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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.

NAT - POL

  • native - In computer systems, native means "original" or "basic.
  • native app - A native application is a software program that is developed for use on a particular platform or device.
  • native code - Native code is computer programming (code) that is compiled to run with a particular processor and its set of instructions.
  • natural language - In computing, natural language refers to a human language such as English, Russian, German, or Japanese as distinct from the typically artificial command or programming language with which one usually talks to a computer.
  • nearline storage - Nearline storage is the on-site storage of data on removable media.
  • nearshore outsourcing - Nearshore outsourcing is the practice of getting work done or services performed by people in neighboring countries rather than in your own country.
  • neologism - A neologism (pronounced nee-AH-low-djism) is a newly invented word or term.
  • nerd - A nerd is a technically bright but socially inept person.
  • net - "net" is a top-level domain name.
  • net metering - Net metering is a utility resource usage and payment scheme in which a customer who generates their own power is compensated monetarily.
  • network availability - Network availability is the amount of uptime in a network system over a specific time interval.
  • network protocols - Network protocols are sets of established rules that dictate how to format, transmit and receive data so computer network devices -- from servers and routers to endpoints -- can communicate regardless of the differences in their underlying infrastructures, designs or standards.
  • network socket - Sockets are created and used with a set of programming requests or "function calls" sometimes called the sockets application programming interface (API).
  • neuromarketing - Neuromarketing is the study of how people's brains respond to advertising and other brand-related messages by monitoring brainwave activity, eye-tracking and skin response.
  • neutrino - A neutrino is a sub atom ic particle with no electric charge.
  • newbie - A newbie (pronounced NOO-bee) is a novice or neophyte: anyone who is new to any particular type of endeavor, such as a sport or a technology.
  • newton - The newton is the Standard International (SI) unit of force.
  • nibble - In computers and digital technology, a nibble (pronounced NIHB-uhl; sometimes spelled nybble) is four binary digits or half of an eight-bit byte.
  • Nikola Tesla - Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American scientist, electrical engineer, and inventor whose research laid much of the groundwork for modern electrical and communication systems.
  • nil - In general use, nil (a contraction of Latin "nihil") means "nothing" or the absence of something.
  • nomadicity - Nomadicity is the tendency of a person, or group of people, to move with relative frequency.
  • non-geographic number - A non-geographic number, also called a virtual number, is a telephone number associated with a country, but not to any single geographic location within that country.
  • norm - A norm (from norma, Latin for carpenter's square) is a model of what should exist or be followed, or an average of what currently does exist in some context, such as an average salary among members of a large group.
  • normative - In general, normative - pertaining to a norm - has two related meanings: (a prescriptive meaning (for example, the rules specified in a standard or guideline), and (2) a descriptive meaning (for example, the median salary range in an particular occupation).
  • nuclear fusion - Nuclear fusion is an atomic reaction in which multiple atoms combine to create a single, more massive atom.
  • null set - In mathematical sets, the null set, also called the empty set, is the set that does not contain anything.
  • number theory (higher arithmetic) - Number theory, also known as higher arithmetic, is a branch of mathematics concerned with the properties of integer s, rational number s, irrational number s, and real number s.
  • OA&M (operations, administration, and management) - OA&M (operations, administration, and management) is a general term used to describe the costs, tasks involved, or other aspects of operating, administering, and managing something such as a computer network.
  • object code - Source code and object code refer to the "before" and "after" versions of a computer program that is compiled (see compiler) before it is ready to run in a computer.
  • object ID (OID) - An object identifier (OID) is an unambiguous, long-term name for any type of object or entity.
  • obliquity - In systems engineering, obliquity is a theory that proposes the best way to achieve a goal when you are working with a complex system is to take an indirect approach instead of a direct one.
  • Ockham's razor (Occam's razor) - Ockham's razor (also spelled Occam's razor, pronounced AHK-uhmz RAY-zuhr) is the idea that, in trying to understand something, getting unnecessary information out of the way is the fastest way to the truth or to the best explanation.
  • octal - Octal (pronounced AHK-tuhl, from Latin octo or "eight") is a term that describes a base-8 number system.
  • octet - In computers, an octet (from the Latin octo or "eight") is a sequence of eight bit s.
  • OEM (original equipment manufacturer) - OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, is a broad term that describes a web of relationships among IT hardware vendors, hardware component makers, software vendors and channel partners such as resellers and distributors.
  • office cubicle - An idea that is now over 40 years old, the office cubicle is a somewhat partitioned space for one or several workers in what is otherwise an unpartitioned and open building space for offices.
  • offline - Offline is the condition of being capable of but currently not connected to a network of computers or other devices.
  • offshore outsourcing - Offshore outsourcing, a type of business process outsourcing (BPO), is the exporting of IT-related work from the United States and other developed countries to areas of the world where there is both political stability and lower labor costs or tax savings.
  • ohnosecond - An ohnosecond is that very short moment in time during which you realize that you have pressed the wrong key and deleted hours, days, or weeks of work.
  • OK - OK (pronounced oh-KAY and occasionally spelled okay) is a short way to say "I agree.
  • on the fly - In relation to computer technology, "on the fly" describes activities that develop or occur dynamically rather than as the result of something that is statically predefined.
  • on-demand computing - On-demand (OD) computing is an increasingly popular enterprise model in which computing resources are made available to the user as needed.
  • one-banana problem - A one-banana problem is an easily resolved issue.
  • online - Online is the condition of being connected to a network of computers or other devices.
  • onshore outsourcing (domestic outsourcing) - Onshore outsourcing (also called domestic outsourcing) is the obtaining of services from someone outside a company but within the same country.
  • ontology - In general, ontology (pronounced ahn-TAH-luh-djee) is the study or concern about what kinds of things exist - what entities there are in the universe.
  • ooblick - According to Eric Raymond, compiler of The New Hacker's Dictionary, "ooblick" derives from the Dr.
  • open - In information technology, a product or system is described as open when its workings are exposed to the public and capable of being modified or improved by anyone.
  • open system - In a computing context, an open system is an open source operating system, typically composed of coordinated modular components from a number of sources and not reliant upon any proprietary elements.
  • operand - In computers, an operand is the part of a computer instruction that specifies data that is to be operating on or manipulated and, by extension, the data itself.
  • operation - An operation, in mathematics and computer science, is an action that is carried out to accomplish a given task.
  • operations research (OR) - Operations research (OR) is an analytical method of problem-solving and decision-making that is useful in the management of organizations.
  • order of magnitude - An order of magnitude is an exponential change of plus-or-minus 1 in the value of a quantity or unit.
  • Our Favorite Technology Quotations - These are some of our favorite quotations about computers, the Internet, and technology in general.
  • out of the box - "Out of the box" is an expression that describes nonconformal, creative thinking.
  • outsourcing - Outsourcing is a business practice in which a company hires another company or an individual to perform tasks, handle operations or provide services that are either usually executed or had previously been done by the company's own employees.
  • overhead - In business accounting, overhead is general operating expenses, including such items as heat and electricity for the premises, that have no direct relationship to the production or selling of a company's goods and services.
  • packet-switched - Packet-switched describes the type of network in which relatively small units of data called packets are routed through a network based on the destination address contained within each packet.
  • page - On the World Wide Web, a page is a file notated with the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).
  • pagefile - In storage, a pagefile is a reserved portion of a hard disk that is used as an extension of random access memory (RAM) for data in RAM that hasn't been used recently.
  • paper and binding sizes - Standard weights and measures provided by S.
  • para-site - A para-site is a Web site that frames other Web sites or pages within its own site.
  • paradigm - A paradigm (pronounced PEHR-uh-daim, from Greek paradeiknyai - to show side by side) is a pattern or an example of something.
  • paradox - A paradox is a statement or concept that contains conflicting ideas.
  • parallel - In the context of the Internet and computing, parallel means more than one event happening at a time.
  • parallel processing - Parallel processing is a method in computing of running two or more processors (CPUs) to handle separate parts of an overall task.
  • parallel processing software - Parallel processing software manages the execution of a program on parallel processing hardware with the objectives of obtaining unlimited scalability (being able to handle an increasing number of interactions at the same time) and reducing execution time.
  • PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) - PARC is Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, located in Palo Alto, California, in the high-tech area that has become known as Silicon Valley.
  • parity - Parity is a method of detecting errors in data transmissions between computers, while parity bit and parity checking are used in RAID technology to guard against data loss.
  • PC Card - A PC Card (previously known as a PCMCIA card) is a credit card-size memory or I/O device that fits into a personal computer, usually a notebook or laptop computer.
  • PC philanthropy - PC philanthropy is sharing some of the unused resources of your personal computer, especially unused computer cycles, to benefit a social cause.
  • Pepys' weblog - The famous diary that Samuel Pepys (pronounced PEEPS), once the head of England's Navy, kept during the years 1660-1669 is being made available online in the form of a weblog.
  • performance - Performance seems to have two meanings: The speed at which a computer operates, either theoretically (for example, using a formula for calculating Mtops - millions of theoretical instructions per second) or by counting operations or instructions performed (for example, (MIPS) - millions of instructions per second) during a benchmark test.
  • personal operating space (POS) - A personal operating space (POS) is a roughly spherical region that surrounds a portable or handheld digital wireless device operated by a person.
  • personality profile - A personality profile is a knowledge management tool used to provide an evaluation of an employee's personal attributes, values and life skills in an effort to maximize his or her job performance and contribution to the company.
  • pervasive computing (ubiquitous computing) - Pervasive computing, also called ubiquitous computing, is the growing trend of embedding computational capability (generally in the form of microprocessors) into everyday objects to make them effectively communicate and perform useful tasks in a way that minimizes the end user's need to interact with computers as computers.
  • petaflop - A petaflop is a measure of a computer's processing speed and can be expressed as a quadrillion (thousand trillion) floating point operations per second (FLOPS).
  • pharming - Pharming is a scamming practice in which malicious code is installed on a personal computer or server, misdirecting users to fraudulent Web sites without their knowledge or consent.
  • phase-change memory (PCM) - Phase-change memory (PCM) is a form of computer RAM (random-access memory) that stores data by altering the state of the matter from which the device is fabricated.
  • phenomenon - A phenomenon, in a scientific context, is something that is observed to occur or to exist.
  • photometric stereo - Photometric stereo is a computer vision method of analyzing and detailing the contour and reflectivity of a surface in 3D (three-dimensional) space.
  • photonic ink (P-Ink) - Photonic ink (P-Ink) is a substance that can change color electronically.
  • photonics - Photonics is an area of study that involves the use of radiant energy (such as light), whose fundamental element is the photon.
  • physical security - Physical security is the protection of people and systems from damage or loss due to physical events such as fire, flood, disasters, crimes or accidents.
  • pi - Pi is a numerical constant that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter on a flat plane surface.
  • picosecond - A picosecond is one trillionth (10 -12) of a second, or one millionth of a microsecond.
  • pictograph - In graph theory, a pictograph is a graph that shows numerical information by using picture symbols or icons to represent data sets.
  • pie graph (or pie chart) - A pie graph (or pie chart) is a specialized graph used in statistics.
  • pin or PIN - A pin is a pronged contact as part of a signal interface in a computer or other communications device.
  • ping strangeness - Ping strangeness is a term used in troubleshooting to describe the incidence of an unusual pattern of ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets being sent to a specific network node or an unusual number of error messages returning.
  • pipelining - In computers, a pipeline is the continuous and somewhat overlapped movement of instruction to the processor or in the arithmetic steps taken by the processor to perform an instruction.
  • pixel - The pixel (a word invented from "picture element") is the basic unit of programmable color on a computer display or in a computer image.
  • pixilated - Pixilated, an adjective derived from pixie (a fairy elf), describes someone who is whimsical or bemused, slightly drunk (tipsy), or, according to Webster's, "somewhat unbalanced mentally.
  • placeshifting - Placeshifting (or place shifting) is a technology that allows anyone with a broadband Internet connection to have video streams from their home television set or personal video recorder (PVR) forwarded for viewing at any location where they have a computer display and a high-speed Internet connection.
  • platform - A computer platform is an underlying computer system on which application programs can run, or, in general, any base of technologies on which other technologies or processes are built.
  • plesiochronous - Plesiochronous (pronounced plee-see-AH-krun-us, from Greek plesos, meaning close, and chronos, meaning time) is an adjective that describes operations that are almost, but not quite, in synchronization - in other words, almost synchronous.
  • plug-in - Plug-in applications are programs that can easily be installed and used as part of your Web browser.

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  • DRAM (dynamic random access memory)

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  • RAID 10 (RAID 1+0)

    RAID 10, also known as RAID 1+0, is a RAID configuration that combines disk mirroring and disk striping to protect data.

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    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

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