Month: March 2016

Tech Terms: Twain

Other than being the last name of the author of “Huckleberry Finn,” there are numerous other ideas concerning the origin of this term. Some believe it stands for “Toolkit Without An Informative Name,” while others argue it is “Technology Without An Interesting Name.” Still, there are some who believe that it came from the saying, “Ne’er the twain shall meet.”

Though the real story behind the name may never be known, the purpose of TWAIN is quite clear. It is a graphics and imaging standard that allows companies to make drivers for scanners and digital cameras. Nearly all scanners on the market today are TWAIN-compliant, meaning the way they interact with your computer is based on the TWAIN standard. If you feel the need to know more about TWAIN and its fascinating history, the TWAIN Group has a website that you can visit.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/twain

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Tech Terms: Defragment

Defragmenting your hard disk is a great way to boost the performance of your computer. Though the term “defragment” sounds a little abrasive, it is actually a simple and helpful process. After all, a defragmented hard disk is a happy hard disk.

Adding and deleting files from your hard disk is a common task. Unfortunately, this process is not always done very efficiently. For example, when you delete a bunch of little files and add a new large file, the file may get broken up into mulitple sections on the hard disk. The computer will still read the newly added file as a single valid file, but the drive will have to scan multiple parts of the disk to read it. Because hard disk seek time is one of the most significant bottlenecks in a computer’s performance, this can drag down your computer’s speed quite a bit. If you have a ton of “fragmented” files on your hard disk, you might hear extra grinding, sputtering, and other weird noises coming from your computer.

You computer does not like having fragmented files any more than you do. This is why defragmenting your hard disk is such a good idea. When you start to hear extra grinding sounds, or your computer doesn’t open files as quickly as it did before, it’s time to defragment. With Windows, you can use the pre-installed Intel defragment program to defragment your hard disk. You can also use a commercial software program like Norton Utilities to defragment your hard disk more efficiently and with more options. For Mac users, a disk utility such as DiskWarrior or Tech Tool Pro is the only way to do it. If you use your computer daily, defragmenting your hard drive once a month should keep the fragment-fiends away.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/defragment

Tech Terms: Affiliate

Internet affiliate is a company, organization, or individual that markets another company’s products through their website. In exchange for marketing their products, companies pay affiliates a commission for each sale they generate.

Affiliate programs exist for many different industries, such as travel, clothing, technology, and online services. This allows web publishers to promote specific products or services related to the content of their websites. For example, the webmaster of a fashion website may publish affiliate banners for a clothing store. The owner of a software review website may include affiliate links to different software programs.

Affiliate marketing is a type of PPS advertising, since affiliates are only paid for sales they produce (unlike PPC advertising). Therefore, merchants must offer affiliates high enough commissions to make it worthwhile for the publishers to run their ads. Affiliate commissions vary widely between industries and also depend on average sale amounts. Low-margin products, such as consumer electronics, may offer commissions as low as 2%, while high-margin products, such as computer software, may offer commissions as high as 75%. Most affiliate commissions fall in the range of 5 to 20%.

Affiliate programs provide free marketing for merchants and an extra source of revenue for web publishers. While it is a win-win partnership, setting up an affiliate system to track sales and generate payments is a complex process. Therefore, many companies run their affiliate programs through a third party e-commerce platform, such as Commission Junction or DirectTrack.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/affiliate

Tech Terms: MIPS

Stands for “Million Instructions Per Second.” It is a method of measuring the raw speed of a computer’s processor. Since the MIPS measurement doesn’t take into account other factors such as the computer’s I/O speed or processor architecture, it isn’t always a fair way to measure the performance of a computer. For example, a computer rated at 100 MIPS may be able to computer certain functions faster than another computer rated at 120 MIPS.

The MIPS measurement has been used by computer manufacturers like IBM to measure the “cost of computing.” The value of computers is determined in MIPS per dollar. Interestingly, the value of computers in MIPS per dollar has steadily doubled on an annual basis for the last couple of decades.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/mips

Tech Terms: CISC

Stands for “Complex Instruction Set Computing.” This is a type of microprocessor design. The CISC architecture contains a large set of computer instructions that range from very simple to very complex and specialized. Though the design was intended to compute complex instructions in the most efficient way, it was later found that many small, short instructions could compute complex instructions more efficiently. This led to a design called Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC), which is now the other major kind of microprocessor architecture. Intel Pentium processors are mainly CISC-based, with some RISC facilities built into them, whereas the PowerPC processors are completely RISC-based.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/cisc

Tech Terms: DLL

Stands for “Dynamic Link Library.” A DLL (.dll) file contains a library of functions and other information that can be accessed by a Windows program. When a program is launched, links to the necessary .dll files are created. If a static link is created, the .dll files will be in use as long as the program is active. If a dynamic link is created, the .dll files will only be used when needed. Dynamic links help programs use resources, such as memory and hard drive space, more efficiently.

DLL files can also be used by more than one program. In fact, they can even be used by multiple programs at the same time. Some DLLs come with the Windows operating system while others are added when new programs are installed. You typically don’t want to open a .dll file directly, since the program that uses it will automatically load it if needed. Though DLL filenames usally end in “.dll,” they can also end in .exe, .drv, and .fon, just to make things more confusing.

File extension: .DLL

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/dll

Tech Terms: Template

A template is a file that serves as a starting point for a new document. When you open a template, it is pre-formatted in some way. For example, you might use template in Microsoft Word that is formatted as a business letter. The template would likely have a space for your name and address in the upper left corner, an area for the recipient’s address a little below that on the left site, an area for the message body below that, and a spot for your signature at the bottom.

When you save a file created with a template, you are usually prompted to save a copy of the file, so that you don’t save over the template. Templates can either come with a program or be created by the user. Most major programs support templates, so if you find yourself creating similar documents over and over again, it might be a good idea to save one of them as a template. Then you won’t have to format your documents each time you want to make a new one. Just open the template and start from there.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/template

Tech Terms: BIOS

Basic Input/Output System.” Most people don’t need to ever mess with the BIOS on a computer, but it can be helpful to know what it is. The BIOS is a program pre-installed on Windows-based computers (not on Macs) that the computer uses to start up. The CPU accesses the BIOS even before the operating system is loaded. The BIOS then checks all your hardware connections and locates all your devices. If everything is OK, the BIOS loads the operating system into the computer’s memory and finishes the boot-up process.

Since the BIOS manages the hard drives, it can’t reside on one, and since it is available before the computer boots up, it can’t live in the RAM. So where can this amazing, yet elusive BIOS be found? It is actually located in the ROM (Read-Only Memory) of the computer. More specifically, it resides in an eraseable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip. So, as soon as you turn your computer on, the CPU accesses the EPROM and gives control to the BIOS.

The BIOS also is used after the computer has booted up. It acts as an intermediary between the CPU and the I/O (input/output) devices. Because of the BIOS, your programs and your operating system don’t have to know exact details (like hardware addresses) about the I/O devices attached to your PC. When device details change, only the BIOS needs to be updated. You can make these changes by entering the BIOS when your system starts up. To access the BIOS, hold down the key as soon as your computer begins to start up.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/bios

Tech Terms: LDAP

Stands for “Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.” If you want to make directory information available over the Internet, this is the way to do it. LDAP is a streamlined version of an earlier directory standard called X.500. What makes LDAP so useful is that it works great over TCP/IP networks (unlike X.500), so information can be accessed through LDAP by anyone with an Internet connection. It is also an open protocol, which means directories can be stored on any type of machine (i.e. Windows 2000, Red Hat Linux, Mac OS X).

To give you an idea of how an LDAP directory is organized, here are the different levels of a simple LDAP tree hierarchy:

  • The root directory
  • Countries
  • Organizations
  • Divisions, departments, etc.
  • Individuals
  • Individual resources, such as files and printers.

Most LDAP connectivity is done behind the scenes, so the typical user probably won’t notice it when surfing the Web. However, it is a good technology to know about. If nothing else, it is another term to impress your parents with.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/ldap

Tech Terms: SIMM

Stands for “Single In-Line Memory Module.” This is an older type of computer memory. A SIMM is a small circuit board with a bunch of memory chips on it. SIMMs use a 32-bit bus, which is not as wide as the 64-bit bus dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) use. Newer processors require a 64-bit memory bus, so it is best to use DIMMs. Sometimes you can get away with installing SIMMS, but they have to be installed in pairs.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/simm