Month: May 2016

Tech Terms: DVI

Digital Video Interface.” DVI is a video connection standard created by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). Most DVI ports support both analog and digital displays. If the display is analog, the DVI connection converts the digital signal to an analog signal. If the display is digital, no conversion is necessary.

There are three types of DVI connections: 1) DVI-A (for analog), 2) DVI-D (for digital), and 3) DVI-I (integrated, for both analog and digital). The digital video interface supports high bandwidth signals, over 160 MHz, which means it can be used for high resolution displays such as UXGA and HDTV. You may find DVI ports on video cards in computers as well as on high-end televisions.


Tech Terms: NTFS

Stands for “New Technology File System.” NTFS is a file system introduced by Microsoft with Windows NT and is supported by subsequent versions of Windows, such as Windows 2000 and Windows XP. NTFS has a number of advantages over the previous file system, named FAT32 (File Allocation Table). One major advantage of NTFS is that it includes features to improve reliablity. For exmaple, the new technology file system includes fault tolerance, which automatically repairs hard drive errors without displaying error messages. It also keeps detailed transaction logs, which tracks hard drive errors. This can help prevent hard disk failures and makes it possible to recover files if the hard drive does fail.

NTFS also allows permissions (such as read, write, and execute) to be set for individual directories and files. It even supports spanning volumes, which allows directories of files to be spread across multiple hard drives. The only reason why you would not want to select NTFS when formatting your hard drive is if you like slow, outdated technology or you need to run an older operating system such as Windows 95 or MS-DOS. Of course, if you are running DOS, there is a good chance you really do like outdated technology.


Tech Terms: Blog

Short for “Web Log,” this term refers to a list of journal entries posted on a Web page. Anybody who knows how to create and publish a Web page can publish their own blog. Some Web hosts have made it even easier by creating an interface where users can simply type a text entry and hit “publish” to publish their blog.

Because of the simplicity of creating a blog, many people (often young kids and adults) have found a new presence on the Web. Instead of writing confidential entries in a book that no one is supposed to see, people now can share their personal feelings and experiences with thousands of people around the world. Blogs are typically updated daily, monthly, or anywhere in between. “Blog” may also be used as a verb, as in “Wow, Matt sure blogged a lot last week.”


Tech Terms: DDR

Stands for “Double Data Rate.” It is an advanced version of SDRAM, a type of computer memory. DDR-SDRAM, sometimes called “SDRAM II,” can transfer data twice as fast as regular SDRAM chips. This is because DDR memory can send and receive signals twice per clock cycle. The efficient operation of DDR-SDRAM makes the memory great for notebook computers since it uses up less power.


Tech Terms: Parse

No, this is not a typo of the word “sparse.” The word “parse” means to analyze an object specifically. It is commonly used in computer science to refer to reading program code. For example, after a program is written, whether it be in C++, Java, or any other language, the code needs to be parsed by the compiler in order to be compiled. Web scripts, written in scripting languages such as Perl or PHP, need to be parsed on the Web server so that they can output the correct HTML to a user’s browser.

Parsing can also refer to breaking up ordinary text. For example, search engines typically parse search phrases entered by users so that they can more accurately search for each word. Some programs can parse text documents and extract certain information like names or addresses. Spreadsheet programs can turn formatted documents into tables with rows and columns by parsing the text. As you can see, the ways to parse are clearly not sparse.


Tech Terms: Windows

Windows is a series of operating systems developed by Microsoft. Each version of Windows includes a graphical user interface, with a desktop that allows users to view files and folders in windows. For the past two decades, Windows has been the most widely used operating system for personal computers PCs.

Microsoft Windows is designed for both home computing and professional purposes. Past versions of Windows home editions include Windows 3.0 (1990), Windows 3.1 (1992), Windows 95 (1995), Windows 98 (1998), Windows Me (2000), Windows XP (2001), and Windows Vista (2006). The current version, Windows 7, was released in 2009.

The first business-oriented version of Windows, called Windows NT 3.1, was in 1993. This was followed by Windows 3.5, 4.0, and Windows 2000. When Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001, the company simply created different editions of the operating system for personal and business purposes. Windows Vista and Windows 7 have followed the same release strategy.

Windows is designed to run on standard x86 hardware, such as Intel and AMD processors. Therefore, it can be installed on multiple brands of hardware, such as Dell, HP, and Sony computers, as well as home-built PCs. Windows 7 also includes several touchscreen features, that allow the operating system to run on certain tablets and computers with touchscreen displays. Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone, is designed specifically for smartphones and runs on several brands of phones, including HTC, Nokia, and Samsung.


Tech Terms: Computer

Technically, a computer is a programmable machine. This means it can execute a programmed list of instructions and respond to new instructions that it is given. Today, however, the term is most often used to refer to the desktop and laptop computers that most people use. When referring to a desktop model, the term “computer” technically only refers to the computer itself — not the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Still, it is acceptable to refer to everything together as the computer. If you want to be really technical, the box that holds the computer is called the “system unit.”

Some of the major parts of a personal computer (or PC) include the motherboard, CPU, memory (or RAM), hard drive, and video card. While personal computers are by far the most common type of computers today, there are several other types of computers. For example, a “minicomputer” is a powerful computer that can support many users at once. A “mainframe” is a large, high-powered computer that can perform billions of calculations from multiple sources at one time. Finally, a “supercomputer” is a machine that can process billions of instructions a second and is used to calculate extremely complex calculations.


Tech Terms: IT

Stands for “Information Technology,” and is pronounced “I.T.” It refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses. IT jobs include computer programming, network administration, computer engineering, Web development, technical support, and many other related occupations. Since we live in the “information age,” information technology has become a part of our everyday lives. That means the term “IT,” already highly overused, is here to stay.


Tech Terms: Mac OS

This is the operating system that runs on Macintosh computers. It is pronounced, “mack-oh-es.” The Mac OS has been around since the first Macintosh was introduced in 1984. Since then, it has been continually updated and many new features have been added to it. Each major OS release is signified by a new number (i.e. Mac OS 8, Mac OS 9).

Since the core of the Mac OS was nearly decades old, Apple decided to completely revamp the operating system. In March of 2001, Apple introduced a completely new version of the Mac OS that was written from the ground up. The company dubbed it “Mac OS X,” correctly pronounced “Mac OS 10.” Unlike earlier versions of the Mac OS, Mac OS X is based on the same kernel as Unix and has many advanced administrative features and utilities. Though the operating system is much more advanced than earlier versions of the Mac OS, it still has the same ease-of-use that people have come to expect from Apple software.


Tech Terms: Macintosh

Macintosh is a line of desktop and laptop computers developed by Apple. Each Macintosh computer, or Mac, runs a version of the Mac OS, Apple’s desktop operating system. Since 2001, all Macs have run Mac OS X, a redesigned version of the original Mac OS that was built from the NeXTSTEP operating system.

The original Macintosh, released in 1984, was the first personal computer to have a graphical user interface, or GUI. It was in all-in-one machine with a color display and included a mouse and a keyboard. Over the past several decades, Apple has released many new types of Macintosh computers, including all-in-one models, system units (which do not include a monitor), and portable computers.

The current Macintosh line (as of early 2012) includes the following models:

Mac Pro – a professional desktop computer sold as a system unit
iMac – an all-in-one desktop computer aimed at home and pro users
Mac mini – a small desktop computer designed for home and server purposes
MacBook Pro – a portable computer aimed towards students and pro users
MacBook Air – a lightweight portable computer designed for travelers
NOTE: While Macs are technically personal computers (PCs), the term PC is often used to describe computers that run Windows or Linux. Therefore, Macs are often referred to as personal computers, but not PCs. Unlike PCs, which are manufactured by several different companies, Apple designs and manufactures all Macintosh computers.