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Archive for the ‘Computer Terms’ Category



What’s “IDE”?

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Q:
What’s “IDE”?

A:
IDE, or Integrated Drive Electronics, describes a drive that has its controller components built in (in the real old days, these components were on a card or similar device) . It’s probably safe to assume that’s the type of hard drive you have built into your computer.

Most newer computers can have up to 4 IDE devices attached. These normally come in the form… Continue reading

What is the Windows Registry?

Friday, November 19th, 2004

What is the Windows Registry, anyways? Steve explains. Continue reading

What does SSL mean?

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Q:
What does SSL mean?

A:
SSL, or Secure Socket Layers, is what makes secure sites secure.

Here’s how it works:

When you log onto a secure server it communicates with your browser for a few seconds. During this communication, it sends your browser encryption information that only it and your browser can read.

Once this encryption… Continue reading

What does

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

Q:
What does “DPI” mean?

A:
Digital images are essentially made up of little “dots”. We use DPI (Dots Per Inch) as a measure of resolution. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the higher the resolution and the sharper the picture.

300 DPI is considered (by most of us) to be photo quality. Generally speaking, you won’t notice… Continue reading

What are Interrupts?

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

Q:
What are Interrupts?

A:
Interrupts are what your 4 year old generates every time you try to have any kind of conversation with someone (just couldn’t resist).

It’s also a computer term (surprise). Normally called Interrupt Requests (IRQ), they are basically calls made from a hardware device to get the “attention” of the CPU (similar to the way a 4 year old gets an adult’s attention, just… Continue reading

What is spam ?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Q:
What is spam ?

A:
Most people are familiar with the canned luncheon meat product called SPAM . It became associated with the act of sending unsolicited commercial email (UCE), “spamming”, or in reference to the UCE itself, “spam”. Internet legend says that this association was inspired by the Monty Python skit in which SPAM was part of every menu item at a restaurant—similarly… Continue reading

What is a browser?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004


Q:
What is a browser?

A:
A browser is what you use to surf the web.

There are all sorts of them out there. The most common is Microsoft Internet Explorer, but you also have Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Google Chrome and others. In addition, your Internet Service may have a built in browser, like America Online.… Continue reading

What Are DLL Files?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

What are DLL files? Well you’re in luck, because the man himself (Steve) explores and defines in this tip! Continue reading

Q:
What does it mean when software is a “beta” version?

A:
A beta version is basically a test version of a software program. The program has been written and the author(s) think that it is probably bug free, but they aren’t 100% sure. So they release a test version. Sometimes the test version is open to the public, sometimes just to a select group.… Continue reading

What is Java?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Q:
What is Java/Javascript?

A:
Javascript is a scripting language that web designers use to perform various tasks. For example, if you’ve ever seen buttons on a web page that light up when your mouse goes over them, you’ve probably seen Javascript in action (in case you’re wondering, those are called “Java Rollovers – our site uses them at the top of every page).… Continue reading

Many of Worldstart’s tips will refer to the Windows Desktop at one point or another. If you don’t know what it is, that’s okay, because we’re here to help!

So here we go!

The Desktop, basically, is where all your icons live (stuff like the Recycle Bin sit on the Desktop).

It’s the “background” area you see when your computer first… Continue reading

What does ASCII mean?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Q:
What does ASCII mean?

A:
ASCII is short for “American Standard Code for Information Interchange.”

This is what an ASCII chart looks like:

ASCII is basically a non-formatted text document that can be read by any application that can read text, unlike say, a Word document. If you have a Word document, you have to open it… Continue reading

What is BIOS?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Q:
What is BIOS?

A:
BIOS (basic input / output system) is basically the “software” the computer uses for it’s most basic operations (accessing memory, disks, processors, etc.). This “software” is built into the computer’s motherboard, so don’t worry about losing it if your hard drive crashes.

Note that these are NOT Windows

What is the Windows Clipboard?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Q:
What is the Windows Clipboard?

A:
The Windows clipboard is used to temporarily store stuff. This “stuff” can come in the form of just about anything. Images, files, documents, etc.—they can all be placed on the clipboard. Once something has been copied to the clipboard it can be pasted into another location.

The clipboard isn’t a program you can actually access and play with. It’s a built-in… Continue reading

What is a Buffer?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Q:
What is a “Buffer?”

A:
A buffer is basically an area of memory a hardware device or software program uses when it needs a constant, uninterrupted flow of information.

For example, if you ever listened to any kind of streaming audio, the program you use probably “buffers” the signal a little before the music starts to play.… Continue reading

The difference between DVD-R and DVD+R

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004


Q:
What is the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R?

A:
Short answer? Not much.

Anyone who was around twenty years ago might remember the battle between the two video tape formats: VHS (Victor Home System) and Betamax (Sony). Fast forward to the twenty-first century and we have a similar battle of the formats with DVD.

The… Continue reading

What is a cache?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Hello, I’m Johhny Cache! Sorry, I couldn’t help it! I was wearing black today, plus this will remind you to say it the right way.

Cache files are used to store information on a temporary basis for quick access. The physical location of this can be either on a hard drive or in RAM memory.

The idea behind it is… Continue reading

What does it mean to configure?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Q:
What does it mean to “configure”?

A:
That’s one of those computer words that you see tossed about. It can refer to the set-up of your computer hardware: memory and devices. It can be your combination of software: operating system, utilities, and applications. It can also mean the adjustment of your software: options or preferences.

Many computer problems are caused by poor configuration and can often be… Continue reading

What is an OS?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

“OS” is short for “Operating System.” Windows is an “OS,” as is Linux and Mac OS X. Whatever flavor you enjoy, they all do pretty much the same thing – they give you a way to run programs and work with your computer. Continue reading

What are plug-ins?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Q:
What are plug-ins?

A:
A plug-in is a small application that works with your browser to display certain types of web media. For example, some web sites use Shockwave to allow you to play interactive games. However, in order to play these games, you need to have a Shockwave plug-in. Oh, if you want to check out some of these games and more, head to:

What Drivers Do

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Drivers are basically instructions that tell your computer how to use its hardware. Each hardware device in your computer has a driver. Continue reading

Worms and Viruses

Monday, November 15th, 2004

I got a question the other day from a reader wanting to know what the difference between a worm and a virus. So, without further adieu, here we go!

Viruses are self-replicating programs that embed themselves into other programs, or even the operating system , and use the host to carry out its function. Unless it attaches itself to an email, a virus… Continue reading

Open Source

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Basically, the term “open source” is used to describe a program or app where the author(s) gives the public access to the source code. Continue reading

Q:
What’s the difference between Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer?

A:
Actually, nothing. It’s a program with a split-personality. The Internet Explorer side of the program is for surfing the web. The Windows Explorer side is used for exploring the files, folders, drives, and directories on your computer.

What’s cool about it is they work very much the same manner. For example, click the Back button on Internet… Continue reading

POP3 Email

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Q:
What is POP3 Email?

A:
POP3 means “post office protocol, version 3″. It is a protocol for getting e-mail off of a web server. If you use Outlook Express, Outlook, Netscape Mail, or Eudora you’re using POP3.

Some web-based e-mail accounts use this protocol as well. I know that Hotmail and Yahoo (for a price) allow you to get your mail via POP3. AOL does not.

~… Continue reading

Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Q:
What are those three little buttons on the upper right-hand corner of an open window for?

A:
Those are the Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons.

The “X” closes the window.

The “Box” maximizes the program, making it full screen. If it’s already maximized, it looks like a box on top of another box. If you click it in that state, it will make your window smaller.

Finally… Continue reading

What are Zip Files?

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Q:
What are “zipped” files?

A:
A zip file is basically a “package” of one or more compressed files. If you download a lot of software, you’ll run across these all the time.

They are not difficult to work with. You’ll need an “unzipping” program in order to access them, something like Winzip or Winrar are both good choices.… Continue reading

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