Technology Dictionary

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An alphabetical listing of General terms and items.

RAID   Dico Tools
(Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks; pr. "raid") A way of connecting multiple hard disks together so that a computer sees them as one very large, very fast disk instead of many smaller ones. Often called a "RAID array", even though the acronym already contains the word array. Mostly used on network servers.

RAM   Dico Tools
(Random Access Memory; pr. "ram") The computer's main memory, which it uses to hold whatever you are currently working on. The contents of RAM are lost when the computer is switched off. Adding more RAM is often the most cost-effective upgrade for an ageing computer.

Read-only   Dico Tools
A read-only file has been set so that it cannot be altered or deleted. Also called write-protected. You can make a file read-only in Windows by right-clicking on it and checking the "read-only" box under attributes. Floppy disks can be write-protected by moving a small plastic square in the top left corner. Files on CD ROM are always read-only because you can't change the contents of a CD ROM.

Readme   Dico Tools
An electronic document, usually distributed with software, containing additional information that didn't make it into the printed guides, often giving tips about troubleshooting installation problems, and last minute changes to the software. It is usually entitled "readme.txt".

Real Audio   Dico Tools
An audio and video compression system from RealMedia Inc which produces files small enough to play back in real time over an ordinary modem, at the cost of a lot of sound/vision quality.

Reboot   Dico Tools
Restart the computer, either by shutting it down properly and restarting it (a soft reboot), or just switching it off and on again (a hard reboot - should only be used as a last resort).

Registrar   Dico Tools
An organisation which retains a register of internet domain names, who owns them, and where they can be found. Domains under the most popular TLDs such as .com, .net and .org can be registered with a number of different competing registrars, but you only need to register with one of them. National domains such as .uk usually have only one registrar.

Registry   Dico Tools
A file on Windows PCs which contains all the settings for the PC and its software. Can be edited by the user, but this should only be done as absolutely a last resort, as it is possible to trash the operating system completely if you don't know what you are doing.

Resolution   Dico Tools
Loosely speaking, the quality of an image. When printing or working with images, the resolution is usually measured in Dots Per Inch (dpi) - the more dots per inch, the higher the quality of the image but the larger the file needed to store it. In Windows, the screen resolution is how many pixels fit on the desktop, the most popular being 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 - the former makes images, icons etc look bigger, but the latter means you can fit more of them on the screen.

Rewriteable   Dico Tools
A special type of reuseable CD or DVD which you can write to, delete the contents, and write to again, theoretically forever. (A conventional CD or DVD's contents can't be changed once they have been written). However, rewriteable CDs are less reliable and more expensive than write-once CDs, and there are presently several different incompatible formats for rewriteable DVDs.

RGB   Dico Tools
(Red, Green, Blue) The three colours used by a computer screen - all the other colours can be made up by mixing red, blue and green. A few printers use this system as well, though most use the alternative CMYK system instead.

Ripper   Dico Tools
Program which copies ("rips") tracks from music CDs onto a computer, often as an MP3. Technically this is illegal in many jurisdictions, but in practice extremely widespread, and is usually tolerated as long as the ripped tracks are for personal use only.

ROFL   Dico Tools
(Rolling On the Floor Laughing) Internet slang indicating laughter.

ROM   Dico Tools
(Read Only Memory; pr. "rom") Memory whose contents are preset and cannot (usually) be changed by the user. See also CD-ROM.

Router   Dico Tools
A device used to connect networks together, for example so that several PCs can share one internet connection. A relative of the hub, but more powerful.

RPG   Dico Tools
(Role Playing Game) A computer game in which you control a character and interact with other characters, explore virtual worlds, undertake quests etc, often involving swords and sorcery. See MMORPG.

RSS   Dico Tools
(Really Simple Syndication) An automated system for gathering information, usually news, from multiple sources and bringing it together in one place, usually a website. If any of the information is changed at the source, it is automatically updated at the target.

RTFM   Dico Tools
(Read The Flipping Manual) Internet slang, usually fired at people asking basic questions to which they would know the answers if they had looked at the manual. There are several different translations of the letter F... :-)

RTS   Dico Tools
(Real Time Strategy) A computer game where you command armies (usually) of animated figures, direct their development, fight their battles and so on. "Real Time" because the game runs continuously rather than waiting for your orders, though in practise you can usually pause the game as much as you like unless you are playing against a human opponent.

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