FAQ: Glossary of Terms
Okay, one of the Newbie requests was for a glossary of terms. Post them here and I'll incorporate them in this post as we go along. To keep the thread clean, I will delete your post after they are incorporated.
No discussion. Just terms.
One place to check many technical terms is the wikipedia
A - Amps
A to D | AD | A/D - Analog to Digital
AC or ac - Alternating Current
ADP - Automatic Data Processing
ALGOL - ALGOrithmic Language
ALU - Arithmetic and Logic Unit
ANSI - American National Standards Institute
APL - A Programming Language
ASA - American Standards Association
ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange
BAL - Basic Assembler Language
BASIC - Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
BCD - Binary Coded Decimal
BER - Bit Error Rate
BIOS - Basic Input Output System
bit - binary digit
bpi - bits per inch
bps - bits per second
BSI - British Standards Institute
BSR - Bruno Speech recognition. A voice control program for car PC use.
CAD - Computer Aided Design
CAM - Computer Aided Manufacture
CCD - Charge Coupled Device
CCITT - Consultative Committee on International Telegraph and Telephone
cgs - centimeter gram second
CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
COBOL - COmmercial and Business Oriented Language
COM - Computer Output to Microfilm
cps - cycles per second
CPU - Central Processing Unit
CROM - Control Read Only Memory
CRT - Cathode Ray Tube. A type of computer display.
DAC - Digital to Analog Converter
DC or dc - Direst Current
DELPHI - Object-oriented pascal. A programming language.
DGPS - Differential GPS
DIP/DIL - Dual In Line Package
DMA - Direct Memory Access
DOS - Disk Operating System
DP - Data Processing
DSL - Digital Subscriber Line
DSP - Digital Signal Processing
DTL - Diode Transistor Logic
ELFEXT - Equal Level Far-End Crosstalk
EAROM - Electronically Alterable Read Only Memory
EPROM - Electronically Programmable Read Only Memory
F - Farads
FET - Field Effect Transistor
FEXT - Far-End Crosstalk
FIFO - First In First Out
FORTRAN - Formula Translator
FP - Frodoplayer. A carputer front end application
FD - Freedrive. A carputer navigation front end for destinator.
GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out
GMII - Gigabit Media Independent Interface
GUI - Graphical User Interface
H - Henrys
Hi - High
HU -Head unit (car stereo)
Hz - Hertz
IBM - International Business Machines Corporation
ic - integrated circuit
IEE - Institute of Electrical Engineers
IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
iG - iGuidance
I/O - Input/Output
IP - Internet Protocol
ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network
ISO - International Organization for Standardization
JFET - Junction Field Effect Transistor
K - Kilo
KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid
LAAS - Local Area Augmentation System
LAN - Local Area Network
Laser - Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
LCD - Liquid Crystal Display
LED - Light Emitting Diode (or Display)
LIFO - Last In First Out
Lo - Low
LSI - Large Scale Integration
MAC - Media Access Control
MAR - Memory Address Register
MC - MediaCar (Not used much anymore)
ME - Media Engine. A front end for car PC use.
MIPS - millions of instructions per second
MKS - Meter Kilogram Second
MLT - Multilevel Transmit Signal
MM - Multimode
MM - MapMonkey. A navigation front end for car PC use
MMC - Mobile Media Center. A front end program for Car PC use.
Mobo - Motherboard
Modem - Modulation demodulation
MOS - Metal Oxide Semiconductor
MOSFET - Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor
MSI - Medium Scale Integration
MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure
MTTR - Mean Time To Restore (Repair)
NC - Numerical Control
NEXT - Near-End Crosstalk
NIC - Network Interface Card
NIH - Not Invented Here
NMC - NeoCar Media Center. A front end program for Car PC use
nMOS or NMOS - n (or N) Channel Metal Oxide Semiconductor
npn - negative positive negative
NTSC - National Television System Committee. A North American televsion standard
NV - NaviVoice. A voice control program for car PC use.
oc - open circuit
OCR - Optical Character Reader (or Recognition)
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer
OMR - Optical Mark Reader (or Recognition)
op amp - operational amplifier
OS - Operating System
OSI - Open System Interconnection
PAL - Phase Alternating Line. A European television standard.
PAM - Pulse Amplitude Modulation
PC - Programmable Controller
pcb - printed circuit board
PCM - Plug Compatible Manufacturer
PCS - Physical Coding Sub layer
PERT - Project Evaluation Review Technique
PIA - Peripheral Interface Adapter
PIC - Programmable Integrated Circuit
PL/1 - Programming Language/One
PLA - Programmable Logic Array
PLC - Programmable Logic Controller
PMA - Physical Medium Attachment
PMD - Physical Medium Dependent
pMOS or PMOS - p (or P) channel Metal Oxide Semiconductor
pnp - positive negative positive
PNP - Plug and Play
POST - Power On Self Test
PROM - Programmable Read Only Memory
PRT - Platinum Resistance Thermometer
PV - Power Voice, successor to voice nav program NaviVoice
QC - Quality Control
RAM - Random Access Memory
RJE - Remote Job Entry
ROM - Read Only Memory
RPG - Report Program Generator
RR - Road Runner. RoadRunner. An open source car PC front end application.
SDK - Software development kit (right?)
SIO - Serial Input Output
SM - Single-Mode
SNR - Signal-to-Noise Ratio
SPOOL - Simultaneous Peripheral Operations Overlap
STP - Shielded Twisted Pair
sync - synchronized, synchronous
TDM - Time Division Multiplexing
TFT - Thin Film Transistor
TRL - Transistor-Resistor Logic
TTY - Teletype
UART - Universal Asynchronous Receive/Transmit
ULA - Uncommitted Logic Array
USASI - United States of America Standards Institute
UTP - Unshielded Twisted Pair
V - Volts
VAB - Voice Answer Back
VDT - Visual (Video) Display Terminal
VDU - Visual (Video) Display Unit
VGA - Video graphics array
VRC - Visual Record Computer
W - Watts
WAAS - Wide Area Augmentation System
Z - Impedance
for their contributions
Abort - To halt the execution of a computer program.
Absolute Address - A specific fixed location of data in storage; an address that the control unit can interpret directly.
Absolute Loader - A program that places other programs and data in absolute address format into memory.
Absolute Value - The value of a number ignoring any qualifying plus or minus prefix.
Access - The process of gaining entry.
Access Code - A password or code that enables a user to obtain access to available service; established by service provider.
Access Time - The time taken from when data is requested from a storage unit to its delivery.
Acronym - When applied to the computer world it refers to the formation of an English language word from a selection of the initial letters of a phrase it is designed to represent.
Adapter - A connecting device for parts that would not otherwise fit together such as a video card, sound card etc.
Address - A coded instruction specifying the location of data or program words in storage.
Address Book - Stored e-mail addresses which can be accessed by the user, allowing e-mail messages to be sent quickly without continual re-keying.
Alias - An alternate name (or nickname) representing an e-mail address, used instead of a user name while sending e-mail.
Algorithm - A clearly specified set of rules defining a finite number of operations required to solve a particular problem.
Alignment Pin - The pin or device that ensures correct connection of two components to be connected.
Alphanumeric - Information containing both alphabetic characters and numbers.
Alternating Current (AC or ac) - An electric current which flows in positive and negative cycles. The cycles per second are referred to as Hertz (Hz).
Amplifier - A device used to increase an electrical signal.
Amplitude - Normally used to describe the peak value of a sine wave form, referring to the peak values (positive and negative) of an alternating current.
Amps (A) - Abbreviation for Ampere, it defines the measure of the constant current flowing in a circuit.
Analog - A system in which the output signal bears a continuous relationship to the input signal.
Analyst/Systems Analyst - A computer professional whose job is to convert a problem into a format so that it can be converted into a computer program by a programmer.
Analytical Engine - Charles Babbage's design for a mechanical machine which embodied all the main principles implemented in modern computers, with the exception of the stored program.
Anchors - The hypertext links embedded in Web (HTML) pages which allow users to jump from one spot to another throughout the Internet, no matter where each separate connection is located.
Application Layer - The top layer (seventh) of the OSI reference model. The application layer deals with providing application programs, such as formatting electronic mail messages for the user. Lower layers in the OSI reference model perform separate functions, such as the transfer of data to a different node.
Architecture - A general term used to describe the philosophy of the construction of specific computer systems or software.
Archive - Historical data, usually contained on tapes, disks and other mass storage media.
ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange, standard binary notation for numbers, letters and control characters.
Assigned Numbers - Numbers that are assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority for various elements of a network protocol implementation.
Asynchronous - A mode of operation in which events are started by the completion of another event, not by a clock.
AT Command Set - An industry standard command language for modems, developed by Hayes.
Attachment - Files which are delivered as part of an e-mail message.
Attenuation - The reduction or loss of signal in passing along a circuit due to resistance.
Backbone - Within a network hierarchy, a backbone is a high-speed channel to which all smaller or lower-speed networks connect. Smaller networks connected to the same backbone are guaranteed to be interconnected.
Backup - The process of making copies of programs or data for archival purposes.
Bandwidth - The difference, in Hertz (Hz), between the highest and lowest frequencies in a transmission channel. It describes the information-carrying capability of a channel or line: higher bandwidths can carry more data.
Banner - The message that is displayed when a user of an online system executes certain commands.
Baseband - A transmission medium that transports digital signals using a single carrier frequency. Ethernet operates as a baseband network.
Baud - A unit of rate of serial data transmission roughly equivalent to bits per second.
Benchmark - A standard or point of reference used to measure performance or value.
Benchmark Tests - Tests used in measurement of system performance under typical conditions.
Bi-directional - A bus structure in which a single conductor is used to transmit data or signals in either direction.
Binary - A system of numbers using 2 as a base.
Bipolar - Having two poles, positive and negative.
Bit - A binary digit. A single binary digit may be a logic 1 or 0.
Board - A commonly used term to describe a printed circuit board.
Bounce - When e-mail delivery fails for some reason and is returned to sender.
BPS - Bits per second. In serial transmission, the speed with which a device or channel transmits a character in bits.
Bridge - Any device which connects and transmits data between multiple networks.
Broadband - A transmission medium that supports a wide range of frequencies and can carry multiple signals. It does this by dividing the capacity of the medium into independent bandwidth channels; each channel accommodates a specific range of frequencies.
Broadcast - A packet delivery system that operates by delivering a copy of a packet to all hosts attached to it.
Brownout -Situation caused by overloaded servers on the Internet, which hampers performance and causes delays, crashes, and other problems.
Bug - A term used to describe an error in either the hardware or software of a system.
Burn-In - Testing and running of a product, system or component through the range of its operating environment to ensure that an early failure does not occur.
Bus - A collection of wires carrying parallel binary data.
Byte - A usable unit of data, 8 consecutive bits treated as an entity.
Cache - A small memory bank that holds recently accessed data. The cache is made up of faster memory chips than the main memory and thus provides faster access to this data.
CAD (Computer Aided Design) - The use of a computer and software for automated industrial design.
Calculator - A device or integrated circuit capable of performing mathematical operations.
Capacitance - The ability to store an electrical charge, measured in Farads, microfarads or Pico farads.
Capacitor - An electronic component consisting of two metal plates separated by an insulator. Sometimes call a condenser.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) - The heart of any computing system comprising groups of registers and logic. Basically the CPU is made up of storage elements called registers, computational circuits in the arithmetic and logic unit, and the control block and input/output circuitry.
Characters - The letters A through Z, numerous special symbols and the numbers 0 through 0, coded for use by a computer.
Chassis - The metal frame which houses the printed circuit boards, power supplies, etc. which comprise the central processing unit of a computing system.
Chip - The semiconductor material cut from a silicon wafer on which integrated circuits are printed.
Circuit - A combination of conducting electrical paths and devices constructed for a specific purpose.
Circuit Breaker - A device that opens electric circuits under anticipated but unusual conditions.
Clock - A timer used in a system to originate accurately timed pulses and intervals for the timing of switching circuits. The most accurate clocks are based upon quartz crystal.
Clock Rate - A predefined time rate at which pulses are emitted from the clock within a computer system.
CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. Semiconductor technology using both positive and negative devices on the same silicon substrate. Its construction employs positive and negative channels in series, only one being switched on at one time. This gives the advantage of lower power dissipation.
Coaxial Cable - A special purpose cable in which the conductors are arranged in cylindrical layers around a central core.
COBOL - An acronym of COmmercial and Business Oriented Language. The most widely used high level computer programming language for business data processing.
Command - A pulse, signal or group of signals to start or stop an operation.
Comment - A programmer's notes enabling a program to be understood by other people.
Compatibility - The extent to which computers, peripherals, programs and circuits can operate in concert, without use of special interfaces, buffers, etc.
Compiler - A program which translates or assembles higher level languages into machine code instructions which can be recognized by the computer's central processing unit.
Computer - An assembly of central processing units and peripheral devices, having the ability to: store programs and data, manipulate data, perform arithmetic and calculations on data, compare data and make yes/no decisions and perform input and output operations on data and programs.
Concatenate - A programming term meaning to link together, referring to either data routines or whole programs.
Conductance - The ability to conduct electricity.
Conductor - Material or devices that carry or conduct electrical current.
Cookie - A file which tracks user surfing on the Internet by allowing the user's browser to be recognized by the server.
Corruption - Damage or loss of data due to computer or software malfunction.
Crash - Usually refers to physical contact between a disk and a reading head, causing damage to both. Can also refer to a dramatic failure of a computer program. Complete system failure.
Cross Talk - A phenomenon which occurs when signals from a circuit interfere with another.
Current - The rate of flow of electricity through a conductor, measured in amperes, or amps.
Cyber cafe - An establishment (such as a coffee shop) which offers Internet access along with it's regular offerings.
Cyberspace - A term popularly used to indicate the meeting place of ideas and people using telecommunication technology.
Cycle - The wave pattern of, for example, a sine wave. The wave alternates from positive to negative through 360°. When applied to alternating current, cycles are measured in cycles per second.
Daemon (Disk And Execution Monitor) - A program that runs without human intervention.
Data - Information or signals to be processed, usually considered as binary words.
Data Acquisition - Generic term for a system or device that captures data from various sources and converts it to binary code for use by a computer.
Data Bank - The combined contents of a number of separate databases.
Data Base - The entire file or collection of data relevant to a company, organization or individual computer system.
Data Processing - Relating to the computer activities of receiving data, performing the desired operation under stored program control and producing the desired results.
Debug - A term used in connection with software or hardware. Debugging involves searching for and eliminating sources of error in the operation of a computer or its software.
Decimal - A number system using the base 10.
Dedicated Computer - Is one that has been specifically programmed for a single application.
Default - A value assigned to a variable by a program if it does not have any associated value when read by the program.
DeMorgans Theorem - Facilitates the expression of Boolean algebra in terms of AND and NOT.
Demultiplex - The device that reconstructs multiplexed signals into a coherent stream.
Depletion - The region in a semiconductor that changes state under the application of externally applied voltage to facilitate the change from resistor to amplifier, or amplifier to resistor, is know as the depletion region.
Detect - The process of recognizing the presence or absence of signal or specific item of data.
Device Independent - A method of writing programs which ignores any special characteristics of specific computers.
Diagnostic Routine - Routines for helping a programmer or engineer locate faults in programs or hardware.
Dialup Connection - A connection between computers established over a standard telephone line.
Difference Machine - Charles Babbage's first attempt at constructing a calculating machine based on the principle of mathematical first and second order differences.
Differential Amplifier - A device or circuit deriving an output signal based on the differential of two input signals.
Digital - A system that handles information as numbers.
Digital Computer - A system that requires information to be transmitted in the form of separate signals, as distinct from an analog computer which receives a continuous signal.
Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) - A device for converting discrete digital signals to a single continuous signal.
Digitize - The conversion of analog input signals into digital output signals.
Diode - A two terminal device which conducts electricity easily in one direction and with difficulty in the other.
Direct Current ( dc or DC) - A stream of current flowing at a constant rate in one direction.
Direct Memory Address (DMA) - A method of gaining direct access to main storage or other high speed storage devices without involving the processor.
Directory - A library of files or programs, generally held on magnetic storage medium.
Disassembler - A program that reverses the assembly process by converting machine language to the original higher level language.
Disk Drive - The peripheral device containing a motor, enclosure etc., to permit use of the magnetic disk and its read/write functions.
Display - The face of a cathode ray tube or monitor on which output may be viewed.
Dissipation - The loss of power due to resistance.
Documentation - The generic term used for any set of drawings, parts lists, flow diagrams or operating instructions and so on concerning a system or part of a system.
Domain - An administrative domain is a collection of hosts, routers and networks under the authority of an administrative unit. In the Internet, a domain is a part of the naming hierarchy.
Dopant - An impurity which is deliberately introduced into a semiconductor to achieve a known level of conductivity.
DOS (Disk Operating System) - An operating system for disk based systems.
Double Precision (Extended Precision) - The use of two words for arithmetic functions thus doubling the accuracy of the results.
Downloading - The transfer of a file from a remote computer to the user's computer.
Driver - A circuit controller or one that provides the input for a device or another circuit.
Dry Joint - A faulty electrical connection caused by inadequate soldering.
Dump - A deposit of all reselected data or programs onto a printed output.
Duplex - A communications channel that can carrry data in both directions.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) - Modems on either end of a single twisted pair wire that delivers ISDN Basic Rate Access.
EBCDIC - Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code, a standard code.
Echo - The bounce or return of a transmitted signal from a destination point.
Electrode - A device that attracts or emits electrical charge carriers.
Electromagnetic Field - The environment setup when a device which can only be magnetized when an electric current is passed through it is energized.
Emulate - To imitate one system with another such that the imitating system accepts the same data, executes the same programs and achieves the same results as the imitated system.
Enable - To program or forewarn the processor to accept an interrupt signal or priority processing task.
EPROM - Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. A nonvolatile memory, or one whose contents are not lost when electrical power is removed.
Execute - A function following on from a statement in the program where a command is performed on the address indicated by the register under program control.
Extrapolate - To forecast or estimate results based on previous data.
Farads - A measure of the capacitance present in a circuit or produced by individual components.
Feasibility Study - A formal survey to establish the economics, practicality or technical implications of following a certain course of action.
Fiber Optics - The process of transmitting light images along fine filament fibers. The fibers, made from glass or Perspex, have highly polished surfaces with a refractive index which allows very little of the transmitted light to escape or attenuate.
Field - In programming terms a logical block of storage, or any length recognizable by the computer, in which a particular part of data or program is held and decoded.
FIFO - First In First Out. A method of storing data in a stack or table and retrieving first the first item stored.
File - Data categorized as being of a certain type or having a specific relationship may be treated as a specific entity. The literal term refers to the computer-readable medium on which the data is to be stored.
File Name - A unique acronym or grouping of characters which identifies a specific file to the system.
Filter - A electrical device or circuit designed to transmit and accept signals only within predefined limits. Any signal falling outside these limits will be suppressed.
Firmware - Software instructions which have been permanently stored in ROM (Read Only Memory). The memory converts these instructions into machine language on demand by a program.
FORTRAN - Acronym for Formula Translator, a widely used language for mathematics and technical programming.
Frequency - The measure of the number of repeats of a pulse per unit of time.
Full Duplex - Simultaneous transmission over a communications channel or series of wires in both directions.
GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out . A computer slang term abbreviating the practical reminder that if a system receives bad, inaccurate or incomplete information the output will have similar deficiencies.
Glitch - An expressive term for a bug or gremlin.
Half-duplex – Alternate transmission over a communications channel in both direction.
Handshake – Receive and transmit signals
Hard Copy – Printer or graphical output produced on paper by a computer system.
Hard Disk – A hard disk has much greater storage capacity than a floppy disk, the actual capacity depending upon the manufacturer and the specific design of the disk driver and read/write head. The disk itself is made from a rigid alloy plate and coated with a magnetisable compound.
Hardware – The individual components, i.e. mechanical, electromechanical, magnetic and electronic devices that comprise any computer system.
Heat Sinks – The generic term for any device, method or material that can dissipate unwanted heat from an electric circuit, or any other source of heat.
Henrys (H) – A measure of the inductance present in a circuit or produced by individual components such as coils.
Hertz (Hz) – The SI Unit of frequency; the count of cyclical phenomena occurring each second.
Hexadecimal – A system of numbers and letters using 16 as a base, it uses the characters 0 to 9 and A to F and is interchangeable with binary. The system is easier to use and remember than binary and can offer more efficient use of memory.
High Level Language – A computer language which is easy to understand and use, but which requires extensive translation (compiling) into machine code before it can be used by a computer system. The general aim of high level language is to offer English like instructions.
Hot Start – A system restart following a very brief period of inactivity.
IBM - International Business Machines Corporation. One of the major forces in the computing industry ever since its inception .
IEE - Abbreviation for the Institution of Electrical Engineers. The British professional body responsible for educational and industrial standards.
IEEE - Abbreviation for the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. American body widely concerned with the definition of standards.
Inductance - The measure of energy stored in a magnetic field, which is setup by an electric current. The unit of measure of inductance is the Henry (H).
Inductor - A device which creates inductance, typically a coil of wire wound around an iron core.
Initialize - The process of setting all memory and counters, timers etc., to zero or start values. This is a normal commencement routine for a program and minimally involves clearing registers.
Ink Jet - A technology used in computer printers, where small jets impel ink onto paper. The character which is created is made up of dots of ink. The dots themselves are contained in an array, or matrix and be individually switched on and off under program control to form a complete character.
Input - The signals that are given to a computer for processing.
Input/Output (I/O) Ports - Connections to the internal bus system of the central processing unit to interface the computer to other modules and peripherals.
Instruction - A binary word which is interpreted by the central processing unit instruction decoder as a command to carry out specific tasks.
Instruction Decoder - An array of logic gates or circuits or a small Read Only Memory (ROM) internal to the central processing unit.
Instruction Register - A register within the central processing unit which is used to hold instructions fetched from memory.
Instruction Set - The total set of unique instructions which can be executed by a given computer system, to provide basic information necessary to assemble a program.
Insulation - The condition created by surrounding a conductor with insulation (or non-conducting) material so that current is limited to known path.
Integrated Circuit (IC or ic) - A semiconductor device containing circuit elements which are fabricated from a single piece of material (e.g. silicon) directly connected to perform a unique given function.
Intelligent Device - A device which contains sufficient logic to enable it to be programmed independently of the host computer, to which it is connected.
Interpolate - The reverse of extrapolate. Deducing a result or point on a graph based on readings on either side or immediately, i.e. one line at a time.
Interpreter - A program which translates as interpretive-language source program into machine code and executes immediately one line at a time.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - Gives a user up to 56 kbps of data bandwidth on a phone line that is also used for voice, or up to 128 kbps if the line is only used for data.
ISO - International Standards Organization.
Joystick - A control lever or multiple switch which can be rotated through 360° with mechanical advantage, to make or break a series of electrical connections.
Jumper - A direct connection between two points in a printed circuit, points which were not part of the original circuit. Generally used to improvise a change to the circuit.
K - Kilo. Commonly taken to mean 1000. In fact this is an approximation. To be strictly accurate K is 1024. K is used to describe the memory capacity of a computer, e.g. 32 Kb or 32000 bytes of memory. The exact memory size represented by 32 Kb is 32,768.
Karnaugh Map - A particular form of truth table, or an array of values which represent the logic states of inputs and outputs for a given logic gate.
Key - A button which can be depressed on any peripheral device, most commonly a keyboard. A key can also be a legend in a program or a very important element in a program.
KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid. An exhortation to programmers in particular. The underlying advice is very relevant. Several small and simple programs are generally easier to write, test and amend than one large , complex program.
Language - A systematic and formally structured means of communication instructions and data to a computer.
Laser - Acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation. A laser is the source of a narrow and intense beam of radiation.
Laser Printer - A printer which employs a laser beam to describe characters on paper. Normally used where high quality output is required.
LCD - Liquid-Crystal Display. A display utilizing liquid-crystal technology. It comprises two clear glass wafers, sandwiching between them a liquid crystal solution. The liquid-crystal is an organic liquid whose crystals align themselves under the influence of an electric field. Thus a measured charge can cause liquid crystals to align themselves in the form of pre-arranged alphabetic or numeric characters.
Leads - Wires used to make connections between circuits or a power source and circuit.
LED - Light Emitting Diodes. Semiconductor devices that create a low level of light; LED's have a low power consumption and long life and as such are ideal for use a display.
LIFO - Last In First Out. A method of storing data in a stack or table and retrieving first the last item stored.
Line Printer - A computer output device in which characters are printed in a horizontal line before the paper carriage moves the paper up to begin printing the next line.
Linker - The software forming part of the operating system which combines together all subroutines, programs and routines from library, utilities and so on to form a single cohesive program for a specific task.
Log - All data pertinent to a minute by minute diary of a system's activity.
Logic - The mathematical treatment of formal logic in which a system of symbols is used to represent quantities and relationships.
Looping - A repetition of instructions until a final condition is determined.
Low Level Language - A programming language that is very close to the way that the computer actually works. The use of low level languages generally ensures a more efficient use of memory that with the higher level languages but also requires a more skilled or highly trained programmer.
Machine Cycle - The minimum length of time in which a repetitive operation may be performed.
Machine Language - A binary code, the only language that is understood by a computer.
Macro - A group of program instructions used for a fixed, repetitive purpose. It has less function than a subroutine but is more powerful than a single instruction.
Magnetic Disk - Circular platters coated with magnetic material to facilitate data recording.
Mainframe Computer - The generic term given to the earliest computers produced by IBM and other large manufactures. Initially punch card input machines they all required extensive and sophisticated operating systems to enable economic use. The term has now lost its meaning since the advent of minicomputers.
Mega (M) - Meaning times 1,000,000 as in megabit or megabyte. To be accurate the term means 1,048,576 in binary terms.
Microcomputer - Is a collection of devices that includes a microprocessor, memory and associated interface circuits to communicate with peripheral devices or other circuits.
Microprocessor - The central processing unit fabricated on a chip. It comprises, in general, an arithmetic and logic unit, control block and register array.
Microwave - An electromagnetic wave which covers the frequencies between EHF (Extremely High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency). Used for high speed data transmissions.
MIPS - Millions of instructions per second.
Modem - An acronym derived from Modulation/Demodulation device. It enables computers or peripherals to communicate via telephone lines or special dedicated data lines, by translating binary data signals to voice signals which can be carried over a telephone line and then retranslating them to data signals at the other end of the line.
Monitor - A commonly used term for the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT).
Multiplexing - A process of transmitting more than one signal at a time over a single channel.
Multiprocessing - The act of processing a number of programs or subroutines at the same time.
Nano (n) - Meaning divided by 1,000,000,000 (1/1,000,000,000th).
Network - A term meaning an interconnecting series of processors, channels and peripheral devices.
Node - One term for the terminal of any branch of a network having more than one branch.
Noise - Interference; electrical, acoustic or mechanical.
Non-Volatile Memory - A memory which retains its contents even after power has been discontinued. Does not normally apply to semiconductor memory, fusible links and magnetic memories are non-volatile types.
OCR - Optical Character Recognition, or Optical Character Reader. A device which converts special typefaces into digital signals when scanned by the reading head.
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer. A loosely applied term. It was originally applied to the major computer manufacturers. It is now increasingly being used to describe a company buying equipment, often from several different sources, assembling them into a unique configuration or with a unique function and then selling it on to a user, agent or distributor. The term now implies that the company adopting the description of OEM adds value to equipment before reselling it.
Ohms - A measure of the resistance or individual resistances in a circuit when the current flow is direct (DC).
Output - The results of a computer program in the form of any of the normally used computer media.
Pack - The process of combining data together into one location in order to save memory and speed up processing.
Page - A segment or block of contiguous memory which can be addressed by special means or by a specific field containing a complete address value.
Parallel Run - Two different systems operated simultaneously in order to verify results.
Parameter - Constant or known values or functions having variable values.
Patch - A small modification to a computer program is often known as a patch.
Peripheral - A device in a system which is not part of the central computer but is used for input or output purposes.
Plotter - A full graphics (line drawing) plotter or graph plotter, converts analog signals from the computer into a graphical form on a special purpose printer.
Poll - The process of a computer scanning each device connected to it in sequence to discover whether any data is waiting to be loaded or whether any messages requires a response.
Port - Terminals which provide electrical access to or from a system or circuit.
Power Supply - A source of electric power, either AC or DC, which is appropriate to a given circuit or system.
Power Transformer - A device for stepping down voltage to a lower more precise value.
Processor - Either the actual hardware of the central processing unit or a language designed for a very specific problem.
Program - Assembly of instructions which instruct the processor to perform a particular function.
Programmer - The computer professional who codes problems into the appropriate computer language.
Protocol - An agreed set of rules.
Quality Control (QC) - The application of inspection principles to determine acceptability.
Quantum (quantum jump) - Commonly used to denote a dramatic increase in an arithmetic value.
Quartz - The crystal used in oscillators, silicon dioxide.
Queue - A stream of data, or mix of data and programs awaiting process.
Rack - A standard, basic metal enclosure to enable printer circuit boards to be directly mounted into one of a series of slots.
RAM - Random Access Memory. A memory consisting of a variable number of RAM chips providing access to any storage location point by means of horizontal and vertical co-ordinates. Information may be written into or taken from RAM very rapidly, under computer control. RAM may be dynamic, i.e. the contents may have to be regularly refreshed, or it may be static in which case the storage cell is a flip-flop element, in one or two stable and electrically alterable states.
Real Time Clock - The timer device that enables a real time operating system to time and share operations rapidly and accurately. It is also used to provide normal time of day functions to "time and date stamp" reports.
Redundancy - Information in a system or signals in a circuit that are transmitted for verification purposes and are not critical to the function of the system.
Refresh - The process of rewriting data in memory or on a Cathode Ray Tube where data has to be dynamically restored or regenerated.
Register - Memory on a much smaller scale than RAM or ROM. It is used by the computer to store on a temporary basis, arithmetic, logic or transferal operations.
Remote - Any location at which a peripheral or user may wish to use a system to which it is not directly connected by cable.
ROM - Read Only Memory. A device containing information which cannot be changed under computer operations. It can only be read by a computer.
Routine - A small program. Can be used by many different programs. Written and stored separately, it can be called or nested into other programs on command.
RS232C - An international standard governing the transmittal of data or signals over cables. It applies to serial transmission, i.e. one bit at a time.
Run-Time - The time taken by a discrete object program to complete its execution.
Semiconductor - A material such as silicon or germanium in which the electrical conductivity lies between that of conductors and insulators. It also has a crystal structure whose atomic bonds allow the conduction of current by either positive or negative carriers when the appropriate dopants are added, in which the degree of electrical conductivity of the material is especially sensitive.
Silicon (Si) - A very common element. In the form of Dioxide (or Silica) it is widely used as a semiconductor material.
SIL/SIP - Single In Line/Single In Line Package. Refers to the alignment of connection pins from the plastic ceramic casing surrounding a chip or integrated circuit in its packaged form.
Sine Wave - The wave form adopted by alternating current, following a known oscillation and amplitude, plotted against time. A sinusoidal curve.
Sink - Short for heat sink; a device to absorb unwanted thermal energy.
SIO - Serial Input Output interface. A device for accepting serial input and converting to parallel output.
Small-Scale Integration (SSI) - A term applied to integrated circuits containing from one to twenty logic gates.
Source Code - The original programming statements as they exist in the language that the programmer has used to write the program.
Stable - A condition where no unwanted variations of signal exist.
Statements - Lines of code in a computer program.
Static Memory - Static RAM holds the contents of memory as long as power is being input.
Stepper Motor - An electric motor in which speed can be regulated by a built-in gearbox.
Stop Bit - In data transmission, the bit that is used to describe end of character so that the receiving system then inserts an intercharacter space.
String - A stream of sequentially organized data.
Superconductivity - The theoretical condition that exists when a conductor is cooled to zero degrees absolute. At this temperature electrical resistance should not exist. Thus the lower the temperature in a circuit the better conductor it becomes.
Synchronous (sync., in sync) - Activities that take place in perfectly coordinated timing, often under control of a clock or timer.
Syntax - The grammar or rules of a particular computer language.
Systems Analysis - The process of analyzing the best solution to a problem, either in terms of problem analysis or systems design prior to programming.
Transaction - One coherent grouping of data which can update a file or a record.
Transformer - A device which accepts voltage and current at one value and outputs at a different values, but at the same frequency.
Transient - A random and infrequent surge, very brief, caused as the result or a sudden change in conditions.
Transistor - An active semiconductor device with three electrodes (emitter, base and collector). Used as a switch or as an amplifier.
Transmission - Sending signals or data along a known path or circuit.
Twisted Pair - A two wire cable.
UART - Universal Asynchronous Receive/Transmit. A standard technique for receiving parallel format data and transmitting serially.
Ultrasonic - Signal frequencies which lie outside the range of human audibility. They start at a 20 kHz frequency.
Unipolar - A transistor fabricated from a single type of semiconductor.
Up Time - The time during which a machine is operational and available for use.
Update - The process of seeking out and amending a record, field, file or document.
Useful Life - The duration of a component's or device's operational life before replacement or repair. Measured in hours of use.
User - A person, grouping or company which makes regular use of, or has access to computer systems.
V - Volts
Validate - The process of auditing output or results from a circuit or system to ascertain whether they are reasonable and fall within the bounds of probability.
Variable - Any data obtained from measurement which can be altered.
Virtual Memory - A technique offered by many manufacturers which make the memory size look larger to the program than it actually is. The virtual memory operating system scans programs for code that has already been used or has low priority. It then moves these parts of the programs into a temporary storage area, unknown to the user or programmer. It does not generally affect the speed or execution it the total size of programs to be executed does not exceed available memory by more than 25% or so. Thereafter there is an increasing degradation in performance.
Volatile Memory - A type of RAM which requires a constant refresh of contents.
Voltage (V) - A measure of the potential difference, emf (electromotive force), or voltage in a circuit.
W - Watts
WAIT - A software or operating system command which causes the computer to suspend processing until a certain condition is met.
Warm Start - A system restart after a fairly brief pause.
Watts (W) - A measure of power developed by the flow of current through a circuit. One watt is the product of one amp and one volt.
Waveform - The shape of a pulse, usually associated with alternating current.
Word Processing - The use of computer techniques to manipulate text rather than data.
Wraparound - An automatic overflow on the next available line of contiguous data or text.
X.25 - A data communications interface specification that describes how data pass into and out of packet switching networks.
X.400 - Protocol for electronic mail and public data networks. X.400 wraps messages in an electronic envelope, which will then be accepted by any system that can read the envelope.
X.500 - Standard for listing names in an electronic directory (e.g. electronic white pages). This standard enables the directory to be accessed internationally and by a variety of electronic networks.
X Axis - The horizontal line, real or imaginary, which forms the axis for a wave shape measurement against the vertical Y axis. Also used for alignment on graph plotters and monitors
XMODEM - A data transmission file transfer protocol with 8-bit error checking. The protocol sends information in 128-byte blocks. Popular among business users of microcomputers.
X Ray - Electromagnetic radiation of a high frequency.
X-Series - Standards of the CCITT for communications interfaces, such as modems.
X-Y Plotter - A graphical output device in which results are recorded by moving the writing pen across the paper in the direction of the X and Y coordinates.
Y Axis - The vertical axis of a waveform.
Yellow Pages - A directory of user names, passwords, and machine names on a local network. It provides automatic machine addressing and facilitates managing databases distributed across a network.
YMODEM - A data transmission file transfer protocol. The protocol sends information in 1024-byte blocks of data. A faster method of data transmission than XMODEM.
Z39.50 Protocol - A National Information Standards Organization (NISO) protocol that provides a common command language used for bibliographic information retrieval of online library catalogs.
Z - Impedance
Zero Access Store - A very fast type of memory, or area of storage, which can provide the processor with data at speeds as fast as the central processor is able to process that data.
Zero Potential - Earth (ground)
Zip - A method of compressing files for storage or transfer.
ZMODEM - A data transmission file transfer protocol. Generally regarded as the fastest and most efficient way to transfer data
For better, faster, and on-demand results for the acronyms (abbreviations) you can't understand, I suggest checking in Acronym Finder.
And for unfamiliar terms (non-aronyms) www.urbandictionary.com is always helpful. :)