Acceptable Use Policy - A set of rules describing which
sorts of activities are permitted during the use of a network, server,
web site, e-mail or newsgroup.
Account - Just like at a bank, computers used by
more than one person use accounts to keep track of (and bill) who's
doing what on their system. When you sign up with an Internet Service
Provider (ISP), you're given an account name that allows you access.
- An address by which the Internet identifies you so that
people can send you mail. It usually looks somthing like firstname.lastname@example.org,
where username is your username, login name, or account number, and
ispname is the Internet's name for the computer or Internet provider
you use. Also See: E-mail
- (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) a communications protocol
for connecting computers and other electronic devices to a network,
such as the Internet. ADSL offers more bandwidth than current telephone
modem connections. ADSL can operate over most existing telephone lines
but is currently available in only a few areas and generally costs
Also See: DSL
- Type of newsgroup that discusses alternative-type topics.
The alt groups are not official newsgroups, but lots of people read
them anyway. We particularly like alt.folklore.urban and alt.folklore.suburban.
Online (AOL) - A public Internet provider.
If you have an account on AOL, your Internet address is email@example.com,
where username is your account name.
(Advanced Digital Network) - Usually refers to a 56Kbps leased-line.
FTP - A method of using the FTP program to log on to another
computer to copy files, even though you don't have an account on the
other computer. When you log on, you enter anonymous as the username
and your address as the password, and you get access to publicly available
files. Also See: FTP
- A 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 was sent.
Also See: HTML , Java
- A file that contains a group of files which have been compressed
for efficient storage. You have to use an archive program to get the
original files back out. Commonly used programs include compress,
tar, cpio, and zip (on UNIX systems), PKZIP (on DOS systems) and WinZIP
on Windows based systems. Also See: Zip, WinZip
- A computer network started in 1969 (the original ancestor
of the Internet) and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense; it
was dismantled several years ago.
- A posting to a newsgroup. That is, a message someone sends
to the newsgroup to be readable by everyone who reads the newsgroup.
(American 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
Responder - This feature allows you to set up a document
that is automatically emailed
to a user who requests information by emailing a selected email address.
Commonly used for price lists, additional information, and FAQs.
Mailing List - A mailing list maintained by a computer program,
usually one named LISTSERV or Majordomo. Also See: Mailing List, Spam
- A high-speed cable, telephone line, fiber cable or series
of connections that forms a major pathway within a network. Also See:
Network, T1, T3, Bandwidth
- The amount of electronic data that can be transferred through
an electronic connection in a given amount of time. For modems connected
by telephone to the Internet, the modem's "speed" represents the maximum
possible bandwidth of the connection, such 56.6Kps (kilobits per second).
Competent web site operators strive to keep the size of web page files
low to conserve bandwidth and speed downloading. Also See: Network,
T1, T3, Backbone
- A collection of credit card transactions saved for submitting
at one time, usually each day. Merchants who do not have real-time
verification systems must submit their transactions manually through
a POS terminal. Batch fees are charged to encourage a merchant to
submit his or her transactions at one time, rather than throughout
- The number of symbols per second that a modem sends down a phone
line. Baud is often incorrectly confused with bps (bits per second).
A 14,400 bps modem transmits at 2,400 baud, because each of the modem
symbols represents 6 bits. In 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 See: Bit , Modem
(Bulletin-Board System) - A system that lets people
read each other's messages and post new ones. The Usenet system of
newsgroups is in effect the world's largest distributed BBS.
- Bye for now. An inanity adopted by the acronym lovers.
File - A file that contains information which does not consist
only of text. For example, a binary file might contain an archive,
a picture, sounds, a spreadsheet, or a word-processing document (which
includes formatting codes in addition to characters).
(BINary HEXadecimal) - A method for converting non-text files
(non-ASCII) into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can
only handle ASCII. Also See: ASCII , MIME,
- The smallest unit of measure for computer data. Bits can
be turned on or off and are used in various combinations to represent
different kinds of information. Many bits form a byte. Bytes form
- Lots of teeny, tiny, little dots put together to make a
picture. Screens (and paper) are divided into thousands of little,
tiny bits, each of which can be turned on or off. These little bits
are combined to create graphical representations. GIF and JPG files
are the most popular kinds of bitmap files on the Net.
(Bits Per Second) - A measurement used to describe how fast
data is transmitted. Usually used to describe modem speed (not quite
the same as baud). A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second.
- Something that connects two networks so that they appear to be a
single larger network.
Network - A network that can handle many separate signals
at the same time. Broadband networks use different channels to transfer
different forms of information, such as data, voice, and video. Your
local cable company broadcasts TV, AM, FM, Data and Internet.
- If you are reading this you are likely using a browser.
It is a special program that interprets the data and translates it
into the text and pictures you read and see over the Internet. Netscape
Navigator (by Netscape) and Explorer (by Microsoft) are the best known.
- By the way. E-mail and newsgroups foster their own silly
Board System - An electronic message system that enables
you to read and post messages. Also See: BBS
- A series of bits of a particular length, usually eight.
Computer storage is usually measured in bytes.
- The submission of a credit card transaction for processing and settlement.
POS terminals and real-time processing software capture transactions
to submit to merchant account providers or credit card processors.
Authority - An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL
See Also: Security Certificate , SSL, Secure Server, Encryption
- The 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. Also See: CGI
(Common 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 query. You
can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing "cgi-bin"
in a URL, but not always. See Also: CGI-Bin
- A fee charged by a merchant services provider against a
merchant account for transactions that are successfully challenged
by a credit card holder. After a charge is disputed and adjudicated
in the cardholder's favor, the transaction total and chargeback fees
are deducted from the merchants account.
- Used to talk live to other network users from any and all
parts of the world. To do this, you use Internet Relay Chat (IRC).
Also See: IRC
- A computer that uses the services of another computer (such
as Usenet or Gopher or FTP or Archie or the World Wide Web). If your
computer is a PC or Macintosh and you dial in to another system, your
computer becomes a client of the system you dial in to.
Model - A division of labor between computers. Computers
that provide a service other computers can use are known as servers.
Servers provide such services as FTP or Search Utilities (Search Engines)
or connect a user to the World Wide Web. If you don't have these services
on your very own machine, you can connect to these machines and use
these services and thereby become a client.
- A computer that requests and receives data over a network, including
the Internet. The most common types of client on the Internet are
computers running browsers or email programs.
- With normal web hosting accounts, you are leasing space
from a server owned by the web hosting company. With co-location,
you actually own the server but still connect to the Internet using
the same backbone. You are purchasing fast, more reliable connectivity
and superior maintenance abilities that a web hosting company can
provide. Also See: Dedicated Server
Fusion - A visual tool and application server. ColdFusion
gives you a fast way to build and deploy scalable solutions that integrate
browser, server, and database technologies.
- When these letters appear in the last part of an address (www.yourcompany.com)
it indicates that the host computer is run by a company rather than
by a university or governmental agency.
Server - Is web server software that runs some of the main
functions of an online storefront such as product display, online
ordering, inventory management. Works in conjunction with online payment
systems to process payments. Also See: SSL, Encryption
Program - Software used to squeeze files together so that
they take up less room and are easier to transfer from one location
to another. Popular compression programs include ZIP and Stuffit.
The opposite of compression is expansion. Also See: Archive, Zip
- An on-line information provider that gives you some Internet access.
It provides lots of forums, which are similar to newsgroups, including
many that provide excellent technical support for a wide range of
PC and Mac software. If your CompuServe account number is 7123,456,
your Internet address is firstname.lastname@example.org (notice the period
in the account number).
- The 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 the Server. 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, etc. 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
See: Browser , Server
Country Code - The last part of
a geographic address, which indicates which country the host computer
is in. An address that ends in .ca is Canadian, for example, and one
that ends in .us is in the United States. For Example: www.yourcompany.ca
Card Processors - ( Third Party Processors) - Merchant service
providers that handle the details of processing credit card transactions
between merchants, issuing banks, and merchant account providers.
Web site operators must first establish their own merchant account
before contracting for credit card processing services.
- Term 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.
- A mysterious little program that runs while you're not
looking and takes care of things you would rather not know about.
- A file or file system containing organized information
and, most commonly, a filing and retrieval system for storing information.
Most database software also includes tools for data analysis. Examples
of database software include Oracle, Sybase, and Microsoft SQL.
Card - Is a cash substitute for consumers. They look like
credit cards, but don't provide credit. Amounts for purchases are
debited immediately from the user's bank balance.
Server - With normal hosting accounts, you are given a certain
amount of disk space on a server with many other web pages on it as
well. For a higher price, a web hosting company offers you an entire
server completely for your own needs - this generally makes your site
run much faster and allows you to be in charge of how your server
Also See: Co-Location
- A compilation of the messages that have been posted to
a mailing list over the past few days. Many people find it more convenient
to receive one big message than a bunch of individual ones.
Cash - Otherwise known as electronic cash or e-cash, this
is a new currency for the real world and the Internet. E-cash is just
a series of numbers, but those digits mean real cash to issuing banks.
E-cash is more like real cash than a credit card because it's completely
transferable and reusable. Also See: Smart Cards, Digital Signature,
Digital Wallet, Digital Coins, Digital Certificate, SSL
Signature - Just as a paper document is authenticated by
a signature, an electronic message can be authenticated by a digital
signature. Digital signatures are another way to assure the recipient
of an electronic message that the message is coming from the right
Wallet - Software that stays resident on the hard drive of
an online shopper. When they are ready to make a purchase, the "wallet"
pops open to reveal payment options. Some "wallets" hold credit cards
with encrypted information. Other "wallets" hold digital coins. a
consumer account set up to allow e-commerce transactions through a
particular credit card processing system. Before the consumer can
make a purchase, he or she must first establish an account
with the credit card processor, who provides an ID and password. These
can then be used to make purchases at any web site that supports that
transaction system. Also See: Digital Cash, Smart Cards, Digital Signature,
Digital Coins, Digital Certificate, SSL
Certificates - Are digital Ids used to present credentials
online. Digital certificates are issued by companies which act as
"trusted third parties." In a SET transaction, the buyer, the merchant
and banks for these parties all have digital certificates. Also See:
SSL, Encryption, Also See: Digital Cash, Smart Cards, Digital Signature,
Digital Wallet, Digital Coins, SSL
Coins - Can be downloaded to a user's hard drive from an
account at a bank. When the shopper wants to pay, a "wallet" pops
open on their screen. "Coins" are transferred from the shopper's computer
to the online merchant's server. The merchant deposits the "coins"
in their bank. Also See: Digital Cash, Smart Cards, Digital Signature,
Digital Wallet, Digital Certificate, SSL
- A structure, sort of like a file folder (and called a folder
in the Macintosh world). A special kind of file used to organize other
files. Directories are lists of other files and can contain other
directories (known as subdirectories) that contain still more files.
UNIX, DOS, and Windows systems all use directory structures. The more
stuff you have, the more you need directories in which to organize
it. Directories enable you to organize files hierarchically.
Rate - A percentage fee paid to the merchant account provider
or ISO for handling an electronic transaction. Most web merchants
pay between two and 10 percent of their revenue from online credit
card or electronic check orders.
Registration - The web host provider will perform the appropriate
with InterNic in order to setup your domain. This is important as
errors in your InterNic application can delay processing. You will
be responsible for all InterNic fees.
Parking - The web host provider will provide DNS service
for a domain without having
to have a web site for that domain. Useful for holding a domain that
a customer is not yet using.
Name Server - (Name Server or abbreviated as DNS) - A computer
on the Internet that translates between Internet domain names, such
as amstone.net and Internet numerical addresses, such as 22.214.171.124
Name - The 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
glossary.amstone.net, and webdesign.amstone.net 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 (amstone.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 See: IP Number
- To bring software from a remote computer "down" to your
DSL - (Digital Subscriber Line) -- A method for moving
data over regular phone lines. A DSL 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.
A DSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations,
similar to a leased line.A commonly discussed configuration of DSL
allows downloads at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes)
per second, and uploads at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. This
arrangement is called ADSL: "Asymmetric" Digital Subscriber Line.
Another common configuration is 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. DSL is now a popular alternative to Leased Lines and ISDN,
being faster than ISDN and less costly than traditional Leased Lines.
See Also: bit , bps , ISDN , Leased Line
Terminal - A screen and a keyboard and not much else. It
sort of resembles a PC without the computer. Dumb terminals connect
to other computers and use their data and their computing.
Routing - A method of addressing information on the Internet
(not just mail messages, but all information) so that if one route
is blocked or broken, the information can take an alternative route.
Pretty darned clever. The U.S. Department of Defense built this method
into the design of the Internet for the benefit of the military, to
resist enemy attack. It's also useful when nonmilitary networks are
attacked by errant backhoes.
- Electronic mail (also called e-mail or just mail) messages
sent by way of the Internet to a particular person.
- The processing of economic transactions, such as buying and selling,
through electronic communication. E-commerce often refers to transactions
occurring on the Internet, such as credit card purchases at web sites.
Auto Responder - See Auto Responder
Aliasing - See Mail Forwarding
POP Account - An email account so that other may send and
receive email over the
Internet with you. This differs from Email forwarding in that this
is an actual email address on your hoster's mail server.
Forwarding - See: Mail Forwarding
- (Electronic Data Capture) - The use of a POS terminal for
validating and submitting credit card transactions to a merchant account
provider or other credit card processor. In online credit card processing,
software takes the place of the POS terminal.
- When these letters appear in the last part of an address
(for example, in email@example.com ), itindicates that the host computer
is run by an educational institution, probably a college or university.
Wallet - Rather than supplying your credit card number every
time you want to make an online purchase, electronic wallets allow
you to store your credit card information in an encrypted form and
access it from your hard drive when you buy something. Also See: Digital
Data Interchange - (EDI) - EDI is the transfer of electronic
messages from one company to another using a network. Companies use
EDI to facilitate business-to-business transactions like purchase
orders, purchase confirmations, invoices, and payments.
- Encryption is a way to secure electronic data transactions
by transforming the readable message into an unreadable message. In
this way you can guarantee that only the intended reader can decipher
- A cable that connects pieces of a local area network in a particular
pattern. Developed by Xerox, it is sometimes called IEEE 802.3, which
refers to the standard that defines it. A 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.
- A mail-handling program that runs on the Macintosh and
under Windows. Originally a shareware program, it is now sold by Qualcomm.
- The common currency shared by most of the members of the
European Union (Britain, Greece and Denmark are not participating).
Introduced in January 1999, the Euro will eventually replace national
currencies, such as the German Mark, French Franc, and Italian Lira.
See: Microsoft Explorer, Browser
- An extranet is the part of a corporate intranet that allows companies
to communicate with the intranets of their customers and suppliers,
facilitating electronic transactions.
- The purchase of debts owed, or "accounts receivable," in
exchange for immediate payment at a discount. In e-commerce, the term
is often applied to ISOs that offer to process credit card transactions
through their own merchant account, rather than through an account
established by the merchant, in exchange for a percentage of the transaction
or other fee.
Factoring of credit card debt is illegal.
- Frequently asked questions. This regularly posted Usenet
article answers questions that come up regularly in a newsgroup. Before
you ask a question in a newsgroup, make sure that you have read its
FAQ because it may well contain the answer. People get annoyed if
you ask questions that are answered in the newsgroup's FAQ, because
they probably have already answered the question 150 times. FAQs are
posted regularly, usually once a week or once a month. To read all
the regularly posted FAQs for all newsgroups, read the newsgroup news.answers.
To read an entire book of frequently asked questions about the Internet,
get Margy's Internet FAQs (IDG Books Worldwide, 1995).
Modem - Modems (fax-data modems) that enable you to send
and receive faxes in addition to ordinary computer-type data. Fax
is short for facsimile or exact copy, and fax technology uses ordinary
phone lines to send copies of printed material from place to place.
If you stick fax technology on your computer, what you send may never
touch paper. It can go from your computer to theirs or to their fax
machine if they don't have a computer.
- (Fiber 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). See Also:
Bandwidth , Ethernet , T-1 , T-3
- An 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.
Wall - A combination of hardware and software that separates
a LAN into two or more parts for security purposes. Also See: Network
, LAN, Security
- Originally, 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 See: Flame War, Flame Mail
Mail - Nasty E-mail or discussion mail received when someone
feels they have been slighted by you.
War - When an online discussion degenerates into a series
of personal attacks against the debators, rather than discussion of
their positions. A heated exchange. See Also: Flame, Flame Mail
- The user interface that appears on a web page, which allows
a visitor to the site to interact with dynamic features, including
databases, shopping-cart programs, and online purchase processing
See MS Frontpage
- (File 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. Windows FTP and Fetch are FTP examples
of FTP software.
A computer that connects one network with another when the two networks
use different protocols. The UUNETcomputer connects the UUCP network
with the Internet, for example, providing a way for mail messages
to move between the two networks. Also an older name for what's now
called a router
(Graphic Interchange File) A file type that contains a graphic,
photo or other image. GIFs are commonly found on the Web, along with
another graphic file format. the JPEG. GIFs tend to take less memory
and bandwidth than JPEGs, and can contain animation. JPEGs offer greater
image clarity, especially for photo images. Also See: JPEG
1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring. Also See: Byte
Kill File A file that tells your Usenet newsreader which
articles you always want to skip. This file applies to all the newsgroups
to which you subscribe.
A system that lets you find information by using menus (lots
of menus) To use Gopher, you usually teinet to a Gopher server and
begin browsing the menus.
When these letters appear in the last part of an address (cu.nih.gov,
for example), it indicates that the host computer is run by some part
of a government body, probably the U.S. federal government, rather
than by a company or university. Most gov sites are in the United
The actual, physical computer and all its wires and friends,
such as the printer, the disk drive, and the modem. Pretty useless
without software. Also See: Software
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 server; 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.
A portion of the revenue from a merchant's credit card transactions,
held in reserve by the merchant account provider to cover possible
disputed charges, chargeback fees, and other expenses. After a predetermined
time, holdbacks are turned over to the merchant. Note: MAPs almost
never pay interest on holdbacks.
Page (or Homepage) Several 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 See: Browser , Web
A computer connected to the Internet that serves your web
pages, e-mail, database, e-commerce soloution. It may also allow FTP,
Also See: FTP
Hypertext markup language, used in writing pages for the World Wide
Web. It lets the text include codes that define fonts, layout, embedded
graphics, and hypertext links. Don't worry: You don't have to know
anything about it to use the World Wide Web.
Hypertext transfer protocol, which is the way World Wide Web pages
are transferred over the Net.
A system of writing and displaying text that enables the
text to be linked in multiple ways, to be available at several levels
of detail, and to contain links to related documents. Hypermedia can
also contain pictures, sounds, video - you name it. The World Wide
Web uses hypertext.
Internet control message protocol, an exceedingly uninteresting low-level
protocol that Internet computers use. Used by ping.
A little picture intended to represent something bigger,
such as a program or a choice of action or object.
(IMHO) In my opinion; in my humble opinion.
Two heads joined together to provide e-plundering solutions
for todays dynamic high seas pirate market.
Society An organization dedicated to supporting the growth
and evolution of the Internet. You can contact them at www.isoc.org
Explorer Microsoft's Web browser. Also See: Netscape
Relay Chat (IRC) A system that enables bored undergraduates
and, occasionally, other Internet folks to talk to each other in real
time (rather than after a delay, as with e-mail messages).
You still don't know what it is, and you're way back here in the glossary!
Yikes - we must have done a terrible job of explaining this stuff.
It's an interconnected bunch of computer networks, including networks
in all parts of the world.
Protocol See IP.
Character A key or combination of keys you can press to stop
whatever is happening on your computer. You might find that you have
started something and don't want to wait for it to finish. Common
interrupt characters are Ctrl-C and Ctrl-D. Telnet's usual interrupt
character is Ctrl-].
A 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
Note that an Intranet may not actually be an internet -- it may simply
be a network.
See Also: Internet , Network
Internet Protocol A scheme that enables information to be
routed from one network to another as necessary (you had to ask).
Don't worry: You don't have to know about it. IP Number
(Internet Protocol Number) -- Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique
number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 126.96.36.199.
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 See: Domain Name , Internet , TCP/IP
(Internet Presence Provider) - No dial-up connections sold
- just hosting. IPPs usually specialize in providing Web site hosting,
hosting of on-line databases, catalogues and e-commerce soloutions
(Integrated 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.
9000 A set of standards for electrical and electronic products,
formulated by the International Standards Organization. Product quality
standards in most nations either meet or exceed ISO9000 standards.
(Independent Service Organization) A firm or organization
which offers to process online credit card transactions, usually in
exchange for transaction fees or a percentage of sales. Merchants
must generally establish a merchant account before contracting for
ISO services, although some ISOs claim not to require separate merchant
accounts. Also See: Factoring
(Internet Service Provider) An institution that provides
access to the Internet in some form, usually dial-up or cable and
charge for the service. Also See: Internet, IPP
Bank The bank that maintains the consumer's credit card account
and which must pay out to the merchant's account in a credit card
purchase. The issuing back then bills the customer for the debt.
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. Also See: Applet
Script Is an object-based programming language that allows
for the embedding of Java objects directly in an HTML page. Netscape
2.0 and all their subsequent browsers can interpret Java script.
(Joint Photographic Experts Group) JPEG is most commonly
mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to
the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple
logo art. Also See: GIF
Jughead A program that helps you find information
in Gopher by searching Gopher directories for the information you
specify; sort of like Veronica.
A file-transfer protocol developed at Columbia University
and available for a variety of computers, from PCs to mainframes.
File A file that tells your newsreader which newsgroup articles
you always want to skip.
A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 bytes. See Also:
Byte , Bit
(Local Area Network) A computer network limited to the immediate
area, usually the same building or floor of a building. See Also:
Line Refers 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.
See Also: T-1 , T-3, DSL, ADSL
A connection. Two computers can be linked together. Also
can refer to a pointer to a file that exists in another place. Rather
than have a copy of a particular file reside in many places, for example,
some file systems (the ones in UNIX, for example) enable a filename
to point to another file. Finally, a link can refer to a hypertext
link in a Web page that connects one page to another.
Server A program that automatically manages mailing lists.
Also See: LISTSERV.
The most common kind of maillist, "Listserv" is a registered
trademark of L-Soft international, Inc. Listservs originated on BITNET
but they are now common on the Internet.
Also See: BITNET , E-mail , Maillist
The Internet Network Information Center, a repository of information
about the Internet. It is divided into two parts: Directory Services,
run by AT&T in New Jersey, and Registration Services, run by Network
Solutions in Virginia. It is funded partially by the National Science
Foundation and partially by fees that are charged to register Internet
Files See: Statistics Package, Traffic Logs, Web Trends
Noun 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. Also See: Password
A World Wide Web client program that works with plain old
terminals, which means that it's generally available on shell provider
TCP/IP for the Macintosh. Not very interesting except that you can't
put your Mac on the Internet without it.
Pieces of paper stuffed in envelopes with stamps on the outside.
This old-fashioned type of mail is known among Internauts as snail-mail,
casting aspersions on your local letter carrier. Other types of mail
include voice mail, which you probably already know and hate, and
e-mail (or electronic mail), which is a powerful service the Internet
Server A computer on the Internet that provides mail services.
A mail server usually sends mail out for you (using a system called
SMTP) and may also enable you to download your mail to a PC or Mac
by using a protocol called POP.
Order/Telephone Order Discount Rate (MOTO) The discount rate
charged by the merchant account provider for credit card transaction
where no actual credit card was available to the merchant. MOTO rates
are generally higher than swipe discount rates to account for the
increased chance of fraud or non-payment.
Forwarding You can get a distinct POP mail account (it does
not have he same extension address as your Internet Service Provider)
where you can have mail sent to in your web site's name. You then
can simply direct any email address where you would like your mail
forwarded to. Example: If you ran www. yourcompany.com, you would
want feedback to be sent to an email account entitled: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You could have all mail forwarded from that email address to your
normal ISP address.
List A special kind of e-mail address that remails any incoming
mail to a list of subscribers to the mailing list. Each mailing list
has a specific topic, so you subscribe to the ones of interest.
A large computer usually sold complete with all its peripherals
and often a closed architecture (meaning not friendly to other vendors'
products). Often refers to large IBM machines.
Like LISTSERV, a program that handles mailing lists.
A million bytes. Actually, technically, 1024 kilobytes. Also See:
Byte , Bit , Kilobyte
Bank A bank that holds the merchant account. After a consumer
buys a product using a credit card, the merchant bank places funds
into a merchant account in exchange for the right to collect on the
debt owed by a consumer. Also See: Merchant Account Provider.
Account A bank account established by a merchant to receive
the proceeds of credit card purchases. By establishing a merchant
account, the merchant bank agrees to pay the merchant for valid credit
card purchases in exchange for the right to collect on the debt owed
by the consumer.
Bank When a credit card authorization is processed, the first
stop is the bank where the online store has a merchant account. This
bank is the merchant's bank.
Services Provider A bank, ISO, or other firm that provides
services for processing financial transactions, usually credit card
sales. Many MSPs provide merchant accounts, while others require their
clients to establish merchant accounts on their own. Some MSPs claim
that they do not require merchant accounts; this may indicate factoring,
which is illegal in many areas.
Account Provider (MAP) A bank or other institution that hosts
merchant accounts and processes online credit card transactions. The
term is also often used broadly to include any credit card processing
service, including ISOs.
A piece of e-mail or a posting to a newsgroup.
Very small charges, perhaps even less than a penny, processed through
e-commerce systems. Until this time, E-commerce has een largely limited
to purchases of $10.00 or more. With micropayment, however, e-commerce
merchants can sell products for far lower prices, such as small fees
for downloading documents or charges per click for online advertising.
Micropayment systems are still largely experimental and not widely
Explorer Microsoft's popular version of web browser. Also
Frontpage See MS Frontpage
Network (MSN) A commercial online service
run by Microsoft and usable only if you have Windows 95. If your MSN
username is BillGates, your Internet e-mail address is email@example.com.
When these letters appear in the last part of an address
(firstname.lastname@example.org, for example), it indicates that the host computer
is run by some part of the U.S. military rather than by a company
Multipurpose Internet mail extension used to send anything
other than straight text through e-mail. Eudora and Pegasus and other
hip e-mail programs support MIME.
An FTP server that provides copies of the same files as another
server. Some FTP servers are so popular that other servers have been
set up to mirror them and spread the FTP load on to more than one
A gizmo that lets your computer talk on the phone. A modem
can be internal (a board that lives inside your computer) or external
(a box that connects to your computer's serial port). Either way,
you need a phone wire to connect the modem to your phone jack.
Mailing List A mailing list run by a moderator.
Someone who looks first at the messages posted to a mailing
list or newsgroup before releasing them to the public. The moderator
can nix messages that are stupid (in his opinion, of course), redundant,
or inappropriate for the list or newsgroup (wildly off the topic or
offensive, for example). Yes, this is censorship, but the Internet
is getting so big and crowded that nonmoderated discussions can generate
an amazing number of uninteresting messages.
Minimum The minimum amount (in dollars or other currency)
in fees and percentages charged by a merchant services provider in
a given month. If account activity does not generate the monthly minimum,
the account holder must make up the difference.
The web browser that started it all. Allows you to view and
rear information on the World Wide Web. Comes in Windows, Mac, and
UNIX flavors. Mosaic has lost most of its fans to Netscape and Microsoft.
Also See: Microsoft Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Browser.
A graphical user interface for UNIX computers, sort of like Windows
for the PC. Claimed to be ugly. Also See: Xwindows.
Frontpage A widely used website creation tool which allows
users to manage their web site as well as incorporate special pre-created
coding. However, the hosting service must have FrontPage 98/2000 extensions
installed in order for you to get the full benefit of using FrontPage
98/2000. For more information go to http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage
See Microsoft Network.
Server See domain name server.
Nanny A program that censors your Internet account. Used
by parents who want to control what their kids see on the Net. Also
The etiquette on the Internet. See Also: Internet
Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet,
or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic responsibility
Also See: Internet
The first company to scare Microsoft. Netscape's world-class World
Wide Web browser has taken the planet by storm. Netscape A WWW Browser
and the name of a company. The Netscape (tm) browser was originally
based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA). Netscape has grown in features rapidly and is
widely recognized as the best and most popular web browser. Netscape
corporation also produces web server software. Netscape provided major
improvements in speed and interface over other browsers, and has also
engendered debate by creating new elements for the HTML language used
by Web pages -- but the Netscape extensions to HTML are not universally
supported. The main author f Netscape, Mark Andreessen, was hired
away from the NCSA by Jim Clark, and they founded a company called
Mosaic Communications and soon changed the name to Netscape Communications
Corporation. See Also: Browser , Explorer, Mosaic , Server , WWW
Don't get us started. Lots of things are called networks,
but for our purposes we're talking about lots of computers that are
connected together. Those in the same or nearby buildings are called
local area networks, those that are farther away are called wide area
networks, and when you interconnect a large number of networks all
over the world, you get the Internet! Any time you connect 2 or more
computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer
network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.
See Also: Internet , Intranet
Server A computer on the Internet that not only gets Usenet
newsgroups but also lets you read them. Programs such as Free Agent,
Trumpet, and Cello use a news server to get the articles for the newsgroups
Kill File A file that tells your newsreader which articles
you always want to skip. This file applies to only a specific newsgroup
Also See: Global Kill File
A distributed bulletin-board system about a particular topic.
The Usenet news (also known as Net news) system distributes thousands
of newsgroups to all parts of the Internet.
A program that lets you read the messages in Usenet newsgroups
and respond if you are absolutely sure that you have something new
and interesting to say.
- Network Information Center. The address of the one for
the U.S. part of the Internet is networksolutions.net. An NIC is responsible
for coordinating a set of networks so that the names, network numbers,
and other technical details are consistent from one network to another.
Formerly known as the Yellow Pages, before some trademark
lawyer in the United Kingdom complained. The NIS is a facility used
on some TCP/IP networks to administer a group of computers (usually
UNIX workstations and PCs) as through they were one big computer.
For Internet purposes, who cares? Well, NIS sorts incoming e-mail
on some UNIX systems and can cause peculiar-looking mail addresses.
Server (Network News Transport Protocol) The protocol used
by client and server software to carry USENET postings back and forth
over a TCP/IP network. If you are using any of the more common software
such as Netscape, Nuntius, Internet Explorer, etc. to participate
in newsgroups then you are benefiting from an NNTP connection. Also
See: Newsgroup , TCP/IP , USENET, News Server
A computer on the Internet, also called a host. Computers that provide
a service, such as FTP sites or places that run Gopher, are also called
The National Science Foundation's former network, a part
of the Internet devoted to research and education and funded by government
money. It has gone away, replaced by pieces of commercial networks.
ANS, which formerly ran the NSFNET, now belongs to America Online.
Server A type of server platform that runs Microsoft NT server.
Also See: Windows NT
Book Repository A collection of on-line text, including the
text of books, journals, and other reference materials, maintained
by the Online Book Initiative at www.obi.std.com.
A chunk of information sent over a network or the Internet.
Each packet contains the address it's going to, the address of who
sent it, and some other information.
Driver A small program used on DOS and Windows PCs to connect
network software to a particular kind of network card. Similar to
NDIS or ODI driver.
Switching The method used to move data around on the Internet.
In packet switching, all the data coming out of a machine is broken
up into chunks, each chunk has the address of where it came from and
where it is going. This enables chunks of data from many different
sources to co-mingle on the same lines, and be sorted and directed
to different routes by special machines along the way. This way many
people can use the same lines at the same time.
A document, or hunk of information, available by way of the World
Wide Web. To make information available on the World Wide Web, you
organize it into one or more pages. Each page can contain text, graphics
files, sound files - you name it. Don't worry: You don't have to create
WWW pages - you can just read them.
A secret code used to keep things private. Your account on
the system that connects you to the Internet is no doubt protected
by a password. Be sure to pick a code that is not obvious, preferably
combining numbers and letters so as to thwart any untoward activity.
File The file in which all the passwords for a system are
stored. Most systems are smart enough to keep passwords encoded so
that even if someone gains access to this file, it isn't of much value.
(Personal Identification Number) An alphanumeric
or numeric code used to verify the identity of an individual attempting
to use a credit card, debit card, or other account
A program that checks to see whether you can communicate
with another computer on the Internet. It sends a short message to
which the other computer automatically responds. If you can't "ping"
another computer, you probably can't talk to it any other way either.
A file-compression program that runs on PCs. PKZIP creates a ZIP file
that contains compressed versions of one or more files. To restore
them to their former size and shape, you use PKUNZIP. PK, by the way,
stands for Phil Katz, who wrote the program. PKZIP and PKUNZIP are
shareware programs available from many FTP sites. If you use the programs,
you are honor-bound to send Mr. Katz a donation (the program will
tell you the address). If you use a Windows computer, you will probably
prefer WinZip, which has nice Windows-y menus and buttons. You can
get it via FTP from ftp.winzip.com in the /winzip directory.
A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to
a larger piece of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape®
browser and web server. Adobe Photoshop® also uses plug-ins. The
idea behind plug-in's is that a small piece of software is loaded
into memory by the larger program, adding a new feature, and that
users need only install the few plug-ins that they ed, out of a much
larger pool of possibilities. Plug-ins are usually created by people
other than the publishers of the software the plug-in works with.
(Post Office Protocol) A system by which a mail server on
the Internet lets you pick up your mail and download it to your PC
Account See E-Mail POP Account
Number On a networked computer, an identifying number assigned
to each program that is chatting on the Internet. The program that
handles incoming telnet sessions uses port 23, for example, and the
program that handles some other service has another number. You hardly
ever have to know these numbers - the Internet programs work this
stuff out among themselves.
Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site
that is or is intended to be the first place people see when using
the Web. Typically a Portal site" has a catalog of web sites, a search
engine, or both. A Portal site may also offer email and other service
to entice people to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence
"portal") to the Web.
Terminal (Point of Sale) An electronic device used for verifying
and processing credit card transactions. If the credit card is present,
the merchant can swipe the card through the terminal. Also See: Swipe
Discount Rate and MOTO Discount Rate.
A single message entered into a network communications system.
A single message posted to a newsgroup or message board. Also See:
(Point-To-Point Protocol) A scheme for connecting two computers over
a phone line (or a network link that acts like a phone line). Like
SLIP, only better.
A system two computers agree on. When you use a file-transfer
protocol, for example, the two computers involved (the sender and
the receiver) agree on a set of signals that mean "go ahead," "got
it," "didn't get it, please resend," and "all done." The Internet
involves tons of different protocols for the many different types
of computers on the Net that interact.
A fake terminal. On most systems, telnet uses a pseudoterminal
to log you in and run your commands.
(Public Switched Telephone Network) The regular old-fashioned telephone
Provider A time-sharing or SLIP service that enables you
to use the Internet on a paying (by the month or hour) basis.
Key Encryption A method of encrypting electronic data. Developed
to account for weaknesses in symmetric encryption, public key encryption
does not require the transmission of decoding keys themselves.
(Remote copy Protocol) A UNIX command that lets you copy
files from one computer to another. Like FTP, only different.
Audio The provider offers RealServer streams, which allow
you to broadcast audio and video from your web site. Visitors to your
site can view the audio and video with a simple browser plug-in. For
more information refer to Progressive Networks at http://www.real.com.
Processing The verification and processing of credit card
transactions immediately following purchase. Real-time verification
on the Web usually takes less than thirty seconds. Real time verification
is especially important for web sites that sell products and services
that consumers expect immediately, such as memberships to the site
or software downloads.
Fees Regular, usually monthly, charges for maintaining a
merchant account. Recurring fees include the discount rate, transaction
fees, statement fee, and monthly minimum.
Internet Connections This web hosting company has at least
two backbone connections to the Internet. In case one goes down for
any reason, the other backbone connection should ensure Internet connectivity.
Expression Not what one would usually think of as regular.
For UNIX hackers and those who love to encode the ordinary into arithmetic
representation. Many kinds of conditional searches (meaning, under
these conditions, "do this") can be represented by using mathematical
expressions. If you haven't studied much math or logic, forget about
Account See Holdback.
(Request For Comments) The name of the result and the process
for creating a standard on the Internet. New standards are proposed
and published on line, as a Request For Comments. The Internet Engineering
Task Force is a consensus-building body that facilitates discussion,
and eventually a new standard is established, but the reference number/name
for the standard retains the acronym RFC, e.g. the official standard
for e-mail is RFC 822.
A software application that automatically finds and retrieves information
from the Web. Also called a "spider" or "crawler."
No, not a power tool used for finish work on fine cabinetry (that's
pronounced "rowter"). This system, pronounced "rooter" in most countries,
connects two or more networks, including networks that use different
types of cables and different communication speeds. The networks all
have to use IP (the Internet Protocol), though. If they don't, you
need a gateway.
Encryption Is based on a public key system which means that
every user has 2 digital keys - one to encrypt information, and the
other to decrypt. Authentication of both sender and recipient is provided
with this method.
Read the F----- manual. A suggestion made by people who feel that
you have wasted their time asking a question you could have found
the answer to another way. A well-known and much-used FTP site named
rtfm.mit.edu ontains FAQs for all Usenet newsgroups, by the way. Read
the, uh, friendly FAQ.
Encryption Protects the privacy of email. If the sender and
receiver both have email clients that support the S-Mime protocol,
they can communicate with email that is secure.
Is the ability to grow incrementally. If an online commerce system
is scaleable, it can grow in capacity as the demand requires.
Engine Software used to find stuff, particularly on the World
Wide Web. Visit - www.yahoo.com,
Electronic Transactions (SET) This is a newly developed standard
for making secure credit card transactions on the Internet. Security
is achieved by allowing merchants to verify a
buyer's identity through a digital signature. Furthermore, customers
will be able to avoid giving out their credit card numbers to merchants
by submitting their information directly to the credit card issuer
for verification and billing.
In the computer world, a means to allow access to only those
who should have it. security includes the use of passwords to protect
your account. Also See Hacking, Encryption
Certificate A piece of information (often stored as a text
file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection.
Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs to,
who it was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique identification,
valid dates, and an encrypted "fingerprint" that can be used to verify
the contents of the certificate.
In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have
a valid Security Certificate.
Also See: Certificate Authority , SSL, Encryption, Hacker
Line A connection between computers using the serial protocol.
Protocol The simplest way to send data over a wire - one
bit at a time.
Port The place on your computer where you can plug in a serial
A computer that provides a service to other computers on
a network or across the Internet.
Occurring on the server side of a client-server system. For example,
on the World Wide Web, ASPand CGI scripts are server-side applications
are client-side because they are executed by your browser (the client).
Java applets can be either server-side or client-side depending on
which computer (the server or the client) executes them.
Provider An organization that provides access to the Internet.
Your service provider might be a commercial on-line service such as
America Online or CompuServe, your local cable company or sometimes
your school or workplace.
See: Secure Electronic Transactions (SET)
Computer programs that are easily available for you to try
with the understanding that if you decide to keep the program you
will pay for it and send the requested amount to the shareware provider
specified in the program. In this honor system, a great deal of good
stuff is available, and voluntary compliance makes it viable.
Account Rather than transferring all your HTML files to your
PC when editing your
web site, you can use a shell account to edit, rename, and delete
your HTML files on the server itself. Shell accounts are usually utilized
by knowledgeable computer individuals so if you are a novice you probably
do not need this feature.
Cart A piece of software that operates on an online storefront.
The "shopping cart" keeps track of all the items that a buyer wants
to purchase, allowing the shopper to pay for the whole order at once.
(Serial Line Internet Protocol) A software scheme for connecting
a computer to the Internet over a serial line. For example, if you
can run SLIP on your personal computer and you call up an Internet
provider that does SLIP, your computer is on the Internet, it's not
just a terminal - it's right on it. You can telnet and FTP to other
computers; when you get files, they arrive back on your PC, not on
the Internet provider's computer.
Card Smart cards look like credit cards but act very differently.
With the use of an internal computer memory chip, a smart card can
be used to store a large amount of information
with a maximum amount of security, including everything from medical
records to digital cash. To access or alter the information on a smart
card, you have to use a smart card reader.
Also See: Digital Cash, Digital Signature, Digital Wallet
(Switched Multimegabit Data Service) A new standard for very high-speed
(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The optimistically named
method by which Internet mail is delivered from one computer to another.
(Simple Network Management Protocol) A set of standards for communication
with devices connected to a TCP/IP network. Examples of these devices
include routers, hubs, and switches. A device is said to be "SNMP
compatible" if it can be monitored and/or controlled using SNMP messages.
SNMP messages are known as "PDU's" - Protocol Data Units.
Devices that are SNMP compatible contain SNMP "agent" software to
receive, send, and act upon SNMP messages. Software for managing devices
via SNMP are available for every kind of commonly used computer and
are often bundled along with the device they are designed to manage.
Some SNMP software is designed to handle a wide variety of devices.
See Also: Network , Router
A logical "port" a program uses to connect to another program
running on another computer on the Internet. You might have an FTP
program using sockets for its FTP session, for example, while Eudora
connects by way of another socket to get your mail.
Computer programs that make computers usable as something
other than a paperweight. Also See: Hardware
(or Spamming) An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list,
or USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was
a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to
a large number of people who didn't ask for it. The term probably
comes from a famous Monty Python skit which featured the word spam
repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone's
low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally
perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. (Spam is a
registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat
product.) E.g. Mary spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message
to each. Also See: Maillist , USENET
(Structured Query Language) A specialized programming language
for sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many
smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific
application will have its own version of SQL implementing features
unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support
a common subset of SQL.
(Secure Sockets Layer) A protocol designed by Netscape Communications
to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet.
SSL used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web
browsers and web servers. URL's that begin with
indicate that an SSL connection will be used. SSL provides 3 important
things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message Integrity. In an SSL
connection each side of the connection must have a Security Certificate,
which each side's software sends to the other. Each side then encrypts
what it sends using information from both its own and the other side's
Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can de-crypt
it, and that the other side can be sure the data came from the place
it claims to have come from, and that the message has not been tampered
with. See Also: Browser , Server , Security Certificate , URL
Package A full-blown statistics package takes your traffic
log information and
displays it an easy-to-ready format. This makes the information much
easier to digest. Popular statistical packages include WebTrends and
LiveStats, among many others. Also See: Log Files, Traffic Logs, Web
A bunch of characters strung together, such as "Internet
For Marsmedia." Strings are composed of any characters available in
the character set being used, typically all letters, digits, and punctuation.
A piece of a string; see also string.
A program that censors your Internet account. Used by parents who
want to control what their kids see on the Net. Also See: Net Nanny
Discount Rate The discount rate charged by a merchant account
provider for transactions where a credit card is available for inspection
by the merchant. Swipe rates are generally lower than MOTO rates since
the merchant can match signatures and other checks on fraud or misuse.
(System Operator) Anyone responsible for the physical operations
of a computer system or network resource. A System Administrator decides
how often backups and maintenance should be performed and the System
Operator performs those tasks.
A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second.
At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte
in less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen,
full-motion video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second.
T-1 is the fastest speed commonly used to connect networks to the
Internet. Also See: Bandwidth , Bit , Byte , Ethernet , T-3
A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second.
This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion video.
Also See: Bandwidth , Bit , Byte , Ethernet , T-1
The system that networks use to communicate with each other on the
Internet. It stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol,
if you care.
A program that lets you log in to other computers on the
1000 gigabytes. See Also: Byte , Kilobyte
Emulator See Terminal.
Program See Terminal.
Server A special purpose computer that has places to plug
in many modems on one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine
on the other side. Thus the terminal server does the work of answering
the calls and passes the connections on to the appropriate node. Most
terminal servers can provide PPP or SLIP services if connected to
Also See: LAN , Modem , Host , Node , PPP , SLIP
In the olden days, a terminal was a thing that consisted of a screen,
a key-board, and a cable that connected it to a computer. These days
not many people (not many people we know) use terminals, because personal
computers are so cheap. Why have a brainless screen and keyboard when
you can have your own computer on your desk? Of course, there are
still many times when you want to connect to a big computer somewhere.
If you have a personal computer,
you can run a program that makes it pretend to be a brainless screen
and keyboard - the program is called a terminal emulator, terminal
program, or communications program.
file A file that contains only textual characters, with no
special formatting characters, graphical information, sound clips,
video, or what-have-you. Most computers other than some IBM mainframes
store their text by using a system of codes named ASCII, so this type
of file is also known as an ASCII text file
Party Sometimes you buy your computer from one place and
your operating software from somewhere else, but you find that you
still need other hardware or software pieces to make it all work.
The people from whom you buy those other pieces are known as third-party
An article posted to a Usenet newsgroup, together with all
the follow-up articles, the follow-ups to follow-ups, and so on. Organizing
articles into threads makes it easier to choose which articles in
a newsgroup you want to read.
The Internet Adaptor, nifty software that makes your regular
dial-up account look like a SLIP or PPP account..
Logs Traffic logs provide you with statistical information
about who visited your site, what pages they accessed, and where they
came from right before your site. This refers simply to the raw data
which is stored on the server. Also See: Web Trends, Statistics Package
Fee A charge for each credit card transaction, collected
by the merchant account provider or ISO. Transaction fees usually
fall between $0.30 and $1.50
A moderately cool newsreader program that runs on computers
which run Windows. We like Free Agent better. Trumpet is only slightly
related (in that it was written by the same guy) to Trumpet WinSock,
a separate program that provides TCP/IP connections for Windows PCs.
Application (also, Turn-Key) computer software which requires
little or no modification when inserted into a web site. In e-commerce,
many merchant account providers and ISOs offer turnkey applications
for processing credit card orders online.
(User Datagram Protocol) -- One of the protocols for data transfer
that is part of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. UDP is a "stateless"
protocol in that UDP makes no provision for acknowledgement of packets
received. Also See: TCP/IP
An operating system everyone hates. No, an operating system
everyone ought to love. No, it's both! It's an operating system that
can be confusing to use, but it sure is powerful. Internet users are
likely to run into UNIX if they use a shell provider as their Internet
provider or when they telnet to UNIX computers.
To put your stuff on somebody else's computer.
(Uniform Resource Locator) Your address on the Internet, ie www.yourcomapny.com.
A system of thousands of distributed bulletin boards called
newsgroups. You read the messages by using a program called a newsreader
An elderly and creaky (but cheap) mail system still used by many UNIX
systems. UUCP stands for UNIX-to-UNIX-copy. UUCP uses mail addresses
that contain exclamation points rather than periods between the parts
(and they are in reverse order), a method known as bang path addressing.
Whenever possible, use regular Internet addresses instead.
Programs that encode files to make them suitable for sending
as e-mail. Because e-mail messages must be text, not binary information,
uuencode can disguise nontext files as text so that you can include
them in a mail message. When the message is received, the recipient
can run uudecode to turn it back into the original file. Pretty clever.
The code word for a nice, fast modem (one that talks at a
speed of 9600 bits per second).
The code word for modems that talk at 28,800 bps.
Digital Equipment's major computer line over the past 15
years was the VAX; its proprietary operating system is known as VMS.
(Vaxen are now passe, replaced by DEC's new Alpha line.)
Creep A problem that occurs when lots of people add features
to programs that people are already using. Unless care is taken to
keep programs compatible, sooner or later the program you're using
doesn't talk to its "new and improved cousin" until you get the latest
and greatest version that should make everybody happy 'til they add
more features again.
Software that infects other software and causes damage to
the system on which the infected software is run. You should download
software only from reputable servers. Safe software is everyone's
business. Viral infection can be deadly. Don't let it happen to you.
Anti-Virus Software includes Norton AntiVirus and McCaffee
(Virtual Private Network) -- Usually refers to a network in which
some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the
data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network
is "virtually" private.A typical example would be a company network
where there are two offices in different cities. Using the Internet
the two offices mereg their networks into one network, but encrypt
traffic that uses the Internet link. See Also: Internet, Network
The part number of a terminal made about 15 years ago by
the Digital Equipment Corporation. Why do you care? Because many computers
on the Internet expect to talk to VT-100-type terminals, and many
communications programs can pretend to be (emulate) VT-100 terminals.
The VT102 was a cheaper version that for most purposes acted exactly
- Later version of VT100
Wide Area Information Servers (pronounced "ways," not "wace"), a system
which lets you search for documents that contain the information you're
looking for. It's not super easy to use, but it gets there.
(Wide Area Network) Any internet or network that covers an area larger
than a single building or campus. See Also: Internet , internet ,
LAN , Network
Host A company that will host your web page. Often web hosts
or IPPs (Internet Presence Providers) will take on more complicated
web hosting projects for business such as on-line catalogues, on-line
databases and e-commerce applications that require server side programming.
Besides hosting services, this company may also offer clients design
services to create their online presence. Web design can range from
simple HTML work, to online storefront setups, to full-blown database
applications. Be sure to check with each individual company on the
extent of their design capabilities.
Page The basic building block of the World Wide Web. Information
displayed on a Web page can include highly sophisticated graphics,
audio and video, the locus of contemporary creativity Web pages are
linked together to form the World Wide Web.
Trends Web Trends Log analysis software. Also See: Log Files
The World Wide Web. "The Web" is a term of endearment used by those
intimate with the World Wide Web.
Server An Internet host computer that stores web pages and
responds to requests to see them. Web servers talk to web browsers
by using a language named HTTP.
Site A location on the World Wide Web. It means the same
as a Web page or Web server, depending on whom you ask.
A command on some systems that tells you the actual name
of someone, based on the person's username. You can use whois by way
of the World Wide Web. Also See: Finger
95 An instance of an operating system for the PC that includes
a graphical user interface. Quietly introduced in the summer of 1995,
it includes built-in support for TCP/IP, the lnternet's networking
NT Server operating Microsoft Windows NT. Also See NT Server
An operating system for the PC that includes a graphical
user interface; also a religion.
WinSock (short for Windows Sockets) is a standard way for Windows
programs to work with TCP/IP. You use it if you connect your Windows
PC directly to the Internet, either with a permanent connection or
with a modem by using SLIP or PPP.
A Windows-based program that lets you use WAIS to search for information
about the Internet.
A Windows-based program for zipping and unzipping ZIP files
in addition to other standard types of archive files. WinZip is shareware,
so you can get it from the Net from http://www.winzip.com.
Although this term gets bandied about in a bunch of different
contexts, we generally mean high-powered microcomputers with big screens,
somewhat overkill for the average PC user. We mean such things as
SPARC stations and other typically single-user but very powerful machines,
generally running UNIX.
Wide Web (WWW) After e-mail the most popular part of the
A protocol that defines packet switching. You shouldn't care. The
thing that TCP/IP is much better than.
The way you splice together X.25 networks, which shouldn't interest
modem A file-transfer protocol developed ages ago (1981?)
by Ward Christiansen to check for errors as files are transferred.
It has since been superseded by Ymodem and Zmodem, but many programs
(especially Windows Terminal) still use it.
X terminal A terminal that uses the X graphical user
interface. This interface enables you to open lots of windows on your
screen and do all kinds of things at the same time. Popular in the
X wais A version of WAIS that runs on UNIX under
X Windows. If you use a UNIX workstation and Motif, try running xwais.
X Windows A graphical user interface for UNIX computers,
sort of like Windows for the PC.
Also See: Motif
An index or search engine for the World Wide Web, at http://www.yahoo.com
A file-transfer protocol that's faster than Xmodem but not as powerful
(nor as complicated) as Zmodem.
File A file that has been created by using WinZip, PKZIP,
or a compatible program. It contains one or more files that have been
compressed and glommed together to save space. To get at the files
in a ZIP file, you usually need WinZip, PKUNZIP, or a compatible program.
Sometimes you may get a self-extracting file, which is a ZIP file
that contains the unzipping program right in it. Just run the file
(type the name of the file at the command line), and it unzips itself.
A fast file-transfer protocol defined by Chuck Forsberg, used by many
programs. With Zmodem, you can transfer several files with one command,
and the names of the files are sent along with them. Some communications
programs (such as ProComm) can detect when a Zmodem transfer has begun
and automatically begin receiving the files. Nifty.