Access Number—  The telephone number dialed by a modem that lets a computer communicate with an online service or the Internet

Anonymous File Transfer Protocol {Anonymous FTP)—  A service available at some Internet sites that gives any user access to data files and applications using FTP. With anonymous FTP, users don’t need a special password to retrieve files. They are available to the public.

Antivirus Program—  Software that monitors a computer for viruses and eliminates them before damage occurs.

Applet—  A small application used in Java programming for the Internet.

ARPANet—  Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Considered the forefather of the Internet. A worldwide network created in the 1960s that was maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Research Projects Agency to facilitate communication between research organizations and universities.

ASCII—  American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The standard that represents text, punctuation, and other characters numerically. ASCII is used as a near-universal file format for exchanging files. It involves no error correction and should be used only with plain, uncompressed text.

Backbone—  A high-speed line or series of connections that carries Internet traffic between individual networks.

Bandwidth—  The capacity of a network or data connection. Bandwidth is a major concern on the Internet as more audio and video are transmitted and take up more bandwidth, slowing transmissions.

Baud—  Baud is the rate of speed that a modem can send or receive per second. It is measured in bits.

BBS—  Bulletin Board System. Computers accessible via phone call for trading software e, getting information, and communicating through typed messages. Bases, which are usually designed around a specific interest are created by everyone from hobbyists to corporations.

Binhex—(BlNary HEXadecimal)—  A method for converting non-ASCII text files into ASCII text. Internet e-mail can only handle ASCII text.

Bit— Binary Digit. The smallest unit of data a computer can handle. Each bit has a value of 0 or 1 that the computer interprets as “off” or “on” respectively.

BITNET— Educational network separate from the Internet, but e-mail can be exchanged between BITNET and the Internet. Listservs, the most popular form of e-mail discussion groups, originated on BITNET.

Boolean— A common system of logic that uses operators such as AND, OR, NOR, and NOT. To search for a document that included the words “January” and “March,” but not “February,” the Boolean expression would be “January AND March NOT February.”

BPS— Bits Per Second. A measurement of data transmission speed. Some of today’s fastest modems on the market transfer over phone lines at 28,800bps which is the same as 28.8 kilobits per second.

Bridge— A connection between two local-area networks (LANs) that lets data travel from one LAN to another.

Browser— An application that lets users download World Wide Web pages and view them on their computers. These programs, such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, let users navigate among Web pages by clicking links.

Byte— Equal to either 7 or 8 bits, depending on whether it requires an extra bit called a parity bit for error correction. A byte stores a single character of information such as the letter A.

CD-ROM— Compact Disc, Read-only Memory. A storage medium using CDs to hold data. CD-ROMs, which can be erased and reused like diskettes, hold approximately 650MB of information. Thus, they’re used to distribute most of today’s software that contains a lot of sound, color graphics, and video.

CGI— Common Gateway Interface. A standard for a Web Server communicating back and forthwith another piece of software (a “CGI program”) on the same machine.

CGI Program— A small program that puts information typed into an Online form into an e-mail message. A CGI program is used for setting up your password on the SMC Website or placing orders while cybershopping.

CGI-bin— A directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored.

Chat— Live communication over the Internet Relay Chat service or an online service. As one person enters text, it appears on the other person’s screen in near “real time,” or almost instantly.

Chat Room— This is an area of an Online service, the Internet, or a BBS where several users can meet simultaneously and exchange typed messages in real time.

Client— A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a Server software program on another computer. A Web Browser is called a Client.

Communications Software— Also referred to as telecommunications software, this software lets one computer connect with others across telephone lines (via modems) and share information. Communications software transmits instructions to your modem that direct it to make connections, transfer files, and carry out other procedures.

Connect Time— The time a user spends connected to a remote computer; usually used in reference to how long someone is on the Internet or an online service. Connect time has become less critical as most ISPs and online services have gone to a flat monthly fee for unlimited connect time.

Cookie— A piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the Server. The Browser may or may not accept the Cookie, and may save the Cookie for either a short or long time. Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online “shopping cart” information, user preferences, etc. Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount of time and may be saved to your hard drive if their “expire time” has not been reached.

CPM— Cost Per Thousand. A term used in banner advertising which refers to the rate charged for the banner based on every 1,000 viewers of the page that will have the banner.

CPU— Central Processing Unit. The computer’s brain, or microprocessor. It interprets and carries out instructions. Popular CPUs include Intel’s 486 and Pentium chips.

Cracker— Someone who uses their knowledge of computers and accompanying technologies to perform malicious or deviant acts on another person’s computer system.

CTR— Click Through Ratio. A term used for banner advertising. It is the number of viewers of a banner compared to the number that actually click-through to the page that the banner advertises.

Cybercash— A safe way to provide payments across the Internet. Merchant sets up an account with a bank that provides Cybercash accounts. An electronic cash register is set up on the Web server. Both merchant and shopper need software to operate it, (merchant supplies it to shopper through downloading).

Cybershopping— Purchases made over the Internet.

Cyberspace— Not a real location, but rather the “world” created by computers and specifically the Internet. This term, coined by novelist William Gibson, is often used to refer to anything that takes place online.

Data Encryption— A process that transforms information into random streams of bits to create a secret code for data security.

Decompression— The process of restoring compressed data to its original form. This task must be accomplished with a program such as PKUNZIP or WinZip that recognizes the format of the compressed file.

Dial-up Connection— A connection to the Internet that requires dialing a telephone number via modem.

DigiCash— A safe way to purchase on the Internet. It originates from a bank that supports the DigiCash system. Software is needed by both the merchant and consumer.

DNS— Domain Name Server. A translator service that translates your domain name into the series of numbers which is your actual address. Your domain name is kept in a database which lists all the “addresses.”

Domain— On TCP/IP networks, such as the Internet, a domain is a group of connected computers. Domains are denoted in Internet addresses by a three-letter code such as .com or .org. A domain name such as, indicates that the Socrates network is found at the University of Notre Dame (.nd), which is an educational institution (.edu).

Domain Name— A specific network name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have two or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A machine may have more than one Domain Name but a Domain Name points to only one machine. It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.

Domain Name Service—  This is a service offered by an ISP or IPP that registers a customer’s Domain Name through InterNIC the service that regulates domain names.

Download— To retrieve an application or file from another computer through a network connection or modem.

DSVD— Digital Simultaneous Voice And Data. A modem that allows simultaneous transmission of digital computer data (such as files) and digitized voice data over telephone lines. Both sender and receiver must have DSVD modems, which enable tasks like speaking to each other while looking at the same files.

E-mail— Text messages sent through a network to a specified individual or group. E-mail messages can carry attached files so that you can send word processing files or graphics, for example.

Emoticons— Also known as smileys and short for emotion icons, these punctuation combinations form small pictures when viewed sideways. They’re used to convey emotion in text messages exchanged online.

Encrypt— To encode a file to prevent anyone except the intended recipient from accessing the contents. Encrypted files, before being decrypted, appear as strings of gibberish.

Executable File— A file that can be executed, or run, as opposed to data files, which are simple collections of data that can be used by executable files. Executable files can be identified by the extension .EXE.

External Modem— A modem that attaches to the computer externally, usually through a serial port, and has its own power supply. An external modem operates no differently than an internal modem, although it can be shut off without turning off the entire computer.

E-Zine— Free electronic publications on one very specific topic, published by one, or more, individuals and distributed over the Internet.

FAQs— Frequently Asked Questions. A list of questions and their answers, found most often on the Internet, that address a particular topic. Some FAQs can be good sources of information, but not all are reliable.

Fax/modem— A communications device that let a PC fax documents and send data to other modem-equipped PCs. Faxes can be sent directly between computers and appear onscreen rather than printed on paper.

File Format— The way in which data is organized for a particular kind of file. Some formats can be read only by the program used to create them. Other formats such as ASCII are more generic and can be read by many programs. File filters convert files from one format to another.

File Transfer Protocol Site— A computer, usually connected to the Internet, that offers files to others through anonymous FTP.

Firewall— Software or hardware that limits certain kinds of access to a computer from a network or other outside source. Firewalls are commonly used to thwart would-be hackers form infiltrating computer systems.

Flame—  An argumentative newsgroup posting or E-mail message in response to another posting or message. Flames range from satirical witticisms and sarcasm to vicious name-calling.

FlashSession— A feature of America Online that lets a computer automatically sign on to the service, send and retrieve E-mail and other data, and then sign off.

Forum— An area on an electronic bulletin board or online service where people with a common interest can post notes to each other. Forums are frequently used to ask questions, share information, or debate ideas.

Forward Slash— The name of the “/” character on computer keyboards. The forward slash is used in Internet addresses.

FTP— File Transfer Protocol. A standard way to transfer files between computers. The method has built-in error checking. FTP often refers to a standard way of transferring many types of files over the Internet.

Gateway— Communications link between a network and the Internet.

GIF— Graphics Interchange Format. (Pronounced jif). A data compression format used initially by CompuServe to compress and transfer images into digital data so computers can reproduce the image. GIF is commonly used for transferring graphics files on the ‘Net.

Gigabyte— Approximately 1 billion bytes, or 1,000 megabytes. Often used when measuring the capacity or hard drives or other storage devices.

Hacker— Computer jargon for a sophisticated computer user who spends a lot of time at a computer. Widely used to refer to people who illegally break into other computer systems to do damage, steal secrets, or enter simply because they can.

Hard Drive— A computer’s main storage device. A hard drive can store more data and retrieve more than a diskette. Most hard drives, which can hold from 2MB to several gigabytes of information, are permanently stored in a drive bay inside the computer.

Hardware— Any part of a computer system that can be touched. Printers, keyboards, modems, and the computer unit itself are all hardware.

Hayes-compatible— A term used to identify modems that can understand the Hayes AT Command Set, a standard that most modems are designed to use. Hayes is one of the top five modem manufacturers in the United States.

Hertz (Hz)— Hertz equals one cycle per second, measuring the waves or frequencies of electric vibrations. Hertz is used to measure screen refresh rates and the speed of a microprocessor.

Hit— Slang term that means a visitor is accessing a server, or a Web page. It is sometimes measured in hits per hour or hits per day.

Home Page— The name for the main page in a Web site where users find hyperlinks to other pages in the site. It’s like a welcome mat for a site and may include a logo, table of contents, and hyperlinks to related sites.

HOST— Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. One host machine provide several services, such as WWW and USENET.

HTML— Hypertext Markup Language. A language used to create electronic documents, especially pages on the World Wide Web, that contain connections called hyperlinks.

HTTP— Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The set of standards that let users of the Web exchange information found in Web pages. Browser software is used to read documents formatted and delivered according to HTTP.

Hyperlink— An icon, graphic, or word in a file that, when clicked with the mouse, automatically opens another file for viewing. World Wide Web pages often include Hyperlinks that display related Web pages when selected by the user.

IAP— Internet Access Provider. Provides access to the Internet for a monthly or yearly fee. Also known as an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Information Superhighway— A term to describe a future, computer-accessible, high-speed, electronic communications network. The term is frequently used as a synonym for the Internet, though this use is not completely correct.

Internet— A global network linking millions of computers. Corporations, academics, and consumers all communicate over the Internet as they exchange messages, access software, and view information. The World Wide Web, a system of graphical files, and E-mail are the most popular applications on the Internet.

Internet Protocol Address (IPaddress)— The address of a computer on a TCP/IP network. IP addresses are written as four groups of up to three digits, each separated by periods. An example is “”

IP Number— The address of a computer on a TCP/IP network. IP addresses are written as four groups of up to three digits, each separated by periods. Each computer connected to the net has a unique IP address. It is sometimes called a dotted quad. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names.

InterNIC—  The Internet registration database, the main governing body on the Internet. Domain names must be registered through them.

Intranet—  A network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the Internet, but that is only for employee use.

IPP— Internet Presence Provider. A company that specializes in establishing storefronts and other servers for businesses that want to get on the Internet.

IRC— Internet Relay Chat Relay Chat. A type of communication on the Internet using real-time communication. IRC is similar to a conference call in that several people are all talking (typing) and listening (reading) at the same time.

ISDN— Integrated Services Digital Network. A telecommunications network that allows digital voice, video, and data transmissions. ISDN replaces the slow and inefficient analog telephone system with a fast digital network. ISDN lines can transmit data at 128Kbps. Special equipment is required to connect to ISDN lines, which may soon become as affordable as other communications services.

ISP— Internet Service Provider. An organization that lets users dial into its computers to connect to its Internet link for a fee. You can get an account with a local ISP that has a local-access phone number in your area or with a national ISP that has local-access numbers around the country. ISPs are unlike commercial online services in that they typically do not provide any content, just access to the Internet.

Java— A programming language designed by Sun Microsystems to write programs that can be downloaded from the Internet to any computer with a Java interpreter and immediately run. Using small Java applications (called applets), World Wide Web pages can include functions such as animation and calculators.

KB— Kilobyte. Equal to 1,024 bytes, or space to store 1,000 characters of information.

KbpS— Kilobits Per Second. A unit of measurement for the speed of data transmission; lKbps is 1,024bps.

Killer App— industry jargon for a useful application that becomes so wildly popular it changes the marketplace. One example is the Web browser, which seemingly overnight changed the face of computing.

LAN— Local-area Network. A group of computers, usually in one building, that are physically connected in a way that lets them communicate and interact with each other.

Liveware— Slang for describing a person who uses a computer. A computer is the hardware, programs are the software, and the user is the liveware.

Listserv— The most common kind of mail list. Listservs originated on BITNET but they are now common on the Internet.

Login— The process users must complete to gain access to a computer network, bulletin board system, online service, or Internet service provider. Logging in usually involves typing one or more passwords. Also called logon.

Logoff— Ending a session with a computer network, bulletin board system, online service, or Internet service provider.

Lossy Compression— A data compression method that sacrifices some information to achieve greater compression. This method is most often used for graphic and audio files. Such files may lose a bit of quality, but they usually remain understandable and take up far less storage space.

Lurking— Reading online messages or chat room conversations without taking part in the discussion. Users are encouraged to lurk in newsgroups or chat rooms until they have some idea what the discussion is about and the style is like.

Mailbot— Program that automatically responds to incoming e-mail messages. Mailbox storage area, either in memory, or on disk, for electronic mail messages. This area is usually divided into folders, notably Inbox and Outbox folders.

Mailing list— Discussion groups over the Internet that link a group of people together with common interests. If you belong to a mailing list, you receive every message posted to that list via the Internet’s electronic mail system.

Mail Server— A computer that holds electronic mail messages for clients on a network. Also refers to a program that distributes messages to individual members of a mailing list.

MB— Megabyte. A common measurement of computer storage (hard drives, memory, etc.) equaling approximately 1 million bytes. Also called a mea.

MIME— Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. The standard format for attaching non-text files, such as graphics and spreadsheets, to text-based electronic mail messages.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions— The standard format for attaching non-text files, such as graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, and sound files, to text-based electronic mail messages, and the method needed to turn it back into its original form. An e-mail program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard.

Modem— Acronym for modulator/demodulator—The device that lets a computer transmit and receive information over telephone lines by converting digital data from computers into analog data that can be transmitted over phone lines. The opposite process takes place on the receiving end. Modems are the primary way most computer users connect to outside networks such as the Internet.

‘Netiquette— Slang for the unwritten rules of Internet courtesy.

‘Netizen— slang for a frequent Internet user.

Network— A set of connected computers that can share storage devices, peripherals, and applications. Networks may be connected by cables, telephone lines, or satellites. Networks can be part of a small-office system or a global web of other networks.

Newsgroup— An area on the Internet reserved for discussion of a certain topic. A newsgroup may be controlled, or moderated, by an individual who monitors all messages transmitted to the area and filters our irrelevant and redundant messages.

News Server— remote computer that controls access to a newsgroup in a group of interconnected computers. Anyone interested in posting a message to or retrieving a message from a newsgroup first must connect with the news server.

Noise—  Any disturbance that interferes with data transmission and corrupts the quality of the signal.

Online— state in which a computer is interacting with an online service or the Internet. For example, users go online to check their E-mail.

Online Service— A commercial service that provides access to such online features as electronic mail, news services, and the World Wide Web for a monthly fee. Examples of online services include America Online and CompuServe.

Packet— A block of data that can be transmitted from one computer to another on a network like the Internet. A packet contains data to be transmitted, data to guide the packet, and data that corrects error along the way. A transmission’s packets are split up before sending and reassembled at the destination.

Packet Switching— To break down a transmission over a network like the Internet into smaller parts called packets and split them up as they travel to their destination, with each taking the fastest possible route.

Parallel Port— The port where an external parallel device connects to a PC. It allows more than one bit of data to be transmitted at once.

Parity Bit— An extra bit the computer adds to a data transmission to aid in the parity check process. After the computer adds the extra bit, it knows whether to look for an odd or even number of bits. If a known even transmission ends with an odd number, the computer knows there was a transmission error.

Port— Plug-like connectors on the back of a PC’s case that let the machine communicate with peripheral devices such as mice and printers. Serial ports transmit data one bit at a time; parallel ports transmit data eight bits line. It’s like a modem for an ISDN communications (one byte) at a time.

POP—  Several meanings: 1.) Point of Presence. This usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dialup phone lines. 2.) POP is also used to describe a server, or other business location on the Net, or, 3.) The telephone number that users call to reach an ISP. Many ISP’s have hundreds of numbers throughout the country so that users can access the Internet without paying long distance. 4.) Post Office Protocol. This refers to the way e-mail software gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or shell account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail.

PPP— Point-to-point Protocol. A communications protocol that lets users connect their PCs directly to the Internet through their phone lines. Considered more advanced than the Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) connection that it is quickly replacing, PPP offers more error-checking capabilities as well as several forms of password protection.

Redirect web page— Slang term used for web pages containing code that sends visitors to an alternate web page without actually showing a viewable web page at it’s address.

Router— The part of a communications network that receives transmissions and forwards them to their destinations using the shortest route available. Data may travel through multiple routers on the way to its destination.

Serial Port— A port typically identified within the operating environment as a COM (communications) port. It allows bit-by-bit transmission of data.

Server— A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it.

SET— Secure Electronic Transaction Protocol. A standard for processing credit card transactions over the Internet, created jointly by Netscape, Microsoft, Visa, and Mastercard.

Shell Account— The most basic Internet connection that allows a user’s computer to establish a dial-up connection with an ISP’s computer. The users computer will be able to navigate the Internet, but without the graphics and special effects.

Shopping Cart— A program or series of programs that lets visitors to a site (or various stores on a mall) make selections from various pages/locations and then tallies them for ordering and payment at the end, rather than making the visitor order and pay from each page/store.

SLIP— Serial Line Internet Protocol. An Internet protocol that lets users gain ‘Net access with a modem and a phone line. SLIP lets users link directly to the ‘Net through an Internet service provider. It is slowly being replaced with its successor, Point-to-point Protocol.

SMTP— Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A communication protocol that directs E-mail exchange on TCP/IP networks.

Snail Mail— Slang term on the Internet for regular paper mail through the U.S. Postal Service.

Spam or Spamming— An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET, or other networked communications facility, to send unsolicited E-mail, usually advertising a product.

SSL— Secure Sockets Layer. A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted communications across the Internet, with privacy, authentication, and message integrity. URL ‘s that begin with “https” indicate that an SSL connection will be used. In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate, which each side’s software sends to the other.

T1— A type of data connection able to transmit a digital signal at 1.544 megabits per second. T1 lines often are used to link large computer networks together, such as those that make up the Internet.

T3— A data connection able to transmit a digital signal at 44.746 megabits per second. Not yet widely used, the T3 connection is more than fast enough to transfer the data necessary for full-screen, full-motion video.

TA— Terminal Adapter. A device that lets a PC interface with another computer via an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) line. It’s like a modem for an ISDN communications line.

TCP/IP— Transmission Control Protocol Internet Protocol. A protocol governing communication among all computers on the Internet. It dictates how packets of information are sent over networks and ensures the reliability of data transmissions across Internet-connected networks.

Telecommuting— To work at home and communicate with an office via telecommunications lines.

Teleconferencing— To hold a meeting over telephone lines where users in separate can all hear one another speak. Computer, audio, and sometimes video equipment is linked to help these conferences take place.

Telephony— Technology that lets users use a PC to make and receive telephone calls. Telephony software often includes features such as voice mail, fax, auto dialing, and onscreen messaging.

Terminal— A communications apples in Windows’ Accessories group that lets a computer connect to and exchange information with other computers.

UNIX— A computer operating system designed to be used by many people at the same time with TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

Unzip— To decompress a file.

Upload— To transfer an application or file to another remote computer through a network connection or modem. Upload also can mean “transmit.”

URL— Universal Resource Locator. A standardized naming or addressing system for documents and media accessible over the Internet. URLs look like this: http:/ /www.

Usenet— A giant bulletin board on the ‘Net consisting of user news, E-mail and forums that discuss thousands of topics. Users can communicate on Usenet by posting a message and waiting for a response.

UUENCODE— Unix to Unix Encoding. A method for converting files from Binary to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across the Internet via e-mail.

Veronica—  Program on the Internet used to locate information stored on Gopher servers. “Veronica” is an acronym for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives.

Virus— A program designed to destroy data or halt operation on systems by copying itself into files and executing when those files are loaded. Viruses,- which are often transmitted with files online, can be eliminated with Antivirus software.

Virtual Server— Directory on a server that has its own Net address and appears as a stand-alone server to outside users.

WAIS— Wide Area Information Servers. A commercial software package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information, and then making those indices searchable across networks using keyword groups. A prominent feature of WAIS is that the search results are ranked (scored) according to how relevant the hits are, and that subsequent searches can refine the search process.

WCP connection— This type of Internet connection between two UNIX based computers to transfer data in large batches at specified intervals.

Webcrawlers— Robot programs that methodically search and index information on the Internet.

Webhost— Common term for person or service which stores web site information for others which is accessible to the Internet and browser viewing capability.

Webmaster— The person responsible for updating and maintaining a organizations’ Web pages.

Website— A specific location on the World Wide Web.

Workstation— Powerful desktop computer that has the ability to run engineering or scientific applications. They usually have the ability to run UNIX based operating systems.

World Wide Web (also WWW, or the Web)— Collections of information stored on many Internet servers that can be accessed with a browser and navigated through via hypertext links.