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Technology Terminologies (A to Z)

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

backbone

Refers to a piece of cable used to connect different floors or departments together into a network. Also generalized to a network that connects networks together.

backspace

A keyboard operation that moves the cursor one place to the left. A destructive backspace erases characters as it goes, thus allowing users to modify what has been typed (distinguished from the left-arrow key).

backup

n. A resource that is or can be used as a substitute when a primary resource fails or when a file has been corrupted.
v. To save as in to make a copy in case of future failure or corruption.

bandwidth

A piece of the spectrum occupied by some form of signal, where it is television, voice, fax data, etc.. Signals require a certain size and location of bandwidth in order to be transmitted. The higher the bandwidth, the faster the signal transmission, and thus allowing for a more complex signal such as audio or video. Because bandwidth is a limited space, when one user is occupying it, others must wait their turn. Bombarding the Internet with unnecessary information is referred to as "taking up bandwidth."

baseband

A network medium that uses only one carrier frequency. Examples are Ethernet and PhoneNet.

BASIC

Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. A commonly used personal-computer language, first developed at Dartmouth during the 1960s.

batch processing

Originally, a method of organizing work for a computer system, designed to reduce overhead by grouping similar jobs. In one scheme, jobs were collected into batches, each requiring a particular compiler. The compiler was loaded, and the jobs submitted in sequence to the compiler. The term has come to be applied to background processing of jobs not requiring user intervention on multiuser systems. See compiler.

batch query

A query that has been saved so that it can be used more than once and run in the background.

baud

The speed at which data is transferred to the computer through telephone lines. A baud is a bit per second.

binary

A file containing one or more strings of data bits which are not printable characters. Some binary files may be computer programs or other forms of data that contain no text characters at all. Binary files cannot be displayed on screen, but can be downloaded for use with appropriate applications on your computer. Binary (base 2) is also the building block of computer information, representing "on" or "off" and "true" or "not true" as 1 or 0.

binary number

A number written using binary notation which only uses zeros and ones. Example: decimal number seven in binary notation is: 111.

bit

A binary digit, either a 0 or 1. In the U. S. , 8 bits make up one byte; in Europe, byte equals one word.

bitmapped terminal

A terminal that can turn individual screen dots on or off.

bits per second (bps)

The speed at which bits are transmitted.

block

A sequence of words or characters written contiguously, such as into a group, by a computer and stored on a disk, diskette, magnetic tape, etc.

bold

A way of emphasizing a word of text, as in darker type or brighter characters on a video display terminal.

bookmark

A way of choosing and setting an Internet site to it can be returned to easily.

Boolean search

A search strategy used in databases online or on CD-ROMs. Boolean operators include the words AND, OR, and NOT and they describe relationships between terms. These operators are used to narrow or enlarge the range and scope of a search.

booting

Turning on your computer.

bps

Bits per second.

break

An interruption to a transmission; usually a provision to allow a controlled terminal to interrupt the controlling computer.

bridge

A device that connects two networks and passes traffic between them based only on the node address, so that traffic between nodes on one network does not appear on the other network. For example, an Ethernet bridge only looks at the Ethernet address.

broadband

A communications medium on which multiple signals are simultaneously transmitted at different frequencies. Also refers to switching capability implemented on this medium that allows communication between devices connected to it. In telecommunications it is defined as any channel with a bandwidth greater than voice grade (4 KHz).

broadcast

A single message addressed to all nodes on a network.

browser

A software tool used to read electronic documents. Mosaic, NetScape and Lynx are the most popular browsers.

buffer

A temporary memory for data, normally used to accommodate the difference in the rate at which two devices can handle data during a transfer.

bug

An error. Can be a hardware malfunction or a software programming error.

bulletin board (BBS)

A computer system which can be called using a modem.

BUS topology

Network wiring commonly used by Ethernet in which all nodes on the network see all packets.

byte

A group of adjacent binary digits, usually 8, on which a computer operates as a unit; often used to represent a single character. (See bit. )

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