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Network Chico Computer terms glossary

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Gateway: A gateway is either hardware or software that acts as a bridge between two networks so that data can be transferred between a number of computers. For example, when you send an e-mail to a friend or when you log in to a web site, there is a gateway that allows the connection take place. Often your connection to a web site will involve many smaller connections to other servers along the way. In these cases, a number of gateways are used. A gateway can also translate information between different protocols.

GIF: The letters "GIF" actually stand for "Graphics Interchange Format," but you don't need to remember that. GIFs are compressed image files that use a compression formula originally developed by CompuServe. (This is why you see the term "CompuServe GIF" in Phototshop) GIFs are based on indexed colors, which is a palette of at most 256 colors. This helps greatly reduce their file size. These compressed image files can be quickly transmitted over a network or the Internet which is why you often see them on web pages. GIF files are great for small icons and animated images but they lack the color range to be used for high-quality photos.

Gigabit Ethernet: An IEEE standard (802.3z) that allows for 1000-Mbps transmission using CSMA/CD and Ethernet frames.

Gigabyte: A gigabyte consists of roughly 1 billion bytes. To be exact there are 1024 megabytes, or 1,073,741,824 bytes in a gigabyte but 1 billion is a much easier number to remember. Because of the large size of today's hard disks storage capacity is usually measured in gigabytes. Abbreviation: "GB".

GIGO: "Garbage In, Garbage Out" It means that if invalid data is entered in a computer program the resulting output will also be invalid. So if a program asked you to enter a letter of the alphabet and you decided to be funny and enter "3.14159", there's a good chance the results you would get back would be pretty messed up, or "garbage." Because we computer users aren't always smart enough to enter valid data programmers have to take extensive mesaures to prevent GIGO errors.

GIS: "Geographic Information Systems" This term refers to tools that are used to gather and analyze data about the surface of the earth. The data can be used to create charts, maps, and 3D models of the earth's surface. This includes hills, mountains, trees, buildings, streets, rivers, and pretty much anything else. Organizations such as the police and fire department can use the data to develop emergency routes. The government can use the data to measure the growth and expansion of cities or the depletion of forests. Most importantly, however, GIS can assist with special effects by simulating landscapes and terrain in action movies.

Global group: A group meant to be used in more than one Windows domain.

GNU/Linux: Linux is a free computer operating system for a large variety of architectures. GNU-software is a free collection of applications and system utilities which provides, together with the Linux kernel, a fully featured software environment for computers, usually in the form of an installable distribution.

GPS: "Global Positioning System" GPS is a satellite navigation system used to determine ground position and velocity (location, speed, and direction). Though it was created and originally used by the U.S. military, GPS is now available to the general public all over the world. GPS navigation systems are currently installed in a number of luxury cars complete with an LCD map that shows the driver exactly where in the world he is. Advanced car GPS units can actually speak the directions to a certain destination and tell the driver when to turn.

GPU: "Graphics Processing Unit" Like the CPU (Central Processing Unit) it is a single-chip processor. However the GPU is used primarily for computing 3D functions. This includes things such as lighting effects, object transformations, and 3D motion. Because these types of calculations are rather taxing on the CPU the GPU can help the computer run more effienciently. The first company to develop the GPU was NVidia, Inc. Its GeForce 256 GPU can process 10 million polygons per second and has over 22 million transistors. Compare that to the 9 million transistors found on the Pentium III chip. There is also a workstation version of the chip called the Quadro designed for CAD applications. This chip can process over 200 billion operations a second and deliver up to 17 million polygons per second.

Group: A named collection of user accounts, usually created for some specific purpose and to grant them a predetermined set of rights. For example, the Accounting group might be the only named entity permitted to use a bookkeeping application.

Groupware: A type of network application in which multiple users can simultaneously interact with each other and data files.

GUI: "Graphical User Interface" GUI is pronounced "gooey." It refers to the graphical interface of a computer that allows users to click and drag objects with a mouse instead of entering text at a command line. Two of the most popular operating systems, Windows and the Mac OS, are GUI-based. The graphical user interface was first introduced to the public by Apple with the Macintosh in 1984. However, the idea was actually taken from an earlier user interface developed by Xerox. Linux also has several popular GUIs available such as KDE and Gnome.

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