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Glossary

Helpful link: Netdictionary, over 400 definitions of words drawn from Standard Internet English including technical terms, hacker slang, and acronyms.

  • Anonymous FTP: FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is another way files are transmitted via the Internet. You can also reach FTP sites via the Web. An anonymous FTP site usually allows only a certain number of anonymous users to connect and retrieve its files at one time. It typically is a database for many software programs and files.
  • Applet: Java-enhanced objects or mini programs that can travel with a Web page to perform a special function
  • Archie: A tool for finding files at FTP sites.
  • ASCII Text: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A file with only standard "text" characters.
  • Bandwidth: How much data can pass through an Internet pipeline at one time.
  • Baud Rate: The rate of data transfer, usually in reference to modem speed. Modems usually transfer data in bits per second.
  • BBS: a bulletin board service. Many private or corporate BBS's existed before the explosive growth of the Web. Many Web sites offer a form of BBS in which visitors can post messages and have threaded "conversations" by topic.
  • BinHex: a Mac file converted from binary ()nontext) to ASCII text for transporting via e-mail.: a binary compressed file (Macintosh)
  • Bit: A binary digit. The smallest unit of data. A group of 8 bits makes one byte.
  • Bitmap: A pattern of pixels used to display an image.
  • Browser: A software program used for viewing Web documents. Some browsers are Netscape Navigator, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, NCSA Mosaic, and Lynx.
  • CGI-bin: A directory on a server that typically holds various executable CGI scripts necessary to process forms and perform other types of interaction in a client-server transaction.
  • Client: A software program on your computer (and YOU as the user of the program) that connects to a computer server to retrieve information.
  • Client-Side: Action or interpretation that takes place on the client side of a client-server transaction. Client-side image maps, for instance, allow your browser to interpret defined hotlinks on an image rather than sending the coordinates to a Web server for interpretation.
  • Cache (rhymes with trash): Your computer's short-term memory that allows it to temporarily store Web files for faster repeat access to those files. Remember: Trash (delete or clear) your cache often!
  • Cookie: A persistent HTTP cookie is a Netscape enhancement in which a packet of information is sent to your browser via a server-side script, giving the web server you are visiting a "memory" of the choices you make or information you input while viewing a Web page. When you visit again, the cookie lets the web server "remember" you. Cookies have expirations and can be helpful at shopping or registration sites, for instance, and have many other uses.
  • Domain, Domain Name: Category of server (.com=commercial, etc.) , official Internet name for a server. Also, Domain Name Service (DNS) , a directory system that looks up various servers by host name and IP address. There are also virtual domains which allow for alias names on the same server.
  • Download: To retrieve a file from another computer.
  • E-Mail: Electronic mail. A means of exchanging messages and/or small files with others via the Internet. Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer have built-in e-mail capabilities; Eudora is another good e-mail software program.
  • Encryption: Encoding messages so they are illegible to outside viewers. Especially helpful for security in Web commerce.
  • FAQ: A FAQ sheet presents a list of frequently asked questions (and answers!) by topic. Be sure to look for these and read what's available before you seek help elsewhere.
  • File Extension: the second part of a file name which designates its file type. In DOS file names and extensions are limited by the 8/3 rule or 8 characters per name and 3 characters per extension. It's helpful to know file extensions when using helper applications in your browser or when downloading or decompressing files.
  • Flame: A mean-spirited e-mail or newsgroup message. Flames violate proper Internet conduct. See also, Spam.
  • FTP: File Transfer Protocol. A means of retrieving computer files, but also a means of uploading files to a server. FTP sites are generally special sites for downloading files. Most allow only a certain number of people to be connected at one time. You may have to make several attempts to reach a busy FTP site. Many FTP sites are now Web-based, which means you can reach them via your browser. You can FTP your files and update your Web site from home through an Internet Service Provider with the help of FTP programs including Fetch for Macintosh and CuteFTP for Windows. Netscape Navigator also has some built-in FTP uploading capabilities.
  • Freeware: Files and programs offered into the public domain for your free use and distribution. Shareware requires a small fee. Other variations: T-shirtware, postcardware, e-mailware.
  • GIF: a Graphics Interchange Format image used primarily for solid color inline artwork.
  • GIF Inflation: A process in which compressed .gif images inflate in your browser's cache. This can cause your browser to crash sometimes if you are visiting a Web site with lots of images or if your cache is too full. You can never have too much RAM or a big enough cache for Web browsing.
  • Gopher: An information retrieval system created by the University of Minnesota. Many gopher sites are now Web oriented.
  • Home Page: a Web document's opening page. Also, the default page for your Web browser.
  • Host: A computer providing Internet access or serving files.
  • Htx: A file extension for a compressed Mac file
  • HTH: Popular abbreviation in discussion groups for "hope this helps."
  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language, the dialect of Web documents. Web pages are actually a combination of several files such as text, images and display instructions. HTML tags tell the browser how to display them all together.
  • HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol of the Web.
  • Hypertext: a term to describe non-linear writing in which you follow associative paths. The foundation of the Web.
  • Images, Image Maps: Graphic parts of a Web document, mostly in .gif or .jpeg format. Images sometimes load onto your screen like a Venetian blind. These are called interlaced images and give the appearance that they are loading faster. An image map is an illustration or image with defined hotlink areas.
  • IMHO: popular abbreviation for "in my humble opinion."
  • IP: Internet Protocol. IP Address: the specific numerical Internet location of a server.
  • IRC: Internet Relay Chat, allows real-time "talking" via the Internet.
  • Java and JavaScript: two separate computer program scripting languages, each of which enhances functionality of Web documents.
  • JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group, developers of the JPEG format for compressed image files. Used primarily for photographs and other continuous tone images.
  • Listserv: an automated mailing list allowing discussion among members by topic. There are specific rules for subscribing and unsubscribing to a listserv.
  • LAN: local area network, two or more computers connected via a cable.
  • LocalTalk: Apple's built-in LAN system for the Macintosh.
  • Login: the process by which you identify yourself to a host computer, usually with a user ID and a password.
  • Lurkers, lurking: Those who read mail lists or news group discussions without contributing to them. It's a good idea to lurk awhile before you post a message. This is not a derogatory term on the Internet.
  • MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions: the Internet standard for transferring files other than text, such as audio, video, images, etc., via e-mail.
  • Mirror Site: A server that has the same files as another server to distribute the load and offer more convenient geographic paths to clients.
  • Modem: A modulator-demodulator, which allows your computer to send and receive data via telephone lines.
  • Moderator: the person in charge of a mailing list or news group who reads all messages to be sure they are appropriate before posting them to the group.
  • MPEG: Motion Picture Experts Group, developers of a compression format for video files.
  • NCSA: National Center for Supercomputing Applications, producers of much public domain software for the Internet and scientific community. Creators of the NCSA Mosaic Web browser software.
  • Netiquette: Proper network etiquette.
  • News Group: A threaded discussion by topic on the Usenet network.
  • Newsreader: A program that helps you read news groups, similar to e-mail. Built-in on Netscape Navigator. The news groups you can access will depend upon those supplied by your Internet access provider.
  • NNTP: Net news transport protocol that governs Usenet news.
  • Offline: Actions taken while not connected to another computer or network. Typically you can compose e-mail or view local files while being offline.
  • Online: Being connected to another computer or network.
  • Page: On the Web, the name of a document.
  • Plug-In: A mini program that enhances your browser; a hundred or more are available. Be sure you set these: Shockwave, RealAudio, and QuickTime.
  • POP: Post Office Protocol for e-mail retrieval and storage.
  • Post: To send a message to a mailing list or news group discussion, to put up a Web page.
  • PPP: Point to Point Protocol used for Internet connectivity. Your Internet connection will likely be via a dial-up PPP account.
  • Protocol: A language syntax for computers.
  • Public domain: software or files you can use or distribute freely.
  • Quick Time: An Apple technology for multimedia data.
  • Robot: an automatic text-indexing system that visits servers and indexes their contents. Helps create vast searchable directories.
  • Root directory: the topmost directory on a computer.
  • .SEA Self-Extracting Archive, a compressed filed format for Macintosh.
  • Server: A computer that makes its files available to a client via a network.
  • Server-side, server-side includes: Action or interpretation on the server side of a client-server transaction. For instance, a CGI script residing on a server can create HTML documents on the fly from form data, display a graphical odometer or page counter or redirect your browser to a particular Web document based on the type or version of software you are using.
  • Shareware: software that may be freely distributed and tried out, with a small fee payable to the author for those who want to keep the program and use it. Be honorable. Pay your shareware fees.
  • Signature: a text file that can be automatically appended to your e-mail messages.
  • .Sit: A file extension for a compressed file (Stuff-It Archive)
  • Smileys: A collection of typographic symbols used to simulate expressions. :)
  • SMTP: Simple Mail Transport Protocol for e-mail.
  • snail mail: Paper mail.
  • Spamming: sending hundreds of inappropriate postings to a Usenet newsgroup or mailing list. Violation of Internet Netiquette.
  • System Administrator: the person who runs a host computer or network.
  • T1: A high-speed network link on the Internet.
  • T3: An even higher network link... very big backbone connection.
  • TCP: Transmission Control Protocol and the basis for Internet traffic. It works with IP to ensure that packets of information travel safely on the Internet.
  • TCP/IP: the protocols on which the Internet was founded.
  • Telnet: a remote terminal emulation program that allows you to login and access a remote computer.
  • Thread: a group of messages that share the same subject or topic.
  • Timeout: the amount of idle time allowed before a connection will discontinue.
  • TIA: Popular abbreviation for thanks in advance.
  • UNIX: a popular if cryptic computer operating system. Many Web servers are UNIX-based.
  • Upload: To send a file to another computer.
  • Usenet: network for news group discussions.
  • User id: The name you use to login to another computer.
  • UUENCODE: a program that encodes binary (nontext) files for distribution via e-mail.
  • Veronica: an information agent that searches gopher databases.
  • Virus: A computer code that damages computer data and/or programs.
  • WAIS: Wide Area Information Servers, a searchable group of full-text databases.
  • Webmaster: The person in charge of a server and the documents contained on it. Derived from the term "postmaster."
  • World Wide Web: The newest and most ambitious Internet protocol. Responsible for explosive Internet growth in the 1990s.
  • Worm: a program that infiltrates a computer system and copies itself many times, filling up disk space.
  • .Zip: a common Windows file extension for a compressed ZIP file
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