Whether you are a computer novice or a computer expert there will be
when you will not have a clue what some new word means. If you don't
your Bluetooth from your Wi-Fi and your MP3 from your Midi music you
find the answer here
Hint: In Internet Explorer use Edit,
Find to search
this page for words
Can't find it here ?
- 1080p TV scans the screen at 1080
lines per second (HD or High definition) 720p is obviously 720 lines
per second. Still HD but not as high. The ' p'
means the scanning is progressive as opposed to 'i', which is an
interlaced method (scanning each alternate line)
- 3D TVs, PCs. cameras and video cameras
are now available but still require special glasses to view the special
- 21CN BT's new broadband setup which
should enable faster connections when it is available locally See http://www.btplc.com/21cn/
- 4G 4th generation mobile phone
connections will be available late 2012. Five times faster connections
bringing streaming video to mobile devices.
- 64 bit computer architecture. Not
possible to describe briefly. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit
- 802.11g. The current popular standard
for wireless (Wi-fi) computing. There is also an 802.11b, 802.11a and
latterly an 802.11n or Pre-N. However, the N variety, though
faster and with greater range (and penetration), is still awaiting
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber
Line. Broadband internet connection (3-200 times faster).
Asymetic because the download speed is fater than upload. See also
- ADSL2+ is the latest incarnation of
ADSL. It doubles the frequency of signals over a phone line.
It depends on the ISP installing its own equipment in telephone
exchanges making speeds up to 24mbps theoretically attainable,
depending on the quality of lines and being close to a digital
- ADVANCED FORMAT From 2011 hard disks
will be made to accept larger 'sectors' (8x) than hitherto, increasing
capacity and performance
- ADWARE Advertising software that
causes adverts to appear on your screen, either by invitation or (more
likely) without your permission.
- AGP. Accelerated Graphics Port. A more
rapid connection (slot on the motherboard) for the (AGP) card which
drives a monitor. Usually brown.
- AI. Artificial Intelligence. Using a computer to mimic human intelligence e.g. to play chess.
- ANDROID This is an operating system
from Google, which is being used in mobile devices such as mobile phones. In
the year 2010-2011 it has gained market share over the ones used in
Blackberry, Windows and Apple gadgets.
- ANTIVIRUS program. Something
that can spot a virus attached to an email or already on your computer
and deal with it.
- APPLET. A small prgram often within a web page software
- APPLICATION. A program such as Word or
Internet Explorer. Applications almost always end in EXE
- ASP. Application Service Provider.
Computer companies are hoping to provide you with programs and data
storage over the net for a rental, rather than buying them outright.
- ATA drives. Merely means Advanced
Technology Attachment. Older versions were Parallel ATA. Later versions
are Serial ATA (SATA)
- AVATAR. A cartoon representation of
someone in a chat room. Origin : A Hindu spirit in human form.
- BACKUP. Keeping copies or programs or
work in a separate place in case of corruption of the first version.
There are various methods. See Help, Backup in
Windows. See Floppy disk, CDR, ZIP drive
- BANDWIDTH. A measure of the maximum
amount of data that can be transferred over the Internet or phone
system at any one time
- BETA TESTING. A program which is being
tested, which is given out to users to find any problems. or
as they say..."Foolproof software doesn't take into account the
ingenuity of fools".
- BING Microsoft's browser
- BIOMETRICS. Using biological input for security e.f fingerprints, iris or facial recognition.
- BIOS. Basic Input and Output system. The software permanently held by a computer which 'remembers' its characteristics.
- BIT. Smallest unit of computer data.
There are 8 bits to a byte (which is what usually makes a character,
number or space) There are 1024 bytes in a KILOBYTE, 1024 Kilobytes in
a Megabyte, 1024 Megabytes in a Terabyte, 1024 Terabytes in a Petabyte
- BITMAP. A graphic image which is made
up of many tiny dots.
- BLOG, BLOGGER. A Weblog or person who
writes a website about the boring things they do each day.
- BLU-RAY A high capacity (Up
to 50Gb) drive suitable for HD TV videos. Blu-Ray drives (and
disks) may be BD-Rom (Just play Blu-Ray disks), BD-R (writeable) and
BD-RE (re-writeable) The latest will read and write Dual Layer or
- BLUE SCREEN 'of death'.
(BSOD) The screen that comes up in Windows 95 and 98 when your
computer can't cope with something. It suggests you press a
key to continue. Called the 'Blue Screen of Death' because
pressing a key doesn't help at all ! And the technical
details shown are no help. Reboot.
- BLUETOOTH technology. Using
radio transmission from your PC for controlling everything from
printers to lights to the washing machine anywhere within a building.
See also WI-FI.
- BOOT Start a PC from cold. Reboot :
- BOT. Short for robot. A program that works automatically e.g. to index the Internet.
- BOTNET A group of PCs that have been commandeered by a Spammer or other evil doer and used by them without
the knowledge of the owners to spread mayhem around the Internet.
- BROADBAND. High bandwidth Internet
connections such as Cable or ADSL for faster connections
- BROWSER. Program for browsing the
Internet. e.g. Internet Explorer. Netscape Navigator
- BSOD Blue Screen Of Death (see above)
- BYTE A number of bits which make up a
character, number or space on a hard, floppy disk or CD. 8 bits equal
one byte, so a download at 56k bits per second is only around 7k
characters a second. And dialup modems often achieve only 40k.
- CAB file. A compressed file. In
Windows they contains all the files necessary to create the Windows
- CABLE MODEM. Cable companies such as
NTL and Telewest can pipe fast Internet connections to you providing
you have a special modem fitted to your PC.
- CACHE This is a general term meaning
and section of memory. See Webopedia HERE
for detailed information.
- CELLPHONE The American term for a
mobile phone. Refers to moving from one 'cell' area to the next.
- CENTRINO. Intel's name for its
technology which gives notebook computers longer battery life and have
built in Wi-Fi capabilities
- CHAT. Text messaging to others on line
using messaging software such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL and others
- CHAT ROOM. An area on the Internet
where people chat (usually written) to each other in 'real time'.
- CLIPBOARD. A temporary memory facility which remembers items which have been CUT or COPIED - can be PASTED later
- CLOUD COMPUTING means Internet based
programs and storage. The software may be free or may be charged by the
- CMOS. Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A special type of memory chip which retains data. See also BIOS
- COOKIE. A small text file which is
downloaded to your computer without you knowing anything about it.
Mainly they are used to trace your activities for marketing purposes.
See C:\windows\cookies and C:\windows\temporary internet files. Can be
deleted by using Windows Explorer or prevented by Internet Explorer
security. The latter may prevent you from accessing certain sites.
- CD/CDROM/CD-R/CDRW Compact Disk Read
Only Memory. Not really memory like RAM. They are the familiar disk on
which programs arrive. They are Read Only because the tracks are 'burnt
in and cannot be changed. The RW type can be rewritten to many times
but cannot be read on another machine, so less useful for safe backup.
- CHIP. Silicon chip. The silicon base
used to mount the millions of components that go to make up a computer
- CLIPART. Ready made picture on disk
- CLOUD COMPUTING Using the Internet to
access programs and store your data, instead of having the programs on
your own PC. See http://askbobrankin.com/cloud_computing.html
- CODEC : A method of COmpressing and
DECompressing files such as video. Each compressed file type
must have a suitable associated CODEC program.
- CONTROL PANEL. An important set of
icons which allow you to configure the basic functions of your
- CONTROL KEY Marked Ctrl on
the keyboard. Like Alt and Function keys its use can vary
from program to program.
- CSV. Comma Separated Variable. A
format used to export and import data (to/from databases, spreadsheets,
e-mail address books etc) Each field is separated by a comma e.g.
Name, address1, address2, Town, County
- CUT or COPY & PASTE. Most
Windows programs allow you to cut or copy a selected
item (text or picture) and paste it into another place or even another
program. So you can copy a picture from one program and paste it into
another. Use Ctrl with X, C and V for shortcuts
- CYBERCAFE or INTERNET CAFE. Cafes
where you can get access to the Internet. They are all over the world
and is a major method of communication for travellers
- DAB Radio. Digital Audio Broadcasting
- DATABASE. A list of items of data kept
on a computer disk so it can be amended, searched or printed.
- DDR Double Data Rate memory.
See also SDRAM Memories based on
Double Data Rate technology such as DDR-SDRAM, DDR2-SDRAM and
DDR3-SDRAM transfer two data per clock cycle. Because of that they
achieve double the transfer rate compared to traditional memories (such
as the original SDRAM) running at the same clock rate.
- DECT. Phone. Digitally
Enhanced Cordless Telephone. Clearer sounding cordless phones
- DESKTOP. The main, first page in
- DIGITAL. The method of storing or
transmitting things as a series of numbers. Surprisingly these numbers
never get past 1. So they are made up of Noughts (zeros) and Ones. The
speed and accuracy with which these can be stored has enabled most
information to be stored in this way - from Television, photography,
all computing and - of course - the Internet.
- DIMMS. Dual Inline Memory Modules.
Newer memory type. Have chips both sides of the memory module.See also
- DIRECTX A free downloadable Windows
program that ensures that graphics programs work with all the different
types of graphics hardware
- DIVX is a video format that will
compress to 100th the size of the current ones, thus enabling you to
put films onto CDs
- DONGLE. A small piece of hardware which is attached to a socket on a computer. Originally as a security device.
- DOS. Disk Operating System. The
original Operating System used on PC's without which the machine would
be a just a collection of useless electronic parts. Gradually being
superseded by Windows
- DOS EXPLOIT. This is a very different
DOS, meaning Denial Of Service. The term is used when your anti spyware
software finds something on your PC that indicates your PC is infected
by a virus which will make your PC, along with millions of others,
contact a major computer, causing that computer to seize up.
- DOWNLOAD. The process of transferring
files from the Web to your machine's hard drive. You can download
pictures, text and programs.
- DPI Dots per inch. Used in connection
with printers, scanners and monitors.
- DRAG AND DROP. The facility in most
programs to select text or a file and drag it to another position
- DRIVER. Software which enables certain
peripherals to work e.g. printer, sound card, camera
- DRIVER PROTECTION . This is the term
used by Microsoft to explain why many peripherals will not work with
Windows XP and SP2. They have made sure that any driver that might make
XP unstable doesn't work at all !
- DROP DOWN MENU. When you click a menu
item at the top a series of sub menus is revealed
- DTP Desktop Publishing. Creating print
ready documents on a computer.
- DUAL CORE Processor. Like two
computers on one silicon chip, thus able to take on more jobs
at the same time
- DVD-ROM. Digital Versatile
Disk Read Only Memory. A disk capable of containing much more than a
CD. Used for music, films and BIG programs.
- DVD-RW. A rewriteable DVD
- DVD Player. Special disk player for
DVD disks. Capable of playing CD's as well
- E-BOOK. Electronic book
- E-BAY. The
most popular auction site. See also 'Flipping' below
- E-COMMERCE. Business
conducted over the Internet.
- EXPRESS CARD. The latest, fastest
adapter being fitted to laptops in plkace of the PCMCIA card. It will
enable fast data transfer for many peripherals
- EZINE. On line magazine
- EMAIL. Messages sent to people over
the internet. Email addresses always contain the symbol @ somewhere.
- EMAIL CLIENT. Program you use to send
and receive emails. Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape Communicator
- EXABYTE A thousand million GIGABYTES.
That's a lot of bites
- EXIF The information that is kept with
photograph files (date, camera, size etc) Right click a picture and
- FAT, FAT32. File Allocation Table.
This is the file system used on a disk and stands for File Allocation
Table. It is a form of index which is constantly updated to
keep track of everything on the disk. FAT
is limited to 4Mb per partition. FAT32 is almost
unlimited but cannot cope with files more than 4Gb.
See also NTFS.
- FAVORITES. Or bookmarks. All
Web Browsers enable you to add favourite sites to a list for easy
- FIREWALL. A program that ensures that
your PC has no open 'ports' which allow hackers to access it
- FIREWIRE. A socket on some PC's that
enable 50Mb/second transfer of data than via Serial, Parallel and 30
times faster than a USB 1.1 port. Preferred if you are transferring
large amounts of data e.g. from a digital video camera for
editing purposes. An add-on card can be purchased. XP recognises most
firewire attachments automatically (like USB) However it is only
marginally faster than the more common USB2
- FIXED PITCH. Sometimes it is better to
use a typewriter style of character which has the same width whatever
the letter. Courier is like this
- FLIPPING. A
term used for buying something popular and immediately selling it on
E-bay and a greatly increased price
- FLOPPY DISK : Hardly floppy these
days. 3.5" disks you can use to save data so you can copy it to and
from your hard disk. See also Hard disk
- FLV FORMAT Stands for Flash Video.
This is a highly compressed video format and there commonly
used by the BBC and Youtube sites.
- FONT. A collection of characters of a
predefined style such as Times or Arial
- FRIACO. Flat Rate Internet Access Call
- FUNCTION KEYS. Programmable keys F1 to
F12, which may vary in their use.
- GEEK. Someone obsessed with computers.
I didn't hear that !
- GIGABYTE A thousand million bytes
- GIGAHERTZ A thousand megahertz
- GPRS. General Packet Radio Service.
Facilities for transmitting data to phones, pages, handheld computers.
Under development by Vodaphone and Cellnet. It's the future.
- GPS. Global Positioning System. Use of
satellites to tell you where you are. Used by boats; now used by cars,
soon to be used with mobile phones. Just in case you forgot where you
were going. Can it also remind me what I was going FOR ?
- GRAPHICS The general term used for
pictures and drawings.
- GRAPHICS CARD. The part of the PC that
sends signals to the monitor or display
- GSM. Global System for Mobile
Communication. A standard whereby you can use your telephone
- HACKER. A person who delights in
breaking into other people's computers.
- HARD DISK. A set of spinning disks
coated with recording material. Can retain details of programs and data
- HARDWARE. Any piece of equipment such
as the computer or a printer.
- HD-DVD One of two new DVD standards
which use blue lasers. See also Blu-ray
- HD READY Televisions (or projectors)
must have the appropriate input sockets, have a resolution of at least
720 lines and accept HD signals of 1280 x 720 (called 720p) and 1920 x
1080 (called 1080i)
- FIREWALL. A program that can detect
intrusion onto your computer and check whether you mind.
- FLOPS an acronym for FLoating point
Operations Per Second. A calculator works at around 10 FLOPS. The IBM
super computer called Blue Gene delivers 280.6 trillion FLOPS (280
- GRAPHIC. Any picture.
- HACKER. A person who breaks into
other computers in an attempt to steal sensitive data
- HEURISTIC This refers to a method used
by anti virus programs to spot viruses even before they have been found
by the AV companies. It is done by spotting their virus -
- HOME PAGE. The first page of a
website, usually Index.htm.
- HOTMAIL. It is possible to get an
e-mail address before you get a computer and pick up mail at a
cybercafe. It might take the form of Yourname@hotmail.com
- HOTSPOT an area (cafe,
airport, hotel etc) enabled for connection to the internet by Wi-Fi
enabled laptops, Smartphones or PDA's.
- HTML or HTM. Hypertext Markup
Language. The agreed language that Websites are built from.Your BROWSER
interprets the language to show you intelligible pages.DHTML stands for
Dynamic HTML, which is and advanced form which can make web pages more
animated. See also XML
- HYPERTEXT links. These are the
addresses of web sites or pages, which can be anywhere in the world.
They always are coloured blue and are underlined. When the cursor arrow
hovers over one it will change its shape to show it is a link. Mostly
you will see Hypertext when connected to the 'net' but you may also
find them in things like encyclopaedia CD's. When clicked your computer
may go ONLINE then access the site.
- ICON. A graphic representation of
something such as a shortcut to a program or a religious picture or
other form of representation.
- ICSTIS The Premium rate call watchdog
now called Phonepayplus.org.uk
- IDE. The standard interface
(connection) used to attach hard disks and CD players.INKJET PRINTER.
The commonest type of printer which shoots spots of ink at the paper to
create an image.
- IM. Instant Messaging. Text based
messages to people on - line, using Microsoft or AOL Instant
- INKJET or BUBBLEJET Printer. The
commonest for of printer which squirts ink onto the paper.
Normally colour + black.
- INTERNET. A conglomeration of linked
computers which can be accessed by people who are connected to the
- INTERNET EXPLORER. The main web
browser, issued free by Microsoft. The other is Netscape
- iPad2. Apple's touch screen portable
- iPod. Apple's tiny, popular, music
player. Comes in various formats, some with colour screen to play
videos or show your photos
- IrDA Infrared adapter. A USB device
that enables you PC or laptop to infrared devices e.g. a PDA
- ISA slot. Industry Standard
Architecture. EISA adds Extended ISA. As for PCI but the older type -
- ISDN. Integrated Services Digital
Network. A faster (than standard) internet connection, requiring a
- ISP. Internet Service Provider. A
company which provides you with access to the Internet.
- IPTV Internet Protocol Television. A
standard way to broadst TV over the internet
programming language used on some web pages.
- JPG or JPEG. Joint Photographic Expert
Group. The most commonly used compressed graphic format.
- JUMPER. Apart form a sweater it is a
small connector used to change the working of certain PC equipment.
- KEYLOGGER A program on your computer
which keeps a record of your keystrokes and sends the information to
- KILOBIT. (kb) A thousand bits
- KILOBYTE. (KB) A thousand bytes
- LAN. Local Area Network. Computers
connected 'locally' e.g. within a company or home, so they can
communicate and share programs and data..
- LASER PRINTER. A printer which uses a
laser to create an image on a light sensitive drum, which then loads
toner powder onto paper. Often just black printing. Faster and more
economical than inkjets.
- LED. Light Emitting Diode.
Some 'laser printers' use this type instead of a laser
- LIDE. Light Indirect Exposure.
A new type of light for scanners
- LINUX. An operating system (OS), like
Windows but FREE and stable. It requires software written especially
for it. Originally developed by a Finn, Linus Benedict Torvalds.
Current version 11 (Nov 2011)
- LLU Local Loop Unbundling.
The process whereby BT allows other ISP's to install their
own equipment in their exchanges. In some cases this enables
the ISP to circumvent BT's current speed limit of 8MBs
- MACRO A small program within another
program which, at the touch of a couple of keys performs a series of
- MALWARE. Software which arrives on
your computer which is considered to be damaging or have evil intent
e.g. viruses, spyware or keyloggers
- MATRIX PRINTER. Similar to the inkjet
but uses a 'matrix' of pins pushing against an inked ribbon to make an
impression on paper.
- MEGABIT (mb) A million bits
- MEGABYTE (MB) A million bytes.
See also BIT, BYTE, KILOBYTE, GIGABYTE, EXABYTE
- MEGAHERTZ A measure of how fast your
PC processor works. Basically a million vibrations a second. One
instruction takes place each vibration.
- MIDBAND. BT's new "Broadband" which
runs at 128k (twice the speed of a normal dialup service) Although it
is not permanently connected like Broadband it is possible
to use the telephone on the same line at the same time.
- MIDORI Initial name for a Microsoft
project which might eventually replace Windows. It would be Cloud
Computing based i.e. purely on the net.
- MMS. Mobile Media Service ?? Well,
the ability to send and receive pictures using a mobile phone.
- MINI NOTEBOOK. A new breed of PC,
weighing a couple pounds, with a smaller screen and no CD/DVD drive.
When used with the free Operating System, Linux can be as
little as £100.
- MOBILE BROADBAND Getting broadband via
the mobile phone system rather than via telephone lines or even WiFi
hotspots or your own router.
- MONITOR. The computer screen. Also
called a VDU - Visual Display Unit
- MOORE'S LAW. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_Law
- MOTHERBOARD. The main circuit board of
a computer, to which other components are attached
- MP3. A highly compressed form of
music, which can be downloaded from the 'net and played on a computer
or a portable MP3 player.
- MPEG Motion Picture
Expert Group A method of compressing
digital video. There are various developments such as MPEG2 and MPEG3
- MSN. Microsoft Network
- NETSCAPE COMMUNICATOR. Netscape's
e-mail client program (an alternative to Outlook Express)
- NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR. Netscape's
Browser. An alternative to Internet Explorer
- NETWORK. General term for connected
computers. See also WAN and LAN
- NTFS The later Windows NT File system,
which can also be used on Windows XP and Windows 2000 machines - not
Win 95 - 98 or ME
- NTSC National TV Standards ? The
American TV standard. Sometimes called Never Twice the Same Colour !
- OCR Optical Character Recognition.
Some software can convert scanned text into word processable documents
- OFFLINE. Not connected to the
Internet. Some things, like writing emails, can be done before going
- OLEDs. Organic, Light Emitting Diodes.
TOLED. The transparent version. FOLED. The flexible version. A roll up
- OMR. Optical Mark Recognition.
The technique used to input your Lottery choices.
- ONLINE. Connected to the Internet.
- OS. Operation System, such as Windows,
Linux or from 2010 Chrome OS
- OUTLOOK EXPRESS. The free
Microsoft program for handling e-mails. Netscape's is called Messenger.
- PAL Phase Alternating Line. The
British, Australian and New Zealand TV standard
- PARALLEL PORT. Almost always a 25 pin
'female' socket on the back of a computer which is used for printing
but also to attach things like scanners and other external equipment.
See also USB Port
- PATCH A software fix for an existing
- PATH. The location of a file or
program on a disk. e.g. Word is at C:\program
- PCI slot. Peripheral Component
Interface (or Interconnect). A type of connector (slot on the
motherboard) - usually white - which enables you to add components to
- PCIe or PCI-E The latest type of PCI
slot which works on a Serial rather than a a Parallel basis and is
- PCMCIA or PC CARD. Various pieces of
miniaturised equipment which fit into a slot on a laptop computer
- PDA. Personal Digital Assistant. A
small, hand held computer.
- PHISHING This is the name give to a
scam where you get an e-mail supposedly from your bank, requesting that
you confirm your password and account number. If you give
your details you can expect your account to be robbed shortly
of these e-mails are sent out and some people fall for it.. This has
now been joined by Mishing and Vishing, which are the same thing but
via Messages or Voice calls
- PICTBRIDGE A standard whereby a
Pictbridge compatible camera can talk directly to a Pictbridge
compatible printer, so enabling you to select and print photos without
the aid of a computer
- PIM Personal Information Manager.
Software which acts as a diary - even an alarm clock.
- PIMP Not what you might
expect but an adopted word that means 'jazz up' or improve the look of,
be it a PC, a mobile phone, an iPod or a Web page on Facebook
- PIXEL. Picture element. A small
element on a screen or in photograph. Cameras are sometimes referred to
in Megapixels. A megapixel is a million pixels. The more pixels the
better the quality of the picture and the more memory is used up.
- PLUG AND PLAY Modern machines and
hardware (printers, sound cards, Cd players etc) are able to recognise
when they are connected, so enabling easy installation or use.
- POINT SIZE. The height of a printed
character. Correspondence is usually around 12 point.
- PODCASTING : Allowing people to
download sounds (news) they can hear on their computer, Ipod or MP3
- PORT. Either a socket on your
computer, such USB, parallel (printer) or Serial (communications) OR
part of the system which allows communication with your computer (the
latter are numbered e.g. Port 110) See also Hacker
- PS/2 The smaller type of socket used
for modern keyboard and mouse connections. A PS2
can also be Sony's Playstation2 games console
- PVR Personal Video Recorder.
A hard disk based box attached to your video source and TV
that can record videos for temporary use.
- PROPORTIONAL FONT. Some fonts use much
less space (width) e.g. for a small L (l) than for a capital
- QUARANTINE. When using anti virus
software you may be given the option to do this or delete the offending
files. Quarantine allows you to put the item back if your machine
starts playing up badly.
- QUICKTIME. A program from Apple which
enables you to view moving pictures.
- RADSL. Rate Adaptive ADSL. A system
used by BT to increase the range of Broadband availability. It has a
slower upload ability.
- RAM Random Access Memory. Chips in
your PC which work on programs temporarily
- RANSOMWARE Bad software that appears
mysteriously on your PC displaying what appears to be viruses and
demanding a fee to get rid of them. One of the biggest scams at the
- RASTER image. Not a picture of someone
in a big, multicoloured, wooly hat and dreadlocks. It is a picture made
up of tiny dots as opposed to VECTOR image. But similar to BITMAP.
- RAW A photo file type which is
completely unchanged. Not compressed etc. Some photo image s/w can view
- REAL TIME. Immediate contact
(messages, music, video) rather than via e-mail
- REGISTER. A most important file used
in Windows 95 onwards. Contains details of everything within
- RENDERING. In the computer world this
is not boiling fat but refers to how close the colour of pictures
appear on screen when accessing websites
- ROOTKIT. Software that hides itself or
other objects, such as files, processes, and Registry keys, from view
of standard diagnostic, administrative, and security software.
They are one of the most difficult viruses to
eliminate. For a full explanation (and what to do) see the
Bob Rankin page HERE
- ROUTER. A gadget which connects more
than one computer to the Internet and sorts out the priorities.
- RSS. Rich Site Summary or Really
Simple Syndication. A news feed that is seen at the top of some
websites. You need an RSS reader in order to 'syndicate' or aggregate
the news which is fed to you in one place. Further details ?
Please e-mail me
- SAFE MODE. This is when you start
Windows in its most basic form with no background programs in
operation. As a result the screen changes to its very basic (large)
layout. Safe Mode is used to cure various problems including Virus and
Defrag. difficulties. To get into Safe Mode (on most PC's)
press F8 as Windows begins to load.
- SANDBOX is a security mechanism for
safely running programs. It is often used to execute untested code, or
untrusted programs from unverified third-parties, suppliers and
untrusted users. It is possible to obtain software which will run the
operating system in a 'virtual' (memory) of the computer. See
for an on line sandbox to enable testing of malware
- SCANNER. A piece of equipment capable
of digitally recording a picture or some text for saving on the
- SCAREWARE. There are many 'free'
programs that claim to remove threats from your PC. When you scan your
PC they pick up every single 'cookie' on the machine and classify it as
a threat. They then suggest you buy the full program to clear
these 'threats'. See also Ransomware
- S-VIDEO A higher quality video
connection. It carries brightness and colour information separately.
- SCSI. Small Computer System Interface.
A fast interface (connection) for attaching peripherals to
your computer. See also IDE.
- SD cards. One of a number of memory card formats
that can be used in cameras or other devices. Capacities vary
from 500kb to 64Gb. There are three sizes: standard, mini and
micro. The latter maybe be used with an adapter. There are
also SDHC (high capacity) and SDXC (extended capacity)
- SDRAM . Synchronous Dynamic Random
Access Memory. The most common type of memory chip. See also DDR
- SEARCH ENGINE. A program, usually
accessed through the 'net, which enables you to search for what you
want by entering a few words.
- SECAM. French video standard.
Sequential Couleur avec Memoire. See also PAL and NTSC
- SECOND LIFE. See http://askbobrankin.com/what_is_second_life.html
- SERIAL PORT. A 9 or 25 pin (male)
socket on the back of a computer, which can be used to attach a mouse,
a modem or a printer. Referred to as a COM (Communication) port. Most
PC's have two built in.
- SIMMS. Single Inline Memory Modules.
Older type sets of memory chips. See also DIMMS
- SMS Short Message system. Text
messages between PC and mobile phone or mobile to mobile
- SIRI Apple's 'personal assistant ' on
their i series equipment.(iPads etc) You can ask it a
question and get a good response audibly and in text.
- SITE or WEBSITE is an area on the
Internet that has its own unique web address (URL)
It has a HOME PAGE followed by other pages linked to the Home Page
- SMARTPHONE Part of the converging
technology scene. A telephone that can transmit pictures and
or receive emails and more besides, either by WiFi, satellite or the
mobile telephone network.
- SOC chips. Company ARM have developed
System On a Chip, incorporating many parts of a computer on a single
chip. Used in phones.
- SODIMM Small Outline Dual Inline
Memory Module. Smaller memory used in laptops. See also DIMMS
- SOFTWARE. Programs of all kinds which
make the computer act in a particular way.
- SSD. Solid State Drive. A hard 'disk'
with no moving parts, like a memory key.
- SUROUND SOUND. A pair of front and
rear speakers plus a centre speaker and a sub woofer
- SUB WOOFER. A loudspeaker dedicated to
the reproduction of bass audio frequencies, typically from 150 Hz down
to 20 Hz. See also Tweeter
- SPAM : Unsolicited advertising that
usually arrives as e-mails
- SPIM : Spam which occurs when you are
- SPYWARE. Software which is installed
on your computer without your knowledge to monitor and report back what
you are doing. Scary.
- SPREADSHEET. A mathematical program
which contains formulae to automatically work on the figures that are
- SSD Solid State Drive. A hard disk
with no moving parts - just pure memory. The future of computing, video
and a lot more besides.
- STREAMING. Receiving sound or pictures
continuously over the Internet (rather than downloading first)
- STYLE sheet. A previously arranged
document with specific type styles, weights and sizes. See also
- SURFING the Web means using HYPERTEXT
links to jump from one site or page to another
- SVGA. Super VGA. The later type of
screen (and video card) capable of displaying more colours and higher
- SYSTEM TRAY See Taskbar below
- TAB key. The key on the left of the
keyboard which allows you to jump certain fixed distances across the
page when using a word processor (or even a steam age typewriter).
- TABLET PC. A powerful Windows PC which
has a touch sensitive flat screen but no attached keyboard. Can be
written on with a stylus.
- TASKBAR/SYSTEM TRAY. The bar at the
bottom of the screen which shows the items which are preloaded
- TEMPORARY FILES. The internet, some
installation programs and even your own programs may use a part of your
hard disk to enable them to work. They often end in TMP. They can be
- TEMPLATE. A standard letter or
spreadsheet which can be amended to suit your needs
- TERABYTE. 1 terabyte (TB) equals
1,000,000,000,000 bytes. Some new hard disks now are able to store that
- TEXT MESSAGING language is becoming
popular on PC's and phones. e.g. Happy :-) Sad :-(
Winks ;-) Grins :-} Hello LO
Planned Pl& Great Gr8,
ILBL8, CUL8R, LOL (lots of laughs, lots of love,
- THE CLOUD. See Cloud
- TFT Thin film transistor. The
technology used to create those popular flat screens
- TOOLBAR. A list of icons often found
at the top of a program such as a wordprocessor
- TRIM. Software that enables Solid
State Disks (SSD) to keep their speed up to scratch.
- TROJAN. A virus program that is
disguised as something else. It invades your PC and can be accessed by
- TWAIN. A generally agreed standard by
which PC's can communicate with Twain compatible equipment, mainly
scanners. TWAIN is not a mnemonic
- TWEETER a loudspeaker designed to
produce high frequencies, typically from around 2,000 hertz to 20,000
- UBUNTU a variation of the Linux
operating system. See HERE
for the origin of the name
- UMPC. Ultra Mobile PC. They
are about 7" across and use Windows XP tablet edition, touch screen and
interprets your scribbling.
- URL Universal (or Unique) Resource
Locator or Web address. It always starts with http:// and is usually
followed by www. And then other parts of the address.
- USB PORT. Universal Serial Bus. A more
recent versatile communication port, which can transfer data faster and
also enables equipment to be 'hot swapped', whilst the machine is on.
The sockets are about half an inch long. It also contains a
power supply so so equipment such as webcams do not need a
transformer. An add-on card is available for older machines but early
Windows 95 did not support this connection.
- USB2. At 480 Mb/s is even faster than USB.
Looks the same as USB and the slower devices can also be attached to
- USB3 Much faster than USB2. Unless
built in it will be difficult to install as the card will require a
PCIe (PCI-E) slot, not available on machines prior to 2009
- VCD. Video Compact Disc. Stores very
compressed videos onto CDs rather than DVDs
- VDU. Visual Display Unit. The screen.
- VECTOR image. A graphic which is made
up of instructions to the computer e.g. To draw a curve or a straight
- VGA. Video Graphics Array. The older
type of colour screen
- VIDEOCONFERENCING. Using the PC as a
- VIDEO-PHONE. Using a microphone,
speakers and a Webcam to see and hear others over the Internet.
- VIRTUAL MEMORY (VM). When Windows does
not find enough RAM it uses the hard disk rather than failing
altogether. This makes the machine seem slower, so more RAM is
- VoIP Voice
Over Internet Protocol. The future of cheaper telephone
communication ? Even BT are into it.
- VIRUS. A malicious program which can
harm your computer. It is spread through programs - either from disks
or from the Internet. It is the graffiti of the Internet. They may also
be called Trojans or Worms.
- WAN. Wider Area Network. Computers
connected to others over a wide area, so they can communicate and share
programs and data.
- WAP. Wireless Application Protocol. A
system of sending internet pages to the screen of a mobile phone.
- WAP enabled phone.
A mobile phone which can receive internet pages.
- WARCHALKING. The art of marking
building walls with a ) ( sign, to show
that they are using a wireless network so you can steal time from their
- WEB BROWSER. A program to help you
navigate the Internet e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator
- WEBCAM. A small camera which
is attached to a computer
- WiDi Intel's Wireless Display
technology that enables wireless transmission to speakers.
- WI-FI A wireless interface,
using radio to link computers and other devices. A snappier name than
the 802.11b standard. See also Bluetooth.
Eventually WiFi sites will be commonplace and free. See HERE
- WIMAX Delivering even faster internet
via radio signals. (Sounds better than digging up roads)
- WINDOWS 95 The 1995 version of the
Windows system, which replaced version 3.11. It
did not support the USB sockets
- WINDOWS 98 The 1998 version of the
Windows system, which replaced Windows 95. Only the Second Edition (SE)
had USB support.
- WINDOWS ME. Windows Millennium
Edition. A half way house between Windows 98 and Windows XP
- WINDOWS XP. Microsoft's latest
operating system, intended to replace all previous Windows formats.
There are Home and Professional versions.
- WIZARD. A program which helps you
through a process such as installing new Software or Hardware.
- WMA. Windows Media Audio. A compressed
- WMV. Windows Media Video. A compressed
- WORD PROCESSING. Creating documents on
a computer that can easily be amended (processed)
- WORM. A virus program that spreads by
sending itself to people in your Email address book
- WWW World Wide Web. The
- XML. Extensible Markup
Language. A development of HTML
- ZIP DRIVE/ZIP DISK. A proprietary disk
drive (Iomega) which can hold 100mb or 250mb on a disk. Used for
- ZIP file. Compressed file that ends in
ZIP or CAB. To see their contents they must be viewed using a special
program such as Winzip or Enzip.
- ZOMBIE A computer that has been
infiltrated by a virus, leaving it open to attacks which 'waken it from
the dead'. These can then be used to send thousands of searches to a
particular site, thus bringing it to a standstill. This has
happened to Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Zombies are also used to
circulate phishing emails and viruses. Make sure your
computer is not a zombie !