Dictionary of Internet and
With thanks to Matisse Enzer©
1994-2000 Matisse Enzer www.matise.net
A | B | C | D
| E | F | G | H
| I | J | K | L
| M | N | O | P
| Q | R | S | T
| U | V | W | X
| Y | Z
- (Advanced Digital Network) -- Usually refers to a 56Kbps leased-line.
- Anonymous FTP
- A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page.
Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not
allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and
serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from
communicating with most other computers across a network. The current rule
is that an applet can only make an Internet connection to the computer from
which the applet was sent.
See Also: HTML , Java
- A tool (software) for finding files stored on anonymous FTP sites.
You need to know the exact file name or a substring of it.
- (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) -- The precursor to the Internet.
Developed in the late 60’s and early 70’s by the US Department of
Defense as an experiment in wide-area-networking that would survive a
See Also: Internet
- (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) -- This is the de
facto world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to
represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation,
etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by
a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111.
- A high-speed line or series of connections that forms a major pathway
within a network. The term is relative as a backbone in a small network
will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network.
See Also: Network
- How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in
bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast
modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen
video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on
See Also: Bps , Bit , T-1
- In common usage the baud rate of a modem is how many bits it
can send or receive per second. Technically, baud is the number of times per
second that the carrier signal shifts value - for example a 1200
bit-per-second modem actually runs at 300 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud
(4 x 300 = 1200 bits per second).
See Also: Bit , Modem
- (Bulletin Board System) -- A computerized meeting and announcement system
that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and download files, and
make announcements without the people being connected to the computer at the
same time. There are many thousands (millions?) of BBS’s around the world,
most are very small, running on a single IBM clone PC with 1 or 2 phone
lines. Some are very large and the line between a BBS and a system like
CompuServe gets crossed at some point, but it is not clearly drawn.
- (BINary HEXadecimal) -- A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII)
into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can only handle
See Also: ASCII , MIME , UUENCODE
- (Binary DigIT) -- A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either
a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerized data. Bandwidth is
usually measured in bits-per-second.
See Also: Bandwidth , Bps , Byte
, Kilobyte , Megabyte
- (Because It’s Time NETwork (or Because It’s There NETwork)) -- A network
of educational sites separate from the Internet, but e-mail is freely
exchanged between BITNET and the Internet. Listservs®, the
most popular form of e-mail discussion groups, originated on BITNET. BITNET
machines are usually mainframes running the VMS operating system, and the
network is probably the only international network that is shrinking.
- (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.
See Also: Bandwidth , Bit
- A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds
of Internet resources.
See Also: Client , URL , WWW
, Netscape , Mosaic , Home
Page (or Homepage)
- (By The Way) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written in an online
See Also: IMHO
- 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.
See Also: Bit
- Certificate Authority
- An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections.
See Also: Security Certificate , SSL
- (Common Gateway Interface) -- A set of rules that describe how a Web
Server communicates with another piece of software on the same
machine, and how the other piece of software (the “CGI program”) talks
to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles
input and output according to the CGI standard.
Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from a web server
and does something with it, like putting the content of a form into an
e-mail message, or turning the data into a database query.
You can often see that a CGI program is being used by seeing
“cgi-bin” in a URL, but not always.
See Also: cgi-bin , Web
- The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI
programs are stored.
The “bin” part of “cgi-bin” is a shorthand version of “binary”,
because once upon a time, most programs were refered to as “binaries”.
In real life, most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text files --
scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on the same machine.
See Also: CGI
- 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.
A Web Browser is a specific kind of Client.
See Also: Browser , Server
- Most often used to refer to having a server that belongs to one
person or group physically located on an Internet-connected network
that belongs to another person or group. Usually this is done because the
server owner wants their machine to be on a high-speed Internet connection
and/or they do not want the security risks of having the server on their own
See Also: Internet , Server , Network
- The most common meaning of “Cookie” on the Internet refers to a piece
of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the
Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever
the browser makes additional requests from the Server.
Depending on the type of Cookie used, and the Browser’s settings, the
Browser may accept or not accept the Cookie, and may save the Cookie for
either a short time or a long time.
Cookies might contain information such as login or registration
information, online “shopping cart” information, user preferences, etc.
When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes a Cookie,
the Server is able to use the information stored in the Cookie. For example,
the Server might customize what is sent back to the user, or keep a log of
particular user’s requests.
Cookies are usually set to expire after a predetermined amount of time
and are usually saved in memory until the Browser software is closed down,
at which time they may be saved to disk if their “expire time” has not
Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to
the CIA, but they can be used to gather more information about a user than
would be possible without them.
See Also: Browser , Server
- Cyberpunk was originally a cultural sub-genre of science fiction taking
place in a not-so-distant, dystopian, over-industrialized society. The term
grew out of the work of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and has evolved
into a cultural label encompassing many different kinds of human, machine,
and punk attitudes. It includes clothing and lifestyle choices as well.
See Also: Cyberspace
- 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.
- The digital version of literati, it is a reference to a vague cloud of
people seen to be knowledgeable, hip, or otherwise in-the-know in regards to
the digital revolution.
- (Digital Subscriber Line) -- A method for moving data over regular phone
lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the
wires coming into the subscriber’s premises are the same (copper) wires
used for regular phone service. A DSL circuit must be configured to connect
two specific locations, similar to a leased line.
A commonly discussed configuration of DSL allows downloads at speeds of up
to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes) per second, and uploads at speeds
of 128 kilobits per second. This arrangement is called ADSL:
“Asymmetric” Digital Subscriber Line.
Another common configuration is symmetrical: 384 Kilobits per second in
In theory ADSL allows download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and
upload speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second.
DSL is now a popular alternative to Leased Lines and ISDN,
being faster than ISDN and less costly than traditional Leased Lines.
See Also: bit , bps , ISDN
, Leased Line
- Domain Name
- The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have
2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most
specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may
have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one
machine. For example, the domain names:
can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no
more than one machine.
Usually, all of the machines on a given Network will have the same
thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names (matisse.net in
the examples above). It is also possible for a Domain Name to exist but not
be connected to an actual machine. This is often done so that a group or
business can have an Internet e-mail address without having to establish a
real Internet site. In these cases, some real Internet machine must handle
the mail on behalf of the listed Domain Name.
See Also: IP Number
- (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).
See Also: Listserv® , Maillist
- 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.
See Also: Bandwidth , LAN
- (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
- (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) -- A standard for transmitting data on
optical fiber cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-second (10
times as fast as Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3).
See Also: Bandwidth , Ethernet
, T-1 , T-3
- 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
- Fire Wall
- A combination of hardware and software that separates a LAN into
two or more parts for security purposes.
See Also: Network , LAN
- Originally, flame meant to carry forth in a passionate manner in the
spirit of honorable debate. Flames most often involved the use of flowery
language and flaming well was an art form. More recently flame has come to
refer to any kind of derogatory comment no matter how witless or crude.
See Also: Flame War
- Flame War
- When an online discussion degenerates into a series of personal attacks
against the debaters, rather than discussion of their positions. A heated
See Also: Flame
- (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.
- The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates
between two dissimilar protocols, for example Prodigy has a gateway that
translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet
e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any
mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a
gateway to the Internet.
- (Graphic Interchange Format) -- A common format for image files,
especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF
format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be
if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic
images as well as JPEG.
See Also: JPEG
- 1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.
See Also: Byte , Megabyte
- 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 has been
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.
See Also: Client , Server , WWW
- As used in reference to the World Wide Web, “hit” means a single
request from a web browser for a single item from a web server;
thus in order for a web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics,
4 “hits” would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page, and one
for each of the 3 graphics.
“hits” are often used as a very rough measure of load on a server, e.g.
“Our server has been getting 300,000 hits per month.” Because each
“hit” can represent anything from a request for a tiny document (or even
a request for a missing document) all the way to a request that requires
some significant extra processing (such as a complex search request), the
actual load on a machine from 1 hit is almost impossible to define.
- Home Page (or Homepage)
- Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser
is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main
web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of
a collection of web pages, e.g. “Check out so-and-so’s new Home Page.”
Another sloppier use of the term refers to practically any web page as a
“homepage,” e.g. “That web site has 65 homepages and none of them are
See Also: Browser , Web
- 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.
See Also: Node , Network
- (HyperText Markup Language) -- The coding language used to 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 Netscape or Mosaic.
See Also: Client , Server , WWW
- (HyperText Transfer 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).
See Also: Client , Server , 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.
- (In My Humble Opinion) -- A shorthand appended to a comment written in an
online forum, IMHO indicates that the writer is aware that they are
expressing a debatable view, probably on a subject already under discussion.
One of may such shorthands in common use online, especially in discussion
See Also: BTW
- (Upper case I) 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 70’s. The Internet now (July 1995) connects roughly
60,000 independent networks into a vast global internet.
See Also: internet
- (Lower case i) Any time you connect 2 or more networks
together, you have an internet - as in inter-national or inter-state.
See Also: Internet , Network
- A private network inside a company or organization that uses the
same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet,
but that is only for internal use.
As the Internet has become more popular many of the tools used on the
Internet are being used in private networks, for example, many companies
have web servers that are available only to employees.
Note that an Intranet may not actually be an internet
-- it may simply be a network.
See Also: internet , Internet
- IP Number
- (Internet Protocol Number) -- Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique
number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g.
Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a
machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most
machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for
people to remember.
See Also: Domain Name , Internet
- (Internet Relay Chat) -- Basically a huge multi-user live chat facility.
There are a number of 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 rapidly becoming available to
much of the USA and in most markets it is priced very comparably to standard
analog phone circuits. It can provide speeds of roughly 128,000
bits-per-second over regular phone lines. In practice, most people will be
limited to 56,000 or 64,000 bits-per-second.
- (Internet Service Provider) -- An institution that provides access to the
Internet in some form, usually for money.
See Also: Internet
- Java is a network-oriented programming language invented by Sun
Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be
safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run
without fear of viruses or other harm to your computer or files. Using small
Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can include
functions such as animations, calculators, and other fancy tricks.
We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the Web using Java,
since you can write a Java program to do almost anything a regular computer
program can do, and then include that Java program in a Web page.
See Also: Applet
usually to add features that make the web page more interactive. When
Style Sheets (CSS), and later versions of HTML (4.0 and later) the
result is often called DHTML.
- (Java Development Kit) -- A software development package from Sun
Microsystems that implements the basic set of tools needed to write, test
and debug Java applications and applets
See Also: Applet , Java
- (Joint Photographic Experts Group) -- JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a
format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format
for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art.
See Also: GIF
- A thousand bytes. Actually, usually 1024 (2^10) bytes.
See Also: Byte , Bit
- (Local Area Network) -- A computer network limited to the immediate area,
usually the same building or floor of a building.
See Also: Ethernet
- Leased Line
- Refers to a phone line that is rented for exclusive 24-hour, 7
-days-a-week use from your location to another location. The highest speed
data connections require a leased line.
See Also: T-1 , T-3, DSL
- The most common kind of maillist, "Listserv" is a
registered trademark of L-Soft international, Inc. Listservs originated on BITNET
but they are now common on the Internet.
See Also: BITNET , E-mail , Maillist
- 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.
See Also: Password
- (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
- A million bytes. Actually, technically, 1024 kilobytes.
See Also: Byte , Bit , Kilobyte
- (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) -- The standard for attaching
non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include
graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files,
An email program is said to be MIME Compliant if it can both send and
receive files using the MIME standard.
When non-text files are sent using the MIME standard they are converted
(encoded) into text - although the resulting text is not really readable.
Generally speaking the MIME standard is a way of specifying both the type
of file being sent (e.g. a Quicktime™ video file), and the method that
should be used to turn it back into its original form.
Besides email software, the MIME standard is also universally used by Web
Servers to identify the files they are sending to Web Clients,
in this way new file formats can be accommodated simply by updating the
Browsers’ list of pairs of MIME-Types and appropriate software for
handling each type.
See Also: Browser , Client ,
Server , Binhex , UUENCODE
- Generally speaking, “to mirror” is to maintain an exact copy of
something. Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers
to “mirror sites” which are web sites, or FTP sites that
maintain exact copies of material originated at another location, usually in
order to provide more widespread access to the resource.
Another common use of the term “mirror” refers to an arrangement where
information is written to more than one hard disk simultaneously, so that if
one disk fails, the computer keeps on working without losing anything.
See Also: FTP , Web
- (MOdulator, DEModulator) -- A device that you connect to your computer and
to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers through
the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does
- (Mud, Object Oriented) -- One of several kinds of multi-user role-playing
environments, so far only text-based.
See Also: MUD , MUSE
- The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh,
Windows, and UNIX all with the 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, Netscape.
See Also: Browser , Client , WWW
- (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.
See Also: MOO , MUSE
- (Multi-User Simulated Environment) -- One kind of MUD - usually with
little or no violence.
See Also: MOO , MUD
- The etiquette on the Internet.
See Also: Internet
- Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet,
or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic
responsibility and participation.
See Also: Internet
- A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The Netscape (tm) browser
was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National
Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
Netscape has grown in features rapidly and is widely recognized as the best
and most popular web browser. Netscape corporation also produces web server
Netscape provided major improvements in speed and interface over other
browsers, and has also engendered debate by creating new elements for the HTML
language used by Web pages -- but the Netscape extensions to HTML are not
The main author of Netscape, Mark Andreessen, was hired away from the
NCSA by Jim Clark, and they founded a company called Mosaic Communications
and soon changed the name to Netscape Communications Corporation.
See Also: Browser , Mosaic ,
Server , WWW
- Any time you connect 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.
See Also: internet , Internet
- The name for discussion groups on USENET.
See Also: USENET
- (Networked Information Center) -- Generally, any office that handles
information for a network. The most famous of these on the Internet is the
InterNIC, which is where new domain names are registered.
Another definition: NIC also refers to Network Interface Card which plugs
into a computer and
adapts the network interface to the appropriate standard. ISA, PCI, and
PCMCIA cards are all examples of NICs.
- (Network News Transport Protocol) -- The protocol used by client
and server software to carry USENET postings back and forth
over a TCP/IP network. If you are using any of the more common
software such as Netscape, Nuntius, Internet Explorer, etc. to
participate in newsgroups then you are benefiting from an NNTP
See Also: Newsgroup , TCP/IP
- Any single computer connected to a network.
See Also: Network , Internet
- Packet Switching
- The method used to move data around on the Internet. In packet
switching, all the data coming out of a machine is broken up into chunks,
each chunk has the address of where it came from and where it is going. This
enables chunks of data from many different sources to co-mingle on the same
lines, and be sorted and directed to different routes by special machines
along the way. This way many people can use the same lines at the same time.
- 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:
See Also: Login
- A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to a larger piece
of software. Common examples are plug-ins for the Netscape® browser
and web server. Adobe Photoshop® also uses plug-ins.
The idea behind plug-in’s is that a small piece of software is loaded into
memory by the larger program, adding a new feature, and that users need only
install the few plug-ins that they need, out of a much larger pool of
possibilities. Plug-ins are usually created by people other than the
publishers of the software the plug-in works with.
- (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol) -- Two commonly used
meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. A Point of Presence
usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often
with dial up phone lines. So if an Internet company says they will soon have
a POP in Belgrade, it means that they will soon have a local phone number in
Belgrade and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A
second meaning, Post Office Protocol refers to the way e-mail software such
as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or
shell account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this
POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail.
See Also: SLIP , PPP
- 3 meanings. First and most generally, a place where information goes into
or out of a computer, or both. E.g. the serial port on a personal computer
is where a modem would be connected.
On the Internet port often refers to a number that is part of a URL,
appearing after a colon (:) right after the domain name. Every
service on an Internet server listens on a particular port number on
that server. Most services have standard port numbers, e.g. Web servers
normally listen on port 80. Services can also listen on non-standard ports,
in which case the port number must be specified in a URL when accessing the
server, so you might see a URL of the form:
shows a gopher server running on a non-standard port (the standard gopher
port is 70).
Finally, port also refers to translating a piece of software to bring it
from one type of computer system to another, e.g. to translate a Windows
program so that is will run on a Macintosh.
See Also: Domain Name , Server
- Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is or is
intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a
"Portal site" has a catalog of web sites, a search engine, or
both. A Portal site may also offer email and other service to entice people
to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence
"portal") to the Web.
- A single message entered into a network communications system.
E.g. A single message posted to a newsgroup or message board.
See Also: Newsgroup
- (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 TCP/IP
connections and thus be really and truly on the Internet.
See Also: IP Number , Internet
, SLIP , TCP/IP
- (Public Switched Telephone Network) -- The regular old-fashioned telephone
- (Request For Comments) -- The name of the result and the process for
creating a standard on the Internet. New standards are proposed and
published on line, as a Request For Comments. The Internet Engineering Task
Force is a consensus-building body that facilitates discussion, and
eventually a new standard is established, but the reference number/name for
the standard retains the acronym RFC, e.g. the official standard for e-mail
is RFC 822.
- A special-purpose computer (or software package) that handles the
connection between 2 or more networks. Routers spend all their time
looking at the destination addresses of the packets passing through
them and deciding which route to send them on.
See Also: Network , Packet
- Security Certificate
- A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL
protocol to establish a secure connection.
Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs to, who it
was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique identification, valid
dates, and an encrypted “fingerprint” that can be used to verify the
contents of the certificate.
In order for an SSL connection to be created both sides must have a valid
See Also: Certificate Authority , SSL
- 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 servers to clients on the network.
See Also: Client , 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.
See Also: Internet , PPP
- (Switched Multimegabit Data Service) -- A new standard for very high-speed
- (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) -- The main protocol used to send
electronic mail on the Internet.
SMTP consists of a set of rules for how a program sending mail and a program
receiving mail should interact.
Almost all Internet email is sent and received by clients and servers
using SMTP, thus if one wanted to set up an email server on the Internet one
would look for email server software that supports SMTP.
See Also: Client , Server
- (Simple Network Management Protocol) -- A set of standards for
communication with devices connected to a TCP/IP network. Examples of
these devices include routers, hubs, and switches.
A device is said to be “SNMP compatible” if it can be monitored and/or
controlled using SNMP messages. SNMP messages are known as “PDU’s” -
Protocol Data Units.
Devices that are SNMP compatible contain SNMP “agent” software to
receive, send, and act upon SNMP messages.
Software for managing devices via SNMP are available for every kind of
commonly used computer and are often bundled along with the device they are
designed to manage. Some SNMP software is designed to handle a wide variety
See Also: Network , Router
- Spam (or Spamming)
- An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or
other networked communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium
(which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people
who didn’t ask for it. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python
skit which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also
have come from someone’s low opinion of the food product with the same
name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of
resources. (Spam is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its
processed meat product.)
E.g. Mary spammed 50 USENET groups by posting the same message to each.
See Also: Maillist , USENET
- (Structured Query Language) -- A specialized programming language for
sending queries to databases. Most industrial-strength and many smaller
database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application
will have its own version of SQL implementing features unique to that
application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL.
- (Secure Sockets Layer) -- A protocol designed by Netscape Communications
to enable encrypted, authenticated communications across the Internet.
SSL used mostly (but not exclusively) in communications between web browsers
and web servers. URL’s that begin with “https” indicate
that an SSL connection will be used.
SSL provides 3 important things: Privacy, Authentication, and Message
In an SSL connection each side of the connection must have a Security
Certificate, which each side’s software sends to the other. Each side
then encrypts what it sends using information from both its own and the
other side’s Certificate, ensuring that only the intended recipient can
de-crypt it, and that the other side can be sure the data came from the
place it claims to have come from, and that the message has not been
See Also: Browser , Server ,
Security Certificate , URL
- (System Operator) -- Anyone responsible for the physical operations of a
computer system or network resource. A System Administrator decides how
often backups and maintenance should be performed and the System Operator
performs those tasks.
- A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second.
At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in
less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen,
full-motion video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second.
T-1 is the fastest speed commonly used to connect networks to the Internet.
See Also: Bandwidth , Bit , Byte
, Ethernet , T-3
- A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000
bits-per-second. This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion
See Also: Bandwidth , Bit , Byte
, Ethernet , T-1
- (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.
See Also: IP Number , Internet
- The command and program used to login from one Internet site
to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the login: prompt of
- 1000 gigabytes.
See Also: Byte , Kilobyte
- 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.
- Terminal Server
- A special purpose computer that has places to plug in many modems
on one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine on the
other side. Thus the terminal server does the work of answering the calls
and passes the connections on to the appropriate node. Most terminal
servers can provide PPP or SLIP services if connected to the Internet.
See Also: LAN , Modem , Host
, Node , PPP , SLIP
- (User Datagram Protocol) -- One of the protocols for data transfer that is
part of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. UDP is a “stateless”
protocol in that UDP makes no provision for acknowledgement of packets
See Also: TCP/IP
- 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.
- (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.
See Also: Browser , WWW
- 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 newsgroups.
See Also: Newsgroup
- (Unix to Unix Encoding) -- A method for converting files from Binary
to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across the Internet via e-mail.
See Also: Binhex , MIME
- (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
See Also: Gopher
- (Virtual Private Network) -- Usually refers to a network in which
some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the
data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is
A typical example would be a company network where there are two offices in
different cities. Using the Internet the two offices merge their networks
into one network, but encrypt traffic that uses the Internet link.
See Also: Internet, Network
- (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.
- (Wide Area Network) -- Any internet or network that covers
an area larger than a single building or campus.
See Also: Internet , internet
, LAN , Network
- (World Wide Web) -- Frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to
"The Internet", WWW has two major 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.
See Also: Browser , FTP , Gopher
, HTTP , Internet , Telnet
, URL , WAIS
© 1994-2000 Matisse Enzer