Finger, also frequently called Name, is a simple network protocol used for the exchange of user status and contact information. Introduced in the 1970s, it was used to locate other users on a given computer network and see if they were logged in and/or available. While historically significant, its use declined steadily into the 1990s, as security concerns, other venues of contact information sharing, and incompatibility with NAT-based routing (such as commonly found in home and corporate routers) quickly made Finger an unattractive communication tool.
Variable width fonts are typeface fonts that employ a dynamic spacing system wherein the shape of the letters and other characters are considered when spacing the letters on the line. By this mechanism, a “B” takes up more room than an “I” and the letter “a” in the word “Tan” is nested slightly under the “T”.
A monospaced font, or non-variable width font, is a font wherein each character in the font set is given equal spacing regardless of the size and shape of the letter. A common monospaced font is Courier (aka the typewriter font). Monospaced fonts yield text that takes up more space on the page because there is no mechanism for adjusting the spacing and fitting the letters closer together based on their shape.
Traditionally, a font was a specific size, weight, and style of a given physical typeface (style of letters). In modern computer-based usage, font has come to indicate the style, but not the size or weight, as modern publishing and design applications can easily scale the size and weight of the typeface on the fly.
Cookies are small bits of information stored in a browser that (irritating advertising tracking aside) are generally pretty useful, as they allow for things like sustained logins to websites, saved preferences, and other browsing conveniences.
Voice over IP is an umbrella term that refers to several modern telecommunication systems that encode and transmit traditional voice communications via the TCP/IP networking protocol–in essence, VoIP is telephone over the Internet.
File Allocation Table (FAT) is a legacy file system that still remains in wide use today; the naming of the system is a reference to the prominent role of the file index table which is created when the FAT disk is formatted.
In computer science, a file system is a data storage schema used to store, retrieve, and update files. File systems specify a wide range of attributes such as cluster size, maximum file size, whether or not data is integrity checked, and other elements of file reading and writing.
A Web API, or Web Application Programming Interface, is relative of the traditional computing Application Programming Interface (API). Just like an API helps different elements on a traditional computer talk to each other using common routines and tools, a Web API allows clear communication between a web-based service (and its data set) and a third party tool (like a desktop widget).
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are sets of functions or routines that specify how software components should interact with each other. The APIs are, to the end user, entirely invisible and function behind the scenes, handling such tasks as process thread management, error handling, rendering output for graphic user interfaces (GUIs) and other core functions that are part of the computing experience.
Boolean search is used in applications and search engines that use Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) to restrict or expand search queries. For example, if you wanted to search for web pages that contained the phrases “writing tips” and “starting a blog” but not “essay topics”, you could search with the following query: ”writing tips” AND “starting a blog” NOT “essay topics” .
DjVu, pronounced like the French déjà vu, is a document format similar (and in competition to) Adobe System’s Portable Document Format (PDF). Developed shortly after PDF, DjVu boasts higher compression ratios and many have argued that it is superior to PDF. Despite better compression, the format never enjoyed the same widespread adoption that the PDF did and it remains a relatively obscure format.
Portable Document Format (PDF) files are an ubiquitous way to package and share documents. The format was introduced in 1993 by Adobe Systems and remained a closed proprietary format (but free to use) until released as an open standard in 2008.
Upgradable electronics are capable of accepting additional or replacement hardware components to extend their functionality and lifespan. Highly upgradable electronics include such items as desktop computers, where in it is very simple to upgrade memory DIMMS, swap out hard drives, or otherwise improve the machine. Laptops are less upgradable as many of the components (such as the GPU) are integrated right into the machine and cannot be exchanged for a better model. On the opposite end of the spectrum are items like MP3 players and smart phones where there is no expectation in the consumer that the device will be upgradable in any fashion (and they are prepared to purchase a new unit when theirs is obsolete).
One of the first tasks given to a student studying a new programming language is to copy a simple program that outputs the phrase “Hello, World” on the screen. This classic exercise helps familiarize the students with the basic structure of the new language they are studying.
Virtual machines are a form of sandboxing wherein a computer and it’s operating system are simulated, via software, within the operating system of another computer. This concept is distinct from multi-boot systems wherein the user can boot the machine entirely into different operating systems using a boot manager.
An email signature, or signature block, is a block of text appended to the end of an email communication which usually contains the sender’s contact information (such as address, phone number, and social media contacts) as well as other information such as quotations, legal disclaimers, and other material.
In contrast with the Random Access Memory (RAM) modules found in most computers and other devices, Non-volatile memory has a unique property–it retains the data contained within it even when the power is turned off.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is found in everything from computers to tablets to smartphones and everything in between (including routers, cable modems, and other embedded electronics). RAM is a form of rapid access storage used by computers as an active workspace; it derives the “random” part of its name because the computer is able to access any individual data byte within the RAM at any given moment (by contrast, hard drives are read/written in entire blocks and thus not as quickly accessed as RAM modules).
Initialization files, or as they are more commonly known, INI files, are an artifact left over from earlier versions of Windows. Prior to Windows 95, Windows stored critical system variables in INI files (which were essentially just text documents with variable lists in them). Starting with Windows 95, all these settings were found in the Windows Registry system and Microsoft encouraged software developers to do the same.
Anti-aliasing is a technique used by to smooth the appearance of jagged lines in graphical images. When you turn on the font-smoothing functionality in your operating system or graphic design application, for example, you’re using anti-aliasing to make the edges of the lettering and GUI elements appear smoother.
A hot pixel is a pixel that, unlike a dead pixel, is not inactive but instead stuck on a single color and unresponsive to the attached computer’s commands. Users typically find hot pixels more annoying than dead pixels, as the hot pixel (often times white or a bright shade of color) is jarringly obvious on most displays.