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ACL (Access Control List) -- An access control list (ACL) is a list of filters that test a client's name or group, HTTP access method, and IP address. The filters are evaluated in sequence, and the first one that applies to the client is used. If no filters apply, then access is denied. The exception is an important one: if the ACL contains no filters, then access is automatically granted to all users. This exception allows you to ignore ACLs altogether and allow clients to access all documents.

Advanced Networks and Services -- The company that owns and operates the Internet backbone. In December 1991, IBM, MERIT, and MCI formed this non-profit company to build a new, higher-speed Internet backbone. Called ANSNET, the new backbone operated at 45 Mbps, giving it approximately 30 times more speed than the previous NFSNET backbone.

AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) -- The standard audio format on the MAC and SGI platforms. This format was developed for storing sampled sound and musical instrument information. AIFF is a "lossless" audio format. Sound information is stored without compression, so precision is not compromised. As a consequence, AIFF files can be very large and can take a long time to download. It is not possible to play an AIFF file as it downloads.

To play AIFF files, you will need an audio player for your computer that understands the format. Some we have found are listed below.

Windows -- NAPlayer plays AIFF and AU formats, and is included with Netscape Navigator. NAPlayer and WHAM can be downloaded directly from Digital Equipment Corp., at<>.

Macintosh -- SoundMachine can play many different formats, including AIFF. It can be downloaded directly from the Texas Higher Education Network <>

Alta Vista -- Computer-generated Web Index from Digital Equipment Corporation. Alta Vista bills itself as the largest Web index with access to all 8-billion words found in over 16-million Web pages. Located at

analog -- Derived from the term "analogous". (Pronounced "ANN-uh-log"). Analog audio and video is the old-fashioned method of recording on tape a signal that uses "waves" to represent the video or audio signal. Information that comes from a voice telephone or a modem is sent and received in the form of an analog signal. The signal is analogous to the original medium of acoustic sound or reflected light. According to Herb Zettl, "analog systems record the continually fluctuating video signal created and processed by a video source (such as a camera) on videotape and retrieve the information as an identical continually fluctuating signal from the videotape." Today, this is contrasted with digital recording methods that represent the original signal using binary information.

analog data -- Data represented by a physical quantity that is considered to be continuously variable and whose magnitude is made directly proportional to the data or to a suitable function of the data.

analog signal -- A continuously varying electromagnetic wave that may be propagated over a variety of media.

analog telecommunications -- Moving information in the form of continuous electrical signals. Analog is the form used by an ordinary voice phone or a modem.

anchor -- A particular type of html tag which provides the "link" to a specific part of an HTML file. You could also make a link take you to a specific part of another document . To see the anchor tags, use the "View Source" function of your browser to see the underlying html tags in a document.

anonymous FTP -- This is a log-on convention many Internet hosts support to allow files or information retrieval from their FTP servers, even if the user does not have an account on that computer. However, it cannot be used to send files or used for general access to the host.

ANSI -- Computers use several different methods for deciding how to put information on your screen and how your keyboard interacts with the screen. ANSI is one of these "terminal emulation" methods. Although most popular on PC-based bulletin-board systems, it can also be found on some Net sites. To use it properly, you will first have to turn it on, or enable it, in your communications software. ANSI stands for "American National Standards Institute."

Archie -- (The McGill School of Computer Science Archive Server Listing Service). Archie is a tool developed by the School of Computer Science at McGill University in Montreal. Archie searches for files located on accessible File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites. In order to speed the search process, Archie connects to a particular site on the Internet and searches its database of Internet-acessible resources to locate the desired file.

archive site -- A site that archives files for users to retrieve, either via FTP or e-mail.

ARPA -- (Advanced Research Projects Agency) The government agency that funded the ARPANET, and later, the global Internet. The group within ARPA with responsibility for the ARPANET was IPTO (Information Processing Techniques Office), later called ISTO (Information Systems Technology Office). ARPA was named DARPA for many years.

ARPANET -- A pioneering long haul network funded by ARPA (later DARPA) and built by BBN (Bolt, Beranek, and Newman of Cambridge, MA). It served from 1969 to 1990 as the basis for early networking research and as a central backbone during development of the Internet. The ARPANET consisted of individual packet switching nodes interconnected by leased lines.

ARPAnet -- The early long haul computer network that became the foundation of the Internet. The project was called ARPAnet, after the agency that funded it--ARPA, the Department of Defense Advance Research Project Agency. ARPAnet served from 1969 through 1990 as the basis for early networking research and as a central backbone network during development of the Internet.

ASCII Text -- (ASCII is pronounced "askie"). Plain text format. This is text with none of the formatting instructions ordinarily included with standard word processing programs. For example, Microsoft Word for Windows stores text with special instructions for how it should look (font size, style etc.) and the three letter file name extension is DOC. Plain ASCII Text does not include this material and is usually stored with the three letter extension TXT. (Most word processing software allows the user to store the text as Plain ASCII text as well as its own proprietary format).

ATM -- (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) A connection-oriented network technology that uses small, fixed-size cells at the lowest layer. ATM has the potential advantage of being able to support voice, video, and data with a single underlying technology.

.au -- Sun Microsystem's audio file format. The u-law (pronounce mu-law) file format, is the most frequently used audio file type on the Internet. Even though it's not the highest quality audio file format available, it's relatively small file size and the availability of players for just about every operating system have made it a favorite for Net users. At a sampling rate of 8kHz, it's sound quality is roughly equivalent to that of standard telephone receivers.

authoring -- The act of using software to combine text, graphics, sound, animation and digital video into a completed multimedia project.


10Base-T -- The technical name for twisted pair ethernet.

backbone -- A high-speed network that connects several powerful computers. In the U.S., the backbone of the Internet is often considered the NSFNet, a government funded link between a handful of supercomputer sites across the country.

backbone network -- Any network that forms the central interconnect for an internet. A national backbone is a WAN; a corporate backbone can be a LAN.

bandwidth -- The capacity and speed of a network, usually measured in bits per second. Network systems need higher bandwidth for audio or video than for e-mail or other services. Two types of bandwidth are: broadband, which is faster and is used for complex telecommunications, and narrowband, which is the slower form and is used for voice and fax communications

baseband -- Characteristic of any network technology like ethernet that uses a single carrier frequency and requires all stations attached to the network to participate in every transmission. Compare to broadband.

baud -- A standard measure of the speed of data transmission, or the number of bits transmitted per second. Literally, the number of times per second the signal can change on a transmission line. Commonly, the transmission line uses only two signal states (e.g., two voltages), making the baud rate equal to the number of bits per second that can be transferred. The underlying transmission technique may use some of the bandwidth, so it may not be the case that users experience data transfers at the line's specified bit rate. For example, because asynchronous lines require 10 bit-times to send an 8-bit character, a 9600 baud asynchronous transmission line can only send 960 characters per second.

binary -- Using either 0 or 1 (or on/off) as the basic unit of data in computers.

bit -- The most basic unit of computer information. A bit can be either 0 or 1. A one bit system uses this to produce either black or white. 2-bits means that there are two units of information, each one can produce either a 0 or 1. The number of different combinations of zeros and ones when using 2-bits is represented as 2 (or 4 different combinations). Accordingly, when using 8-bits where each bit can be either zero or one, the number of different combinations is represented as 2 (or 256 different combinations).

bits per second (bps) -- The measurement of modem transmission speed. Literally, a measure of the rate of data transmission. Usually the measure refers to the capacity of a network.

BMP Image -- A specific graphics file format. Three letter extension .bmp. A BMP image is used in Microsoft Windows. (Pronounced "bitmap" image, but not to be confused with more general term bitmaps). "BMP" is short for "bitmap."

bookmark -- Like traditional bookmarks, Internet bookmarks in the World Wide Web or Gopher enable you to record the location of particular information, making it possible to return to it later. Most Web browsers allow you to save the addresses of sites you want to visit again.

bridge -- A computer that connects two or more networks and forwards packets among them.

broadband -- Characteristic of any network technology that multiplexes multiple, independent network carriers onto a single cable (usually using frequency division multiplexing). For example, a single 50 Mbps broadband cable can be divided into five 10 Mbps carriers, with each treated as an independent Ethernet. The advantage of broadband is less cable; the disadvantage is higher cost for equipment at connections. See baseband.

browser -- An information retrieval tool. Software programs that read information from the World Wide Web, putting a prettier face on the Internet. Browsers such as Netscape, Mosaic, and Internet Explorer let you point and click on a word or picture and open up the world. Browsers provide a graphical interface to easily navigate through the World Wide Web. Prodigy, America OnLine and Compuserve are also incorporating Web browser capabilities in their software.

browsing -- The act of looking through information by repeatedly scanning and selecting. An Internet browsing service presents a list of menu items or a page of information. After the user reads the information and selects an item, the service follows the reference and retrieves new information.

bulletin board system (BBS) -- A service that permits one person to post a message for others to read. Each bulletin board contains discussion of a single topic. A bulletin board is sometimes called a computer conference. The BBS computer system provides its users files for downloading and areas for electronic discussions. Bulletin board systems usually are run by and for local users, although many now provide Internet, UUCP, or FidoNet mail.

byte -- Eight bits of data. A byte usually equals approximately one character from a keyboard.


cache -- Information saved in memory for later use. For example, DNS servers save answers learned from other servers in a cache. The term is also used as a verb: "The system cached the answer."

capture -- A term generally used to describe the process of digitizing images. For example, capture hardware and software can take a digital still picture from a video camera. Or, capturing from a moving video (VCR) can digitize the analog video signal so that the moving video can be stored on a computer hard disk.

case-sensitive -- When you are required to type in characters as either upper-case or lower-case in order for the string of characters to be accepted. For example, the URLs one must type to go to a Web page are usually case-sensitive. You must type the upper-case characters shown in a Web address as upper-case and the lower-case letters shown in a Web address as lower-case. E-mail addresses are usually not case-sensitive, meaning it doesn't matter whether you type the characters as upper or lower-case.

CATV -- Community Antenna Television. CATV cable is used for broadband local networks, and broadcast TV distributions.

CERN -- The European Laboratory for Particle Physics (The acronym CERN comes from the earlier French title: "Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire"). CERN was the birthplace of the World Wide Web, although in real life the lab does high energy physics research. Located in Geneva, Switzerland.

CGI -- Common Gateway Interface. CGI is an interface for running external programs, or gateways, under a Web server (also known as a HTTP server). Together the HTTP server and the CGI programs are responsible for servicing a client request by sending back responses. The "gateway script" is usually a link between the server and some other program running on the system. CGI is at the heart of the Web as far as Web browsers being able to support a variety of protocols (http, ftp, gopher, news, telnet). CGI is also necessary for imagemaps and forms to function. The CGI script is usually placed in a directory on the Web server called CGI-bin. CGI-scripts are usually written in the PERL or C programming languages.

CGI-bin -- (Pronounced "C-G-I bin"). CGI-bin is a directory on a Web server where CGI scripts are placed.

chat -- (also "talk") A service available on computer bulletin boards, on-line services, and the Internet that lets users type messages to each other. The messages appear almost instantly on the screens of others participating in the chat session.

clickable -- Layperson's term for any text or image on which the user can "click" to go to something else. Often the terms hypertext or hypermedia are considered more savvy or sophisticated.

client-server architecture -- A structure in which computers and programs use and provide distributed services.

client -- A computer or program requesting a service of another computer or program such as obtaining software or performing a task.

client-server -- The model of interaction in a distributed system in which a program at one site sends a request to a program at another site and awaits a response. The requesting program is called a client; the program satisfying the request is called a server. It is usually easier to build client software than server software.

commercial on-line service -- A large, national computer system that charges by the hour to connect. The major services include CompuServe, America OnLine and Prodigy and there are many smaller ones. They offer electronic versions of print publications, discussion forums, chat, software and other services.

command line -- On Unix host systems, this is where you tell the machine what you want it to do, by entering commands.

common carrier -- In the United States, companies that furnish communication services to the public. The usual connotation is for long-distance telecommunications services. Common carriers are subject to regulation by federal and state regulatory commissions.

communication network -- A collection of interconnected functional units that provides a data communications service among stations attached to the network.

compression -- A method used to reduce the amount of information stored with a particular file. Graphics files and moving video files are good candidates for compression because they are generally very large in size. Compressing these files can greatly reduce the amount of information required. However, compression comes with some sacrifice of image quality.

cyberspace -- The first popular usage of the term was in William Gibson's short story, "Burning Chrome," and then in his novel, Neuromancer. The meanings of the term cyberspace include the universe of computers, programs and data or perceiving and inhabiting this universe as a virtual reality. It also includes seeing society from these perspectives. Cyberspace inhabitants include cybernauts, cyberpunks, etc. (Alternative spellings -- psiberspace, psyberpunk, etc.)


daemon -- 1. The program in UNIX that oversees electronic mail delivery. This program runs constantly in Unix, but is only visible to the user when there is a problem with mail delivery. 2. A UNIX process that continues running in the background providing service on demand. Daemons never die; they must be killed.

data communications -- Communications between computers instead of between people. Data communications is growing much faster than voice communications.

DDN -- (Defense Data Network) The part of the Internet associated with U.S. military sites.

digital -- Using a binary system instead of the older analog methods of representing sound or video.

digital data -- Data consisting of a sequence of discrete elements.

digital library -- A large collection of information that has been stored in digital form. A digital library can include documents, images, sounds, and information gathered from ongoing events (for example, continuous pictures from a weather satellite).

digital signal -- A discrete or discontinuous signal, such as voltage pulses.

digital telecommunications -- a form of information transmission, processing, and storage that uses electric or optical pulses. Digital switching technology is much more efficient than its electromechanical predecessors, which allows the network to be faster and have more capacity.

digitizing -- The process of converting standard analog information into digital form that a computer can use. This is done with a special "card" that plugs into a slot in a computer that allows either audio or video to be sent into the computer. The signal from the audio or video is then converted into digital information (data) that can be stored and manipulated.

direct connection -- A permanent connection between your computer system and the Internet. This is sometimes referred to as a leased-line connection because the line is leased from the telephone company.

distance learning -- using communication technology to bring seminars and classes from distant locations into schools and homes. Distance learning technologies can range from one-way video to two-way video and audio transmission. In the most broad definition, distance learning can occur when two or more PCs are connected for the purpose of instruction.

DNS -- (Domain Name System) The on-line distributed database system used to map human-readable machine names into IP addresses. DNS servers throughout the connected Internet implement a hierarchical namespace that allows sites freedom in assigning machine names and addresses. DNS also supports separate mappings between mail destinations and IP addresses.

domain -- A part of the DNS naming hierarchy. Syntactically, a domain name consists of a sequence of names (labels) separated by periods (dots). Thus the domain name contains three labels: jomc, unc, and edu. Any suffix of a label in a domain name is called a domain. In the above example, the lowest level domain is, the domain name for the Journalism and Mass Communications school at the University of North Carolina, the second level domain is, the domain name for the University of North Carolina, and the top-level domain is edu, the domain name for educational institutions. As the example shows, domain names are written with the local label first and the top domain last.

The Internet authority has chosen to partition its top level into the domains listed below:

Domain Name Meaning

COM--Commercial organizations

EDU--Educational institutions

GOV--Government institutions

MIL--Military groups

NET--Major network support centers

ORG--Organizations other than those above

ARPA--Temporary ARPANET domain (obsolete)

INT--International organizations

country code--Each country (geographic scheme)

download -- The act of transmitting a file from a computer in another location to your own PC. The opposite of upload. To understand the distinction between upload and download...think of the act of sending or receiving a package on a train. When you send the package you put it "up" on the train. When you receive it you take it "down" from the train. So, downloading a computer file involves bringing it "down" from the other computer.

DS3 -- A telephony classification of speed for leased lines equivalent to approximately 45 Mbps.


e-mail -- Electronic mail, a service that permits a message created on one computer and sent over a network to another machine, another person, a group or a computer program. Electronic mail software also permits one to reply to a message.

e-news -- The Electronic Newsstand, which contains excerpts, indexes, and subscription information for scores of periodicals.

Ethernet -- A type of computer network that allows for extremely fast transmission of information. This popular Local Area Network technology was invented at the Xerox Corporation. An Ethernet consists of a cable to which computers are attached. Each computer needs hardware known as an interface board to connect the computer to the Internet.


FAQ -- Frequently-Asked-Questions file. A collection of information on the basics of any given subject. Often put together and archived on a server so that people don't waste bandwidth asking simple questions.

FCC -- Federal Communications Commission, which is a board of commissioners appointed by the President who regulate interstate communications that originate in the US. Public utilities commissions in each state deal with intrastate communications.

fiber optics -- high capacity cable made of glass threads that transmit information as pulsating light. The light pulses represent bits of information. Fiber optics give users of telecommunications added capacity, better transmission quality, and increased clarity.

file transfer protocol (FTP) -- The TCP/IP standard; a high-level protocol for trideo is stored in the same manner. Each file has a name followed by a period (or "dot") and a two or three letter extension. This extension indicates the type of file it is. (Sometimes referred to as the "format").

file server -- A process running on a computer that provides access to files on that computer for programs running on remote machines. The term is often applied loosely to computers that run file server programs.

fill-in forms -- These are Web pages that have radio buttons, check boxes, text boxes and other elements that give the page a truly interactive aspect. Web users can fill in information requested by the Web creator and be provided with different options based on their input. Fill-in-forms require a CGI script (which is usually placed in a special directory of the Web server called "cgi-bin") that can take the form input and respond appropriately. Mailto forms do not require the CGI script.

finger -- A Unix command that retrieves user information remotely.

firewall -- 1. A configuration of routers and networks placed between an organization's internal internet and a connection to an external internet to provide security. 2. A type of electronic security system consisting of computers that act like the guards in a corporations front lobby. They are supposed to keep the tens of millions of people with Intetions

GOV--Government institutions

MIL--Military groups

NET--Major network support centers

ORG--Organizations other than those above

ARPA--Temporary ARPANET domain (obsolete)

INT--Inrnet access from also having access to the company's internal computer system, where sensitive corporate information may be stored. Firewalls typically use passwords, keys, alarms and other devices to lock out intruders.

forum -- an on-line discussion area similar to a newsgroup. Often referred to as a SIG. (Special Interest Group)


Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) -- (Pronounced either as "giff" or "jiff" [as in the peanut butter]). A format developed in the mid-1980s by CompuServe to allow network transmission of photo-quality graphics images. Today, the overwhelming majority of images on the World Wide Web are GIF. GIF images are 8-bit (256 colors) with a screen resolution of 640 X 480 pixels. GIF images can be one of two types: GIF87a (the older format) or GIF89a (a newer format that allows transparent backgrounds). GIF images can be either interlaced or non-interlaced. The GIF file format uses a form of file compression known as LZW (Lempel Zev Welch) that squeezes out inefficiencies in the file without causing a loss of data or image quality. GIF and JPG images are the most widely used graphics file formats on the World Wide Web. Some advantages of GIF over JPG include: they're the most widely supported format on the Web and they can include transparency and interlacing.

GIFanim -- an animated picture created by including two or more .gif images in one file.

Gopher -- A versatile menu-driven worldwide information system for exploring the Internet. The Gopher, developed at the University of Minnesota, is a hierarchical distributed database of text documents.

graphical user interface (GUI) -- A Graphical User Interface is a fancy way for a user to give commands to the computer. It is usually a window system accessed through a pointing device such as a mouse. Variations on how the mouse interacts with the objects on the screen give rise to the descriptions "a point and click interface" or "a drag and drop interface." The antithesis of a GUI is a command-line interface.


hacker -- The term hacker tends to refer to the more programming intense set of the geek crowd. However the term is overused in the popular media, and therefore is no longer much used among "real geeks." Hacker also has negative connotations related to cracking or illegally obtaining access to computers and accounts.

home page -- The top level WWW document in a series of Web pages containing a mixture of graphics and text, including embedded references to other such pages. Usually each organization has a separate home page. It is also the default document WWW users see when connecting to a WWW server for the first time. From the home page, a user can simply click on hypertext links that automatically connect to Internet services throughout the world --there is no need to worry about trying to learn cryptic Internet path names.

host -- Any end-user computer system that connects to a network.

Hot Java -- Hot Java is a new Web technology that allows applets (small programs) to be automatically downloaded by a Web browser, such as Netscape 2.0 or the Sun Hot Java browser. Hot Java is a vast improvement over HTML, which simply supported text and graphics. As they did with HTML, Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers will support an extended Hot Java library.

HTML+ -- The latest version of HTML.

hub -- An electronic device to which multiple computers attach, usually using twisted pair wiring. A hub simulates a network that interconnects the attached computers. Hub technology is popular for Ethernets.

hyper-g -- A distributed hypertext system mostly popular in Europe.

hyperlink -- A connection between hypermedia or hypertext documents and other media.

hypermedia -- A term used for hypertext links to images, video and sound. Hypertext that includes reports or links to other forms of media.

hypertext -- Hypertext is based on the idea that words on a computer screen do not have to behave like words on paper--they can be linked to other documents and illustrations. Hypertext can be identified by highlighted words and phrases that have links to other documents. By clicking on a highlighted block of text or illustration, it is possible to retrieve a related document from another information source such as a remote WWW site.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) -- The standard language used for creating hypermedia documents within the World Wide Web. HTML is a language specification for the transfer of text, menus, and graphical images between a Web server and a client such as Mosaic or Lynx. HTML allows an author to structure a document with several levels of headings, graphics and typographical emphasis, indicating where the hypertext anchors or links will be placed. The author also specifies how the link is resolved--where to find the image, sound, movie or document when the user chooses to follow the link. HTML supports the inclusion of graphical, video and audio elements into the document, either inline or as a hypertext resource. GIF and X-bitmap images are supported for images residing within the document, but through separate programs called Helpers, various types of multimedia files such as Quick-Time, MPEG movies, JPEG images, and AU audio files can be accessed.

Hypertext Transmission Protocol (HTTP) -- The standard language that World-Wide Web clients and servers use to communicate, also called HyperText Transfer Protocol. Used as an Internet protocol intended for the retrieval of hypertext information from a WWW server. It splits tasks between client and server. HTTP is a relatively simple data communications protocol designed for speedy transport of text files, graphics and the like over wide-area networks. HTTP was designed for lightness and speed to allow an efficient distributed hypermedia information system. At the client-server level, HTTP uses a stateless object-oriented protocol of simple and negotiable commands or methods. The ability to negotiate the data representation allows WWW clients and Web servers to be built independently of new advanced representations.


IAB -- (Internet Architecture Board) The group that provides the focus and coordination for much of the research and development underlying the TCP/IP protocols, and guides the evolution of the Internet. The IAB organization contains two major groups: the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

imagemap -- The ability to click on portions of an image to link to other information (instead of making individual words clickable). Imagemaps are comprised of three ingredients:

1.) An image in GIF format.

2.) A map file which indicates the "hot spots" of an image.

3.) An imagemap program to connect the map file information with the links.

imagemap program -- One of 3 ingredients necessary to create an imagemap. An imagemap program is a CGI program that resides on a Web server. The program usually resides in a directory called "CGI-bin." This program connects the coordinates from the map file to the specified links.

information -- On the Internet, information is the text, graphics, video clips and /or sound stored on thousands of server computers as documents. Documents in turn may have hypertext links (highlighted words or phrases) pointing a user to information on other computers. The WWW enables users to click on the hypertext links, retrieving information instantly from dozens of machines around the world.

information gateway -- a telecommunications service that provides a single method of accessing different services and information providers. Otherwise, customers would have to make separate calls to use different services.

Information Highway, Information Superhighway -- A term used by the popular press, and elite press alike, to refer to the emerging national information infrastructure in the United States. This oft-cited electronic Interstate 80 will supposedly carry television programming, phone calls, and computer data in and out of every home. The Internet is the first part of the information infrastructure, which is sometimes called the information highway, Information superhighway. The term is also a catch phrase for an evolution that will unfold over the next decade or so, as the technologies of the computer, telephone, and television converge. People are expected to be able to tap a few buttons on a high-speed, high-capacity information conduit in their homes to order everything from Hollywood movies to books from the Library of Congress. The home screen will be expected to deliver video, text and sound quickly and easily.

inline images -- An image that appears along with text on a Web page. It begins with the <IMG> tag...followed by one of four attributes: SRC, ALIGN, ALT or ISMAP. "SRC" is used to define the location of the image. "ALIGN" will align text at the top, middle or bottom of the image. "ALT" is used to include information for people without a graphical browser such as Lynx. (They won't be able to see the inline image). "ISMAP" will activate an image map.

intelligent agent -- A program which can learn from its owner and complete a task according to the owner's personal preferences. These programs incorporate artificial intelligence technology, which allows them to be able to offer intuitive suggestions and make judgments. On the World Wide Web, many people use intelligent agents to search for Web sites, because intelligent agents have the ability to differentiate between wanted and unwanted information.

interactive services -- Services that allow the customer to decide which information they will be presented with next. For example: shopping via the Internet or viewing an electronic magazine are two ways to use interactive services.

Internaut -- Someone who uses the Internet.

Internet -- 1. A global network of computer networks, originally developed in late 1969 as a way for researchers, academics and defense contractors to communicate. Opened to commercial uses in 1990, it has grown to more than 30 million users. The Internet reaches government, commercial, and educational organizations around the world. The Internet links computer networks worldwide through routers that use the combination of Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite and function as a single, large network. 2. The collection of networks and routers spans 61 countries and uses TCP/IP protocols to form a single, cooperative, virtual network. The Internet connects more than four million computers.

internet -- 1. An internet (with a lowercase "i") is any collection of networks interconnected by a common protocol. You can build your own internet by interconnecting the networks in your organization with TCP/IP. The Internet (with an uppercase "I") is the worldwide collection of networks that grew out of the original ARPANET. 2. A collection of packet switching networks interconnected with routers and TCP/IP protocols that allow them to function logically as a single virtual network. When written in uppercase, Internet refers specifically to the global Internet.

Internet Explorer -- A graphical World-Wide Web browser developed and distributed by Microsoft. Internet Explorer allows Web pages to incorporate sound, graphics, movies and java applets along with text. The Internet Explorer is very similar to Netscape Navigator.

Internet Multicasting Service -- A service that sends audio information across the Internet like a radio station.

Internet Protocol (IP) -- 1. The TCP/IP standard protocol that defines the IP datagram as the unit of information passed across an internet and provides the basis for connection-less, best-effort packet delivery service. 2. The Internet Protocol, defined in STD 5, RFC 791, is the network layer for the TCP/IP Protocol Suite. It is a connectionless, best-effort packet switching protocol (Source: RFC 1392). The IP provides the addressing routers needed to move packets across networks to their destinations. IP addresses are 32 bits long and have two parts: a network identifier and a host identifier.

Internet Society -- The non-profit organization established to foster interest in the Internet. The Internet Society is the host organization of the IAB.

InterNIC -- Internet Network Information Center, an organization that coordinates Internet services and supplies information about the Internet, the organizations that provide connectivity, and other documentation. In addition, the InterNIC handles registration of IP addresses and domain names. InterNIC's telephone number is 1-800-444-4345.

IP address -- A 32-bit address assigned to each host that participates in a TCP/IP internet. IP addresses are the abstraction of physical hardware addresses just as an internet is an abstraction of physical networks. To make routing efficient, each IP address is divided into a network portion and a host portion.

IPng -- (Internet Protocol - the Next Generation) A term applied to all the activities surrounding the specification and standardization of the next version of IP. See also IPv6.

IPv6 -- The official name of the next version of IP.

ISDN -- Integrated Services Digital Network, which is a digital switched network that provides very fast, simultaneous transmission of voice, data and images over one telephone line

IsMap -- This is an HTML tag that points to a bitmap. It helps compensate for HTML's lack of support for object graphics. That is, HTML does not let the user easily create a diagram in which objects act as hypertext links.

ISO 8859 -- A character set defined by international standards that includes accented letters and symbols.


Java -- Spawned from a Sun research project that focuses on software development in networking environments, Java is an object-oriented language that resolves several of the Web's programming and functionality problems. Java programs allow animation to appear in Web windows, background music to play, and text to scroll across your screen in real time, just to name a few things. Java even allows you to play simple games, such as Tetris, over the Web. It is currently available for Windows 95 , Sun Solaris, and a port is currently underway for the Mac OS. Java is designed well and it should come into mainstream use relatively soon.
Basing Java on C++ was a stroke of genius as most programmers were already proficient in the C language. The only competition to Java is the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) which has been out for a year and is rather difficult to program in. Java has gotten more attention in its pre-release months than VRML got in a year. The language was originally designed by James Gosling of Sun for use in interactive TV. Realizing the ITV market to be a dead end, Sun has decided to use this technology on the Web. Following the company motto of "the network is the computer," Sun wants more than anything else want to maintain their control of the Internet hardware market. The company can't compete in the high end graphics market because Silicon Graphics dominates the field; thus, they have decided to attack the net business with a vengeance.
Sun Microsystems' Java programming language may be the hottest way to use the World-Wide Web. Although Java is based on C++ and will be familiar to most developers, it has forsaken pointers, implemented background garbage collection, and introduced 16-bit characters. Serious Web surfers may flock to Java because it eliminates the need for Web browser add-ons. It allows you to open any type of file without outside assistance.

Javascript -- a form of java in which the code is included in the top part of the HTML document. One example of an application of Javascript is creating a scrolling message in the bottom bar of Netscape.

JPEG -- JPEG (pronounced "jay-peg") is a standardized image compression mechanism. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the original name of the committee that wrote the standard. JPEG is designed for compressing either full-color or gray-scale images of natural, real-world scenes. It works well on photographs, naturalistic artwork, and similar material; not so well on lettering, simple cartoons, or line drawings. JPEG handles only still images, but there is a related standard called MPEG for motion pictures.

Jughead -- An indexed search system for a subset of Gopher document titles.


kbps -- (Kilo Bits Per Second) A measure of the rate of data transmission. See also Mbps and baud.

Kerberos -- A strong authentication technology that is used in many smartcards. It was created at MIT and uses the U.S. government's Data Encryption Standard algorithm.

kill file -- The file defining people, topics and threads that a user does not want to see Usenet articles from; more generally, the list of people/topics you intend to ignore.


LAN -- Local Area Network, which is a private network located within a building or complex of buildings, such as a campus, and links computers together for transferring of digital data. This allows resources to be shared, like hard drives and laser printers. There are also networks that can span metropolitan areas (MANs) and multi-state areas, called (WANs).

listserv -- An e-mail program that allows multiple computer users to connect onto a single system, thus creating an on-line discussion. Thousands of listservs of all possible subjects populate the Internet.

Lynx -- a text-mode client program developed by the University of Kansas to provide Internet users with greater choice when accessing information on the Internet. In February 1995, the University of Kansas upgraded Lynx, to Version 2.2. The upgrade contains a number of features that make Lynx a good choice for Unix-based bulletin-board-service operators or businesses looking for a way to provide WWW access inexpensively to dial-up users.


mail gateway -- A machine that connects to two or more electronic mail systems (especially dissimilar mail systems on two different networks) and transfers mail messages among them. Mail gateways usually capture an entire mail message, reformat it according to the rules of the destination mail system, and then forward the message.

mailing list -- A computer program that sends the same message to a group of people who have asked to receive it.

mailto -- The "mailto:" tag is used to allow someone to click on a word or words and then directly send an e-mail message from the Web browser to the e-mail address contained in the mailto: tag. A mailto: tag might look like this: <a href="">, and would end with the standard </a>.

mailto forms -- A new type of form that offers Web Page authors a way to use forms in their pages WITHOUT having to write CGI scripts or even have access to the cgi-bin directory. The results of the form are mailed directly to the author's e-mail account, so immediate responses based on the contents of the form are not possible. Also see fill-in-forms.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) -- Any of several new physical network technologies that operate at high speeds (usually hundreds of megabits per second through several gigabits per second) over distances sufficient for a metropolitan area. See LAN and WAN.

manual page -- On-line documentation that commonly comes bundled with computers running the UNIX operating system. Can be accessed from a UNIX prompt with the command "man."

MBONE -- (Multicast BackBONE) A cooperative agreement among sites to forward multicast datagrams across the Internet by use of IP tunneling.

mbps -- (Millions of Bits Per Second) A measure of the rate of data transmission.

MEMEX -- A machine proposed by Dr. Vannevar Bush in a 1945 article entitled "As We May Think." Dr. Bush described the machine as "a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory."

microwave -- A way to provide telecommunications bandwidth through antennas, transmitter and reflectors on towers. Microwave can be made fully compatible with digital service.

MIME -- (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension) A standard used to encode data such as images as printable ASCII text for transmission through e-mail.

mirror -- Some sites (esp. ftp software sites) are so popular that mirror sites are set up with the same information. If there is a mirror site closer to you than the one you're accessing, the odds are downloads will be faster. You can also check mirror sites to see if they are less busy (any mirror site information is usually provided as part of the opening information at any ftp, gopher, or Web site).

modem -- Modulator-Demodulator, which is a device that connects a computer to a telephone line, allowing information to be sent from one machine to another. A modem converts digital information from a computer into an analog signal (modulator) that can be transmitted by phone line, and vice-versa (demodulator).

Mosaic -- A mouse-driven interface to the WWW developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. Mosaic was developed to implement the standards that unify the Internet data browsing and retrieval services including WAIS, Gopher, Archie, and the World Wide Web.

Motion Pictures Entertainment Group (MPEG) -- A consortium of experts in the entertainment industry that developed the MPEG standard format for digital video, animation and audio.

moving video files -- .qt, .mov, .avi

mpeg -- The Moving Pictures Experts Group standard for encoding and compressing moving video images.

multicast -- 1. The technique used to send a given packet to a selected set of other computers. Internet audio and video services use multicast delivery to send a packet from a single source to many computers on the Internet, or to allow a group of users to interact in an audio or video teleconference. 2. A technique that allows copies of a single packet to be passed to a selected subset of all possible destinations. Some hardware (e.g., ethernet) supports multicast by allowing a network interface to belong to one or more multicast groups. IP supports an internet multicast facility. See unicast.

multimedia -- A term describing any facility that can display text, graphics, images and sounds. A computer needs special hardware to handle multimedia output.


name resolution -- The process of mapping a name into a corresponding addresses. The domain name system provides a mechanism for naming computers in which programs use remote name servers to resolve a machine name into an IP address.

National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) -- A federally-funded organization whose mission is to develop and research high-technology resources for the scientific community.

National Information Infrastructure (NII) -- The emerging information infrastructure in the United States. The Internet forms the first part of the infrastructure.

National Science Foundation (NSF) -- A federally-funded organization that manages the NSFnet, which connects every major research institution and campus in the United States.

navigation buttons -- Elements within a graphic computer WWW interface that allow users to review the information they have previously seen in a number of ways.

NCSA Collage -- Collaborative (shared white board) software developed by the NCSA.

nesting -- Placing documents within other documents. Nesting allows a user to access material in a non-linear fashion. This is the primary factor needed for developing hypertext.

netiquette -- A pun on etiquette referring to proper behavior on a network (Source: RFC 1392).

Netscape Navigator -- As a browser, Netscape Navigator is one of the most popular pieces of Internet navigation software in the United States. Netscape Navigator offers users one-button, plug-and play access to major Internet resources and provides all the tools needed to explore the Internet including the World Wide Web, electronic mail, FTP, gopher, and news groups. According to Yahoo, the Netscape Browser accounts for more than 75 percent of client traffic on the Internet. Netscape Navigator also provides high performance over modems. Navigating successfully through the mountains of data available on the Internet may be the greatest challenge the information age presents. Recognizing this challenge, a team of staff and students at the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications in 1993 created a graphical user interface that simplified Internet navigation. Called NCSA Mosaic, the research prototype--offered free to everyone on the network--gained a following of an estimated 2 million users in a single year. The success of NCSA Mosaic, widely acclaimed as the "killer application" for the Internet, created a demand for commercial-caliber software and services for global networks. Netscape Communications Corporation was founded in April 1994 to address this growing demand. The Netscape Navigator attracted attention when it was released in 1994. By making Netscape available free to individuals for personal use, the company built on the tradition of software products for the Internet being offered free of charge. (See also Internet Explorer, Mosaic.)

network -- a group of terminals, switches and connections that communicates information between users.

Network Information System (NIS) -- Sun Computer's distributed database system, which permits servers to share common password files and group files. Usually considered too dangerous to use on Internet servers because if improperly configured, it can allow an intruder to gain control of the machine.

Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) -- Usenet news for local NNTP access. A common method by which articles over Usenet are transferred.

news/newsgroups -- Public message or discussion areas on the Internet are called newsgroups or "news" for short, and sometime "Usenet News" for the Network that originated discussion groups. These are similar to bulletin boards or forums on other information services..

newsreader -- A program that allows you to access, read, and post to usenet newsgroups.

NNTP -- The protocol which newsgroups use.

node -- A computer hooked into the internet, especially one with its own IP address.

NSF -- (National Science Foundation) A U.S. government agency that funded some of the research and development of the Internet.

NSFNET -- (National Science Foundation NETwork) Used to describe the Internet backbone in the U.S., which is supported by NSF.


ob-/ob/ -- abbreviation for "obligatory" An often-neglected form of netiquette in which the author of a usenet post includes a bit of on-topic material to justify an otherwise off-topic posting.

OC3 -- A bit rate of approximately 155 million bits per second used over fiber optic connections. Compare with a T1 at 1.5 million bits per second, or T3 at 45 million bits per second. OC3 is equivalent to 100 T1s or three T3s.

on-line -- Connected to a computer network.


packet -- A bundle of data. Packets have no set size. They can range from one character to hundreds of characters. To transmit data, the Internet's IP/TCP protocol divides data into packets to improve efficiency. Used loosely to refer to any small block of data sent across a packet switching network.

packet switching -- a data transmission method that breaks up a stream of data into discrete units for transport. Each unit contains the same number of units and special identification that allows the units to be rejoined at the point of reception. Packet switching increases the efficiency of data communications by allowing multiple users to use the same channel.

page -- On the World Wide Web, a page is not a 8.5x11-inch piece of paper, but a chunk of information as large or small as its creator wants to make it. Such a "page" could be a hypermedia document as viewed through a WWW browser. Rather than have you scroll the screen to see one huge page, comprising information equal to dozens of printed pages, most Web sites organize their information around a central "home" page or a welcome page with links to other pages.

PCMCIA -- The Personal Computer Memory Card International Association provides a standard for expansion cards for laptop computers.

PGP -- "Pretty Good Privacy" -- a program that encodes e-mail, which really bugs many governments.

PICT image -- A Macintosh image file format that can be used for both bitmap and vector images. Just about any Macintosh application can import PICT files. However, you don't see PICT images on the World Wide Web. Most Web images are either GIF or JPG format images.

ping -- A program that allows you to test and see if a node is currently functioning.

plug-and-play -- Software that can (at least in theory) be plugged into the operating system (OS) or other software and used immediately, without configuration fiddling on the part of the user. (if you believe that, would you like to buy a bridge?)

point of presence provider -- An organization or server that provides access to the Internet.

posting -- Placing an electronic communication--usually on the Internet--where others can read (and possibly reply to) it.

PPP -- (Point to Point Protocol) A protocol for framing IP when sending across a serial line. Also see SLIP.

protocol -- A formal description of the message formats and rules two or more machines must follow to exchange data. Protocols can describe low-level details of machine to machine interfaces (e.g., the order in which the bits from a byte are sent across a wire) or high-level exchanges between application programs (e.g., the way in which two programs transfer a file across an internet). Most protocols include both intuitive descriptions of the expected interactions as well as more formal specifications using finite state machine models. Agreed-upon standards for transferring information on the Internet include FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).

proxy Server -- Server software that runs in place on a given Internet server. Proxies are used as a safe replacement for the original server software. Telnet, FTP, HTTP and SMTP are the most popular proxy services.

public domain -- Any software that can be freely copied and distributed. Also called "shareware."

public key encryption -- An encryption technique that generates encryption keys in pairs. One of the pairs must be kept secret, and one is published publicly.

PUC -- Public Utilities Commission, which is the state regulating body that oversees communications within a state. Interstate communications are governed by the FCC.

push -- The operation an application performs on a TCP connection to force data to be sent immediately. A bit in the segment header marks pushed data.


queue -- Commands or processes, or waiting to be processed.

QuickTime -- A digital video format developed by Apple Computer that integrates synchronized video and audio with compression techniques.


'R' commands -- Remote commands used in Unix between trusted servers. When used between trusted hosts, a trusted server does not need a password to be accessed from another trusted server.

.ra -- A sound format designed for use with the Real Audio sound player, which is designed to play sounds downloaded via the Internet.

reader -- A program used to read a file on the Internet, usually used to refer to a program for posting usenet messages to and from a newsgroup.

RFC -- (Request For Comments) A series of notes that contain surveys, measurements, ideas, techniques, and observations, as well as proposed and accepted TCP/IP protocol standards. RFCs are available on-line.

Rich Text Format (RTF) -- A common interchange format for the exchange of electronic documents between computers.

rlogin -- (Remote LOGIN) The remote login protocol developed for UNIX by Berkeley. Rlogin offers essentially the same service as TELNET.

route -- In general, a route is the path that network traffic takes from its source to its destination. In a TCP/IP internet, each IP datagram is routed independently and routes can change dynamically.

router -- A special purpose computer that attaches to two or more networks and forwards packets from one to the other. In particular, an IP router forwards IP datagrams among the networks to which it connects. A router uses the destination address on a datagram to choose a next-hop to which it forwards the datagram. Researchers originally used the term IP gateway.

RPC (Remote Procedure Call) -- From Sun, RPC allows a program on one computer to call, or execute, a command on another computer. In the late 1980s, Sun introduced Secure RPC to address some of RPC's security vulnerabilities. It usually is considered too dangerous to use on an Internet server.


scroll bar -- A graphic computer interface element that allows the user to scroll electronic documents on the computer screen.

search engine -- On-line search engines allow users to search for information, to find a particular Web site or to look for a resource list on a particular subject. Search engines often provide lists of citations and links that take users directly to file it has cited.

sendmail -- The standard SMTP server daemon. It is generally considered too dangerous to run on a firewall. Many sites use an SMTP proxy server in place of Sendmail.

Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) -- A type of special on-line service account to access the Internet.

server -- A computer that serves information and software to the Internet community and, in general terms, a machine that makes services available on a network. A file server makes files available. For instance, a Web server makes information available through the World Wide Web protocol. The server includes the computer and software that put information on the Web so a browser program on your computer can read it.

SGML -- Standard Generalized Markup Language.

SIG -- special interest group. This is an on-line discussion through some form of on-line bulletin board or through e-mail. Often referred to as a forum.

SMTP -- (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The TCP/IP standard protocol for transferring electronic mail messages from one machine to another. SMTP specifies how two mail systems interact and the format of control messages they exchange to transfer mail.

SOCKS -- A free product that allows you to modify client programs, such as FTP, and to run a generic SOCKified server. The most popular alternative to SOCKS is an application proxy.

switch -- A machine or computer that directs data communications traffic. In a telephone switch, dialing a phone number tells the switcher where the call should go.

system administrator -- The person responsible for configuring and maintaining a multi-user computer system. Also known as the "sysadmin."


T1 -- A high-speed network link used on the Internet. It can transfer information at a rate of 1.544 megabits per second (That's roughly 59 minutes for 680 megabytes to be transferred.).

T3 -- The telephony designation for a protocol used over DS3-speed lines with higher speed than the T1. It can transfer information at a rate of 44.736 megabits per second (That's roughly 2 minutes for 680 megabytes to be transferred.).

tags -- Information contained between angle brackets < > that indicate document elements, structure, formatting and hyperlinks. HTML tags are generally used to surround the text that they affect.

TCP/IP Internet Protocol Suite -- The official name of the TCP/IP protocols.

TCP -- (Transmission Control Protocol) The TCP/IP standard transport level protocol provides the reliable, full-duplex stream service on which many application protocols depend. TCP allows a process on one machine to send a stream of data to a process on another. TCP is connection-oriented in the sense that before transmitting data, participants must establish a connection. All data travels in TCP segments, with each travel across the Internet in an IP datagram. The entire protocol suite is often referred to as TCP/IP because TCP and IP are the two fundamental protocols.

telecommunications -- The transmission and reception of data, video, audio, or other communications through an electric or electromagnetic system.

telecommuting -- The use of a telecommunications system to connect a remote work site with a primary place of business.

TELNET -- 1. A method of logging one computer onto another. A program which allows users to remotely use computers across networks. Interactive session using telnet. 2. The TCP/IP standard protocol for remote terminal service. TELNET allows a user at one site to interact with a remote timesharing system at another site as if the user's keyboard and display connected directly to the remote machine.

terminal -- Before PCs, there were video terminals connected to mainframes. "Dial-ups" turn your pc into a "dumb terminal," working primarily off the main computer. Your computer will often be referred to as your 'terminal' while on the Internet, esp. by older programs and users. Some emulations start with "vt" -- for video terminal.

tn3270 -- A version of TELNET for use with IBM 3270 terminals.

transceiver -- A device that connects a host interface to a local area network (e.g., ethernet). Ethernet transceivers contain analog electronics that apply signals to the cables and sense collisions.

transparent backgrounds -- Transparent GIF images can have one color designated to be transparent. Since all graphic images are stored as either square or rectangular shapes, even the background color will show up on a Web page. In order to make the background transparent, the background color must be designated to be transparent and the image must be stored as a GIF 89a image. This can be done with an application such as "Transparency" for the Macintosh, "Giftrans" for DOS, or "LViewPro" for Windows. See GIF for more information.


UDP (User Datagram Protocol) -- A connectionless protocol that resides at the same level as TCP. Since it is connectionless, there is no handshaking or authentication. UDP-based services, such as RealAudio, are hard to secure, and often are not permitted to run behind a firewall.

UDP storm -- A flood of UDP packets used to overwhelm a server in a denial of service attack.

undirected information -- Information that is broadcast out without regard as who reads it. Usenet and mailing lists are undirected.

unicast -- The usual technique for sending a packet through the Internet from a single source to a single destination. Most IP datagrams are sent via unicast. See multicast.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) -- The URL is the address to a source of information. The URL contains four distinct parts, the protocol type, the machine name, the directory path and the file name. For example:, where http is the protocol, is the machine name, SDG/Software/Mosaic is the directory name and path, and NCSAMosaicHome.asp is the file name.

universal service -- A goal set by the Federal Communications Act of 1934 to make local telephone service available and affordable for the largest number of customers possible. Today, 94% of US homes have telephone service.

UNIX -- UNIX is an operating system or master program developed at AT&T's Bell Laboratories in 1969. While that makes UNIX very old by computer standards, it is still popular today because of its flexibility, power, and portability. UNIX can run on platforms ranging from PC to Macintosh to Cray Computers. UNIX was originally used by many university-based and research computers. Although utterly cryptic, UNIX is an extremely popular operating system in wide use on computers on the Internet. Other operating systems work fine on the Internet, but UNIX is probably the most common.

upload -- To send a file to another machine

Usenet -- The global news-reading network. As an electronic forum, Usenet new groups are used by millions of people around the world to discuss various issues and or interests. It is a collection of about 8,000 discussion forums on the Internet, each focused on a specific topic. Sometimes referred to as newsgroups.


Veronica -- A search tool and network service that allows users to search Gopher systems for documents. Veronica conducts an indexed search of Gopher menu titles.

virtual reality -- Virtual Reality is an emerging technology that attempts to fully immerse the user in an interactive computer-generated environment. The participant in a Virtual Reality experience interacts with the system via a series of sensors and sophisticated output devices. Input devices include data gloves which track hand positions and configurations to entire body suits which senses the entire orientation of the VR participant. Output devices include complex head mounted displays (HMD's) and surround-sound audio systems.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) -- The VRML is a developing standard for describing interactive three-dimensional scenes delivered across the Internet.

virus -- A small program written to incapacitate or interfere with the normal operation of a computer. Some viruses continually reproduce copies of themselves in the machines they enter, and can corrupt data or code in key areas of the computer such as the operating system.

VT100 -- An intelligent terminal manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). The term often refers to the entire family of DEC intelligent terminals. Most PC terminal emulators offer VT100 emulation. Most dial-up accounts require VT100 or the later 102.


WAN -- (Wide Area Network) Any physical network technology that spans large geographic distances. Also called long-haul networks, WANs usually operate at slower speeds and have significantly higher delays than networks that operate over shorter distances. See LAN and MAN.

WAV -- A proprietary format sponsored by Microsoft and IBM, the Resource Interchange File Format Waveform Audio Format (.wav) was introduced in MS Windows v3.1 and is most commonly used on Windows-based PCs. WAV files support multiple encoding methods, but most often they are ADPCM (Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation) format, and all WAV files follow the Rich Information File Format (RIFF) specification. Don't worry if these encoding techniques sound alien to you; you won't need to know these things for day-to-day use of the format.
This format is very similar to the AIFF format in that it supports monaural and multichannel samples and a variety of sample rates. Like AIFF, WAV files require approximately 10mb/min for 16-bit samples with a sampling rate of 44.1kHz, but 8-bit, 8kHz, single channel versions are often offered by sites.

Web Crawler -- A computer-generated web index. Generically, Web crawlers (aka "spiders") are computers that systematically collect Web pages across the Net by repeatedly querying their servers. Also, a specific service named "Web Crawler" operated by America OnLine.

webmaster -- The administrator responsible for the management and (most times) design of a World-Wide Web site.

WebTV -- WebTV is a revolutionary new way to access the Internet from a TV set without a computer or software to load. As the WebTV commercial says, "All you need is a television, a phone line, and a WebTV Internet terminal, and you're on the Internet." The WebTV Internet terminal, combined with the user friendly on-line service, the WebTV Network, allows anyone to browse the Internet from the comfort of a living room.
Based in the Silicon Valley, WebTV Networks, Inc. was founded in June 1995 by three Apple multimedia pioneers--Steve Perlman, Bruce Leak, and Phil Goldman--who were committed to bringing high-quality, affordable Internet access to a general audience by providing easy-to-use technologies and services. The company began conducting business out of a converted Palo Alto, Calif. BMW garage under the name Artemis Research to maintain the air of secrecy surrounding WebTV's proprietary technology. Artemis Research, a name trademarked by Perlman, is the moniker under which he operated for years when working on highly confidential projects. Like any true inventor, Perlman tried to reduced flicker and enhance image quality on the TV screen. He did this by reshaping the television signal and altering the original 1948 U.S. television standards to create a digital-quality, crystal-clear picture that enhanced the overall Internet experience on a TV set.
In fall 1996, Sony Electronics, Inc. and Philips Electronics, acting as licensees of WebTV Networks, introduced a plug-and-play set-top box called the WebTV Internet Terminal that enables display of Web pages on a TV set. The box resembles a cable TV set top box. The video is sharp and flicker free. The device supports digital stereo sound. There is an expansion slot for printers, cable modems and other devices. The device also contains a built in "smart card" reader for shopping, banking and other transactions. The box retails for $328.00 at all major stores. There is also an optional wireless keyboard for $69.00. The monthly access fee for an unlimited amount of usage is $19.95. The Internet Service Provider network covers 95% of the U.S. so there are usually no toll charges to reach the Internet.

Whois -- A name lookup service.

Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS) -- A service which allows users to intelligently search for information or retrieve information in databases and libraries linked throughout the Internet. WAIS is a keyword-indexed database of Internet documents.

workstation -- A computer that is designed for networking. It has network hardware and software already installed.

World-Wide Web -- The World Wide Web (also known as the WWW or Web or W3) is a distributed HyperText-based information system conceived to provide its user community an easy way to access global information. The Web was developed by a physicist, Tim Berners-Lee, in 1989 for his own use as a researcher at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics known as CERN in Switzerland.

Today, the Web is the newest and the most ambitious of the Internet applications. The Web is not a separate network, but a series of linked of communication protocols and software specifications allowing computers on the Internet to link to each other's collection of documents and programs, comprising text, graphics, sound and even video. The documents, comprising several pages, have links to other pages, which in turn link to others, ad infinitum. The Web provides full text access to documents marked up with HTML, along with links to Gopher and WAIS. The Web browsers can display styled text and graphics.

The Web is also a hypertext or linked system for finding resources and accessing information off the Internet. The WWW improves on the Gopher protocol for navigating and retrieving information. The WWW is a client/server navigator, and one of its retrieval utilities is the graphic browser. Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Mosaic require a high-speed network link, and can display graphics to almost any client. Two versions of the WWW server software are available, one from CERN, and another called HTTP_SERVER available from several sites. The WWW offers a hypermedia system that can store information as text, graphics, and audio.

World Wide Web Consortium -- In 1994, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, known as CERN, teamed to form the World Wide Web Consortium/W3C to better facilitate the development of Internet's wildly expanding World Wide Web graphical information system in hopes of improving the technology and promoting its use. The mission of the group is to secure the WWW's future as a universal framework for global communications.

worm -- a virus-like program that travels across networks, such as LANs or the Internet itself. A worm may be very destructive to the individual computers which are infected.

WWW -- See World Wide Web.


Xanadu -- A client-server system based on networked hypertext that emphasizes electronic publishing and commerce.



. ZIP -- The filename extension used by files compressed into the ZIP format common on PCs.