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Glossary of Internet and Computer Terms


Below, you will find a comprehensive glossary of Internet and Computer terms with definitions that are helpful and easy to understand. To find a term, click the letter of which the word begins with and scroll alphabetically to find your term. For example, to find the definition for the word "Media", click the letter "M", then scroll the list alphabetically until you find "Media".




  • Backbone:
    This computer term describes the main line or series of connections in a network. The backbones are connection points where high-speed data on the Internet connects to networks.
  • Backup
    To copy files to a second source or media in an effort to safeguard the original version. When computer, the first rule is to backup your files regularly. Even if you think you have the most reliable of computers, you just never know when its time is up. It is recommended that you keep your backup copy in a separate place from the original.
  • Bandwidth
    A measurement of how much data that can be sent through a connection. The measurement is usually in bits per second.
  • Baseband:
    A method of transmission that sends a digital or analog signal in its original form, not changed by modulation. While this form of transmission can be much more reliable than its Broadband counterpart, it is much slower.
  • Batch File:
    A file that has the .BAT extension. This file usually contains a sequence (or batch) of commands. A batch files set of commands can be executed all at once by the batch file name rather than by each individual command name.

  • Baud
    Pronounced bawd>. This term is named after J.M.E. Baudot who invented of the Baudot telegraph code. Commonly, the baud rate of a modem is how many bits it can send or receive per second. Technically, baud refers to the number of times per second that the carrier signal shifts value. As an example, a 1500 bit-per-second modem actually runs at 375 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 375= 1500 bits per second).

  • BBS
    Stands for Bulletin Board Service. A program designed to bring people together where they can carry on discussions and download files where all of the other members of the service can monitor these transmissions in real time.
  • Beta:
    A testing stage for products (both hardware and software) that are being developed. It is referred to as the "beta version".

  • BIOS
    Stands for Basic Input/Output System. The BIOS gives the computer a little built-in starter kit to run the rest of softwares from floppy disks (FDD) and hard disks (HDD). The BIOS is responsible for booting the computer by providing a basic set of instructions. 
  • Binary
    A basic numbering system that consists of ones and zeros.
  • Bit
    (Binary DigIT) This refers to a single digit number. It is either a 1 or a zero. The binary digit is the smallest unit of computerized data.
  • Bit Depth:
    Bit Depth can be referred to as Color Depth or Pixel Depth. It refers to a method of measurement where using the number of bits to define each pixel in an image to determine its color range. The larger the Bit Depth, the larger number of tones (grey scale or color) are available to properly display the digital image.
  • Bitmap:
    A file format used for digital imagery. This format maps an image pixel (or bit). All computer systems use this file format. Some of the common types of bitmap file formats would be:
    • BMP
    • GIF
    • JPEG
    • PCX
    • PNG
    • TGA
    • TIFF
  • Blog:
    (Slang term for a Weblog) A blog is a person journal that can be accessed publicly and allow people to comment on the previously posted comments. When someone posts a comment to a blog this is called "blogging". The person that owns the blog is called a "blogger". Most typically, blogs are updated on a daily basis and use the most basic of formats so that a person with very little background in computing can easily figure out how the blogging system works.
  • Blu-ray:
    Also known as Blu-ray Disc. This is an optical disc format that was developed to enable recording, playback, and rewriting of high-definition (HD) video. This technology has a storage capacity far greater than that of traditional DVDs. A single-layer disc can hold up to 25GB while a dual-layer disc can hold up to 50GB. DVD disc technologies use a red laser to read and write data. Blu-ray uses a blue-violet laser (hence the name). The benefit of the blue-violet laser over the red laser is its ability to focus the laser spot with greater precision because of its shorter wavelength. A red laser's wavelength is 650nm while the Blu-ray's wavelength is 405nm.
  • Bluetooth
    Radio technology that connects electronic devices without using a cable. Data and voice can be exchanged at ranges of up to 10 meters
    without the need for devices to be lined up together.
  • BMP
    (pronounced "bimp"): It is a Microsoft Windows image file format known as bitmap.
  • BNC:
    In computing, a Bayonet Network Connector is commonly used in the CCTV industry, usually installs on coaxial cable. The benefit of this connector is its ease of installation and its ability to produce a very reliable video signal.
  • Boolean Logic:
    A type of mathematical logic named after its designer George Boole. This binary algebraic system is used primarily in switching circuits and database searches. Search engines use logical operators called, Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT).
    • AND: Narrows a keyword search by collecting all terms present in the same document.
    • NOT: Prevents retrieval of unwanted documents containing a keyword.
    • OR: which broadens a keyword search by linking related terms.
  • Boot Disk
    This refers to a diskette that is formatted to actually boot your computer from. They were created as a backup tool in case the normal boot method (hard disk) has failed.
  • Bridge:
    A bridge is a computer networking device used to make a connection and pass along packets of data between two networking computers using the same protocol.
  • Browser
    A browser is the software used for viewing pages on the web. Two examples are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
  • Buffer
    A place, especially in RAM, for the temporary storage of data for the purpose of speeding up an operation such as printing or disk access. Data from a buffer is available more quickly than data from where the buffer got it. Typically buffers get data before it is needed so it will be ready quickly when it is needed. Similar to cache.
  • Buffered Memory:
    Using a buffer to isolate the memory from the controller reduces the load on the chipset. This allows for more memory chips to be used.
  • BUS
    A bus is a grouping of wires that allow the flow of data from one area of the computer to another. It is thought of that a bus represents a highway that the data travels through in the computer system. In personal computing, some refer to a bus as the Internal bus which connects all of the devices to the CPU and memory. Also, you may hear the term expansion bus, which connects the expansion board with the CPU and memory.

    All buses are made up of two parts:
    • Data Bus
    • Address Bus

The data bus is responsible for the actual data transfer whereas the address bus will route the data to the proper place.

The size of the bus, which is measured in width is the amount of data that it is able to transmit. For instance, a 16 bit bus will be able to transfer 16 bits of data and a 32 bit bus can transfer 32 bits a data.

Another thing that all buses have in common is that they all have a clock speed. This clock speed is measured in MHz (megahertz). The faster the clock speed of the bus the faster the application will run. In older PC's the bus that was used was the ISA bus. These older buses are quickly being replaced by the speedier PCI bus.

Most PC's today require a speedy bus that can transfer data very rapidly. This is what a "local bus" will do. It is a high-speed information highway that connects directly to the processor.

Lastly, you may hear the term "bus" used in networking. This refers to cable that connects all of the internal devices on a local area network (LAN) also referred to as the "backbone".

  • Bus Mastering:
    A technique that allows certain advanced bus architectures to delegate control data transfers between the CPU and associated peripheral devices to an add-in board. This gives greater system bus access and higher data transfer rates than conventional systems.

  • Byte
    A byte is a computer data transfer or data storage measurement. One byte equals 8 bits. 

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