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Glossary of Definitions

Glossary - Translated techie/geek terms or jargon into everyday English...

Definitions - That tech or "geek" speak giving you a headache? Me too!  Smile...


Need to know what that tech said? Geek got you confused? This is a small list of definitions I have put together to lower the confusion level.


Algorithm - a programming technique for gaining a desired result by manipulating data.

AGP - Accelerated Graphics Port: Allows for acceleration of 3D computer graphics, this means that the graphics are read from the system ram (memory) by the adapter instead of being processed through the system processor. Thus speeding up the display of 3D graphics.


BIG -Built In Garage. When the "Clone" revolution was at it's peek some computer companies were housed in the owners garage. A lot of the sole proprietorship companies (i.e. startup companies) start in garages or spare bedrooms. BIG Computers Inc. (went out of business in 1994...).

BIOS - Basic Input Output System the underling program that controls the input and output of the physical devices connected to the computer. An embedded program that can not be easily changed.

Binary - Base two digit numbering system. ( two digits zero and one, off or on, true or false, Computers use the binary system to manipulate data).

Bit - Basic building block of the computer, one binary digit, one storage location, can only be zero or one.

Boot - The process of starting up the computer, loading the BIOS, the POST process, and starting the OS.

Byte - Eight bits, binary number of bits that are the building blocks of programming for computers. Most computer components are measured in BYTEs, some confuse the measurement with BITs. Such measurements reduce the measurement by a factor of EIGHT. KiloBYTE. MegaBYTE, GigaBYTE.

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Clone - Computers that had the IBM PC style case and a compatible main board and were cheaper than the IBM PC by thousands of dollars. BIG Inc computers were clones, then compatibles, then hey - PC's!

CD-ROM - Compact Disk - Read Only Memory, CD's became available for music in the 1980's, early in the 1990's CD ROM Drives became available for the computer market. Writeable CD's with the correct format can be used in Audio CD players, or you can store up to 800 meg of data on one disk. Also comes in Re-Writeable format.

Contiguous - The process of keeping all the data in one block instead of breaking up the data into smaller pieces. Such as writing a file to storage, if there is room the file management system will write the file in one space, but if there isn't room for the file to fit in one space it will be broken down into smaller parts.

CPU - Central Processing Unit or processor - see processor

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Defragmentation - The process of taking all the parts of a file and writing them to contagious blocks or sectors of a hard drive.
Memory module
DIMM - Dual Inline Memory Module, 168 or 184 pin memory module

DDR - Double Data Rate, 240 pin memory Module

Disk - There are four types of disks, Floppy, Hard, SSD, and CD ROM.

DVD - Digital Versatile Disc, same format and size as the CD-ROM with a higher capacity. Writeable DVD's created on a computer have the capacity to be used in regular DVD players. Data storage on DVD's can be either 4.7 Gig or 8.4 Gig with the Dual Layer DVD.

Decimal - Base 10 numeric system, how humans count.

DOOM! - The first game to be distrusted by the Internet and for Free! First game to use the internet for multi player interaction. The Id company that created this game it that had a lot of innovations that are still used in programs today.

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EPROM or EEPROM - Electronically Programmable Read Only Memory. Some devices have a Read Only Memory chip for programming the functions of the device. This memory is non-volatile, it can not be erased. EPROM's are chips that can be erased and reprogrammed. EEPROM's can be erased electronically, you system BIOS is a EEPROM for example.

ESD - Electro Magnetic Discharge, static electricity that builds up naturally by movement. Has catastrophic effects on electronic components when discharged. Grounding will dissipate the static electric with out damage to components.

Encryption - A process that will scramble a word, document,  or program. Making it unreadable by normal processes, such as a word processor or text editor. Encrypting takes a special program that uses two 'keys' created by the person requiring the encryption. The 'keys' are called a 'public key' and a 'private key' the strength of the encrypted file or word depends on how 'strong' the algorithm is that creates the 'key pair'. Once the object, file, word, or program is encrypted it can only be decrypted by with a key pair in unison.

ERD - Emergency Repair Disk, a special bootable media that allows you to repair some types of Operating System failures. It is also used to access a hard drive (or SSD) that has started to fail. You would use this media to start a computer to run diagnostics, backup files, remove viruses, replace corrupt drivers, recover the Operating System. More commonly known as a IT Tool Box.

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Floppy Disk - A non-ridged disk made out of very thin Mylar, the term floppy cameFloppy Drive from the disks in the early 1970's, these disks were 8 inch in a thin plastic or card board sleeve, when you picked up one it had a tendency to bend, or flop around. Newer disks come in a more ridged plastic case but are still bendable to a certain degree before they break.

Format - Process of setting up a volume to store data, a raw partition needs markers placed on the physical drive platters for programs to store data.

Fragmentation - Fragmentation is defined as the fragmenting of a file when it is written to a device. This happens on hard drives when the capacity of the drive does not accommodate the complete file in contiguous (one after another) blocks.

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Geek - A person so involved in a field of endeavor that they tend to go overboard with any explanation of a process or technical specification, most notably in the USA is the people at Geek Squad (do a search on them) however are a nerd or most technicians are NOT geeks.

Giga - or Gigs - One billion. (close enough for us, unless you are interested in converting Hexadecimal to Decimal)

GHz - Giga Hertz the frequency of the clock speed measured in Gigs (hexadecimal)

Open hard drive exposing the platters and seeker head.
Hard Drive - Term coined back in the 1980's by IBM when they introduced the first drive that did not have removable media (i.e. a floppy disk). The reason for the name was the original R&D of the device was code named "Winchester" to throw off the competition. The platters are ridged and made out of aluminum with a thin coating of iron metal oxide.

Hertz - The time it takes a certain type of sine wave (
~) to complete 360 degrees in electronic components.

Hex - Base 8 numeric system (Humans use a base ten numeric system to count, computers use binary to code, for programs it is easier to code if it is converted from binary to hex).

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IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics. The integration of electronics inside the body of the drive allows for more control over the capacity of the drive. Before IDE all controls were on the outside of the drive, thus limiting the capacity of the format of the platter. When the electronics were moved to circuit boards inside the drive the capacity has increased by a million fold, soon more than a billion fold.

IT - Information Technology, most medium and lager business have a section or department that handles all their computer needs, more commonly know as the IT department. Most of the people hired to work in this department are versed or trained in the computer specialties, such as computer repair technicians; Server Administration, maintenance, and repair; Network design, repair, and maintenance.


Jazz Drive - A small high capacity storage device that uses Mylar film disk in a hard case. Capacity ranges from 2 meg to 2 gig.


Kilo - One thousand, (Kilobyte, actually 1024 if converted from Hex or binary to decimal)

KBS - Kilo Bits per Second, how fast data is transferred in kilobits. Or Kilo Bits Per Second (multiply by 8 to get Kilo Bytes per Second).

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid a motto from back in the early 1960/1970 era before the PC and all the modern day electronic devices were invented. A motto that seems to have disappeared in the design and programming of these devices, complicated and over programmed seems to be the motto of today's engineers...

L -

(continued to the second page of the Glossary)

You will find  fourteen more pages full of Geek to everyday English translated Glossary in the Self Computer Repair Unleashed! 2nd Edition E-Book..

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