Computer Basics (Continued)



Peripherals-- are devices connected to a computer which aren't a part of the main machine. Examples are a mouse, speakers, keyboards, printers, scanners, etc.

RAM-- Random Access Memory, the computer's "short term" memory used whenever an action is performed by a program. It is also called the "active memory". RAM is what the computer uses to run all applications. The amount of RAM in your computer is fixed, but it can be increased. It is one of the two kinds of memory that dealers will use to describe a computer's capabilities. Programs will often specify that a certain amount of RAM is required in order for the application to run correctly. RAM is usually specified in Megs or MB. (The other kind of memory dealers refer to is "storage" memory or hard drive size. It usually is specified in Gigs or GB.)

ROM-- Read-Only Memory, in which information is saved once and can never be altered. For example, CD-ROM drives read information saved on compact disks (CD's). A CD-ROM drive can read that information, but cannot make changes to it, for that you need a CD-RW drive. Some ROM is built into your computer to help it get started when you turn it on.

Software- also called an application; this is any information a computer uses to perform a task; also, any information saved on a disk.

Spyware--Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

System- specific pieces of software that your computer needs to run. For example, it is the system, which converts your typed keystrokes into letters displayed on a monitor screen

URL- Universal Resource Locator--A web address (ex-

USB- stands for Universal Serial Bus (the plug is very flat and has no pins or prongs). This is a style of port connection that is used by many peripheral devices such as Palm Pilots, phones, scanners, printers etc. This type of connection is much faster than more traditional kind of connections such as serial and parallel ports (often used by older printers these ports have plugs with little screws attached).

Virus--A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems

Webcast- "Webcasting" is a term that describes the ability to use the Web to deliver live or delayed versions of sound or video broadcasts.

Windows- this term can be confusing. The same term refers to several different things. One is a graphic way of displaying information on a screen, in windows, that allow you to view the contents of each window as if they are loose pages on a desk that can be shuffled around. Windows are very useful because they can be opened, closed, stacked, sorted, resized, and moved, so you can move very quickly from one application or file to another.
A second thing that Windows refers to is a series of operating systems sold by the Microsoft Corporation called "Windows ___" (i.e. Windows ME, Windows XP, etc.). These are operating systems show information in a graphic interface format, complete with icons, mouse cursor, etc. Finally, applications are sold that call themselves windows-based. This means they work within a windows environment or operating system. A Mac user must use mac-based programs.



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