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EEK! A Mouse on My Desk? A Wizard in My Window! What is this STUFF?
By: Janet L. Hall
I sometimes forget, as many of you might, that not everyone I talk or
write to is as knowledge as I am using a computer or the Internet. Now Iím
not claiming to be an expert, but I do have a lot of experience.
My computer experience started long before PCís were on every desk or
the Internet. At first I was a key card operator. I typed information onto
a long card, a Holerith. Some of you might remember these cards in your
phone or utility bill. DO NOT BEND, FOLD, STAPLE, or PUNCH!
I went from punching cards to teaching a software program, ALL-IN-1.
Then for almost eight years I didnít go near a computer. A mouse, whatís
that? Windows, Instant Messaging, Internet, Browser Ė I didnít have a
clue!! However because of the limited knowledge I had acquired, I soon
found myself able to figure out and maneuver my way around a computer and
You are probably wondering why Iím telling you all this.
Well, last year when I was at a conference, I heard many of the
attendees asking, "Do I really need a web site or email for my
business? I donít even know what a browser is, let alone HTML
Not everyone has the experience that you or I might. Everyday thousands
of people are turning on a computer for the first time or getting on the
Internet for the first time. Or worse, fed up and frustrated because they
donít have any help. Here's what some of that "stuff" means:
Address-Location of a file or Web Page. On the Internet, also know as
Backup-Save your computer information on your hard drive that you save
to another form of media.
Boot-To start up your computer
Browser-Sometimes called a Web Browser. This is the software program
you use to move around the Internet, such as Internet Explorer, Netscape.
Cache-Temporary storage area for Windows and Internet places recently
used files, or pages visited.
Case Sensitive-The difference between upper case letters and lower case
letters, such as JANET or janet.
CD-ROM-Computer Disc Read-Only Memory. High capacity storage. Also
known as a CD.
CD-ROM Drive-Hardware device needed to use a CD. Can be internal or
Click-Press and release the left or right side of your mouse.
Clipboard-Temporary stored information that youíve Cut or Copied from
a program, file, or document that you might want to paste into another
program, file, or document.
Command Prompt-symbol that looks like C:\ or A:\. A place where you
might need to type instructions Ė commands.
CPU-Central Processing Unit, Chip in your computer thatís responsible
for executing program instructions.
Cursor-Little blinking line on your computer screen that shows you
where you are or where your next letter will appear when you type.
Default-predicted setting, such as whenever you create a document, the
font and font size are always the same setting unless you change it.
Defragmentation-Process of rewriting files to adjacent sections of a
hard disk. Parts of files can become fragmented Ė spread over different
areas of your hard disk (drive) which causes slower disk speed.
Dial-Up Network-A way to connect to the Internet through a modem and
Disk Drive-Hardware where your files are stored, typically labeled C:\
Download-Copy files from one computer to another, such as download a
file or program from the Internet to your computer.
Driver-Software to control hardware, such as a print driver.
DVD-High-capacity compact disc that can store data. Must have a DVD
disc drive or player.
E-Mail-Electronic messages sent over the Internet or a network.
Favorite-Link to a favorite Web page you have saved the address to.
Think of this as a shortcut to pages you like to visit often but donít
want to remember or type the address in each time you want to visit.
HTML-Hypertext Markup Language is a language used to create Web pages.
Sometimes referred to as HTML Code.
Home Page-Introductory or *main * page of a Web site.
Icon-Picture representing a program, or other items, such as the icon
on your desktop of MY Computer.
Internet-Worldwide network of computers
Internet Service Provider (ISP)-Company that provides you with Internet
access using your modem or other * connecting *device, such as DSL.
Link-Text, usually blue, or a picture you can click on to go (move or
jump) from one location to another.
Log On-Identifying yourself to gain access to a computer or a Web site,
usually requiring you to type in your user name and a password.
Menu-List of commands or options that appear at the top of most
Menu bar-Bar at top of screen that contains command buttons File, Edit,
Modem-Hardware to transmit data from one computer to another using a
Mouse Pointer-Sometimes referred to as Pointer. An icon, usually an
arrow that appears on your screen and is controlled by the mouse. Move
your pointer to click on a menu, link, icon, etc.
Network-Two or more connected computers that are used to share
Reboot-To restart your computer without shutting down completely.
Right-Click-The right button on a mouse when clicked will display a
Search Engine-Tool that searches the Web for information you are
Shortcut-Icon that links to a file, folder, or program.
Shut Down-Command that lets your computer know you are about to turn it
Taskbar-Tool to navigate and open programs. Usually located at the
bottom of your screen. Contains the Start button and other icons.
Toolbar-Set of buttons you can click on to perform tasks.
Universal Serial Bus-USB. Hardware for external device connections.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)-address, usually starts with http://
Window-Portion of screen that displays what you are looking at or what
you have open.
Wizard-Tool or instructions that will walk you through a task.
World Wide Web (Web)-Graphical multimedia portion of the Internet.
I couldnít possibly list all computer definitions in this article but
I hope this small list will help you understand some of the terms and
abbreviations that are second nature to some of us. <g> (that means
grin! But thatís another lesson).
They are many places on the Internet where you can find computer
dictionaries but donít forget you can click on Help at the top of your
screen and click on Index and type in a definition or term you are looking
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