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Internet Glossary

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Archie: A tool (software) for finding files stored on anonymous FTP sites.

ASCII: (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) -- this is the de facto world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 28 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111.

Cyberspace: Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel "Neuromancer", the word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information resources available through computer networks.

Domain Name: The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. Usually, all of the machines on a given network will have the same thing as the right-hand portion of their Domain Names, e.g. ,,

E-mail: (Electronic Mail) -- Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses (Mailing List).

FTP: (File Transfer Protocol) -- A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites. FTP is a special way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name "anonymous", thus these sites are called "anonymous ftp servers".

Gateway: The technical meaning is a hardware or software set-up that translates between two dissimilar protocols. Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal, proprietary e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. Another, sloppier meaning of gateway is to describe any mechanism for providing access to another system, e.g. AOL might be called a gateway to the Internet.

GigaByte: One Billion Bytes.

Gopher: A widely successful method of making menus of material available over the Internet. Gopher is a Client and Server style program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client program. Although Gopher spread rapidly across the globe in only a couple of years, it is being largely supplanted by Hypertext, also known as WWW (World Wide Web). There are still thousands of Gopher Servers on the Internet and we can expect they will remain for a while.

Host: Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as WWW and USENET.

HTML: (HyperText Markup Language) -- The coding language used create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear, additionally, in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is "linked" to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a World Wide Web Client program, such as Mosaic.

HTTP: (HyperText Transport Protocol) -- The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used in the World Wide Web (WWW).

Hypertext: Generally, any text that contains "links" to other documents - words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.

IP Number: Sometimes called a "dotted quad". A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 444.333.222.111, Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.

Internet: The vast collection of inter-connected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60's and early '70s. The Internet now (March 1996) connects over 100,000 independent networks into a vast global internet.

Megabyte: A million bytes.

Maillist: (or Mailing List) A (usually automated) system that allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the maillist. In this way, people who have many different kinds of e-mail access can participate in discussions together.

Modem: (MOdulator, DEModulator) -- a device that you connect to your computer and to a phone line, that allows the computer to talk to other computers through the phone system. Basically, modems do for computers what a telephone does for humans.

Mosaic: The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh, Windows and UNIX all with the same interface. "Mosaic" really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic has been licensed by several companies and there are several other pieces of software as good or better than Mosaic, most notably "Netscape".

NIC: (Network Information Center) -- Generally, any office that handles information for a network. The most famous of these on the Internet is the InterNIC, which is where new domain names are registered.

Network: Any time you connected 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.

Newsgroups: The name for discussion groups on Usenet.

Node: Any single computer connected to a network.

POP: Two commonly used meaning: "Point of Presence" and "Post Office Protocol". A "Point of Presence" usually means a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dialup phone lines, so if an Internet company says they will soon have a POP in Belgrade, it means that they will soon have a local phone number in Belgrade and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network. A second meaning, "Post Office Protocol" refers to the way e-mail software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. When you obtain a SLIP, PPP, or shell account you almost always get a POP account with it, and it is this POP account that you tell your e-mail software to use to get your mail.

PPP: (Point to Point Protocol) -- most well known as a protocol that allows a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem to make a TCP/IP connection and thus be really and truly on the Internet . PPP is gradually replacing SLIP for this purpose.

Server: A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. "Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out." A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different services to clients on the network.

SLIP: (Serial Line Internet Protocol) -- a standard for using a regular telephone line (a "serial line") and a modem to connect a computer as a real Internet site. SLIP is gradually being replaced by PPP.

T-1: A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits -per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds. That is still not fast enough for full-screen, full-motion video, for which you need at least 10,000,000 bits-per-second. T-1 is the fastest speed commonly used to connect networks to the Internet.

T-3: A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 45,000,000 bits-per-second. This is more than enough to do full-screen, full-motion video.

TCP/IP: (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) -- This is the suite of protocols that defines The Internet . Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major kind of computer operating system. To be truly on the Internet , your computer must have TCP/IP software.

Telnet: The command and program used to login from one Internet site to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the "login:" prompt of another host.

UNIX: A computer operating system (the basic software running on a computer, underneath things like word processors and spreadsheets). UNIX is designed to be used by many people at the same time (it is "multi-user") and has TCP/IP built-in. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

URL: URL (Uniform Resource Locator) -- The standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (WWW). A URL looks like this: The most common way to use a URL is to enter into a WWW browser program, such as Netscape.

Usenet: A world-wide system of discussion groups, with comments passed among hundreds of thousands of machines. Not all Usenet machines are on the Internet , maybe half. Usenet is completely decentralized, with over 10,000 discussion areas, called newsgroups.

Veronica: (Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) -- Developed at the University of Nevada, Veronica is a constantly updated database of the names of almost every menu item on thousands of gopher servers.

WAIS: (Wide Area Information Servers) -- A commercial software package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information, and then making those indices searchable across networks such as the Internet .

WAN: (Wide Area Network) -- Any internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus.

WWW: (World Wide Web) Two meanings - First, loosely used: The whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher , FTP , HTTP , telnet , Usenet , WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers ) which are the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files etc to be mixed together.

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