Month: April 2016

Tech Terms: Runtime

Runtime is the period of time when a program is running. It begins when a program is opened (or executed) and ends with the program is quit or closed.

Runtime is a technical term, used most often in software development. It is commonly seen in the context of a “runtime error,” which is an error that occurs while a program is running. The term “runtime error” is used to distinguish from other types of errors, such as syntax errors and compiliation errors, which occur before a program is run.

When a program is in the runtime phase, the application is loaded into RAM. This includes the executable file and any libraries, frameworks, or other files referenced by the program. When the program is quit, the runtime period ends and the memory used by the program is made available for use by other programs.

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

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Tech Terms: Cyberspace

Unlike most computer terms, “cyberspace” does not have a standard, objective definition. Instead, it is used to describe the virtual world of computers. For example, an object in cyberspace refers to a block of data floating around a computer system or network. With the advent of the Internet, cyberspace now extends to the global network of computers. So, after sending an e-mail to your friend, you could say you sent the message to her through cyberspace. However, use this term sparingly, as it is a popular newbie term and is well overused.

The word “cyberspace” is credited to William Gibson, who used it in his book, Neuromancer, written in 1984. Gibson defines cyberspace as “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data” (New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1989), pp. 128.

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

Tech Terms: Skin

This strange term refers to the appearance of a program’s interface. By changing the skin of a program, you can make the interface look completely different, but usually still have all the same functions. It is similar to a “Theme” you may use to customize the appearance of your computer’s desktop.

Skins have become particularly popular for MP3 players. Because of the simple interface of most MP3 programs, it is easy to create different looks for the interface. Other programs, such as Netscape 6, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Media Player also support skins. If you’re one of those people who can’t stand seeing the same thing over and over again, skins are for you. Some programs that support skins even provide a skin development kit that your can use to create your own. Though this allows for an unlimited amount of interface customizing, it can make it hard to recognize or use the same program on different computers.

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

Tech Terms: RDRAM

Stands for “Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory.” It is a type of RAM made by Rambus (big surprise) and is the fastest type of computer memory available. Typical SDRAM can transfer data at speeds up to 133 MHz, while standard RDRAM can crank it up over 1 GHz. Though some motherboards can use RDRAM as system memory, it is so fast, most boards cannot fully benefit from the speed. Because of this, RDRAM is typically used for video memory on graphics acclerator cards, for cache memory (located on the CPU), and for system memory in high-performance workstations and servers.

An improvement to RDRAM called Direct Rambus (DRDRAM) allows for even faster data transfer rates. DRDRAM uses a 16-bit bus rather than the 8-bit bus DRAM uses, which means it can handle 8 operations at once and can transfer data at a speeds of 1.6 GHz. Now that’s fast.

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

Tech Terms: Proxy Server

Most large businesses, organizations, and universities these days use a proxy server. This is a server that all computers on the local network have to go through before accessing information on the Internet. By using a proxy server, an organization can improve the network performance and filter what users connected to the network can access.

A proxy server improves Internet access speeds from a network primarily by using a caching system. Caching saves recently viewed Web sites, images, and files on a local hard drive so that they don’t have to be downloaded from the Web again. While your Web browser might save recently viewed items on your computer, a proxy server caches everything accessed from the network. That means if Bob views a news story at cnn.com at 1:00 and Jill views the same page at 1:03, she’ll most likely get the page straight from the proxy server’s cache. Though this means super-fast access to Web pages, it also means users might not be seeing the latest update of each Web page.

The other main purpose a proxy server is to filter what is allowed into the network. While HTTP, FTP, and Secure protocols can all be filtered by a proxy server, HTTP is the most common. The proxy server can limit what Web sites users on the network can access. Many organizations choose to block access to sites with objectionable material such as hacking information and pornography, but other sites can be filtered as well. If an employer notices workers are spending too much time at sites like eBay or Quicken.com, those sites can be blocked by the proxy server as well.

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

Tech Terms: Flash Memory

Flash memory is a type of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). Whew, that’s a mouthful. The name comes from how the memory is designed — a section of memory cells can be erased in a single action or in a “flash.” A common use of flash memory is to store the BIOS settings in a computer’s ROM. When the BIOS needs to be changed, the flash memory can be written in blocks, rather than bytes, making it easy to update. Most modems use flash memory for the same reason.

Though flash memory was orginally used inside computers, it has invaded many other areas outside the box. Flash memory cards used for digital cameras, cellular phones, networking hardware, and PC cards. Though the memory’s read/write speed is not lightning fast, it is nice to be able to tote around a little card rather than a cumbersome hard drive.

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

Tech Terms: Flash

While “Flash” was the name of a popular superhero in the 1970s, today the term refers to something completely different. When you see Flash on the Web, it most likely refers to Adobe Flash, a multimedia technology. Flash allows Web developers to incorporate animations and interactive content into their websites.

Flash was originally released by Macromedia in 1996. It began as a basic animation tool and an optional plug-in for Web browsers. Over the next decade, Flash gained many new features and became a standard plugin included with nearly all Web browsers. In 2005, Adobe acquired Macromedia and took over development of the Flash technology. Today, Flash continues to be a ubiquitous Web standard and is included with all major Web browsers.

Because Flash animations can incorporate text and vector graphics, they typically don’t take up a lot of disk space. The contents of a Flash animation may also be compressed to further reduce the file size. This makes it possible for Flash content to be downloaded relatively quickly. Still, large Flash animations may still take a few seconds to load in your browser. Therefore, when you open a Web page and see a “Loading…” animation, it usually means Flash content is being downloaded to your computer.

To view Flash content in your Web browser, the Flash plug-in must be installed. While Flash is automatically installed with most browsers today, some animations may require an updated version of Flash to run. Fortunately, you can download the latest Flash plug-in and standalone Flash Player for free from Adobe’s website.

File extensions: .FLA, .SWF

NOTE: “Flash” may also refer to flash memory. Erasing a flash disk is often called “flashing” the memory.

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

Tech Terms: JSP

Stands for “Java Server Page.” This standard was developed by Sun Microsystems as an alternative to Microsoft’s active server page (ASP) technology. JSP pages are similar to ASP pages in that they are compiled on the server, rather than in a user’s Web browser. After all, they don’t call them “server pages” for nothing. However, JSP is Java-based, whereas ASP is Visual Basic-based. JSP pages are useful for building dynamic Web sites and accessing database information on a Web server. Though JSP pages may have Java interspersed with HTML, all the Java code is parsed on the server. Therefore, once the page gets to the browser, it is only HTML. JavaScript, on the other hand, is usually parsed by the Web browser, not the Web server.

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

Tech Terms: UML

Stands for “Unified Modeling Language.” This is a programming language that is used for object-oriented software development. To organize program code more efficiently, programmers often create “objects” that are sets of structured data within programs. UML, which has been standardized by the Object Management Group (OMG), was designed for this purpose. The language has gained enough support that it has become a standard language for visualizing and constructing software programs.

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

Tech Terms: FAT32

This strange term refers to the way Windows stores data on your hard drive. “FAT” stands for “File Allocation Table,” which keeps track of all your files and helps the computer locate them on the disk. Even if a file gets fragmented (split up into various areas on the disk), the file allocation table still can keep track of it. FAT32 is an improvement to the original FAT system, since it uses more bits to identify each cluster on the the disk. This helps the computer locate files easier and allows for smaller clusters, which improves the efficiency of your hard disk. FAT32 supports up to 2 terabytes of hard disk storage. Unless you are a serious power user, that should be more than enough space for you.

Source: http://techterms.com/definition/fat32