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Tech Terms: Phishing

Phishing is similar to fishing in a lake, but instead of trying to capture fish, phishers attempt to steal your personal information. They send out e-mails that appear to come from legitimate websites such as eBay, PayPal, or other banking institutions. The e-mails state that your information needs to be updated or validated and ask that you enter your username and password, after clicking a link included in the e-mail. Some e-mails will ask that you enter even more information, such as your full name, address, phone number, social security number, and credit card number. However, even if you visit the false website and just enter your username and password, the phisher may be able to gain access to more information by just logging in to you account.

Phishing is a con game that scammers use to collect personal information from unsuspecting users. The false e-mails often look surprisingly legitimate, and even the Web pages where you are asked to enter your information may look real. However, the URL in the address field can tell you if the page you have been directed to is valid or not. For example, if you are visiting an Web page on eBay, the last part of the domain name should end with “ebay.com.” Therefore, “http://www.ebay.com” and “http://cgi3.ebay.com” are valid Web addresses, but “http://www.ebay.validate-info.com” and “http://ebay.login123.com” are false addresses, which may be used by phishers. If URL contains an IP address, such as 12.30.229.107, instead of a domain name, you can almost be sure someone is trying to phish for your personal information.

If you receive an e-mail that asks that you update your information and you think it might be valid, go to the website by typing the URL in your browser’s address field instead of clicking the link in the e-mail. For example, go to “https://www.paypal.com” instead of clicking the link in an e-mail that appears to come from PayPal. If you are prompted to update your information after you have manually typed in the Web address and logged in, then the e-mail was probably legitimate. However, if you are not asked to update any information, then the e-mail was most likely a spoof sent by a phisher.

Most legitimate e-mails will address you by your full name at the beginning of the message. If there is any doubt that the e-mail is legitimate, be smart and don’t enter your information. Even if you believe the message is valid, following the guidelines above will prevent you from giving phishers your personal information.

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

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Tech Terms: CPL

Stands for “Cost Per Lead,” and is used in online advertising. CPL defines how much revenue a publisher receives when he creates a lead for an advertiser. For example, the publisher may place an ad for an investment site on his website. If a user clicks on the advertisement link, she is directed to the advertiser’s website where she can sign up for an investment account. If she chooses to sign up, a lead has been created and the publisher is paid a certain amount based on the CPL.

CPL and CPA (cost per action) are often used interchangeably, though CPL is more specific.

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

Tech Terms: CPA

Stands for “Cost Per Action,” and is used in online advertising. CPA defines how much revenue a publisher receives when a user clicks an advertisement on his website and then completes a certain action. For example, a publisher may place a banner or text link from an advertiser on his website. When a user clicks the link, she is directed to the advertiser’s website. She might then be asked to fill out a form or take a survey. If she completes the form or survey, the action has been completed, and the advertiser pays the publisher a certain amount based on the CPA.

CPA and CPL (cost per lead) are often used interchangeably, though CPA is more generic.

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

Tech Terms: iPod

The iPod is a portable music player developed by Apple Computer. Though it is an Apple product, the iPod can be used with both Macs and PCs. The iTunes software, also created by Apple, is used to organize and transfer songs and playlists to the iPod. Both iTunes and the iPod support a wide variety of audio formats, including MP3, AAC, WAV, and AIFF. MP3 is the most common audio compression format, while AAC is the format used by the iTunes Music Store. WAV and AIFF are nearly identical formats that store CD-quality audio.

Since introducing the iPod in 2001, Apple has released several new versions of the popular device. These include iPod, iPod mini, iPod Special Edition, iPod photo, and iPod shuffle. iPod mini is a smaller version of the iPod that comes in various colors and stores fewer songs. iPod Special Edition is a variation of the basic iPod (the first being a black U2 iPod with the signatures of the band members on the back). iPod photo is an iPod with a color screen that allows users to store and view a library of photos as well as play music. iPod shuffle is an extra small iPod that only holds a couple hundred songs and does not have a screen.

All iPods store data on an internal hard drive, except the iPod Shuffle, which uses flash memory. This means each iPod, including the shuffle, can also be used as a hard drive. Aside from being a music player, the iPod can serve as a backup device, a basic organizer, and an alarm clock. To transfer files to the iPod, you must first connect it to your computer using a USB or Firewire cable. iTunes can automatically transfer your playlists and songs or you can change the program’s preferences to manually update the iPod.

Because of its superb interface and unmatched ease of use, the iPod has become the staple product of the portable music player market. Granted, the “cool factor” of owning an iPod has certainly helped it gain popularity as well.

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

Tech Terms: File

A file is a collection of data stored in one unit, identified by a filename. It can be a document, picture, audio or video stream, data library, application, or other collection of data. The following is a brief description of each file type.

Documents include text files, such as a Word documents, RTF (Rich Text Format) documents, PDFs, Web pages, and others. Pictures include JPEGs, GIFs, BMPs, and layered image files, such as Photoshop documents (PSDs). Audio files include MP3s, AACs, WAVs, AIFs, and several others. Video files can be encoded in MPEG, MOV, WMV, or DV formats, just to name a few.

A library file is a unit of data that is referenced by a specific program or the operating system itself. These include plug-ins, components, scripts, and many others. An application is a program, or executable file. Programs such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple iTunes are both applications, but are also files.

Files can be opened, saved, deleted, and moved to different folders. They can also be transferred across network connections or downloaded from the Internet. A file’s type can be determined by viewing the file’s icon or by reading the file extension. If the file type is associated with a specific application, double-clicking the file will typically open the file within the program.

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

Tech Terms: DVD+R

Stands for “Digital Versatile Disc Recordable.” DVD+R discs look the same as regular DVDs, but can be used to record data. Single-sided, single-layer DVD+R discs can store 4.7GB of data, while double-layer discs can store 8.5GB and double-sided DVD-Rs can store 9.4GB. The DVD+R format is not quite as common as the DVD-R format, but is still supported by most current DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Drives that can read both DVD+R and DVD-R discs are often referred to as DVD?R drives.

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

Tech Terms: DVD-RAM

Stands for “Digital Versatile Disc Random Access Memory.” DVD-RAMs are writable DVDs that can be erased and rewritten like DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs. Unlike the other two writable DVD formats, DVD-RAM discs support advanced error correction and defect management. While these features slow down the maximum data transfer rate for DVD-RAM discs, it also makes the discs more reliable.

Early DVD-RAM discs required an enclosing cartridge, which meant they would not fit in most DVD players or DVD-ROM drives. Therefore, you would need a DVD-RAM drive to use DVD-RAM discs, as well as burn them. Newer DVD-RAM discs, however, can be used without a cartridge. These discs can be played in any DVD player that supports the DVD-RAM format. While the first DVD-RAM media could only hold 2.6GB on a single-sided disc, newer double-sided discs can store up to 9.4GB.

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

Tech Terms: Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a way for the Windows operating system to run with the minimum system files necessary. It uses a generic VGA display driver instead of the vendor-specific driver, which means you will likely be working with only 16 colors in a resolution of 640×480. Safe Mode also turns off all third-party drivers for other peripherals such as mice, keyboards, printers, and scanners. In basic Safe Mode, networking files and settings are not loaded, meaning you won’t be able to connect to the Internet or other computers on a network.

So why would I ever want to boot in Safe Mode? Well, that’s a good question. Sometimes, Windows may not fully load after an unexpected crash and the only way to get the computer to boot is to use Safe Mode. Once you have successfully booted the computer in Safe Mode, you can run a disk utility program to repair corrupted files or directories on the hard drive. You can also reboot into Safe Mode to see your display when you get a “Sync Out of Range” message on your screen.

There may also be times when your computer is performing sluggishly and becomes annoyingly slow. Booting into Safe Mode will allow you to diagnose the problem and determine which files are slowing down the computer. When calling technical support, the support person may ask you to boot into Safe Mode to begin the troubleshooting. To boot your Windows computer into Safe Mode, hold down the F8 key while the computer is starting up. Then select Safe Mode from the list of boot options.

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

Tech Terms: Controller Card

The controller card, or simply “controller,” is a piece of hardware that acts as the interface between the motherboard and the other components of the computer. For example, hard drives, optical drives, printers, keyboards, and mice all require controllers to work. Most computers have all the necessary controllers built in the motherboard as chips, not full-sized cards. However, if you add additional components such as a SCSI hard drive, you may need to add a controller card as well. Controller cards are typically installed in one of the computer’s PCI slots.

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

Tech Terms: Blu-Ray

Blu-ray is an optical disc format such as CD and DVD. It was developed for recording and playing back high-definition (HD) video and for storing large amounts of data. While a CD can hold 700 MB of data and a basic DVD can hold 4.7 GB of data, a single Blu-ray disc can hold up to 25 GB of data. Even a double sided, dual layer DVD (which are not common) can only hold 17 GB of data. Dual-layer Blu-ray discs will be able to store 50 GB of data. That is equivalent to 4 hours of HDTV.

Blu-ray discs can hold more information than other optical media because of the blue lasers the drives use. The laser is actually blue-violet, but “Blu-ray” rolls off the tounge a little easier than “Blu-violet-ray.” The blue-violet laser has a shorter wavelength than the red lasers used for CDs and DVDs (405nm compared to 650nm). This allows the laser to focus on a smaller area, which makes it possible to cram significantly more data on a disc the same size as a CD or DVD. Proponents of the Blu-ray format say they expect Blu-ray devices to replace VCRs (thank goodness) and DVD recorders as more people make the transition to HDTV. 

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