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Glossary

A

Access time:
The time required to retrieve information from the computer's memory or from a disk drive, server or network.

ADSL:
Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line - a high speed signal processing technology that expands the usable bandwidth of traditional copper telephone lines.

Applet:
A small application that is downloaded to the browser and run as required. It is then removed from the memory when you move to another web page.

ASCII:
American Standard Code for Information Interchange- an ASCII file contains standard text characters as data.

ASP:
Active Server Pages. ASP is the SSI (Server Side Included) language developed by Microsoft.

ASP:
Application Service Provider - third party organisations that distribute and manage software-based services and applications.

Attachment:
A computer file or document attached to an email message before it is sent.

Authentication:
A system whereby people gain trusted access to systems only through adequate proof of identity.

 

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B

B2B:
Business to business ecommerce. This refers to the increasing number of websites designed to trade with each other over the Internet. These are usually industry specific.

B2C:
Business to client ecommerce. This refers to websites designed to allow consumers to buy goods and services over the Internet.

Backbone:
Main high-speed internet connection path that links the country's Internet Service Providers. There's an Australian and US backbone.

Bandwidth:
The amount of stretch in a network connection, ie its maximum carrying capacity for data traffic.

Bit:
A binary unit of information. In digital data a bit is either 1 or 0.

Bounce:
Bounced mail is email bounced back or returned to the sender when it is not accepted by the destination.

BPS:
Bits Per Second- the data transmission speed of a modem.

Broadband:
A high bandwidth network (carrying voice audio and data simultaneously) allowing for high-speed Internet access.

Browser:
Software that makes it possible for a networked computer to visit Web pages. Common browsers include Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

Byte:
A byte represents one character of data or information and is made up of eight bits.

 

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C

Cache:
A small temporary memory store for regularly accessed or recently used data.

CC:
Carbon Copy is the duplicate of an email document.

Click-through Rate:
An online advertising term which refers to the number of website visitors that click on an online advertisement.

Client:
An individual's desktop PC or work station connected to a network that requests information from a server.

Compression:
The process of making a file smaller for faster transfer and storage.

Cookie:
A simple coded file sent to a Web server every time you visit a site. Cookies allow websites to identify users and customise information based on previous visits.

Country code:
A two letter code identifying the country or location of a host computer such as .au for Australia, .uk for United Kingdom, etc.

Cracking:
The criminal use of other people's computer accounts and software. Not to be confused with hacking.

Cybersquatting:
The registration of a domain name for the purpose of selling it back to the rightful owner for a large sum of money. Refers also to the abusive registration of domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark.

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D

Decryption:
If a message is encrypted for security reasons it must be converted back to text before it can be read.

Denial of Service:
When an intruder floods a Web server with data causing it to slow down or crash.

Digital cash:
A virtual currency system that allows users to purchase goods and services online. The widespread use of digital cash in ecommerce has been hampered be the emergence of a number of alternative payment methods.

Digital certificates:
Attachments made to electronic messages used to authenticate the identity of a sender. Also referred to as digital signatures. Digital certificates will grow in importance in ecommerce as a way of confirming the identity of customers thus avoiding credit card fraud.

DNS :
Domain Name System (DNS) which is the way Internet domain names are located and translated into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Domain name server:
The computer or server that converts numeric IP adresses to domain names and back up again.

Domain name:
Internet adresses are actually IP numbers such as 235.34.65.806. To make these adresses easier to remember a system of domain names was devised to correspond with these numbers.

DSL:
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) - brings high-bandwidth information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines. Variations include ADSL, HDSL and RDSL.

 

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E

Encryption:
Software that scrambles sensitive information and payment details for safe passage and storing on the internet. Particularly important in ecommerce when people provide credit card details.

Eprocurement:
An online system for an organisation's buyers and suppliers to purchase goods and services.

Ethernet:
A popular local area network (LAN) used to connect computers, printers, servers and other devices.

Extranet:
An intranet which allows varying levels of access to outsiders. Usually used to connect a company to its customers and or business partners.

 

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F

Firewall:
A tool separating an internal network and the rest of the Internet thus making the Internet more secure.

Frames:
Part of a Web browser's software that divides your computer screen into several sections or windows.

Framing:
The process of creating a frame or window within a website to display a different website.

Freeware:
Software and utilities made freely available. Although you don't have to pay any fees, freeware is still covered by copyright. FTP: File Transfer Protocol- a system for moving files across networks.

Fulfilment houses:
These are companies created to organise delivery orders following electronic transactions. Fulfilment houses are growing in importance as a standard avenue for exchanging and conducting ecommerce and are often the key to a successful online business.

 

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G

GIF:
Graphics Interchange Format- a file for storing and exchanging pictures.

GPRS:
General Packet Ratio Service- a new wireless technology for WAP and mobile phones, involves breaking data into packets.

 

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H

Hacking:
Hackers are technologically-minded individuals who sniff out problems in computer systems in a quest to enhance their technical competency. Hackers have an undeservedly bad reputation. Not to be confused with cracking.

HDML:
Handheld Device Markup Language. The proprietary language of phone.com. Used to format content for Web-enabled (WAP) phones. Header: The top of an email or newsgroup message that lets you know where the message comes from and when it was posted.

Hits:
This is a highly inaccurate Web traffic measure and is becoming obsolete. Often confused with page impressions, hits refer to the number of links on a page. Therefore one page impression could carry as much as ten or more hits.

Home page:
The opening or entry page of a website. A home page is linked to other pages within a website.

HTML:
Hyper Text Markup Language- the tags used to mark text documents for publication on the World Wide Web.

HTTP:
Hyper Text Transport Protocol- the standard used for sharing information on the Internet. Hypertext: Hypertext is a hyperlinked piece of text which links to another section of a page, another section of a site or to another site altogether.

 

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I

Internet radio:
Internet only radio stations are websites that use audiostreaming to webcast and link users to a live audio feeds. There are now many players in the internet radio space.

Intranet:
An intranet is a private or internal computer network that uses technology similar to the Internet to disseminate information within an organisation.

IRC:
Internet Relay Chat- a chat system that requires software running on your computer.

ISDN:
Integrated Services Digital Network- a high-speed digital communications medium used for fast connection to the Internet and for video-conferencing.ISDN is transmitted digitally over ordinary telephone lines, delivering Web pages at up to 128Kbps.

ISP:
Internet Service Provider- an organisation that allows users to dial into its computers to connect to the wider Internet for a fee.

 

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J

Java:
A cross-platform, secure programming language created by Sun Microsystems used to write Java applets and allow applications to be developed and sent across the Web.

JavaScript:
A set of programming commands (unrelated to Java) created by Netscape for inclusion in Web pages.

JPEG:
Joint Photographic Experts Group- a format for storing graphics files that allows them to be compressed.

 

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K

Kbps:
Kilobits per second. A unit of measurement indicating the speed at which data is transferred over phone lines.

KBps:
Kilobytes per second. A unit of measurement indicating the speed at which data is transferred over phone lines.

 

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L

LAN:
Local Area Network- Two or more personal computers linked together in order to share programs, data, email, printers and other peripherals such as modems.

Listserv:
A server on the internet that sends a newsletter to registered users. Usually a type of mailing list or newsletter that exists amongst a particular group of enthusiasts.

Log File:
A server log file records the time, date and email address of each visitor to a website, providing the website owner with information on the Internet traffic to their site.

 

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M

Mailing list:
A list of people who receive email on a particular topic.

MB:
Megabyte- a common measurement of computer storage equalling approximately one million bytes.

Mbps :
Megabits per second.

Meta
Tags: Meta Tags are the key words embedded in the opening page of a website that allow search engines to categorise websites.

MHz:
Megahertz- a system measuring a computer system's speed. One MHz is equivalent to one million cycles per second.

MIME:
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions- an Internet standard for transferring sound and pictures by using email.

Mirror site:
A website that contains exactly the same information as another site elsewhere in the world. A method used to spread the load on popular sites.

Modem:
The hardware that connects your computer to an ISP through the telephone network. Derived from the words modulate and demodulate.

Moderator:
A moderator ensures all contributions to a newsgroup are suitable before sending them.

MP3:
MPEG 3 is a compressed sound file. MP3 also refers to the growing trend of downloading sound files from the Internet and playing them on the PC or MP3 players.

MPEG:
Motion Picture Experts Group- a standard for compressing audio and video data.

MUD:
Multiple User Dungeon or Domain- a Net space designed and inhabited by users who adopt a role or identity and type in their character's actions. The popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons is an example.

 

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N

Newsgroup:
A newsgroup is a series of public messages posted on the Internet which are devoted to a specific subject. A message is publicly posted and others reply on the topic.

 

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O

OS:
Operating System- the basic software that controls a computer's fundamental operations. Common OS's include Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

 

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P

Page impressions:
One page impression means one person has seen a Web page once. The number of page impressions should not include refreshed pages.

PKI:
Public Key Infrastructure- the combination of software, encryption technologies and services that enables businesses to protect the security of its information and financial transactions on the Internet.

Plug-in:
An add-on feature for your browser that increases functionality, such as providing multimedia capabilities.

POP:
Points of Presence- used by ISPs to give local dial-in access to a network service.

Pop-up box:
An online advertisement that appears or pops up in a separate box or window over the top of a website's content. Pop-up boxes can be closed down by the users or will expire after a set time.

Portal:
A horizontal portal acts as a gateway or one stop shop for Net users, offering a range of services such as news, search engines and links to other sites. Portal examples include Exite, Looksmart and Yahoo.

PPP:
Point to Point Protocol- a direct connection to the Net from your computer, via a modem and phone line.

Proxy:
A server used as a store for commonly accessed files. Speeds up Net use.

 

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R

RAM:
Random Access Memory- a temporary memory storage area to load program instructions and store files while in use. Information stored in RAM will be lost once the computer is turned off unless a file is saved to disk or hard drive.

Reach:
A division of the unique users by the total Internet population during a reported time period. The idea is to show how many of all Net users a particular site has reached.

RealAudio:
RealAudio is a brand of software that allows Web servers to send sound. Versions that use streaming technology are also available.

Return users:
The number of users who visited a site more than once (returned). Not to be confused with unique visitors.

Router:
A device used to transfer packets from a computer to one network (LAN) to other computers on other networks via the fastest and most efficient route.

 

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S

Search engine:
A program that searches indexes of addresses using keywords. The depth of the search is up to you and or the extent of its index.

Server:
Any computer that's connected to a network that stores information and makes it available to outside users.

SET:
Secure Electronic Transaction- the current security standard for online payments. set encrypts and uses digital certificates to verify customers, merchants and banks are authorised to use and accept credit cards.

Shareware:
Copyright protected software that is publicly distributed on the condition that if a user trials a program and decides to keep using it they will send a payment to the author.

Shockware Flash:
A Macromedia program which allows animation files to be played on the internet.

Shopping basket:
A software system designed for online shopping sites that records individual items for purchase in the form of an order.

Smartcards:
These are credit card sized devices that contain a computerchip. They can be used for a variety of payment options- credit, debit and stored-value electronic cash- as well as storage of financial and personal information.

Spam:
An unsolicited piece of advertising sent en masse via email or posted to a newsgroup.

SSL:
Secure Sockets Layer- a technology developed by Netscape which allows Internet browsers to automatically encrypt private data, such as credit card numbers, before sending it over the Internet.

Streaming:
A method of delivering sound and video files "live" as they arrive at your computer.

 

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T

TCP/IP:
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol- a system of communications that enables computers with different architectures and operating systems to communicate to the Internet.

Telco:
Telephone company. General term for Optus, Testra or Vodaphone.

TIFF:
Tagged Image File Format- a common graphics file format used for still images.

 

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U

Unique Users:
Refers to the number of different users who visited a website within a given period.

URL:
Uniform Resource Locater. The address system used on the Web.

USB:
Universal Serial Bus. A serial bus on hardware that allows users to plug a peripheral into a USB port.USB ports are standard in PCs and notebooks today.

 

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V

Visit duration:
The average length of users' visits to a particular site. The longer, the better.

Vortal:
A vortal is a (vertical market) portal designed to appeal to a specific niche audience. For example, a vortal could be designed for a specific industry, age or life-style group.

VRML:
Virtual Reality Modeling Language- a programming language for the creation of virtual worlds. Using a VRML viewer you can take a virtual tour of a 3D model building or manipulate 3D animations.

 

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W

WAN:
Wide Area Network- a computer network that covers a wide geographic area and is joined by dedicated lines.

WAP:
Wireless Application Protocol- a new technology for mobile phone networks that allows Internet access using hand-sets. It is believed that WAP will lead to a variety of other wireless technologies and services that will revolutionise the way people use their mobile phones and other appliances.

 

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Z

ZIP:
Software files compresses into .ZIP format so they take up less space. The process of compression is called zipping and decompression is called unzipping.

 

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