A/D Converter An analogue-to-digital converter. Converts an analogue (continuously varying) signal to a numerically represented (digital) format.
Access Point A hardware device or computer software that acts as a communication hub for users of a wireless device to connect to a wired network.
ACK "ACK" is short for acknowledgment. In other words, it's the signal your modem sends back to a server whenever it receives a complete, correct data packet.
Active Window The currently selected window which always appears on top of any other window. The title bar for the active window is normally a different colour (blue by default) or intensity than the title bar for an inactive window.
Add-in An add-in is a program that attaches itself to another program. In other words, the add-in is a program that integrates itself into another program. For example, Microsoft Excel has add-ins which provide additional functions to the program.
Adjustment layer In graphics, a raster layer used to make colour corrections to one or more underlying layers in a multilayer image. The adjustment layer contains information that affects inly the layers beneath it.
ADO Acronym for ActiveX Data Object. This is Microsoft's high-level interface for data objects. ADO can be used to access all types of data, including Web pages, spreadsheets and other documents.
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. A high speed communication that provides data services over existing telephone lines. It is called asymmetric because the downstream data speed (from the network or Internet to the PC) is faster than the upstream data speed.
AFK Acronym used in chat rooms meaning "Away From Keyboard".
AGP Acronym for Accelerated Graphics Port. An interface that speeds up the display of 3-D graphics on a computer.
AI Artificial intelligence is computer technology designed to imitate the human brain. specifically, to solve problems by learning and reasoning. Originally, in the early 1950s, AI was called "computer intelligence".
Algorithm A well-defined rule or process for arriving at a solution to a problem. For example, an agorithm on the Internet is used to determine the best way for information to go from one computer to another.
Alphanumeric An alphanumeric expression (typically just called an "alphanumeric") is an expression containing both letters and numbers. Examples of alphanumeric include most license plate numbers and the acronym Y2K.
Analogue Computer A computer that calculates constantly changing data (such as speed or temperature) without first converting the data into a digital form.
Analogue signal A signal which is continuously variable overa range of values, rather than being limited to a discrete number of values, as with a digital signal.
ANSI Acronym for the American National Standards Institute. It is responsible for the voluntary setting of standards for industry and government.   ANSI-X3 is the committee dealing with computing and IT.
API API stands for "application program interface"; it's a facility built into a finished application or operating system that lets a programmer access and customise the application's or operating system's features without doing a lot of extra work. For example, developers use the Windows API to display Save and Open dialog boxes, which is why they all look pretty much the same.
Applet An applet is a little software program designed to be used within another, larger program. Microsoft Draw 98, for example, is an applet.
Application Software program designed for a specific purpose, eg. spreadsheet.
Archive bit/flag An attribute or property for a file which indicates which indicates whether the file has been backed up or not. When a file is created or modified, the archive bit is set to on. As soon as the file is backed up, the archive bit is set to off until it is modified again.
Archiving The process of saving a copy of a file, document or email for reference at a later date/time.
ASCII Acronym for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange" and is a method of representing readable characters with 7-binary digits. This allows for 128 possible characters, which is fairly limited by today's standards, but is still the most commonly used format for plain text files.
ASP ASP has two deinitions:
1. Active Server Page. It's a Web page that includes a script that is run on the Web server before the page is sent to your browser. The script usually takes information you entered on a previous page--or information that the Web site already knows about you--and uses it to customise the page in some way.
2. Application Server Provider. A service provider who offers access to software and related services over the Internet, typically via modems connections, for a fee.
ATA AT Attachment (ATA) is the official standard name for IDE.
Attributes The properties of a file. Depending on the operating system, the attributes that could be set on a file are Archive, Compress, Hidden, Read-only, and System.
ATTY Used in chat rooms.  Acronym for "A Thousand Thank Yous".
Authentication The process through which the identity of a computer or network user is verified to when trying to access a network or computer system. The purpose for authentication is to ensure that the person is who they say they are.


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This page was last updated on Sunday, 14 December 2008