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Computing fundamentals

Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

THI - WHO

  • thin-film transistor (TFT) - A display screen made with TFT (thin-film transistor) technology is a liquid crystal display (LCD), common in notebook and laptop computers, that has a transistor for each pixel (that is, for each of the tiny elements that control the illumination of your display).
  • thing (in the Internet of Things) - A thing, in the context of the Internet of things (IoT), is an entity or physical object that has a unique identifier, an embedded system and the ability to transfer data over a network.
  • thread-safe - In computer programming, thread-safe describes a program portion or routine that can be called from multiple programming threads without unwanted interaction between the threads.
  • throughput - Throughput is a term used in information technology that indicates how many units of information can be processed in a set amount of time.
  • TIFF (Tag Image File Format) - TIFF (Tag Image File Format) is a common format for exchanging raster graphics (bitmap) images between application programs, including those used for scanner images.
  • tilde - A tilde (pronounced TILL-duh or TILL-dee) looks like this: ~.
  • Tim Berners-Lee - Tim Berners-Lee is the creator of the World Wide Web and director of the coordinating body for Web development, the W3C.
  • time - Time is an observed phenomenon, by means of which human beings sense and record changes in the environment and in the universe.
  • timeshifting - Timeshifting is the process of recording and storing data for later viewing, listening, or reading.
  • tipping point - The tipping point is the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.
  • token - In general, a token is an object that represents something else, such as another object (either physical or virtual), or an abstract concept as, for example, a gift is sometimes referred to as a token of the giver's esteem for the recipient.
  • toolbar - In the graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer, a toolbar is a horizontal row or vertical column of selectable image "buttons" that give the user a constantly visible reminder of and an easy way to select certain desktop or other application functions, such as saving or printing a document or moving pages forwards or backwards within a Web browser.
  • torque - Torque is a twisting or turning force that tends to cause rotation around an axis; it can also be thought of as the ability of something that is rotating, such as a gear or a shaft, to overcome turning resistance.
  • Total Quality Management (TQM) - Total Quality Management is a management framework based on the belief that an organization can build long-term success by having all its members, from low-level workers to its highest ranking executives, focus on quality improvement and, thus, delivering customer satisfaction.
  • transcendental number - A transcendental number is a real number that is not the solution of any single-variable polynomial equation whose coefficients are all integers.
  • transcription error - A transcription error is a specific type of data entry error that is commonly made by human operators or by optical character recognition (OCR) programs.
  • transition ad - A transition ad is a Web page containing a commercial message that appears temporarily between two other Web pages.
  • transparent - In computers, transparent means something a little different than its general meaning of having the quality of being easily seen through, coming closer to meaning invisible or undetectable.
  • transparent computing - Transparent computing is a characteristic of pervasive computing, the possible future state in which we will be surrounded by computers everywhere in the environment that respond to our needs without our conscious use.
  • transparent GIF - A transparent GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is an image file that has one color assigned to be "transparent" so that the assigned color will be replaced by the browser's background color, whatever it may be.
  • tree network - In telecommunication networks, a tree network is a combination of two or more star networks connected together.
  • trigraph - A trigraph is a three-character replacement for a special or nonstandard character in a text file.
  • trinary - Trinary logic is three-level digital logic, with states represented by the numbers -1, 0, and 1.
  • true multitasking - True multitasking is the capacity of an operating system to carry out two or more tasks simultaneously rather than switching from one task to another.
  • trusted execution environment (TEE) - A trusted execution environment (TEE) is an area on the main processor of a device that is separated from the system’s main operating system (OS) to ensure that sensitive data can be stored and managed in a secure environment.
  • truth table - A truth table is a breakdown of a logic function by listing all possible values the function can attain.
  • Turing Test - A Turing Test is a method of inquiry in artificial intelligence (AI) for determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human being.
  • turnkey - Turnkey is a product or service that is designed, supplied, built, or installed fully complete and ready to operate.
  • twip (twentieth of a point) - A twip (twentieth of a point) is a measure used in laying out space or defining objects on a page or other area that is to be printed or displayed on a computer screen.
  • ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC or Ultra-mobile PC) - Ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) is a design specification for a hand-held computer that is larger than a PDA but smaller than a laptop.
  • ultrabook - An ultrabook is a category of thin and light laptop computers designed to bridge the market gap between tablets and premium notebook PCs.
  • unary - The term unary defines operators in Boolean (binary) algebra, trinary algebra, arithmetic, and set theory.
  • uncertainty principle - The uncertainty principle is the concept that precise, simultaneous measurement of some complementary variables -- such as the position and momentum of a subatomic particle -- is impossible.
  • uncompressing (or decompressing) - Uncompressing (or decompressing) is the act of expanding a compression file back into its original form.
  • Undernet - For terms frequently used in online keyboard chatting, see chat acronyms/IRC/BBS.
  • unified field theory or Theory of Everything (TOE) - Unified field theory is sometimes called the Theory of Everything (TOE, for short): the long-sought means of tying together all known phenomena to explain the nature and behavior of all matter and energy in existence.
  • union symbol - The union symbol () denotes the union of two set s.
  • unique identifier (UID) - A unique identifier (UID) is a numeric or alphanumeric string that is associated with a single entity within a given system.
  • universal constructor - A universal constructor is a device that can self-replicate - that is, make copies of itself.
  • unzipping - Unzipping is the act of extracting the files from a zipped single file or similar file archive.
  • upgrade - In computers, an upgrade is a new version of or addition to a hardware or, more often, software product that is already installed or in use.
  • UpperCamelCase - UpperCamelCase (part of CamelCase) is a naming convention in which a name is formed of multiple words that are joined together as a single word with the first letter of each of the multiple words capitalized within the new word that forms the name.
  • uptime and downtime - Uptime is a computer industry term for the time during which a computer is operational.
  • URL shortening - URL shortening is the translation of a long Uniform Resource Locator (URL) into an abbreviated alternative that redirects to the longer URL.
  • URL-minder - URL-minder is an agent or robot program (bot) that notifies you when a particular Web page has changed.
  • usability - Also see human-computer interaction and graphical user interface.
  • user group - In personal or business computing, a user group is a set of people who have similar interests, goals, or concerns.
  • UTF-16 (16- bit Unicode Transformation Format) - UTF-16 (16- bit Unicode Transformation Format) is a standard method of encoding Unicode character data.
  • utility - In computers, a utility is a small program that provides an addition to the capabilities provided by the operating system.
  • utility computing - Utility computing is a service provisioning model in which a service provider makes computing resources and infrastructure management available to the customer as needed, and charges them for specific usage rather than a flat rate.
  • UXGA (Ultra Extended Graphics Array) - UXGA (Ultra Extended Graphics Array) is a display modein which the resolutionis 1600 pixels horizontally by 1200 pixels vertically (1600 x 1200).
  • value chain - A value chain is "a string of companies working together to satisfy market demands.
  • value-added reseller (VAR) - A value-added reseller (VAR) is a company that resells software, hardware and networking products and provides value beyond order fulfillment.
  • valve - A valve is a mechanism that opens and closes to control the flow of fluids.
  • vandal - A vandal is an executable file, usually an applet or an ActiveX control, associated with a Web page that is designed to be harmful, malicious, or at the very least inconvenient to the user.
  • vanilla - In information technology, vanilla (pronounced vah-NIHL-uh) is an adjective meaning plain or basic.
  • Vannevar Bush - An electrical engineer by training, Vannevar Bush is credited with having the idea of hypertext or "instant cross-referencing," decades before the term itself was conceived by Ted Nelson and before the concept was widely implemented on the World Wide Web.
  • vaporware - Vaporware is software or hardware that is announced publicly and actively promoted by a vendor even though it does not yet exist.
  • varicode - Varicode is a method of binary character encoding in which the number of bits for each character is not fixed, but varies for each character depending on how often that character occurs in general usage.
  • vector - A vector is a quantity or phenomenon that has two independent properties: magnitude and direction.
  • vector graphics rendering (VML) - Vector graphics rendering, sometimes abbreviated VML, refers to scalable vector graphics (SVG) used in Web pages.
  • vectored interrupt - In a computer, a vectored interrupt is an I/O interrupt that tells the part of the computer that handles I/O interrupts at the hardware level that a request for attention from an I/O device has been received and and also identifies the device that sent the request.
  • vendor - A vendor is an individual or company that sells goods or services to somone else in the economic production chain.
  • Venn diagram - A Venn diagram is an illustration of the relationships between and among sets, groups of objects that share something in common.
  • vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) - A vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) is a specialized laser diode that promises to revolutionize fiber optic communications by improving efficiency and increasing data speed.
  • video card (graphics card) - A video adapter (alternate terms include graphics card, display adapter, video card, video board and almost any combination of the words in these terms) is an integrated circuit card in a computer or, in some cases, a monitor that provides digital-to-analog conversion, video RAM, and a video controller so that data can be sent to a computer's display.
  • Vint Cerf (Vinton Gray Cerf) - Vint Cerf (Vinton Gray Cerf) is an American computer scientist best known as an Internet pioneer.
  • virtual - In computing, virtual is a digitally replicated version of something real.
  • virtual commerce (vCommerce, v-commerce, or vCom) - Virtual commerce (sometimes known as vCommerce, v-commerce, or vCom) is a type of application, service, or product feature that helps enterprises implement strategies and design Web sites for e-commerce (the buying and selling of goods and services using the Internet).
  • virtual learning environment (VLE) or managed learning environment (MLE) - A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a set of teaching and learning tools designed to enhance a student's learning experience by including computers and the Internet in the learning process.
  • virtual reality - Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.
  • virtual reality sickness (VR motion sickness) - Virtual reality sickness (VR motion sickness) is the physical discomfort that occurs when an end user's brain receives conflicting signals about self-movement in a digital environment.
  • viseme - A viseme is a generic facial image that can be used to describe a particular sound.
  • vocoder - A vocoder is an audio processor that captures the characteristic elements of an an audio signal and then uses this characteristic signal to affect other audio signals.
  • voice morphing - Voice morphing is the software-generated alteration of a person's natural voice.
  • volatile - In general, volatile (from the Latin "volatilis" meaning "to fly")is an adjective used to describe something unstable or changeable.
  • volatile memory - Volatile memory is computer storage that only maintains its data while the device is powered.
  • von Neumann bottleneck - The von Neumann bottleneck is a limitation on throughput caused by the standard personal computer architecture.
  • wall time (real-world time or wall-clock time) - Wall time, also called real-world time or wall-clock time, refers to elapsed time as determined by a chronometer such as a wristwatch or wall clock.
  • warchalking (war chalking) - Warchalking is a grass roots effort to create a standard iconography for public Wi-Fi access.
  • warez - Warez (pronounced as though spelled "wares" or possibly by some pronounced like the city of "Juarez") is a term used by software "pirates" to describe software that has been stripped of its copy-protection and made available on the Internet for downloading.
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulation (WEEE) - Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulation (WEEE) is a directive in the European Union that designates safe and responsible collection, recycling and recovery procedures for all types of electronic waste.
  • Wave file - A Wave file is an audio file format, created by Microsoft, that has become a standard PC audio file format for everything from system and game sounds to CD-quality audio.
  • wave number - The term wave number refers to the number of complete wave cycles of an electromagnetic field (EM field) that exist in one meter (1 m) of linear space.
  • waving a dead chicken - Waving a dead chicken is a slang expression for an effort to solve a problem even when the effort is expected to be futile.
  • Web application (Web app) - A Web application (Web app) is an application program that is stored on a remote server and delivered over the Internet through a browser interface.
  • Web ring (Webring) - A Web ring (or Webring) is a way of interlinking related Web sites so that you can visit each site one after the other, eventually (if you keep going) returning to the first Web site.
  • Web slate - A Web slate is a wireless Internet appliance that consists of a liquid crystal display (LCD) with a touch screen that allows the user to view and interact with Web pages.
  • Web year - A Web year is the length of time it takes for Internet technology to evolve as much as technology in another environment might evolve in a calendar year.
  • Web-Braille - Web-Braille is a delivery system that allows content to be read on a Braille display or transmitted to a Braille embosser.
  • Webification - Webification (sometimes seen with a lower case w) is the act of converting content from its original format into a format capable of being displayed on the World Wide Web.
  • Webify - The act of converting content from its original format into a format capable of being displayed on the World Wide Web.
  • webmaster - A webmaster is a person who creates and manages the content and organization of a website, manages the computer server and technical programming aspects of a website or does both.
  • WebTV - WebTV, now owned by Microsoft, was one of the first entries in the much publicized convergence of the World Wide Web with television.
  • weenie - On bullet board systems (BBS) and in Internet chatting groups, a weenie is an avid but immature participant who disrupts orderly conversation.
  • Werner Heisenberg - Werner Heisenberg (1901 - 1976), one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, is best known for his contributions to quantum mechanics, specifically for the uncertainty principle in quantum theory.
  • white paper - A white paper is an article that states an organization's position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a not-too-detailed technical explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology.
  • white space device (WSD) - A white space device is an FCC-certified wireless device that can be used without an exclusive broadcast license in the RF spectrum below 700 MHz: underutilized, unlicensed portions of the spectrum called white space.

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