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Welcome to our Glossary.

Here you can find the meaning of words and expressions commonly used by computer-users.

Use the query form below to enter a word or part of a word you are looking for. Click the "Search" button to start the search.

Search for: Click here to start the search

You can also take a look at all the words starting with a particular character, select one below:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

We are looking for more words here, so please mail me any words you don't know and I'll try to find out what they mean. Or send me words you do know and their meaning, so we can add them too and get an even better glossary (either in Dutch or English is fine).

Words in our glossary starting with "A" ...

Glossary ...


A-Subscriber
In telecommunication this indicates the person or machine that initiates a call or contact. For example: The A-subscriber calls the B-subscriber.

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)
Like MP3, Advanced Audio Coding is an audio encoding scheme specified by the MPEG-2 standard. Although it is part of MPEG-2 standard, it is not compatible with the MPEG Layer scheme or MP3. AAC was design by researchers from a number of companies and can be licensed from Dolby Laboratories. AAC encoding is more efficient than MP3, resulting in smaller file sizes for audio of similar quality. AAC can also provide many more audio channels than MP3, as well as a wider range of sampling rates for better sound quality than is possible with MP3. Although AAC by itself has not yet been widely used, it has been used as the basis for several proprietary secure formats, and it will be used in the audio portion of the MPEG-4 standard.

ABR
Available Bit Rate. This indicates a particular service within the ATM communication protocol, allowing flexible handling of telecommunication traffic, for example burst for data.

AC
AC - Alternating Current. A current (power) that changes direction (plus and minus) constantly in a sinus way. Commonly used in regular outlets, for example US households use a 110 Volt AC / 60 Hz current, where as most European households use 220 Vold AC / 50 Hz. See also DC.

AC (Alternating Current)
This is a type of electrical current that reverses its direction at a regular interval, and can be represented by a sine wave. Alternating current is the type typically found in a wall outlet (110V, 220V or 240V). Most devices convert this to DC for example the power adaptor you use for your walkman.

AC3
AC3 is a high-quality, low-complexity multichannel audio compression system proposed by the Dolby Laboratories. AC3 is also called Dolby Digital 5.1, the six channels are Left, Right, Center, Surround Left, Surround Right, Low Frequency Effects (<120Hz). The total encoded bit stream fits in 384Kbps.

Access-Speed
This refers to the average amount of time it takes for a floppy drive, hard drive, CD drive or other drive to find any particular piece of data on a disk.

Accuracy
Accuracy is how close to the actual value you are. For example, if the number you are representing is 4 and you say it's 3, you are inaccurate by 1. See also Precision.

ACK (Acknowledgment)
This refers to a response from a server to a network request such as a PING. Basically, the server is saying, "I'm here, and I saw your request!" This also refers to the 6th ASCII character.

ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface)
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. Technique used to control the power and configuration management of your PC.

Active Matrix
LCD panels that are active matrix have a sharper, brighter image than those with passive matrix screens. They can also continue to be seen at much greater angles off of central viewing and cost more to produce. The "active" part of the word describes the use of a transistor or diode that actively controls each pixel. See also TFT.

AD /ADC (Analog to Digital converter)
This is an electronic device that converts analog signals into digital signals. For example, the input port of a sound card can accept analog input from a microphone, and it uses an ADC to convert the analog signal to a digital signal that can be sent along to other parts of your computer.

Adapter Card
Usually this refers to a card that is to be placed inside a computer, offering a connection for a particulat type of connection. For example a Network card, a firewire card, etc.

ADC
American Digital Cellular. Designed to be a soft migration from AMPS into a digital system using the same infrastructure as AMPS systems. See also AMPS.

Add-banner
Digital add, often found on websites.

Adobe Acrobat
A product from Adobe Systems, for manipulating documents stored in Portable Document Format. Through pdf files the creator of the document has total control of how the document will appear to the end user. Acrobat provides a platform-independent means of creating, viewing, and printing documents.

ADSL
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. ADSL is a communication-technique which allows high speed data transfer over an existing phone line (either PSTN or ISDN). Speeds can be 6-20 Mbit/sec downstream and 1 Mbit/sec upstream. As you can see upstream and downstream are not equal. This is why it's called asymmetric.

ADSL-Lite
Slow but definitly cheaper variant of ADSL. At the moment this is rather popular in the USA.

Advance-fee fraud
Typical so called Nigerian-scam. A foreign minister, their relative, or a wealthy person offers you a lot of money (usually a percentage) when you help them to tranfer the money out of the country. Usually they either ask for an advance or they ask your bank information directly, resulting in a cleaned out bank account. Beware!

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
The new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) provides a better combination of safety and speed than DES. Using 128-bit secret keys, AES offers higher security against brute-force attack than the old 56-bit DES keys, and AES can use larger 192-bit and 256-bit keys, if necessary. As a block cipher, AES encrypts data in fixed-size blocks, but each AES cycle encrypts 128 bits-twice the size of DES blocks. While DES was designed for hardware, AES runs efficiently in a broad range of environments, from programmable gate arrays, to smart cards, to desktop computer software and browsers. See also DES.

Advertising Spam
The most common form of spam, commonly found in your email and on websites, commonly offering pornography, prescription drugs, printer ink, counterfeit items, mortage offers, fake diplomas, stock, etc.

AFAIK
As Far As I Know

AFK
Away From Keyboard

AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port)
This is a dedicated expansion port that began to show up on motherboards in the second half of 1997. It bypasses the PCI bus and allows higher throughput from the graphics card to the processor for speedier 3D graphics.

AHRA
Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 allows comsumers to create copies of recordings for personal, non-commercial use.

Algorithm
A step by step method of accomplishing a task. See Bubble Sort for an example.

Alpha Blending
This allows two objects to be blended together. This is primarily used for atmospheric and environmental effects. It allows such things as "fogging," where an image is rendered behind a "translucent" image, which creates the effect of looking though fog or looking down through a pool and seeing the bottom.

Alpha Test
This is a term give to a very early version of a hardware or software product. It is not yet stable and may lack features. After some testing and some revision, the product will assume beta status.

Alt (Alternate)
There is an Alt key found on a computer keyboard. The Alt key functions much like a third Ctrl / Shift key in that it alters the value of other characters pressed on the keyboard.

ALU
This is the part of the CPU that actually does the work of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, including OR, AND, and NOT operations. The ALU is an execution unit, like the FPU that is fed with data from the CPU registers.

Amp (Ampere)
This is the base unit of electrical current, which is the rate of flow of an electrical charge.

AMPS
American (Advanced) Mobile Phone System. AMPS is a standard for analog mobile phone networks, which at first was in use in the USA. It can be compared with the old analog systems like NMT and TACS. This system is not that much in use anymore. An digital version has been developed (D-AMPS).

AMR
Audio Modem Riser - a small and simple card slot for modem, audio and/or network use. This allows manufacturers to create cheap cards. Most recent mainboards have a AMR, most of them never use them.

Analog
Data in a continuous form. The value between to data values always remains unlimited.

Anamorph
Storage technique where video is stored vertical streched on disc.

ANAT
Apple Network Administration Toolkit. A Systems Management Server kind-a tool for the Apple Macintosh platform.

AND
This is an operation that can be executed on two or more binary strings. The AND operation compares bits from each string, and if they are both positive, returns true, or "1", and if not, returns false, or "0". For example (0 AND 0) = 0, (0 AND 1) = 0, (1 AND 0) = 0, (1 AND 1) = 1. Thus, (0011 AND 1001) = 0001

Android
Android is a (free) mobile operating system based on Linux kernel, initially developed by Android Inc., a firm later purchased by Google, and lately by the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries. At the time of this writing Android is typically used in PDA/Cellphone like hardware, and considered for so called NetBooks (small and cheap laptops).

Anonymous FTP
FTP available to the public, using a login name of "anonymous" and your e-mail address as a password.

ANSI (American National Standards Institution)
This organization represents the United States in the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). They work to develop coding and signaling standards for use in telephony, computers, etc.

Anti-Aliasing
Technique to create more beautifull images in a lower resolution. This is most noticeable when dealing with curves, such as circles. For example, if you look at a circle drawn in a simple paint program at a low resolution, you can see the "steps" the points take to make the circle. If you use anti-aliasing, different shades of the circle's color are used to "fill in" the gaps caused by low resolution.

Anti-glare
Refers to monitor faces that may have been treated to reduce glare.

AntiVirus
Refers to a program/software to help protect a PC from being infected with a virus. This kind of software also offers tools to remove existing infections.

Apache
In early 1995, a group of webmasters decided to get together and expand on the original NCSA HTTP daemon (web server software) and Apache was born. Today, Apache is the most used web server on the Internet. Apache is open source freeware, and is available for Linux, Windows NT, and many versions of UNIX.

APE (or Monkey's Audio Lossless Audio Compression Format)
APE files are music/audio files compressed with a lossless compression technique, known as Monkey's Audio Lossless Audio Compression Format. This in contrast with for example MP3 and OGG where a minimal amount of quality get;s lost due to compression. See http://www.monkeysaudio.com/ FooBar2000 (http://www.foobar2000.org/) is capabale of pleying these files. Sometimes they come with CUE sheets to position every single soundtrack within the file.

API
Applications Programming Interface. An interface that holds a set of instructions or software-routines, enabling the programmer to create applications accessing equipment or software.

APM (Advanced Power Management)
Used for managing the power consumption of your PC or laptop. For example shutdown the harddisk or shutdown your display when not using the computer.

Applet
A (usually small) piece of software. Mostly applet is being used in combination with Java. When called up on, the programm/applet is being downloaded to your PC en being executed on your PC. Derived from "application".

Archie
This is a service that indexes files found of FTP servers. It is not used as much anymore, due to the popularity of the web and large download sites that are already well indexed. To get your archie results, you use an archie client to query an archie server.

Archive
As a noun, this refers generally to any type of backed up data (often a compressed file, for example a ZIP file). It can refer to tapes, disks, or just simply a group of data that is an old copy of current data. As a verb, archive is the act of backing up data or creating an archive.

Areal Density
This typically refers to the amount of data that can be stored on a 1 inch square of material. It's usually represented in billions of bits per square inch on a hard drive platter. Hard drives with higher areal densities can store more information in an equal space than those with lower areal densities.

ARP
Address Return Protocol associates an IP address to hardware by requestion a MAC address from the network card.

Array
This is an abbreviation for a group of hard drives functioning as a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives).

ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange - Pronounced "ass-kee." This is a standard means of representing characters, consisting of 256 characters. The first 128 characters are standardized, and the first 32 of those are control codes, which don't really represent visible characters but rather codes that can be used for text formatting or actions, such as making the computer beep. After the 32 control codes, the next 96 standardized characters represent numbers, letters (both uppercase and lowercase), and standard punctuation marks. The last 128 characters represent different things on different platforms.

ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit)
Appliation Specific Integrated Circuit. An Integrated Circuit (IC) is in slang being called a "chip". An ASIC is a IC, designed for specific tasks. Normally this task is being done using software. An ASIC can be programmed to do this in hardware. An ASIC is much fast than it's software counterpart.

ASP (Active Server Pages)
Microsoft created this technology and bundled it with their IIS Web server. It is designed to allow easy combination of HTML, scripts (such as Javascript and Microsoft's VBScript), and ActiveX. Active Server Pages promise to be more robust than CGI when handling large amounts of client requests. It is used to render a page on the fly. The page viewer will never see the scripts. Particullar usefull in combination with database use (this glossary actually uses this combination).

Aspect Ratio
This is the ratio of the width by the height on a monitor or television screen. Most TVs and monitors have a 4 x 3 aspect ratio. The screens are 4 units wide and 3 units high. A movie screen has an aspect ratio of 16 x 9 (about 5 x 3) and that's why we have letter-boxed movies. HDTV screens will also have a 16 x 9 aspect ratio, if they ever come out.

ASPI (Advanced SCSI Programming Interface)
This was developed by Adaptec so that different devices could be controlled by different SCSI cards and therefore the SCSI card version would not matter. Basically, if the correct ASPI driver is being used, you can send the same command to any Adaptec SCSI card to make something happen to a device. Most commonly, ASPI is associated with CD-ROM drives and CD-writer software like CloneCD and Nero.

Assembly Language
This is a programming language specific to a microprocessor. This is a very low-level language, where you actually give the processor instructions like MOV A,B - which moves a value from one location in memory to another. As you might imagine, programming directly in assembly language is quite tedious. Thus, higher level languages such as BASIC or C++ are normally used and then compiled into assembly language specific to the microprocessor that the program will be run on. The compiler tries to optimize the code during this process (for ex. MOV A,B followed by MOV B,C might be replaced by MOV A,C). Depending on how elegant the optimization is, the code may run faster than if no optimization is used.

AT(X) Form Factor
This is a PC form factor that describes the way a motherboard fits into a case, and works with a power supply. Thus, you match an AT power supply with an AT case and an AT motherboard. Some of the things common to AT motherboards are a large 5 pin DIN socket for plugging a keyboard in, and serial and parallel port interfaces available via riser cards that are not part of the motherboard itself. The AT form factor was succeeded by the ATX form factor which uses a different power connector, has serial, parallel and USB onboard and uses PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse.

ATA (AT Attachment)
More commonly known as IDE, the "AT" refers to the IBM-AT (Advanced Technology) computer where this harddisk interface was first used.

ATAPI (ATA Packet Interface)
This interface is part of EIDE (Enhanced IDE) and it allows a PC to control CD-ROM drives and tape drives over the IDE interface.

ATF-3
KPN-Telecom used this name for it's (obsolete) NMT mobile phone network.

ATM
1. Asynchronous Transfer Mode. A switching technique which offers the capability to create fast (broadband) networks. ATM is suitable for voice, computerdata, video, etc. ATM standards have been defined for different transferspeeds (2 Mbit/s to 2.5 Gbit/s). 2. Automatic Teller Machine. A common expression in the english language (in particular US).

Attachement
This term refers to a file embedded in an e-mail message. You can typically have one or more attachments in an e-mail message. If you are sending or receiving attachments, you must have an e-mail client that supports MIME or UUCODE encoding, or the attachments will show up in encoded form.

Aux
The 'Auxilary', or spare, in-/output port of an amplifier.

AVI (Audio Video Interleave)
A Microsoft specified format for saving audio and/or video clips, referred to by Windows as "Video for Windows." You can play the files through the Media Player in Windows or through many popular browser plug-in multimedia players. Files of this type have a .avi extension. If playback doesn't work, often the CODEC is missing.

AVR
Automatic Voltage regulator. AVR ensures and clean power connections. Commonly used in UPS system and other powersupplies. It filters peaks in the power supplied so the levels stay nice and smooth. It prevents equipment damaging by high peaks, and some also filter low peaks.

AVR
1) Automatic Voltage Regulator. AVR circuit controls the fluctuating mains input to produce output within the specified range. 2) complex PIC Microcontrollers made by Atmel.

AXE
Ericsson's AXE, the most widely deployed (telephony) switching system in the world, is a system for digital exchange nodes in large telecommunications networks.


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