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Web Glossary
Here you will find descriptions of the most popular computer or internet terminologies.


A unit of data sent across a network. Packet is a generic term used to describe a unit of data at any layer of the OSI protocol stack, but it is most correctly used to describe application layer data units (application protocol data units, APDUs).
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Packet Switching
The method used to move data around on the Internet. In packet switching, all the data coming out of a machine is broken up into chunks; each chunk has the address of where it came from and where it is going. This enables chunks of data from many different sources to co-mingle on the same lines, and be sorted and directed to different routes by special machines along the way. This way many people can use the same lines at the same time.
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Parallel Port
A parallel interface for connecting an external device such as a printer. Most personal computers have both a parallel port and at least one serial port. On PCs, the parallel port uses a 25-pin connector (type DB-25) and is used to connect printers, computers and other devices that need relatively high bandwidth. It is often called a Centronics interface after the company that designed the original standard for parallel communication between a computer and printer. (The modern parallel interface is based on a design by Epson.)
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When two domains point to the same IP Address
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A secret series of characters that enables a user to access a file, computer or program. On multi-user systems, each user must enter a password before the computer will respond to commands. The password helps ensure that unauthorized users do not access the computer. In addition, data files and programs may require a password. Ideally, the password should be something that nobody could guess. Most people choose a password that is easy to remember, such as their name or their initials. This is one reason it is relatively easy to break into most computer systems.
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PGP - Pretty Good Privacy
A freeware program, developed by Philip Zimmermann, that allows a user to send e-mail messages to anyone in the world, in complete privacy. One can also send authentication with your messages so that the recipient can verify the source of the message. You can encrypt sensitive files on your computer so that the files remain private even if your computer and disks are stolen.
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PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is a server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. In an HTML document, PHP script (similar syntax to that of Perl or C) is enclosed within special PHP tags. Because PHP is embedded within tags, the author can jump between HTML and PHP (similar to ASP and Cold Fusion) instead of having to rely on heavy amounts of code to output HTML. Because PHP is executed on the server, the client cannot view the PHP code. PHP can perform any task any CGI program can, but its strength lies in its compatibility with many types of databases. Also, PHP can talk across networks using IMAP, SNMP, NNTP, POP3 or HTTP.
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PING - Packet Internet Groper
An Internet program used to determine whether a specific IP address is accessible. It works by sending a packet to the specified address and waiting for a reply, then reporting how many hops are required to connect two Internet hosts. PING is used primarily to troubleshoot Internet connections. There are many freeware and shareware PING utilities available for personal computers.
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The type of computer or operating system on which a software application runs. For example, some common platforms are PC, Macintosh, Unix and NeXT. When someone knows more than one of these platforms or when a program can be used on more than one of these platforms, it is termed cross-platform.
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POP - Post Office Protocol
POP refers to the protocol used by e-mail software, such as Eudora or Outlook Express, to retrieve electronic mail from a mail server. The protocol used by mail clients to retrieve messages from a mail server. This includes POP1, POP2, and POP3, the number denoting the different version number of the protocol. POP3 is the most common e-mail standard. POP is the protocol used by mail clients to retrieve messages from a mail server.
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1. A place where information goes into or out of a computer, or both. For instance, the serial port on a personal computer is where a modem would be connected. 2. On the Internet, port often refers to a number that is part of a URL, appearing after a colon (:) right after the domain name. Every service on an Internet server "listens" on a particular port number on that server. Most services have standard port numbers; Web servers normally listen on port 80. Services can also listen on non-standard ports, in which case the port number must be specified in a URL when accessing the server, so you might see a URL of the form: gopher://peg.cwis.uci.edu:7000/ which shows a gopher server running on a non-standard port (the standard gopher port is 70). 3. To port is to translate a piece of software to bring it from one type of computer system to another, e.g. to translate a Windows program so that is will run on a Macintosh.
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PPP - Point-to-Point Protocol
Communication protocol used over serial lines to support Internet connectivity.
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Protocol is a set of rules governing behavior in certain situations. Foreign diplomats learn local protocol to ensure that they behave correctly in another country. The protocols ensure that there are no communication breakdowns or serious misunderstandings. Computers need protocols, too, to ensure that they can communicate with each other correctly and to ensure data is exchanged correctly. The Internet is made up of various protocols for various functions.
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