(Bits-Per-Second). A measurement of how fast data is moved from one place
to another. A "28.8 modem" can move 28,800 bits per second.
A client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources.
A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are
8 bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement
is being made.
A software program that is used to contact and obtain data
from a Server software program on another computer, often
across a great distance. Each Client program is designed to
work with one or more specific kinds of Server programs, and
each Server requires a specific kind of Client.
Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel "Neuromancer",
the word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of
information resources available through computer networks.
(Electronic Mail) -- Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses (Mailing List)
A very common method of networking computers in a LAN. Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer.
(Frequently Asked Questions) -- FAQs are documents that list and answer the most common questions on a particular subject. There are hundreds of FAQs on subjects as diverse as Pet Grooming and Cryptography. FAQs are usually written by people who have
tired of answering the same question over and over.
(File Transfer Protocol) -- A very common method of moving files
between two Internet sites. FTP is a special way to login to
another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files.
There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible
repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging
in using the account name "anonymous", thus these sites are
called "anonymous ftp servers".
An Internet software tool for locating people on other Internet sites.
Finger is also sometimes used to give access to non-personal information,
but the most common use is to see if a person has an account at a
particular Internet site. Many sites do not allow incoming Finger
requests, but many do.
A widely successful method of making menus of material available
over the Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server style
program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client
program. Although Gopher spread rapidly across the globe in only a
couple of years, it is being largely supplanted by Hypertext,
also known as WWW (World Wide Web). There are still thousands
of Gopher Servers on the Internet and we can expect they
will remain for a while.
Any computer on a network that is a repository for
services available to other computers on the network. It is
quite common to have one host machine provide several services,
such as WWW and USENET
(HyperText Markup Language) -- The coding language used create
Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web.
HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you
surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear,
additionally, in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a
word, is "linked" to another file on the Internet. HTML files are
meant to be viewed using a World Wide Web Client
program, such as Mosaic.
(HyperText Transport Protocol) -- The protocol for moving
hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP
client program on one end, and an HTTP server
program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used
in the World Wide Web (WWW).
Generally, any text that contains "links" to other documents - words
or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which
cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.
(Internet Relay Chat) -- Basically a huge multi-user live chat
facility. There are a number major IRC servers around the world
which are linked to each other. Anyone can create a "channel" and
anything that anyone types in a given channel is seen by all others
in the channel. Private channels can (and are) created for
multi-person "conference calls".
(Integrated Services Digital Network) -- Basically a way to move
more data over existing regular phone lines. ISDN is only slowly becoming
available in the USA but where it is available, it can provide speeds of
64,000 bits-per-second over a regular phone line at almost the same cost as
a normal phone call.
The vast collection of inter-connected networks that all use the
TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late
60's and early '70s. The Internet now (July 1995) connects roughly
60,000 independent networks into a vast global internet.
(Local Area Network) -- A computer network limited to the
immediate area, usually the same building or floor of the building.
The most common kind of maillist , Listervs originated
on BITNET but they are now common on the Internet
Noun or a verb. Noun: The account name used to gain access to a
computer system. Not a secret (contrast with Password)
Verb: The act of entering into a computer system,
e.g. "Login to the WELL and then go to the GBN conference."
(Multi-User Dungeon or Dimension) -- A (usually text-based)
multi-user simulation environment. Some are purely for fun and
flirting, others are used for serious software development, or
education purposes and all that lies in between. A significant feature
of most MUDs is that users can create things that stay after they
leave and which other users can interact with in their absence,
thus allowing a "world" to be built gradually and collectively.
Maillist (or Mailing List)
A (usually automated) system that allows people to send
e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied
and sent to all of the other subscribers to the maillist. In this
way, people who have many different kinds of e-mail access can
participate in discussions together.
The first WWW browser that was available for
the Macintosh, Windows and UNIX all withthe same interface. "Mosaic"
really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic
has been licensed by several companies and there are several other
pieces of software as good or better than Mosaic, most notably
Any time you connected 2 or more computers together so that they
can share resources you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more
networks together and you have an internet.
The name for discussion groups on Usenet .
A code used to gain access to a locked system. Good passwords
contain letters and non-letters and are not simple combinations
such as "virtue7". A good password might be:
(Point to Point Protocol) -- most well known as a protocol that
allows a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem
to make a TCP/IP connection and thus be really and truly on
the Internet . PPP is gradually replacing SLIP
for this purpose.
Server (see Client)
A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific
kind of service to client software running on other computers.
The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as
a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is
running, e.g. "Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't
getting out." A single server machine could have several different
server software packages running on it, thus providing many different
services to clients on the network .
(Serial Line Internet Protocol) -- a standard for using a regular
telephone line (a "serial line") and a modem to connect a
computer as a real Internet site. SLIP is gradually being
replaced by PPP .
(Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) -- This is the
suite of protocols that defines The Internet . Originally
designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is
now available for every major kind of computer operating system.
To be truly on the Internet , your computer must
have TCP/IP software.
The command and program used to login from one
Internet site to another. The telnet command/program
gets you to the "login:" prompt of another host.
A device that allows you to send commands to a computer
somewhere else. At a minimum, this usually means a keyboard
and a display screen and some simple circuitry. usually you
will use terminal software in a personal computer - the software
pretends to be ("emulates") a physical terminal and allows you to
type commands to a computer somewhere else.
A computer operating system (the basic software running on a
computer, underneath things like word processors and spreadsheets).
UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time
(it is "multi-user") and has TCP/IP built-in. It is
the most common operating system for servers on the Internet
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) -- The standard way to give the
address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the
World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this:
The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a WWW browser program,
such as Netscape, or Lynx.
A world-wide system of discussion groups, with comments passed
among hundreds of thousands of machines. Not all Usenet machines
are on the Internet , maybe half. Usenet is completely
decentralized, with over 10,000 discussion areas, called
(Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to
Computerized Archives) -- Developed at the University of Nevada,
Veronica is a constantly updated database of the names of almost
every menu item on thousands of gopher servers.
The Veronica database can be searched from most major gopher menus.
(Wide Area Information Servers) -- A commercial software
package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information,
and then making those indices searchable across networks
such as the Internet . A prominent feature of WAIS is
that the search results are ranked ("scored") according to how
relevant the "hits" are, and that subsequent searches can
find "more stuff like that last batch" and thus refine the search process.
WWW (World Wide Web)
Two meanings - First, loosely used: The whole constellation of
resources that can be accessed using Gopher , FTP ,
HTTP , telnet , Usenet , WAIS and
some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers
(HTTP servers ) which are the servers that
allow text, graphics, sound files etc to be mixed together.
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