Month: September 2016

Tech Terms: Edutainment

Edutainment is one of those combo words, like “guesstimate,” that combines two regular words into one term that really isn’t a word. As you may have guessed, “edutainment” is a blend of education and entertainment. This term is used to describe various forms of entertainment that also educate. Some examples include “Sesame Street,” shows on the Discovery channel, and websites such as HowStuffWorks.com.

One industry that is loaded with edutainment products is kid’s software. Most kids games are developed not only to entertain children, but to educate them as well. Games like Oregon Trail and Math Blasters teach kids about history and math while keeping them entertained. Reader Rabbit is a popular line of games that help kids learn to read in a fun way. Parents can be encouraged that there are positive software titles out there after all.

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

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Tech Terms: Desktop

Desktop is the primary user interface of a computer. When you boot up your computer, the desktop is displayed once the startup process is complete. It includes the desktop background (or wallpaper) and icons of files and folders you may have saved to the desktop. In Windows, the desktop includes a task bar, which is located at the bottom of the screen by default. In Mac OS X, the desktop includes a menu bar at the top of the screen and the Dock at the bottom.

The desktop is visible on both Windows and Macintosh computers as long as an application or window is not filling up the entire screen. You can drag items to and from the desktop, just like a folder. Since the desktop is always present, items on the desktop can be accessed quickly, rather than requiring you to navigate through several directories. Therefore, it may be helpful to store commonly used files, folders, and application shortcuts on your desktop.

Both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems allow you to customize the appearance of your desktop. In Windows 7, you can change the desktop background and select the default desktop icons within the “Personalization” control panel. In Mac OS X 10.6, you can change the desktop background using the “Desktop & Screen Saver” system preference. You can choose what items are shown on the desktop by selecting Finder → Preferences… and checking the items you want displayed.

NOTE: The term “desktop” may also be short for desktop computer.

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

Tech Terms: Delete

Delete is computer terminology for remove or erase. You can delete text from a document of delete entire files or folders from your hard drive. When typing a document, you can remove characters behind the cursor by pressing the delete key. If you want to remove characters in front of the cursor, you can press the smaller delete key near the home and end buttons on the keyboard. You can also remove entire sections of text by selecting the text you wish to delete and pressing either delete button on the keyboard.

Files and folders can be removed from your hard drive by dragging them to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or the Trash (Macintosh) and then emptying the trash. When you delete a file, it is actually not erased, but instead the reference to the file is removed. This means deleted files are still intact until they are written over. Special utilities such as Norton Unerase can recover accidentally deleted files.

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

Tech Terms: Typeface

A typeface is a set of characters of the same design. These characters include letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols. Some popular typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, Times, and Verdana. While most computers come with a few dozen typefaces installed, there are thousands of typefaces available. Because they are vector-based (not bitmaps), typefaces can be scaled very large and still look sharp. The term “typeface” is often confused with “font,” which is a specific size and style of a typeface. For example, Verdana is a typeface, while Verdana 10 pt bold is a font. It’s a small difference, but is good to know.

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

Tech Terms: Font

A font is a specific typeface of a certain size and style. For example, one font may be Arial 12 pt bold, while another font may be Times New Roman 14 pt italic. Most word processing programs have a Font menu that allows you to choose the typeface, size, and style of the text. In order to use a font, you must have it installed on your computer. Windows provides access to fonts using the Fonts control panel. The Mac OS stores fonts in a Fonts folder and includes a separate “Font Book” application for managing fonts.

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

Tech Terms: Switch

A switch is used to network multiple computers together. Switches made for the consumer market are typically small, flat boxes with 4 to 8 Ethernet ports. These ports can connect to computers, cable or DSL modems, and other switches. High-end switches can have more than 50 ports and often are rack mounted.

Switches are more advanced than hubs and less capable than routers. Unlike hubs, switches can limit the traffic to and from each port so that each device connected to the switch has a sufficient amount of bandwidth. For this reason, you can think of a switch as a “smart hub.” However, switches don’t provide the firewall and logging capabilities that routers do. Routers can often be configured by software (typically via a Web interface), while switches only work the way the hardware was designed.

The term “switch” can also be used to refer to a small lever or button on computer hardware. And while it has nothing to do with computers, “riding switch” means riding backwards in skateboarding and snowboarding.

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

Tech Terms: IVR

Stands for “Interactive Voice Response.” IVR is a telephony technology that can read a combination of touch tone and voice input. It gives users the ability to access a database of information via phone. A typical IVR system has several menus of prerecorded options that the caller can choose from. While many choices are as basic as choosing a number, some options may require the caller to speak detailed information such as his name or account number. This input is read by the IVR system and is used to access the appropriate information in the database.

For example, a bank may have an IVR system that allows members to call in and check their balance or recent transactions. Credit card companies and stock brokerage firms also use IVR systems to allow users to access information from their account. The technology can also be used used for other purposes such as phone surveys, checking movie times, and call center forwarding. Because the caller can vocally respond to prerecorded messages, using an IVR system is almost like talking to another human being. That is, as long as it understands you.

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

Tech Terms: DRM

Stands for “Digital Rights Management.” DRM refers to a collection of systems used to protect the copyrights of electronic media. These include digital music and movies, as well as other data that is stored and transferred digitally. For example, the Apple iTunes Music Store uses a DRM system to limit the number of computers that songs can be played on. Each audio file downloaded from the iTunes music store includes information about the owner of the file and how many times the file has been transferred. The protected files will not play on computers that have not been authorized to play the music.

Digital Rights Management is important to publishers of electronic media since it helps ensure they will receive the appropriate revenue for their products. By controlling the trading, protection, monitoring, and tracking of digital media, DRM helps publishers limit the illegal propagation of copyrighted works. This can be accomplished by using digital watermarks or proprietary file encryption on the media they distribute. Whatever method publishers choose to employ, DRM helps them make sure that their digital content is only used by those who have paid for it.

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

Tech Terms: SMS

Message Service.” SMS is used to send text messages to mobile phones. The messages can typically be up to 160 characters in length, though some services use 5-bit mode, which supports 224 characters. SMS was originally created for phones that use GSM (Global System for Mobile) communication, but now all the major cell phone systems support it.

While SMS is most commonly used for text messaging between friends or co-workers, it has several other uses as well. For example, subscription SMS services can transmit weather, news, sports updates, and stock quotes to users’ phones. SMS can also notify employees of sales inquiries, service stops, and other information pertinent to their business. Doctors can receive SMS messages regarding patient emergencies.

Fortunately, text messages sent via SMS do not require the recipient’s phone to be on in order for the message to be successfully transmitted. The SMS service will hold the message until the recipient turns on his or her phone, at which point the message will be be sent to the recipient’s phone. Most cell phone companies allow you to send a certain number of text messages every month for no charge. Though it would be a good idea to find out what that number is before you go text message crazy.

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

Tech Terms: System Requirements

Whenever you purchase software or hardware for your computer, you should first make sure your computer supports the system requirements. These are the necessary specifications your computer must have in order to use the software or hardware. For example, a computer game may require you computer to have Windows XP or later, a 2.0 GHz processor, 512 MB or RAM, a 64 MB graphics card, and 500 MB or hard drive space. If your computer does not meet all of these requirements, the game will not run very well or might not run at all.

It is just as important to check system requirements for hardware devices. For example, if you buy a printer, it may require either Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.3 or later. It may also require a USB port and 80 MB of available hard drive space. If your computer does not have any USB ports, you will not be able to physically connect the printer. If your machine does not have Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.3 or later, the printer drivers may be incompatible with your operating system. This means you computer will be unable to recognize the printer.

Most hardware and software products have the system requirements printed on the side or bottom of the product packaging. When you are shopping for computer software or hardware, it is a good idea to first find out exactly what your system’s specifications are and write them down on a piece of paper. The important information to record includes:

Operating System (i.e. Windows XP, SP 2 or Mac OS X 10.3.8)
Processor Speed (i.e. Pentium 4, 3.2 GHz or Power PC G5, 2.0 GHz)
Memory, a.k.a. RAM (i.e. 512 MB)
Graphics Card (i.e. ATI Radeon 9800 w/ 256 MB video memory)
Hard Disk Space (i.e. 80 GB available)
I/O Ports (i.e. USB, Firewire, Serial, Parallel, SCSI, VGA, DVI ports)

By recording these specifications from your computer, you will be able to make sure your computer supports the products you are buying.
Source: http://techterms.com/definition/systemrequirements