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Internet Glossary


Computers that are used by multiple people use accounts to keep track of and bill who is using their system. You typically get a user name and password when you set up an account.


Association for Computing Machinery. ACM is a computer geek club.


Tells you where something is. There are e-mail addresses that look like this:( yourname@hostname.com). There are web addresses that look like this: (http://www.yournamehere.com).


A commercial version of the Free Agent newsreader.


A short name used to represent a more complicated one.


Alternative-type topic newsgroup.

America Online (AOL)

AOL is an internet service provider.


Form of electronic communication using a continuous electromagnetic wave like TV and radio.

Anonymous FTP

Uploading or downloading from a server you don’t have an account with.


A system that helps you find files at anonymous FTP sites.


A large collection of files available on the internet.

ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency)

ARPA is a government agency that funded the ARPANet project. ARPA became DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the 1970’s.


An experimental computer network developed by the government. It eventually became the internet.


An article is a newsgroup posting.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

ASCII is code used by computers to represent letters, numbers, punctuation, and special characters.

ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)

ATM is a technology that uses hardware switches to create a temporary direct communications path between two destinations so data can be transferred at a faster rate.

AT&T Mail

A commercial mail system. If you use it your address would be like yourname@attmail.com


A form of command line switch as applied to tags in HTML. If you set the attributes of a tag it works more like you want it to.

AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)

Rules and regulations describing what is permitted on a network.

Automatic mailing list

This will send you and all the other people on the list an e-mail every so often.


Major communications lines of a network that can handle a lot of bandwidth.


The volume of data that can be sent over communication lines.


Bang is slang for an exclamation point.

bang address

Old method of writing network addresses. E-mail sent to the UUCP network must state the exact path like machine!machine!userid.


The number of modem symbols per second that a modem sends. Modem symbols are 6 bits in length.

BBS (Bulletin-board System)

A system that allows people to post messages, and respond to others messages. A newsgroup is an example of a BBS.


Bye for now.


A data format.


An Application that encodes binary files to ASCII text.


Newsgroup for biologists.


A bit is the smallest measure of computer data. A bit can be on (true, yes) or off(false, no). There are 8 bits in a byte. A byte could be a number or letter.


FTP-by-mail server.


A bitmap is a lot of little dots that together make an image. The word bitmap is also stands for a file format used by Microsoft they have the extension .bmp.


A non-TCP/IP network of mostly IBM mainframes.


A business newsgroup.

Blog A Web Journal Dealing with a topic.


A term for saving internet addresses. You can bookmark your favorite web sites.


A program that watches an IRC channel and responds automatically to certain messages.


A returned e-mail.

Bps (Bits per second)

A unit of measure used to describe how fast computers sends and receives data.


A bridge connects 2 networks together.

broadband network

A network that can handle many separate signals at the same time.


An Application that displays information from the world wide web. Browsers mainly read HTML. You can enter an address into a browser and it will retrieve it from the internet.


By the way.

Bulletin-board system (BBS)

A system that allows people to post messages, and respond to others messages. A newsgroup is an example of a BBS.


A unit of measure for data on a computer. A byte is a collection of bits usually eight. One byte can hold an ASCII text character.


An old program used to get on-line. It was developed at Cornell Law School.


One of the regional networks originally set up to work with NSFNET; its headquarters are in California.

CERN (The European Laboratory for particle Physics)

Where the World Wide Web was first conceived and implemented.


Software for Windows that enables you to connect to the internet through a SLIP/PPP internet provider.


An internet relay chat term that refers to a group discussing a specific topic.


Chat allows you to communicate with people all over the world. You type a message, send the message, and who ever you are talking to will respond to your message.

CIX (Commercial Internet Exchange)

An association of ISP’s who agree to exchange traffic without AUP-type restrictions.


Usenet newsgroup that has many categories of news.


A computer that connects to another computer to utilize the services on that computer. Client also refers to software that gets information from a server.

client/server model

A way for computers to work together. Client machines connect to servers to access data or services available on that server or through the server access data or services on other client machines.

CNRI (Corporation for National Research Initiatives)

Research organization for the advancement of a national data highway.


A type of wiring that has a single wire surrounded by shielding.


An internet address extension that represents company.

command line

Line on computer screens where you enter commands.

communications program

An application that enables you to connect to other computers. They are also called terminal programs or terminal emulators.


Newsgroup for computers.


To make something smaller

compression software

Software that makes files fit in less space.


An ISP now owned by AOL.

country code

The last part of a geographic web address. Or the first part of a geographic phone number.

CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility)

Organization that encourages socially responsible use of computers.

CREN (Corporation for Research and Educational Networking)

An organization formed by the joining of two educational networks.

CWIS (Campus Wide Information Service)

Hypertext based system that provides information about people and services on a campus.


Refers to all of the sites on the internet.


Program that runs automatically and performs services for the system.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)

DARPA was ARPA it is the agency that funded the research that created ARPANet.


An on-line information provider.

dedicated line

Phone line dedicated to network communication.

DES (Data Encryption Standard)

US government developed algorithm that secures data when sending it through a network.


Connection that uses a modem and a phone line to connect to other computers. You use dial up connections to connect to the internet.


A mailing list that has multiple messages combined into one message.


A file used to help organize other files. You put all of your files within directories. You can have directories within other directories. You can give directories descriptive names to help you remember what is inside them.


On off pulse communications used by computers.

DNS (Domain Name Server)

A server on the internet that translates domain names into IP addresses. These computers keep the internet running. If you connect a server to the internet you must have two DNS servers. One main server and one backup.

DOD (Department of Defense)

Government agency that originally sponsored ARPANet.


Highest subdivision of the WWW. Most domains are by country but in the U.S. the domains are by what type of organization it is, such as commercial(com), educational(edu), governmental(gov).

Domain Name Server (DNS)

A server on the internet that translates domain names into IP addresses. These computers keep the internet running. If you connect a server to the internet you must have two DNS servers. One main server and one backup.

dot address

A unique number that identifies a host. Also called IP address or host address.


To download is to retrieve files from a remote computer and put them on your local machine.

dumb terminal

A screen and a keyboard connected to a server or mainframe that relies on the server or mainframe for all of its processing.

dynamic routing

A method of addressing information on the internet so if one route is blocked, the information will take an alternative route. The DOD designed it.

ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act)

Law that governs the use of electronic communications.


Non-profit consortium of educational institutions that help educational organizations introduce information access into their schools.

EFF(Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Organization concerned with the legal rights of computer usage.

e-mail(Electronic Mail)

Mail sent from one computer to another over the internet.


An e-mail service that was run by Western Union now run by AT&T.


High level domain that represents education.


UNIX mail reader.


ASCII drawing to help indicate emotion. Like :) a smiley face or sad face:(


A way to scramble a message to make it unreadable to anyone without the decryption program.

environment variable

Values that get your computer ready to use automatically.


LAN hardware developed by Xerox.


e-mail program.

expansion program

Software that uncompresses compressed files.


Removing messages from a newsgroup after a length of time.


Proprietary enhancement to HTML. OR a part of a file name that identifies the file type.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

List of commonly asked questions on a topic with there answers.

FAX modem

A modem that allows you to send and receive facsimiles over phone lines.


Send newsgroups from your site to another site that wants to read them.


Worldwide network of BBSs.


Collection of information for computers. It could be data or a document or a program.

file-transfer protocol (FTP)

A method of sending files from one machine to another via a network or the internet.


Program that provides information about a user to a host.


A system that keeps out unauthorized users from entering a network.


Communicate in an abusive way through e-mail or a newsgroup.


Another term for directory.

frame relay

Protocol for digital data transfer.

Free Agent

Newsreader program.


Free on-line access system. Free ISP.


Free software.

FTP (File-Transfer Protocol)

A method of sending files from one machine to another via a network or the internet.


Requesting a file to be sent via e-mail.

FTP server

Server that files can be uploaded to or downloaded from.


For What It’s Worth.


For Your Information.


A device or software that enables two networks using different protocols to communicate with each other.


On-line service run by GE.

GIF(Graphics Interchange Format)

Internet image file designed by CompuServe.


One billion bits.


One billion bytes.

global kill file

File that tells your newsreader program what topics you wish to skip.


Application that allows you to access public information through menus.


Program with an interface like a book used to access Gopher sites.


As you move around the menus of gopher sites you are said to be in Gopherspace.


High level domain used for government sites.

GUI(Graphical User Interface)

Computer interface where you operate the machine graphically instead of through commands on a dot prompt.


Compression program for UNIX.


Hacking use to refer to tinkering with computers, now it refers to doing something destructive with computers.


Physical computer components.


Top of a document.


Windows Gopher application.

home page

Primary Web page for a Web site. Top page.


Program that enables you to see how many routers are between your host and another host.


Computer on the WWW.

host address

Unique number used to identify a host on the WWW. Also called an IP address.

host name

Unique name for a host on the internet. The host name corresponds to the IP address.


An HTML editor.

HTML(Hypertext Markup Language)

Standardized computer language of the internet mainly used to format text and graphics.

HTTP(Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

Communications protocol used to transmit Web pages.


Link to a document on the Internet.


Web pages are hypertext they contain hyperlinks that connect them to other pages.

IAB(Internet Architecture Board)

Volunteers working to maintain the Internet.

ICMP(Internet Control Message Protocol)

Protocol used by ping.


A little picture intended to represent a program or command.

IEEE(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Institute for electrical and computer engineers.

IETF(Internet Engineering Task Force)

Volunteer group that helps to develop Internet standards.


In My Humble Opinion.


A search engine.


A term used to describe the worldwide network of computers.

Internet Assistant

Microsoft application that helps you create HTML documents using Microsoft Word.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Web browser.

InterNIC(Internet Network Information Center)

Repository of information about the internet. The directory services are run by AT&T from NJ. The registration services are run by Network Solutions in VA. InterNIC is partially funded by the NSF.

Internet Protocol (IP)

Communications protocol used by computers connected to the Internet to route from on network to another.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

Chat allows you to communicate with people all over the world. You type a message, send the message, and who ever you are talking to will respond to your message.

Internet Society(ISOC)

Educational organization that encourages the use of the Internet. isoc.org.

interrupt character

A key or a combination of keys you can use to stop what is happening on your computer.

IP(Internet Protocol)

Communications protocol used by computers connected to the Internet to route from on network to another.

IP address

Unique number used to identify a host on the WWW. Also called a host address.

IRC(Internet Relay Chat)

Chat allows you to communicate with people all over the world. You type a message, send the message, and who ever you are talking to will respond to your message.

ISDN(Integrated Services Digital Network)

Digital communications standard allowing faster transmissions over standard phone lines.

ISO(International Standards Organization)

Organization responsible for setting worldwide standards.

ISOC(Internet Society)

Educational organization that encourages the use of the Internet. isoc.org.


Newsgroup for elementary through high school topics for teachers and students.


A file-transfer protocol developed at Columbia University.

kill file

A file that tells your newsreader program which topics to skip.

knowbots(Knowledge Robots)

Program which automatically searches for specific information.


Different components of a host name.

LAN(Local Area Network)

Small network of computers.

leased line

Dedicated phone line used for a network.


A connection. Two computers hooked together. Text or graphic that causes another document to be loaded when clicked.

link-level protocol

One of seven layers of protocols defined by the ISO. Also called the data link layer.


Application that manages electronic mailing lists.


Programs that automatically manage mailing lists, distributing messages posted to the list, adding and deleting members.


Referring to the machine your using.

local host

Referring to the machine your using.


User id and password that allow you to access the resources of a computer.


Observing but not participating in something.


Search engine.


WWW client program.


TCP/IP for Macintosh.


Paper stuffed in envelopes with stamps in the corner. Now called Snail Mail.


Programs used to send and receive e-mail.

mail server

Computer on the WWW that handles e-mail services.

mailing list

A service that forwards e-mail to every one on a list.

mail reflector

Program that distributes submitted messages to all the members of a mailing list.


A large computer that keeps data and applications at a central location.


Application that manages electronic mailing lists.

man command

UNIX command that stands for manual entry. It provides information about the command entered in the parameter command.


Multicast backbone. Supports multimedia.

MCI Mail

E-mail system run by MCI.

MERIT(Michigan Educational Research Information Triad)

A regional network in Michigan that is affiliated with ANS and that initially managed NSFNET.


A piece of e-mail or a posting to a newsgroup.

Microsoft Network (MSN)

An internet service from Microsoft.


The .mil extension indicates that the host computer is run by some part of the U.S. military.


DOD’s network.

MIME(Mutipurpose Internet Mail Extension

Used to send something other than text through e-mail.


Server that has copies of the same files as another server.


Newsgroup that discusses topics that don’t fit under any other category.


Device that enables computer data to be transmitted over standard phone lines.

moderated mailing list

Mailing list run by a moderator.

moderated newsgroup

Newsgroup run by a moderator.


The moderator is the law. They examine postings to decide whether it should be there or not.


A monstrous job-hunting Web site.


An Internet browser.

MOTD(Message of the Day)

A posted message of daily announcements.


Unix GUI.

MSN(Microsoft Network)

An internet service from Microsoft.

Mud(Multi-User Dungeon)

Interactive game on-line.


The combination of different types of media.

name server

A server on the internet that translates domain names into IP addresses. These computers keep the internet running. If you connect a server to the internet you must have two DNS servers. One main server and one backup.

NETCOM NetCruiser

Complete Internet service.


Service allowing you to look up Internet addresses of Internet users.


Network etiquette.


Old CompuServe software that connected users to the Internet.


The producer of Chameleon, a popular TCP/IP package.


A collective way of referring to all the newsgroups.


Company now owned by AOL that developed the Netscape Navigator a popular Internet Browser.


Computers connected physically by data lines that exchange data.


A newsgroup that has discussions about newsgroups.


Shareware newsreader.

news server

Computer on the Internet that gets newsgroups and lets you read them.


Distributed bulletin-board system about some topic.

newsgroup kill file

File that skips the articles you don’t wish to see.


Application that lets you read newsgroup messages and respond to them.

NFS(Network File System)

File system developed by Sun Microsystems.

NIC(Network Information Center

Service that provides information about a network.

NII(National Information Infrastructure)

Government vision of a high-speed network that would give everyone in the country access to advanced computer capabilities.


NIS sorts incoming e-mail on some TCP/IP networks.

NNTP(Network News Transport Protocol)

Protocol for sending UseNet news over the Internet.


Computer connected to a network. Also called host computers.

NREN(National Research Education Network)

A purposed high-speed network for educational and research.

NSF(National Science Foundation)

An early supporter of the Internet backbone.


The National Science Foundation former network it was devoted to education and research. ANS which formerly ran the NSFNET is now part of AOL.

OC3(Optical Carrier 3)

Protocol for high-speed optical networks.


Existing in electronic form. Connected to a network.

Open Book Repository

A collection of online text maintained by the Online Book Initiative.


On the other hand.


Chunk of data sent over a network.

packet driver

Program used to connect to certain networks.

packet switching

Communications technology that the Internet is based on. Data is sent between computers in packets.


A document on the Internet.


A feature in Archie that breaks data into chunks that fills one screen at a time.


Means of communication where data is sent multiple bits at a time with each simultaneous bit being sent over a separate line.


A value that tells a program how to behave.


Secret code to gain access to a program or system.

password file

File where the passwords for a system are stored.


List of mailing lists maintained by Stephanie da Silva. You can find the list at news.answers or news.announce.newusers or news.lists UseNet newsgroups.

PDN(Public Data Network)

Service that gives access to a nationwide network through a local phone line.


A network scheme where a computer is connected to an other.

PEM(Privacy Enhanced Mail)

Automatically encrypting and decrypting mail messages to provide more secure message transmission.


Unix e-mail program.


A utility that sends a packet to a host and waits for a response to see if that host is available.


Complete internet service.


File-compression program.

POP(Pont of Presence)or(Post Office Protocol)

Point of presence indicates the availability of a local access number to a network. Post office protocol is a system in which a mail server on the Internet lets you pick up your mail and download it.


A physical channel on a computer that allows you to communicate with other devices. Or an address to which incoming data packets are sent.

port number

An identifying number assigned to each program that is using the Internet over a network.


A message sent to a newsgroup.


Address you can send questions to avout a site.

PPP(Point to Point Protocol)

Driver that allows you to use network communications protocols over a phone line.


Internet service provider.


Standard that defines how computers on a network communicate.


Someone who provides access to the Internet.


Fake terminal.

public domain software

Software made available to anyone.

public-service provider

Time-sharing service that enables you to use the Internet on a paying (by the month or hour) basis.

RAS(Remote Access Service)

Service allowing computers to connect to a Microsoft NT computer.

RCP(Remote Copy)

A UNIX command that lets you copy from one machine to another.


Newsgroup for recreational topics.

regex method

Conditional searches using mathematical expressions.

regular expression

Conditional searches using mathematical expressions.


Device that allows you to extend the length of your network by amplifying and repeating the information it receives.

remote host

Host on a network other than the computer you are currently using.


UNIX command that allows you to logon to a remote computer.


Request for comments.


Equipment that receives a packet and sends it to the next destination.


Read the fucking manual. There is a FTP site named rtfm.mit.edu that contains FAQs for all the UseNet Newsgroups.


Newsgroup for science.

search engine

Software or Web site used to find stuff.


Protecting ones data through firewalls encryption and passwords.


Communication where data is sent on bit at a time over a serial cable.

serial line

Physical connection using the serial protocol.

serial port

The spot on a machine where you connect a serial line.

serial protocol

Communication where data is sent on bit at a time over a serial cable.


Computer that provides services to other machines.

server side include (SSI)

SSI is a command to run a server side program.

service provider

Organization that provides access to the Internet.

SGML(Standard General Mark-Up Language)

Mark-Up language that allows you to structure documents so they can be displayed on any type of computer.


Software available to everyone to try for free and buy for a small price.


A personal signature on an e-mail or newsgroup post that contains information on your organization and personal information.


A computer that used to contain an amazing archive of programs for MS-DOS and Macintosh and UNIX. Run by the U.S. Army in New Mexico, it was shut down in 1993 but there are mirror archives at oak.oakland.edu and wuarchive.wustl.edu and check out http://www.coast.net/simtel .


A group of computers under a single administrative control. Or a group of Web pages that make up a total site.

SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol)

A software scheme for connecting a computer to the Internet over a serial line.


Software that automates the management of electronic mailing lists.

SMDS(Switched Multimegabit Data Service)

High-speed communications protocol.

smiley face J L :-) :-(

ASCII text drawing used to show emotion. Also called emoticon. :-)

SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)

Communications protocol for the exchange of e-mail between hosts.

SNMP(Simple Network Management Protocol)

Protocol used to control and monitor devices on a network.


Newsgroup that discusses social topics.


A logical "port" a program uses to connect to another program running on another computer on the WWW.


Computer program that does something or many things.

SONET(Synchronous Optical Network)

High-speed fiber optic network.


Unsolicited e-mail or inappropriate commercial message.


Large commercial network.


E-mail system by Sprint.

store and forward

System that collects information for a user and then forwards it when the user connects to the system.


Characters strung together.


File compression program for the Mac.


Directory within an other directory.


Become a member.


A piece of a string.


Regional network set up to work with NSFNET.


Going from host to host on the WWW.


A program that censors your Internet account.


A statement that contains programming code.


Communications line operating at 1.544 megabits per second.


Communications line operating at 45 megabits per second.


Slang for a command in HTML.



tar(Tape Archive program)

UNIX program that creates packages of directory structures.

TCP(Transmission Control Protocol)

Network protocol used by hosts on the Internet.

TCP/IP(Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)

The system that networks use to communicate with each other on the Internet.


Program that lets you remotely log in to other computers on the Internet.


A screen and a keyboard connected by a cable to a computer.

terminal emulation

Running a program that makes your computer act like a terminal.

text file

A file that contains text only. No formating.

third party

If you have hardware from one company and software from another but need something from someone else to make your hardware and software work together it is said to be third party stuff.


All messages in a newsgroup or mailing list pertaining to a particular topic.

threaded newsreader

Newsreader that allows you to pick articles by thread.

TIA(The Internet Adapter)

Software that makes a regular dial-up account look like a SLIP or PPP account.


Alternate between two possible values.


Utility that allows you to see how many routers are between you and an Internet host.


The information flowing through a network.



twisted pair

Type of cable where pairs of wires are twisted together to minimize interference.


Operating system.


Move stuff from your machine to a remote machine.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

Web address.


Collection of thousands of bulletin board discussion groups distributed all over the world called newsgroups.

user name

Id used to log on to a computer or network or Web site.

UUCP (UNIX to UNIX Copy Protocol)

Transfer protocol for UNIX over phone lines.


Program that lets you construct binary data that was UUEncoded.


Program that lets you send binary data through e-mail.


Runs a large Web site and provides network services.


Once upon a time a fast modem.


Once upon a time a fast modem.


Line of computers from Digital Equipment.


Service that allows you to search directories and files on Gopher sites.


Programs that are used to display graphics, sound, and animation.


Program that covertly enters a computer and causes damage.

VMS(Virtual Memory System)

Operating system for hosts made by Digital Equipment.

VRML(Virtual Reality Modeling Language)

Language that enables you to make 3D world that can be viewed through a Web browser.

WAIS(Wide Area Information Servers)

A system for searching and retrieving documents from some sites.

WAN(Wide Area Network)

A computer network that is geographically dispersed.


The World Wide Web. The Internet. A network that spans the globe.

Web chat

On-line live conversation.

Web Crawler

A Web search engine.

Web Server

A Web host that stores Web pages.

Web site

Collective group of Web pages or a Web server.

WELL(the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link)

One of the first public access sites.


Service that lets you look up info about hosts and users.


GUI Operating System for PCs by Microsoft.


Windows application that allows you to view Gopher pages.

WinSock (Windows Sockets)

Standard way for Windows programs to work with TCP/IP.


Widows WAIS program.


Windows compression software.


A PC usually connected to a network.

World Wide Web(WWW)

The networks the sites the communication lines the message boards and much more. The whole shebang.


Program that invades a system over a network.

WWW(World Wide Web)

The networks the sites the communication lines the message boards and much more. The whole shebang.


Packet switching protocol.


The way you splice X.25 networks together.


Error checking FTP.


Version of Archie that runs on UNIX under X Windows.


Version of Gopher that runs on UNIX under X Windows.


Version of WAIS that runs on UNIX under X Windows.


FTP protocol faster than X-modem but not as powerful as Z-modem.


Search engine.

Yellow Pages

Big yellow book with a bunch of pages in it.


Fast FTP protocol that transfers multiple files and names of those files with the same command.


File compression software.

ZIP file

Compressed file or files.

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