Historically, the term “widget” was used to denote a part or piece of machine that was unidentified (or did not, for the purposes, need to be identified). In modern computer-slanted usage, a widget is a small interface display designed to clearly convey information to the user.
Internet Service Providers, web sites that offer various services (especially communication related), and temporary providers of internet access (such as University and Public library computer labs) will generally have you sign off on an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) before allowing you to use their service.
The Terms of Service are the legal terms by which the user must agree with in order to use the service in question. While not all web sites have a Terms of Service agreement between the site and the user–especially those that simply provider information like news sites or other general purpose information portals–sites where the user has an actual account and/or shares personal information (significant or insignificant) with the web site or service almost always have a Terms of Service in place that the user must virtually sign off on before using the service.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, usually referred to by the much easier to pronounce MIME acronym, is an internet standard that extends the functionality of email to include non-text attachments, multi-part message bodies, and text in character sets other than ASCII. Prior to the adoption of the MIME standard, the process of attaching files was laborious–senders had to manually encode their files using a binary-to-text tool, dump the text into the email body, and then rely on the recipient to reverse the process and manually turn the encoded text back into binary so they could access the file.
A heat sink is a passive heat exchanger designed to disperse heat from electronic devices and help maintain stable operating temperatures. Heat sinks are designed to have a large surface area (usually achieved via fins, much like a radiator) to maximize the volume of cooling material (typically air) that comes in contact with the surface of the heat sink.
The command line is a software tool included with an operating system to give users the ability to feed commands to the operating system for immediate execution. Using the command line contrasts with using the Graphic User Interface (GUI) of the operating system. Many users prefer using the command line over the GUI because of the speed and power afforded by command lines.
The Dvorak Keyboard layout was created in the 1930s by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother in-law Dr. William Dealey. The two created the layout in order to alleviate problems with the popular QWERTY keyboard configuration (the very configuration still in use today by hundreds of millions of typists worldwide).
Multi-core processors are a recent innovation in computing. Historically, computers had a single core, or processing unit. All computations performed by the computer were directed through the single core in a linear fashion. The only way to increase the speed of the computer was to increase the power of the single processor–and this was precisely how desktop and server computing grew throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Web 2.0 is a phrase used to encapsulate the design choices of web sites from the early 2000s moving forward. Unlike earlier web design choices that presented users with static web pages and no chance for interaction or alteration, Web 2.0 sites are designed for a richer user experience.
In the early years of the web, sites were designed around what are now referred to as Web 1.0 elements. These elements included static pages (as oppose to user-generated content), segregated and inaccessible user data, use of frames and tables to position content on the page, prolific GIF buttons (also supported via tables), and email forms. The most significant element of the Web 1.0 experience was that users consumed content and rarely, if ever, contributed in any meaningful way to web site they were visiting.
A memory leak occurs when a computer application acquires computer memory but fails to release it back to the operating system when the memory is no longer needed. Memory leaks diminish system performance by reducing the available pool of memory accessible to the operating system and other applications.
DivX is a family of video codecs and container formats created by DivXNetworks. The format is most notable for being the first video codec for the Microsoft AVI container format that allowed for reasonable video streaming over the internet and allowed for a DVD (4.7GB of data) to be compressed to fit on a CD (~700MB of data). As such it was the codec of choice among early file traders–the majority of all pirated movies traded in the early 2000s were encoded via DivX.
Overclocking is the process of increasing the speed of a CPU or other computer component beyond the clock frequency specified by the manufacturer. This is achieved by increasing the clock rate, changing the chip multipliers, or manipulating timing cycles.
A container format, or wrapper format, is a metafile format whose specifications describe how different data elements and meta data are arranged. Although container formats are used for a variety of file types within and across operating systems, the most frequent way the average computer user interacts with container formats is via multimedia files.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the machine recognition of printed characters. OCR software takes a scanned document, photograph, or other digital source that includes printed text, and uses sophisticated algorithms to search out letter patterns in the text, converting it from a non-machine-readable image to a machine-readable (and human-editable) ASCII text.
CAPTCHA, or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, is a term used to encompass technological tools used to differentiate humans from computers during online interactions–usually with a focus on preventing automated computer systems from abusing email services, repeatedly trying to enter passwords, or otherwise creating undue strain or security problems for networked services.
Metadata is data which describes other data, usually to provide additional information about the content of the original data. Digital cameras, for example, routinely include a wide range of metadata with each photograph they take. The photograph itself is the primary data, the metadata is data attached to that photograph such as the date of capture, the settings the camera used (EXIF data that includes such information as the shutter speed or aperture settings), and the file size.
Netiquette is a portmanteau of the words Internet and etiquette. Netiquette is broad term encompassing appropriate behavior on computer networks and the greater internet. Much like real-world etiquette governs things like appropriate dress, topics of discussion, methods of communication (such as wedding invitations and RSVP standards), and so on, netiquette seeks to provide similar structure to online interactions.
A URL, or Universal Resource Locator, is the convention by which domain names are combined with file path syntax to create human readable addresses for internet stored materials. This convention was proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, in 1994 as a method of making web-based resources more accessible.
Historically, a “mashup” referred to the blending of musical genres. While the term still retains that meaning in the music world, in computer lingo mashup has come to refer to the blending of multiple web applications (and their data) into a single interface or application.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a wireless non-contact data transfer system used for identification and tracking. The RFID chip is a small electronic module roughly the size of a grain of rice that contains a unique serial number and other information about the object to which it is attached. This information can be read over short distances (several meters or less) via special RFID readers which emit the proper radio frequency to both activate the chip and read the resulting transmission from the chip.
An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is the unique numeric identifier attached to all devices on an IP-based network. Every client, server, and network device is assigned a unique IP address to ensure that it can send and receive data on the network without interfering or colliding with another networked device.