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Welcome to our Glossary.
Here you can find the meaning of words and
expressions commonly used by computer-users.
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Words in our glossary starting with "F" ...
Almost always referred to as fax, this is the term for the electronic transmission of printed documents over a phone line. Usually, transmission occurs between fax machines, but you can also use a computer with a fax modem, or a dedicated fax card.
This is when one device stops working, and another device automatically takes its place. Basically, the work done by the device figuratively fails over onto the other device.
This is a device designed to move air by sucking air into one side and pushing it out the other. Fans are a necessary part of most computing devices because microprocessors heat up when run at high frequencies. Fans move the hot air away and allow the microprocessors to be cooled off. Fans are also used in power supplies to keep them cool.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
This is a document that lists the most common questions about something (with the answers, of course).
Ethernet with a speed of 100 Mbit/s.
Fast SCSI 2
This version of SCSI transfers data at 10 Mbps. The connections all contain 50 pins.
Plain vanilla fast-SCSI never really existed. See Fast-SCSI 2
Fast-Wide SCSI 2
This version of SCSI upped the pin count to 68, effectively doubling the signal speed of Fast-SCSI 2 to 20 Mbps.
FAT (File Allocation Table)
This is one way to index the contents of storage media, such as your hard drive. The operating system looks here to know where on the drive files are located. There are different flavors of FAT: the standard DOS flavor is called FAT-16; Windows 9x additionally support FAT-32, which allows for larger hard drive partitions.
Today's fast PCs are fat clients. They've got lots of memory and big hard drives. They store information and run programs locally off of their hard drives. As a rule, fat clients are much more customizable than thin clients (Net PC). See also Thin Client.
This is the original DOS File Allocation system. It uses a table to tell the OS where on a hard drive, or other storage media, each file is located. Due to the 16-bit nature of FAT-16, it is limited to hard drive partitions that are 2 GB in size. See FAT, FAT-32 and NTFS.
This is a file system created by Microsoft. It expands on their aging FAT-16 file system and allows for much larger partitions. FAT-32 was created as a quick-fix to the problem of computers shipping with hard drives over 2 GB. Prior to FAT-32, computer manufacturers had to messily split hard drives into multiple partitions under 2 GB in size apiece. Imagine the amount of partitions when having a 40Gb harddisk,? 20!!! See also FAT, FAT-16 and NTFS.
This refers to method of storing and organizing selected URLs (links) in Internet Explorer. See also Bookmark.
CPUs with the die on the top instead of the bottom uses the Flip Chip Pin Grid Array. This is done to improve thermal heat transfer to the heatsink.
FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
These are the people in the government who decide what's legal and illegal to broadcast, including what frequencies are allowed to be used by whom. This also includes radio interference caused by electronic equipment.
FDD (Floppy disk drive)
This commonly refers to a 3.5 inch disk drive that uses 1.44MB 3.5 inch floppy disks.
This is the program Microsoft operating systems MS-DOS, non-NT versions of Windows, use to create partitions on hard drives. Technically, the program is fdisk.exe. It is a text based program that allows you to set the partitions of a harddisk. This is also a slang term for wiping a drive out completely, as in 'I'm going to F-Disk this drive if Windows crashes one more time!'
A feature is something that a piece of hardware or software is designed to do. Many things that appear to be bugs are actually features.
ffdshow is DirectShow and VFW codec for decoding/encoding many video and audio formats, including DivX and XviD movies using libavcodec, xvid and other opensourced libraries with a rich set of postprocessing filters.
It fixes bugs on the fly, allows you display subtitles in different formats, corrects color if needed, etc etc. A MUST have for anybody who does movie playback on their PC.
FIFO Buffer (First In First Out Buffer)
An area of memory that holds information in the order in which it was received until the computer has time to use it.
DOS, Windows and to a lesser extent Unix/Linux and Macintosh use the last three characters of a filename, after a period, to signify what type of file a file is - such as text, movie, sound, etc. The MacOS has a file system that contains an identifier for file types that is invisible when looking at the filename, and allows you to call files whatever you want without a messy extension on the end. Examples are: .exe (executable file), .bat (batch file), .wav (wave sound file), .txt (text file)
Applications save data into files in a certain way. They organize the data in a way that makes sense for the information they are saving. There are many standard file formats, such as GIF and JPG, allowing other programs to access this data as well.
This is any computer that allows other computers to access files stored on its hard drive or other storage media. The file server also controls who can and cannot access these files. Most other types of servers, including database and web servers, are just glorified file servers.
This is program that goes to a computer running the finger daemon (service) and returns information about a particular user, if available. Part of the information displayed is the .plan and .project files. Some people update these files often, allowing others to find information about them easily. Originally, the finger client was a UNIX program, but now versions are available for other operating systems. So, even though it sounds funny, it's OK to finger complete strangers in cyberspace ?
Router that includes a filter so undesired content and undesired access can be blocked. Usually a firewall is positioned between closed environment (office for example) and an open environment (usually the Internet).
A serial technology that allows transferspeeds of up to 200 - 400 Mbps. This standard may eventually replace your serial ports, parallel ports, game ports, USB and maybe even SCSI. Currently this port is being used for digital camera's, scanners, harddisk, CD/DVD-writers etc. Also known as 1394.
This refers to the software that is embedded onto a piece of hardware to control that hardware. Generally, firmware can be upgraded and is placed on an EEPROM. Sometimes, if a new driver for a piece of hardware is released, new firmware will also be released that is required to get the full functionality or performance of the driver. In other cases, firmware will have some bugs or undesirable features, and can be upgraded to work out the problems.
Free Lossless Audio Codec. Grossly oversimplified, FLAC is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. See http://flac.sourceforge.net/
This refers to harsh or chastising e-mail or other Internet communication. Flames are sent to you when you make someone angry, usually in a chat room, Usenet newsgroup or other message board. If you don't follow proper netiquette, chances are you will get flamed.
This BIOS contains a flash ROM chip that can be updated under certain conditions, but is otherwise static.
A small memory card holding information without the need for batteries. Used for portable solutions (MP3 players, camera's, etc).
This is a type of non-volatile memory that holds onto its contents even when an electrical charge is not applied. Flash memory is used in many applications including PDAs, PC, hardware MP3 players, and some digital cameras.
A rewriteable ROM that doesn't lose its info when the power turns off.
This refers to a database that contains a single table. This type of database contrasts with a relational database that can contain any number of tables that are linked together. Often, to keep things simple when transferring data between organizations, people will request a flat file. A flat file can also easily be represented by a plain text file using a common separator, such as CSV.
A CRT that is made more flat than a standard tube by using more than one electron gun. It is most useful to professionals who rely on the precision of their monitors. It is also better for the standard user because a straight light across the monitor looks straight.
FLOP (FLoating point OPeration)
This describes an single manipulation of a floating point number in a microprocessor. One measure of the speed of a microprocessor is how many FLOPs can be accomplished in a second.
This is any type of disk media which is not rigid. Often, it's contained in hard cases, which can lead to confusion in identification. Commonly, the term is used to describe 1.44MB 3.5 inch diskettes, but it applies to any media such as Zip disks, which are floppy in nature if removed from their casing.
This is a method of creating music using frequencies to represent instruments.
This is a term which originates from Apple computer user, indicating a directory in a graphical user interface. See directory.
As it relates to computers today, a font is a specific style of displaying characters (a typeface), often scalable to a variety of sizes - such as "Arial." This differs from the traditional definition of font, where each style and size was its own font (i.e. 9 point Arial). See also Bitmap Font and True Type Font.
This is a randow word. See FooBar.
FooBar is a derivative of the word FUBAR. FUBAR stands for Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. Sometimes used as a whole by programmers to describe data loss, foo and bar are also often used separately when a quick and random name is needed. Programmers (mostly UNIX guys) got tired of trying to think of random words, so they use foo and bar.
This refers to the general size of something, whether physical or virtual. For example, the footprint of an application or operating system can be either large or small - meaning the required system resources (memory, diskspace, etc.) is either large or small.
Typically, this refers to the compatibility between PC motherboards, cases and power supplies. A motherboard, case and power supply with the same form factor can be used together. Some examples of form factors are AT, ATX, Baby AT or NLX.
Formatting basically makes your hard disk ready for initial use. The same procedure must be done to removable media such as floppy disks. Some types of formatting wipe out the whole disk, while others just set up the framework for data to be written, using a type of quick format. Another type of formatting is a low-level format. In the past this was used for harddisk, currently this is only used with SCSI disks.
Formatting is preparing the use of a floppy disk or harddisk for use by the operating system. An empty table of content will be generated as well.
This is a high-level programming language. This language refuses to die because it is so huge in the scientific research community. It's not a tough language to learn and it's fairly powerful.
FPD (Flat Panel Display)
This describes a type of display that is much thinner than a standard CRT based display. Types of FPDs include gas plasma displays and LCD screens.
FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)
This is microchip that can be made with thousands of programmable logic gates. Good features of FPGAs include short development times and low costs of production. FPGAs are often used for prototype or custom designs, including DSP and logic emulation.
FPS (First Person Shooter)
This describes a video game that is played from the perspective of first person - looking out of the eyes of the main character. As well, to achieve the "shooter" aspect, the main character usually has some type of weapon and to achieve your goals, you must kill off enemies. The first meaningful game of this genre was Castle Wolfenstein 3D, and other popular examples include Doom, Quake, Half-Life and Unreal.
FPS (Frames Per Second)
This term relates to video or 3D games, and is the amount of single pictures (or frames) that are displayed each second to generate what appears to be a moving image. Typical digital video displays at around 30FPS. Higher frame rates are not necessary as the human eye cannot handle more than about 30FPS. Some games will average 30FPS or higher and look choppy. Usually this is due to intense scenes that cause the action to dip below 30FPS for short periods of time. Rates of over 100FPS in games are common nowadays with simpler 3D action, but do not necessarily add to the experience of playing a game.
FPU (Floating Point Unit)
This is the part of a microprocessor that is designed to handle floating point calculations. Often, the efficiency of this part of the processor will decide whether a processor is successful or not. AMD is known for it's excellent FPU unit's in it's CPU's. In the old days, way back in the Intel 286 and 386 days, a FPU was commonly a separate chip.
This occurs when a hard drive writes a file in multiple segments instead of in a physically contiguous area. A higher level of fragmentation means that most files are fragmented, and many files contain lots of fragments. A low level of fragmentation implies that more files are in one piece, and that if files are fragmented, they are only in a few fragments. For example, say you have two files, file a and file b. You write them both to a hard drive. A low level of fragmentation may be represented by: aaaaabbbbb. A high level of fragmentation may be represented by: aabbababa.
FRAM (Ferroelectric RAM)
Initially developed by Ramtron, this is a type of non-volatile RAM that compares favorably to flash memory in access / read / write speeds, but is harder to produce than flash or DRAM in high densities. FRAM is used in some portable devices.
FreeBSD (Free Berkeley Software Distribution)
This is a UNIX-like operating system that runs on the Intel x86 platform and is based on an OS developed at U.C. Berkeley - strongly related to the Linux platform. It is now a no-cost operating system and the source can be downloaded and modified.
This is software that is free for use and does not require a fee to be paid to access it's full functionality. See also shareware and open source.
FSAA (Full Screen Anti-Aliasing)
This is a method used by 3D graphics cards to basically provide anti-aliasing to all objects in a 3D environment. This acts to smooth out the jagged appearance of edges on some 3D objects. Different graphics cards have different implementations of FSAA and image quality varies. See also Anti-Aliasing.
FSB (Front Side Bus)
This refers to the speed of the bus between the microprocessor and memory, expressed in Mhz. In general: the faster the FSB, the faster the PC. Note however that there are more factors that influence the performance of your PC!
FTA (Free To Air)
Free To Air refers to a satellite broadcast for which one does not need to subscribe/pay.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
File Transfer Protocol. A mechanism to transfer files from one computer to an other computer. This is commonly used on the Internet.
Client software enabling your computer to access FTP-servers.
Originally, this referred to a communication between a modem and a remote system, where characters were sent both ways over the phone line so that they could be accurately displayed on a terminal. Now, full duplex has taken on the meaning signals can be sent in both directions at the same time, such as in network communications. This either requires twice the amount of wires, or differing frequencies for each type of signal, so they do not interfere when on the same wire.
Smartcard based on an ATMEL 90S8515 microcontroller. It often has a separate EEPROM as well to store additional data. This type of card is often used for hacking European Satellite systems.
Software application for FunCard smartcards.
A function is a defined sequence of instructions which are to be executed. A function is different from a procedure in that way that it always has a return value. For example the function Power(X) returns the value of X to the power 2. See also Procedure.
Function key (F1, F2, etc.)
The set of 12 keys at the top of a standard computer keyboard. These keys are labelled F1 through F12. The keys are basically general purpose extra keys so that programmers can assign the keys to special functions in their programs.
This is a device used to protect from excessive electrical current. It contains a conductor that melts and breaks the current flow when too much electricity flows through it. Once a fuse is blown, it must be replaced with another one to close the circuit.
This is logic without an absolute true or false. Instead, you have gradients of true and false. This is necessary for solving some problems, especially those involving artificial intelligence.
Short for FORWARD. Commonly used with emails.
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