A dictionary of computer terms, abbreviations, acronyms, and phrases.
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- AC-3 - The encoding system used by Dolby Digital. A standard for high-quality digital audio that is used for the sound portion of video stored in digital format.
- Access permissions - Features that control access to shared resources in Windows XP Professional.
- Access Token - A data structure containing security information that identifies a user to the security subsystem on a computer running Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000, or Windows NT 4. An access token contains a user's security ID, the security IDs for groups that the user is a member of, and a list of the user's privileges on the local computer.
- Account Lockout - A Windows XP Professional security feature that locks a user account if a number of failed login attempts occur within a specified amount of time, based on account policy lockout settings. Users cannot log on with locked accounts until unlocked by an adminisrtator.
- Account Policy - Controls how passwords must be used by all user accounts on an individual computer or in a domain.
- ACE - Access Control Entry - The entries on the access control list(ACL) that control user account or group access to a resource. The entry must allow the type of access that is requested (i.e. Read access) for the user to gain access. If no ACE exists in the ACL, the user cannot gain access to the resource or folder on an NTFS partition.
- ACL - Access Control List - A list of all user accounts and groups that have been granted access for the file or folder on an NTFS partition or volume, as well as the type of access they have been granted. When a user attempts to gain access to a resource, the ACL must contain an entry, called an access control entry(ACE), for the user account or group to which the user belongs.
- ACPI - Advanced Configuration and Power Interface - An open industry specification that defines power management on a wide range of mobile, desktop, server components and peripherals. ACPI is the foundation for the OnNow industry initiative that allows system manufacturers to deliver computers that will start at the touch of a keyboard. ACPI design is essential to take full advantage of power management and Plug and Play in Windows XP Professional. Check the manufacturer's documentation to verify that a computer is ACPI-compliant.
- Active Directory Service - The directory service included in Windows 2000 Server products. It identifies all resources on a network and makes them accessible to users and applications.
- ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line - A recent modem technology that converts existing twisted-pair telephone lines into access paths for multimedia and high-speed data communications. These new connections can transmit more than 8 Mbps to the subscriber. ADSL is recognized as a physical layer transmission protocol for unshielded twisted-pair media. ADSL is commonly, though incorrectly, known as Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line.
- Agent - A program that performs a background task for a user and reports to the user when the user when the task is done or when some expected event has taken place.
- AGP - Accelerated Graphics Port - an interface developed by Intel Corporation. AGP is based on PCI (see PCI), but is designed especially for the throughput demands of 3-D graphics.
- AMD - Company responsible for producing microprocessors that commonly appear in Windows computers.
- Anti-Aliasing - The removing of "Stair Stepping" effect on graphics.
- APM - Advanced Power Management - A software interface designed by Microsoft and Intel used between hardware-specific power management software, such as that located in a system BIOS, and an operating system power management driver.
- Apple Computer - Apple Computer is the company which originally kicked off the personal computer revolution in the 70's.
- ATI - ATI Technologies Inc.
- Betas - In software development, Betas are releases of unfinished software products.
- BH-5 - Manufactured RAM modules by Winbond, these modules were considered an "overclockers dream".
- BIOS - Basic Input/Output System - typically stored or "flashed" onto an EPROM chip, the BIOS controls all the communications between the devices connected to your system.
- Binary - a numbering system consisting of the digits "0" and "1" in the decimal system. All computer programs are executed in binary form. 33 = 00100001 is an example of 8 bit binary.
- Bit - b - Contraction of "binary digit". It is the smallest unit of data. (also see Kilobit)
- Boot Sector - Usually the first sector on any given partition. It contains a very small program which will load and start running the OS
- Bloated code - A term given to programs and files with unnecessary content. This leads to slower, more unstable and more resource-demanding without reason (hence "bloated" ) applications.
- Blog - a web-based "diary" (every entry is dated).
- Byte - B - a series of 8 bits (binary). Computer storage space is measured in bytes.
- CD - Compact Disc. Used to store data in various forms, with the most common being software and music. Other uses include videos and general data intended to be shared. Capacities are generally in the area of 600 to 800 megabytes. Formats include CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW.
- CD-ROM - Compact Disc - Read-Only Memory - a non-volatile optical data storage medium using the same physical format as audio CDs, readable by a computer with a CD-ROM drive.
- Codename - In the computing realm, the codename is what a company usually gives to an unnamed software product that they are working on.
- CPU - Central Processing Unit - This is considered the "brains" of your computer. This is where all the calculations are handled. The higher the Megahertz the faster the processor can perform. Today's processors range all the way up to 3.8 GHz and when Overclocking users have hit beyond 5.0 GHz.
- DDR - Double Data Rate RAM - DDR RAM is the most commonly used RAM in today's world, it multiplies the Front Side Bus speed by 2 to equal the effective speed.
- DDR-II SDRAM - Double Data Rate Two Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) is a computer memory technology that, as of 2005, is becoming the mainstream standard for personal computer memory. DDR-II is part of the SDRAM family of random access memory technologies.
- DDR-III - the name of the new DDR3 Standard being developed as the successor to DDR2
- DVD - Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc - A storage medium. A plastic, 5-inch disc that can hold various amounts of data starting from 4.5 gigabytes to 17 gigabytes.
- Frame rate - The rate of frames that are drawn on the screen (usually in seconds).
- FreeBSD - a free, open source, Unix-like operating system.
- Front Side Bus - The frequency of the North-Bridge and is multiplied typically by 2 for AMD processors and 4 for Intel processors.
- GDDR-III - a graphics card-specific memory technology, designed by ATI Technologies.
- Gibibyte - GiB - represents 1024 MiB.
- Gigabyte - GB - represents 1000 MB. (See Megabyte) For the hardware manufacture, see Gigabyte Technology.
- GPU - Graphics Processing Unit - This is the processor inside most personal computers which handles graphical output.
- Graphics card - a component of a computer which is designed to convert a representation of an image stored in memory to a signal that can be used as input for a display medium, such as a computer monitor. Major chipset producers include ATI and NVIDIA.
- Intel - Company responsible for producing microprocessors that commonly appear in Windows and Mac computers.
- I/O - Input/Output. Usually in reference to transferring or sending data.
- Kernel - A kernel is considered as the core component of an operating system or a bigger software architecture.
- Kibibyte - KiB - represents 1024 bytes. (See Byte)
- Kilobyte - kB - represents 1000 bytes. (See Byte)
- Kibibit - Kibit - represents 1024 bits. (See Bit)
- Kilobit - Kb - represents 1000 bits. (See Bit)
- Linux - a computer operating system and its kernel. It is among the most famous examples of free software and of open-source development.
- Mac OS - the operating system software for Macintosh computers.
- Master Boot Record - MBR - See Boot Sector
- Mebibyte - MiB - represents 1024 KiB. (See Kibibyte)
- Megabyte - MB - represents 1000 KB. (See Kilobyte)
- Megahertz - MHz - is a measurement of frequency in millions of cycles per second. For example, how fast the CPU, RAM or GPU can perform mathematical operations and send information.
- Microsoft - Microsoft is a large corporation, founded by Bill Gates and developer of the Windows Operating System.
- Motherboard - MB - The main circuit board in a computer that carries the system buses. It is equipped with sockets and spaces to which all processors, memory modules, daughterboards, or peripheral devices expansion cards such as sound cards, graphic cards, modems and network interface cards (NIC) are connected.
- Monitor - A device that displays graphics generated by a computer using the signals from a graphics card (see Graphics Card). Monitors are either cathode-ray tubes (CRT) or liquid crystal display (LCD).
- Northbridge - The northbridge handles communications between the CPU, RAM, AGP port or PCI Express, and the southbridge.
- NVIDIA - One of the two video card "superpowers".
- Open Source - Apple's open source projects allow developers to customize and enhance key Apple software.
- Operating Systems - OS - the first layer of software loaded into computer memory when it starts up.
- Overclocking - raising the Front Side Bus speed to achieve higher CPU speeds.
- Partition - A part of a hard disk that is dedicated to a particular OS or application and accessed as a single drive.
- Partition Table - An area of the hard disk containing information on how the disk is organized. It also contains information that tells the computer which OS to load.
- PCI - Peripheral Component Interconnect - a high-speed connection for devices including SCSI cards, video cards, sound cards, modems, video capture cards, etc. This is the primary way of adding devices to your computer.
- PCI Express - the latest interface for peripheral components, mostly for graphics cards.
- RAM - Random Access Memory - a storage medium used in computers that the contents can be accessed in any order.
- Resolution - The amount of pixels that are drawn on your monitor, TV screen, etc.
- ROM - Read-Only Memory - a storage medium that the contents can only be access and not be changed.
- RSS - Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication. A commonly used protocol for syndication and sharing of content, originally developed to facilitate the syndication of news articles, now widely used to share the contents of blogs.
- SCSI - Small Computer Systems Interface - an interface that serves as an expansion bus that can be used to connect hard disk drives, tape drives, and other hardware components.
- SDRAM - Synchronous DRAM, a type of DRAM that can run at much higher clock speeds than conventional memory.
- SLI (3DFX) - Scan Line Interleave - This method was for the Voodoo 2 chipset video cards.
- SLI (NVIDIA) - Scalable Link Interface - This method use the PCI-Express slots to connect two video cards together and reduce the total overall load on one GPU.
- Software - Software is considered to be the parts of the computer architecture that you cannot touch but only see its output on the screen, printer, or whatever output device there is.
- Tebibyte - TiB - represents 1024 GiB. (see Gibibyte)
- Terabyte - TB - represents 1000 GB. (see Gigabyte)
- TPM - Trusted Platform Module
- Video Card - See Graphics Card. Also known as display adapter.
- Vapor Phase Change Cooling - an uncommon method in the world of overclocking. In very basic terms, you build an evaporator which is the CPU, GPU or North-Bridge heatsink.
- Windows - the largest, most prominent operating system family to this day.