An internet meme is a concept that spreads by the internet and may take on the form of a image, video, hashtag, website, or may simply be a word or phrase. Memes spread organically and by mechanisms similar to those of evolutionary biology including mutation and replication as well as pressures like competition and differentiation within their environment–the term was originally coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) are a sub-genre of role-playing video games focused on player interaction in a virtual world. Unlike traditional stand-alone RPG games, the majority of the player’s in-game experience is not with Non-Player Characters (NPCs) controlled by the game itself but with characters controlled by other players who are connected to the game via the internet.
BitTorrent is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing protocol designed to reduce bandwith overhead and decentralize the distribution of files. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files on the Internet today and the most frequently used P2P protocol. Estimates regarding how much Internet traffic is driven by BitTorrent activity at any given moment range from 40-70% of the total global Internet activity.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a digital cabling standard for audio/video transmission that replaced previously used analog cabling standards such as Component video cables. HDMI is commonly used for digital televisions, projectors, and included on many modern computer monitors.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an encryption technology most commonly used by web browsers to ensure that the information transmitted between the browser and the web server is private and unaltered. Active SSL connections are most frequently indicated by a change in the host URL from HTTP://somehost.com to HTTPS://somehost.com, and in most modern browsers the inclusion of a padlock icon or other indicator in the address bar to further signal the secure connection.
Wi-Fi is the common term used to denote the radio-frequency standards outlined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11 protocol for wireless local area networks (WLAN). Since almost every modern WLAN is based off the IEEE 802.11 standard, the term Wi-Fi has become synonymous with it.
Bandwidth, when used in the computational terms, is the amount of data that can be transferred over a given connection in a set period of time. The speed of many things such as internet connections, local network connections, and even local connections between host computers and peripherals are frequently described in terms of bandwidth.
Ergonomics is a scientific discipline concerned with studying the interaction of human beings with their environment. The principle focus of most ergonomic inquiries is to minimize the impact of equipment and user-interfaces on the human body. Machines and devices with poor ergonomic design can yield an increase in repetitive strain injuries and musculoskeletal injuries–injuries which can compound over time to yield long-term disabilities.
Every time you interact with your computer, smart phone, or game console using a system of on-screen buttons, icons, and other interface elements to do so, you’re experiencing one of the miracles of modern computing: the GUI (Graphic User Interface).
Right now you’re looking at a computer screen, reading this definition. The color scheme of the page, the individual letters, and the negative space surrounding those letters are all composed of pixels–tiny little electronically toggled points of color and light on the screen.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a cabling standard developed in the mid-1990s in order to decrease the number of peripheral interfaces on the market and create a streamlined standard for future peripherals and interfaces. Development began in 1994 by a consortium composed of Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Nortel. Later revisions to the standard included development work by Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Lucent Technologies.
Phishing is when hackers or scammers attempt to steal personal information like usernames, passwords, or credit cards by pretending to be somebody else, usually through email or other electronic communications. They might send a fake email that appears to be from your bank, Paypal, Facebook, or any number of other services, and then try to get you to enter your login details or even your credit card or bank information.
The Domain Name System is a hierarchical naming system for computers and web sites connected to the internet, which associates easy-to-remember names with the IP Address of the actual resource on the network or internet–for instance, the DNS entry for www.howtogeek.com maps to the IP address 18.104.22.168. Imagine having to type in the IP address every time you wanted to browse our site!
Telnet is a network protocol and a command-line application for virtually every operating system out there. It’s used to access a virtual terminal (command line) on another computer, router, or device across the network. It’s not really used for connecting to secure servers anymore, since everybody uses the much more secure SSH protocol, but it’s a useful troubleshooting tool.
DirectX is a collection of application program interfaces (API) created by Microsoft that contain a set of commands and functions that allow programmers to much more easily deal with multimedia and video games. By being able to use prewritten functions in Direct3D, a component of DirectX, programmers can create and manage 3D objects with significantly less code.
The Smurf attack is a type of denial-of-service attack that floods a network using spoofed broadcast ping messages. The attacker sends a large amount of ping requests to a router or server, but spoofs (fakes) the sending IP address, so the servers start sending messages back and forth, flooding the network with requests. They multiply the damage by using a broadcast ping, which requires sending a reply back to every server on the network–and when there are many servers sending messages to every server, the network quickly overloads.
PHP is a scripting language used to power web sites like How-To Geek, and is extremely popular because it is very easy to get a new site up and running compared to many other languages, and the system requirements are very low, so many web sites can be run on a single server. When the language was created in 1995, the acronym PHP stood for Personal Home Page, but the creators have since decided that it stands for PHP: Hypertext Processor, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since the name is recursive.
Network News Transfer Protocol is the protocol users must use before they can post a message and interact with a usenet newsgroup–created in 1986, the NNTP protocol is a lot like the SMTP protocol for email, but was tailored for exchanging newsgroup articles for groups instead of users. NNTP queries, distribute, posts, and retrieves articles to and from a newsgroup server.
The carriage return is a control character that that resets the position to the beginning of the line. In the old days, typewriters had a lever that would return to the beginning of the line once you were done typing the line, and then would usually also move down to the next line. In computer terms, the carriage return is usually used with a line feed (LF) that moves down to the next line–the combination is usually CRLF. This was important for older printers, which needed the carriage return code to happen first, because they were slow to move the print head all the way back.
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is used for sending email messages–desktop clients only use SMTP for sending messages–mail servers, on the other hand, use SMTP for both sending and receiving email from one server to another. Traditionally, SMTP operates over TCP port 25, though many ISP providers block port 25 to prevent spammers from sending messages, so other ports are sometimes used, especially when SMTP is sent over a secure SSL channel.
Double Data Rate is a term usually used for the RAM in your computer, and it refers to the amount of times the memory can be accessed while synchronized to the clock–double, in the case of regular DDR. Newer DDR3 SDRAM is much faster, and can transfer data at 64 times the memory clock speed in megabytes per second while allowing memory chips up to 8 GB.