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Network Chico Computer terms glossary

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T1: This is a data transfer system that transfers digital signals at 1.544 megabits per second (quite a bit faster than a 56K modem, which maxes out at around 0.056 Mbps). Most small to mid-sized colleges and business have T1 lines for their Internet connections. Because of the T1's large bandwidth hundreds of people can be accessing the Internet from one T1 line. However, like all good things, too many people on one T1 line can cause dramatic decreases in data transfer speeds. For this reason multiple T1s are often used.

T3: What about T2, you ask? For some reason, there just is no such thing. If a T1 connection just isn't going to cut it for you, a T3 should do the trick. However if you thought a T3 was 3 times faster than a T1 connection you're slightly off. A T3 line actually 30 times faster supporting data transfer rates of 44.736 megabits per second.

Tag: In web pages tags indicate what should be displayed on the screen when the page loads. Tags are the basic formatting tool used in HTML (hypertext markup language) and other markup languages such as XML. For example, to create a table on a web page, the <table> tag is used. The data that should be inside the table follows the <table> tag and the table is closed with a </table> tag.

If you want something to show up in bold on a web page, you would use the bold tag. For example, the line:

www.netchico.com is the <b>best web site</b> ever!

would show up as: www.netchico.com is the best web site ever!

Since there is often a need to format content within more general tags, the tags can be "nested," meaning one tag can enclose one or more other tags. For example:

<font="Roman">This is the Roman font, and <i>this is in italics</i>. Pretty exciting, huh?</font>

would should up as: This is the Roman font, and this is in italics. Pretty exciting, huh?

Tags are a fundamental part of HTML and they are pretty simple to understand. If you want to build a web site of your own you can either create it from scratch (using a text editor and typing your own tags) or you can use a layout program such as Adobe GoLive or Macromedia Dreamweaver which will generate the tags for you.

Tape Drive: This is a removable storage device mainly used for backing up data. It is similar to a Zip Drive but instead of Zip disks it uses small tapes. The drive acts like a tape recorder reading data from the computer and writing it onto the tape. Since tape drives have to scan through lots of tape to read small amounts of scattered data they are not practical for most storage purposes. That is why they are used almost exclusively for data backup. The benefit of tape drives is that they typically have large capacities for storing data for a lower cost than hard drives similar in size. Also, multiple tapes can be used to make incremental backups (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), which is much cheaper than using multiple hard drives.

TCP/IP: "Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol" These two protocols were developed in the early days of the Internet by the U.S. military. The purpose was to allow computers to communicate over long distance networks. The TCP part has to do with the verifying delivery of the packets. The IP part refers to the moving of data packets between nodes. TCP/IP has since then become the foundation of the Internet. TCP/IP software is built into all major operating systems, such as Linux, Unix, Windows, and the Mac OS.

Telnet: This is a program that allows you log in to a Unix computer via a text-based interface. If you have an account on a Telnet server you can access certain resources on the system such your home directory, your e-mail account, FTP files, etc. The downside of Telnet is that to use it,you need to use Unix commands and all keystrokes are sent as plain text which is not very secure.

Template: A template is a file that serves as a starting point for a new document. When you open a template it is pre-formatted in some way. For example you might use template in Microsoft Word that is formatted as a business letter. The template would likely have a space for your name and address in the upper left corner, an area for the recipient's address a little below that on the left site, an area for the message body below that, and a spot for your signature at the bottom. When you save a file created with a template you are usually prompted to save a copy of the file so that you don't save over the template. Templates can either come with a program or be created by the user. Most major programs support templates so if you find yourself creating similar documents over and over again it might be a good idea to save one of them as a template. Then you won't have to format your documents each time you want to make a new one. Just open the template and start from there.

Terabyte: As you might have guessed this is a unit of measurement for computer data. A terabyte is 1024 gigabytes of data. And since a gigabyte is 1024 megabytes and a megabyte is 1024 bytes a terabyte is a little more than one trillion bytes. If you want to be exact a terabyte is 2^40, or 1,099,511,627,776 bytes. Either way, that's a lot of space. Though this term isn't used very much today you'll probably be hearing it used more often in the future.

Text editor: A text editor is any word processing program that you can use to type and edit text. Word Pad and NotePad for Windows and SimpleText and TextEdit for the Mac are common text editors. Larger programs such as Microsoft Word and Word Perfect are also text editors but they have many more features. You can actually write HTML code and create HTML pages with a simple text editor as long as you know the correct HTML syntax.

TFT: "Thin-Film Transistor" These transistors are used in high-quality flat panel liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). TFT-based displays have a transistor for each pixel on the screen. This allows the electrical current that illuminates the display to be turned on and off at a faster rate which makes the display brighter and shows motion smoother. LCDs that use TFT technology are called "active-matrix" displays which are higher-quality than older "passive-matrix" displays. So if you ever see a TFTAMLCD monitor at a computer store it is a "thin-film transistor active-matrix liquid crystal display." That's just a fancy way of saying it is a good flat-screen display.

Thread: The threads of a computer program alllow the program to execute sequential actions or many actions at once. Each thread in a program identifies a process that runs when the program asks it to. Threads are typically given a certain priority meaning some threads take precedence over others. Once the CPU is finished processing one thread it can run the next thread waiting in line. Threads seldom have to wait more than a few milliseconds before they run. Computer programs that implement "multi-threading" can execute multiple threads at once. Most modern operating systems support multi-threading at the system level meaning when one program tries to take up all your CPU resources you can still switch to other programs and force the CPU-hogging program to share the processor a little bit. The term "thread" can also refer to a series of related postings in an online discussion. Web-based bulletin boards are made up of many topics or threads. The replies posted in response to the original posting are all part of the same thread. In e-mail a thread can refer to a series of replies back and forth pertaining a certain message.

TIFF: "Tagged Image File Format" TIFF is a graphics file format created in the 1980's to be the standard image format across multiple computer platforms. The TIFF format can handle color depths ranging from 1-bit to 24-bit. Since the original TIFF standard was introduced people have been making many small improvements to the format so there are now around 50 variations of the TIFF format. So much for a universal format. Recently, JPEG has become the most popular universal format, because of its small file size and Internet compatibility.

Token: There are three different types of tokens:

1. In networking a token refers to a series of bits that circulate on a token-ring network. When one of the systems on the network has the "token" it can send information to the other computers. Since there is only one token for each token-ring network only one computer at a time can send data.

2. In programming, a token is a single element of a programming language. Some examples of programming tokens are reserved words, punctuation marks, and operators (i.e. +,-,*,/).

3. In security systems, a token is small card that displays an ID code which can be used to log into a network. The card user enters a password which causes the card to display the current ID needed to log into the network. The token adds an extra security level to the network because the IDs change every five minutes or so.

Trinitron: This is arguably the best consumer CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) in existence. The technology was developed by Sony Corporation who owns complete rights to it. The Trinitron design has helped the company lead the market in the manufacturing of TVs and monitors for many years. The difference between a Trinitron tube and most other tubes is that the Trinitron uses an aperture grille instead of a shadow mask for creating the image on the screen. An aperture grille consists of wires stretched vertically down the screen (allowing for a vertically flat screen). A shadow mask is basically a metal plate with holes in it where light can pass through. Because Trinitron monitors are vertically flat they have less image distortion and less glare than most other monitors. If you look very closely at a Trinitron screen you should see one or two very thin dark horizontal lines that span the width of the screen. These lines are small wires that support the aperture grille.

TTL: "Time To Live." TTL refers an aspect of the Internet Protocol. TTL is used when a "ping," or a request for a response, is sent to another computer, such as a server. The TTL represents the number of hops, or servers in different locations, the request can travel to before returning a failed attempt message.

TWAIN: Some believe it stands for "Toolkit Without An Informative Name," while others argue it is "Technology Without An Interesting Name." Still, there are some who believe that it came from the saying, "Ne'er the twain shall meet." Though the real story behind the name may never be known, the purpose of TWAIN is quite clear. It is a graphics and imaging standard that allows companies to make drivers for scanners and digital cameras. Nearly all scanners on the market today are TWAIN-compliant meaning the way they interact with your computer is based on the TWAIN standard. If you feel the need to know more about TWAIN and its fascinating history the TWAIN Group has a web site that you can visit.

Network Chico Computer terms glossary

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