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Archive for the ‘Computer Terms’ Category



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

Downloading, Uploading and Installing

Friday, November 12th, 2004


Q:
What is the difference between Downloading, Uploading and Installing?

A:
Here’s a blow by blow:

Downloading – This is moving a file that’s on the Internet (or over a network) onto your computer. For most of us, downloading is just a matter of clicking a download link on a web site and saving the file to disk.… Continue reading

Image File Guide

Friday, November 12th, 2004

I get questions about image formats all the time, so if you don’t know your JPEG’s from your GIF’s, this is for you. First, a little background on file compression.

There are basically two ways of saving images, lossy or lossless (no, I didn’t make those up). If an image is saved in a lossy image format, it means the format being

What are all those cards?

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
What are sound cards, graphic cards, network cards, and all those other cards all about?

A:
You might hear of different kinds of “cards” in a PC. Some are usually included as basic hardware, while others offer optional features. Most basic PC’s will include a Sound Card, Video Card, and maybe a Network Card. Also, in some modern PCs, these can also be integrated… Continue reading


Q:
What is the difference between a Taskbar and a Toolbar?

A:
Your taskbar is the long gray bar that sits at the bottom of your screen (you can move it to the top or either side of your screen though). It has the Start button, system tray, and possibly more on it. In addition, it’s where your programs buttons sit. Here’s a… Continue reading

What a Briefcase is for.

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
What is the Briefcase for? How do I use it?

A:
You’ve probably had this file just sitting on your desk top and wondered the same thing.

I use this feature to synch the newsletter folders on my desktop with our server. It also comes in handy if you have a laptop and desktop that share files. I guess you could also use it if you… Continue reading

What are .pdf files?

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Q:
What are .pdf files?

A:
If you’ve been using the internet for any amount of time, you’ve probably run across these little buggers. They’re Adobe Acrobat files. Normally, you download them and use Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them. You can get Adobe Acrobat Reader for free at Adobe’s web site:

http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html (Make sure you… Continue reading

Internet Error Codes

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Q:
What do all those error codes (like 404) mean?

A:
It happens to all of us. We’re surfing along, and up comes an error. What do all those error codes mean? Here’s a quick rundown of the most common:

400 – Bad Request – You probably typed in a URL wrong, the server has no clue what you’re looking for, or you aren’t allowed to have access… Continue reading

Emoticons

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Emoticons are little text representations of emotions that you find in email, chat rooms, and IM’s. When you talk to someone, they can tell what you mean by the tone of your voice or the look on your face. For example, maybe someone says something like, “Why are you so annoying?”

Now, if they say it while they’re laughing, you know that it’s just lighthearted humor. If they say it… Continue reading

What is NTFS

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Q:
What is NTFS?

A:
This filing system was first used in Windows NT (thus the name). It boasts better reliability, security, and file management than the older FAT file systems . NTFS is available with Windows XP and Vista, and is the recommended system since many XP/Vista features will not work with FAT32 systems.

The only time you might… Continue reading

Save and Save As

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

What’s the difference between Save and Save As? Read this tip for some helpful information! Continue reading

Let’s go for a Drive

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Let’s go for a Drive

What are all these different drives? Probably the easiest way to explain it would be to define each of them:

1. Hard Drive - A hard drive is a fast, high capacity internal disk drive found in all modern PCs. Unless the computer is older than say, 12 years, it should have a hard drive in it. Any PC running Windows does.

The reason for… Continue reading

Executable File

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

The executable is basically the part of the program that “runs” when you click it (or its shortcut). In fact, the executable basically is the program, minus any support files. Continue reading

What is LCD?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is LCD?

A:
No, it’s not a mind altering substance from the sixties. LCD stands for “Liquid-Crystal display”. This technology is used in laptop screen, desktop monitors and HDTVs. They are lighter and consume less power than other displays.

Liquid crystals are rod-shaped molecules in the display that spiral when exposed to an electrical… Continue reading

What is a template?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is a template?

A:
We will be creating a template today, so this will be good background information for y’all.

A template is a document pattern or part of a document that you keep stored to make new documents. They can define the layout, fonts, margins, and other features of a document. Word processing, desktop publishing, and HTML editing programs sometimes call these “style sheets”. You… Continue reading

Virtual Memory

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is Virtual Memory?

A:
Virtual memory is non-physical memory (yeah, like that helps).

Windows uses virtual memory when it doesn’t have enough “regular” physical memory to perform a task. When it does this, Windows uses your hard drive to store information that normally would be put into your RAM memory. Here’s an overly simplified example:

Let’s say… Continue reading

Understanding Kilobytes, megabytes, etc

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

 

Q:
What’s with all the sizes I see? Kilobytes, megabytes, etc?

A:
File sizes tend to be one of the more perplexing issues for both the fledgling and intermediate computer user. So, we’ve put together a breakdown of the various file size “units” you may encounter.

Bit – The smallest unit in computing. It can have a value of 1 or 0. You’d… Continue reading

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