Most Common Computer Jargons List
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ADSL: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is a method for moving data over regular phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection. A commonly discussed configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber to receive data (download) at speeds of up to 1.544 Megabits per second, and to send (upload) data at speeds of 128 kilobits per second
AMD: Advanced Micro Devices. Currently Intel's biggest processor manufacturing competitor.
Anti-Aliasing: A technique used on a grey-scale or colour bitmap display to make diagonal edges appear smoother by setting pixels near the edge to intermediate colours according to where the edge crosses them.
ATA: Also known as IDE. ATA defines the physical, electrical, transport, and command protocols for the internal attachment of storage devices.
ATAPI: AT Attachment Packet Interface. A specification for devices (typically CD-ROM drives) that connect to a PC's IDE interface.
Athlon: AMD's 7th generation x86 processor, released in June 1999.
ATX: An open PC motherboard specification by Intel. ATX is a development of the Baby AT specification with the motherboard rotated 90 degrees in the chassis. The CPU and SIMM sockets have been relocated away from the expansion card slots meaning that all the slots support full-length cards. More I/O functions are integrated on the motherboard. As the longer edge of the board is now at the back of the chassis, there is more space for connectors; also, the I/O opening on the back panel of the chassis has been defined as double the previous height, allowing vendors to add extra on-board I/O functions over and above the standard.
Baud: The unit in which the information carrying capacity or "signalling rate" of a communication channel is measured
Beta: An unofficially released software w/c is still in a process of ironing out possible bugs.
Bit: The unit of information; the amount of information obtained by asking a yes-or-no question; a computational quantity that can take on one of two values, such as false and true or 0 and 1; the smallest unit of storage - sufficient to hold one bit.
BMP: BMP is the standard Windows image format on DOS and Windows-compatible computers. The BMP format supports RGB, indexed-color, grayscale, and Bitmap color modes, and does not support alpha channels.
Bomb: General synonym for crash except that it is not used as a noun. Especially used of software or OS failures.
Boot Disk: The magnetic disk (usually a hard disk) from which an operating system kernel is loaded (or "bootstrapped"). This second phase in system start-up is performed by a simple bootstrap loader program held in ROM, possibly configured by data stored in some form of writable non-volatile storage.
Boot Disk Virus: An MS-DOS virus that infects the boot record program on hard disks and floppy disks or the master boot record on hard disks. The virus gets loaded into memory before MS-DOS and takes control of the computer, infecting any floppy disks subsequently accessed. An infected boot disk may stop the computer starting up at all.
Buffer: An area of memory used for storing messages. Typically, a buffer will have other attributes such as an input pointer (where new data will be written into the buffer), and output pointer (where the next item will be read from) and/or a count of the space used or free. Buffers are used to decouple processes so that the reader and writer may operate at different speeds or on different sized blocks of data.
Bug: An unwanted and unintended property of a program or piece of hardware, especially one that causes it to malfunction.
Bus: One of the sets of conductors (wires, PCB tracks or connections in an integrated circuit) connecting the various functional units in a computer.
Bus Mastering: The device in a computer which is driving the address bus and bus control signals at some point in time.
Cache: A small fast memory holding recently accessed data, designed to speed up subsequent access to the same data. Most often applied to processor-memory access but also used for a local copy of data accessible over a network etc.
CD-Text: CD TEXT is a recent addition to the CD audio specification allowing disc and track related information to be added to standard audio CDs for playback on suitably equipped CD audio players.
CD-R: a typical CD-Recordable can contain up to 700mb/80min of data and holds data permanently.
CD-RW: The re-writable version of CD-R which is estimated to be able to write/re-write for around 1000 times on a good media.
Checksum: A computed value which depends on the contents of a block of data and which is transmitted or stored along with the data in order to detect corruption of the data.
Codec: Short for compressor/decompressor, a codec is any technology for compressing and decompressing data. Codecs can be implemented in software, hardware, or a combination of both.
COM Port: Also called as Communications Port and is often times used by (older) Modems.
Compression: The coding of data to save storage space or transmission time. Although data is already coded in digital form for computer processing, it can often be coded more efficiently (using fewer bits).
Config.Sys: A text file containing special system configuration commands. It is found in the root directory on an MS-DOS computer, typically on drive C (the hard disk). It is read by MS-DOS at boot time, after the setup has been read from from CMOS RAM and before running AUTOEXEC.BAT. It can be modified by the user.
Cookie: A cracker term for the password list on a multi-user computer.
Coprocessor: Any computer processor which assists the main processor (the "CPU") by performing certain special functions, usually much faster than the main processor could perform them in software. The coprocessor often decodes instructions in parallel with the main processor and executes only those instructions intended for it.
Crash: A sudden, usually drastic failure.
CRT: An electrical device for displaying images by exciting phosphor dots with a scanned electron beam. CRTs are found in computer VDUs and monitors, televisions and oscilloscopes.
Comdex: A computer show that is held twice yearly, once in the spring (in Atlanta) and once in autumn (in Las Vegas). Comdex is a major show during which new releases of software and hardware are made.
Cyrix: A microprocessor manufacturer. They produce an Intel 486 equivalent - the Cy486SLC and a Pentium equivalent - the Cyrix 6x86.
Demo: A demonstration of a product, often of an early version or prototype. A demo is a far more effective way of inducing bugs to manifest themselves than any number of test runs, especially when important people are watching.
Dial Up: A temporary, as opposed to dedicated, connection between machines established over a telephone line using modems.
DMA: Direct Memory Access is a facility of some architectures which allows a peripheral to read and write memory without intervention by the CPU. DMA is a limited form of bus mastering.
DirectX: A Microsoft programming interface standard, first included with Windows 95. DirectX gives (games) programmers a standard way to gain direct access to enhanced hardware features under Windows 95 instead of going via the Windows 95 GDI.
DivX: Video compression is a patent-pending software technology that compresses digital video so it can be downloaded over DSL or cable modems in a relatively short time with no reduced visual quality.
Dot Matrix Printer: A kind of printer with a vertical column of up to 48 small closely packed needles or "pins" each of which can be individually forced forwards to press an ink ribbon against the paper. The print head is repeatedly scanned across the page and different combinations of needles activated at each point.
Dpi: (Dots Per Inch) A measure of resolution for printers, scanners and displays.
Dual In-Line: Small circuit boards carrying memory integrated circuits, with signal and power pins on both sides of the board, in contrast to single-in-line memory modules (SIMM).
Emulation: One system is said to emulate another when it performs in exactly the same way, though perhaps not at the same speed. A typical example would be emulation of one computer by (a program running on) another.
Fatal Error: Any error which causes abrupt termination of the program. The program may be terminated either by itself or by the operating system (a "fatal exception"). In the former instance, the program contains code which catches the error and, as a result, returns to the operating system or calls an operating system service to terminate the program.
FDisk: An MS-DOS utility program which prepares a hard disk so that it can be used as a boot disk and file systems can be created on it. OS/2, NT, Windows 95, Linux, and other Unix versions all have this command or something similar.
FAT: The component of an MS-DOS or Windows 95 file system which describes the files, directories and free space on a hard disk or floppy disk.
FTP: A client-server protocol which allows a user on one computer to transfer files to and from another computer over a TCP/IP network. Also the client program the user executes to transfer files.
Flood: On a real-time network (whether at the level of TCP/IP, or at the level of, say, IRC), to send a huge amount of data to another user (or a group of users, in a channel) in an attempt to annoy him, lock his terminal, or to overflow his network buffer and thus lose his network connection.
Flush: To delete something, usually superfluous, or to abort an operation.
Gigabyte: 2^30 = 1,073,741,824 bytes = 1024 megabytes.
Gigahertz: Billions of cycles per second.
GIF: (Graphics Interchange Format) A standard for digitised images compressed with the LZW algorithm, defined in 1987 by CompuServe (CIS).
Handshaking: Predetermined hardware or software activity designed to establish or maintain two machines or programs in synchronisation.
Hard Boot: A boot which resets the entire system.
Inkjet Printer: A class of printer in which small ink droplets are sprayed electrostatically from a nozzle onto the paper.
IRQ: (Interrupt Request) The name of an input found on many processors which causes the processor to suspend normal instruction execution temporarily and to start executing an interrupt handler routine.
Jargon File: The on-line hacker Jargon File. A large collection of (often amusing) definitions of computing terms.
Java Archive: A compressed archive file containing Java class files, filename extension: ".jar". The Java Development Kit contains a tool called "jar" for creating .jar files, similar to the standard Unix tar command. As well as archiving and compressing the Java class files, it also inserts a "manifest" file which can contain information about the class files, such as a digital signature. Combining class files into a single archive file makes it possible to download them in a single HTTP transaction. This, and the compression, speeds up execution of Java programs delivered via the Internet.
Jumper: A removable wire or small plug whose presence or absence is used to determine some aspect of hardware configuration.