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Personal Computer Definitions

Drowning in a sea of acronyms? Wonder what someone means when they ask for your email address? You have come to the right place! Listed below, with definitions, are common expressions associated with using a personal computer.

Check back often as the list will be kept updated as I come across other acronyms and geek speak that I feel should be added. The list is in alphabetical order.

Bit
A bit is a single binary digit that is represented by either 0 or 1. Bits are used to form bytes, megabytes and gigabytes.

Browser
Software used to surf or browse the Internet. Popular browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Sahara, Netscape Navigator and Opera.

Byte
A byte is a string of 8 bits.

CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The CPU is the brain of the computer. On a personal computer the CPU is commonly referred to as the microprocessor.

Email (Electronic Mail)
An email is a message that is sent electronically over the Internet using an email program such as Outlook. When someone refers to their email address it is the electronic equivalent of a postal address. Email addresses are in the format of username@somedomain.com. Some address will not end in .com but in a different extension such as .net, .org, or .edu.

Gigabyte (GB)
A gigabyte is equal to one billion bytes. Also called gigs.

Hard Disk
A hard disk is a permanently enclosed storage device, which is used for the storage of the operating system, user files and programs on a computer. The hard disk is either mounted inside the computer or within a case for external drives.

Instant Messenger/Messaging (IM)
Instant messaging is the ability to send messages, photos and files over the Internet in real-time. Each person that participates in the messaging needs to have the appropriate software installed. Common instant messaging software includes AOL, Yahoo and MSN.

Megabyte (MB)
A megabyte is approximately1048 bytes. Also called megs.

OS (Operating System)
The operating system is responsible for the operation of the peripheral devices and software on the computer. The OS acts as a conductor to make sure all components are working together properly. Every PC has an operating system and common operating systems include Microsoft 95/NT/2000/XP, MAC OS X, and Linux.

Peripherals
Peripherals are devices that attach to the computer such as keyboards, mice, printers and monitors.

RAM (Random Access Memory)
The memory space used to load and run the operating system and programs. RAM is commonly referred to as memory and is measured in megabytes and gigabytes.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
A URL is an expression used to locate a resource on the Internet. Commonly known as a web address it expressed as http://www.sitename.com

USB Port (Universal Serial Bus)
The USB port is used to connect external devices, such as keyboards and mice, to the computer.

www
Acronym for World Wide Web or better known as the Internet.

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