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Computing essentials

TermDefinition
application software Also referred to as apps. Software that can perform useful work, such as word processing, cost estimating, or accounting tasks. The user primarily interacts with application software.
Blu-ray A type of high-definition disc with a capacity of 25 to 50 gigabytes.
cloud computing Data stored at a server on the Internet and available anywhere the Internet can be accessed.
communication device Computer systems that communicate with other computer systems using modems. For example, it modifies computer output into a form that can be transmitted across standard telephone lines.
compact disc (CD) Widely used optical disc format. It holds 650 MB (megabytes) to 1 GB (gigabyte) of data on one side of the CD
computer competency Becoming proficient in computer-related skills.
connectivity Capability of the microcomputer to use information from the world beyond one’s desk. Data and information can be sent over telephone or cable lines and through the air so that computers can talk to each other and share information.
data Raw, unprocessed facts that are input to a computer system that will give compiled information when the computer processes those facts. Data is also defined as facts or observations about people, places, things, and events.
database file File containing highly structured and organized data created by database management programs.
desktop computer Computer small enough to fit on top of or along the side of a desk and yet too big to carry around.
device driver Every device that is connected to the computer has a special program associated with it called a device driver that allows communication between the operating system and the device.
DVD (digital versatile disc or digital video disc) Similar to CD-ROMs except that more data can be packed into the same amount of space. can store a typical capacity of 4.7 GB on one side.
document file File created by a word processor to save documents such as letters, research papers, and memos.
end user Person who uses microcomputers or has access to larger computers.
flash memory card A solid-state storage device widely used in notebook computers. Flash memory also is used in a variety of specialized input devices to capture and transfer data to desktop computers.
general-purpose application Application used for doing common tasks, such as browsers and word processors, spreadsheets, databases, management systems, and presentation graphics. Also known as productivity applications.
hard disk Enclosed disk drive containing one or more metallic disks. Hard disks use magnetic charges to record data and have large storage capacities and fast retrieval times.
hardware Equipment that includes a keyboard, monitor, printer, the computer itself, and other devices that are controlled by software programming.
information Data that has been processed by a computer system.
information system Collection of hardware, software, people, data, and procedures that work together to provide information essential to running an organization.
information technology (IT) Computer and communication technologies, such as communication links to the Internet, that provide help and understanding to the end user.
mainframe computer This computer can process several million program instructions per second. Sizeable organizations rely on these room-size systems to handle large programs and a great deal of data.
memory is contained on chips connected to the system board and is a holding area for data instructions and information (processed data waiting to be output to secondary storage). RAM, ROM, and CMOS
microprocessor The central processing unit (CPU) of a microcomputer controls and manipulates data to produce information. is contained on a single integrated circuit chip and is the brains of the system.
midrange computer Also known as a minicomputer.
mobile app (application) Add-on features for a variety of mobile devices, including smartphones, netbooks, and tablets.
modem Short for modulator-demodulator. It is a communication device that translates the electronic signals from a computer into electronic signals that can travel over telephone lines.
network The arrangement in which various communications channels are connected through two or more computers.
operating system (OS) Software that interacts between application software and the computer, handling such details as running programs, storing and processing data, and coordinating all computer resources, including attached peripheral devices.
optical disc Storage device that can hold over 17 gigabytes of data, which is an equivalent of several million typewritten pages. Lasers are used to record and read data on the disc.
presentation file A file created by presentation graphics programs to save presentation materials. For example, a file might contain audience handouts, speaker notes, and electronic slides.
random-access memory (RAM) Volatile, temporary storage that holds the program and data the CPU is presently processing. It is called temporary storage because its contents will be lost if electrical power to the computer is disrupted or the computer is turned off.
secondary storage Permanent storage used to preserve programs and data that can be retained after the computer is turned off. These devices include floppy disks, hard disks, magnetic tape, CDs, DVDs, and more
server A host computer with a connection to the Internet that stores document files used to display web pages. Depending on the resources shared, it may be called a file server, printer server, communication server, web server, or database server.
software Computer program consisting of step-by-step instructions, directing the computer on each task it will perform.
solid-state drive (SSD) Designed to be connected inside a microcomputer system the same way an internal hard disk would be, but contains solid-state memory instead of magnetic disks to store data.
solid-state storage A secondary storage device that has no moving parts. Data is stored and retrieved electronically directly from these devices, much as they would be from conventional computer memory.
specialized application Programs that are narrowly focused on specific disciplines and occupations. Some of the best known are multimedia, Web authoring, graphics, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
supercomputer Fastest calculating device ever invented, processing billions of program instructions per second. Used by very large organizations like NASA.
system software “Background” software that enables the application software to interact with the computer. Consists of the operating system, utilities, device drivers, and language translators. It works with application software to handle the majority of technical detail
system unit Part of a microcomputer that contains the CPU. Also known as the system cabinet or chassis, it is the container that houses most of the electronic components that make up the computer system.
AJAX An advanced use of JavaScript found on many interactive sites. This technology is used to create interactive Web sites that respond quickly like traditional desktop application software.
BitTorrent A peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol used for distributing large amounts of data over the Internet.
cascading style sheets (CSS) Files inserted into an HTML document that control the appearance of web pages including layout, colors, and fonts
domain name The second part of the URL; it is the name of the server where the resource is located. For example, www.mtv.com.
e-commerce electronic commerce Buying and selling goods over the Internet.
file transfer protocol (FTP) Internet service for uploading and downloading files
filter blocks access to selected Web sites. will locate or display records from a table that fit a set of conditions or criteria when using programs like Excel.
hits The sites that a search engine returns after running a keyword search, ordered from most likely to least likely to contain the information requested.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) Programming language that creates document files used to display Web pages.
Java Programming language for creating special programs like applets.
JavaScript A scripting language that adds basic interactivity to Web pages.
mobile browser Special browsers designed to run on portable devices.
plug-in Program that is automatically loaded and operates as part of a browser.
podcast An Internet-based medium for delivering music and movie files from the Internet to a computer.
search engine Specialized programs assisting in locating information on the Web and the Internet.
search service Organizations that maintain databases relating to information provided on the Internet and also provide search engines to locate information.
specialized search engine Search engine that focuses on subject-specific Web sites.
spider Special program that continually looks for new information and updates a search server’s databases.
webcast An Internet delivery medium that uses streaming technology, in which audio and video files are continuously downloaded to a computer while the user is listening to and/or viewing the file content.
animation Feature involving special visual and sound effects like moving pictures, audio, and video clips that play automatically when selected.
bitmap image Graphic file in which an image is made up of thousands of dots (pixels).
contextual tab A type of tab found in Microsoft Word that only appears when needed and anticipates the next operations to be performed by the user.
database A collection of related information, like employee names, addresses, and phone numbers. It is organized so that a computer program can quickly select the desired pieces of information and display them for you.
vector image Graphics file made up of a collection of objects such as lines, rectangles, and ovals. are more flexible than bitmaps because they are defined by mathematical equations so they can be stretched and resized. Illustration programs create and manipulate vect
web authoring program Word processing program for generating Web pages. Also called HTML editor or Web page editor. Widely used Web authoring programs include Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage.
word processor The computer and the program allow you to create, edit, save, and print documents composed of text.
Disk Cleanup A Windows troubleshooting utility that eliminates nonessential files.
Disk Defragmenter A Windows utility that optimizes disk performance by eliminating unnecessary fragments and rearranging files.
embedded operating system An operating system that is completely stored within the ROM (read-only memory) of the device that it is in; used for handheld computers and smaller devices like PDAs.
file compression program Utility programs that reduce the size of files so they require less storage on the computer and can be sent more efficiently over the Internet. Examples of such programs are WinZip and Wizard.
fragmented Storage technique that breaks up large files and stores the parts wherever space is available in adjacent sectors and clusters.
mobile OS (mobile operating system) Embedded operating system that controls a smartphone.
multitasking Operating system that allows a single user to run several application programs at the same time.
network operating system (NOS) Interactive software between applications and computers coordinating and directing activities between computers on a network. This operating system is located on one of the connected computers’ hard disks, making that system the network server.
network server This computer coordinates all communication between the other computers. Popular network operating systems include NetWare and Windows NT Server.
sector Section shaped like a pie wedge that divides the tracks on a disk.
stand-alone operating system Also called desktop operating systems; a type of operating system that controls a single desktop or notebook computer.
virtualization A process that allows a single physical computer to support multiple operating systems that operate independently.
arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) The part of the CPU that performs arithmetic and logical operations.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) Binary coding scheme widely used on all computers, including microcomputers. Eight bits form each byte, and each byte represents one character.
binary system Numbering system in which all numbers consist of only two digits: 0 and 1.
bit Each 1 or 0 is a bit; short for binary digit.
bus All communication travels along a common connecting cable called a bus or a backbone. As information passes along the bus, it is examined by each device on the system board to see if the information is intended for that device.
bus line Electronic data roadway, along which bits travel, connects the parts of the CPU to each other and links the CPU with other important hardware. The common connecting cable in a bus network.
bus width The number of bits traveling simultaneously down a bus is the bus width.
byte Unit consisting of eight bits. There are 256 possible bit combinations in a byte and each byte represents one character.
cache memory Area of random-access memory (RAM) set aside to store the most frequently accessed information.improves processing by acting as a temporary high-speed holding area between memory and the CPU, allowing the computer to detect which information in RAM is mos
carrier package The material that chips are mounted on which then plugs into sockets on the system board.
chip A tiny circuit board etched on a small square of sandlike material called silicon. A chip is also called a silicon chip, semiconductor, or integrated circuit.
clock speed Also called clock rate. It is measured in gigahertz, or billions of beats per second. The faster the clock speed, the faster the computer can process information and execute instructions.
coprocessor Specialized processing chip designed to improve specific computer operations, such as the graphics coprocessor.
DIMM (dual in-line memory module) An expansion module used to add memory to the system board.
EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) Binary coding scheme that is a standard for minicomputers and mainframe computers.
expansion card Optional device that plugs into a slot inside the system unit to expand the computers’ abilities. Ports on the system board allow cables to be connected from the expansion board to devices outside the system unit.
expansion slot Openings on a system board. Users can insert optional devices, known as expansion cards, into these slots, allowing users to expand their systems.
flash memory RAM chips that retain data even when power is disrupted. is an example of solid-state storage and is typically used to store digitized images and record MP3 files.
hexadecimal system (hex) Uses 16 digits to represent binary numbers.
logical operation Comparing two pieces of data to see whether one is equal to (=), less than (<), or greater than (>) the other.
microprocessor The central processing unit (CPU) of a microcomputer controls and manipulates data to produce information.The central processing unit (CPU) of a microcomputer controls and manipulates data to produce information.
multicore chip A new type of chip that provides two independent CPUs, allowing two programs to run simultaneously.
parallel processing Used by supercomputers to run large and complex programs
read-only memory (ROM) Refers to chips that have programs built into them at the factory. The user cannot change the contents of such chips. The CPU can read or retrieve the programs on the chips but cannot write or change information.tores programs that boot the computer, for
Unicode A 16-bit code designed to support international languages, like Chinese and Japanese.
virtual memory Feature of an operating system that increases the amount of memory available to run programs. With large programs, parts are stored on a secondary device like your hard disk. Then each part is read in RAM only when needed.
word the number of bits (such as 16, 32, or 64) that can be accessed at one time by the CPU.
aspect ratio The width of a monitor divided by its height.
clarity Indicated by the resolution, or number of pixels, on a monitor. The greater the resolution, the better
contrast ratio Indicates a monitor’s ability to display colors. It compares the light intensity of the brightest white to the darkest black.
dot pitch Distance between each pixel.
dots per inch (dpi) Printer resolution is measured in dpi. The higher the dpi, the better the quality of images produced.
inkjet printer Printer that sprays small droplets of ink at high speed onto the surface of the paper, producing letter-quality images, and can print in color.
laser printer Printer that creates dotlike images on a drum, using a laser beam light source
magnetic-ink character recognition (MICR) Direct entry scanning devices used in banks. This technology is used to automatically read the numbers on the bottom of checks.
optical-character recognition (OCR) Scanning device that uses special preprinted characters, such as those printed on utility bills, that can be read by a light source and changed into machine-readable code.
optical-mark recognition (OMR) Device that senses the presence or absence of a mark, such as a pencil mark.
pixel pitch The distance between each pixel on a monitor.
pixel (picture elements) Smallest unit on the screen that can be turned on and off or made different shades.individual dots that form images on a monitor.
plotter Special-purpose output device for producing bar charts, maps, architectural drawings, and three- dimensional illustrations.
resolution A measurement in pixels of a monitor’s clarity
RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag Microchips that contain electronically stored information and can be embedded in items such as consumer products, driver’s licenses, passports, etc.
telephony Communication that uses the Internet rather than traditional communication lines to connect two or more people via telephone.
thermal printer Printer that uses heat elements to produce images on heat-sensitive paper.
access speed Measures the amount of time required by the storage device to retrieve data and programs.
capacity how much data a particular storage medium can hold and another characteristic of secondary storage.
CD-R (CD-recordable) This optical disc can be written to only once. After that it can be read many times without deterioration but cannot be written on or erased.
CD-ROM (compact disc–read-only memory) Optical disc that allows data to be read but not recorded. Used to distribute large databases, references, and software application packages.
CD-RW (compact disc–rewriteable) A reusable, optical disc that is not permanently altered when data is recorded. Used to create and edit large multimedia presentations.
cylinder Hard disks store and organize files using tracks, sectors, and cylinders. A cylinder runs through each track of a stack of platters. Cylinders differentiate files stored on the same track and sector of different platters.
density Refers to how tightly the bits (electromagnetic charges) can be packed next to one another on a floppy disk.
disk caching Method of improving hard-disk performance by anticipating data needs. Frequently used data is read from the hard disk into memory (cache). When needed, data is then accessed directly from memory, which has a much faster transfer rate than from the hard di
DVD (digital versatile disc or digital video disc) Similar to CD-ROMs except that more data can be packed into the same amount of space.
enterprise storage system Using mass storage devices, a strategy is designed for organizations to promote efficient and safe use of data across the networks within their organizations.
file compression Process of reducing the storage requirements for a file.
file decompression Process of expanding a compressed file.
head crash When a read-write head makes contact with the hard disk’s surface or particles on its surface, the disk surface becomes scratched and some or all data is destroyed.
internal hard disk Storage device consisting of one or more metallic platters sealed inside a container. are installed inside the system cabinet of a microcomputer. It stores the operating system and major applications like Word.
lands and pits Flat and bumpy areas, respectively, that represent 1s and 0s on the optical disc surface to be read by a laser.
mass storage devices Devices such as file servers, RAID systems, tape libraries, optical jukeboxes, and more.
platter Rigid metallic disk; multiple platters are stacked one on top of another within a hard disk drive.
RAID system Several inexpensive hard-disk drives connected to improve performance and provide reliable storage.
redundant arrays of inexpensive disks (RAIDs) Groups of inexpensive hard-disk drives related or grouped together using networks and special software. They improve performance by expanding external storage
sector Section shaped like a pie wedge that divides the tracks on a disk.
track Closed, concentric ring on a disk on which data is recorded. Each track is divided into sections called sectors.
Created by: brown_amy2