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Network Chico Computer terms glossary

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V-series: The ITU-T standards that specify how data communications can take place over the telephone network.

Vampire tap: A two-piece apparatus with a set screw on the upper half that permits the pointed end of the screw to penetrate thickwire coax to a precise depth, where it taps into the center conductor without breaking it. This permits a transceiver to connect to the cable, thereby enabling devices to attach to the thickwire segment. The set screw that penetrates the cable is called, in keeping with the name of the tap, the "fang."

Veronica: The name actually stands for "Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives." The "rodent" part of the acronym refers to how the Veronica utility allows you to search all of the world's gopher servers using keywords. (That's about 10 million items from over 6,000 gopher servers.) After searching for the terms Veronica displays a list of gopher menus and articles containing the key words you searched for. The more recent versions of Veronica can also search certain web pages, newsgroups, and FTP sites. Unlike most search engines, Veronica searches for keywords only in gopher server menu titles, and doesn't look through the entire text of documents. When searching with Veronica you can use the logical operators AND, NOT, and OR to help narrow your search. Typing an asterisk (*) at the end of a word will match anything starting with that word.

Vetting: The Vetting process includes validation of the requesting entity's identity, business credentials and the right to use the domains name from which it runs its business. Vetting means to make a verifiable and critical examination of someone or some entity, such as a business being investigated prior to being provided with an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate.

VGA: "Video Graphics Array" It is the standard graphics display interface used in most PCs. Therefore, if a monitor is VGA-compatible, it should work with most new computers. The VGA standard was originally developed by IBM in 1987 and allowed for a display resolution of 640x480 pixels. Since then many revisions of the standard have been introduced. The most common is Super VGA (SVGA) which allows for resolutions greater than 640x480 such as 800x600 or 1024x768.

Virtual circuit: A term used to describe the pathways created in a packet-switching network to transmit data between connection points.

Virtual docking: One of the numerous point-to-point wireless infrared technologies that permit laptops to exchange data with desktop machines or permit data exchange between a computer and a hand-held device or a printer. Since this capability replaces a cable between the two devices the technology is sometimes called "virtual docking."

Virtual LAN (VLAN): A configuration setting that groups two or more devices attached to a switch so that network communications pass among group members as if they were physically wired together in a bus or a ring topology.

Virus: Like a biological virus, a computer virus is something you don't want to get. Computer viruses are small programs or scripts that can negatively affect the health of your computer. These malicious little programs can create files, move files, erase files, consume your computer's memory, and cause your computer not to function correctly. Some viruses can duplicate themselves, attach themselves to programs, and travel across networks. In fact opening an infected e-mail attachment is the most common way to get a virus. We all know it's hard enough to get a computer to work well when it is healthy, let alone when it has been attacked by a virus. Therefore it is better to prevent an attack than to try and cure it. There are many anti-virus programs available that scan incoming files for viruses before they can cause damage to your computer. Some of these programs include Norton AntiVirus®, McAfee VirusScan®, and Virex®. It is a good idea to have one of these programs on your computer to prevent a virus attack. It is also important to update your virus definitions file at least once a month so that your anti-virus program can check for all the latest viruses.

VLB: "VESA Local Bus" (VESA stands for "Video Electronics Standards Association"). The VLB, or VL-bus, is a hardware interface on the computer's motherboard that is attached to an expansion slot. By connecting a video expansion card to the VLB you can add extra graphics capabilities to your computer. The interface supports 32-bit data flow at up to 50 MHz. Though the VLB architecture was popular in the early 1990s it has since been replaced by the newer and faster, but still three-lettered, ISA, PCI, and AGP slots.

Voicegrade: A designation for cable (usually TP) that indicates it's rated to only carry telephone traffic. Voicegrade cable is not recommended for network use.

Volt-ohm meter (VOM): A network troubleshooting tool that measures voltage, amperage and resistance on a cable or other conductive element.

VPN: "Virtual Private Network" A VPN refers to a network that is connected to the Internet but uses encryption, via protocols like PPTP, to scramble all the data sent through the Internet so the entire network is "virtually" private. For example a large company that has offices in multiple locations may need to send data to the different locations via the Internet. To keep the information secure the company might first set up a VPN with an encrypted connection. It's basically like having a secure Intranet over the Internet.

VRAM: "Video Random Access Memory" VRAM is pronounced "V-RAM." System RAM is great for loading and running programs but when you need graphics power VRAM is where it's at. This is the memory used to store image data that the computer displays and acts as a buffer between the CPU and the video card. When a picture is to be displayed on the screen the image is first read by the processor and then written to the VRAM. The data is then converted by a RAM digital-to-analog converter (RAMDAC) into analog signals that are sent to the display. Of course the whole process happens so quickly you don't notice it. Unlike most system RAM, VRAM chips are dual-ported, which means that while the display is reading from VRAM to refresh the currently displayed image, the processor is writing a new image to the VRAM. This prevents the display from flickering between the redrawing of images. There are many different types of VRAM. One popular kind is called Synchronous Graphics RAM (SGRAM). It is an inexpensive type of RAM that is clock-synchronized. This means data can be modified in a single operation rather than as a sequence of read, write, and update operations. This allows background, foreground, and image fills to be handled more efficiently. Another type of VRAM is Rambus Dynamic RAM (RDRAM). It is designed by Rambus and includes a proprietary Rambus bus that speeds up the transfer of data through it. Video editing pros like this chip since it is optimized for video streaming. A third type of VRAM is Window RAM (WRAM). This high-performance VRAM is dual-ported, has about 25% more bandwidth than standard VRAM, and typically costs less. Finally, there is Multibank Dynamic RAM (MDRAM). This is also high-performance VRAM, developed by MoSys, which divides the memory into divisions of 32 KB that can be accessed individually. This makes memory transfers more efficient and increases overall performance. Another advantage of MDRAM is that it can be manufactured with just the right amount of memory for a given resolution, so it is cheaper to manufacture than most other types of VRAM.

VRML: "Virtual Reality Modeling Language" If you think this has something to do with HTML you're right. While HTML is the format for web page production, VRML is a 3D navigation specification, which enables the creation of interactive 3D web sites. With VRML visitors can take virtual tours through buildings and view three-dimensional models of cars directly from their web browsers. Though the technology was created by Silicon Graphics and Intervista Software a number of years ago it still is not widely used.

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