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Resources - Glossary (N, O, and P)

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N

nanosecond
A time unit of one billionth of a second or 0.000000001 seconds.

National Center for Computer Applications - NCSA
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who developed the original NCSA Mosaic
web browsers.

navigation keys
Keys on the keyboard that can move the cursor. These include the
arrow keys, the home, end, page up (PgUp), page down (PgDn), and tab keys.

NCSA - National Center for Computer Applications
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who developed the original NCSA Mosaic
web browsers.

Netscape Communicator®
A
web browsers that works on the Macintosh®, Microsoft® Windows®, and other platforms.

network
The
hardware that connects a collection of computers and their peripherals wired together so they can communicate and share resources like hard drives and printers.

node
A device or computer with a specific
address connected to a network.

notebook
A small
laptop portable computer.


O

object
A graphical image such as a photograph, video clip, etc. It is also one of the principle building blocks in
object-oriented programming and can include buttons, tables, forms, etc.

object linking and embedding - OLE
A
software design that allows objects to be shared among applications. If the original object is changed, that changed is also made in all documents containing that object.

object-oriented design
A
software design approach that models the characteristics of real or abstract objects to create objects that mimic these items and events. Common object-oriented programs include Java® and C++.

OCR - optical character recognition
software and hardware components that can recognize bitmaps and characters and convert them into ASCII text characters.

office suite
A collection of
software sold as a package and often containing a word processing application, a spreadsheet application, a database application, and a drawing application. Many vendors have such suites including Microsoft® Office, Corel Office, and ClarisWorks among others.

OLE - object linking and embedding
A
software design that allows objects to be shared among applications. If the original object is changed, that changed is also made in all documents containing that object.

online
A computer or device that is connected to a
network and is functioning.

open source
An
application that not only is freeware but the source code for the application itself is also available for developers to use and adapt as needed.

operating system - OS
The
software program(s) on a computer that monitors the computer, is in charge of input and output for that system, controls data storage, and executes other applications. There are many different operating systems including MacOS, MS-DOS, Microsoft® Windows®, Unix, and OS/2 among others.

optical character recognition - OCR
software and hardware components that can recognize bitmaps and characters and convert them into ASCII text characters.

OS - operating system
The
software program(s) on a computer that monitors the computer, is in charge of input and output for that system, controls data storage, and executes other applications. There are many different operating systems including MacOS, MS-DOS, Microsoft® Windows®, Unix, and OS/2 among others.

OS/2
A
GUI operating system developed by IBM and Microsoft® for use on the 80x86 chip computers. OS/2 Warp is the current version of OS/2.

OS/2 Warp
The current version of
OS/2.


P

parallel port
A port on
PC computers that typically is used as a connection to printers. On PCs, the first parallel port is designated LPT1. Parallel ports are faster than serial ports because they can send more than 1 bit of data simultaneously.

parameter RAM - PRAM
PRAM is a portion of
RAM that is used on Macintosh® computers to store system information such as time, date, Control Panel settings, etc. The PRAM is maintained with a small battery so information is not lost when the computer is shut down. Occasional corruption of the PRAM information occurs and can be corrected by "zapping" the PRAM.

partition
A
hard drive can be partitioned into smaller segments. Sometimes this is done to increase the efficiency of the disk by reducing the size of the minimum allocated space for each file or to segment the required backup.

Pascal
A computer programming language often used to teach individuals how to program named after the mathematician Pascal.

passive matrix display
A type of LCD (liquid crystal display) screen found on portable computers where wires form a grid in front and behind the liquid crystals.
Pixels are activated when a current is generated at the intersection of these wires. Unlike active matrix displays in which each pixel has a unique circuit, the passive matrix display does not refresh as fast and other nearby pixels on the screen can be accidentally activated from residual currents given a lower quality image.

path
A path describes the location of a file. The path usually starts with a
hard drive or peripheral storage device followed by a directory pathway, followed by the file name. For example, c://documents/personal/familyphone.doc. (See also absolute path name,directory path name, and relative path name.)

PC - personal computer
PC originally referred to the IBM PC but now is used to refer to any IBM compatible personal computer.

PCI - peripheral component interconnect
A new computer bus that is faster than previous versions and allows
cross-platform compatibility for cards other than requiring different software drivers.

PDA - personal digital assistant
A small, hand-held computer that is used for a variety of simple tasks including organizers, word processing, etc. The common ones include the Palm Pilot and Apple's Newton. Most PDAs are less powerful than
laptop computers but their small scale is a strong draw for many users.

pdf - portable document format
A format that is
cross-platform compatible and well-suited for web document transfer because it retains full formatting when printer. PDF was developed by Adobe for its Acrobat Reader.

Pentium
A
chip developed by Intel for PCs. The newer Pentium chips are called Pentium Pro and have both a L2 cache and new architectural peripheral
Any device that attaches to the computer through a
port.

Perl
An interpreted language used in many
web applications.

personal computer - PC
PC originally referred to the IBM PC but now is used to refer to any IBM compatible personal computer.

personal digital assistant - PDA
A small, hand-held computer that is used for a variety of simple tasks including organizers, word processing, etc. The common ones include the Palm Pilot and Apple's Newton. Most PDAs are less powerful than
laptop computers but their small scale is a strong draw for many users.

Ph
An
online database searching function found on some email programs to search for individuals at the domain the email program uses.

pica
A unit of measure used with printing where 6 picas equals where inch.

PICT
A
Macintosh®-based graphics format.

Pilot
A popular
PDA.

pixel
Short for picture element. It is the smallest addressable unit (a "dot") found on monitors or printed documents. It can be used as a measure of
resolution as in pixel per inch. Each pixel has a color and intensity associated with it.

platform
A term used to characterize the
hardware and/or software of a computer. The hardware platform may be, for example, a 604 PowerPC Macintosh® with a or a PC with a Pentium Pro 6. A software platform usually refers to the operating system being used and its version; for example, a Microsoft® Windows® 2000 or MacOS 9.0 operating system.

Plug and Play - PnP
A
PC computer design and hardware specifications such that any peripheral that is plugged in is automatically recognized and configured to work with that particular platform.

plug-in
A component designed to run in tandem with a software
application to enhance the application's capability. For example, with web browsers there are plug-in that permit the reading of pdf, audio, and video files.

PnP - Plug and Play
A
PC computer design and hardware specifications such that any peripheral that is plugged in is automatically recognized and configured to work with that particular platform.

point
A unit of measure for printed text. A point is 1/72 of an inch. A typical
font size is 12 points, which corresponds to 6 lines of 12-point text per inch.

point size
A unit of measure for fonts sometimes called font size. A
point is 1/72 of an inch. A typical font size is 12 points, which corresponds to 6 lines of 12-point text per inch.

Point-to-Point Protocol - PPP
A protocol that allows connection to the
Internet via modem. Another protocol that also permits such a connect is SLIP.

POP - Post Office Protocol
A protocol used for email
applications to connect a single user (client) to a server to download email. Other protocols are used for server-to-server email transfers (see SMTP).

pop-up menu
A
menu that remains unseen until activated by clicking on an icon or text.

port
A place to attach a device such as a monitor, printer, scanner, or modem. Associate with each active port will be an
operating system address.

portability
The ability of an
application to work on various platforms or with various operating systems.

portable document format - pdf
A format that is
cross-platform compatible and well-suited for web document transfer because it retains full formatting when printer. PDF was developed by Adobe for its Acrobat Reader.

portrait
The orientation of a document or graphic to be vertical; i.e., the width is less than the height. See also
landscape.

POST - Power-on self test
A
BIOS procedure used to identify and test the computer prior to the operating system being loaded.

Post Office Protocol - POP
A
protocol used for email applications to connect a single user (client) to a server to download email. Other protocols are used for server-to-server email transfers (see SMTP).

PostScript®
A language used to describe printed text and graphics written by Adobe.

Power-on self test - POST
A BIOS procedure used to identify and test the computer prior to the
operating system being loaded.

PowerPC
A
RISC processor developed by Apple, IBM, and Motorola and used with Macintosh® computers and supporting several different operating systems including the MacOS and Microsoft® Windows® NT.

PowerPC Platform - common hardware reference platform.
A hardware
architecture that uses the PowerPC CPU and a PCI bus. The PowerPC Platform is found in Macintosh® computers but supports other operating systems. (Also called CHRP.)

PPP - Point-to-Point Protocol
A
protocol that allows connection to the Internet via modem. Another protocol that also permits such a connect is SLIP.

PRAM - parameter RAM
PRAM is a portion of
RAM that is used on Macintosh® computers to store system information such as time, date, Control Panel settings, etc. The PRAM is maintained with a small battery so information is not lost when the computer is shut down. Occasional corruption of the PRAM information occurs and can be corrected by "zapping" the PRAM.

print spooler
A
software program used to queue print jobs. Spooler stands for "simultaneous print operations online."

processor
The computer's
CPU.

proportional font
Proportional fonts are fonts whose characters take up more or less space depending on the individual character. For example, an "i" will take less space than an "o" will. Proportional fonts are also called
variable width fonts. Common examples include Times and Helvetica. Fixed width fonts are fonts whose characters all take up the same amount of space.

protocol
A set of standards that allows two computers or devices to communicate with one another, Computers that have different
platforms and/or operating systems can communicate with one another as long as they have a common protocol. Protocols are also used for the timing, sequencing, and error-checking of data transmissions.

peripheral component interconnect - PCI
A new computer bus that is faster than previous versions and allows
cross-platform compatibility for cards other than requiring different software drivers.

pull-down menu
A
menu that is activated by clicking on a menu title. The menu remains as long as the mouse button is held, is clicked in a region outside of the pull-down menu, or after a specified time interval.

push technology
In the
client/server relationship, data that is sent to the client computer without the client requesting it. For example, an unwanted email message.



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Sources:
"Everything you wanted to know about your Mac," Larry Hanson
Prentice Hall, Indianapolis, IN, 1993
ISBN: 1-56830-058-1

Matisse's Glossary of Internet Terms
Matisse Enzer
Copyright 1994-2000

Microsoft® Corporation's Glossary and Acronyms
Microsoft® Corporation.
Copyright 1999 All rights reserved.

The Network Page: Standard Computer-Term Glossary
Constructed as part of a course assignment for third year engineering students: An assessment of computer systems. Constructed at Sunderland University.

PC Cables Direct.Com's Computer Glossary Terms
PC Cables Direct, Inc.
3307 Langdon Road
Angier, N.C. USA 27501
Copyright 1999

Saugus.net: Glossary of computer terms
Part of the Home Page for city of Saugus, MA
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 Saugus.net

Sun Global Glossary Collection: Global Glossary
Sun Microsystems Inc.
901 San Antonio Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
USA
Copyright 1994-2000.

University of Chicago Campus Computer Stores
A Glossary of Computer Related Terms

University of Chicago
Copyright 1997



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