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Resources - Glossary (Q, R, and S)

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Q

query
The process of extracting a subset of a database.

queue
A list of items to be processed by a computer. For example, a printer often will have a print queue for the list of jobs to be printed.

QWERTY
The standard American-English typewriter keyboard arrangement. The name comes from the first six top row letters on the keyboard.


R

radio buttons
A button on the
desktop that allows the user to select an option. Radio buttons are interdependent on one another: When one is selected the others are automatically de-selected unlike check boxes. Radio buttons could be used, for example, to select the type of credit card one is using to purchase over the Internet; the choices might be VISA®, MasterCard®, Discover Card®, or American Express®. Radio buttons are used here since only one option is possible.

RAM - random access memory
A temporary storage location for the
CPU to use and access data quickly. The memory is short term: When the computer is shut off, the data is lost. "Random access" refers to ability of the information to be accessed without going through other data as would be the case in, for instance, a tape cassette. RAM is not a permanent or semi-permanent storage medium like the hard drive.

random access memory - RAM
A temporary storage location for the
CPU to use and access data quickly. The memory is short term: When the computer is shut off, the data is lost. "Random access" refers to ability of the information to be accessed without going through other data as would be the case in, for instance, a tape cassette. RAM is not a permanent storage medium like the hard drive.

read only memory - ROM
Memory that is permanent: A program or some data is written into the memory chip at the time of manufacturer. It can be read but not altered (hence, "read only") and is not lost when power is shut off.

real-time
A loosely defined term in which a computer process occurs almost "instantaneously." For example, computers used in science laboratories to collect data and return the "massaged" data back within a few seconds for instant feedback to the student would be considered real-time processing.

red, green, blue - RGB
A color model system that uses red, green, and blue (the primary colors) in an
additive color system to create the other desired colors on computer monitors and video images. Other color models include CMYK and HLS.

reduced instruction set computer - RISC
A computer chip
architecture that has fewer, simpler instructions built into the chip. The RISC chips can perform many of the same functions that CISC chips can by combining the simpler instructions to perform the more complex tasks. The RISC chips is faster than the CISC chips because RISC chips can process the combination of instructions faster than the CISC chips can process the larger, more complex instructions. Many common chips use the RISC design including the PowerPC.

relative path name
The
address of a file or directory in relationship to another directory or file, usually a working directory or on the Internet, relative to the page being browsed. The relative path name usually does not contain a drive or protocol but usually does contain subdirectories, if needed, followed by the file name with each part separated by a slash. When going "up" to a higher level directory or subdirectory, a "../" is commonly used. For example, a file ("business_schedule") in the "work" subdirectory in the "Documents" directory may have a relative path name to the file "shopping list" in the "personal" subdirectory as "../personal/shoppinglist." That is, a file with an absolute path name "c://documents/work/business_schedule" could have a relative path name to the "shoppinglist" in "personal" of "../personal/shoppinglist." (See also absolute path name, directory path name, and path.)

remote
Typically refers to electronically accessing a computer's data over a
network at a site distant from that computer (i.e., from another room, building, city, etc.).

resolution
A measure of the quality of an image either in print form or on a monitor. In printers, resolution is usually characterized as dots per inch,
DPI, while monitor resolution usually uses the number or size of the pixels in a unit area. The higher the DPI or the larger the number of pixels per unit area, the higher the resolution of the image.

RGB - red, green, blue
A color model system that uses red, green, and blue (the primary colors) in an
additive color system to create the other desired colors on computer monitors and video images. Other color models include CMYK and HLS.

Rhapsody
An
operating system designed by Apple and relatively newly released. It is based on the Unix system, but has been designed to mimic a variety of other operating systems. At this time it is not used commonly on Apple's desktop computers but is used more with servers and other more commercial applications.

rich text format - rtf
A word processing document format that can be opened by many word processors. An rtf document can be read by many word processors and retains a great deal of the formatting in the document, as opposed to
text files which can be read by nearly all word processors but contain only minimal formatting.

RISC - reduced instruction set computer
A computer chip
architecture that has fewer, simpler instructions built into the chip. The RISC chips can perform many of the same functions that CISC chips can by combining the simpler instructions to perform the more complex tasks. The RISC chips is faster than the CISC chips because RISC chips can process the combination of instructions faster than the CISC chips can process the larger, more complex instructions. Many common chips use the RISC design including the PowerPC.

ROM - read only memory
Memory that is permanent: A program or some data is written into the memory chip at the time of manufacturer. It can be read but not altered (hence, "read only") and is not lost when power is shut off.

root directory
The highest, upper level directory on the
hard drive in which all other directories are found.

router
hardware and software used to route signals and data between different networks using similar or dissimilar protocols. The router assigns a path for the data transmission between the network server providing the data and the network requesting it.

rtf - rich text format
A word processing document format that can be opened by many word processors. An rtf document can be read by many word processors and retains a great deal of the formatting in the document, as opposed to
text files which can be read by nearly all word processors but contain only minimal formatting.


S

saturation
Saturation describes how "deep" a color is on a range between gray and the color of interest. A high saturation corresponds to a strong or deep color. Saturation is one part of the
HLS color model system.

scaleable font
A font in which the characteristics of the font have been described but the size is arbitrary; that is, the character can be scaled to any size. (See also
TrueType® fonts.)

scanner
A
hardware device that optically scans an image and converts it into a digital image. Many computers have scanners and OCR software so sheets of text can be scanned and converted into editable word processing documents.

screen capture
The process of capturing the image or text on a monitor screen and saving it as a graphic image.

script
A short set of instructions usually that performs a simple task. The script is
interpreted scroll
The process of moving up or down, or left or right, across an image or text document.

scroll bar/scroller
A bar typically found on the right hand side and bottom of an image or document. The scroll bar contains a
scroll box and 2 arrows to scroll up/down or left/right.

scroll box
The box contained in the
scroll bar. The scroll box shows the relative position of the information displayed on the monitor as compared to the entire document. That is, if the scroll box is in the middle of the scroll bar, the current text shown is in about the middle of the document. The scroll box can be dragged by the mouse to make an image or text document move up/down or left/right.

SCSI - small computer system interface
A disk format used by most common
platforms, in which the controller electronics reside within the drive housing removing the need for a separate adapter. Other formats include UltraSCSI, IDE, and EIDE.

Secure Sockets Layer - SSL
A
protocol designed by Netscape to assure privacy by encrypting messages, authenticating them, and assuring message integrity for data typically sent between a client's web browser and a host server. Messages sent via SSL use https in the beginning of the URL. Authentication and encryption is achieved by using information from the required Security Certificate that is sent by each partner in this communication to one another. Information from the Security Certificate is used as part of the encrypting code so only the two computers have the key to de-crypt the messages.

serial
The process of transferring data one
bit at a time. This is different from parallel where many bits of data can be received simultaneously.

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

serial port
The port in which
serial devices are connected to the computer. Such devices typically include mice, keyboards, modems, and some printers.

server
A computer on the
network that provides service to client users. The services typically include file transfers, printing jobs, and database access. Because of the high demands on servers from many clients, servers are often more powerful and robust computers than the typical desktop computer.

shareware
software publicly distributed and created by programmers for profit. Often, the software can be downloaded freely, used for a specified time without charge, and then the author requests that the program be paid for or discarded. Sometimes if purchased, additional options are provided to the purchaser.

shielded cable
A cable that has an insulating layer to reduced electromagnetic interference.

shortcut key stroke
A key stroke that performs a task such as opening, printing, or closing a file. In
Macintosh® computers, many shortcut key strokes involve the "'open apple' + letter" or "option key + letter." In Microsoft® Windows®-based systems, many shortcut key strokes include the "alt + letter" stroke.

SIMM - single inline memory module
A pre-assembled
RAM module that contains many smaller memory chips. A SIMM has a 72-pin connector allowing for 32-bit data transfer, half the data transfer rate of DIMMs (dual inline memory module).

simple mail transfer protocol - SMTP
An email
protocol used to transfer email messages between two servers. In addition to this protocol, another protocol is needed to connect between the server and the client before the client can receive messages; e.g., POP.

single inline memory module - SIMM
A pre-assembled
RAM module that contains many smaller memory chips. A SIMM has a 72-pin connector allowing for 32-bit data transfer, half the data transfer rate of DIMMs (dual inline memory module).

sleep
1. The process of suspending a computational process without terminating it. The computations can be re-started after some event triggers it. 2. On
desktop computers, an option to go into a low-energy mode. This process is usually engaged after a user-specified amount of time without any input device (e.g., a mouse or keyboard) being used. The event that re-activates the computer is often a mouse movement or a key stroke.

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

small computer system interface - SCSI
A disk format used by most common
platforms, in which the controller electronics reside within the drive housing removing the need for a separate adapter. Other formats include UltraSCSI, IDE, and EIDE

SMTP - simple mail transfer protocol
An email
protocol used to transfer email messages between two servers. In addition to this protocol, another protocol is needed to connect between the server and the client before the client can receive messages; e.g., POP.

software
A set of instructions to make
hardware perform some task. Operating systems, scripts, applications are all forms of software.

source code
The uncompiled
software instructions of an application written in a programming language like C. The source code is compiled into machine language and then executed.

spam
The process of sending out large amounts of unwanted and unrequested email. Email addresses can be obtained from electronic businesses or from educational institutions, sometimes with and sometimes without their knowledge or permission.

special character
A character that is not a letter, number, or the space. For example, the dollar sign, $.

spool
The process of transferring data into a storage location before sending it to a peripheral device like a printer. In this way, the sending computer can continue to operate until the printer is available or the printing is done.

SQL - structured query language
The programming language used to access relational
databases. All SQL-capable databases support a common set of SQL commands though individual applications may have their own unique SQL features.

SRAM - static RAM
A type of
RAM that contains capacitors. Since capacitors can store energy, the SRAM is faster than most DRAM which requires refreshment but slower than most caches. Data transfer can occur in about 10-20 nanoseconds with SRAMs while DRAMs can transfer data in about 60 nanoseconds.

SSL - Secure Sockets Layer
A
protocol designed by Netscape to assure privacy by encrypting messages, authenticating them, and assuring message integrity for data typically sent between a client's web browser and a host server. Messages sent via SSL use https in the beginning of the URL. Authentication and encryption is achieved by using information from the required Security Certificate that is sent by each partner in this communication to one another. Information from the Security Certificate is used as part of the encrypting code so only the two computers have the key to de-crypt the messages.

startup disk
A
disk (or CD-ROM) used to start the computer. It is often used when an operating system is corrupted or a hard drive crashes thus preventing the computer from being started up. (Also called system disk.)

static RAM - SRAM
A type of
RAM that contains capacitors. Since capacitors can store energy, the SRAM is faster than most DRAM which requires refreshment but slower than most caches. Data transfer can occur in about 10-20 nanoseconds with SRAMs while DRAMs can transfer data in about 60 nanoseconds.

structured query language - SQL
The programming language used to access relational
databases. All SQL-capable databases support a common set of SQL commands though individual applications may have their own unique SQL features.

subdirectory
A
directory that resides in or is "below" another directory. For example, a directory called "Personal" in the "Documents" directory.

submenu
A
menu that appears after the user selects a higher-level menu option from the menu bar. Most submenus have a small triangle next to them which implies a series of choice for that menu item exists. For example, if under the "File" choice of a menu bar is an "Import" option with a small triangle, the series of options that appears when the small triangle is selected (spreadsheet, picture, or object) is the submenu.

subnets
A method that divides a
network into small pieces to improve routing.

subtractive color system
Uses
CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) and defines a color by subtracting a percentage of cyan, magenta, or yellow from white.

SuperDrive
A
Macintosh® floppy drive that can access several different disks (e.g., 400kB, 800kB, and 1.4 MB, and PC disks).

SuperVGA
Specifications to enhance
VGA's monitor output. VGA supports a 640x480 pixel resolution with 8-bit graphics color (256 colors) while SuperVGA supports resolutions greater than 640x480 and more than 256 colors.

surge suppresser
An electrical device used to prevent electrical power surges from reaching your computer. The device has a circuit breaker built in which is flipped when an electrical surge comes through. Many power strips have surge suppressers built in.

synchronous
A process that occurs in "
real time." An example from distance education would be a lecture given "live" over the Internet with microphones in both the host and remote sites so questions from a remote site can be asked and answered immediately. In contras, a question sent via email would be asynchronous since there is typically a time delay between when the message is sent and when a reply is received.

syntax
The "rules" followed in a language. For example, in some programming languages, a semicolon is required at the end of each line of instruction.

system
System can mean several things. It is often used to mean an
operating system, or can be used to refer to a computer, its monitor, the software, and other peripherals that are packaged together in a bundle.

system board
The main circuit board of the computer that contains the
CPU, the RAM, the SBus, the ports, the BIOS, and expansion slots. (Also called motherboard.)

system disk
A
disk (or CD-ROM) used to start the computer. It is often used when an operating system is corrupted or a hard drive crashes thus preventing the computer from being started up. (Also called startup disk.)



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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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