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Jargon Buster

This help file provides information on the latest technology terms. To cut through the techno-babble use our handy reference guide.

Name Description
AAC Audio file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller.
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. The technology that has been developed for enabling broadband connections using existing telephone lines.
Anti-virus software Protection against malicious computer code usually sent via email, but sometimes infected website downloads. PCs are particularly vulnerable and you should have anti-virus software installed no matter which way you connect to the Internet.
ASP Active Server Pages. Dynamic web pages used for numerous tasks including form handling, database connectivity, even putting a date and time on a page. All processing is completed on the web server.
AVI Video file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller.
Bandwidth The amount of data that can be transferred over a connection at any one time. For a standard connection through a phone line, the bandwidth can be up to 56 kilobits per second (56kbps), for a broadband connection it is normally at least 512kbps and can be up to 20Mb.
Blog Web log, or 'blog. A web page which is published by either an individual or a group. Blogs are commonly personal journals / diaries and are used to comment on all sorts of topics depending on the interests of the blogger (author).
Bluetooth A wireless technology which allows digital devices to easily transfer files at high speed. Bluetooth is common in many portable devices such as laptops, PDAs and mobile phones.
BMP / Bitmap Image file format.
Broadband A connection to the Internet that works at high speeds because of its greater bandwidth.
Bug A mistake or error in a computer program.
Chat A way of communicating with other people over the internet through text in real time, using either a chat room or an instant messenger.
Cookie An information file placed on your computer by a web site that you visit. This information can then be read by the same web site should you return at a later date.
Dial-up A dial-up connection uses a telephone line to connect to the Internet. A modem is used to turn data into audio signals so that it can literally "dial" the number of your internet service provider (ISP) and communicate with their computers.
Download Describes the process of transferring files from a location on the Internet to your PC.
Encryption A means of coding information to prevent unauthorised access. Only those with authorisation and the key to unlock the code can decipher the encrypted data.
Firewall Gatekeeper hardware or software that guards against unauthorised access to your computer via the Internet by hackers.
FTP File Transfer Protocol. A method of transferring files from one computer to another. It is the standard way of uploading web pages to a server.
GIF Image file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller. Limited in colours but can be animated. Commonly used for graphics on web sites.
Hotspot An area where devices can pick up Wireless LAN signals, generally using Wi-Fi technology. Typical examples include airports and hotels.
HTML HyperText Markup Language. The language in which web pages are written.
HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol. Allows web browsers to view web pages over the Internet.
Hub The central point of a network that allows computers to share resources such as data or access to printers and the Internet.
Intranet An intranet is a 'private internet', that can provide a powerful means of communication within a company or a group of trading partners.
IP address Internet Protocol address. The host computer assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider when you make a connection.
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network. A set of communications standards offered by telephone carriers that allows fast internet connections.
ISP Internet Service Provider.
JPG / JPEG Image file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller. Commonly used for compressing images such as photographs.
LAN Local Area Network. Allows devices to connect to each other and share resources such as data and printers.
Modem A modem is a device that translates digital internet signals generated on a PC (email, web pages etc.) into analogue signals that can travel along the telephone line.
MP3 Audio file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller. Common file format for sharing music files on the Internet.
MPG / MPEG Video file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller.
PDA / Palmtop Personal Digital Assistant. A hand-held device that incorporates many features that would be found on a desktop system, such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Podcast Similar to text syndication, podcasting allows users to subscribe to audio-based content. Used as alternatives, replacements or supplements to traditional radio broadcasts.
Router A device which forwards traffic between networks.
RSS Rich Site Summary. An XML-based format that lets websites provide a summary of content, like news updates, for users to subscribe to. Subscribers then use an RSS aggregator to receive the feed.
Spam Unsolicited email advertising which targets many recipients simultaneously.
SSL Secure Sockets Layer. An encryption protocol used to transfer information via the Internet, such as credit card details. Watch out for addresses beginning with HTTPS and a padlock in your browser.
Streaming An alternative to downloading large files such as audio and video. Streaming allows users to commence playback whilst the remaining file is downloading in the background.
Upload Describes the process of transferring files from your PC to another location on the Internet.
URL Uniform Resource Locator. The full unique address of web pages on the Internet.
VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol, or Voice over IP. A technology used to enable users to make telephone calls over the Internet, often at reduced cost.
VPN Virtual Private Network. Allows computers to connect to each other over a wide geographical area, by means of secure access over the Internet. Cheaper alternative to owned or leased lines.
WAN Wide Area Network. Allows computers to connect to each other over a wide geographical area, often by means of owned or leased lines.
WAP Wireless Application Protocol. Allows handheld devices to access the Internet. Generally found on mobile phones.
WAV Audio file format.
Wi-Fi Wireless Fidelity. A type of wireless technology which allows users to connect to a local network without the need for cables.
Wireless LAN Wireless Local Area Network. Allows devices to connect to each other and share resources such as data and printers without the need for cable by using radio waves. Typical examples include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
WMA Audio file format. Uses compression software to make the file size smaller. Developed by Microsoft.
XML eXtensible Markup Language. An open and flexible language used to hold data. Increasingly used to send data across the Internet.

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