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Glossary of Internet & Computer Terms

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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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file compression
see data compression.

file extension
see extension.

file format
a method for encoding or arranging data in a file. Every program uses a particular format for organizing the information in the files they produce. For example, text is arranged differently than images or graphics. That is why most word processing programs cannot display photographs.

file recovery
when deleting a file from a disk, the space it occupied is not actually overwritten until it is needed for new data. Therefore, in some cases it is possible to retrieve the deleted information. Some files created using Windows applications may be resurrected by going to the Recycle Bin, clicking on the file you wish to bring back so it is selected or shaded, then clicking on “Restore File.” Files created by programs other than Microsoft, may be restored with software available from several software companies, such as Norton Utilities.

1. software that takes data and transforms it in some way, such as converting files in a particular format to another.
2. in image processing programs, a filter is a tool that modifies an image such as a bitmap.

an operating system command that searches particular directories for files with specific attributes.

Unix software that weeds out information (particularly email info) about an Internet user and returns the data to the requesting party. This might include the user’s full name and whether he is online at the moment. Due to abuse by commercial mass emailers, Unix systems now ignore many finger queries.

an online realtime chat service that allows users to communicate with other registered users anywhere in the world verbally. The service also offers teleconferencing, voicemail, instant messages, and a realtime chat service for Websites.

a security system designed to keep unauthorized individuals from gaining access to a private network. A firewall may be deployed in either software or hardware or both concurrently. One of the functions of a firewall is to effectively screen all incoming and outgoing messages.

a high-speed serial bus developed by Apple and Texas Instruments that allows for the connection of up to 63 devices. It is widely used for downloading video from digital camcorders to the computer. Also known as the IEEE 1394 standard, the i.Link connector and the High Performance Serial Bus (HPSB), the first version of FireWire supported 100, 200 and 400 Mbits/sec transfer rates and a distance of 4.5 meters between devices. IEEE 1394b provides 800, 1,600 and 3,200 Mbps speeds, increases cable distance to 100 meters and can use glass or plastic fiber and Cat 5 Ethernet cable. FireWire 800 was the first implementation of 1394b and became available in 2003. Backward compatible with FireWire 400, earlier devices run at the lower speed. FireWire supports hot swapping, multiple speeds on the same bus and isochronous data transfer, which guarantees bandwidth for multimedia operations.

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"When a tech gets on the elevator pushing 15,000 kilograms worth of computer equipment on a cart, ask in a very loud voice: "Good grief, you take the elevator to go DOWN one floor?!?" That's another one that cracks us up no end."

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