Learning the Lingo

By Rhonda McClure Premium

Baffled by bytes, browsers and bookmarks? If you’re new to computers, this handy guide will help you decipher technospeak.

? bookmark (or favorite): An electronic marker, placed by hitting Ctrl-D on PCs or Apple-D on Macs, that allows you to note Web sites of interest and return to them instantly.

? byte: One character of information. A character is any keystroke, such as a space, letter or number.

? CD-ROM: A small disc containing information that you can access and copy, but not change.

? database: A searchable computerized list of information sorted by category, such as surname or record type.

? download: To copy a file from the Internet onto your own computer.

? e-mail: Stands for electronic mail; messages — primarily text — sent electronically to other e-mail users all over the world.

? GEDCOM: Stands for CEnealogical Data COMmunication. This is the universal family tree file format compatible with most genealogy software.

? gigabyte (GB): Equivalent to r billion bytes.

? hard drive: A magnetic disk inside the computer that stores data.

? home page: The main page of a Web site.

? HTML: Stands for hypertext markup language, the standard language used to create and format World Wide Web pages. HTML documents are essentially text documents (similar to those created in a word processing program) that have embedded in them tags containing coding for text formatting, graphics and hyperlinks.

? hyperlink: A graphic or different-colored text that a user can click on to go to another page on the same Web site or a different Web site entirely.

? icon: A small graphical representation of a program function.

? megabyte (MB): One megabyte is equal to i million bytes. Sometimes, computer systems’ hard-drive capacities are listed in megabytes. For example, a hard-drive size may be listed as 850MB, meaning 850 megabytes (or 850 million bytes).

? megahertz (MHz): This measurement tells you how fast your computer will run. The higher the number, the faster your computer is supposed to go.

? network: A connection between two or more computers. Two or more networks create an internet.

? RAM: Stands for random-access memory. Your computer puts information into RAM for easier and faster access. This area can be written and rewritten many times during a single session on the computer. RAM is your computer’s workspace.

? ROM: Stands for read-only memory. This type of memory stores basic operating system files. Data stored in ROM can only be read or copied; you cannot change it.

? search engine: A site designed to help you find specific pages on the Internet. By evaluating certain keywords, the site displays a list of Web pages that it determines meet your search criteria.

? shareware: Software you can try before you buy. Unlike demos, shareware usually does not stop working after a set amount of time.

? upload: To transfer a file from a local computer to a remote host. Upload is synonymous with transmit, while download is synonymous with receive.

? URL: A Web page’s address, usually preceded by http://.

? Web browser: A software application used to navigate the Internet, To access a Web site, type the Web address, or URL, into the browser.

?Web page: A document on the World Wide Web that is formatted with HTML.

? Web site: An online location managed by a single entity that provides text, graphics and audio files, plus connections (called hyperlinks or links) to other Web sites on the Internet. Every Web site has a home page, the initial document seen by users, which acts as a table of contents to the rest of the site.
From Family Tree Magazine‘s November 2003 Trace Your Family History.