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56Kbps Modem

56Kbps is the standard speed for most current modems. See Modems.

AGP

Accelerated Graphics Port. A new type of interface designed to take super-fast 3D graphics cards.

BIOS

All PCs have a BIOS chip, which stands for Basic Input Output System. It controls the basic features of a PC and tells the operation system things like the time and the size of your hard disk.

Browser

A computer program that allows your PC to access websites. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the two most common browsers.

Cell

One box which makes up a table, wether it be in a table for websites or a Spreadsheet. You can define its own size, colour and what may go inside it.

Clipart

Pre-drawn images for you to use in documents and such. Most commonly found in programs such as Microsoft Word, etc. These can be found on various websites across the web.

Compact Flash

A form of storage used by some digital cameras. Each is about the size of a matchbox, but it is only 3mm thick. They can be slotted into the camera, which uses them for storing photos on.

Crashing

This is what happens when your PC goes wrong and freezes. It can be caused by all sorts of software problems, or simply a lack of memory due to too many programs running at once.

DOS

Stands for Disk Operating System. It is the basic operating system of a PC which doesn’t make use of any Windows features. Basically, it is the backbone of a PC which the Operating System sits on.

Download

Process of transferring files from an Internet resource to your PC. An example of what you may download could be text, images, software or music.

DPI

Dots Per Inch – the density of ink dots per square inch. The more dots, the higher the quality of the printed item.

Drivers

Software that sits between Windows and a peripheral such as a printer, and translates instructions from Windows into a form that the peripheral can understand.

DVD

Digital Versatile Disc. This medium can store huge amounts of data on one disc, including movies, with excellent sound and picture. Many brand-made PCs come with them built-in.

DVD-ROM

This is the hardware in which you would use in a PC to play DVD discs. It looks similar to a standard CD-ROM.

Email

System of sending files between computers via the Internet.

Ethernet

A type of network which allows a number of PCs to be linked together and communicate with one another; similar to the Internet but a smaller version. Originally developed by Xerox in the 1970s.

Font

The design of lettering, or typeface, such as Times New Roman, Verdana or Arial.

Gb

Gigabytes. A thousand megabytes. A measurement of storage space.

Greyscale

A type of printing where a different shade of grey is used for each colour.

HDD

Hard Disk Drive. A high capacity storage device that a PC uses to store programs and data, measured in gigabytes, e.g. 10Gb, 40Gb.

HTML

Hypertext Mark-Up Language – coding used to create pages for the Web.

Hyperlink

A form of navigation which enables you to jump between web pages. Usually named links.

JPEG

Joint Picture Experts Group. JPEG is a standard file type for storing pictures in a compressed format, so they take up less storage space on your hard disk and can be transmitted more quickly over the Internet.

Jumpers

Little metal pins that are found on cards and motherboards, which allow you to change sittings, manually.

Insertion Point

The flashing line ( | ), also known as the cursor, that shows where text will appear.

Landscape

Printing so that the paper is placed so the document is wider than it is high.

Lithium-ion

The most sophisticated type of rechargeable battery. It is light, has a long life, and doesn’t loose capacity with frequent recharging. Widely used in laptop computers.

Mb

Megabyte. A measurement of storage space. Roughly a million characters of text, or 180,000 words, enough for a good sized novel.

Memory (RAM)

Random Accessed Memory is the computers temporary storage area, measured in megabytes. Anything written to memory will be lost when the computer is switched off.

MHz

A measure of frequency of a timing signal that equals to 1,000,000 cycles per second. A measure of how fast the processor in your PC works.

Modem

Hardware that converts electronic signals from your PC into sound signals that can be transmitted over a phone line. You need a modem to connect to the Internet, view web pages and send emails.

Motherboard

The main circuit board in your PC. It contains the ‘Central Processing Unit’, Bus, Memory Sockets, Expansion Slots and other components.

MPEG-2

A compression standard which is used to shrink the size of video files, thus making them quicker to copy and load, and also to send over the Internet.

Operating System

The software that controls the actions of the different parts of your PC. In older PCs it is called MS-DOS, now it is Windows, Apple Mac, Linux and so-on.

Partition

A way of dividing a hard disk into chunks that can be addressed by separate drive letters. A 2Gb hard disk, could for example, be split into four 500Mb partitions called C: D: E: and F:.

PCI

Peripheral Component Interconnect can offer Plug-and-Play and plugs into your motherboard. It provides a high-speed connection with peripherals and allows connection of seven peripheral devices.

Pixels

The smallest point in an image. Image resolution is measured in a number of pixels; vertically and horizontally.

Point

A unit or measurement for type. There are 72 points to an inch.

Portrait

Printing so that the paper is place so the document is higher than it is wider.

Processor

Or Microprocessor. Originally created by Intel, it is a PC with its entire ‘Central Processing Unit’ on one integrated circuit.

Refresh Rate

How quickly the picture on your PCs monitor, takes to redraw itself. The minimum rate should be 72Hz for a flicker-free image.

Resolution

A measure or print quality – measured in dpi.

Serial Port

A connector at the back of a PC that can connect devices such as external modems, scanners, digital cameras and PDA’s.

Sound Card

An expansion card which can be fitted inside a PC to give it sound, music and sometimes recording capabilities. Practically all PCs come with one.

Taskbar

The bar displaying the Start button and others indicating an open program or file. Click on a button, and the program or file window will open up.

Toolbar

The row of symbols at the top of the screen which enables you to perform functions such as aligning or copying text.

TrueType

A type of font that appears exactly the same on screen as it does when it is printed.

TWAIN

A standard program/driver for scanners and some other devices talk to your computer. It stands for Technology Without An Interesting Name…!

Type II PC Card

The most common type of credit card-size expansion card used to add peripherals such as modems to a notebook PC. Fits into a Type II PC Card slot, which is standard on all notebooks.

URL

Stands for Uniform Resource Locator – the address of a website e.g. www.cappa-euphoric.co.uk.

USB

Universal Serial Bus. A standard way of connecting external peripherals such as scanners and printers to your PC. USB 2 is faster but supports USB 1 devices.USB 2 is used by such things as MP3 players and external disk drives.

Voice Recognition

Refers to software and computer systems that can recognise – but not necessarily understand – speech.

Wallpaper

An image or pattern used as a background on a PC, on the desktop. Wallpapers are also used for personal-style web pages.

Web Browser

A software program developed for navigating the World Wide Web. The two most common and most popular are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Web Cam

A video camera that connects to your PC and can be used for video-conferencing or simply sending live video over the Internet.