Last Updated: 8/20/2008

Computer Definitions

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WWW                        World Wide Web - It started as a military experiment and grew to be a collection of universities, etc. It is a network, or web, of computer networks and individual computers.


INTERNET                It’s another way to say WWW. It’s the INTER connected NET of computer networks and individual computers.

HTTP                          Hyper Text Transfer Protocol - This is the agreed upon method for connecting to sites on the WWW. If you look in the ADDRESS bar of your browser, when on a web site, you will see something like

HTML                        Hyper Text Markup Language - This is the special computer language that allows Web Sites to work. If you Click on the “VIEW” button of your Internet Browser and select “SOURCE” you will be able to see the HTML code. There may be other code, such as “JAVA”, displayed but starting near the top of the page you will see things like <html>, <body>, <title>, <meta name=”xxxxx”>, etc. This is all HTML code.

FTP                             File Transfer Protocol - This is the agreed upon method for “moving” files around the WWW.

TCP/IP                        Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol - This is the agreed upon method for doing “things” on the Internet.


IP Address                  The Internet Protocol Address looks something like this It is similar to a phone number or street address. To mail a letter you first need the country, then the state or providence, then the postal region, then, finally the actual house. There are four groups of digits. Each group can have from 1 to 3 numbers in it from 0 to 255. It can be used to address devices or Internet sites. If used within a local network or to address devices on a stand alone computer the address just needs to be unique for that system. If used to identify a WWW site it must be unique and REGISTERED so it remains unique. You would us a Domain Registration company to register your address.

DNS                            Domain Name Server is what “resolves” the into the actual IP address, such as The Domain Registration company will also provide the DNS. When a Web Site address is read by your computer, it is read right to left. It starts with the “.COM”, “.ORG”, “.BIZ”, “.US”, etc. so it knows where to start looking for the information by type. Some IP Addresses are “shared”. That means there has to be one more piece of information to “get there” such as A Domain Registration company usually charges more for a dedicated, or static, IP Address.

HOSTING                  When you have a web site there has to be a physical machine somewhere where the actual information to be displayed is stored. If you don’t have your own Wed Server, and most of us don’t, you use a HOSTING service. Many times the hosting service is also a Domain Registrar and provides DNS but you can have them separate. If your ISP gives the ability to HOST a personal Web Site, your ISP would be your hosting service. If you want the rest of the world to see that Web Site by a name such as you would register your name with a Domain Registrar and then “point” to your personal Web Site. Comcast allows you to have a personal Web Site. The actual Comcast address looks like; while the registered Web Name is

Browser                      Your Browser is the program that you use to view the web sites on the WWW. Some of the common ones are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, etc. Netscape is one of the original ones. Netscape was originally named Mosaic

ISP                              Your Internet Service Provider, is the company that allows you to “get onto” the WWW. Without an ISP you can’t access the Internet. Some of the common ISP’s are CompuServe, AOL, MSN, Netscape, Juno, NetZero, Comcast, RCN, Verizon and DirectWay. They range from free to very expensive depending on services provided and access speed. There are free ISP’s available using Dialup access but they usually limit how much time you can access the WWW.


DIALUP                     Up until very recently, dialup access was the way most people accessed the WWW. Dialup access involves using a modem, usually internal to the computer, connected to a phone line. If you only have one phone line no phone calls can be made or received while you are On-Line.

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ON-LINE                   This is the term used to indicate that you are accessing the WWW.

BROADBAND          Broadband access is the way a growing number of people access the WWW. This usually involves using a broadband modem, usually external to the computer, connected to a special cable, though if it’s what’s called DSL it still uses what appears to be, a regular phone line. The advantage of using Broadband is two fold. First, it allows you to make and receive phone calls while On-Line. Second, the access speed, at worst, 3-4 times faster than DIALUP. There are a few common Broadband types, DSL, via phone line, Cable, via your Cable TV line, and ISDN via a digital telephone line. There are others such as T1 Lines, and Satellite. These tend to be much more expensive then DSL and Cable though they may be much faster. Broadband access is usually more expensive then Dialup, HOWEVER if you are dialing long distance to make your Dialup connection that can get REAL expensive. Broadband is always “on”. There isn’t any dialing that has to be done to start “surfing” the web. Unfortunately because it is always “on” and fast if precautions aren’t taken, your computer can be “invaded” by outsiders. These outsiders may read your personal information or may use your machine to “invade” other computers. If an “attack” is traced back to the source, you are the source.

DSL                            Digital Subscriber Line is the service provided over the phone lines. Depending on the “generation” of DSL it can be fast to VERY fast. If it is one of the older copper based versions, as opposed to the newer fiber optic versions, it is usually slower than Cable but still around 128K, keeping in mind a Dialup connection is a theoretical maximum of 56K. A “good” Dialup connection is usually around 40K. Usually, if DSL is available in your area, it is less expensive then Cable. DSL “uploads” and “downloads” are the same speed. DSL is NOT available in all areas.

CABLE                      Cable Broadband is usually faster than copper based DSL. It uses the same cable that your Cable TV uses. It is usually more expensive than DSL. It has slower “uploads” than “downloads”. It is only available in areas that have Cable AND have Cable Broadband service. Just having Cable TV available in an area does NOT mean that you can get Cable Broadband! The other item of note about cable internet access is that the line is shared with other subscribers in your area. This means that if your neighbor is downloading massive amounts of data, it will affect your connection speed.

MODEM                    MODulate DEModulate. This is the hardware that takes the binary information you are sending and converts, or modulates, it into something that can be carried by whatever connection you are using. For DIALUP modems and Fax machines many of you have heard the strange sounds you can often hear while it is connecting. These strange sounds are the information converted into sound. At the other end, or when you are receiving information, the sound is converted, or demodulated, back into the binary information needed by the computer. Different types of modems, Dialup, Cable, DSL, etc., and different modem protocols handle the conversion differently.


DOWNLOAD            Downloading is getting data such as pictures, music, etc. from the WWW and putting onto your own machine.

UPLOAD                   Uploading is taking data such as pictures, music, etc. from your own machine and putting onto the WWW. This is done by people such as Web Site Designers, Programmers that use the web to transfer modifications to customers, users that do NOT have a local database data entry system but rent one on the web, people posting to personal Web Sites, Emailing pictures, etc.


HACK                        HACK is the term used to describe breaking into someone’s computer or network. A HACKER is the person doing the hacking.


GIF                             GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a picture file extension used (IE Picture_Name.gif), for a type of picture that was created by CompuServe® for faster, color, picture display. GIF's can be animated.


JPG                             JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a picture file extension used (IE Picture_Name.jpg), for a type of picture that was created to be a standard, interchangeable, picture format. Also Picture_Name.JPEG, Picture_Name.JPE, Picture_Name.JFIF, or Picture_Name.JIF. This currently the most used WWW picture format.

PDF                             PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file extension used (IE Document_Name.pdf), for a type of file that was created to be a standard, viewable, and printable, documnet format. This format was created by Adobe® systems to make it possible to distribute and post documents on the web that anyone can view/print. The only restriction is that you must download and install the free Adode Reader®. The Adobe® application that creates the PDF is NOT free. Some applications have, built in, the ability to "print" the document to a PDF file. Many of the Flyers, etc. post on this web site are as PDF's




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