Digital Network) -- Usually refers to a 56Kbps leased-line.
Digital Subscriber Line) -- A method for moving data over regular
phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone
connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber╣s premises
are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. An
ADSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations,
similar to a leased line.
A commonly discussed configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber
to receive data (download) at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not
megabytes) per second, and to send (upload) data
at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. Thus the │Asymmetric▓ part
of the acronym.
Another commonly discussed configuration would be symmetrical:
384 Kilobits per second in both directions. In theory ADSL allows
download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and upload speeds
of up to 640 kilobits per second.
ADSL is often discussed as an alternative to ISDN, allowing
higher speeds in cases where the connection is always to the same
Also: bit , bps , ISDN
small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML
page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that
they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local
computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers,
etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers
across a network. The current rule is that an applet can only
make an Internet connection to the computer from which the applet
Also: HTML , Java
tool (software) for finding files stored on anonymous FTP
sites. You need to know the exact file name or a substring of
Research Projects Agency Network) -- The precursor to the Internet.
Developed in the late 60╣s and early 70╣s by the US Department
of Defense as an experiment in wide-area-networking that would
survive a nuclear war.
Standard Code for Information Interchange) -- This is the de facto
world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to
represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers,
punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which
can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through
Return to Index
high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway
within a network. The term is relative as a backbone in a small
network will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone
lines in a large network.
much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured
in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000
bits. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second. Full-motion
full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second,
depending on compression.
Also: 56k Line , Bps , Bit , T-1
common usage the baud rate of a modem is how many bits
it can send or receive per second. Technically, baud is the number
of times per second that the carrier signal shifts value - for
example a 1200 bit-per-second modem actually runs at 300 baud,
but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 300 = 1200 bits per second).
Also: Bit , Modem
Board System) -- A computerized meeting and announcement system
that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download
files, and make announcements without the people being connected
to the computer at the same time. There are many thousands (millions?)
of BBS╣s around the world, most are very small, running on a single
IBM clone PC with 1 or 2 phone lines. Some are very large and
the line between a BBS and a system like CompuServe gets crossed
at some point, but it is not clearly drawn.
HEXadecimal) -- A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII)
into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can
only handle ASCII.
Also: ASCII , MIME , UUENCODE
DigIT) -- A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either
a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerized data. Bandwidth
is usually measured in bits-per-second.
Also: Bandwidth , Bps , Byte , Kilobyte , Megabyte
It╣s Time NETwork (or Because It╣s There NETwork)) -- A network
of educational sites separate from the Internet, but e-mail is
freely exchanged between BITNET and the Internet. Listservs,
the most popular form of e-mail discussion groups, originated
on BITNET. BITNET machines are usually mainframes running the
VMS operating system, and the network is probably the only international
network that is shrinking.
-- A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place to another.
A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second.
Also: Bandwidth , Bit
Client program (software) that is used to look at various
kinds of Internet resources.
Also: Client , URL , WWW
, Netscape , Mosaic , Home Page (or Homepage)
The Way) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written in an online
Also: IMHO , TTFN
set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are
8 Bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement
is being made.
Also: Security Certificate
Gateway Interface) -- A set of rules that describe how a Web
Server communicates with another piece of software on the
same machine, and how the other piece of software (the │CGI program▓)
talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program
if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.
Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from
a web server and does something with it, like putting the content
of a form into an e-mail message, or turning the data into a database
You can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing │cgi-bin▓
in a URL, but not always.
Also: cgi-bin , Web
most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI
programs are stored.
The │bin▓ part of │cgi-bin▓ is a shorthand version of │binary▓,
because once upon a time, most programs were refered to as │binaries▓.
In real life, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text
files -- scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere
on the same machine.
software program that is used to contact and obtain data from
a Server software program on another computer, often across
a great distance. Each Client program is designed to work
with one or more specific kinds of Server programs, and
each Server requires a specific kind of Client.
A Web Browser is a specific kind of Client.
Also: Browser , Server
most common meaning of │Cookie▓ on the Internet refers to a piece
of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser
that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back
to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from
Depending on the type of Cookie used, and the Browser╣s settings,
the Browser may accept or not accept the Cookie, and may save
the Cookie for either a short time or a long time.
Cookies might contain information such as login or registration
information, online │shopping cart▓ information, user preferences,
When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes
a Cookie, the Server is able to use the information stored in
the Cookie. For example, the Server might customize what is sent
back to the user, or keep a log of particular user╣s requests.
Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount
of time and are usually saved in memory until the Browser software
is closed down, at which time they may be saved to disk if their
│expire time▓ has not been reached.
Cookies do not read your hard drive and send
your life story to the CIA, but they can be used to gather more
information about a user than would be possible without them.
Also: Browser , Server
was originally a cultural sub-genre of science fiction taking
place in a not-so-distant, dystopian, over-industrialized society.
The term grew out of the work of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
and has evolved into a cultural label encompassing many different
kinds of human, machine, and punk attitudes. It includes clothing
and lifestyle choices as well.
originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer
the word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range
of information resources available through computer networks.
technology that separates computers and their users into two categories:
clients or servers. When you want information from a computer
on the Internet, you are a client. The computer that delivers
the information is the server. A server both stores information
and makes it available to any authorized client who requests the
information. You may hear this one frequently, especially if someone
says, "You can't contact us today because our Web server is down."
Return to Index
digital version of literati, it is a reference to a vague cloud
of people seen to be knowledgeable, hip, or otherwise in-the-know
in regards to the digital revolution.
unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always
have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left
is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general.
A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given
Domain Name points to only one machine. For example, the domain
can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer
to no more than one machine.
Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have
the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names
(matisse.net in the examples above). It is also
possible for a Domain Name to exist but not be connected to an
actual machine. This is often done so that a group or business
can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish
a real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine
must handle the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.
Also: IP Number
Internet account that can connect any stand-alone PC directly
to the Internet. The account is used by having a PC-based (most
often, Windows-based) software application dial-in to an Internet
service provider (ISP). The software connects with the ISP and
establishes a TCP/IP link to the Internet that enables your software
to access Internet information. The PC that accesses a dial-in
connection needs either a modem to connect via a regular phone
line or a terminal adapter (TA) to connect via an ISDN phone line.
Mail) -- Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another
via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large
number of addresses (Mailing List). can carry with it files
of any type as attachments.
Also: Listserv , Maillist
very common method of networking computers in a LAN. Ethernet
will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with
almost any kind of computer.
Also: Bandwidth , LAN
Return to Index
(Frequently Asked Questions) -- FAQs are documents that list and
answer the most common questions on a particular subject. There
are hundreds of FAQs on subjects as diverse as Pet Grooming and
Cryptography. FAQs are usually written by people who have tired
of answering the same question over and over.
Distributed Data Interface) -- A standard for transmitting data
on optical fiber cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-second
(10 times as fast as Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3).
Also: Bandwidth , Ethernet , T-1 , T-3
Internet software tool for locating people on other Internet sites.
Finger is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal information,
but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at
a particular Internet site. Many sites do not allow incoming Finger
requests, but many do.
combination of hardware and software that separates a LAN
into two or more parts for security purposes.
Also: Network , LAN
flame meant to carry forth in a passionate manner in the spirit
of honorable debate. Flames most often involved the use of flowery
language and flaming well was an art form. More recently flame
has come to refer to any kind of derogatory comment no matter
how witless or crude.
Also: Flame War
an online discussion degenerates into a series of personal attacks
against the debators, rather than discussion of their positions.
A heated exchange.
Transfer Protocol) -- A very common method of moving files between
two Internet sites. FTP is a special way to login to another
Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files.
There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible
repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging
in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called
anonymous ftp servers.
Asked Questions) Files that commonly are maintained at Internet
sites to answer frequently asked questions so that experienced
users don't have to bear the annoying burden of hearing newbies
repeatedly ask the same questions. It's good netiquette to check
for FAQs and read them. It's extremely poor netiquette--and a
good way to get flamed--to post questions that already are answered
in the FAQ.
Finger--An Internet function that enables one
user to query (finger) the location of another Internet user.
Finger can be applied to any computer on the Internet, if set
up properly. For example, the most famous finger site of all was
a Coke machine at Carnegie-Mellon that students wired to the Internet
so they could finger it and track such important information as
how many bottles of which beverage remained and how long the bottom
bottle in each stack had been in the machine--so they wouldn't
walk all the way to the machine and find it empty or purchase
a warm soda. You won't use this, but it was fun while it lasted.
Most sites on which you could use Finger are shutting it down
because it helps hackers crack a system.
firewall--A combination of hardware and software that protects
a local area network (LAN) from Internet hackers. It separates
the network into two or more parts and restricts outsiders to
the area "outside" the firewall. Private or sensitive information
is kept "inside" the firewall.
flames--Insulting, enraged Internet messages.
The equivalent of schoolyard brawls in cyberspace. Unfortunately,
a good schoolyard brawl would be preferable because at least then
the only people who suffer are the dummies who fight. On the Internet,
everyone suffers as resources are squandered on ridiculous, infantile
behavior. As a representative of a business organization, you
won't be using flames, of course.
FQDN--(Fully Qualified Domain Name) The "official"
name assigned to a computer. Organizations register names, such
as "ibm.com" or "utulsa.edu." They then assign unique names to
their computers, such as "watson5.ibm.com" or "hurricane.cs.utulsa.edu."
FTP--(File Transfer Protocol) The basic Internet
function that enables files to be transferred between computers.
You can use it to download files from a remote, host computer,
as well as to upload files from your computer to a remote, host
computer. (See Anonymous FTP).
Return to Index
technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates
between two dissimilar protocols, for example Prodigy has a gateway
that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format
and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway
is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system,
e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.
Also: Byte , Gigabyte
widely successful method of making menus of material available
over the Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server
style program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client
program. Although Gopher spread rapidly across the globe in only
a couple of years, it has been largely supplanted by Hypertext,
also known as WWW (World Wide Web). There are still thousands
of Gopher Servers on the Internet and we can expect they
will remain for a while.
Also: Client , Server , WWW , Hypertext
host computer that connects networks that communicate in different
languages. For example, a gateway connects a company's local area
network to the Internet.
GIF--(Graphics Interchange Format) A graphics
file format that is commonly used on the Internet to provide graphics
images in Web pages.
Gopher--A searching tool that was the primary
tool for finding Internet resources before the World Wide Web
became popular. Gopher now is buried under mountains of WWW pages--don't
bother learning how to use this directly. You sometimes will find
a Web link that takes you to a Gopher site, but at that point,
if you're using Netscape, its usage will be obvious and actually
will look a great deal like the Web.
Return to Index
As used in reference to the World Wide Web, │hit▓ means a single
request from a web browser
for a single item from a web
; thus in order for a web browser to display a page
that contains 3 graphics, 4 │hits▓ would occur at the server:
1 for the HTML
page, and one for each of the 3 graphics.
│hits▓ are often used as a very rough measure of load on a server,
e.g. │Our server has been getting 300,000 hits per month.▓ Because
each │hit▓ can represent anything from a request for a tiny document
(or even a request for a missing document) all the way to a request
that requires some significant extra processing (such as a complex
search request), the actual load on a machine from 1 hit is almost
impossible to define.
Page (or Homepage)
meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser
is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers
to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply
the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. │Check out
so-and-so╣s new Home Page.▓
Another sloppier use of the term refers to practically any web
page as a │homepage,▓ e.g. │That web site has 65 homepages and
none of them are interesting.▓
Also: Browser , Web
computer on a network that is a repository for services
available to other computers on the network. It is quite
common to have one host machine provide several services, such
as WWW and USENET.
Also: Node , Network
Markup Language) -- The coding language used to create Hypertext
documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot
like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block
of text with codes that indicate how it should appear, additionally,
in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is linked
to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed
using a World Wide Web Client Program, such as Netscape
Also: Client , Server , WWW
Transport Protocol) -- The protocol for moving hypertext
files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client
program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other
end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World
Wide Web (WWW).
Also: Client , Server , WWW
any text that contains links to other documents - words or phrases
in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause
another document to be retrieved and displayed.
computer that "hosts" outside computer users by providing files,
services or sharing its resources.
HTML--(Hypertext Markup Language) The basic language
that is used to build hypertext documents on the World Wide Web.
It is used in basic, plain ASCII-text documents, but when those
documents are interpreted (called rendering) by a Web browser
such as Netscape, the document can display formatted text, color,
a variety of fonts, graphic images, special effects, hypertext
jumps to other Internet locations and information forms.
HTTP--(Hypertext Transfer Protocol) The protocol
(rules) computers use to transfer hypertext documents.
hypertext--Text in a document that contains a
hidden link to other text. You can click a mouse on a hypertext
word and it will take you to the text designated in the link.
Hypertext is used in Windows help programs and CD encyclopedias
to jump to related references elsewhere within the same document.
The wonderful thing about hypertext, however, is its ability to
link--using http over the World Wide Web--to any Web document
in the world, yet still require only a single mouse click to jump
clear around the world.
Return to Index
(In My Humble Opinion) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written
in an online forum, IMHO indicates that the writer is aware that
they are expressing a debatable view, probably on a subject already
under discussion. One of may such shorthands in common use online,
especially in discussion forums.
Also: TTFN , BTW
case I) The vast collection of inter-connected networks that
all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET
of the late 60╣s and early 70╣s. The Internet now (July 1995)
connects roughly 60,000 independent networks into a vast global
case i) Any time you connect 2 or more networks together,
you have an internet - as in inter-national or inter-state.
Also: Internet , Network
private network inside a company or organization that uses
the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet,
but that is only for internal use.
As the Internet has become more popular many of the tools used
on the Internet are being used in private networks, for example,
many companies have web servers that are available only to employees.
Note that an Intranet may not actually be an internet -- it may simply be a network.
Also: internet , Internet , Network
called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated
by dots, e.g.
Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number -
if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the
Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names
that are easier for people to remember.
Also: Domain Name , Internet
Relay Chat) -- Basically a huge multi-user live chat facility.
There are a number of major IRC servers around the world
which are linked to each other. Anyone can create a channel and
anything that anyone types in a given channel is seen by all others
in the channel. Private channels can (and are) created for multi-person
Services Digital Network) -- Basically a way to move more data
over existing regular phone lines. ISDN is rapidly becoming available
to much of the USA and in most markets it is priced very comparably
to standard analog phone circuits. It can provide speeds of roughly
128,000 bits-per-second over regular phone lines. In practice,
most people will be limited to 56,000 or 64,000 bits-per-second.
Service Provider) -- An institution that provides access to the
Internet in some form, usually for money.
Protocol) The rules that provide basic Internet functions. (See
IP Number--An Internet address that is a unique number
consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, sometimes called a "dotted
quad." (For example: 184.108.40.206) Every Internet computer has
an IP number and most computers also have one or more Domain Names
that are plain language substitutes for the dotted quad.
IRC--(Internet Relay Chat) Currently an Internet
tool with a limited use that lets users join a "chat" channel
and exchange typed, text messages. Few people have used IRC, but
it is going to create a revolution in communication when the Internet
can provide the bandwidth to carry full-color, live-action video
and audio. Once that occurs, the IRC will provide full video-conferencing.
Even today, while limited for all practical purposes only to text,
the IRC can be a valuable business conferencing tool, already
providing adequate voice communication.
ISDN--(Integrated Services Digital Network) A
set of communications standards that enable a single phone line
or optical cable to carry voice, digital network services and
video. ISDN is intended to eventually replace our standard telephone
ISOC-- (Internet Society) Based in Herndon, Virginia, the
Internet Society promotes the Internet and coordinates standards.
You can visit their Web site
to learn more or to become a member.
Return to Index
Java is a network-oriented programming language invented by Sun
Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs
that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet
and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to your
computer or files. Using small Java programs (called "Applets
Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators,
and other fancy tricks.
We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the Web
using Java, since you can write a Java program to do almost anything
a regular computer program can do, and then include that Java
program in a Web page.
Development Kit) -- A software development package from Sun Microsystems
that implements the basic set of tools needed to write, test and
debug Java applications and applets
Photographic Experts Group) The name of the committee that designed
the photographic image-compression standard. JPEG is optimized
for compressing full-color or gray-scale photographic-type, digital
images. It doesn't work well on drawn images such as line drawings,
and it does not handle black-and-white images or video images.
See Also: Applet , Java
thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (2^10) bytes.
Also: Byte , Bit
per second) A speed rating for computer modems that measures (in
units of 1,024 bits) the maximum number of bits the device can
transfer in one second under ideal conditions.
kBps--(kilobytes per second). Remember, one byte
is eight bits.
Return to Index
(Local Area Network) -- A computer
network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building
or floor of a building.
to a phone line that is rented for exclusive 24-hour, 7 -days-a-week
use from your location to another location. The highest speed
data connections require a leased line.
Also: 56k Line , T-1 , T-3
most common kind of maillist, Listservs originated on BITNET
but they are now common on the Internet.
Also: BITNET , E-mail , Maillist
or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a computer
system. Not a secret (contrast with Password).
Verb: The act of entering into a computer system, e.g. Login
to the WELL and then go to the GBN conference.
line--A leased phone line that provides a full-time,
dedicated, direct connection to the Internet.
application that automatically "serves" mailing lists by sending
electronic newsletters to a stored database of Internet user addresses.
Users can handle their own subscribe/unsubscribe actions without
requiring anyone at the server location to personally handle the
(or Mailing List)
A (usually automated) system
that allows people to send e-mail
to one address, whereupon
their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers
to the maillist. In this way, people who have many different kinds
of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.
million bytes. A thousand kilobytes.
Also: Byte , Bit , Kilobyte
Internet Mail Extensions) -- The standard for attaching non-text
files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include
graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound
An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send
and receive files using the MIME standard.
When non-text files are sent using the MIME standard they are
converted (encoded) into text - although the resulting text is
not really readable.
Generally speaking the MIME standard is a way of specifying both
the type of file being sent (e.g. a Quicktimeü video file), and
the method that should be used to turn it back into its original
Besides email software, the MIME standard is also universally
used by Web Servers to identify the files they are sending
to Web Clients, in this way new file formats can be accommodated
simply by updating the Browsers╣ list of pairs of MIME-Types and
appropriate software for handling each type.
Also: Browser , Client , Server , Binhex , UUENCODE
speaking, │to mirror▓ is to maintain an exact copy of something.
Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers
to │mirror sites▓ which are web sites, or FTP sites
that maintain exact copies of material originated at another location,
usually in order to provide more widespread access to the resource.
Another common use of the term │mirror▓ refers to an arrangement
where information is written to more than one hard disk simultaneously,
so that if one disk fails, the computer keeps on working without
Also: FTP , Web
DEModulator) -- A device that you connect to your computer and
to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers
through the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what
a telephone does for humans.
Object Oriented) -- One of several kinds of multi-user role-playing
environments, so far only text-based.
Also: MUD , MUSE
first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh,
Windows, and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic really started
the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic has been
licensed by several companies and there are several other pieces
of software as good or better than Mosaic, most notably, Netscape.
Also: Browser , Client , WWW
Dungeon or Dimension) -- A (usually text-based) multi-user simulation
environment. Some are purely for fun and flirting, others are
used for serious software development, or education purposes and
all that lies in between. A significant feature of most MUDs is
that users can create things that stay after they leave and which
other users can interact with in their absence, thus allowing
a world to be built gradually and collectively.
Also: MOO , MUSE
Simulated Environment) -- One kind of MUD - usually with little
or no violence.
Also: MOO , MUD
list--An e-mail based discussion group. Sending one e-mail
message to the mailing list's list server sends mail to all other members
of the group. Users join a mailing list by subscribing. Subscribers
to a mailing list receive messages from all other members. Users
have to unsubscribe from a mailing list to stop receiving messages
forwarded from the group's members.
MIME--(Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
A set of Internet functions that extends normal e-mail capabilities
and enables computer files to be attached to e-mail. Files sent
by MIME arrive at their destination as exact copies of the original
so that you can send fully-formatted word processing files, spreadsheets,
graphics images and software applications to other users via simple
electronic device that lets computer communicate electronically.
The name is derived from "modulator-demodulator" because of their
function in processing data over analog phone lines. These days,
some people have begun to confuse them with Terminal Adapters.
Return to Index