Month: September 2016

Tech Terms: ICF

Internet Connection Firewall.” ICF is a Windows XP feature that protects computers connected to the Internet from unauthorized access. When ICF is enabled, Windows keeps a log of incoming requests from other systems on the Internet. If the request is something the user has requested, like a Web page, the transmission will not be affected. However, if the request is unsolicited and is not recognized by the system, the transmission will be dropped. This helps prevent intrusion by hackers or malicious software such as spyware.

While ICF limits incoming traffic from the Internet, it does not affect outgoing traffic. This means data sent from your computer is still vulnerable to viruses or other disruptions even when ICF is enabled. If you have multiple computers sharing the same Internet connection via ICS, you can enable ICF for all the computers. However, you should enable ICF for the router or system connected directly to the Internet connection, not for each individual system.

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

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Tech Terms: ICS

Internet Connection Sharing.” ICS allows multiple computers to connect to the Internet using the same Internet connection and IP address. For example, several computers in a household can connect to same cable or DSL modem using a router. As long as the router is connected to the modem, every computer connected to the router is also connected to the Internet. Network address translation (NAT) allows the computers to share the same IP address.

ICS can also be done using software. Windows 98 and later, as well as Mac OS X, support Internet connection sharing. This allows one system’s network settings to be modified, turning the computer into a gateway. Other computers on the same network can then use that computer’s Internet connection. Windows users can also use programs such as WinGate and WinProxy to achieve the same result. While it is possible to share an Internet connection using software, using hardware (such as a router) for ICS is the easiest and most hassle-free solution.

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

Tech Terms: NAT

Stands for “Network Address Translation.” NAT translates the IP addresses of computers in a local network to a single IP address. This address is often used by the router that connects the computers to the Internet. The router can be connected to a DSL modem, cable modem, T1 line, or even a dial-up modem. When other computers on the Internet attempt to access computers within the local network, they only see the IP address of the router. This adds an extra level of security, since the router can be configured as a firewall, only allowing authorized systems to access the computers within the network.

Once a system from outside the network has been allowed to access a computer within the network, the IP address is then translated from the router’s address to the computer’s unique address. The address is found in a “NAT table” that defines the internal IP addresses of computers on the network. The NAT table also defines the global address seen by computers outside the network. Even though each computer within the local network has a specific IP address, external systems can only see one IP address when connecting to any of the computers within the network.

To simplify, network address translation makes computers outside the local area network (LAN) see only one IP address, while computers within the network can see each system’s unique address. While this aids in network security, it also limits the number of IP addresses needed by companies and organizations. Using NAT, even large companies with thousands of computers can use a single IP address for connecting to the Internet. Now that’s efficient.

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

Tech Terms: Tiger

This ferocious cat is the code name for Mac OS X 10.4, released April 29, 2005. Tiger follows a list of other felines in the Mac OS X lineup, including Panther (10.3), Jaguar (10.2), Puma (10.1), and Cheetah (10.0). Apple originally used the cat names as internal names for the operating system development, but actually started to market the names with the release of Jaguar.

According to Apple, Tiger includes over 200 improvements from Mac OS X 10.3. A few of the most notable additions include an enhanced search feature called “Spotlight,” an internal scripting program called “Automator,” and quick information access via widgets from the new “Dashboard.” Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is a feature-rich operating system that some may consider as a serious alternative to Windows.

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

Tech Terms: Web Host

In order to publish a website online, you need a Web host. The Web host stores all the pages of your website and makes them available to computers connected to the Internet. The domain name, such as “sony.com,” is actually linked to an IP address that points to a specific computer. When somebody enters your domain name into their browser’s address field, the IP address is located and Web site is loaded from your Web host.

A Web host can have anywhere from one to several thousand computers that run Web hosting software, such as Apache, OS X Server, or Windows Server. Most websites you see on the Web are accessed from a “shared host,” which is a single computer that can host several hundred Web sites. Larger websites often use a “dedicated host,” which is a single machine that hosts only one website. Sites with extremely high amounts of traffic, such as apple.com or microsoft.com, use several computers to host one site.

If you want to publish your own website, you’ll need to sign up for a “Web hosting service.” Finding a good Web host shouldn’t be too hard, since their are thousands available. Just make sure the Web host you choose offers good technical support and ensures little or no downtime. You’ll usually have to pay a monthly fee that varies depending on how much disk space and bandwidth your site will use. So it’s a good idea to estimate how big your site will be and how much traffic you expect before signing up for a Web hosting service.

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

Tech Terms: Backbone

Just like the human backbone carries signals to many smaller nerves in the body, a network backbone carries data to smaller lines of transmission. A local backbone refers to the main network lines that connect several local area networks (LANs) together. The result is a wide area network (WAN) linked by a backbone connection.

The Internet, which is the ultimate wide area network, relies on a backbone to carry data over long distances. The Internet backbone consists of several ultra-high bandwidth connections that link together many different nodes around the world. These nodes route incoming data to smaller networks in the local region. The fewer “hops” your data needs to make before reaching the backbone, the faster it will get sent to the destination. This is why many Web hosts and ISPs have direct connections to the Internet backbone.

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

Tech Terms: Installer

In order to install new software on your computer, you often need to run an installer program. This program unpacks compressed data included with the installer and writes new information to your hard drive. While some installers do not use compressed data, most use some level of compression since it reduces the size of the files included with the installer. This is especially helpful when downloading programs or software updates from the Internet.

An installer can either install a new program on your computer or can update a program currently on your hard drive. It can also update or add files to your operating system. Most installers can be run by simply double-clicking the installer icon and then choosing the folder you want to install the software into. The nice thing about installers is that they do all the work for you, decompressing and writing the data on the hard drive. Once the installer is finished, you can often use the new or updated software right away. If any system files were installed, you will be asked to restart your computer before using the new software. This is because system files can only be loaded during the computer’s boot process.

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

Tech Terms: Install

Most software programs require that you first install them on your computer before using them. For example, if you buy Microsoft Office, you need to install it on your computer before you can run any of the included programs such as Word or Excel. You can install software from a CD or DVD, an external hard drive, or from a networked computer. You can also install a program or software update from a file downloaded from the Internet.

Installing a software program writes the necessary data for running the program on your hard drive. Often the installer program will decompress the data included with the installer immediately before writing the information to your hard drive. Software updates, which are typically downloaded from the Internet, work the same way. When you run the update, the installer file decompresses the data and then updates the correct program or operating system.

Installing software is usually a simple process. It involves double-clicking an installer icon and then clicking “I Agree” when the license agreement pops up. You may have to choose what directory on your hard disk you would like to install the software in, but often the installer will even choose that for you. Some software can be installed by simply dragging a folder or application program onto your hard drive. Either way, installing software is a rather simple process and should not be intimidating. If you can cook you dinner in the microwave, you can install your own software.

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

Tech Terms: File Extension

A file extension (or simply “extension”) is the suffix at the end of a filename that indicates what type of file it is. For example, in the filename “myreport.txt,” the .TXT is the file extension. It indicates the file is a text document. Some other examples include .DOCX, which is used for Microsoft Word documents, and .PSD, which is the standard file extension for Photoshop documents.

While most file extensions are three characters in length, they can be as short as one character or longer than twenty characters. Sometimes long file extensions are used to more clearly identify the file type. For example, the .TAX2011 file extension is used to identify TurboTax 2011 tax returns and the .DESKTHEMEPACK extension identifies Windows 8 desktop themes. The file extension determines which program is used to open the file as well as what icon should be displayed for the file. It also helps you see what kind of file a certain document is by just looking at the filename.

Both Windows and Mac OS X allow you to manually change file extensions, which may also change the program the computer uses to open the file. While this might work for some files, it may also cause the file to not open at all. For example, if you change a file with a “.txt” extension to a “.doc” extension, Microsoft Word may still open it. However, if you change a “.txt” file to a “.psd” file, Photoshop will not recognize or open the file.

Since there are tens of thousands of file types, there are also tens of thousands of file extensions. While it may not be possible to remember all of them, it is helpful to learn some of the more common ones, such as .JPG, .GIF, .MP3, .ZIP, .HTML, and others. For a list of common file extensions and their associated file types, visit FileInfo.com’s Common File Types page.

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

Tech Terms: Infotainment 

Infotainment is a combo word, like “fantabulous,” that combines two words into one. It refers to television shows, movies, websites, and software that blend information and entertainment together. For example, shows on the Food Network and Animal Planet provide information to the viewer, but are also fun to watch. Certain news broadcasts can also be considered infotainment, since they strive to be as entertaining as they are informational.

Websites like Yahoo.com and CNET.com also have content that is both informational and entertaining. Software titles such as Grolier Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Britannica serve primarily to inform, but are also geared to be entertaining, so they can be considered infotainment. While there is a blurry line between basic information and infotainment, if informational media makes an intentional effort to entertain, you can call it infotainment.

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