COMPUTERS and INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

The meaning of words relating to computers and information technnology.


 

Please note that British English spelling is used on this website. However, the British spelling 'programme' is no longer used to refer to a computer program, although it is still correct in other phrases e.g. 'television programme'.

WORD

MEANING

Adware

A software application which displays unwanted pop-up advertisements on your computer while in use. Adware is often installed at the same time as free software or shareware.

Avatar

An icon or figure that represents a person in video games, chat rooms and on Internet forums.

Application

Any program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user.  Microsoft Word, Outlook or Adobe Photoshop are examples of application programs.

Bloatware/fatware

Pre-installed software that occupies a lot of space, leaving little memory for storing personal data.

Browser

A program or tool such as Google, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox that enables you to browse or surf the World Wide Web and view internet sites.

Bug

A defect or fault in a program that prevents it from working correctly.  Bugs are caused by mistakes or errors made by those who write the program.

Cache

A sort of fast memory used for temporary storage of recently accessed web pages, which enables the browser to display them more quickly on the next visit.

Captcha

A system used to make sure that a human being, not a machine, is using a computer.

Catfish

Someone (on the Internet and social media) who pretends to be someone else by using a fake identity in order to deceive others.

Cookies

Small piece of information on the times and dates you have visited web sites.  A web server can temporarily store this information within your browser.  The main purpose is to identify users and possibly prepare customised web pages for them.

Crash

What happens when a program or the entire operating system, unexpectedly stops working. 

Cursor

A blinking symbol on the screen that shows where any new text will next be entered.

Driver

A special program which enables a computer to work with a particular piece of hardware such as a printer.

E-business

Business done over the internet or any internet-based network.

E-mail

Electronic mail : messages sent from one computer to another over the internet.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions.

Firewall

Specialised hardware or software designed to prevent unauthorised access into or out of a computer or network.

Font

A particular kind of lettering (e.g. Arial, Verdana, etc.)

Hardware

The physical equipment of a computer system (the CPU (central processing unit), monitor, keyboard,  mouse, external speakers, scanner, printer, etc.)

Hit

A visit to a website.

Home page

The main page or opening page of a website. The home page usually contains links to other pages.

 

Modem

A device that enables a computer to send and receive information over a telephone line (internet, email, fax).

Netiquette

Network etiquette : a set of informal rules defining proper behaviour on the internet.

Portal

A website that acts as a gateway or entry point to the internet (for example, Yahoo). Typically, a portal offers a search engine and links to other sites grouped into categories, as well as news or other services.

Program

A sequence of instructions that a computer can interpret and execute in order to do a particular job.  Programs are collectively referred to as 'software'.

Provider

Company that provides access to the internet.

Scannar

A piece of hardware, or peripheral device, used to scan a document and create a digital copy.

Screenshot

An image of what is displayed on the screen of a computer or mobile device.

Software

A collection of programs and other operating information used by a computer.

Spam

Unwanted, irrelevant or inappropriate e-mail messages, especially commercial advertising. Also referred to as 'junkmail'.

Spyware

Software that collects information, without your knowledge, about your web-surfing habits, and uses it for marketing purposes. Very often contained in free downloads or shareware programs.

Trojan

A computer program that is hidden in a useful software application and actually used to gain access to your computer. It then performs malicious actions such as displaying messages or erasing files.Trojans may be found in a hacked legitimate program or in free software.

Video conference

Interactive, audiovisual meeting between two or more people in different geographic locations using two-way video technology.

Virus

A malicious self-replicating program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents, and whose sole intent is to cause problems on a computer. It acts in a similar way to a biological virus, and the infected file is called a 'host'.

Worm

A self-replicating computer program, similar to a computer virus. It infects additional computers (typically by making use of network connections), often clogging networks and information systems as it spreads.

wysiwyg

What you see is what you get (pronounced ' wizzy-wig').
A WYSIWYG application enables you to see on the screen exactly what will appear when the document is printed.

www

World Wide Web : a hypertext information system consisting of a network of web pages which runs on the internet and can be accessed with a browser.

Zip

To zip a file is to compress it so that it occupies less storage space and can be transferred quickly over the internet.