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applet
A small Java application that is downloaded by an ActiveX or Java-enabled web browser. Once it has been downloaded, the applet will run on the user's computer. Common applets include financial calculators and web drawing programs.
application
Computer software that performs a task or set of tasks, such as word processing or drawing. Applications are also referred to as programs.
ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange, an encoding system for converting keyboard characters and instructions into the binary number code that the computer understands.
bandwidth
The capacity of a networked connection. Bandwidth determines how much data can be sent along the networked wires. Bandwidth is particularly important for Internet connections, since greater bandwidth also means faster downloads.
binary code
The most basic language a computer understands, it is composed of a series of 0s and 1s. The computer interprets the code to form numbers, letters, punctuation marks, and symbols.
bit
(short for “binary digit”). The smallest piece of computer information, either the number 0 or 1.
boot
To start up a computer. Cold boot—restarting computer after having turned off the power. Warm boot—restarting computer without having turned off the power.
browser
Software used to navigate the Internet. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are today's most popular browsers for accessing the World Wide Web.
bug
A malfunction due to an error in the program or a defect in the equipment.
byte
Most computers use combinations of eight bits, called bytes, to represent one character of data or instructions. For example, the word “cat” has three characters, and it would be represented by three bytes.
cache
A small data-memory storage area that a computer can use to instantly re-access data instead of re-reading the data from the original source, such as a hard drive. Browsers use a cache to store web pages so that the user may view them again without reconnecting to the Web.
CAD-CAM
Computer Aided Drawing-Computer Aided Manufacturing. The instructions stored in a computer that will be translated to very precise operating instructions to a robot, such as for assembling cars or laser-cutting signage.
CD-ROM
Compact Disc Read-Only Memory. An optically read disc designed to hold information such as music, reference materials, or computer software. A single CD-ROM can hold around 640 megabytes of data, enough for several encyclopedias. Most software programs are now delivered on CD-ROMs.
CGI
Common Gateway Interface. A programming standard that allows visitors to fill out form fields on a Web page and have that information interact with a database, possibly coming back to the user as another Web page.
CGI may also refer to Computer-Generated Imaging, the process in which sophisticated computer programs create still and animated graphics, such as special effects for movies.
chat
Typing text into a message box on a screen to engage in dialog with one or more people via the Internet or other network.

microchip
computer chip
chip
A tiny wafer of silicon containing miniature electric circuits that can store millions of bits of information.
client
A single user of a network application that is operated from a server. A client/server architecture allows many people to use the same data simultaneously. The program's main component (the data) resides on a centralized server, with smaller components (user interface) on each client.
Cookie
A text file sent by a Web server that is stored on the hard drive of a computer and relays back to the Web server things about the user, his or her computer, and/or his or her computer activities.
CPU
Central Processing Unit. The brain of the computer.
cracker
A person who “breaks in” to a computer through a network, without authorization and with mischievous or destructive intent (a crime in some states).
crash
A hardware or software problem that causes information to be lost or the computer to malfunction. Sometimes a crash can cause permanent damage to a computer.

cursors
cursors
cursor
A moving position-indicator displayed on a computer monitor that shows a computer operator where the next action or operation will take place.
cyberspace
Slang for the Internet.

Computer GlossaryD - F