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Have you ever wondered what "HTML" or "WWW" stands for? We try to explain a few of these abbreviations and technical terms with the following:
Baud rate
The speed rate of a data channel - expressed as bits per second (bps)- which is usually used when referring to modem speeds.
Bits and bytes
A bit is the smallest piece of information that a computer deals with - either an 0 or a 1. The word bit comes from "B"inary dig"IT". Bytes are a collection of bits and usually come in a form of seven-bit bytes and eight-bit bytes.
Kilobyte (kb)
A thousand bytes (1024, or 2^ 10 bytes)
Megabyte (Mb)
A thousand kilobytes (1024kb). A million bytes.
Gigabyte (Gb)
A thousand Megabytes (1024Mb). A million kilobytes.
A program which allows your computer to download and display documents from the World Wide Web. Some browsers can also FTP and read Usenet postings. Popular browsers include Netscape Navigator and Communicator, and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
The amount you can send through a modem, measured in bits-per- second (Bps).
Bits-per-second. A measurement of how fast data is transferred. A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second.
A piece of code sent by a website to your browser that the browser is expected to save and to send back to the website if you visit the website again. You can set your browser to warn you of cookies.
This means using telephone lines or ISDN networks to connect your computer to a service / the Internet. The opposite of a permanent connection, it means you have to make a phone call to get online.
The part of the Internet name that specifies your computers location in the world is written as a series of names separated by full stops. Adept's domain name is "" where ".co" means company and ".za" South Africa.
email address
This is a unique address within the Internet which lets people send mail to you. It's usually your name, the @ symbol and your domain name for example ""
An HTML feature that allows web designers to split up the window of a web browser into sections. Frames allow you to view several pages without re-loading the entire pages.
File Transfer Protocol is the basic way of transferring files across the Internet. If you want to get files from another computer then you'll need an FTP client (available as shareware or with most WWW browsers).
GIF's & JPEG's
A way of compressing and storing images used on the Net.
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 opened and displayed.
Home Page
Technically, an opening page on a World Wide Web site, and the page that will be sent by the server as the first. It's also used as a term to refer to a company, or an individual's site.
The computer you contact to get on the Internet - each host has an IP address and a fully qualified Internet name.
Hyper Text Mark-up Language - this is the language used to create documents on the World Wide Web.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol - the standard way of transferring HTML- encoded documents between Web servers and clients (browsers). A computer that is acting as a Web server is often referred to as an HTTP server.
A private network of computers inside a company or organization that use the same kinds of software that you would find on the Internet, but that is only for internal use.
IP address
Every computer connected to the Internet has to have an address. Confusingly, this is expressed in two ways: as an IP address in dotted decimal notation, eg.; or by the more memorable machine and domain name, eg. Within the mechanics of the Internet itself the dotted decimal version, ie. the IP address, is the format which is used.
An Internet Service Provider. It's a company whose business is selling Internet access to others. Some service providers sell access to other service providers, some specialise in selling connections to companies, usually over leased lines.
Java is an object-oriented programming language invented by Sun microsystems specifically designed for writing programs that can be downloaded to your PC through the Internet. Java programs (called "Applets") are used for Web pages that include functions such as animations, calculators etc.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, the standard for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files, etc. An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard.
Some FTP- and web-sites are so heavily used that their entire contents are copied to other sites to share the workload. These are known as mirror sites.
This stands for MOdulator/DEModulator - a device that translates the digital information your computer produces into analogue signals that can be sent down normal telephone lines. Modem specifications primarily refer to the speed at which they can communicate, generally given in terms of V-series.
A novice or new user on the Internet.
These are the Internet's bulletin boards. There are hundreds of thousands of groups covering every subject under the sun. Most ISPs and organisations have a newsgroup server which periodically receives a feed of news from another newsgroup server on the network - it takes all new messages from the feed and then adds the messages which have been posted by it's own users. The feed then goes onto another newgroup server. The collective name for these newsgroup servers is the Usenet. To access the newsgroups stored on your access provider's server, you need a newsreader program.
A bundle of data that traverses a network. On the Internet a packet is formed by the IP part of the TCP/IP protocol. It must contain the source address (where the packet's come from), the destination address (where it's going), a packet identifier (so that the receiving computer can tell what sort of packet it is) and some data.
A small piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape navigator browser and web server.
Point of Presence - a local Internet access point set up by an access provider to reduce the telephone charges for people dialing in.
An e-mail transfer protocol.
In this case, POP = post office protocol.
Essentially an agreed way for two devices on a network to communicate with each other, it defines many issues including packet format, how it is verified, how routers deal with it, and what to do if a packet goes missing.
Security Certificate
A chunk of information that is used by the SSL (secure socket layer) protocol to establish a secure connection. When confidential information is passed over the Internet (like credit card details), the secure connection prevents anyone besides the sender and receiver to read it.
Secure socket layer. A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet. URL's that begin with "https" indicate that an SSL connection will be used.
A central computer which makes services and data available.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol - the Internet protocol for transferring mail.
Transmission Control Protocol - the major protocol in the suite of Internet protocols. It takes the information to be translated by the application and passes it to the IP to be transmitted. Where IP is responsible for getting a packet from one host to another, TCP is responsible for ensuring that messages get from one host to another and that the messages are understood. Internet Protocol is one layer of the set of protocol within each other. It defines how packets of data get from their source to their intended destination.
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). e.g.
World Wide Web - also known as the Web - this is the generic name given to all of the HTML documents on the Internet that have links to each other and are accessible from HTTP or WWWeb servers. The WWW has been the 'killer application', which has driven the Net's popularity.

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