye-straining visible distortion that occurs when the refresh rate of a display is below 60 Hz.
flight simulator A program that acts like the aircraft on which a pilot is training.
floating-point notation A method for storing and calculating numbers so that the location of the decimal point isn't fixed but floating. This allows the computer to work with very small and very large numbers.
floating-point unit (FPU) A portion of the microprocessor that handles operations in which the numbers are specified in floating- point notation.
flooding A type of antisocial behavior found on Internet Relay Chat characterized by sending repeated messages so that no one else can engage in the conversation.
floppy disk A removable and widely used data storage medium that uses a magnetically coated flexible disk of Mylar enclosed in a plastic envelope or case. Although 5.25-inch floppy disks were standard, they became obsolete due to the development of the smaller, more durable 3.5-inch disk.
floppy disk drive A mechanism that enables a computer to read and write information on a removable medium that provides a convenient way to move data from one computer to another.
flowchart In structured programming, a diagram that shows the logic of a program.
flush left alignment In word processing, a way of formatting a block of text so that the left side is aligned but the right side is not.
flush right alignment In word processing, a way of formatting a block of text so that the right side is aligned but the left side is not.
fly-by-wire system In an aircraft, a computer- based control system that eliminates the pilot's direct physical control over the aircraft's control surfaces (such as flaps and rudders) in favor of computer-controlled mechanisms.
FM synthesis A method of generating and reproducing music in a sound card. FM synthesis produces sound similar to an inexpensive electronic keyboard.
FMD-ROM Fluorescent multilayer disc-read only memory, FMD-ROM discs contain fluorescent materials embedded in the pits and grooves of the disc's layers. When the laser beam strikes a layer, the light that is bounced back is also fluorescent. This type of light can pass undistributed through the disc's many layers, so that errors are eliminated.
folder A graphical representation of a directory. Most major operating systems display directories as though they were file folders.
folder list In an e-mail program, a panel that shows the default and personal mail folders, including the inbox.
folder structure An organized set of primary and secondary folders within which to save your files.
follow-up article In Usenet, a message posted in reply to another message.
font A set of characters that has a name (such as Times Roman) and a distinctive design that falls into one of two broad categories, serif (characters that have small finishing strokes) and sans serif (characters that lack finishing strokes).
foot mouse A type of mouse that is controlled by motions of the feet rather than the hands.
footer An area at the bottom of the page, but above the bottom margin, that can be used for page numbers or for text that appears on each page of the document.
footnote A type of citation that pairs an in-text (and usually numbered) reference with a source citation that appears at the bottom of the page.
footprint The amount of room taken up by the case on the desk.
foreground application In a multitasking operating system, the active application.
Form In the Microsoft Access database management system, the object used to collect data.
form factor A specification for mounting internal components, such as the motherboard.
form letter A generic message sent to many people that uses database output to create the illusion that the message is individually written and addressed. Business word processing programs can generate form letters using a feature called mail merging.
format 1. A file storage standard used to write a certain type of data to a magnetic disk (also called file format). 2. To prepare a magnetic disk for first use. 3. In word processing, to choose the alignment, emphasis, or other presentation options so that the document will print with an attractive appearance.
format menu In a graphical user interface (GUI), a pull-down menu that allows you to modify such features as font style and paragraph settings.
formattingThe process of modifying a document's appearance so that it looks good when printed.
Formatting toolbar In Microsoft Office, a default-loaded toolbar that includes icons for various functions, including choosing document font size and style.
formulaIn a spreadsheet program, a mathematical expression embedded in a cell that can include cell references. The cell displays the formula's result.
formula bar In a spreadsheet program, an area above the worksheet that displays the contents of the active cell. The formula bar enables the user to work with formulas, which normally do not appear in the cell.
FortranAn early third-generation language that enabled scientists and engineers to write simple programs for solving mathematical equations.
fourth-generation language (4GL) A programming language that does not force the programmer to consider the procedure that must be followed to obtain the desired result.
fractal geometry The study of a certain type of irregular geometric shapes, in which the shape of internal components is similar to the overall shape. Fractal shapes are common in nature.
fragmentationA process in which the various components of a file are separated by normal reading and writing operations so that these components are not stored close together. The result is slower disk operation. A defragmentation utility can improve a disk's performance by placing these file components closer together.
frame1. In a word processing program, a unit of text or a graphic image that has been formatted so that it will appear and print in a precise location on the page. Material placed within frames does not "float" when text is inserted or deleted above the frame. 2. A capability of Web browsers, frames can show more than one HTML page simultaneously.
framesIn a video or animation, the series of still images flashed on-screen at a rapid rate.
frame rate In a video or animation, a measurement of the number of still images shown per second.
frame relayA type of packet-switching network that enables an organization to connect to an external network's point of presence for a lower cost than a permanent leased line.
free e-mail service A Web-based service that provides e-mail accounts free of charge. The service is supported by advertising.
freewareCopyrighted software that can be freely copied but not sold.
frequently asked questions (FAQ) A document that contains topical information organized by the questions that are commonly asked concerning the topic.
front panel An area on the front of most computers containing various indicator lights and controls.
FTP client A program that is able to assist the user to upload or download files from an FTP site. There are many standalone FTP clients, and FTP downloading capabilities are built into Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator. Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 can upload files to FTP servers as well as download files.
FTP server On the Internet, a server program that enables external users to download or upload files from a specified directory or group of directories.
FTP site An Internet-accessible computer that is running an FTP server.
full backup The process of copying all files from a secondary storage device (most commonly a hard disk) to a backup medium, such as a tape cartridge.
full-motion video A video presentation that gives the illusion of smooth, continuous action, even though it consists of a series of still pictures. The key to full-motion video is a frame rate fast enough to create the illusion of continuous movement.
functionIn spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, one of the two basic types of formulas (along with mathematic expressions). In a function, operations can be performed on multiple inputs.
function keys A row of keys positioned along the top of the keyboard, labeled F1 through F12, to which programs can assign various commands.
fuzzy logic A branch of logic concerned with propositions that have varying degrees of precision or confidence.

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G or GB Abbreviation for gigabyte, approximately one billion (one thousand million) bytes or characters.
Gantt chart A bar chart that summarizes a project's schedule by showing how various activities proceed over time.
gas plasma display A flat-panel display technology. Although gas plasma displays have excellent image quality, they are very expensive and consume too much power to be used on portable computers.
gate An electronic switch; same as transistor.
Gbps A data transfer rate of approximately one billion bits per second.
genealogy program A special-purpose application program to assist in tracing and compiling family trees.
General Public License (GPL) A freeware software license, devised by the Open Software Foundation (OSF), stipulating that a given program can be obtained, used, and even modified, as long as the user agrees to not sell the software and to make the source code for any modifications available.
general-purpose computer A computer that can run a variety of programs, in contrast to an embedded or dedicated computer, which is locked to a single function or set of functions.
genetic algorithm An automated program development environment in which various alternative approaches to solving a problem are introduced; each is allowed to mutate periodically through the introduction of random changes. The various approaches compete in an effort to solve a specific problem. After a period of time, one approach may prove to be clearly superior to the others.
GIF animation A graphics file that contains more than one image stored using the GIF graphics file format. Also stored in the file is a brief script that indicates the sequence of images, and how long to display each image.
gigabit A unit of measurement approximately equal to one billion bits.
Gigabit Ethernet An Ethernet local area network (LAN) that is capable of achieving data transfer rates of 1 Gbps (one billion bits per second) using fiber-optic cable.
gigabit per second (Gbps) A data transfer measurement equivalent to one billion bits per second.
gigabits per second Points of Presence (gigaPoPs) In Internet II, a high-speed testbed for the development of next-generation Internet protocols, a point of presence (PoP) that provides access to a backbone service capable of data transfer rates in excess of 1 Gbps (one billion bits per second).
gigabyte (G or GB) ) A unit of measurement commonly used to state the capacity of memory or storage devices; equal to 1,024 megabytes, or approximately one billion bytes or characters.
glass cockpit r In aviation, a cockpit characterized by a profusion of data displays.
Global Positioning System (GPS) A satellite- based system that enables portable GPS receivers to determine their location with an accuracy of 100 meters or less.
global structure In an HTML document, the top-level document structure created by using the HEAD and BODY tags.
global unique identifier (GUID) A uniquely identifying serial number assigned to Pentium III processor chips that can be used by Web servers to detect which computer is accessing a Web site.
graphical browser On the World Wide Web, a browser capable of displaying graphic images as well as text. Early browsers could display only text.
Graphical MUD A multiuser dungeon (MUD) that uses graphics instead of text to represent the interaction of characters in a virtual environment.
graphical user interface (GUI) An interface between the operating system and the user. Graphical user interfaces are the most popular of all user interfaces but also require the most system resources.
graphics accelerator A display adapter (video card) that contains its own dedicated processing circuitry and video memory (VRAM), enabling faster display of complex graphics images.
graphics file A file that stores the information needed to display a graphic. Popular graphics file formats include BMP (Windows Bitmap), JPEG, and GIF.
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) A bitmapped color graphics file format capable of storing images with 256 colors. GIF incorporates a compression technique that reduces file size, making it ideal for use on a network. GIF is best used for images that have areas of solid color.
graphics output A type of output that consists of visual images, including charts and pictures.
graphics tablet A graphics input device used with CAD applications to enter graphic data precisely.
grayscale monitor A monitor that displays black, white, and dozens or hundreds of shades of gray. Grayscale monitors are often used to prepare copy for noncolor printing.
grounding strap A wrist strap worn when repairing or upgrading computer components. The strap can be connected to an electrical ground to prevent the discharge of static electricity, which can ruin computer components that contain semiconductor chips.
group e-mail address An e-mail address that directs an e-mail message to more than one person.
gutter In document formatting, extra space on the side of each page that allows for binding.

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hacker Traditionally, a computer user who enjoys pushing his or her computer capabilities to the limit, especially by using clever or novel approaches to solving problems. In the press, the term hacker has become synonymous with criminals who attempt unauthorized access to computer systems for criminal purposes, such as sabotage or theft. The computing community considers this usage inaccurate.
hacker ethic A set of moral principles common to the first-generation hacker community (roughly 1965-1982), described by Steven Levy in Hackers (1984). According to the hacker ethic, all technical information should, in principle, be freely available to all. Therefore, gaining entry to a system to explore data and increase knowledge is never unethical. Destroying, altering, or moving data in such a way that could cause injury or expense to others, however, is always unethical. In increasingly more states, unauthorized computer access is against the law. See also cracker.
handheld computer See personal digital assistant.
handheld scanner A scanner used to digitize images of small originals, such as photographs or small amounts of text.
handle In a spreadsheet program, a rectangular box on a cell corner that can be used to specify the size of a fill area.
handwriting recognition software A program that accepts handwriting as input and converts it into editable computer text.
hanging indent A type of indentation that does not indent the first line but does indent the following lines.
haptics A field of research in developing output devices that stimulate the sense of touch.
hard copy Printed computer output, differing from the data stored on disk or in memory.
hard disk A secondary storage medium that uses several rigid disks (platters) coated with a magnetically sensitive material and housed in a hermetically sealed mechanism. In almost all modern computers, the hard disk is by far the most important storage medium. Also called hard disk drive.
hard disk controller An electronic circuit that provides an interface between a hard disk and the computer's CPU.
hard disk drive See hard disk.
hardware The physical components, such as circuit boards, disk drives, displays, and printers, that make up a computer system.
hardware MPEG support Circuitry built into a computer to improve MPEG video playback speed and quality.
hashing In data processing, the process in which the position of a record is determined through the use of a mathematical computation to produce an address where the unique key field is stored.
hashing algorithm A mathematical formula used to determine the address of a record in a direct access file.
head In HTML, one of two main portions of the document (the other is the body). The head contains elements that do not appear in a browser's display window.
head actuator Mechanism on a floppy disk drive that moves the read/write head to the area that contains the desired data.
head crash In a hard disk, the collision of a read/write head with the surface of the disk, generally caused by a sharp jolt to the computer's case. Head crashes can damage the read/write head, as well as create bad sectors.
headerIn e-mail or a Usenet news article, the beginning of a message. The header contains important information about the sender's address, the subject of the message, and other information.
head-mounted display See headset.
headsetA wearable output device with twin LCD panels for creating the illusion that an individual is experiencing a three-dimensional, simulated environment.
heat sink A heat-dissipating component that drains heat away from semiconductor devices, which can generate enough heat in the course of their operation to destroy themselves. Heat sinks are often used in combination with fans to cool semiconductor components.
help menu In a graphical user interface (GUI), a pull-down menu that provides access to interactive help utilities.
help screen In commercial software, information that appears on-screen that can provide assistance with using a particular program.
help utilities Programs, such as a table of contents of frequently requested items, offered on most graphical user interface (GUI) applications.
hexadecimal number A number that uses a base 16 number system rather than a decimal (or base 10) number system.
hierarchyIn Usenet, a category that includes a variety of newsgroups devoted to a shared, general topic.
hierarchy chart In structured programming, a program planning chart that shows the top- down design of the program and the relationship between program modules. Also called structure chart.
High Definition Television (HDTV) The name given to several standards for digital television displays.
high FD (HiFD) A Sony removable disk storage format that can store up to 200 MB using a drive that is also capable of reading 3.5-inch floppy disks.
high-density (HD) A floppy disk storage format that can store up to 1.44 MB of data.
high-level programming language A programming language that eliminates the need for programmers to understand the intimate details of how the computer processes data.
history list In a Web browser, a window that shows all the Web sites that the browser has accessed during a given period, such as the last 30 days.
home directory In a multiuser computer system, a directory that is set aside for an individual user.
home page 1. In any hypertext system, including the Web, a document intended to serve as an initial point of entry to a Web of related documents. Also called a welcome page, a home page contains general introductory information, as well as hyperlinks to related resources. A well- designed home page contains internal navigation buttons that help users find their way among the various documents that the home page makes available. 2. The start page that is automatically displayed when you start a Web browser or click the program's Home button. 3. A personal page listing an individual's contact information, and favorite links, and (generally) some information— ranging from cryptic to voluminous—about the individual's perspective on life.
horizontal application application A general-purpose program widely used across an organization's functional divisions (such as marketing and finance). Horizontal applications are also popular in the consumer market.
horizontal scroll bar A scroll bar that enables the user to bring areas of a document into view that are hidden to the left or right.
host In a computer network, a computer that is fully connected to the network and is able to be addressed by other hosts.
hostile environment In laws concerning sexual harassment in the workplace, a working environment characterized by practices (such as sexually explicit jokes or calendars) that make some workers feel as though the workplace is offensive or oppressive.
Hot swapping Connecting and disconnecting peripherals while the computer is running.
HTML editor A program that provides assistance in preparing documents for the Web using HTML. The simplest HTML editor is a word processing program that enables you to type text and add HTML tags manually. Standalone HTML editors provide automated assistance with HTML coding and display some formats on-screen.
hubIn a local area network (LAN), a device that connects several workstations and enables them to exchange data.
Human Genome Project (HGP) A research project seeking to identify the full set of genetic instructions inside human cells and find out what those instructions do.
hyperlink In a hypertext system, an underlined or otherwise emphasized word or phrase that, when clicked, displays another document.
hypermediaA hypertext system that uses various multimedia resources, such as sounds, animations, and videos, as a means of navigation as well as decoration.
hypertextA method of preparing and publishing text, ideally suited to the computer, in which readers can choose their own paths through the material. To prepare hypertext, you first "chunk" the information into small, manageable units, such as single pages of text. These units are called nodes. You then embed hyperlinks in the text. When the reader clicks a hyperlink, the hypertext software displays a different node. The process of navigating among the nodes linked in this way is called browsing. A collection of nodes interconnected by hyperlinks is called a web. The Web is a hypertext system on a global scale.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) A language for marking the portions of a document (called elements) so that, when accessed by a program called a Web browser, each portion appears with a distinctive format. HTML is the markup language behind the appearance of documents on the Web. HTML is standardized by means of a document type definition in the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). HTML includes capabilities that enable authors to insert hyperlinks, which when clicked display another HTML document. The agency responsible for standardizing HTML is the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) The Internet standard that supports the exchange of information on the Web. By defining uniform resource locators (URLs) and how they can be used to retrieve resources anywhere on the Internet, HTTP enables Web authors to embed hyperlinks in Web documents. HTTP defines the process by which a Web client, called a browser, originates a request for information and sends it to a Web server, a program that responds to HTTP requests and provides the desired information.

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I/O bus See expansion bus.
I/O device Generic term for any input or output device.
IBM compatible personal computer A computer that can use all or almost all software developed for the IBM personal computer and accepts the IBM personal computer's cards, adapters, and peripheral devices. Compare clone.
icon In a graphical user interface (GUI), a small picture that represents a program, a data file, or some other computer entity or function.
IDE/ATA See Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE).
identify theft A form of fraud in which a thief obtains someone's Social Security number and other personal information, and then uses this information to obtain credit cards fraudulently.
image editorA sophisticated paint program for editing and transforming complex bitmapped images, such as photographs.
image processing system A filing system in which incoming documents are scanned and stored digitally.
impact printer A printer that generates output by striking the page with something solid.
inbox In e-mail, a default folder that contains any new mail messages, as well as older messages that have not been moved or deleted.
inclusion operator In database or Web searching, a symbol or keyword that instructs the search software to make sure that any retrieved records or documents contain a certain word or phrase.
increment (v.) To increase. (n.) A specified unit by which a quantity should be increased.
incremental backup The process of copying files that have changed since the last full backup to a backup medium, such as a tape cartridge.
indecency In U.S. law, the use of four-letter words or any other explicit reference to sexual or excretory acts that violates community decency standards.
index page In Web publishing, the page that the Web server displays by default (usually called index.html or default.html).
indexed file See indexed sequential file.
indexed sequential file A file with records that can be accessed either directly (randomly) or sequentially. Also called indexed file.
Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) bus A bus architecture used for expansion slots introduced in the IBM PC/AT. Although they are slower than the PCI bus architecture, ISA expansion slots continue to appear in new computers for compatibility.
information Processed data.
information hiding A modular programming technique in which information inside a module remains hidden with respect to other modules.
information kiosk An automated presentation system used for public information or employee training.
Iinformation literacy The capability to gather information, evaluate the information, and make an informed decision.
information overload A condition of confusion, stress, and indecision brought about by being inundated with information of variable value.
information processing cycle A complete sequence of operations involving data input, processing, storage, and output.
information system A purposefully designed system that brings data, computers, procedures, and people together to manage information important to an organization's mission.
Information Superhighway A term coined by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to describe the phenomenon of media convergence.
information systems (IS) department In a complex organization, the division responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining the organization's information systems.
information terrorism The intimidation of a person, an organization, or a country by means of sabotage directed at information systems.
information warfare A military strategy that targets an opponent's information systems.
information-literate person Someone who knows how to gather information, evaluate the information, and make an informed decision.
infrared A data transmission medium that uses the same signaling technology used in TV remote controls.
inheritance In object-oriented (OO) programming, the capacity of an object to pass its characteristics to subclasses.
inkjet printer A nonimpact printer that forms an image by spraying ink from a matrix of tiny jets.
inline element In HTML, an element that can be included in a block element. Some inline elements enable Web authors to choose presentation formats such as bold or italic.
input The information entered into a computer for processing.
input device Any device that is capable of accepting data so that it is properly represented for processing within the computer.
input/output (I/O) port A circuit that enables a peripheral device to channel data into and out of the computer.
insert mode In word processing, a text insertion mode in which the inserted text pushes existing text to the right and down.
insertion point See cursor.
install To set up a program so that it is ready to function on a given computer system. The installation process may involve creating additional directories, making changes to system files, and other technical tasks. For this reason, most programs come with setup programs that handle the installation process automatically.
instant messaging (IM) system Software program that lets you know when a friend or business associate is online. You can then contact this person and exchange messages and attachments.
instruction A unique number assigned to an operation performed by a processor.
instruction cycle In a machine cycle, a phase consisting of the fetch and decode operations.
instruction set A list of specific instructions that a given brand and model of processor can perform.
intangible benefits Gains that have no fixed dollar value, such as access to improved information or increased sales due to improved customer services.
integerA whole number.
integrated circuit (IC) A semiconductor circuit containing more than one transistor and other electronic components; often referred to as a chip.
Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) A popular secondary storage interface standard commonly found in PCs that offers relatively good performance at a low cost. Although IDE is a commonly used interface, newer computers use either Enhanced IDE (EIDE) or Ultra ATA. Also called Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA).
integrated learning system (ILS) A mainframe- based system used to bring computer-assisted instruction (CAI) to schools.
integrated program A program that combines three or more productivity software functions, including word processing, database management, and a spreadsheet.
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) A worldwide standard for the delivery of digital telephone and data services to homes, schools, and offices using existing twisted-pair wiring. The three categories of ISDN services are Basic Rate Interface (BRI), Primary Rate Interface (PRI), and Broadband ISDN (BISDN).
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)A system, partly funded by the U.S. government, to develop smart streets and smart cars. Such a system could warn travelers of congestion and suggest alternative routes.
interactive multimediaA presentation involving two or more media, such as text, graphics, or sound, and providing users with the ability to choose their own path through the information.
interactive processing A type of processing in which the various stages of the information processing cycle (input, processing, storage, and output) can be initiated and controlled by the user.
interactive TV Features that enable users to engage in two-way communication with a digital television set. Interactive TV will enable broadcasters and cable TV providers to implement features such as user-selectable movies, weather broadcasts selected by ZIP code, and news on selected topics.
interexchange carrier (IXC) In the public switched telephone network (PSTN), a company that provides long-distance or regional trunk services between local telephone exchanges.
interfaceA means of connecting two dissimilar computer devices. An interface has two components, a physical component and a communications standard, called a protocol. The physical component provides the physical means for making a connection, while the protocol enables designers to design the devices so that they can exchange data with each other. The computer's standard parallel port is an example of an interface that has both a distinctive physical connector and a defining, standard protocol.
interlaced monitor A monitor that refreshes every other line of pixels with each pass of the cathode gun. This often results in screen flicker, and almost all monitors now are noninterlaced.
internal drive bay In a computer's case, a receptacle for mounting a storage device that is not easily accessible from outside the computer's case. Internal drive bays are typically used to mount nonremovable hard drives.
internal modem A modem that fits into the expansion bus of a personal computer. See also external modem.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) A branch organization of the United Nations that sets international telecommuni- cations standards.
Internet An enormous and rapidly growing system of linked computer networks, worldwide in scope, that facilitates data communication services such as remote logon, file transfer, electronic mail, the World Wide Web, and newsgroups. Relying on TCP/IP, the Internet assigns every connected computer a unique Internet address (called an IP address) so that any two connected computers can locate each other on the network and exchange data.
Internet 2 The next-generation Internet, still under development.
Internet address The unique, 32-bit address assigned to a computer that is connected to the Internet, represented in dotted decimal notation (for example, 128.117.38.5). Synonymous with IP address.
Internet client A user program for accessing information on the Internet, such as e-mail or a Web site.
Internet hard drive Storage space on a server that is accessible from the Internet.
Internet Inter-Orb Protocol (IIOP) In object- oriented (OO) programming, a standard that allows Web browsers to request information from objects by using the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA).
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) ) In Internet e-mail, one of two fundamental protocols (the other is POP3) that governs how and where users store their incoming mail messages. IMAP4, the current version, stores messages on the mail server rather than facilitating downloading to the user's computer, as does the POP3 standard. For many users, this standard may prove more convenient than POP3 because all of one's mail is kept in one central location, where it can be organized, archived, and made available from remote locations. IMAP4 is supported by Netscape Messenger, the mail package in Netscape Communicator; Microsoft Outlook Express; and by other leading e-mail programs.
Internet Protocol (IP) One of the two core Internet standards (the other is the Transmission Control Protocol, TCP). IP defines the standard that describes how an Internet-connected computer should break data down into packets for transmission across the network, and how those packets should be addressed so that they arrive at their destination. IP is the connectionless part of the TCP/IP protocols.
Internet protocols The standards that enable computer users to exchange data through the Internet. Also called TCP/IP.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) A real-time, Internet-based chat service, in which one can find "live" participants from the world over. IRC requires the use of an IRC client program, which displays a list of the current IRC channels. After joining a channel, you can see what other participants are typing on-screen, and you can type your own repartee.
Internet service A set of communication standards (protocols) and software (clients and servers) that defines how to access and exchange a certain type of information on the Internet. Examples of Internet services are e- mail, FTP, Gopher, IRC, and Web.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) A company that provides Internet accounts and connections to individuals and businesses. Most ISPs offer a range of connection options, ranging from dial-up modem connections to high-speed ISDN and ADSL. Also provided is e- mail, Usenet, and Web hosting.
Internet telephony The use of the Internet (or of nonpublic networks based on Internet technology) for the transmission of real-time voice data.
Internet telephony service providers A long- distance voice messaging service that provides telephone service by means of the Internet or private data networks using Internet technology.
InterNIC A consortium of two organizations that provide networking information services to the Internet community, under contract to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Currently, AT&T provides directory and database services, while Network Solutions, Inc., provides registration services for new domain names and IP addresses.
interoperability The ability to work with computers and operating systems of differing type and brand.
interpreter In programming, a translator that converts each instruction into machine- readable code and executes it one line at a time. Interpreters are often used for learning and debugging, due to their slow speed.
interrupt request (IRQ) Lines that handle the communication between input or output devices and the computer's CPU.
intranet A computer network based on Internet technology (TCP/IP) that meets the internal needs of a single organization or company. Not necessarily open to the external Internet and almost certainly not accessible from the outside, an intranet enables organizations to make internal resources available using familiar Internet tools. See also extranet.
IP address A 32-bit binary number that uniquely and precisely identifies the location of a particular computer on the Internet. Every computer that is directly connected to the Internet must have an IP address. Because binary numbers are so hard to read, IP addresses are given in four-part decimal numbers, each part representing 8 bits of the 32-bit address (for example, 128.143.7.226).
IPOS cycle A sequence of four basic types of computer operations that characterize everything computers do. These operations are input, processing, output, and storage.
IPv6 The Next Generation Internet Protocol, also known as IPng, is an evolutionary extension of the current Internet protocol suite that is under development by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IPv6 was originally intended to deal with the coming exhaustion of IP addresses, a serious problem caused by the Internet's rapid growth. However, the development effort has broadened to address a number of deficiencies in the current versions of the fundamental Internet protocols, including security, the lack of support for mobile computing, the need for automatic configuration of network devices, the lack of support for allocating bandwidth to high- priority data transfers, and other shortcomings of the current protocols. An unresolved question is whether the working committee will be able to persuade network equipment suppliers to upgrade to the new protocols.
IPX See IPX/SPX.
IPX/SPX In local area networks (LANs), a suite of network and transport layer protocols developed by Novell for use with the NetWare network operating system.
IrDA port A port housed on the exterior of a computer's case that is capable of sending and receiving computer data by means of infrared signals. The standards that define these signals are maintained by the Infrared Data Association (IrDA). IrDA ports are commonly found on notebook computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
IRQ conflict A serious system failure that results if two devices are configured to use the same IRQ but are not designed to share an IRQ line.
ISDN adapter An internal or external accessory that enables a computer to connect to remote computer networks or the Internet by means of ISDN. (Inaccurately called an ISDN modem.)
italic A character format in which characters are slanted to the right.
iteration control structure See repetition control structure.

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Java A cross-platform programming language created by Sun Microsystems that enables programmers to write a program that will execute on any computer capable of running a Java interpreter (which is built into today's leading Web browsers). Java is an object- oriented programming (OOP) language similar to C++, except that it eliminates some features of C++ that programmers find tedious and time-consuming. Java programs are compiled into applets (small programs executed by a browser) or applications (larger, standalone programs that require a Java interpreter to be present on the user's computer), but the compiled code contains no machine code. Instead, the output of the compiler is bytecode, an intermediary between source code and machine code that can be transmitted by computer networks, including the Internet.
Java Virtual Machine (VM) A Java interpreter and runtime environment for Java applets and Java applications. This environment is called a virtual machine because, no matter what kind of computer it is running on, it creates a simulated computer that provides the correct platform for executing Java programs. In addition, this approach insulates the computer's file system from rogue applications. Java VMs are available for most computers.
JavaScript A scripting language for Web publishing, developed by Netscape Communications, that enables Web authors to embed simple Java-like programming instructions in the HTML text of their Web pages.
Jaz drive A removable drive from Iomega that can store up to 2 GB.
jewel boxes Plastic protective cases for storing CD-ROM discs.
job instruction training (JIT) A method of on-the-job training where decision-making is eliminated as much as possible.
joint application development (JAD) In information systems development, a method of system design that involves users at all stages of system development. See also prototyping.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) A graphics file format, named after the group that designed it. JPEG graphics can display up to 16.7 million colors and use lossy compression to reduce file size. JPEG is best used for complex graphics such as photographs.
joystick An input device commonly used for games.
justification The alignment of text at the beginning and end of lines. Text can either be flush left, flush right, centered, or justified.
justified alignment In word processing, a way of formatting a block of text so that both the left and right sides are aligned.
just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing A method of monitoring inventory that triggers the manufacturing process only when inventory levels are low.

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K or KB Abbreviation for kilobyte, approximately one thousand bytes or characters.
KbpsA data transfer rate of approximately one thousand bits per second.
kernelThe essential, core portion of the operating system that is loaded into random access memory (RAM) when the computer is turned on and stays in RAM for the duration of the operating session. Also called supervisor program.
kerningThe process of adjusting the space between wide and narrow characters so that the results are pleasing to the eye.
keyIn cryptography, the procedure used to encipher the message so that it appears to be just so much nonsense. The key also is required for decryption. Public key cryptography has two keys: a private key and a public key. A user makes the public key known to others, who use it to encrypt messages; these messages can be decrypted only by the intended recipient of a message, who uses the private key to do so.
key escrow The storage of users' encryption keys by an independent agency, which would divulge the keys to law enforcement investigators only on the production of a valid warrant. Key escrow is proposed by law enforcement officials concerned that encryption would prevent surveillance of criminal activities.
key field or primary keyThis field contains a code, number, name, or some other information that uniquely identifies the record.
key lengthTerm used to describe the length (in bits) of an encryption key.
key recoveryA method of unlocking the key used to encrypt messages so that the message could be read by law enforcement officials conducting a lawful investigation. Key recovery is proposed by law enforcement officials concerned that encryption would prevent surveillance of criminal activities.
keyboardAn input device providing a set of alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, symbolic, and control keys.
keyboard shortcuts The use of a modifier key as a shortcut to menu commands.
keywordIn a command-line interface, words that tell the operating system what to do (such as "format" or "copy").
kilobits per second (Kbps) A data transfer rate of approximately one thousand bits of computer data per second.
kilobyte (K or KB)The basic unit of measurement for computer memory and disk capacity, equal to 1,024 bytes or characters.
kioskA booth that provides a computer service of some type.
knowledge baseA database of represented knowledge.
knowledge management systemAn information system that captures knowledge created by employees and makes it available to an organization.
knowledge representation The process of eliciting rules from human experts.

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labelIn a spreadsheet, a text entry that explains one or more numerical entries.
landFlat reflective areas on an optical disc.
landscapeIn document formatting, a page layout in which the text runs across the wide orientation of the page.
laptop computer A portable computer larger than a notebook computer but small enough to be transported easily. Few are being made now that notebook computers have become so powerful.
large-scale integration (LSI) A technology used to assemble integrated circuits (IC). LSI was achieved in the early 1970s and could fit up to 5,000 transistors on a single IC.
laser printer A popular nonimpact, high- resolution printer that uses a version of the electrostatic reproduction technology of copying machines.X
last mile problem The lack of local network systems for high-bandwidth multimedia communications that can accommodate the Information Superhighway.
latencyIn a packet-switching network, a signal delay that is introduced by the time network routers consume as they route packets to their destination.
launchTo start an application program.
layerIn a computer network, a level of network functionality governed by specific network protocols. For example, the physical layer has protocols concerned with the transmission of signals over a specific type of cable.
LCD monitorsThe thinner monitors used on notebook and some desktop computers.
LCD projector An output device that projects a computer's screen display on a screen similar to those used with slide projectors.
leaderIn word processing, a character that is automatically inserted before a tab stop.
leading The space between the lines of text. Pronounced "ledding."
leased line A permanently connected and conditioned telephone line that provides wide area network (WAN) connectivity to an organization or a business.
left drag In the My Computer primary file management utility for PCs, an action done on a folder or file to automatically move or copy the folder or file.
left pane In the My Computer primary file management utility for PCs, one of two main default windows. It displays links to system tasks, such as viewing system information. See also right pane.
legacyObsolete; most often used to describe old mainframe systems.
legacy systemA technically obsolete information system that remains in use, often because it performs its job adequately or is too expensive to replace.
legendIn a chart, an area that provides a key to the meaning of the symbols or colors used on the chart.
letter-quality printer A dot-matrix printer that can produce characters that appear to be fully formed, like those printed by a laser printer.
level 2 (L2) cache See secondary cache.
libelA form of defamation that occurs in writing.
life cycle In information systems, the birth, development, use, and eventual abandonment of the system.
light pen An input device that uses a light- sensitive stylus to draw on-screen or on a graphics tablet or to select items from a menu.
line chart A graph that uses lines to show the variations of data over time or to show the relationship between two numeric variables.
line printer In business data processing, a high-speed printer that prints an entire line of text at a time.
linker See assembler.
linkingSee object linking and embedding (OLE).
LinuxA freeware operating system closely resembling UNIX developed for IBM-compatible PCs but also available for other platforms, including Macintosh.
Linux distribution A CD-ROM containing the Linux operating system and a collection of drivers, GUI interfaces, and application programs.
liquid crystal display (LCD) A small, flat- screen monitor that uses electrical current to control tiny crystals and form an image.
listservAn automatic mailing list server developed by Eric Thomas for BITNET in 1986.
list server In e-mail, a program that automatically sends a copy of every message submitted to the mailing list to the address of each of the mailing list's subscribers. Also called reflector.
list server addressIn a mailing list, the e-mail address of the list server rather than the mailing list. To subscribe or unsubscribe to a mailing list, you send requests to the list server address.
list viewIn a database, a way of viewing database records as a list.
loadTo transfer program instructions from storage to memory.
loading The process of transferring data from an input or storage device into the computer's memory.
local access and transport area (LATA)In the public switched telephone network (PSTN), the area served by a local exchange carrier (LEC).
local area network (LAN) A computer network that connects computers in a limited geographical area (typically less than one mile) so that users can exchange information and share hardware, software, and data resources.
local exchange carrier (LEC)A telecommunications company that serves a local access and transport area (LATA).
local loopIn the public switched telephone network (PSTN), the last segment of service delivery, typically consisting of analog connections from neighborhood distribution points.
local newsgroup In Usenet, a category of newsgroups that are devoted to the concerns of the organization (such as a university or company) running the local server.
LocalTalkA protocol developed by Apple Computer that provides peer-to-peer networking among Apple Macintosh computers and Macintosh-compatible peripherals such as laser printers. LocalTalk is a low-level protocol that works with twisted-pair phone cables.
location toolbar A Web browser feature that provides a text box indicating the URL of the page being viewed; also known as the address toolbar.
log in To authenticate yourself as a user with a valid account and usage privileges on a multiuser computer system or a computer network. To log in, you supply your user name and password. Also called log on.
log onSee log in.
logic bomb A flaw concealed in an otherwise usable computer program that can be triggered to destroy or corrupt data.
logic error In programming, a mistake made by the programmer in designing the program. Logic errors will not surface by themselves during program execution because they are not errors in the structure of the statements and commands.
logical data type A data type that allows only a yes or no answer.
logical fieldIn a database, a space that accepts only yes and no values.
logical operations One of two groups of operations performed by the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU). The logical operations involve comparing two data items to see which one is larger or smaller.
loopingSee repetition control structure.
lossless compression In data compression, a method used to reduce the size of a file that enables the file to be restored to its original size without introducing errors. Most lossless compression techniques reduce file size by replacing lengthy but frequently occurring data sequences with short codes; to decompress the file, the compression software reverses this process and restores the lengthy data sequences to their original form.
lossy compression In data compression, a method of reducing the size of multimedia files by eliminating information that is not normally perceived by human beings.
low-level language A language that describes exactly the procedures to be carried out by a computer's central processing unit, such as machine or programming language.

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M or MB Abbreviation for megabyte, approximately one million bytes or characters of information.
Mac OS Operating system and user interface developed by Apple Computer for Macintosh computers; introduced the first graphical user interface.
machine cycleA four-step process followed by the control unit that involves the fetch, decode, execute, and write-back operations. Also called processing cycle.
machine dependence The dependence of a given computer program or component on a specific brand or type of computer equipment.
machine languageThe native binary language consisting of 0s and 1s that is recognized and executed by a computer's central processing unit.
machine translationLanguage translation performed by the computer without human aid.
macroIn application software, a user-defined command sequence that can be saved and executed to perform a complex action.
macro virusA computer virus that uses the automatic command execution capabilities of productivity software to spread itself and often to cause harm to computer data.
maglev (magnetic levitation)A railway technology in which magnetic fields are used to raise the train off the railway surface, thus eliminating friction and enabling speeds rivaling those of aircraft.
magnetic disks Random access devices that are one of the two most common magnetic media.
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) In health care, a computer-controlled imaging device used to diagnose patients.
magnetic storage A storage system that uses magnetically encoded disks or tapes to store data.
magnetic storage media In computer storage systems, any storage device that retains data using a magnetically sensitive material, such as the magnetic coating found on floppy disks or backup tapes.
magnetic tapes Sequential storage devices that are one of the two most common magnetic media.
magnetic-ink character recognition (MICR) system A scanning system developed by the banking industry in the 1950s. Check information is encoded onto each check before it is used to reduce processing time when the check comes back to the bank.
magneto-optic (MO) discAn erasable disk that combines magnetic particles used on tape and disk with new optical technology.
magneto-optical (MO) drive A data storage device that uses laser technology to heat an extremely small spot on a magneto-optical (MO) cartridge so that the magnetic medium used in the MO disk becomes capable of having its magnetic orientation changed by the read/write head.
mailbox name One of the two basic parts of a person's e-mail address: the part to the left of the at sign (@), which specifies the name of the person's mailbox. To the right of the @ sign is the domain name of the computer that houses the mailbox. A person's mailbox name often is the same as his or her login name.
mailing listAn e-mail application that enables participants to send a message that will be mailed to all of the lists' participants. Similarly, replies to this message (if not addressed only to the sender of the original message) will be seen by all participants.
mailing list address An e-mail address that identifies the mailbox to which mailing list messages are sent.
mailto URLIn HTML, a type of URL that enables Web authors to create a link to a person's e-mail address. When the user clicks the mailto link, the browser displays a window for composing an e-mail message to this address.
main board See motherboard.
mainframeA multiuser computer system that meets the computing needs of a large organization.
male connectors Connectors with external pins.
management information system (MIS)A computer-based system that supports the information needs of management.
managersPeople in an organization who decide how best to use the organization's resources, including money, equipment, and people, so that the organization achieves its goals.
marginThe space around the edge of the paper that is left blank when a document is printed.
margin loan In stock investing, a risky strategy in which investors borrow money to purchase stocks. The strategy pays off when share prices rise. In a bear (declining) market, however, investors who purchased stocks on margin loans may accumulate more debt than their finances can handle.
Mark Sense Character Recognition A data input system that can recognize pencil marks on printed forms.
markup language In text processing, a system of codes for marking the format of a unit of text that indicates only that a particular unit of text is a certain part of the document, such as an abstract, a title, or an author's name and affiliation. The actual formatting of the document part is left to another program, called a viewer, which displays the marked document and gives each document part a distinctive format (fonts, spacing, and so on). HTML is a markup language.
mass storage system A backup storage device used in a mainframe system. Mass storage systems can store hundreds or even thousands of high-capacity tape backup cartridges in a carousel-like system.
master In a graphics program, a template that contains the formatting and graphics that will appear on every page.
master fileA file containing all the current data relevant to an application.
master page In desktop publishing (DTP), a page that acts as a template for how all other pages will appear.
master slide In presentation graphics, a template slide that contains a presentation's background and any additional information that will appear on every page of the finished presentation.
master view In a desktop publishing or presentation graphics program, a view that shows the underlying template that is used to display each page.
math coprocessor A separate chip that frees the main processor from performing mathematical operations, usually operations involving floating-point notation.
mathematic formula In spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, one of the two basic types of formulas (along with functions). In a mathematic formula, or expression, the mathematic order of operation is followed.
maximize To enlarge a window so that it fits the entire screen.
Mbps In networking, a data transfer rate of approximately one million bits per second.
mean time between failures (MTBF)A hard disk manufacturer's estimate of how many drives of the same brand and model would need to be in operation for one of them to fail per hour.
mechanical miceA type of mouse that uses a rotating ball to generate information about the mouse's position.
medium-scale integration (MSI) A technology used to assemble integrated circuits (ICs). MSI was achieved in the late 1960s and could fit between 20 and 200 transistors on a single IC.
megabyte (M or MB) A measurement of storage capacity equal to 1,024 kilobytes, or approximately one million bytes or characters.
megapixelType of digital camera that has a charge-coupled device with at least one million elements.
memoryCircuitry that stores information temporarily so that it is readily available to the central processing unit (CPU).
memory addressA code number that specifies a specific location in memory.
memory busSee system bus.
memory residentA program, such as an operating system's kernel, that resides in random access memory whenever the computer is turned on.
menu bar In a graphical user interface (GUI), a rectangular bar (generally positioned near the top of the application window) that provides access to pull-down menus. On the Macintosh, an active application's menu bar is always positioned at the top of the screen.
menu-driven user interface An interface between the operating system and the user in which text-based menus show options, rather than requiring the user to memorize the commands and type them in.
message listIn an e-mail program, a list of all current e-mail messages.
message windowIn an e-mail program, an on- screen panel that displays the contents of the message currently highlighted in the message list.
Metcalfe's LawA prediction formulated by Bob Metcalfe, creator of Ethernet, that the value of a network increases in proportion to the square of the number of people connected to the network.
methodIn object-oriented programming, a procedure or operation that processes or manipulates data.
metropolitan area network (MAN) A high- speed regional network typically used to connect universities with other research facilities in a large metropolitan area.
microcomputerA computer that uses a microprocessor as its CPU.
micronOne thousandth of a millimeter.
microphoneAn input device that converts sound into electrical signals that can be processed by a computer.
microprocessor An integrated circuit containing the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) and control unit of a computer's central processing unit (CPU).
Microsoft Windows Generic name for the various operating systems in the Microsoft Windows family, including, but not limited to, Microsoft Windows CE, Microsoft Windows 3.1, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, and Microsoft Windows NT.
Microsoft Windows 2000 ProfessionalA high-performance operating system for corporate computer users that combines the features of Windows NT Workstation with the easy-to-use interface of Windows 98.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server A high- performance operating system designed for use on client/server networks in corporations and other large organizations. Windows 2000 Server is the successor to Windows NT Server.
Microsoft Windows 3.xA family of programs developed by Microsoft Corporation, including Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, and Windows for Workgroups 3.1. Although they are often treated like operating systems, these programs are actually MS-DOS applications.
Microsoft Windows 95An operating system developed for IBM-compatible PCs by Microsoft Corporation. Unlike Windows 3.x, Microsoft Windows 95 is a true operating system that introduced numerous improvements over its predecessors. Microsoft Windows 95 is a 32-bit operating system that is downwardly compatible with 16-bit programs developed for Windows 3.x. Also called Win 95.
Microsoft Windows 98A 32-bit operating system developed for IBM-compatible PCs by Microsoft Corporation as the successor to Windows 95. Windows 98 offers easier Internet connectivity and the availability to work with peripherals that require universal serial bus (USB) or Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) slots. Like Windows 95, Windows 98 is downwardly compatible with applications developed for Windows 3.x. Also called Win 98.
Microsoft Windows 98 SE SE is short for second edition. According to Microsoft, Windows 98 SE is the best choice for home computing because it offers the best support for multimedia.
Microsoft Windows CE An operating system for palmtop and personal digital assistant computers developed by Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft Windows MELike Windows 95 and Windows 98, Microsoft Windows ME combines 16- and 32-bit code. New features include support for home computer networks, in which two or more computers can share a single Internet connection.
Microsoft Windows NT A 32-bit operating system developed by Microsoft Corporation for use in corporate client/server networks. The operating system consists of two components, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation (for users' systems) and Microsoft Windows NT Server (for file servers).
Microsoft Windows NT ServerA network operating system for file servers. When used with Microsoft's BackOffice suite of server software, Windows NT Server provides a suite of software for enterprise information systems development, including messaging and database access.
Microsoft Windows NT Workstation A 32-bit operating system for networked client computers, developed by Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft Windows XPThe first Microsoft operating system family that uses the same, underlying 32-bit code for all three versions (consumer, corporate desktop, and server).
Microsoft Windows XP Home EditionAn improved version of Windows 2000 Professional designed for home users that replaces all previous versions of Windows designed for home users (including Windows 95, 98, and ME).
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Updated version of Windows 2000 Professional. XP Professional is designed for desktop computer users in networked corporate settings.
Microsoft Windows XP Server Updated version of Windows 2000 Server. XP Server is designed to make information and services available on corporate computer networks.
microwave An electromagnetic radio wave with a very short frequency.
middleware In object-oriented programming, standards that define how programs find objects and determine what kind of information they contain.
millisecond (ms)A unit of measurement, equal to one-thousandth of a second, commonly used to specify the access time of hard disk drives.
minicomputer A multiuser computer that meets the needs of a small organization or a department in a large organization.
minimize To reduce the size of a window so that it appears only as an icon or an item on the taskbar.
mirror site On the Internet, a duplicate version of a popular site that is created to ensure that users will be able to access the site without encountering errors or delays.
mirroring/duplexing The technique used by Level 1 RAID devices to assure that each hard disk is paired with at least one additional disk that contains an exact copy of its data.
mission-critical system An information system that is of decisive importance to an organization's primary mission. In a university, the information systems that handle student registration are mission-critical systems. Compare safety-critical system.
mnemonic In programming, an abbreviation or a word that makes it easier to remember a complex instruction.
modeling A method by which spreadsheet programs are able to predict future outcomes.
modem Short for modulator/demodulator, a device that converts the digital signals generated by the serial port to the modulated analog signals required for transmission over a telephone line and, likewise, transforms incoming analog signals to their digital equivalents. The speed at which a modem transmits data is measured in units called bits per second, or bps. (Although bps is not technically the same as baud, the terms are often and erroneously used interchangeably.)
modifier keysKeys that are pressed to modify the meaning of the next key that's pressed.
modular programming A programming style that breaks down program functions into modules, each of which accomplishes one function and contains all the source code and variables needed to accomplish that function.
modulationThe conversion of a digital signal to its analog equivalent, especially for the purposes of transmitting signals using telephone lines.
modulation protocolIn modems, the communications standard that governs how the modem translates between the computer's digital signals and the analog tones used to convey computer data over the Internet. Modulation protocols are defined by ITU standards. The V.90 protocol defines communication at 56 Kbps.
moduleA part of a software program; independently developed modules are combined to compile the final program.
monitorA television-like device that produces an on-screen image.
monochrome monitor A monitor display that shows one color against a black or white background.
monospace font A typeface in which the width of every character is the same; produces output similar to that of a typewriter.
Moore's Law A prediction by Intel Corp. cofounder Gordon Moore that integrated circuit technology advancements would enable the semiconductor industry to double the number of components on a chip every 18 to 24 months.
moral dilemma A situation in which people run into difficulty trying to figure out how existing rules apply to a new situation.
morphing An animated special effect in which one image transforms into a second image.
motherboard A large circuit board containing the computer's central processing unit, support chips, random access memory, and expansion slots. Also called a main board.
motion capture An animation technique that involves filming actors dressed in costumes containing sensors, which record the actors' movements. The resulting action sequences provide a lifelike basis for animation.
mouse A palm-sized input device, with a ball built into the bottom, that is used to move a pointer on-screen to draw, select options from a menu, modify or move text, and issue commands.
mousepad A clean, flat surface for moving a mouse on. characters.
Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) A set of standards for audio and video file formats and lossless compression, named after the group that created it.
MPEG Audio Layer 3 (MP3) A sound compression standard that can store a single song from an audio CD in a 3M file. MP3 files are easily shared over the Internet and are costing recording companies billions of dollars in lost royalties due to piracy.
MS-DOS An operating system for IBM- compatible PCs that uses a command-line user interface.
multidisplay video adapter An adapter that enables users to hook up two monitors without having to purchase a second video adapter.
multifunction devices Machines that combine printing, scanning, faxing, and copying.
multifunction printer An inkjet or laser printer that also functions as a scanner, a fax machine, and a copier.
multimedia The presentation of information using graphics, video, sound, animation, and text.
multimedia CAIA version of computer-assisted instruction that makes use of the personal computer's multimedia capabilities, including high-quality sound, rich graphics, and video.
multiplayer online gaming The use of the Internet to enable two or more users to play against one another in popular computer games.
multiple series In a chart such as a bar chart or line chart, the use of more than one data series to compare two or more items.
multiple undo A feature of many of today's application programs that enables the user to undo more than one editing change. Some programs offer unlimited undo.
multiplexing A technique that enables more than one signal to be conveyed on a physical transmission medium.
multiprocessing The use of two or more processors in the same computer system at the same time.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) An Internet standard that specifies how Internet programs, such as e-mail programs and Web browsers, can transfer multimedia files (including sounds, graphics, and video) through the Internet. Before the development of MIME, all data transferred through the Internet had to be coded in ASCII text.
multiscan monitor A monitor that automatically adjusts its refresh rate to the output of the video adapter.
multisession PhotoCD A standard for recording PhotoCD information onto a CD- ROM during several different recording sessions. Unlike standard CD-ROM drives, drives that are Multisession PhotoCD- compatible can read information recorded on a disk during several different pressings.
multitasking In operating systems, the capability to execute more than one application at a time. Multitasking shouldn't be confused with multiple program loading, in which two or more applications are present in random access memory (RAM) but only one executes at a time.
multithreading In multitasking, the capability of a computer to execute more than one task, called a thread, within a single program.
multiuserDesigned to be used by more than one person at a time.
multiuser dungeon (MUD) A text-based environment in which multiple players can assume online personas and interact with each other by means of text chatting.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) fileA standard that specifies how musical sounds can be described in text files so that a MIDI- compatible synthesizer can reproduce the sounds. MIDI files are small, so they're often used to provide music that starts playing automatically when a Web page is accessed. To hear MIDI sounds, your computer needs a sound card. MIDI sounds best with wavetable synthesis sound cards, which include sound samples from real musical instruments.

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nameThe first part of a filename. It is separated by a period, or dot, from the second part of the name, called the extension.
name box In a spreadsheet program, an area that displays the name of the active cell.
nanometerA billionth of a meter.
nanorobots Atoms and molecules used to perform certain tasks in nanotechnology.
nanosecond (ns) A unit of time equal to one billionth of a second.
nanotechnology Manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale in order to build microscopic devices.
National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) The organization that defines the display standards for broadcast television in the U.S.
native application A program that runs on a particular brand and model of processor or in a particular operating system.
natural language A human language, such as English or Japanese.
near-letter-quality printout Print quality that is almost as good as printed text.
near-online storage A type of storage that is not directly available, but can be made available by a simple action such as inserting a disk.
nest In structured programming, to embed one control structure inside another.
NetBEUI This LAN protocol defines Microsoft Windows NT-based networks.
netiquette Short for network etiquette. A set of rules that reflect long-standing experience about getting along harmoniously in the electronic environment (e-mail and newsgroups).
NetBEUI This LAN protocol defines Microsoft Windows NT-based networks.
Netscape extensions Additions to standard HTML added in the mid-1990s by Netscape Communications, Inc., in an effort to provide Web designers with more presentation options.
network access point (NAP) In a wide area network (WAN), a location where local and regional service providers can connect to transcontinental backbone networks.
network architecture The overall design of a computer network that specifies its functionality at every level by means of protocols.
network attached storage (NAS) devices High-performances devices that provide shared data to clients and other servers on a local area network.
network computer (NC) A computer that provides much of a PC's functionality at a lower price. Network computers don't have disk drives because they get their software from the computer network.
network effect An economic term for the rewards consumers get when they purchase a popular product rather than a less popular, even if technologically superior, one..
network interface card (NIC)An adapter that enables a user to connect a network cable to a computer.
network laser printer A nonimpact, high- resolution printer capable of serving the printing needs of an entire department.
network medium A physical condition that links two or more computers.
network operating system (NOS) The software needed to enable data transfer and application usage over a local area network (LAN).
network version A version of an application program for use by more than one person at a time on a local area network (LAN).
network warfareA form of information warfare characterized by attacks on a society's information infrastructure, such as its banking and telecommunications networks.
neural network In artificial intelligence, a computer architecture that attempts to mimic the structure of the human brain. Neural nets "learn" by trial and error and are good at recognizing patterns and dealing with complexity.
newsgroupIn Usenet, a discussion group devoted to a single topic. Users post messages to the group, and those reading the discussion send reply messages to the author individually or post replies that can be read by the group as a whole.
NNTP server See Usenet server.
nodeIn a LAN, a connection point that can create, receive, or repeat a message.
nonimpact printer A printer that forms a text or graphics image by spraying or fusing ink to the page.
noninterlaced monitor A monitor that refreshes the entire screen with each pass of the cathode gun. Because this reduces flicker and eye strain, almost all monitors today are noninterlaced.
nonproceduralNot tied down to step-by-step procedures. In programming, a nonprocedural programming language does not force the programmer to consider the procedure that must be followed to obtain the desired result.
nonresidentNot present in memory. A nonresident program must be loaded from secondary storage when it is needed.
nonvolatileNot susceptible to loss. If power is lost, the data is preserved.
normal layout In an application program, an on-screen rendition of the document's appearance that does not attempt to show all of the features that will appear in the printout.
normal view A view available in Microsoft PowerPoint that shows the outline view on the left side of the screen and the slide view on the right side of the screen.
normalizationIn database management, a formal process of database design that assures the elimination of duplicate data entry (data redundancy).
notebook computer A portable computer that is small enough to fit into an average-size briefcase but includes nearly all peripherals commonly found on desktop computers.
notes viewview In a presentation graphics program, a view of the presentation that enables you to see your speaker's notes.
NTSC converterA device needed to connect a computer to a TV.
NuBusA 32-bit wide expansion bus used by older Macintosh computers. Newer Macintoshes use the Personal Computer Interface (PCI) bus.
nukingA type of antisocial behavior found on Internet Relay Chat characterized by exploiting bugs that cause computer crashes.
Num Lock A toggle key that determines whether the numeric keypad functions in cursor movement mode or number entry mode.
numbered listsIn Microsoft word, numbered lists are useful for listing items or giving instructions.
numeric checkEnsures that numbers are entered into a field.
numeric field In a database, a space that accepts only numbers
numeric format In a spreadsheet program, the way values appear in cells. Examples of numeric formats are currency and date.
numeric keypadA set of keys, usually on the right side of the keyboard, for entering numeric data quickly. The numeric keypad can also move the cursor.

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object1. In object-oriented programming (OOP), a unit of computer information that contains data and all the procedures or operations that can process or manipulate the data. 2. Nontextual data. Examples of objects include pictures, sounds, or videos.
object code In programming, the machine- readable instructions created by a compiler from source code.
object linking and embedding (OLE) A Microsoft Windows standard that enables applications to exchange data and work with one another dynamically. A linked object, such as a graphic or paragraph, is dependent upon, or linked to, the source file such that if the object changes in the source file it also changes in the destination file. An embedded object is simply copied into a program.
object-oriented database The newest type of database structure, well suited for multimedia applications, in which the result of a retrieval operation is an object of some kind, such as a document. Within this object are miniprograms that enable the object to perform tasks such as displaying graphics. Object-oriented databases can incorporate sound, video, text, and graphics into a single database record.
object-oriented (OO) programming A programming technique that creates generic building blocks of a program (the objects). The user then assembles different sets of objects as needed to solve specific problems. Also called OOP, for object-oriented programming.
obscenity In U.S. law, a literary or artistic work that is obviously designed to produce sexual arousal, violates established community standards, and has no literary, artistic, or scientific value.
odd parity An error-checking protocol in which the parity bit is set to 1 if the number of 1 digits in a byte equals an even number.
office application An application program that is useful for anyone working with words, numbers, graphic images, and databases in a contemporary office setting. This category includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics software, as well as database management programs designed for use by untrained users.
Office Clipboard In Microsoft Office, a feature that temporarily stores in memory whatever has been cut or copied from a document, allowing for those items to be used within any Office application.
office suite A collection of separate office applications that have been designed to resemble each other as closely as possible and to exchange data smoothly. The leading office suite package is Microsoft Office. Compare integrated program.
offline storage A type of storage that is not readily available and is used to store infrequently accessed or backup data. off-the-shelf software See packaged software.
onlineDirectly connected to the network.
online analytical processing (OLAP) In a decision support system (DSS), a method of providing rich, up-to-the-minute data from transaction databases.
online banking The use of a Web browser to access bank accounts, balance checkbooks, transfer funds, and pay bills.
online processing The processing of data immediately after it has been input by a user, as opposed to waiting until a predetermined time, as in batch processing.
online processing In Word, the Outlining toolbar helps users to work on master documents, allowing users to collapse and expand subdocuments.
online service A for-profit firm that makes current news, stock quotes, and other information available to its subscribers over standard telephone lines. Popular services include supervised chat rooms for text chatting and forums for topical discussion. Online services also provide Internet access.
online stock trading The purchase or sale of stock through the Internet.
online storage A type of storage that is directly available, such as a hard disk, and requires no special action on the user's part to enable.
online travel reservations A rapidly growing area of e-commerce that allows consumers to use the Internet to research, book, and purchase airline flights, hotel rooms, and rental cars.
on-screen keyboard utility An accessibility feature that displays a graphic image of a computer keyboard on-screen so that people with limited dexterity can type conveniently.
openTo transfer an existing document from storage to memory.
open architecture A system in which all the system specifications are made public so that other companies may develop add-on products, such as adapters.
open protocol A network standard placed in the public domain and regulated by an independent standards organization.
open source software Software in which the source code is made available to the program's users.
operating platform See operating system.
operating system (OS) A program that integrates and controls the computer's internal functions and provides a user interface.
operationally feasible Capable of being accomplished with an organization's available resources.
optical character recognition (OCR) Software that automatically decodes imaged text into a text file. Most scanners come with OCR software.
optical mark reader (OMR) A reader that senses magnetized marks made by the magnetic particles in lead from a pencil.
optical mice A type of mouse that uses a low- power laser to determine the mouse's position.
optical resolution A measure of the sharpness with which a scanner can digitize an image.
optical storage A storage system in which a storage device retains data using surface patterns that are physically encoded on the surface of plastic discs. The patterns can be detected by a laser beam.
order of evaluation In any program that evaluates formulas, the order in which the various operations are performed. Some programs evaluate formula expressions from left to right, while others perform operations in a given order.
organizationA collection of resources (personnel and equipment) arranged so that they can provide some kind of product or service.
orientationIn document formatting, the layout of the page (either portrait or landscape).
outline view In a word processing or presentation graphics program, a document display mode that enables you to see an outline of the document or presentation.
outputThe results of processing information, typically shown on a monitor or a printer.
output devices Monitors, printers, and other machines that enable people to see, hear, and even feel the results of processing operations.
outsourcing The transfer of a project to an external contractor.
overclockTo configure a computer system so that it runs a processor faster than it is designed to run; it may make the system unstable.

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packageA collection of programs. A common example of a package is Microsoft Office, which bundles a word processing program and a spreadsheet program with other applications.
packaged software Ready-to-use software that is sold through mass-market channels and contains features useful to the largest possible user base. Synonymous with off-the-shelf software and shrink-wrapped software.
packet In a packet-switching network, a unit of data of a fixed size—not exceeding the network's maximum transmission unit (MTU) size—that has been prepared for network transmission. Each packet contains a header that indicates its origin and its destination. See also packet switching.
packet sniffer In computer security, a device that examines all traffic on a network and retrieves valuable information such as passwords and credit card numbers.
packet switching One of two fundamental architectures for a wide area network (WAN); the other is a circuit-switching network. In a packet-switching network such as the Internet, no effort is made to establish a single electrical circuit between two computing devices; for this reason, packet-switching networks are often called connectionless. Instead, the sending computer divides a message into packets, each of which contains the address of the destination computer, and dumps them onto the network. They are intercepted by devices called routers, which send the packets in the appropriate direction. The receiving computer assembles the packets, puts them in order, and delivers the received message to the appropriate application. Packet-switching networks are highly reliable and efficient, but they are not suited to the delivery of real-time voice and video.
pageIn virtual memory, a fixed size of program instructions and data that can be stored on the hard disk to free up random access memory.
page description language (PDL) A programming language capable of precisely describing the appearance of a printed page, including fonts and graphics.
page formatting In word processing applications, page formatting allows you to format text, which involves specifying the font, alignment, margins, and other properties.
page layout In an application program, an on- screen rendition of the document's appearance that shows all or almost all of the features that will appear in the printout.
paging An operating system's transference of files from storage to memory and back.
paint program A program that enables the user to paint the screen by specifying the color of the individual pixels that make up the screen display.
paper size The size of the paper that is available for use in the printer. Most programs can work with a variety of paper sizes, but you must configure the program to work with nonstandard sizes.-
paragraph In word processing, a unit of text that begins and ends with the Enter keystroke.
paragraph formatting In a word processing document, presentation options that can be applied to a block of text, such as justification and indentation.
parallel conversion In the development of an information system, the operation of both the new and old information systems at the same time to ensure the compatibility and reliability of the new system.
parallel port An interface that uses several side-by-side wires so that one or more bytes of computer data can travel in unison and arrive simultaneously. Parallel ports offer faster performance than serial ports, in which each bit of data must travel in a line, one after the other.
parallel processing The use of more than one processor to run two or more portions of a program simultaneously.
parent directory In the relationship between a directory and a subdirectory, the directory that contains the subdirectory.
parity bit An extra bit added to a data word for parity checking. See even parity and odd parity.
parity checking A technique used to detect memory or data communication errors. The computer adds the number of bits in a one-byte data item, and if the parity bit setting disagrees with the sum of the other bits, the computer reports an error. See even parity and odd parity.
parity error An error that a computer reports when parity checking reveals that one or more parity bits are incorrect, indicating a probable error in data processing or data transmission.
passive matrix LCD An inexpensive liquid crystal display (LCD) that sometimes generates image flaws and is too slow for full-motion video. Also called dual scan LCD.
password A unique word that a user types to log on to a system. Passwords should not be obvious and should be changed frequently.
password guessing In computer security, a method of defeating password authentication by guessing common passwords, such as personal names, obscene words, and the word "password."
paste In the editing process, a command that inserts text stored in the clipboard at the cursor's location.
path The sequence of directories that the computer must follow to locate a file.
pattern recognition In artificial intelligence, the use of a computer system to recognize patterns, such as thumbprints, and associate these patterns with stored data or instructions.
PC 100 SDRAM A type of SDRAM capable of keeping up with motherboards that have bus speeds of 100 MHz.
PC card Synonymous with PCMCIA card. A computer accessory (such as a modem or network interface card) that is designed to fit into a compatible PC card slot mounted on the computer's case. PC cards and slots are commonly used on notebook computers because they offer system expandability while consuming a small fraction of the space required for expansion cards.
peer-to-peer network A computer network design in which all the computers can access the public files located on other computers in a network.
pen Input device that looks like a writing pen except that its tip is equipped with electronics instead of ink.
pen computer A computer operated with a stylus, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA).
Pentium A 64-bit microprocessor manufactured by Intel, introduced in 1993. The Pentium introduced many improvements over the 80486, including a superscalar architecture and clock speeds up to 200 MHz. Also called Pentium Classic.
Pentium II A 64-bit microprocessor manufactured by Intel, introduced in 1998. The Pentium II includes the MMX instruction set, contains 7.5 million transistors, and runs at clock speeds of 233 MHz and higher.
Public domain When an author gives everyone the right to freely reproduce and distribute his/her material, that material is said to be in the public domain.
Pentium MMX A 64-bit microprocessor manufactured by Intel and introduced in 1997. The Pentium MMX includes a set of multimedia extensions, 57 processor instructions that run multimedia applications faster. It contains 4.5 million transistors and runs at clock speeds up to 233 MHz.
Pentium Pro A 64-bit microprocessor manufactured by Intel, introduced in 1995. The Pentium Pro introduced many new features, such as enhanced pipelining and a large on-board cache. Because it is optimized to run only 32-bit software, however, the Pentium Pro is found mainly in servers and engineering workstations.
performance animation See motion capture.
peripheralA device connected to and controlled by a computer, but external to the computer's central processing unit.
Peripheral Computer Interface (PCI) bus A bus architecture used for expansion slots and introduced by Intel in 1992. It has displaced the VESA local bus and has almost displaced the ISA bus.
permanent virtual circuit (PVC) A high-speed network connection that enables organizations to connect to external data networks at a cost lower than that of a leased line.
personal certificate A digital certificate attesting that a given individual who is trying to log on to an authenticated server really is the individual he or she claims to be. Personal certificates are issued by certificate authorities (CA).
Personal Communication Service (PCS) A digital cellular phone service that is rapidly replacing analog cellular phones.
personal computer (PC) A computer system that meets the computing needs of an individual. The term PC usually refers to an IBM-compatible personal computer.
personal digital assistant (PDA) A small, handheld computer that accepts input written on-screen with a stylus. Most include built-in software for appointments, scheduling, and e- mail. Also called palmtop.
personal finance program A special-purpose application program that manages financial information. The best personal finance programs manage many types of information, including checking accounts, savings and investment plans, and credit card debt.
personal firewall A program or device that is designed to protect home computer users from unauthorized access.
personal identification number (PIN) A number used by a bank customer to verify identity when using an ATM.
personal information manager (PIM) A program that stores and retrieves a variety of personal information, such as appointments. PIMs have been slow to gain acceptance due to their lack of convenience and portability.
personal laser printer A nonimpact high- resolution printer for use by individuals.
personal productivity program Application software, such as word processing software or a spreadsheet program, that assists individuals in doing their work more effectively and efficiently.
phased conversion In the development of an information system, the implementation of the new system in different time periods, one part at a time.
photo communities Web-based communities that enable users to upload their pictures and make them available to friends and family at no charge.
photo printer See snapshot printer. Specially designed printers with flash memory card readers that enable users to bypass the computer completely.
PhotoCDSee Multisession PhotoCD.
photo-editing program A program that enables images to be enhanced, edited, cropped, or sized. The same program can be used to print the images on a color printer.
phrase searching In database and Web searching, a search that retrieves only documents that contain the entire phrase.
physical modeling A technique used to simulate what occurs when a real musical instrument produces a sound, such as a plucked guitar string.
pie chart A graph that displays a data series as a circle to emphasize the relative contribution of each data item to the whole. Also known as area chart.
pilot conversion In the development of an information system, the institution of the new system in only one part of an organization. When that portion of the organization is satisfied with the system, the rest of the organization then starts using it.
pin grid array (PGA) A complex pattern of downward-facing pins designed to fit into a compatible receptacle.
pipeliningA design that provides two or more processing pathways that can be used simultaneously.
pit A microscopic indentation in the surface of an optical disc that absorbs the light of the optical drive's laser, corresponding to a 0 in the computer's binary number system.
pixel Short for picture element, the smallest element that a device can display and out of which the displayed image is constructed.
placeholderAn area that is set aside to receive data of a certain type when this data becomes available.
plagiarismThe presentation of somebody else's work as if it were one's own.
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) A term used to describe the standard analog telephone service.
plaintext A readable message before it is encrypted.
Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) A voluntary rating system, widely endorsed by companies contributing to the Internet, used to inform users of cyberporn on the Internet.
Platform for Privacy Preference Project (P3P) A set of standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for informing Web users of a site's use of personal data.
platterIn a hard drive, a fixed, rapidly rotating disk that is coated with a magnetically sensitive material. High-capacity hard drives typically have two or more platters.
plotterA printer that produces high-quality output by moving ink pens over the surface of the paper.
Plug and Play (PnP) A set of standards jointly developed by Intel Corporation and Microsoft that enables users of Microsoft Windows-based PCs to configure new hardware devices automatically. Operating systems equipped with plug-and-play capabilities can automatically detect new PnP- compatible peripherals that may have been installed while the power was switched off.
plug-in program Software that directly interfaces with a particular program and gives it additional capabilities.
pointA standard unit of measurement in character formatting and computer graphics that is equal to 1/72 inch.
point of presence (PoP) A locality in which it is possible to obtain dialup access to the network by means of a local telephone call. Internet service providers (ISPs) provide PoPs in towns and cities, but many rural areas are without local PoPs.
point-and-shoot digital cameras Digital cameras that typically include automatic focus, automatic exposure, built-in automatic electronic flash with red eye reduction, and optical zoom lenses with digital enhancement.
point-of-sale (POS) terminal A computer-based cash register that enables transaction data to be captured at the checkout stand. Such terminals can automatically adjust inventory databases and enable managers to analyze sales patterns.
pointer An on-screen symbol, usually an arrow, that shows the current position of the mouse.
pointing device Any input device that is capable of moving the on-screen pointer in a graphical user interface (GUI), such as a mouse or trackball.
pointing stick A pointing device introduced by IBM that enables users to move the pointer around the screen by manipulating a small, stubby stick that protrudes slightly from the surface of the keyboard.
POP3 Also spelled POP-3. The current version of the Post Office Protocol (POP), an Internet standard for storing e-mail on a mail server until you can access it and download it to your computer.
popup menu A menu that appears at the mouse pointer's position when you click the right mouse button.
portAn interface that controls the flow of data between the central processing unit and external devices such as printers and monitors.
port conflict A serious system instability that occurs when two input/output devices attempt to use the same I/O port.
portable Able to be easily removed or inserted or transferred to a different type of computer system.
portable keyboard A small folding keyboard often used with a handheld computer.
Portable Network Graphics (PNG) A graphics file format closely resembling the GIF format but lacking GIF's proprietary compression technique (which forces publishers of GIF- enabled graphics software to pay a licensing fee).
portalOn the Web, a page that attempts to provide an attractive starting point for Web sessions. Typically included are links to breaking news, weather forecasts, stock quotes, free e-mail service, sports scores, and a subject guide to information available on the Web. Leading portals include Netscape's NetCenter (www.netcenter.com), Yahoo (www.yahoo.com), and Snap! (www.snap.com).
portrait mode In document formatting, a page layout in which text runs down the narrow orientation of the page.
positioning performance A measure of how much time elapses from the initiation of drive activity until the hard disk has positioned the read/write head so that it can begin transferring data.
postTo submit a message to an online newsgroup; the message itself may be referred to as a post or posting.
Post Office Protocol (POP) An Internet e-mail standard that specifies how an Internet-connected computer can function as a mail-handling agent; the current version is POP3. Messages arrive at a user's electronic mailbox, which is housed on the service provider's computer. You can then download the mail to a workstation or computer and print, store, or reply to it.
post-implementation system review In the development of an information system, the ongoing evaluation of the information system to determine whether it has met its goals.
PostScript A sophisticated page description language (PDL) widely used in desktop publishing.
Power Macintosh A line of Macintosh computers based on the Motorola Power PC processors, which use RISC design principles.
power-on self test (POST) The series of system integrity tests that a computer goes through every time it is started (cold boot) or restarted (warm boot). These tests verify that vital system components, such as the memory, are functioning properly.
power outage A sudden loss of electrical power, causing the loss of all unsaved information on a computer.
Power PC A series of processors developed by Motorola that utilize RISC design principles. Apple Computer's Power Macintosh systems use Power PC processors.
power supply A device that supplies power to a computer system by converting AC current to DC current and lowering the voltage.
power surge A sudden and sometimes destructive increase in the amount of voltage delivered through a power line.
power switch A switch that turns the computer on and off. Often located in the rear of a computer.
precedenceThe position of a given operation, such as addition or multiplication, within a program's default order of evaluation.
preemptive multitasking In operating systems, a method of running more than one application at a time. Unlike cooperative multitasking, preemptive multitasking allows other applications to continue running if one application crashes.
preferencesA list of the user's preferences for an application program's configuration. Preferences are stored so that they remain in place the next time the program is opened.
preformattedA floppy disk that has been formatted before it is packaged and sold.
presentation graphics A software package used to make presentations visually attractive and easy to understand.
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) The most widely used digital signature and certificate system.
primary cache A small unit (8 KB to 32 KB) of ultra-fast memory included with a microprocessor and used to store frequently accessed data and improve overall system performance.
primary folder A main folder such as is created at the root of a drive to hold further subfolders. Also called top-level folder.
Primary Rate ISDN (PRI) An ISDN connection designed for medium-sized organizations that offers twenty-three 64 Kbps data/voice channels.
print area In a spreadsheet program, a user- defined area that tells the program how much of the spreadsheet to print.
print driver Files placed on a hard drive after a printer install that contain the printer's instruction set.
print layout view In a word processing program, an on-screen view of the document in which all or most printed features are visible. The print layout view is fully editable.
print preview In a word processing program, an on-screen view of the document in which all printed features are visible. The document is not editable in this view.
printed circuit board A flat piece of plastic or fiberglass on which complex patterns of copper pathways have been created by means of etching. These paths link integrated circuits and other electrical components.
printerAn output device that prints computer- generated text or graphics onto paper or another physical medium.
privacyThe right to live your life without undue intrusions into your personal affairs by government agencies or corporate marketers.
private branch exchange (PBX) An organization's internal telephone system, which is usually digital.
private key A decryption key.
procedural language A programming language that tells the computer what to do and how to do it.
procedureThe steps that must be followed to accomplish a specific computer-related task.
processingThe execution of arithmetic or comparison operations on data.
processing cycle See machine cycle.
processor socket In contemporary motherboard designs, a socket that enables a knowledgeable user to mount a microprocessor chip without damaging the chip or the motherboard.
productivity software Programs that help people perform general tasks such as word processing.
professional workstation A very powerful computer system for engineers, financial analysts, and other professionals who need exceptionally powerful processing and output capabilities. Professional workstations are very expensive.
profileIn a consumer-oriented operating system such as Windows 98, a record of a user's preferences that is associated with a user name and password. If you set up two or more profiles, users see their own preferences. However, profiles do not prevent users from accessing and overwriting each others' files. Compare account.
programA list of instructions telling the computer what to do.
program development life cycle (PDLC) A step-by-step procedure used to develop software for information systems.
program file A file containing instructions written in a programming language to tell the computer what to do; also called an application file.
program listing In programming, a printout of the source code of a program.
program specification In software development, a technical description of the software needed by the information system. The program specification precisely defines input data, the processing that occurs, the output format, and the user interface.
programmableCapable of being controlled through instructions that can be varied to suit the needs of an individual.
programmed instruction A method of introducing new material by means of controlled steps in a workbook.
programmer A person skilled in the use of one or more programming languages. Although most programmers have college degrees in computer science, certification is an increasingly popular way to demonstrate one's programming expertise.
programming language An artificial language composed of a fixed vocabulary and a set of rules used to create instructions for a computer to follow.
project dictionary In the development of information systems, a compilation of all terminology relevant to the project.
project management program Software that tracks individual tasks that make up an entire job.
project notebook In the development of an information system, a place where information regarding system development is stored.
project plan A specification of the goals, scope, and individual activities that make up a project.
promoteIn an outlining utility, to increase the importance of a heading by moving it up in the hierarchy of outline categories (for example, by moving it from B to II).
proportional font A font in which the shape of each character determines how much space it requires and in which more characters fit on a line than in a monospace font; a proportional font closely resembles printed text.
proprietary architecture A design developed by a company and treated as a trade secret; the design can be copied only on payment of a licensing fee. Also called closed architecture.
proprietary file format A data-storage format used only by the company that makes a specific program.
proprietary protocol In a network, a communications protocol developed by a company and not available for public use without payment of a licensing fee.
protected mode A processing mode, first offered on Intel's 32-bit 80386 microprocessor, the enables users to access virtually unlimited amounts of memory.
protocol In data communications and networking, a standard specifying the format of data and the rules to be followed. Networks could not be easily or efficiently designed or maintained without protocols; a protocol specifies how a program should prepare data so that it can be sent to the next stage in the communication process. For example, e-mail programs prepare messages so that they conform to prevailing Internet mail standards, which are recognized by every program involved in the transmission of mail over the network.
protocol stack In a computer network, a means of conceptualizing network architecture in which the various layers of network functionality are viewed as a vertical stack, like the layers of a layer cake, in computers linked to the network. When one computer sends a message to the network, the message goes down the stack and then traverses the network; on the receiving computer, the message goes up the stack.
protocol suite In a computer network, the collection of network protocols that defines the network's functionality.
prototyping In information systems development, the creation of a working system model that is functional enough to draw feedback from users. Also called joint application development (JAD).
proximity operator In database and Web searching, a symbol or keyword that tells the search software to retrieve records or documents only if two specified search words occur within a certain number of words of each other.
PS/2 mouse A type of mouse that connects to the computer by means of the PS/2 port.
PS/2 port An input/output port that enables users to attach a specially designed mouse (called a PS/2 mouse) without requiring the use of the computer's built-in serial ports.
pseudocode In structured programming, a stylized form of writing used as an alternative to flowcharts to describe the logic of a program.
public data network (PDN) A network that builds its own high-speed data communications network using microwaves, satellites, and optical fiber, and sells network bandwidth to companies and government agencies.
public domain software Noncopyrighted software that anyone may copy and use without charge and without acknowledging the source.
public key In public key cryptography, the encoding key, which you make public so that others can send you encrypted messages. The message can be encoded with the public key, but it cannot be decoded without the private key, which you alone possess.
public key cryptography In cryptography, a revolutionary new method of encryption that does not require the message's receiver to have received the decoding key in a separate transmission. The need to send the key, required to decode the message, is the chief vulnerability of previous encryption techniques. Public key cryptography has two keys: a public one and a private one. The public key is used for encryption, and the private key is used for decryption.
public key infrastructure (PKI) A uniform set of encryption standards that specify how public key encryption, digital signatures, and CA-granted digital certificates should be implemented in computer systems and on the Internet.
public switched telephone network (PSTN) The world telephone system, a massive network used for data communication as well as voice.
pull-down menu In a graphical user interface (GUI), a named item on the menu bar that, when clicked, displays an on-screen menu of commands and options.
pumping and dumping An illegal stock price manipulation tactic that involves purchasing shares of a worthless corporation and then driving the price up by making unsubstantiated claims about the company's value in Internet newsgroups and chat rooms. The perpetrator sells the shares after the stock price goes up but before other investors wise up to the ploy.

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quality of service (QoS) In a network, the guaranteed data transfer rate. A major drawback of the Internet for real-time voice and video, as well as for time-sensitive data communication, is that it cannot assure quality of service. Network congestion can delay the arrival of data.
quarter-inch cartridge (QIC) A tape cartridge using quarter-inch wide magnetic tape widely used for backup operations. QICs can hold up to 5 GB on a single cartridge.
QueryIn the Microsoft Access database management system, the object used to ask questions of the database.
query by example (QBE) In a database, a method of requesting information by using a blank form that corresponds to the record form. You fill out one or more fields in the form, and the search software uses your response to try to match any records in the database that contain the data you supplied.
query language A retrieval and data-editing language for composing simple or complex requests for data.
QuickTime An Apple Computer-developed file and compression format for digital video.
quote In e-mail, text from a previous message that is copied into a reply message.
QWERTY keyboard A keyboard that uses the standard keyboard layout in which the first six letters on the left of the top row spell "QWERTY."

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Range A range is a rectangular group of cells. A range may be a single cell or the entire worksheet. The cell or cells within a range are specified by indicating the diagonally opposite corner cells, typically the upper-left cell and lower-right cell. An example of a range is A1: C13.
Read-only memory (ROM) In every computer, this is the memory that is available when a user starts up a computer; it is the guidelines that reveal to the computer that it must examine and start up its operating systems into its CPU.
Record When working with spreadsheets, Records are the individual files within folders.
Recycle Bin The Recycle Bin stores unwanted documents or files until emptied.
Redo command Located under the Edit button, the Redo command repeats the same text by copying the same text in another location within a working document.
Referential Integrity Referential Integrity in Access is having the tables in a database harmonious with one another.
Refresh command The Refresh command, represented by the exclamation point button on the External Data toolbar, allows the user to update data in a worksheet that has been originated from an external data source.
Rehearse Timings Rehearse Timings is a feature in PowerPoint letting users time a presentation while practicing.
Relational database A relational database is a database that has been designed to minimize redundant or repeated data. Common data items that are located in two or more tables can be related, or in other words, a relationship can be formed between the two tables based on these common data fields.
Relational operators There are six Relational operators that may be used when specifying arguments in functions. They are 1) equal to, 2) not equal to, 3) less than, 4) greater than, 5) less than or equal to, and 6) greater than or equal to.
Relationships window The Relationships window is for users to specify which tables and fields will be related in the database, along with being able to set additional relationship properties such as Referential Integrity, Join types, etc.
Relative Reference In Excel, Relative Reference refers to cell references in the formula that will change when copied to another cell.
Removable mass storage This is another term for Zip drive, an external or internal storage apparatus, which can keep as much as 250Mb of information. It operates like a huge floppy disk.
Remove Filter The Remove Filter feature displays all of the records in the table.
Repeat command Located under the Edit button, the Repeat command lets users paste the same text over again in another location within a working document.
Replace command The Replace command shares a dialog box with the Find and Go To commands. After the Find command finds the text or phrase that the user is looking for, the Replace command allows the user to "replace" the text or phrase.
Report A report in Access is a printed document for a database.
Report Footer A Report Header is a section of a report found at the end of a report, containing summary information about the report.
Report Header A Report Header is a section of a report found at the beginning of a report, containing information such as the title and date of the report.
Report Wizard The Report Wizard in Microsoft Access is the simplest way to make and construct a report.
Required property In Access, the Required property discards records not corresponding to the value in field.
Résumé Wizard In Word, the Résumé Wizard aids users in completing professional résumés by asking them a series of questions, and later presenting a template résumé.
Reverse In Word for text emphasis, Reverse is a popular text and background technique where light text is put on a dark background.
Reviewing toolbar The Reviewing toolbar contains several buttons to aid in the reviewing of and accepting or rejecting changes that have been made to a file.
Revision mark In Word, a vertical line inside of the left margin denotes a Revision mark, showing that a change has been made at that place in the document.
Revision Toolbar In Word, the Revision Toolbar harbors editing tools for users.
Revisions Pane The Revisions pane, located at the right of the window, shows how changes will appear for each reviewer of the file.
Right indent The type of indentation where the right side of a paragraph can appear to have a different margin. The right indent is normally set to zero in a paragraph. Use of the right indent will offset the paragraph from the established right margin.
Round trip HTML A function that can be found in all applications of Office 2002, which enables users to subsequently edit a Web page while in another application and vice versa.

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Sans serif typeface Sans serif typeface does not have small lines extending on the bottoms and tops of letters.
Save As command The Save As command lets users change the name of the source where a document is saved or change the place where the document is saved.
Save As Web Page command The Save As Web Page command in Excel allows a worksheet to be changed into a Web page. In other Microsoft Programs, this function allows documents on the Web to be transported into programs to be used in working documents.
Save command The Save command allows users to "save" documents on disks or the hard drive.
Scenario In Excel, Scenarios are "what-if" situations put into a spreadsheet.
Scenario Manager In Excel, the Scenario Manager enables users to speculate on various situations or outcomes of working spreadsheets.
Scenario Summary In Excel, the Scenario Summary allows users to compare various results of different scenarios in a summary table.
Scientific format A numeric format that gives the user the ability to display a number as a decimal fraction followed by a whole number exponent of 10.
Screen Tip In many applications, Screen Tips pop up and allow users to learn new information about the program.
Scroll bar Vertical and horizontal scroll bars are located within any window, and are used to find unseen areas within any working document.
Scrolling In many Microsoft applications in order to view different parts of any document, users scroll up and down, or from right to left by pushing the arrow buttons on the keyboard of the computer or by using the mouse and arrow button.
Section In Word, one of the three ways of formatting is a section which is different parts of a document, and each part can be formatted in various ways.
Section break In a Word document, a Section break is a disconnection of space within a document.
Select query The most common type of query, a Select query will search the underlying table and retrieve data that matches the specified criteria.
Selection area The Selection area for a record on a form is the solid colored vertical bar located on the immediate left of the form data in the form window. This vertical bar also has an image of a pencil at the very top.
Selective replacement In Word by using Selective replacement, users can replace words by clicking the Find Next command button, and then the Replace button to change the word.
Select-then-do In Word, the Select-then-do methodology is choosing a text, and then moving it to the desired location and working it.
Send To command In many Windows applications, the Send To command allows users to send documents or information to email or other applications of their choice.
Serif Typeface Serif Typeface has small lines extending on the bottoms and tops of letters.
Server On the Internet, information is stored on servers, large computers.
SetFocus method In Access, the SetFocus method brings users back to the point needed to begin work again.
Shared Workbook In Excel, when working in Workgroups, Shared Workbooks are placed on networks, making it easier for groups to asses and share ideas and amendments.
Show row The Show row check box in the query design grid controls whether or not the field will be displayed in the dynaset.
Show/Hide ¶ button The toggle button on the standard toolbar which allows the user to either turn on or off visual display of the non-printing symbols contained in a document.
Side-by-side column charts Side-by-side column charts are charts with multiple data series where similar data will be presented in columns located next to each other. This makes visual comparison of the data much easier.
Simple Query Wizard The Simple Query Wizard is a tool that will assist a user in building a simple query by ensuring that the minimum query specifications are completed.
Sizing handles In PowerPoint and Word, Sizing handles let users move and size pictures in documents.
Slide Layouts In PowerPoint, there are 24 pre-created slide formats that show where different objects, texts, pictures, graphs, and titles belong on the text.
Slide master In PowerPoint, Slide master reveals the formatting for individual slides.
Slide Navigator In PowerPoint, Slide Navigator gives users the opportunity to find any slide within a presentation.
Slide Show view In PowerPoint, the Slide Show view shows one slide after another as it would appear during the PowerPoint presentation.
Slide Sorter toolbar In PowerPoint, located in the bottom left-hand corner, the Slide Sorter toolbar allows users to change views for their slideshow.
Slide Sorter view In PowerPoint, the Slide Sorter view shows user each slide on a smaller scale.
Slide view In PowerPoint, after clicking the Slide view button, users can work on one slide at a time.
Soft page break In Word, the Soft page break function pushes text that no longer fits on a page on to the next page.
Soft Return Soft Return occurs when the word processor moves text from line to line while the user is in a document.
Solver Solver in Excel is an add-in that helps users solve problems with many variables.
Sort In Word, Sort lets users move rows around within tables.
Sort Ascending The Sort Ascending feature will sort text data alphabetically from A to Z, and numeric data in increasing order, for example from 1 to 100.
Sort command The Sort command puts lists in ascending or descending order according to specified keys.
Sort Descending The Sort Descending feature will sort text data in reverse alphabetical order from Z to A, and numeric data in decreasing order, for example from 100 to 1.
Sort row The Sort row in the query design grid allows you to specify the sort order for the data returned in the dynaset.
Sorting and Grouping The Sorting and Grouping dialog box allows users to specify group headers and footers as well as sort orders for the grouped data.
Sound Through a sound board and speakers, sound can be used in PowerPoint presentations.
Source range The cells that you want to copy or move information from.
Source workbook In Excel, information must be derived from an original source or dependent workbooks.
Special format A numeric format that gives the user the ability to display a number with editing characters, such as hyphens in a Social Security number or parentheses around the area code of a telephone number.
Special indent Two types of indentation, first line and hanging, are considered Special indents.
Spellcheck In many Windows applications, spellcheck is used to make sure users have not made any spelling mistakes; sentence structures can also be checked.
Split cells Split cells is the option that a user can select when a group of previously merged cells needs to be separated.
Spreadsheet In Excel, a Spreadsheet is composed of a grid of rows and columns allowing users to organize data and to recompute formulas with any changes made.
SQL view The SQL view allows users to view the query as it appears in SQL (Structured Query Language) statements. Advanced users knowledgeable in SQL can use the SQL view to enter and/or modify query statements.
Stacked-column charts Stacked-column charts are charts with multiple data series where similar data will be presented in one column with each data series being a different color or pattern. This stacked-column effect makes it easier to emphasize the total of the data series.
Standard toolbar The Standard toolbar has buttons that give users choices in what to execute next.
Startup Property The Startup Property is needed in order to present users with the main switchboard.
Statistical functions A group or category of functions within Excel that allow users to perform common and/or advanced statistical analysis on numeric data in a worksheet.
Status Bar In Excel, the Status Bar can be found at the bottom of the worksheet and allows users to know what is going on as they work.
Style Style is defined as a series of characteristics created for diversity.
Style command In Word, in the Format menu, the Style command adds and changes style types to documents.
Styles and Formatting command The Styles and Formatting command within Word allows the user to create and apply styles in a document.
SUM function In Excel, this function that adds up or sums the numeric entries within a range of cells. In Access, this function computes the total for a specific field for all records in the group.
Switchboard In order for non-technical users to identify pertinent information or data, Switchboards let data or objects to be moved easily from one place to another within Access or Excel.
Switchboard Items table The Switchboard Items table is the base for the Switchboard.
Switchboard Manager The Switchboard Manager is an Access Utility used to create switchboards.

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Tab key This key when pushed allows the tab to indent for a paragraph or for indentation purposes.
Tab Order When moving through the fields on a form, the Tab key is used. The order that you move from field to field is specified by the Tab Order.
Tab stop A measured position where text will be aligned. It establishes a point where the cursor will move to when the Tab key is pressed.
Table In Access, Tables are made up of records and fields organized in rows and columns for the purpose of storing information.
Table feature In Word, the Table feature creates many different kinds of tables for users to choose from.
Table of Contents In Word, a Table of Contents can be created automatically after clicking on the Index and Table command key.
Table Row In Access, a Table Row is a row that is contained in the Design grid of the lower half of the Query window in order to distinguish the table from where the field was taken.
Table Wizard In Access or Excel, Table Wizard has already created tables for users to choose from.
Tables and Borders toolbar Tables and Borders toolbar (Table menu) gives users an array of choices when making tables and adding borders to them.
Table menu In Word, after clicking the Table menus, users can choose to draw or to insert tables of varying sizes.
Tabular report A Tabular report is a report detailing information in rows rather than columns.
Tape backup unit This term means to store large amounts of data, like a Zip Drive, used for backing up entire systems.
Task Manager The Task Manager helps users to complete tasks, such as shutting down or starting up the computer.
Task pane The pane that allows the user to execute various commands. This pane can serve many functions and it automatically opens when the user initiates certain actions.
Taskbar The Taskbar is the area on the Windows desktop that typically shows all currently open applications. This makes it easier for users to switch between open applications, also known as multi-tasking. The Taskbar can be positioned anywhere on the desktop and can also include quick-launch icons.
Telnet Telnet is a program used with a PC to connect to other programs like the Web or email.
Template Templates are also known as "empty" worksheets or documents in many of the applications.
Terminal session A Terminal session is when users connect to and maintain a Web page.
Text box In PowerPoint, after clicking onto the empty square in the toolbar, the Text box allows text to be inserted in presentations.
Text field A Text field keeps information such as student names, address, or numbers, and can store up to 255 characters.
Text format A numeric format that gives the user the ability to left align a numeric entry and is also be used when there are leading zeros in an entry which should be treated as a text entry, such as a ZIP code.
Theme A Theme (template) is a set of designs and graphics or colors that could be used in a Microsoft document.
Thesaurus The tool or feature that allows users to search for synonyms, words with similar meanings, of particular words in order to avoid repetition in their writing.
Three-dimensional column chart A three-dimensional column chart is a column chart that has three-dimension effects added to the chart to make it more interesting and visually appealing.
Three-Dimensional Pie Charts In Excel, Three-Dimensional Pie Charts are pie charts that are seen in a three-dimensional view.
Thumbnail image A thumbnail image is a miniature view of either a slide or graphical object.
Time format A numeric format that gives users the ability to display times in a variety of different formats.
Times New Roman A specific typeface or font. Times New Roman is a serif and proportional font.
Today () Function This function in Excel when placed in an active cell always returns to the current date of when the spreadsheet was opened.
Toggle Switch A toggle switch is an apparatus that allows the computer to execute two tasks at the same time; for example, the changing of uppercase letters to lowercase letters while pressing the Caps Lock key.
Tool bar The Tool bar in any Windows application reveals the button available for the execution of various tasks while working within each application.
Top Values property The Top Values property allows users to display a specified percentage or number of the top or bottom records in a list.
Total Query In Access, by using one of many summary or aggregate functions, a Total Query does calculations on groups of records.
Track Changes command Under the Tools menu in Word, the Track Changes command highlights changes, accepts or rejects changes, or compares documents during the editing process.
Transition effects In PowerPoint, Transition effects regulate the way one screen appears on the screen and how the next appears.
Triangle In Access, Triangles (record selector symbol) reveal the place where records are being stored (saved).
Type size Type size is a measurement used to determine the size of text in documents, and the typeface ranges from 8 points and up.
Type style A type style is the formatting of a typeface which normally includes regular, bold, or italic settings.
Typeface Typeface is another term for font, meaning the entire group of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols used in documents.
Typography The process of selecting typefaces, type styles, and type sizes to be used within a document.

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Unbound Control In Access, Unbound controls are fields that have no data for entry.
Underlining A formatting option that can be applied to text. It includes single underline, double underline, bold underline, and many other underlining options.
Undo Command Located under the Edit button, the Undo Command brings back the users previous work(s) that were erased. This button can only be used when an initial mistake is made.
Unfreeze Panes command When the Unfreeze Panes command is activated, user specified rows and/or columns that had been continuously displayed are now unfrozen on the screen. Use of the Unfreeze Panes command will return the worksheet to normal scrolling.
Unhiding cells Unhiding cells is used to redisplay any rows or columns that had been previously "hidden."
Unicode Compression property The Unicode Compression property, set to "yes" by default, allows Text, Memo, and Hyperlink fields to store data more efficiently.
Update query An Update query is one type of Action query where multiple records can be changed, or updated, in a single query operation.

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Validation Rule property In Access, the Validation Rule property discards unknown data records.
Validation Text property In Access, the Validation Text property presents an "error message" any time the validation rule is broken.
Versions command In Word, instead of using the Save As command, users can click on the Versions command under the File menu, allowing users to save multiple versions of the same document.
Vertical Ruler In Word, the ruler displayed on the left of the workspace where the user can change top and bottom margins in addition to viewing the vertical placement of text on the page.
View menu The View menu supplies various views of a document through different magnifications.
Visual Basic Editor (VBE) In Word, the Visual Basic Editor (VBE) shows Project Explorer at the left side of the VBE window, and it is used to edit, build, and debug modules.
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Easily accessible from any application in Microsoft Office, VBA is an event-driven programming language.
VLOOKUP function The VLOOKUP (or vertical lookup) function allows a user to search for and match data within a specified table or range and then return a particular value for the matched data. In the VLOOKUP, the data or breakpoint information is organized in a column.

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WAV file WAV files are digitized recording of actual sound and is less compact than MIDI files.
Web Page A Web page (HTML document) is a document located on the Internet.
Web Page Wizard By asking users many questions, Web Page Wizard helps users to create their own Web sites.
Web Query Web Queries can be executed from almost any Web page by pulling the Data menu down, click Import External Data command, click New Web Query, and enter the new Web page.
Web Site On the Web, Web sites are numerous, and sites are places where information is distributed about specific topics, companies, or issues.
Whole word replacement In Word, under the Replace command, Whole word replacement looks and finds only whole words and replaces them.
Widows A widow occurs when the last line of a paragraph appears by itself at the top of page while the remainder of that paragraph appears on the previous page.
Wild Card Wild Cards allow users to search for a pattern within a text field.
Windows clipboard Windows clipboard is a transitory place in Windows application where users can move text or objects by selecting cut, copy, and paste commands located under the Edit Menu.
With Statement The With Statement in Excel allows users to perform many tasks at the same time on objects.
Wizard In many applications, Wizards ask users questions and when finished create from the questions the desired document.
Word Wrap Word wrap occurs as the word processor "wraps" text from line to line.
Workbook A Workbook in Excel is made of more than one worksheet.
Workgroup Workgroups are people who are working on projects. In Excel, the program has the capability to allow changes to the workbook from each member of the workgroup, and later merge into a single workbook.
Workplace In Excel, a Workplace allows users to open multiple workbooks in a single step.
Worksheet Worksheets in Excel refer to spreadsheets. (Workbook and Worksheet are unique to Excel).
Worksheet References In Excel, Worksheet References help label cells and remains constant.
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (www or the Web) is a smaller part of the Internet.
Write-enabled When open, the square holes located in the upper left- and right-hand corners of any disk allow users to alter files saved on disk.
Write-protected When closed, the square holes located in the upper left- and right-hand corners of any disk allow users to protect files saved on disk.
WYSIWYG WYSIWYG means What You See Is What You Get and is pronounced "wizzywig." This interface means that the way in which a document appears on a microprocessor's screen is how it will look when it prints out.

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X Axis The X Axis on a graph or chart in Excel is the horizontal axis point.

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Y Axis The Y Axis on a graph or chart in Excel is the vertical axis point.
Yes/No field In Excel and Access, the Yes/No field is used to evaluate two values: Yes/No, True/False, or On/Off.

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Zoom command The Zoom command shows a document on the screen at magnifications ranging from 10% to 500%.

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