Learning the Lingo

Learning the Lingo

If you're new to computers, this handy guide will help you decipher technospeak.

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.


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