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What Does That Mean?

Our technicians try to speak your language. Unfortunately, sometimes, words in geek-speak slip out. Hopefully, this glossary will help you decode what they are saying if they accidentally get bilingual.

Geek Speak Glossary

AMD: AMD is an acronym for Advanced Micro Devices. They make high quality processors. We recommend their processors.

Attack Vector: An attack vector enables hackers to exploit computer vulnerabilities, including the human element, which allows a hacker to can gain access to a computer or network server in order to deliver a malicious outcome.

Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be sent through a network connection, measured in bits per second.

Binary: Binary is the language which computer code is written.

Bit: Bit is short for binary digit. The smallest unit of information a computer can hold.

Broadband: An internet connection that is faster than dialup. Some types of broadband include DSL, Cable Internet, T1 and T3 lines.

Browser: A browser is a program that allows you to navigate the internet. Examples of a browser are, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. Also called a web browser.

Buffer: Memory used to hold data while it is being processed. A buffer is an important consideration when buying a hard drive. Also called a cache.

Burn: To burn or burning is when you copy information from your computer onto a CD or DVD. It is called burning because the information is burned onto the disk.

Byte: Bytes are used to measure the size of a file or the amount of storage space. A byte is 8 bits.

Cable Internet: A alternative to DSL or dial-up internet that comes through the same cable your television cable comes through. It is a broadband connection.

Cache: Memory used to hold data while it is being processed. A buffer is an important consideration when buying a hard drive. Also called a buffer.

Calc: The Open Office spread sheet program.

Capacity: Capacity is another word for the amount of storage space on a given device.

CD: CD stands for Compact Disc.

CDROM: A CDROM allows importing information from another source onto your computer. Most programs are on CDROM. You can only read the cd's with this drive.

CD Burner or Writer: CD burner allows to you burn your own information on a cd as well as allows you to read and copy information from another source. CD burner is not a no-no word.

CDR: CDR is an abbreviation for the physical CD you burn information onto.

Chipset: A set of electronic parts that are core technology that mediates the communication of computer parts. On the motherboard they act as the traffic cop of your entire computer.

Chkdsk: Chkdsk is like a physical for your computer. Chkdsk checks your system files for errors. It tells you if you may have damage and need to run more tests. If you don't run Chkdsk you won't know that there is damage to a file, that damage causes quirky problems.

Closed Source (Software): Closed source software is a program which is not able to be modified.

Cookies: Cookies are small files created to simplify accessing a website more than once. Cookies sometimes store passwords, user names, ip addresses, and email addresses.

CPU: Is the brain of the computer, which controls the flow information. Helps determine the perceived "Speed" of the computer. This determines how quickly applications can run. It is headquarters. Also, called a Processor.

Definitions: When a new virus or spyware is created, scanning companies create "definitions" to so that the scanning software can detect a new virus or spyware.

Defragment: Defragment is the process in which files that are scattered around a hard drive are organized and put in places that make it easier for your computer to find. This process is similar to a parent picking up all of his/her child's toys and putting them in the toy box. This is done to make a computer seem faster and to make efficient use of hard drive space.

Dell: Dell is a computer manufacture.

Disc Clean-up: Disc cleanup removes files which are no longer needed by windows, this includes temporary internet files (pictures and cookies), installation files (left behind by sloppy install programs), and clears the recycle bin.

Drivers: A driver is a program that controls a device. A driver acts like a translator between the device and programs that use the device. Every device, whether it be a printer, disk drive, or keyboard, must have a driver program.

DSL: DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is a popular broadband connection.

DVD: DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc, or Digital Video Disc. Disc which holds more than 6x the data that a CD can hold. DVD's are most commonly used for movies.

DVDROM: Like a CDROM only it can read DVDs and CDs and can play dvd movies on your computer.

DVD Burner or Writer: is like a CD Burner only can also burn DVD's. There are several formats DVD writers can write in and read in. You want to read and write in all those formats. DVD Writer or Burner is not a no-no word.

Email: Email is short for Electronic Mail. An Email is an electronic letter, sent over the internet, to an email address ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Email client: An email client is a program used to view email. Outlook and Outlook Express are both email clients.

Epson: Epson is a printer manufacturer.

Ethernet Cable: Ethernet Cable is the cable run from a DSL or Cable Modem to a router and/or a computer.

Ethernet Card: A card that allows you to talk between computers. It also is necessary if you want to have DSL or cable internet. Also called an NIC card or a Network card.

Excel: Microsoft's spreadsheet program.

Firefox: Firefox is a free, high quality web browser.

Firewall: A firewall protects your computer and your information from someone on the Internet trying to get in. There are two types of firewalls; hardware and software.

Software: A software firewall is absolutely necessary if you have either DSL or Cable Internet. It prevents hackers from breaking into your computer and stealing passwords, documents, and other private information.

Hardware: If you have a router to connect multiple computers to the internet, it has a hardware firewall which is a good compliment to a software firewall.

Freeware: Freeware is software for which the creator doesn't charge. There are several freeware alternatives to pay programs.

Fujitsu: Fujitsu is a hard drive manufacturer.

Gigabyte (GB): another unit of measurement stored on a computer. 1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte. If a megabyte is an ant, than a gigabyte is an elephant.

Gigahertz (GHz): The unit of measurement for speed commonly used for a processor. If a megahertz is a turtle then a gigahertz is a cheetah.

Graphic's Card: Makes 3d objects appear or move faster on the screen. Also called a video card.

Hacker: A person who tries to electronically break into your computer and steal information or harm your computer.

Hard drive or hard disk: A hard drive is where information is permanently stored. It is usually the slowest part in your computer. You should buy the fastest, not necessarily the largest you can. It is the Home of all information.

Hardware: Hardware is the tangible, physical parts in your computer. Some hardware parts include your hard drive, your mother board and your CDROM drive.

Intel: Intel is a processor and chipset manufacturer.

Internet Security Software: Internet security software is software that protects from various types of malware and several different internet threats. Most internet security software includes a software firewall, virus scanner, sometimes a spyware scanner and protects from numerous other internet threats including worms and Trojan horses. We recommend Norton Internet Security and Zone Alarm security suite.

Internet Threat*: A threat (as defined below) that comes directly or indirectly from the internet. This includes hackers, Trojan horses, email viruses, worms, and website viruses.
Threat: For the purposes of this class a threat is any harmful program, virus, worm, etc. that attacks, infects or interferes with the performance of your computer. A program that uses your computer to commit illegal or harmful acts with out interfering directly with the performance of your computer is also a threat.

ISP: ISP is an acronym for Internet Service Provider. An internet service provider is a company that allows you to connect to the internet.

LAN: LAN is an acronym for Local Area Network. A LAN is a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings.

Laptop: A laptop is a small self contained computer which is small enough to be carried easily. Also called a laptop computer, notebook computer or a notebook.

Machine: Machine is geek speak for computer.

Malware: Malware is software designed specifically to damage or disrupt a computer, such as a virus or a Trojan horse.

McAfee: McAfee makes expensive, low quality, virus scanning software. We have one thing to say about McAfee-NO!

Megabyte (MB): A Megabyte is a unit of measurement used to describe information stored on a computer. 1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte. If a megabyte is an ant, then a gigabyte is an elephant.

Monitor: A monitor is the screen that you interact with when using your computer.

Motherboard: The part of a computer that the rest of the physical parts plug into.

Mozilla: Mozilla is an organization dedicated to creating free, secure software. They make Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client.

MS: MS is an abbreviation for Microsoft.

Network Card: A network card that allows you to talk between computers. It also is necessary if you want to have DSL or cable internet. Also called an NIC card or a Ethernet card.

NIC Card: A card that allows you to talk between computers. It also is necessary if you want to have DSL or cable internet. Also called an Ethernet card or a network card.

Norton: Norton is a high quality computer security software company. They make Norton Anti-Virus, Norton Internet Security, and Norton Personal Firewall.

NVidia: NVidia is a manufacturer of video cards and motherboard chip sets. We recommend both.

Libre Office: A free suite of programs. In the suite is a word processor, a spreadsheet program and many other programs. It is a free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Open Source (Software): Open source software is a program which is able to be modified.

Office Suite Software: Office suite software is a collection of software primarily made for offices. They usually include a word processor, a spreadsheet program and a database program. Microsoft Office, Word Perfect Office and Libre Office are office suite software.

Operating System: An operating system is the program that all of the other programs on your computer run off of. It is like a motherboard for software.

OS: OS is an acronym for Operating System.

Patch: A patch is a small program designed to fix a problem in another program. Patches are often release for Microsoft Windows and also for most other programs in general. Patches are sometimes called updates.

Photo Editing Software: Photo software modifies or enhances photographs. Examples: Ms Picture Editor (Simplistic, included with Windows), Photo Deluxe (easy to learn, affordable), Photosuite (easy to learn, affordable), Paintshop Pro (not as easy to learn but not too difficult, affordable), Adobe Photoshop (fast processor, excellent program, not easy to figure out on your own, designed for professional photographers, expensive.)

Processor: The processor is the brain of the computer. It controls the flow information. Helps determine the perceived "Speed" of the computer. This determines how quickly applications can run. It is headquarters. Also, called a CPU.

Proprietary: A proprietary part is a piece of hardware specifically designed for one company's computers. A consequence of proprietary parts is higher cost to replace. Manufacturers such as Dell and HP use proprietary parts.

RAM (memory): Random Access Memory. Temporary storage of information. The more you have, the better.

Router: A router is a device which can allow more than one computer to a broadband connection. It also works as a hardware firewall.

RPM: RPM is an acronym for rotations per minute. It is used to describe the speed at which a hard drive spins.

RW: RW stands for Re-writeable. This is used when discussing CD Burners and DVD Burners.

Screenshot: A screenshot is a picture of a certain screen on your computer. For instance, if you always get an error, you can take a screenshot and take it to your technician for more information.

Search Engine: A search engine is a website that searches the rest of the internet for a topic of your choosing. Some examples of a search engine are,, and

Ship: In geek speak ship means to make a computer then send it out. "They won't ship a computer with a floppy drive."

Software: Software is all the programs, such as Microsoft Word, and other non-tangible things, such as drivers, on your computer.

Speaker: A speaker is a small device that allows you to hear the audio coming from your computer.

Spread Sheet: A spread sheet program is designed to collect and organize data. Most spread sheet programs can also do simple and/or complex calculations. Examples: Excel (included in most MS Office packages), MS Works, Libre Office spread sheet, Corel Word Perfect Office.

Spyware: Spyware is a program on your computer that is usually downloaded that tracks your internet use or steals personal information and sends it back to its home base or maker so it can send you pop-us and spam. If you spend more time closing pop-ups than using the internet you probably have spyware.

Spyware Scanner: A spyware scanner checks your computer for spyware and removes it.

Start-up programs: Startup programs are programs which start when you turn on your computer, whether you need them or not. You see them in the lower right hand corner of your computer.

System: A computer.

Temporary Internet Files: Temporary internet files are small files that allow your computer to revisit a website with out having to reload all of the information each time.

Updates: Updates are usually enhancements to existing programs. Virus scanning and spyware scanning software update to keep up to date on the latest viruses and spyware.

User: User is geek speak for a person who uses a computer but doesn't know how their computer works.

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is an abbreviation for wireless internet connection allows computers to connect to the internet through to a network with out cables.

Wireless Internet Connection: A wireless internet connection allows computers to connect to the internet through to a network with out cables. Also called Wi-Fi*.

Word Processor: A word processor is a program in which you create letters or other documents. Examples: MS Word (included in most MS Office packages), MS Works, WordPerfect, Libre Office word processor.




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