Jargon Buster

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Jargon Buster

A

AGP: Stands “Accelerated Graphics Port”. It is a type of expansion slot on Motherboards (or Mainboards) where you can plug in various types of Graphic Cards. Only AGP Graphic Cards work in AGP slots. Has since been superseded by PCIx expansion slots, which are more modern. PCIx cards will not fit in AGP slots and vice versa.

B

Backup: Having or making copies of data for storage and archiving.

BIOS: “Basic Input/Output System”. Most people don’t need to ever mess with the BIOS on a computer, but it can be helpful to know what it is. The BIOS is a program pre-installed on Windows-based computers (not on Macs) that the computer uses to start up. The CPU accesses the BIOS even before the operating system is loaded. The BIOS then checks all your hardware connections and locates all your devices. If everything is OK, the BIOS loads the operating system into the computer’s memory and finishes the boot-up process.

C

CD: Compact Disk is a digital optical disc data storage format. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. Audio CDs and audio CD players have been commercially available since October 1982.

CD-ROM: “Compact Disk – Read Only Memory”. A device plugged into a computer that reads compact disks.

D

DOS: Short for “Disk Operating System” this was the operating system used before Windows and other GUI based systems came along. All command line based the user would have to type in everything.

Drivers: Drivers are a piece of software provided by makers of hardware that users have to install to make the piece of hardware work correctly. Think of it as a set of instructions telling Windows what it does. Drivers are normally provided with the hardware on a disk or freely downloadable off the internet normally via the manufacturers website.

E

Email: Email, short for “electronic mail,” is one of the most widely used features of the Internet, along with the web. It allows you to send and receive messages to and from anyone with an email address, anywhere in the world.

F

Firewall: A Firewall is either a piece of software or hardware that stops unwanted access to computers or networks. Most people these days will have a software Firewall preloaded onto their computer or opt to use a third party software Firewall. Most routers will have a Firewall.

G

GUI: Stands for “Graphical User Interface” anything you use on your computer where the user can interact with the software is normally referred to as a GUI. Windows desktop being the most common example of a GUI.

H

Hard Drive: The Hard drive sits inside your PC although you can get external Hard drives to store information. Your Hard Drives main purpose is to store and retrieve data. Programs you install and use, even the Windows Operating System are stored on your Hard Drive.

I

Internet: Believe it or not, the Internet was created way back in 1969, during the Cold War, by the United States military. It was meant to be a “nuke-proof” communications network. Today, the Internet spreads across the globe and consists of countless networks and computers, allowing millions of people to share information. Data that travels long distances on the Internet is transferred on huge lines known collectively as the Internet backbone.

J

JPEG: “Joint Photographic Experts Group”. JPEG is a compressed picture format and useful for photographic images.

K

Kilobyte: The kilobyte (abbreviated “K” or “KB”) is the smallest unit of measurement greater than a byte. It precedes themegabyte, which contains 1,000,000 bytes. While one kilobyte is technically 1,000 bytes, kilobytes are often used synonymously with kibibytes, which contain 1,024 bytes.

L

Linux: Linux is an Operating System and a free alternative to Microsoft Windows. It is however a very different system to Windows although Ubuntu (a Linux Distro) has been making attempts at being more user friendly and gaining lots of support in the last few years.

M

N

O

Operating System: The Operating System is what is commonly referred to as “Windows”. There are alternatives for example “Ubuntu” (which is Linux). The Operating System (also referred to simply as “OS”) is the software that controls every aspect of the hardware, without it your computer or laptop can do very little. It is perhaps the most important software your hardware needs to run.

P

PCI:” Peripheral Component Interconnect”. A common sight in many PC’s. It was an expansion port designed by Intel that sits on the motherboard. It could support LAN, Soundcards, Wireless etc. Up until AGP came along it used to support Graphic Cards aswell.

Q

R

S

T

U

USB: “Universal Serial Bus”. A common sight in any modern PC/Laptop. Used  to plug in various devices such as external hard drives, mice and even cameras. Most external devices you plug into your computer these days will use a USB port.

V

W

Windows: The most common Operating System on the market today. in 1985 Microsoft released Windows 1.0 this would be the first version of Windows after DOS (Disk Operating System). Then in year order of release; 1987 Windows 2.0, 1990 Windows 3.0, 1995 Windows 95, 1998 – 2000 Windows 98/Windows 2000/Windows ME, 2001 Windows XP, 2006 Windows Vista, 2009 Windows 7 and 2012 Windows 8.

X

Y

Z

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