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Computer Vocabulary


Contents

  1. 1 access time
  2. 2 active program or window
  3. 3 alert (alert box)
  4. 4 alias
  5. 5 apple menu
  6. 6 application
  7. 7 application menu
  8. 8 ASCII (pronounced ask-key )
  9. 9 Attribute
  10. 10 background
  11. 11 bit
  12. 12 backup
  13. 13 boot
  14. 14 bug
  15. 15 bus
  16. 16 byte
  17. 17 card
  18. 18 cartridge drive
  19. 19 CD-ROM
  20. 20 Chooser
  21. 21 Clipboard
  22. 22 Clock Rate (MHz)
  23. 23 command
  24. 24 command (apple) key
  25. 25 compiler
  26. 26 compression
  27. 27 control key
  28. 28 control panel
  29. 29 CPU
  30. 30 crash
  31. 31 cursor
  32. 32 daisy chaining
  33. 33 database
  34. 34 data
  35. 35 defragment
  36. 36 desktop
  37. 37 desktop file
  38. 38 dialog box
  39. 39 digitize
  40. 40 disk
  41. 41 disk drive
  42. 42 disk window
  43. 43 document
  44. 44 DOS
  45. 45 DPI
  46. 46 download
  47. 47 drag
  48. 48 drag and drop
  49. 49 driver
  50. 50 Ethernet
  51. 51 expansion slot
  52. 52 extension
  53. 53 fibre channel
  54. 54 file
  55. 55 finder
  56. 56 floppy
  57. 57 folder
  58. 58 font
  59. 59 footprint
  60. 60 fragmentation
  61. 61 freeze
  62. 62 get info
  63. 63 gig
  64. 64 Gutter
  65. 65 hard drive
  66. 66 head crash
  67. 67 high density disk
  68. 68 highlight
  69. 69 icon
  70. 70 initialize
  71. 71 insertion point
  72. 72 installer
  73. 73 interrupt button
  74. 74 K
  75. 75 keyboard shortcut
  76. 76 kilobyte
  77. 77 landscape
  78. 78 launch
  79. 79 Measurements (summary)
  80. 80 MB
  81. 81 megabyte
  82. 82 memory
  83. 83 menu
  84. 84 menu bar
  85. 85 multi finder
  86. 86 multi tasking
  87. 87 nanosecond
  88. 88 native mode
  89. 89 NuBus
  90. 90 operating system
  91. 91 optical disk
  92. 92 Orphan
  93. 93 Pagination
  94. 94 palette
  95. 95 partition
  96. 96 paste
  97. 97 PC
  98. 98 PCI
  99. 99 peripheral
  100. 100 point
  101. 101 pop
  102. 102 port
  103. 103 Power PC
  104. 104 Power Mac
  105. 105 print spooler
  106. 106 QuickTime
  107. 107 RAM
  108. 108 reset switch
  109. 109 resize box
  110. 110 RISC
  111. 111 ROM
  112. 112 root directory
  113. 113 save
  114. 114 save as
  115. 115 scroll
  116. 116 scroll bar
  117. 117 scroll box
  118. 118 SCSI
  119. 119 SCSI address
  120. 120 SCSI port
  121. 121 SCSI terminator
  122. 122 serial port
  123. 123 server
  124. 124 shut down -
  125. 125 software
  126. 126 spreadsheet
  127. 127 start up disk
  128. 128 surge suppressor
  129. 129 System file
  130. 130 System folder
  131. 131 32 bit addressing
  132. 132 title bar
  133. 133 upload
  134. 134 Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS)
  135. 135 UPS
  136. 136 vaporware
  137. 137 virtual memory
  138. 138 Widow
  139. 139 Window
  140. 140 WORM
  141. 141 zoom box

access time

- The performance of a hard drive or other storage device - how long it takes to locate a file.

active program or window

- The application or window at the front (foreground) on the monitor.

alert (alert box)

- a message that appears on screen, usually to tell you something went wrong.

alias

- an icon that points to a file, folder or application (System 7).

apple menu

- on the left side of the screen header. System 6 = desk accessories System 7 = up to 50 items.

application

- a program in which you do your work.

application menu

- on the right side of the screen header. Lists running applications.

ASCII (pronounced ask-key )

- American Standard Code for Information Interchange. a commonly used data format for exchanging information between computers or programs.

Attribute

- An attribute in DBMS refers to a database component such as a table it may also refer to a database field

background

- part of the multitasking capability. A program can run and perform tasks in the background while another program is being used in the foreground.

bit

- the smallest piece of information used by the computer. Derived from "binary digit". In computer language, either a one (1) or a zero (0).

backup

- a copy of a file or disk you make for archiving purposes.

boot

- to start up a computer.

bug

- a programming error that causes a program to behave in an unexpected way.

bus

- an electronic pathway through which data is transmitted between components in a computer.

byte

- a piece of computer information made up of eight bits.

card

- a printed circuit board that adds some feature to a computer.

cartridge drive

- a storage device, like a hard drive, in which the medium is a cartridge that can be removed.

CD-ROM

- an acronym for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory.

Chooser

- A desk accessory used to select a printer, or other external device, or to log onto a network.

Clipboard

- A portion of memory where the Mac temporarily stores information. Called a Copy Buffer in many PC applications because it is used to hold information which is to be moved, as in word processing where text is "cut" and then "pasted".

Clock Rate (MHz)

- The instruction processing speed of a computer measured in millions of cycles per second (i.e., 200 MHz).

command

- the act of giving an instruction to your Mac either by menu choice or keystroke.

command (apple) key

- a modifier key, the Command key used in conjunction with another keystroke to active some function on the Mac.

compiler

- a program the converts programming code into a form that can be used by a computer.

compression

- a technique that reduces the size of a saved file by elimination or encoding redundancies (i.e., JPEG, MPEG, LZW, etc.)

control key

- seldom used modifier key on the Mac.

control panel

- a program that allows you to change settings in a program or change the way a Mac looks and/or behaves.

CPU

- the Central Processing Unit. The processing chip that is the "brains" of a computer.

crash

- a system malfunction in which the computer stops working and has to be restarted.

cursor

- The pointer, usually arrow or cross shaped, which is controlled by the mouse.

daisy chaining

- the act of stringing devices together in a series (such as SCSI).

database

- an electronic list of information that can be sorted and/or searched.

data

- (the plural of datum) information processed by a computer.

defragment

- (also - optimize) to concatenate fragments of data into contiguous blocks in memory or on a hard drive.

desktop

1. refers to a system unit whose horizontal surface area is larger than the vertical surface area

2. (GUI) its the system of organization of icons on the welcome screen where the user can launch operations from

desktop file

- an invisible file in which the Finder stores a database of information about files and icons.

dialog box

- an on-screen message box that appears when the Mac requires additional information before completing a command.

digitize

- to convert linear, or analog, data into digital data which can be used by the computer.

disk

- a spinning platter made of magnetic or optically etched material on which data can be stored.

disk drive

- the machinery that writes the data from a disk and/or writes data to a disk.

disk window

- the window that displays the contents or directory of a disk.

document

- a file you create, as opposed to the application which created it.

DOS

- acronym for Disk Operating System - used in IBM PCs.

DPI

- acronym for Dots Per Inch - a gauge of visual clarity on the printed page or on the computer screen.

download

- to transfer data from one computer to another. (If you are on the receiving end, you are downloading. If you are on the sending end, you are uploading ).

drag

- to move the mouse while its button is being depressed.

drag and drop

- a feature on the Mac which allows one to drag the icon for a document on top of the icon for an application, thereby launching the application and opening the document.

driver

- a file on a computer which tells it how to communicate with an add-on piece of equipment (like a printer).

Ethernet

- a protocol for fast communication and file transfer across a network.

expansion slot

- a connector inside the computer which allows one to plug in a printed circuit board that provides new or enhanced features.

extension

- a startup program that runs when you start the Mac and then enhances its function.

fibre channel

- as applied to data storage and network topology

file

- the generic word for an application, document, control panel or other computer data.

finder

- The cornerstone or home-base application in the Mac environment. The finder regulates the file management functions of the Mac (copying, renaming, deleting...)

floppy

- a 3.5 inch square rigid disk which holds data. (so named for the earlier 5.25 and 8 inch disks that were flexible).

folder

- an electronic subdirectory which contains files.

font

- a typeface that contains the characters of an alphabet or some other letterforms.

footprint

- The surface area of a desk or table which is occupied by a piece of equipment.

fragmentation

- The breaking up of a file into many separate locations in memory or on a disk.

freeze

- a system error which causes the cursor to lock in place.

get info

- a Finder File menu command that presents an information window for a selected file icon.

gig

- a gigabyte = 1024 megabytes.

Gutter

- this a margin used for binding printed materials.

hard drive

- a large capacity storage device made of multiple disks housed in a rigid case.

head crash

- a hard disk crash caused by the heads coming in contact with the spinning disk(s).

high density disk

- a 1.4 MB floppy disk.

highlight

- to select by clicking once on an icon or by highlighting text in a document.

icon

- a graphic symbol for an application, file or folder.

initialize

- to format a disk for use in the computer; creates a new directory and arranges the tracks for the recording of data.

insertion point

- in word processing, the short flashing marker which indicates where your next typing will begin.

installer

- software used to install a program on your hard drive.

interrupt button

- a tool used by programmers to enter the debugging mode. The button is usually next to the reset button.

K

- short for kilobyte.

keyboard shortcut

- a combination of keystrokes that performs some function otherwise found in a pulldown menu.

kilobyte

- 1024 bytes.

landscape

- in printing from a computer, to print sideways on the page.

launch

- start an application.

Measurements (summary)

- *a bit = one binary digit (1 or 0) *"bit" is derived from the contraction b'it (binary digit) -> 8 bits = one byte
*1024 bytes = one kilobyte
*K = kilobyte
*Kb = kilobit
*MB = megabyte
*Mb = megabit
*MB/s = megabytes per second
*Mb/s = megabits per second
*bps = bits per second
i.e., 155 Mb/s = 19.38 MB/s

MB

- short for megabyte.

megabyte

- 1024 kilobytes.

memory

- the temporary holding area where data is stored while it is being used or changed; the amount of RAM a computer has installed.

menu

- a list of program commands listed by topic.

menu bar

- the horizontal bar across the top of the Mac¹s screen that lists the menus.

multi finder

- a component of System 6 that allows the Mac to multi task.

multi tasking

- running more than one application in memory at the same time.

nanosecond

- one billionth of a second. ( or, the time between the theatrical release of a Dudley Moore film and the moment it begins to play on airplanes).

native mode

- using the computers original operating system; most commonly used when talking about the PowerPC can run software written for either the 80x0 systems, or the PowerPC¹s RISC code.

NuBus

- expansion slots on the Mac which accept intelligent, self-configuring boards. NuBus is a different bus achitecture than the newer PCI bus and the boards are not interchangable.

operating system

- the system software that controls the computer.

optical disk

- a high-capacity storage medium that is read by a laser light. 

Orphan

- In word processing, the first line of a paragraph that appears as the last line of a page

Pagination

- (1) Refers to numbering pages in a document.
- (2) Refers to dividing a document into pages. Most word processors automatically paginate documents based on a page size that you specify. Some word processors enable you to avoid widows and orphans during pagination.

palette

- a small floating window that contains tools used in a given application.

partition

- a subdivision of a hard drives surface that is defined and used as a separate drive.

paste

- to insert text, or other material, from the clipboard or copy buffer.

PC

- acronym for personal computer, commonly used to refer to an IBM or IBM clone computer which uses DOS.

PCI

- acronym for Peripheral Component Interchange - the newer, faster bus achitecture.

peripheral

- an add-on component to your computer.

point

- (1/72") 12 points = one pica in printing.

pop

-up menu - any menu that does not appear at the top of the screen in the menu bar. (may pop up or down)

port

- a connection socket, or jack on the Mac.

Power PC

- a processing chip designed by Apple, IBM and Motorola (RISC based).

Power Mac

- a family of Macs built around the PowerPC chip.

print spooler

- a program that stores documents to be printed on the hard drive, thereby freeing the memory up and allowing other functions to be performed while printing goes on in the background.

QuickTime

- the Apple system extension that gives one the ability to compress, edit and play animation, movies and sound on the Mac.

RAM

- acronym for Random-Access Memory.

reset switch

- a switch on the Mac that restarts the computer in the event of a crash or freeze.

resize box

- the small square at the lower right corner of a window which, when dragged, resizes the window.

RISC

- acronym for Reduced Instruction Set Computing; the smaller set of commands used by the PowerPC and Power Mac.

ROM

- acronym for Read Only Memory; memory that can only be read from and not written to.

root directory

- the main hard drive window.

save

- to write a file onto a disk.

save as

- (a File menu item) to save a previously saved file in a new location and/or with a new name.

scroll

- to shift the contents of a window to bring hidden items into view.

scroll bar

- a bar at the bottom or right side of a window that contains the scroll box and allows scrolling.

scroll box

- the box in a scroll bar that is used to navigate through a window.

SCSI

- acronym for Small Computer System Interface.

SCSI address

- a number between zero and seven that must be unique to each device in a SCSI chain. Fast and Wide SCSI devices will allow up to 15 SCSI Ids (hexidecimal); however, the length restriction (3 meters) is such that it is virtually impossible to link 15 devices together.

SCSI port

- a 25 pin connector on the back of a Mac (native SCSI port); used to connect SCSI devices to the CPU. Some SCSI cards (like the ATTO) have a 68 pin connector.

SCSI terminator

- a device placed at the end of a SCSI chain to complete the circuit. (some SCSI devices are self-terminating, or have active termination and do not require this plug).

serial port

- a port that allows data to be transmitted in a series (one after the other), such as the printer and modem ports on a Mac.

server

- a central computer dedicated to sending and receiving data from other computers (on a network).

shut down -

the command from the Special menu that shuts down the Mac safely.

software

- files on disk that contain instructions for a computer.

spreadsheet

- a program designed to look like an electronic ledger.

start up disk

- the disk containing system software and is designated to be used to start the computer.

surge suppressor

- a power strip that has circuits designed to reduce the effects of surge in electrical power. (not the same as a UPS)

System file

- a file in the System folder that allows your Mac to start and run.

System folder

- an all-important folder that contains at least the System file and the Finder.

32 bit addressing

- a feature that allows the Mac to recognize and use more than 8MB of memory.

title bar

- the horizontal bar at the top of a window which has the name of the file or folder it represents.

upload

- to send a file from one computer to another through a network.

Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS)

- a constantly charging battery pack which powers the computer. A UPS should have enough charge to power your computer for several minutes in the event of a total power failure, giving you time to save your work and safely shut down.

UPS

- acronym for Uninterruptible Power Source.

vaporware

- "software" advertised, and sometimes sold, that does not yet exist in a releasable for.

virtual memory

- using part of your hard drive as though it were "RAM". 

Widow

- In word processing, the last line of a paragraph that appears as the first line of a page

Window

- this is a section of the computer's display of a graphical user interface (GUI) that shows the program currently used

WORM

- acronym for Write Once-Read Many; an optical disk that can only be written to once (like a CD-ROM).

zoom box

- a small square in the upper right corner of a window which, when clicked, will expand the window to fill the whole screen.

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