Month: January 2016

Tech Terms: RGB

Stands for “Red Green Blue.” It refers to the three hues of light (red, green, and blue, for those of you that are a little slow), that can mix together to form any color. When the highest intensity of each color is mixed together, white light is created. When each hue is set to zero intensity, the result is black. TVs and computer monitors use RGB to create the colorful images you see on the screen. In print, however, the 4 colors — cyan, yellow, magenta, and black (CYMK) — are used to create color images.



Tech Terms: Resolution

This term can describe either how many pixels a monitor can display or how fine a printer can print.

1. Monitors. A small monitor may have a resolution or 640 x 480, which means there are 640 pixels horizontally across the screen and 480 pixels vertically. Some other common monitor resolutions are 800 x 600, 1,024 x 768, and 1,280 x 1,024. The higher the resolution, the more that can be displayed on the screen.

2. Printers. Printer resolution measures how fine a printer can print. This measurement is known as dots per inch, or “dpi.” The greater the dpi, the better the image clarity. Scanner resolution is also measured in dpi.


Tech Terms: Registry

This is a database used by Microsoft Windows to store configuration information about the software installed on a computer. This information includes things like the desktop background, program settings, and file extension associations.

The Windows registry consists of the following six parts:

HKEY_User – contains the user information for each user of the system.
HKEY_Current_User – has all the preferences for the current user.
HKEY_Current_Configuration – stores settings for the display and printers.
HKEY_Classes_Root – includes file associations and OLE information.
HKEY_Local_Machine – has the settings for the hardware, operating system, and installed applications.
HKEY_Dyn_Data – includes performance data.

When you install a program, it will usually write some data to the computer’s registry. If you want to manually edit the registry for some reason, you can use the “regedit.exe” program, which comes with the Windows operating system. However, you should not edit the registry if you don’t know what you’re doing because it could disable your computer.


Tech Terms: RAM

Random Access Memory,” and is pronounced like the male sheep. RAM is made up of small memory chips that form a memory module. These modules are installed in the RAM slots on the motherboard of your computer.

Every time you open a program, it gets loaded from the hard drive into the RAM. This is because reading data from the RAM is much faster than reading data from the hard drive. Running programs from the RAM of the computer allows them to function without any lag time. The more RAM your computer has, the more data can be loaded from the hard drive into the RAM, which can effectively speed up your computer. In fact, adding RAM can be more beneficial to your computer’s performance than upgrading the CPU.

To check how much RAM a Windows computer has, open the “System” Control Panel. This can be done by right-clicking “My Computer” and selecting “Properties…” To view how much RAM is installed in a Macintosh computer, select “About This Mac” from the Apple Menu.


Tech Terms: QWERTY

This term is used to describe a standard (Latin alphabet-based) keyboard. Why? Because the first six keys in the upper-left part of the keyboard spell out Q-W-E-R-T-Y. I suppose you could call it a QWERTYUIOP keyboard, but QWERTY is a lot easier to say. In case you are wondering why the QWERTY keyboard is arranged like it is, the original reason was to reduce the jamming of typebars in typewriters as they moved to strike the paper.

In 1932, August Dvorak developed what was intended to be a more efficient keyboard, in which he placed the vowels and the five most common consonants in the middle row, based on the idea that an alternating rhythm would be established between the right and left hands. Though the keys on the Dvorak keyboard were more efficienty arranged, it was and still is too much of a pain for people to switch from the familiar QWERTY arrangement. So, it looks like we’re stuck with what we have. Sorry Dvorak.


Tech Terms: QuickTime 

This is a multimedia technology developed by our friends at Apple Computer. It is a popular format for creating and storing sound, graphics, and movie (.mov) files. Though it is an Apple technology, QuickTime software is available for both the Mac and the PC.


Tech Terms: Protocol 

When computers communicate with each other, there needs to be a common set of rules and instructions that each computer follows. A specific set of communication rules is called a protocol. Because of the many ways computers can communicate with each other, there are many different protocols — too many for the average person to remember. Some examples of these different protocols include PPP, TCP/IP, SLIP, HTTP, and FTP. Can you guess what the last “P” in each acronym stands for? If you guessed “protocol,” send yourself a congratulations e-mail.


Tech Terms: PPP

Stands for “Point to Point Protocol.” It is the Internet standard for dial-up modem connections. PPP is a set of rules that defines how your modem exchanges packets of data with other systems on the Internet. If you connect to your ISP with a dial-up modem, you are most likely using PPP.


Tech Terms: Portal

While this term can also refer to a matterless vortex used to travel between different dimensions, an Internet portal is a Web site that acts as a starting point for browsing the Web. Portals typically include search engines and large directories of websites. Some popular portals are Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Netscape, AltaVista, MSN, and There are also many smaller portals, known as “niche portals,” for specific interests. These sites include C|net (for computers and technology), (for investors), and (for gardeners).

Most large portals have millions of Web pages indexed for visitors to search though. They also have large directories of Web sites, which are categorized by topic. Though the primary purpose of a portal is to find other sites for you, many now include a lot of information within their own sites.


Tech Terms: Port

As if computer terms weren’t hard enough to understand, there are three different meanings of the word “port.”

1. An Internet port. This is a number that indicates what kind of protocol a server on the Internet is using. For example, Web servers typically are listed on port 80. Web browsers use this port by default when accessing Web pages, but you can also specify what port you would like to use in the URL like this: FTP uses port 21, e-mail uses port 25, and game servers, like a Quake server or use various other ports. It is good to know what a port is, but you seldom have to specify it manually, so don’t worry if this is new to you.

2. A hardware port. This refers to any one of the ports that are on the back of a computer where devices can be hooked up (like a keyboard, mouse, printer, digital camera, etc). Some common ports found on today’s computers are USB, Firewire, and Ethernet.

3. The verb, “port.” This refers to the editing of a software program’s code so that it can run on another platform. For example, to get Final Fantasy VII to run on a PC, programmers needed to port it to the PC from the Playstation. Popular Windows games are often ported to the Macintosh as well.