Technical Terms ~ What's what

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Technical Terms ~ What's what

Post  Tech Dude on Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:09 pm

Technical Terms

Technical Terms



As some of you have noticed, Technology is getting more complicated by the day, with many acronyms, ports, etc.

To help you know what's what, I'm posting this mini-guide on what's what when it comes to all those letters and acronyms.

Hope this helps!
Tech Dude



BIOS: Basic Input/Output System. Controls the most basic hardware functions of a mother board.

Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) — Also called the Stop Error screen, this screen is displayed by the Windows operating system when it cannot recover from, or might not recover from a system error. It displays the error, such as "KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT*HANDLED" and four values in parenthesis.

Blu-Ray - This is derived from the "Blue-violet" laser which is used to write, and read this type of disc simply because of its shorter wavelength which is 405 nm. More data can be stores on these discs than your standard DVD's. Blu-Ray discs store 25 GB on each layer, as opposed to a DVD's 4.7 GB.

Broadband - Broadband comes from the words "broad bandwidth", this is used to describe a fast Internet link between two computers. When browsing the Internet you’ll notice that your Internet speed is so much faster than dial up. Which most of the time when using Dial Up is 520kbs, rather than the standard 2mb per second when using Broadband.

Cache – This is a folder where program memory is stored. All frequently accessed programs get stored in this folder.

Cache RAM: Very fast and very sensitive RAM sits on the CPU circuit board and allows faster transfer of memory between the CPU and RAM on the motherboard

CD-Rom - CD ROM stands for Compact Disk Read-Only Memory. Data can be written onto the disc by using special programs. There are other types of discs such as CD-RW (see below)

CD-RW – Data discs which can be written over by a program, these types of discs can be reused as much as you want.

Codec - Short for compressor/decompresser. Used to make video files or sound files smaller/larger or better quality, to “compress” means to make something smaller, there are many different types of compressors available on the market.

Cookies - These little packets of information hold information to do with websites, they can hold passwords, old searches which you have made and any other information on a web page which maybe useful in the future. These can be cleared from your computer at any time.

CPU - Central Processing Unit (the brains behind your computer), this performs lots of mathematical calculations which help make up your computer, and help it to run properly. This is known as microprocessor

Defragment - A fragmented hard disk has parts of files stored in many different locations. To retrieve a file, the computer must search and retrieve all the fragments. Defragmenting a disk puts all the parts of each file together in one location. This reduces the time the computer spends locating files.

Dial-Up - A step down from "broadband", this connection connects to the internet directly through your phone line. The down-side to this connection would be that you can not make any calls when on the internet. (VERY SLOW)

Driver - Helps external and internal equipment run properly, it could be used for a sound card or a USB camera connected to your computer.

DSL - This stands for digital subscriber line. This is a generic name for lines that are provided by your internet company. These type of lines, carry lots of data at very high speeds.

DVD - Digital Versatile Disc. You can store large amounts of information on this kind of disc, like movies and large audio files. They can carry much more information than a normal CD.

EXT – An abbreviation for "external", you’ll often see this on computer packaging. For example, if you were buying a new computer an it said EXT hard drive, they would be talking about an external hard drive, which you would plug into your computer.

File Sizes -


SizeApproximate storage capacity
1 Byte 8 Bits
1 byteA single character
10 bytesA word or two
100 bytesA few sentences
1 kbA very short story
100 kbA medium resolution photo
1 MbA short novel
10 MbTwo copies of the complete works of Shakespeare
100 Mb1 meter of shelved books
1 Gba pickup truck filled with pages of text
1 Tb50,000 trees of paper
10 TbThe printed collection of the U.S. Library of Congress


Firewall - Software which protects your computer from any attacks by other people trying to steal personal information off you, Is recommended when entering personal details across the internet.

FPS- Frames Per Second the number of frames you see a second. The more FPS (Frames Per Second) The smoother the screen picture shall look.

FTP — The File Transfer Protocol. An old protocol used to transfer files between computers. Pre-dates the World Wide Web. Used in URLs as ftp://(address)

Gateway Timeout - The 504 Gateway Timeout error is an HTTP status code which means that one server didn't receive a responses from the other server, this can happen because a firewall is blocking the connection, or maybe you're internet connection has failed.

.GIF - (Graphic Interchange Format) Another common image format that is used in simple images and simple animations. GIF images support up to 8-bit, 256 colour images (usually at 72 dpi). GIF images compress smaller than JPEG images, however their limited colours sacrifice their quality.

Hardware – These are the physical components that make up your computer such as Ram and your CPU.

HTML - Hypertext Mark-up Language, this is simply a language in which a web page is written in, it’s one of the more basic languages that you could learn when making a web page, and it’s the basis of all other web page languages. (the forum and this layout are all written in HTML!)

Hyerlinks – These will link you to another file, web page, or a download. They’re used on websites to transport you from one web page to another, just by clicking on it.

IDE - Integrated Device Electronics older connection type for hard drives and CD-Rom's can support 2 devices per cable as a master slave configuration.

IP - Internet Protocol. A packet-based protocol for delivering data across networks.

ISP – This stands for Internet Service Provider. An ISP in something or someone who gives you or a member of your family internet into your household via a wireless or a cable connection.

.JPEG/.JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) A very common compressed image format. JPEG compression allows the images to take up very little kilobytes, however the compression is "lossy" which means that image quality is sacrificed in order to compress the image.

“Lag” – Lag is when your computer will stop responding or what you see on screen will become jumpy.

LAN - " Local Area Network" This is a short small network, which can span a small area, maybe you have a network in your house where computers are connected to each other via a “router”. This is called a LAN.

Machine Cycle - This is the cycle a computer must complete to carry out an instruction made by the user. The language instruction is given: fetching the instruction from the main memory, decoding it, executing the instruction, and storing the result.

Malware - Malicious software, programs with unwanted effects such as viruses, spy ware, or advertisements that appear.

Microsoft Windows Family - MS-DOS/9x–based: 1.0 • 2.0 • 3.0 • 3.1x • 95 • 98 • Me
NT-based: NT 3.1 • NT 3.5 • NT 3.51 * NT 4.0 • 2000 • XP• Server 2003 • FLP • Vista • 7
CE-based: CE 2.0 • CE 3.0 • CE 4.0 • CE 5.0 • CE 6.0

Mother / Main board: The main part of your PC all your components will connect through here in some way.

MS-DOS - This stands for Microsoft-Disk Operating System. This operating system was developed by Microsoft for IBM.

Overclocking - Adjustments made to computer hardware (or software) to make its CPU run at a higher *clock* rate than intended by the original manufacturers.

PHP – This stands for Hypertext Pre-processor and is the backbone of many major websites, be it big or small PHP can improve a websites productivity, and increase user interaction. Users of the website would be able to fill in forms, and login to modules.

.PNG - (Portable Network Graphic) A standard file format approved by the World Wide Web consortium to replace the GIF file format. These are often used for complex graphics such as screenshots, and can use many more colours than GIF's. However, unlike GIF's, they cannot support animations. PNG images can be comparably larger than GIF images, however PNG's offer "lossless" compression, which means, under normal circumstances, you should not lose image quality to compress an image into this format.

Programming language – This is what’s used to create games and websites and so forth. Generally made by “programmers” who are employed by a company or person to make such things. Programming languages are used to make games, computers, pretty much everything, run as intended..

Proxy - These are special websites/servers which are used to protect users from other harmful files and websites on the internet, they also can be used to hide your "IP" address.

RAM - Random-access memory: the most common computer memory which can be used by programs to store information when the program is being used. You could think of it like an airport terminal, where you wait for your plane to depart or arrive.

Reboot – Turning an electronic piece of equipment off and on again

Right-Click - when some tells you to click, and you do it correctly; heehee. If you have a two button mouse, clicking with the button on the Right, top, side of the mouse.

Router - A device which forwards packets of different information between a networks of computers. Could be on a small scale (home network) or a large scale (office).

Screenshot – When you take a still image picture of your screen, can be pasted into any photographic editor for rendering. Most people use “MS Paint” to paste their pictures into. To take a screenshot on a Windows computer, hold down the Ctrl key and then press the Print Screen Key (Print screeen is above the number keypad).

Serial ATA: Serial Advanced Technology Attachment newer hard drive connections better bandwidth and smaller cabling.

Server – a piece of machinery which sends information to a computer linked to the network by a cable or wirelessly. All websites are hosted on servers.

Software - Written coded commands that tell a computer what tasks to perform. For example: Word. Most software is either downloaded from the internet or comes on a CD-Rom

Spyware - Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without the computer user’s knowledge. These type of viruses can be gotten rid of by using a Spy ware scanner.

System Restore – will take a computer back to a certain date. Removing all information before the system restore, Can be used when information or files become corrupt.

System Tray - The part of the task bar contained within the clock area.

Taskbar - For Microsoft Windows Operating systems. Usually located at the bottom of your screen. The task bar contains the start button, perhaps a quick-launch bar, tool bars, open programs, and the clock

Temporary internet files – A folder where information from websites is stored for quick loading if used again. Can be deleted via your internet browser if needed or is causing trouble.

.TGA (Truevision Targa) An image format used in cinematic, game textures ect. Needs an advanced image viewer/editor like Photoshop to be viewed.

UART- "Universal *syncchronous Reciver/Transmiter" An integrated circuit that is attached to the parallel bus of a computer and is used for serial communications. The UART translates between serial and parallel signals, provides transmission clocking, and buffers data sent to or from the computer.

URL - A standard way of specifying the location of an object, typically a web page, on the Internet.

USB – This stands for Universal Serial Bus, these devices are connected to your computer via USB ports, there are two versions of USB, the normal USB and the newer USB 2.0, which is drastically faster, and boasts to be faster than the 1394 ports.

VDU - This stands for Visual Display Unit, or as it is known a *Screen”. Most things you watch (such as a television) can be referred to as a VDU.

WAN- "Wide Area Network" A WAN is a data communications network that serves users across a broad geographic area and often uses transmission devices provided by common carriers. Frame Relay, SMDS, and X.25 are examples of WANs. Compare with LAN and MAN.

Web crawler - A program or script. Which visits websites and will automatically download their contents for indexing, basically like an online history.

Thanks to smashbrosdude91 for setting up the layout of this post

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Tech Dude
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