Glossary

At some point, people around us began speaking a different language – one where the vocabulary was quite different and things were not what they appeared to be – a mouse was not a rodent and a monitor was no longer a species of lizard or a classroom overseer! While many terms in techno-lingo are now familiar to us, there are others we could use help with. Here’s a glossary for you….

  1. ALU – An important component in the CPU, the Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU is a digital circuit that performs calculations and logical operations.
  2. Input device – is a device through which you provide the computer with data that needs to be processed. The key board, mouse and joystick are examples of input devices.
  3. Output device – is a device or a peripheral connected to the computer through which you get the data you send to the processor.
  4. Operating system – is essentially the interface between the hardware of the computer such as the CPU, ALU, keyboard, mouse, etc., and the user. An operating system hosts all computer applications and controls the hardware. Linux, Mac OS X, Windows NT, Windows 7 are all different kinds of operating systems.
  5. Web camera – is a small camera connected to the computer which captures video. These videos can be shared with others via internet or edited with a movie making software.
  6. Motherboard – is basically a circuit that holds crucial components of a computer system. It also provides connectors to other peripherals.
  7. Cache – is a temporary storage in the computer where frequently accessed data can be stored.
  8. RAM – Random Access Memory or RAM is a place where data is stored in the computer.
  9. Blue-ray dics – are the latest in removable storage technology. These optical disc storage mediums are used for storing high-definition video, PlayStation 3 video games, and other data, with up to 25 GB per single layered, and 50 GB per dual layered disc. A Blue-ray disc looks similar to the DVD. The Blue-ray disc uses blue-ray ultra violet laser i.e 405 nm blue-violet laser to read the disc whereas the DVD uses a 650 nanometer red laser.
  10. USB – The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a way of connecting a computer and its peripherals. It is also called a pen drive.
  11. Bluetooth – is an open wireless connection for exchanging data. Bluetooth devices use short radio waves for exchanging data. Data is divided into smaller chunks for easy transmission and then patched up by the Bluetooth receiver.
  12. Wi-Fi – is a set of wireless local area network devices. A Wi-Fi enabled device can connect to the Internet when it is within the range of the Wi-Fi network. Now Wi-Fi technology is available in computers, laptops, mobile phones, printers, scanners, facsimiles and game consoles.
  13. WiMAX – Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is a technology based on telecommunications. WiMAX provides wireless transmission of data from variety of modes such as single point-to-point transmission to point-to-multipoint transmission, portable and mobile devices and fully mobile internet access. WiMAX is considered an alternative to cable and wired internet connections.
  14. 3G – is the third generation of telecommunications technology. The first two being 2G and 2.5G. A 3G connection would provide a complete mobile environment in which one would have access to wide-area wireless voice telephone, video calls, and wireless data.
  15. CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is a technology used in communications especially digital communication, and wireless technology. Conventional communication systems use constant frequencies; CDMA uses multiple access, or multiplexing. Multiplexing is coupled with code division which means CDMA equipped appliances require a certain code to send and receive the frequency.
  16. GSM – Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) is again a technology in telecommunications where mobile phones connect to the GSM network by searching for cells that are close by.

  17. Palmtop – a handheld PC is referred to as a palmtop. It is smaller than the laptop. The first handheld computer Atari Portfolio was developed by IBM in 1989.
  18. Netbooks – are the latest trends among laptops. Netbooks are smaller, and lighter than regular laptops, and are inexpensive to boot. They are meant for general computing and accessing web-based applications.
  19. Cloud computing – is the development and use of computer technology based on sharing hardware and software resources via the internet. To put it simply instead of investing in expensive software’s and applications a new system allows us to log into a Web-based service which has all the programs for a particular task. These set of programs can be shared by multiple people connected to the network. Some other company operating remotely would offer programs and services required. No longer is it necessary for a business or organization to own the computer infrastructure to run a task.
  20. Convergence – is the availability of different media on a single platform. For example, on the internet one can read books or text or newspapers, watch videos and listen to music.
  21. Pixels – are the smallest unit of information in an image. In other words each pixel is a sample of the original image. Pixels are either arranged two-dimensionally as squares or as dots. Each pixel has each pixel has typically three or four colour components such as red, green, and blue, or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
  22. Streaming media – is sending and receiving multi-media such as video and audio constantly. Audio or video stream can be streamed either live or on demand.
  23. URL – Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is way to find resource on the internet and a method to retrieve it. A URL specifies the address of a file and every file on the Internet has a unique address. A URL consists of a protocol like http or https, host computer name www, domain name like teacherplus, domain type like org, path /editorial and file name /challenging-the-not-so-obvious. So a URL will look like: http://www.teacherplus.org/editorial/challenging-the-not-so-obvious.
  24. IM – Instant Messaging (IM) is sending and receiving text messages at the same time between two or more people via the internet or intranet. Instant messaging is sometimes referred to as ‘Chat’. IM has several advantages apart from sending and receiving messages in real time. Through IM one can send and receive files. IM has a video feature which allows you to see and be seen by people you are chatting with. Talking via IM using microphones and speakers for free is a feature that has gained popularity over the recent times.

  25. Blogs – Blogs are website-like spaces on the internet created and maintained by individuals, businesses or groups. People use blogs for various reasons to talk about news, events or subjects that interest them or as personal diaries. Blogs are also created by businesses and organizations to enhance their position with internal employees or external stakeholders. There are also blogs that focus on particular subjects. A blog can contain text, video, sound or pictures. Each entry in a blog is called a post and each blog is made up of multiple posts.

This is by no means comprehensive and there are many other terms that you may come across in your journey through information technology. Other articles in this issue also describe terms that are not included here. And just like the field, the language is also growing every day!

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