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Glossary of Internet & Computer Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z - 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary or type the term on which you want to search.


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paint program
an application that allows a user to draw pictures and create images using straight lines, boxes, ovals, as well as apply color and shading. The program also includes tools for manipulating images such as a pen or brush for drawing, scissors for cropping, a spray can used for painting, and an eraser. An image created by a paint program is formatted as a bitmap. Many operating systems include simple paint programs, however, such applications are available commercially and offer a wide range of creative options for artists and graphic designers.


palette
one of a set of tools included in graphics and paint applications. The palette is a selection of colors, usually displayed in small boxes. The user can select the desired color, and click OK to apply it.


palmtop
a computer small enough to fit in the user’s hand. Primarily used as personal organizers, they provide users with the ability to store names and addresses, play games, access the Internet, and use a calculator. 3Com’s Palm Pilot is a popular palmtop. see hand-held computer.


parallel port
a computer connection that allows data to flow using more than one wire. Most printers are connected to a computer using a parallel port allowing faster transmission than a serial port connection. see serial port.


parallel processing
the simultaneous use of more than one microprocessor to run a program, allowing for faster execution.


parameter
an identifying feature, value, or characteristic. In programming, a parameter represents a boundary or value, which might trigger a function or action.


parent
an element that passes its characteristics to an adjunct of that element (child). Modifying the properties of the parent will change the properties of the child but changing the properties of the child will not alter the parent.


parent directory
the senior directory to a particular file or directory in a computer’s hierarchy. In the Windows operating system, the C drive is the computer’s main storage space or root directory. All of the other directories are kept here. For example, to trace the lineage of a file labeled “My Recipes”, we would first look in the C directory, then to Program files (stored in the C Directory), then to MS Word, (the application that created the My Recipe document) kept in the Program Files Directory, then the individual file, My Recipes. Since MS Word is kept in the folder called Program files, Program files is the parent of the MS Word folder, just as the C directory is the parent to Program Files. C:\ Program Files\ MS Word\ My Recipes. see chart under hierarchy.


parity
the state of equality or being equal. In computer programming, as well as the transmission of data, evenly (or oddly) matched groupings of data allow for a simple method of checking errors.


park
to safely secure the read/write head of a hard disk so that it isn’t damaged when a computer is moved. Modern hard disks automatically do this when the computer’s power is shut off.


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