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Stuart Adams'

Technophobic Glossary*

(slightly modified from a seminar presented to the Kentucky Bar Association on 12/08/2001**)

* I tried to put these in alphabetical order but my computer wouldnít let me!

autoexec.bat*

A DOS batch file that runs automatically when the computer is started and is stored in the root folder of the active partition

backup

Duplicate copy of information which is stored separately from the original of this data so it can be restored in an emergency

restore

Replacement of data in the event the original is damaged

data

That stuff you just typed in WordPerfect or Excel.

DOS

Disk Operating System - the operating system used by Windows and sometimes called MS-DOS

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (Many Web sites devote space to these questions, often composed of customer or consumer questions posed in a bulletin board style list. The problems or issues are addressed either by the management of the Web site or by other visitors to it, or both.

GIGO

Garbage In, Garbage Out

virus

"A parasitic program written intentionally to enter a computer without the userís permission or knowledge" (Symantic definition)

"A software program that attaches itself to another program in computer memory or on a disk and spreads from one program to another." (McAfee definition)

boot

Start up or turn on your computer. Also what you kick it with if it wonít start up or turn on.

bootable disk

A diskette that contains various system files and sometimes contains utilities which should allow you to reboot your computer in the event it has crashed

config.sys

A text file stored in the root directory of a computerís boot drive

RAM

Random Access Memory

ROM

Read Only Memory

BIOS

Basic Input/Output System which resides on a ROM chip

CPU

Central Processing Unit, or microprocessor, such as Intel Pentium, AMD or Cyrix is the basic brain of a computer and handles most of its real computing

driver

One of the largest clubs in your golf bag and very useful to send parts of your computer over the horizon in the event of a crash. Also software programs which Windows uses to communicate with a device, such as a printer or scanner

CMOS

Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor chip

IRQ

Interrupt Request Line is a communication route within a computer which is reserved for the task of sending interrupt signals (a command to the CPU to halt its current task and wait for another signal) so as to direct "traffic" on the computer and avoid conflicts between hardware devices. Since there are currently a limited number of IRQs on a computer, it can only have a limited number of peripheral and internal devices, unless, of course you try to get around this by using a USB port.

Image Map Web navigation technique. A picture in a Web page which has been divided into areas called "hotspots." The hotspots are hyperlinked to other pages of the Web site or to external pages. When someone browsing the Web page moves their cursor over the hotspot, they may or may not be given a prompt as to what will happen if they click on it. Clicking on a hotspot on the image map should take you to the hyperlinked page.

IRS

A Federal agency you donít want to audit you

DMA

Direct Memory Access - a means of transferring data from a storage device to memory without passing it through a processor

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language

cookie

Data files that Web sites store on your hard drive to allow them to recognize you when you return to the same site

Trojan Horse

A hollow wooden structure constructed in the shape of a horse and rolled into Troy. Unfortunately for the Trojans, it was full of Greeks, who didnít like the Trojans and who proceeded to beat them up. Also a modern day software program which masquerades as something else and sits benignly in your system until triggered by something else. It then gets as nasty as the original residents of the Trojan Horse and alters data, displays a message or destroys files, like other viruses.

Worm

A virus type program which reproduces rapidly consuming huge amounts of hard drive space.

GPF

General Protection Fault a\k\a the "Blue Screen of Death." It occurs when a software program has tried to reach a portion of memory that it is not allowed to access or when a program is trying to perform a function it cannot perform. Your best choice is to simultaneously depress the CTRL-ALT-DEL keys, causing your machine, hopefully, to reboot.

Boot drive

The drive on a computer where it first looks for its operating system. This is also what happens when you run out of gas on the way to work in Texas.

ZIF

Zero Insertion Force socket which allows you to upgrade your computer by inserting ever more expensive chips

Bit

The smallest unit of measure for data and the space it holds on your computer. At this level, all data is either a 1 or a 0.

Byte

8 bits. This level is equivalent to a character. The order and combination in which the 8 bits are organized defines the character.

Kilobyte

Abbreviated as K or KB = 1024 bytes or a bunch of characters

Megabyte

Abbreviated as M or MB = 1,048,576 bytes, which used to be enough

Gigabyte

Abbreviated as GB or G or gig = 1024 megabytes or 1,073,741,824 bytes, which may no longer be enough, even though giga means giant in Greek.

Terabyte

Abbreviated as T or TB = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, which is too much. Itís derived from tera in Greek, which means monster. You should therefore refrain from giving any computer that much memory, unless youíre really into Frankenstein and the Terminator.

MachoByte

Abbreviated as MachoByte = I have more bytes than you do.

USB

Uniform Serial Bus port, available in Windows 98 and beyond, allows you to plug in all those peripherals into your computer without having to mess with the IRQ problems you would normally have with a COM port or Parallel port. You can now buy peripheral devices, including keyboards, mice, printers, modems, scanners, cameras, and lots of other goodies which can be "hot-swapped" into a USB port. See Hot-Swap.

Hot-Swap

Plugging in or removing a device without having to reboot the computer so it can recognize the device has been added or removed. Unlike other ports, devices can be plugged into and removed from USB ports while the computer is running. Some laptop computers have bays which can hold either an extra battery or CD-ROM or floppy drive bay, and these interchangeable units can often be exchanged while the computer is on. This is called hot-swapping and is strictly prohibited by several sections of Kentuckyís Penal Code. It is a class D felony.

Parallel Port

Also know as the LPT (Line Printer Port) is usually a 25 pin port on the back of your computer where you plug in your printer or scanner.

Serial Port

Also know as COM (communications) ports, are a 9 pin port usually on the back of your computer, most often used for modems, mice and sometimes keyboards.

UPS

Uninterruptible Power Supply is a must have device which plugs into the electric wall plug and at a minimum is a standby power supply (SPS) which powers your system like a backup if your electric current goes off. The better ones also balance the normal spikes and surges which are constantly occurring, thus "cleaning" up the power supply so your system doesnít have to deal with or get fried by it.

Hard Drive

The basic data storage device on a personal computer, is composed of thin circular disks called platters, on which data is stored. Old ones are measured in Megabytes (MB). New ones are measured in Gigabytes (GB).

Also the road between Louisville and Covington at 7:30 in the morning or late at night.

FAT

File Allocation Table. FAT 16 was designed for hard drives that had a capacity of 512MB. FAT 32 is used for larger hard drives.

FDISK

What you call your hard drive when you get the "Blue Screen of Death."

Printer Driver

The employee who older lawyers like me used to get to drive their appellate brief to the printer to be type set and bound in a colorful cover in hopes the brief would be more persuasive. Also a software program which helps the computer communicate with the brand new printer you just bought in order to put the old brief printing companies out of business.

ISP

Internet Service Provider

ISDN

Integrated Services Digital Network which you hope will get you to your ISP faster

E-mail

Something people use to send you jokes electronically. Sometimes used to communicate with people at remote sites and to send them electronic versions of what you type on your computer.

Device Driver

A software program that lets hardware devices communicate with a computer so it knows what the device can do and so that the computer can use the device. Windows will typically install quite a few of these when Windows installs itself. Many hardware devices come with diskettes or a CD ROM which will contain drivers for that device and install them.

Motherboard

What law students need when they flunk the bar exam more than once. Also a printed circuit board into which most other stuff inside the computer is plugged so that it all works together.

Bundled Software

The technique of selling you a computer that is supposed to have Windows 98 and other neat software already installed on it so you can just Plug-and-Play as soon as you open the box. In other words, the software should already be installed on your computer and properly configured when you buy it.

In reality, this is a way to sell you a piece of junk with little tech support and shortchange you on the manuals, which are not provided in paper form. With bundled software, the manuals are often on-line or in a CD which was not put in the box, even though it was marked as having been checked by Inspector G;KVEYS@. This makes it practically impossible to fix anything, since you may have neither the software backup nor the information needed, often including serial numbers necessary to finish the install program, to repair a hard disk crash or corruption of a file.

Shareware

Copyrighted software programs distributed by programmers, which you can use temporarily for free, in hopes that you will pay them a small fee if you like the program. Now a program which will quit working after a few uses because the programmer knows from previous experience that you are too cheap to pay for the hard work put into it, so it becomes a sort of revenge of the nerds.

SIMM

Single In-line Memory Module, which is a slender circuit board used to store memory chips. It plugs into your Motherboard. Not to be confused with SimCity, a game marketed by Electronic Arts, Inc., which you can play on your laptop while the jury is out.

DIMM

Dual In-line Memory Module. Also the view your client takes of the allegations made by his opponent, or the opinion you have of your law clerk if he flunks the bar exam.

DVD

Digital Versatile Disk - A drive that can read audio and software CD-ROMs and DVDs which can store up to 4.7 GB of information on each side of the disk.

DRAM

Dynamic Random-Access Memory - Type of memory which is popular because of low price

SGRAM

Synchronous Graphics Random-Access Memory - Type of DRAM used in graphics accelerators and video adapters

SDRAM

Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory - Type of memory which provides higher speeds than DRAM by synchronizing the computerís internal clock with the memory, which allows for speeds up to 100MHz.

RDRAM

Rambus Dynamic Random-Access Memory - A vehicle used as a weapon by a now aging ex-special forces soldier who canít seem to stay out of trouble no matter where he goes.

Also a type of memory some expect to replace SDRAM, the current standard, by dramatically increasing the speed of data transfer.

Cache

Pronounce "cash," this is a bank of high-speed memory which is set aside by the system to be used for frequently used data

Clichť

The substance of this outline

Graphics Accelerator

An adapter for video which has its own processor to handle high-end graphics activity, rather than relying on the CPU to handle part of that function. A supercharger for graphics, which speeds up performance on graphics intensive applications.

Expansion Slot

An opening in a judicial division when a judge has died, retired or moved up to a higher court. This allows you to sell your old computer and let the government office of technology buy you one at taxpayer expense. Of course, they wonít always come when you call them to fix it, even if the jury is waiting for those revised instructions and all you get after your secretary leaves is the "Blue Screen of Death."

Also an available opening in the motherboard which allows you to plug in something new, such as a PCI, AGP or ISA connection card.

Expansion Card

The card you pull from inside your sleeve at the Bar Outing poker game just before you find that the Kentucky prohibition for lawyers fighting a duel, has just been repealed.

Also a small circuit board that fits into a computerís expansion slot to allow it to use a new device, such as a modem, sound card, graphics card, etc.

PCI

Peripheral Component Interconnect - A bus designed by Intel to allow rapid communication between the computerís CPU and peripheral devices. It allows plug-and-play capability for peripherals.

Ports

Connectors with male and female ends which allow peripheral devices to be connected to the computer. Examples are Parallel, Serial and USB.

Not to be confused with a "Safe Harbour."

MHz

Megahertz - A measurement used to gauge the speed of a CPU. One MHz is equivalent to 1,000,000 cycles per second.

Kbps

Kilobytes per second - A measurement for the speed of data transmission. 1 Kbps is equivalent to 1,024 bits per second. A 56.6 modem is rated as being capable of transmitting data at a rate of 56.6 kilobits per second. If your 56.6 modem actually does this, please call me so I can buy you a bottle of champagne, because this never happens in the real world.

AGP

Accelerated Graphics Port - A high speed port designed to handle 3-D graphics in main memory rather than in video memory.

Keyboard

A handy grid which allows you to store all those crumbs of food so the mice donít get them at night when you turn off the lights. (See Mouse)

Mouse

A device that provides the user with on-screen control of the cursor in a graphical interface. (See Cursor)

Cursor

A little weasel who just canít understand why he shouldnít pay your client on that judgment you got two years ago. This is particularly true when you have taken the case on a contingency, advanced costs, and then the little weasel files Bankruptcy after you find out where he is hiding.

Bay

The hole in the front of your computer where that burglar removed your brand new super fast DVD CD-RW and your floppy drive last night while you were working on a redraft of that trust agreement. Also, a place where you would like to go sailing. Not to be confused with Port or Safe Harbor.

Modem

A communications device that allows your computer to transmit data over a phone or cable line.

OS

Operating system, such as Window 98.

PDA

Personal Digital Assistant - A small portable device, such as a palm sized or handheld computer in which you can store phone numbers, addresses, to-dos, calender appointments, memos, etc. These now can include a modem to link to the Internet. The trend at present is to merge these with telephones. The next wave is to have all your appliances talk to each other. A glimpse of the wave after that can be seen in the Terminator movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

PIM

Personal Information Manager - software programs used on computers and PDAs to organize data, such as all your passwords.

PS/2

A public school in New York City. Also a mouse or keyboard connection first introduced in 1987 by IBM, which is now the most common mouse interface on the PC.

Double-Click

Pressing and releasing the left mouse button twice in rapid succession to open a file or run an application.

Also the name of an Internet company which allegedly collected personal data from users of Web sites without their knowledge and resold it to others.

TWAIN

Not Shania. Technology Without an Interesting Name - (really) Software drivers that are widely used to let graphics and other software programs, such as those used with scanners, communicate with each other.

SCSI

Pronounced "skuzzy," the Small Computer System Interface is an expansion card which has its own processor, taking a load off the CPU, to allow faster processing of information.

TSR

Terminate-and-Stay-Resident Program - A software program that stays in memory until it is needed and then performs its function. Not to be confused with Terminator. See PDA.

http://whatis.techtarget.com/ A site that allows you to read a huge number of books and other materials online regarding computers and technology, if you subscribe to their service.

 

** Seminar video still available from the Kentucky Bar Association WestLegalEdcenter on videotape @ http://www.kybar.org/CLE/video.library.htm

order through

KBA - CLE Videotape Library
2001 Kentucky Law Update
  Tape # Video Title CLE Credits Ethics Credits
  01KLU3 New Rules - New Tools: A Lawyers Techno Survival Guide 1.0 0.0

 

 
 
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