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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".




  • IBM: 
    Stands for International Business Machines

  • ICMP: 
    (Internet Control Message Protocol) A message control and error-reporting protocol between a host server and a gateway to the Internet. ICMP uses Internet Protocol (IP) datagrams, but the messages are processed by the IP software and are not directly apparent to the application user.

  • Icon: 
    A small video display that acts as an activation link when clicked on.

  • IDE:
    (Integrated Development Environment) A programming environment integrated into an application. For example, Microsoft Office applications support various versions of the BASIC programming language. You can develop a WordBasic application while running Microsoft Word. 

  • IIS (Internet Information Server):
    A Web server that runs on the Windows NT/2000 platforms. It allows the creation of web-based applications. IIS provides both FTP server and web server capability.

  • Image Map:
    Typically, an image map is graphical representation (also known as "hot spots") containing predefined clickable hyperlinks. A good example of an image map would be a map containing clickable outlined images of each city. Once the user clicks the image, they are taken to a seperate web page containing information regarding that particular city.

  • IMAP: 
    Internet Message Access Protocol
    IMAP is gradually replacing POP as the main protocol used by email clients in communicating with email servers. 
    Using IMAP, an email client program can not only retrieve email but can also manipulate messages stored on the server without having to actually retrieve the messages. So messages can be deleted, have their status changed, multiple mail boxes can be managed, etc. 

  • Infrared:
    A light that is so red that it is not viewable to the naked eye. It uses this invisible beam of light to transmit a pre-programmed 'line-of-sight' signal to certain electronic components. Its typical use involves wireless devices such as a TV remote controller.

  • Instruction Set:
    The set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute.

  • Integrated Circuit:
    Another name for a chip, an IC is a small electronic device made out of a semiconductor material.

  • Interface: 
    This is any type of point where two different things come together. Most often, the term is used to describe the programs between you and your computer like Windows, OS/2 and others. What you see on the screen is the interface between you and what your computer is doing.

  • Interlacing:
    A display technique that enables a monitor to provide more resolution inexpensively. With interlacing monitors, the electron guns draw only half the horizontal lines with each pass (for example, all odd lines on one pass and all even lines on the next pass). Because an interlacing monitor refreshes only half the lines at one time, it can display twice as many lines per refresh cycle, giving it greater resolution. Another way of looking at it is that interlacing provides the same resolution as non-interlacing, but less expensively.

  • Interleaving:
    A recording method that reduces data errors during playback. Instead of the file being written in a contiguous data stream, the data sectors are intermixed along the recording track. If a disc should have a smudge or scratch, the entire data file is generally recoverable because a smaller amount of the file data is affected.

  • Internal Modem:
    A modem that resides on an expansion board that plugs into a computer. In contrast, an external modem is a box that attaches to a computer's COM port via cables.

  • Internet:
    The Internet is a super-network. It connects many smaller networks together and allows all the computers to exchange information with each other. To accomplish this all the computers on the Internet have to use a common set of rules for communication. Those rules are called protocols, and the Internet uses a set of protocols called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). Many people equate the World Wide Web with the Internet. In fact, the Internet is like the highway, and the World Wide Web is like a truck that uses that highway to get from place to place. 

  • Interrupt:
    A signal informing a program that an event has occurred. When a program receives an interrupt signal, it takes a specified action (which can be to ignore the signal). Interrupt signals can cause a program to suspend itself temporarily to service the interrupt.

    Interrupt signals can come from a variety of sources. For example, every keystroke generates an interrupt signal. Interrupts can also be generated by other devices, such as a printer, to indicate that some event has occurred. These are called hardware interrupts. Interrupt signals initiated by programs are called software interrupts. A software interrupt is also called a trap or an exception.

    PCs support 256 types of software interrupts and 15 hardware interrupts. Each type of software interrupt is associated with an interrupt handler -- a routine key on your keyboard, this triggers a specific interrupt handler. The complete list of interrupts and associated interrupt handlers is stored in a table called the interrupt vector table, which resides in the first 1 K of addressable memory.

  • Intranet:
    A private network for communications and sharing of information that, like the Internet, is based on TCP/IP but is accessible only to authorized users within an organization. An organizationís intranet is usually protected from external access by a firewall. See also: Extranet. 

  • IPsec:
    Stands for Internet Protocol Security. A set of protocols developed by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and designed to provide protection of sensitive data over unprotected public networks, such as the Internet.

  • IPX:
    Short for Internetwork Packet Exchange, a networking protocol used by the Novell NetWare operating systems. Like UDP/IP, IPX is a datagram protocol used for connectionless communications. Higher-level protocols, such as SPX and NCP, are used for additional error recovery services. The successor to IPX is the NetWare Link Services Protocol (NLSP).

  • IS: 
    Stands for Information System.

  • ISA:
    The bus architecture used in the IBM PC/XT and PC/AT. It's often abbreviated as ISA (pronounced as separate letters or as eye-sa) bus. The AT version of the bus is called the AT bus and became a de facto industry standard. Starting in the early 90s, ISA began to be replaced by the PCI local bus architecture. Most computers made today include both an AT bus for slower devices and a PCI bus for devices that need better bus performance.

    In 1993, Intel and Microsoft introduced a new version of the ISA specification called Plug and Play ISA. Plug and Play ISA enables the operating system to configure expansion boards automatically so that users do not need to fiddle with DIP switches and jumpers.

  • ISDN:
    Integrated Services Digital Network. ISDN is a public global network capable of transmitting voice, data and images at speeds up to 2 Mbit/s. The digital technique can transport more signals on the same telephone line than the traditional analogue technique and enables a range of new services.

  • ISO:
    Stands for the International Standards Organization. Someone has to say what is the standard for transferring data. These people are it. You'll find them in Paris.

  • ISP:
    Internet Service Provider, a company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider gives you a software package, username, password and access phone number. Equipped with a modem, you can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web and USENET, and send and receive e-mail.

    In addition to serving individuals, ISPs also serve large companies, providing a direct connection from the company's networks to the Internet. ISPs themselves are connected to one another through Network Access Points (NAPs). ISPs are also called IAPs (Internet Access Providers).

  • ISDN: 
    Integrated Services Digital Network.
    Basically a way to move more data over regular existing phone lines. ISDN is 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.
    Unlike DSL, ISDN can be used to connect to many different locations, one at a time, just like a regular telephone call, as long the other location also has ISDN.

  • Italics:
    A type style with slightly slanted characters, used for emphasis. Best used to set off quotes, special phrases, and foreign words, italic letters have a redesigned structure that allows them to slant to the right. The first italic type was designed by Aldus Manutius in AD 1501 and was based on the handwriting style of that time. Furthermore, lowercase letters were in italics while capital letters were Roman (or vertical stance).  

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