Internet Jargon Buster – A Basic Internet Glossary
ActiveX – A Microsoft technology defining how you build the up a Web page.
Alt – often used with newsgroups and means alternative. Alt newsgroups can be on any topic so be careful.
Applet – Small specific applications written in Java that can be imported and used in a web site.
Archie – A program which searches for files stored on countless Anonymous FTP sites. (http://web.doc.ic.ac.uk/ archieplexform.html)
Attachment -Files delivered as part of an email message – use .rtf format if viruses worry you.
ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange – a language understood by all computers.
Asynchronous – modems communicate asynchronously through data transmitted one bit at a time with markers at the start and finish of each byte.
Backbone – as it implies this is the internets high-speed data connections that join together the main access providers
Bandwidth – a measure of how much data can be sent down any telecoms connection. For example, a normal telephone line with the latest modems has a bandwidth of 56,000 bits per second. Text is very sparing on bandwidth but graphics devour it.
Baud rate – the rate at which a modem can send or receive ‘bits’ of information. Each baud is equal to 4 bits per second – a 600 baud modem would process data at 2400 bits per second.
BBS – Bulletin Board System, an electronic pinboard
Bits and Bytes – A bit is the basic unit of storage in a computer it can only have two values, either a 0 or 1. All data stored in computers, numbers, letters and images is made up of these bits. Bit is short for binary digit. A Byte is the standard unit of measure for computer storage. A Byte will hold a single character. Eight bits make up a byte.
BPS – short for ‘bits per second’. This is a measurement of speed of data transfer. For example, a 56,000 bps 8 modem can process 56,000 bits per second.
Bookmarks – A place to save web site addresses.
Browser – this is a piece of software for accessing websites and showing them on your computer screen.
Cache – these are on a computer’s hard disk and are used to store files (web pages and images) downloaded from a website. Files are stored so that if you want to view pages later they can be called up far more quickly – without waiting for them to be downloaded again.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) a mechanism for specifying the style of a web page separately from the web page. This way you can amend web pages after they have been set up just by altering the file that contains the style data rather than by having to edit each of the web pages.
CGI – short for common gateway interface. CGI is a set of rules for how programs can communicate with web server software. Programs that run on a web server and use the common gateway interface are called CGI programs.
Client – a client machine (computer) operates by obtaining information or a service from another machine – a server. For example, your machine with a web browser on is a client machine. To get web pages your browser goes to a web server machine.
Cookie – a morsel of information sent by a web server to a browser for storage on the client machine. The browser sends the information back to the web server when it’s requested. This lets the web server recognise a particular user when they revisit the site. On sites that you log on to, cookies are used to hold your ID and password (so you don’t have to log on each page).
Crawler – a web crawler (or spider) is a piece of software that scans the world wide web finding pages to add to the index of a search engine.
Domain – the name that specifies your computer’s location on the internet. Listed below are some of the most common top level domains:
.ac.uk – academic and research
.com – commercial (US)
.co.uk – company
.edu – education (US)
.gov – public bodies
.net – network resource
.sch – schools
Domain Name – the domain name is the name that uniquely identifies organisations on the internet. For example t-a-g.org.uk is the domain name of the Technical Adviser Group.
Email address -your unique internet address. It comprises firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encryption – essentially applying an unbreakable code to selected messages – for example your credit card number.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions – the place to find that answers to the most common questions.
Firewall – A way of restricting internet access from the outside to a businesses computer network.
Frames – A way of splitting a web page into several independent windows. Now frowned upon by search engines.
FTP – File Transfer Protocol is the way that files are transferred across the Internet.
GIF – Graphics Interchange Format is the most popular way of compressing simple poster type images for the internet.
Gopher – A search facility developed to make the Internet easier to use. Most Web browsers now incorporate a Gopher client.
Hits -a count of how many times a web page has been downloaded.
Home Page – the first page you usually see on a web site, and the page that the sites Home Button returns you to.
HTML – HyperText Mark-up Language. The language used to create documents for the web.
HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol – the standard way of transferring HTML on the web.
Hypertext – highlighted text that a click of the mouse takes you to another web page or web site.
ISP – an Internet Service Provider is the company is a company who sells Internet access.
Internet – A resilient world-wide network of computers linked by telephone lines.
Intranet – An internal internet network.
IP – Internet Protocol is used by computers and other hardware to communicate with each other. It can be written in conjunction with other protocols such as Transmission Control Protocol – as TCP/IP.
IP address – the Internet address of your computer.
IRC – Internet Relay Chat, the CB for the Internet.
ISDN – The Integrated Services Digital Network allows you to send digital and voice information at speeds of 128Kb over the normal telephone network.
JPEG – used to compress photographic and other complex images on the Internet.
Java – Java applets are self-contained programs that can be downloaded on demand from a Web server and run on your own computer.
Kill file – A file where you specify the email addresses that you don’t want to read.
LAN – A Local Area Network is a group of computers connected together to form a network.
Mailing list – An e-mail with the usual cc and bc (blind copy) options to allow efficient circulation of information. Use the bc box to send copies to other people without the names appearing on other recipients e-mail – recommended for large circulation’s e.g. to TAG Members.
Modem – MOdulator/ DEModulator – the hardware that translates the digital information your computer produces into the telephone analogue signals.
Mosaic – was the first Web server. Developed by the NCSA – The National Centre for Supercomputing Applications.
Netiquette – Obeying the rules of good online behaviour.
Newsgroup – the bulletin boards of the Internet. The collective name for these newsgroup servers is the Usenet.
NIC – Network Information Centre – the site which maintains IP addresses and domain names. There are NICs scattered throughout the world.
NNTP – Network News Transfer Protocol is used to exchange articles between news servers.
Off-Line Reader – a piece of software which allows you to compose messages and email off-line and then post them up as a batch when you next go online.
Packet – A bundle of data that’s transmitted across a network. A packet contains the source address (where the packet’s come from), the destination address (where it’s going), a packet identifier (so that the receiving computer can tell what sort of packet it is) and data.
POP – Point of Presence – a local telephone call Internet access point set.
POP3 – An email transfer protocol.
PPP – Point to Point Protocol – The protocol that a computer uses to make a TCP/IP connection.
Plug-in -Add features to web sites such as video and sound.
Protocol – A way for two computers / devices on a network to communicate with each other.
Router – Routers connect the internet networks together and exchange packets between them.
Search Engine – A tool which searches the Web (hypertext pages, newsgroups and email addresses) to find specified words or phrases.
Server – A central computer which makes services and data available.
Shareware – Try before you buy software.
Signature file – A signature message (including telephone details etc) which you can add automatically to the end of your email messages.
Smilies – Punctuation used to express an emotion in e-mails etc. View sideways 🙂 for happy or 🙁 for sad. Are you astonished 😮
SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol – the Internet protocol for transferring mail.
Spam – A slang for multiple posting of the same unwanted message to lots of people.
TCP – Transmission Control Protocol – takes the information and passes it to the IP. TCP is responsible for making sure messages get from one host to another and that the messages are understood.
Thread – Threads link postings (messages) in a newsgroup etc.
Unix – A host operating system that allows multiple clients to access the resources of one host at the same time. Many of the news, mail, Web and name servers on the Internet use this operating system.
URL – A Uniform Resource Locater is basically the address of any resource on the Internet – simply type it in and you will be connected.
Usenet – The system of discussion groups on the Net. The discussion areas on Usenet are called newsgroups.
Veronica – This stands for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives – search tool for Gopher.
Virus – A virus is an unwanted type of program as it is designed to replicate itself and create havoc with your computer systems – invest in anti-virus software and keep it updated.
VRML – Virtual Reality Modelling Language – A format allows you to create 3D graphics for the Internet.
Web server – A Web server delivers Web pages to your computer.
Winsock – A standard Windows interface which sits between applications and the networking protocols.
WWW – World Wide Web – also known as the Web – this is the generic name given to all of the hypertext-based HTML documents on the Internet. These documents have links to each other and are accessible from HTTP or Web servers.