Technology Dictionary

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An alphabetical listing of General terms and items.

Abstract Space   Dico Tools
Geographic model or representation of the real world. For example, maps and globes are abstractions of the real world or concrete space.

ADSL   Dico Tools
(Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) A method of connecting a computer to the internet over an ordinary phone line using ethernet office networking technology instead of an ordinary modem, which produces a much faster (broadband) connection. Asymmetric because it is faster from internet to PC than the other way (also true of a 56K modem).

Adware   Dico Tools
Software which displays advertisements on your computer. Sometimes installed as part of a "free" application, sometimes by stealth. See also Malware, Spyware.

AGP   Dico Tools
(Advanced Graphics Port) A special slot on the PC motherboard for graphics cards, and the format of the cards themselves. Standard on new PCs from 1998. "AGP x 2" runs at twice the speed of the original AGP, AGP x 4 at four times the speed etc. Now being replaced by PCI Express.

AI   Dico Tools
(Artificial Intelligence) A program designed to respond "intelligently" to various situations, for example the computer opponent(s) in a game.

Always-on   Dico Tools
An internet connection which remains on 24/7 such as ADSL or cable, rather than only connecting on demand like a dialup.

AMD   Dico Tools
AMD is a leading manufacturer of processor chips for PCs, including the Athlon and Duron chips.

Antispam   Dico Tools
An antispam program is used to filter out email spam, and sometimes to block it or complain about it.

Antivirus   Dico Tools
Software which protects computers from viruses and suchlike. Has to be updated frequently to keep up with the latest threats, so is usually sold with a subscription which enables you to download updates from the internet.

AOL   Dico Tools
(America On Line) An Internet Service Provider, or ISP. AOL were in business as a large commercial bulletin board before the internet really took off. Now they are an ISP specialising in family-friendly internet access.

Apple   Dico Tools
The Apple Corporation makes the only successful personal computer which doesn't use Microsoft Windows, the Macintosh, and the popular iPod music player.

Applet   Dico Tools
A small program used to carry out a particular task, often on a web page. See Java.

Application   Dico Tools
Software used to carry out a particular task, such as word processing or desktop publishing. Essentially another word for program.

Architecture   Dico Tools
The basic design of a computer's hardware. Computers with different architecture, such as the PC and the Mac, cannot run each others' programs.

ASCII   Dico Tools
(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) An early and very basic format for text files, standard across pretty much all computers and mail systems. It only includes upper and lower case letters, numbers, and standard punctuation marks, but more sophisticated text formats still tend to be based on it. An ASCII file is a basic text-only file generated by a program like Notepad.

ATAPI   Dico Tools
(ATtAchment Packet Interface) An upgrade to EIDE which allows the hard disk controller to control CD drives as well. Almost all CD and DVD drives are controlled this way.

ATB   Dico Tools
(All The Best) Internet slang.

Athlon   Dico Tools
A PC processor - AMD, the other leading chip manufacturer's equivalent to Intel's Pentium. Like the Pentium, constantly being upgraded. You will often see a number such as 2700 following the word Athlon, which is a rough measure of the processor's speed - the higher the number, the faster the chip.

ATM   Dico Tools
(At The Moment) Internet slang.

Attachment   Dico Tools
A file sent by email is "attached" to the email. An attachment can be a picture, a word processor document, a program or any other type of file. You should never open an attachment if you are not sure what it is, because some viruses propagate as email attachments; but they can't infect your machine if you don't open the attachment.

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AUP   Dico Tools
(Acceptable Use Policy) A document setting out what an Internet Service Provider deems an acceptable use of their services, usually published on their website. Typically it will forbid the publication of obscene or defamatory material, and sending email or newsgroup spam. If you violate your ISP's AUP, they will usually close your account down immediately.

Autocorrect   Dico Tools
A feature in MS Word and other programs which automatically corrects your spelling, and even your grammar, as you type. Better switched off if you use obscure technical terms, or prefer your own interpretation of the rules of grammar, or else you are likely to find that it's "corrected" your text to something you didn't intend.

Avatar   Dico Tools
A picture or figure representing a person in an online environment.

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