Tips & Tricks
An Internet Glossary
~ Alphabetical Index ~
~ A ~ B ~ C
~ D ~ E ~ F
~ G ~ H ~ I
~ J ~ K ~ L
~ M ~ N ~ O
~ P ~ Q ~ R
~ S ~ T ~ U
~ V ~ W ~ X
~ Y ~ Z ~
- Anonymous FTP
- An Internet service provided to make files available to the
general Internet community. Users can log into tens of thousands
of anonymous FTP servers throughout the world using the login
name "anonymous" and their E-mail address password.
This is one of the primary ways the latest Internet and shareware
applications and files are distributed.
- An indexed database of filenames from all anonymous FTP archives
on the Internet. Archie servers routinely contact public computers
on the Internet, retrieve a list of their directories and files,
and build indexes of servers and their contents.
- ARPA (Advanced Research Projects
- Now called DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency),
this government agency was formed in 1957 under the Eisenhower
administration in response to the Russian launching of Sputnik.
This government agency funded ARPANet and later the DARPA Internet,
the two networks that evolved into what is now the Internet.
- A pioneering network funded by ARPA. It was the basis for
early networking research as well as a central backbone during
the development of the Internet. The ARPAnet, which began in
1969, consisted of individual packet switching computers interconnected
by leased lines. The ARPAnet no longer exists as a singular entity.
- ASCII File
- Also called a text file, a text-only file or an ASCII text
file. A document file in the universally recognized text format
called ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange).
An ASCII file contains characters, spaces, punctuation, carriage
returns, and sometimes tabs and an end-of-file marker, but it
contains no formatting information. This generic format is useful
for transferring unadorned but readable files between programs
that could not otherwise understand each other's documents.
- A high-speed connection within a network that connects shorter,
usually slower, circuits. Also used in reference to a system
that acts as a "hub" for activity (although those are
becoming less prevalent now than they were ten years ago). A
common misconception regarding the Internet is that there is
a single "backbone;" in reality, there are several.
Organizations maintaining backbones on the Internet include the
National Science Foundation, Advanced Network Services (ANS),
UUNet Technologies, and Performance Systems International (PSI).
- In computer networks, this term refers to the speed of a
connection between two computers connected on a network. Concerning
the Internet specifically, bandwidth is extremely variable and
in no way constant. The super-dynamic nature of the Internet
causes bandwidth fluctuations sometimes second-to-second. It
is important to understand that the Internet is not a single
network, but rather a "network of networks;" many disparate
areas of the Internet may coincidentally experience bandwidth
shortages, while others experience no problems whatsoever.
- Baud rate
- Commonly, a reference to the speed at which a modem can transmit
data. Often incorrectly assumed to indicate the number of bits
per second (bps) transmitted, baud rate actually measures the
number of events, or signal changes, that occur in a second.
Because one event can actually encode more than one bit in high-speed
digital communications, baud rate and bits per second are not
always synonymous, and the latter is the more accurate term to
apply to modems. For example, a so-called 9600-baud modem that
encodes four bits per event actually operates at 2400 baud but
transmits 9600 bits-per-second (2400 events, times four bits
per event) and thus should be called a 9600-bps modem.
- A measure of data transmission speed named after the French
engineer and telegrapher Jean-Maurice-Emile Baudot. Originally
used to measure the transmission speed of telegraph equipment,
the term now commonly refers to the data transmission speed of
- Acronym for bulletin board system, a computer system equipped
with one or more modems that serves as an information and message
passing center for dial-up users.
- Sometimes called a "hotlist," a bookmark is a group
of items from a menu that is added to a bookmark list for easy
access at a later point in time. Bookmarks prevent having to
remember where favorite or interesting Internet resources are
on the Internet.
- The return of a piece of mail because of an error in its
- Bits per second; a measure of the speed of a modem, network
connection, or Internet connection. Bits per second is the most
accurate way to measure the speed of a modem or network and is
the accepted standard replacement to the often incorrectly cited
- An abbreviation for "by the way," typically used
in an E-mail message, mailing list posting, or news group posting.
- CERT (Computer Emergency Response
- The CERT was formed by DARPA in November 1988 in response
to security needs exhibited during the Internet Worm incident.
The CERT charter is to work with the Internet community to facilitate
its response to computer security events involving Internet hosts,
to take steps to raise the community's awareness of computer
security issues, and to conduct research targeted at improving
the security of existing systems.
CERT products and services include 24-hour technical assistance
for responding to computer security incidents, product vulnerability
assistance, technical documents, and tutorials. The team also
maintains a number of mailing lists (including one for CERT Advisories),
and provides an anonymous FTP server, at cert.org, where security-related
documents and tools are archived. The CERT may be reached by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org and
by telephone at 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline).
- CARL (Colorado Alliance of Research
- A database that contains abstracts of articles from 10,000
journals made available by the seven member libraries of the
alliance. The table of contents can be accessed free of charge
at CARL For more information about CARL,
send E-mail to email@example.com.
- Character-based Interface
- A type of display format that enables the user to choose
commands, start programs, and see lists of files and other options
in a non-graphical environment. This kind of interface is usually
associated with Telnet.
- An activity on a bulletin board system in which people type
messages to each other. Usually, chatting is popular on systems
with eight or more lines. Chatting simulates talking on a party
- A computer system or process that requests a service of another
computer system or process. A workstation requesting the contents
of a file from a file server is a client of the file server.
- Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX)
- In the past, commercial traffic was not allowed on the Internet
because of NSFnets Acceptable Use Policy. Recently, however,
many network companies have begun to support commercial use.
The Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX) coordinates these providers.
For more information on the CIX,
send E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- CompuServe Information Service (CIS)
- One of the first and still one of the most extensive commercial
online services. CompuServe Information Service has also been
a pioneer in the data communications filed, authoring the QuickB
communications protocol, and the Graphics Interchange Format
(GIF) graphics standard, among others. CompuServe offers an incredible
array of services, from online airline reservations to trademark
and patent searches. Through the CompuServe Information Manager
(CIM), many of these services are available via a graphical user
- A term coined by science fiction author William Gibson in
his 1984 novel Neuromancer, it describes the virtual electronic
realm of interconnected computers and the society that gathers
around them. It could be said that one is in cyberspace when
logging into the Internet or any online service such as America
Online or CompuServe.
- This service was begun as the Kussmaul Online Encyclopedia,
but has since grown into a general-purpose online service. While
other commercial services talk about the Internet, but only offer
gateways, Delphi is a genuine Internet service, offering FTP,
Telnet, Gopher, Archie, WWW, WAIS, and more. A graphical navigator
program called Messenger-Lite is now available, with a full graphical
interface in development.
- DNS (Domain Name System)
- The method used to convert Internet names to their corresponding
Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. The DNS consists of a hierarchical
sequence of names, from the most specific to the most general
(left to right), separated by periods; for example: email@example.com.
- Domain Name
- A part of the Domain Name System naming hierarchy. A domain
name consists of a sequence of names or other words separated
- Dotted Quad
- A set of four numbers connected with periods that make up
an Internet address (for example: 184.108.40.206).
- E-mail (Electronic Mail)
- A system for computer users to exchange messages via a communications
- E-mail Address
- The domain-based address that is the English language equivalent
of a user's IP number (see IP Number) through which a user is
defined. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A user's e-mail address is also referred to as an "Internet
- Electronic Commerce
- A term used to describe the emerging development of new systems
designed to permit virtual commercial transactions directly over
electronic networks such as the Internet, rather than through
traditional business and communications channels.
- Emoticon :)
- Symbols that provide a way for a person to portray a "mood"
in the very flat medium of computer E-mail and other text communications.
More commonly known as "smilies," there are literally
hundreds of emoticons, from the obvious to the obscure. This
particular example :) expresses "happiness." If you
don't see it, tilt your head to the left 90 degrees. And then
see our Cyber-Language matrix.
- The popular E-mail package for both Windows and Macintosh
from Quaicomm, Inc. Eudora offers a user-friendly interface and
allows attachments to E-mail, multiple mailboxes for storing
mail, and off-line reading and composing of mail messages. Both
shareware and commercial versions are available.
- Frequently asked question. Usually more than one at one site,
sets of questions are posted on the Internet at Gopher sites,
WWW sites, and within news groups. These questions usually address
popular topics and provide answers to those topics.
- If you double-click on the text next to the icon, gopher
attempts to get that item for you. This is called a fetch. The
item may be another menu, or a file that you can display, given
the proper configuration of special companion software.
- A command used in Telnet to find information about a person
by viewing their plan file.
- A means by which to isolate an internal network from the
- A piece of E-mail or a Usenet posting which is argumentative
and indicates a strong opinion and/or criticism of something.
It is common to precede a flame with an indication of pending
fire (such as FLAME ON!).
- Software that is distributed free of charge. Freeware is
often made available on bulletin boards and through user groups.
An independent program developer might offer a product as freeware
either for personal satisfaction or to assess its reception among
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- The system for transferring files between computers on the
Internet. This is the system most commonly used for downloading
software, including the latest shareware releases of popular
Internet applications like Mosaic, Netscape, and Eudora.
- Acronym for "for your information," a common abbreviation
used to denote information useful to new users and other valuable
information contained in an E-mail message, mailing list posting,
or news group posting.
- The term "router" is now used in place of the original
definition of gateway. Currently, a gateway is a communications
device or program which passes data between networks having similar
functions but dissimilar protocols.
- A general-purpose online service that has a large number
of support forums. GEnie offers a gateway to other services such
as Dow Jones News Retrieval. GEnie also provides E-mail forums,
weather reports, software downloading, limited access to the
Internet, and other services.
- A distributed information service that makes hierarchical
collections of information available across the Internet. Gopher
uses a simple protocol that allows a single gopher client to
access information from any accessible gopher server on the entire
Internet, providing the user with a single "gopherspace"
of information. Shareware versions of the client and server are
- The collection of all gopher servers in the world.
- A person who delights in having an intimate understanding
of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer
networks in particular.
- The portion of a packet, preceding the actual data, containing
source and destination addresses and error-checking fields. Also
the top of an E-mail message that contains the TO, FROM, SUBJECT,
etc. sections of the message. Headers should not be confused
with word processing headers and footers.
- The term home is used when describing a starting point for
Internet exploration. It refers to the first menu a user sees
when a gopher client is started or the first page a users sees
when WWW browser is started.
- A computer that allows users to communicate with other host
computers on a network. HTML (See Hypertext Markup Language)
HTTP (See Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
- A term coined by computer author Ted Nelson around 1965.
Unlike sequential text (that found in a typical book or newspaper
article), hypertext contains links to other text, sound, video,
animation, and graphic images.
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
- The code used to create a page of information seen by a WWW
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
- The protocol used to transfer HTML pages across the Internet.
- IP Address
- Every computer on the Internet has an address that can be
viewed in two ways: by the domain name, or text version of the
name, and the IP address, or "dotted quad." It is unlikely
that you will ever need to know the IP address of a computer;
since it can change, you may end up using the wrong one. IMHO
Acronym for "in my humble opinion," it usually accompanies
a statement that may bring about personal offense or strong disagreement
within an E-mail message, mailing list posting, or news group
- Information Superhighway
- A term generally used to describe a future, seamless web
of communications networks, computers, databases, and consumer
electronics that will place vast amounts of information at the
fingertips of residential and business consumers. Often erroneously
used as a synonym to describe the Internet.
- The world's largest computer network, connecting many campus,
state, regional and national networks together. The Internet
is sometimes referred to as a "network of networks."
- Internet Number
- The dotted-quad (see Dotted Quad) address used to specify
a certain computer system. Each computer on the Internet is assigned
a unique IP number. A resolver is used to translate between host
names and Internet addresses.
- Internet Protocol (IP)
- A system used to connect the various computers within the
Internet. Every computer connected to the Internet has its own
IP number. An IP number is actually four different numbers, all
separated by periods, similar to:
- Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- Sometimes also referred to as an Internet "Access"
Provider, an ISP is to the emerging Internet industry as local
cable television providers are to home television access. ISPs
are your "launchpad" or "front door" to the
Internet. ISP accounts are generally paid for on a monthly basis,
but can also be purchased quarterly or annually (individual companies
have very different policies.) Average cost for an ISP is between
$20 and $60 per month. When seeking an ISP, should ask: What
is the average number of users per modem? Does the standard account
include news groups? How many technical support personnel do
they employ? What is the maximum speed of a dialup (modem) or
direct connection to that particular ISP?
- Internet Society
- The Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-governmental, international
organization for global cooperation and coordination for the
Internet. The Society's individual and organizational members
have a common goal of maintaining the viability and global scaling
of the Internet. ISOC members are the companies, government agencies,
and foundations that created the Internet, as well as new entrepreneurial
organizations which make ongoing contributions.
- The Internet Network Information Center, based in Virginia.
The InterNIC is responsible
for approving and granting Internet domain names to organizations.
- Integrated Systems Digital Network. A type of direct connection
to the Internet through a high speed telephone line. ISDN speeds
range from 64kbps to l28kbps.
- An object oriented language for writing all sorts of programs
that can be downloaded over the web. From animations to spreadsheets
to full blown Java applications.
- Java Script
- A small program written in the Java language that performs
some type of data or object manipulation. Most often runs on
the client side in a users browser.
- Java Servlet
- A program written in the Java language that performs more
complex data or object manipulation. Most often runs on the server
- LAN (Local Area Network)
- Any physical network technology that operates at high speed
over short distances (up to a few thousand meters).
- A UNIX program that is used to subscribe and un-subscribe
people from mailing lists. Listserv can also search through old
messages for specific information, send out updates of standard
files to those who want them, and give you information about
who else is subscribed to a particular mailing list.
- A term used to describe browsing a news group for the purpose
of tracking its discussions. It is advisable to lurk through
a news group before posting to it.
- A character-based World Wide Web browser program usable through
a Telnet connection to almost all UNIX servers on the Internet.
Because Lynx is run on the UNIX server to which you connect your
Windows or Macintosh client computer, you don't have to install
it on your client system. In fact, this is impossible because
Lynx is a UNIX-based program and can't be in a Windows or Mac
- A folder or directory into which E-mail is downloaded or
transferred when it is sent from a server to a client.
- Mailing List
- Any of the tens of thousands of discussion groups pertaining
to all imaginable subjects that involve the distribution of E-mail
from a central computer (see Listserv). Anyone with E-mail capabilities
on their computer, including those not really on the Internet
who are members of online services like America Online, CompuServe,
and Prodigy, can subscribe to mailing lists.
- Short for modulator/demodulator, a communications device
that enables a computer to transmit information over a standard
- A World Wide Web browser application available for the Windows,
Macintosh, and UNIX (XWindows) platforms, Mosaic was originally
developed in 1992 at the National Center for Super computing
Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.
- National Information Infrastructure
- The National Information Infrastructure (NII) is the communications
network of computers, databases, and consumer electronics that
will put vast amounts of information at users fingertips in the
future. It may either evolve from the Internet or replace it.
- National Research and Education
- The High-Performance Computing Act established the National
Research and Education Network (NREN). This major federal initiative,
designed to give students access to networked information, is
bringing thousands of public schools and other K-12 institutions
onto the Internet.
- A pun on "etiquette;" proper behavior on the Internet,
especially in the use of E-mail.
- A type of server that is used to help locate the E-mail address
of a person or organization using the Internet.
- The popular World Wide Web browser application from Netscape
Communications Corporation. Netscape is one of the most stable
and fastest Web browsers on the market and provides data encryption
and security functions.
- A group of machines connected so they can transmit information
to one another. There are two kinds of networks: local networks
and remote networks.
- Point of Presence
- A point of presence is a location providing a collection
of telecommunications equipment including multi-protocol routers,
digital leased lines, or modems and telephone lines. The point
of presence is then, in turn, connected to the Internet. Internet
service providers contract the use of this equipment to individual
users and corporations to allow them to connect to the Internet.
- Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)
- The Point-to-Point Protocol provides a method for transmitting
packets over modem connections to the Internet. It is similar
to SLIP but is slightly faster and more stable.
- Post Office Protocol (POP)
- A UNIX program that resides on the server where your mail
account is located. It sends and receives mail and may transfer
mail between the server and your computer. There are different
versions of POP, not all of which are compatible.
- To send a message to a mailing list or news group.
- The rules that computers must follow to exchange information
between each other.
- A computer used to translate between host names and Internet
- A computer that shares its resources, such as printers and
files, with other computers on a network. When a user of the
Internet connects to a computer offering Gopher, FTP, World Wide
Web, or e-mail services, the computer offering these serves is
in the role of a server.
- Copyrighted software that is distributed free of charge on
a trial basis and requires a small payment to cover costs and
registration for documentation and program updates. Shareware
should not be confused with freeware, the only category of software
on the market that can be used with no financial obligation to
- Shell Account
- The most basic kind of Internet account offered by a ISP.
A shell account does not require the use of TCP/IP and does not
allow the use of any kind of graphical user interface to the
- The three- or four-line message at the bottom of a piece
of E-mail or a news group (Usenet) posting that identifies and
provides pertinent information about the sender. Long signatures
(over five lines) are discouraged.
- Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
- Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, or SMTP, is the protocol on
the Internet for transporting messages from one E-mail system
to another. SMTP helps ensure that mail arrives at its destination,
regardless of the distance or path it must travel. The SMTP protocol,
although widely used, is gradually being replaced by the newer
Post Office Protocol, or POP.
- Simple Network Management Protocol
- Simple Network Management Protocol or SNMP, is a common communication
protocol for collecting management information from devices on
- Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) and Point-to-Point Protocol
(PPP) are two methods for connecting to the Internet over a modem.
Internet Service Providers offer SLIP and PPP access at up to
28,800 bits per second.
- The mass distribution of unsolicited E-mail messages or inappropriate
news group postings. Spamming sometimes involves sending a single
E-mail message to tens of thousands of recipients both individuals
and those subscribing to news groups.
- To add your name to a mailing list or news group.
- To encapsulate a number of responses into one coherent, usable
message. Often done on controlled mailing lists or active news
groups, to help reduce bandwidth.
- Slang acronym for system operator, "system" in
this use being understood as a bulletin board system (IBBS) and
"operator" being the owner, curator, or manager of
- TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
- A set of protocols, resulting from ARPA (see ARPA) efforts,
used by the Internet to support services such as remote login
(Telnet), file transfer (FTP) and mail (SMTP). If your computer
doesn't have TCP/IP, it isn't truly connected to the Internet.
- The Internet standard protocol for remote terminal connection
service. Telnet allows a user at one site to interact with a
remote system as if the user's terminal were directly connected
to it. Telnet is one method of using all of the services available
through the Internet, including Gopher, FTP, E-mail, and the
World Wide Web.
- A group of replies or replies to replies; a string of messages
regarding the same idea or topic.
- Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
- An Internet standard data transport protocol.
- Tunneling is the term used to describe traversing gopher
menus, some of which connect you to menu items on other gopher
- To remove your name from a mailing list or news group.
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
- The technical name of a World Wide Web page address. URL
addresses include both the address of the Web server and the
specific directory structure that leads to an individual Web
page on a Web server. For example: http://member.aol.com/springweb
- A virtual collection of thousands of topically-named news
groups, the computers which run the protocols, and the people
who read and submit Usenet news. Not all Internet hosts subscribe
to Usenet, and not all Usenet hosts are on the Internet. Some
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charge more to provide news
- Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Index to Computer Architecture.
A database query system providing access to information resources
held on most of the world's gopher servers. In addition to native
gopher data, Veronica includes references to many resources provided
by other types of information servers.
- There are several usages, Virtual Host, Vitural Servers,
Virtual Documents and Virtual Reality. In these cases, Virtual
is an event or service that is effect without physically being
there. An example would be virtual reality, which is a computer
simulation of 3-d images with which one might physically interact
with through electronic devices. In other words, it's there,
but it's not really there.
- A program that replicates itself on computer systems by incorporating
itself into executable software. Some viruses are intended to
cause irreparable damage.
- WAIS (Wide Area Information System)
- A database retrieval system on the Internet that supports
full-text searches, which are not supported by Veronica in Gopherspace.
WAIS gives users the ability to search existing databases of
articles, books, references, abstracts, and special information
(such as news group archives and FTP site listings).
- WAN (Wide Area Network)
- A network spanning hundreds or thousands of miles.
- Web Browser
- Any of the collection of shareware and commercial applications
available for the Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX platforms that
enable an Internet user to browse through the information provided
by the World Wide Web as hypertext linked documents. Most Web
browsers allow a user to record the Web sites they have visited
- Webmaster / Webmistress
- Person responsible for administration and content of a website.
- A whois database lists information about people and organizations.
The whois command allows you to search this database. This command
helps to determine if an individual or organization has a registered
address or domain on the Internet. You should specify two things
in a whois command: the name of the server which has the database
you want to search; and the user name, organization, or domain
name of the organization for which you want to search.
The largest and most frequently used whois database is the
InterNIC Registration Services Host (rs.internic.net) maintained
by the InterNIC Information Center. For MILNET Information, specify
nic.ddn.mil as the name of the server. Other businesses and institutions
also have whois servers. The name of the server is not required
in the whois command.
- World Wide Web ("WWW"
or "W3," or simply "the Web")
- A hypertext-based, distributed information system created
by researchers at the Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN)
in Switzerland. Users may create, edit, or browse hypertext documents.
The most popular browsers for the Web are Netscape (see Netscape)
and NCSA Mosaic (see Mosaic).
- A computer program that replicates itself. The Internet worm
put in place by Robert Morris, Jr. was perhaps the most famous.
The worm successfully (and accidentally) duplicated itself on
systems across the Internet.
- Acronym for "with respect to," typically used in
an E-mail message, mailing list posting, or news group posting.
- There are many phone books and X.500 servers on the Internet,
each containing information on different groups of users. Phone
books are used primarily by universities and other institutions,
while X.500 servers are used primarily by businesses. The services
appear on gopher servers letting you access information on the
Internet via menus.
- Y2K / Y2000
- The Year 2000 ("y2k") software problem or "Millennium
Bug" arises from the use of a two-digit field to identify
years in computer programs (for example 85 = 1985), and the assumption
of a single century -- the 1900s. Any software programs or applications
created will read (or attempt to read) "00" as the
year 1900. Programs that use dates (including programs within
machinery such as building security systems or HVAC systems)
will fail or malfunction if these errors are not corrected. You
can up to date on the latest Y2k news at www.y2k.com.
- Well if you find a 'z' word concerning the internet. Let
me know and I'll it here.
Next: Designing A Web Page