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Glossary of Computer Lingo

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For new visitors, it sometimes seems like cyberspace natives speak a whole different language. Actually, anyone can get around the world of multimedia perfectly well with an understanding of less than a dozen new terms:

Bandwidth: The size of the data pipe from one part of the Internet to another. Big websites like ESPNET SportsZone have high-bandwidth connections; that 2,400-bits-per-second modem you bought in 1989 is low bandwidth.

Browser: Software that provides a window through which to see the World Wide Web.

CD-ROM: A 5-inch disc that holds graphics, music, data, etc. — all the stuffing that goes into the bird called multimedia.

Chat: Live chat is like E-mail in real time; virtual chat is live chat with pictures (”avatars”).

Internet: A network of computer networks.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): The local company that hooks you up to the Internet (unless you’re accessing cyberspace through a commercial online service like AOL).

JAVA: New technology from Sun Microsystems that lets you view animation (called applets) in Web pages. Similar to Macromedia’s Shockwave, which is favored by graphic designers.

Modem: The box that connects your computer to your phone system. A 33,600 bps modem (more commonly known as a 33.6) is the current high end, followed by the slower 28,800 (28.8), 14,400 (14.4), and 9,600.

Streaming Audio: Web-based sound clips that play as soon as you start downloading them (as opposed to most sound files, which you have to download, then play). Soon to come: streaming video.

T1 Connection: A direct, no-modem link to the Internet; currently the fastest way to surf the Net.

World Wide Web: The portion of the Internet that can deliver graphics, sound, and more in a page layout.