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Internet Glossary

Understanding all of the new terminology associated with the Internet can be a bit overwhelming, here is a short glossary of terms to assist you:

Access - The ability to get information or use a resource by the correct combination of software and hardware.

Address - The string of characters that identifies a sender or receiver of messages, a computer site, or the location of a computer file (i.e. Much like a street address, an e-mail address is how you reach someone or something. In the not too distant past, e-mail was the only commonly used method to communicate across the Internet.

ASCII - Pronounced "askee"; abbreviation for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, a universal code most personal computers understand. ASCII files are plain vanilla without special formatting codes. For many viewers, these plain text files with no frills are hard to read. Most e-mail for job seekers is sent and received as ASCII messages.

Baud - A measurement of how fast a modem can transmit information over a telephone line from one computer to another. Sometimes used as a synonym for BPS (bits per second), but not exactly the same. Many people have 9600 baud and 14,400 baud modems. Some have 28,800 baud modems. Speeds are getting faster and faster. Generally, the faster the information zips along telephone lines, the cheaper the telephone and network bills.

BBS - Bulletin Board System - a communication computer that has one or more modems. Allows people with modem equipped computers to connect by telephone, or, to enter the Internet, if the BBS has an Internet connection. BBS participants telephone the BBS and swap information, computer files, and programs. An electronic version of a meeting hall where users with common interests exchange information.

Byte - A computer storage unit. Holds the equivalent of a single character such as the letter A, or a dollar sign, or a decimal point. The word dog takes three bytes of information.

Communications Program - The program that controls the transfer of data through a modem to and from another computer. You cannot use a modem to go on-line without a communications program.

Download - To retrieve or receive information (files or order forms) from a remote computer. If you upload a file, you transmit a file from your computer to a remote computer.

E-mail - The abbreviation for electronic mail, a network service that allows you to send and receive messages via your computer.

FAQs - Pronounced "fack"; Frequently asked questions. A list of the most commonly asked questions and their answers. We suggest having FAQ's as a part of your homepage.

Flames - Any abusive or angrily sent e-mail message - or posting to a newsgroup - usually containing words better left unsaid. This is what happens to authors of uninvited mass e-mailings to sell a product.

Hypertext - Linking and displaying information in another portion of a document by selecting or clicking on highlighted text or icons on a screen. Hypertext is the fundamental basis of the World Wide Web.

Information Highway - A term that originally meant running an optical fiber into most homes in the United States, a goal that is at least ten years off. Commonly, the term, including its contraction, "I-Way," is used to mean what is already happening. As Microsoft CEO Bill Gates says, "When society adopts electronic mail, when a corporation starts electronically circulating resumes and job orders and product orders and schedules, when small business begins using electronic channels to market products, that's the information highway. When you're logged into an on-line service, plugging into a bulletin board, that's the information highway. When you use your PC send mail or do your banking, that's the information highway."

Internet - The global network of networks that communicate with each other. These communicating networks are of a variety of types, such as government, academic, military, organizational, research, and commercial. The trend is for all networks to be gateway linked (hooked up) to the Internet; this includes long-standing private commercial networks.

Listserv - One of many programs that manage the creation and distribution of mailing lists.

Login - Your name or identification number and password to hook up to a computer, usually one is part of a bulletin board or internet gateway provider. When used as a verb, it becomes two words: log in.

Logoff - To disconnect.

Menu - A list of computer program choices presented on screen; just what it says - electronic dishes to be served up.

Modem - Short for MOdulator / DEModulator, a piece of computer hardware that acts as an interface between computers and telephone lines, allowing your computer to communicate with other computers.

Netiquette - A pun on "etiquette." Proper behavior on the Net. Think of Miss Manners in cyberspace.

Newsgroup - A special interest group on Usenet, a network in which you can post and read messages.

Off-line - Not connected to any computer, information service, or network.

On line - Electronically connected by modem or by hardwire to a remote computer, information center, or network.

On line Information Service - An on-line service, generally provided at a monthly rate that covers a certain amount of free access time or a set number of messages at no additional charge. Extra costs are incurred when you use more time or send more messages than provided for in the standard service package. On-line services provide subscribers with access to specialized databanks, including such interactive services as making travel reservations, buying and selling stocks, sending and receiving e-mail, and otherwise conducting business transactions.

Shell Account - A way to use a dial-up account with an Internet service provider. Can be simple menus - or complex UNIX commands.

SLIP Account - Serial Line Internet Protocol, a protocol that lets a single computer with a telephone line and modem directly use the Internet protocols for virtually any Internet function; in contrast, a shell account offers Internet access only through your gateway provider's computer. In practical terms, without a SLIP or PPP account, without downloading files, you can't run Mosaic, which means you can get text, but no pictures or sounds.

Sysop - System Operator, the person in charge of keeping a computer system up and running. A sysop may run a bulletin board system or a forum, keeping things humming and maintaining order. It's a thankless job, but somebody has to do it!

T-1 Line - A high-capacity, direct connection to the Internet. Expensive, but fast and classy.

Telnet - A program that enables you to log into other computers from your own networked machine. This valuable program saves long-distance charges if you can log in via a local telephone number.

UNIX - An operating system developed by AT&T, usually found on large computers. It's the software backbone of the Internet. Because of easy new programs you need not know UNIX commands to navigate the Internet. If you are using UNIX, cheatsheets with UNIX commands are available.

Upload - To send information and/or files from your computer to another computer.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator. Technically, a standard addressing system. In common usage, an Internet address for people who have placed data on the WWW. For example, the URL of our web site is:


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