Technology Vocabulary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #



speaker    analog

Definition: Relating to or being a device in which data are represented by variable measurable physical quantities.
Context: They call the wall clock an analog clock.

speaker    animation

Definition: A series of still pictures that appear to be moving.
Context: Some Web sites have graphics that move on the screen called animation.

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speaker    BIOS

Definition: Basic Input Output System is the part of the operating system that handles communication between the computer and all of its peripheral devices (keyboard, printer, mouse, etc.) usually encoded as ROM for protection.
Context: Inside BIOS there's a prescribed table that matches voltage levels with letters and symbols and signs of binary code.

speaker    bit

Definition: A shortened form of "binary digit." It is the smallest unit of information a computer can understand, representing a "0" (off) or a "1" (on).
Context: An electrical connection or signal is sent as bits along the wire to the ROM BIOS chip.

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speaker    CPU

Definition: Central Processing Unit. The computer's microprocessor chip, often referred to as the brains of the computer.  The part of a computer that interprets and executes instructions.
Context: The bits are sent to the computer's brain, the CPU, where they are translated back into words and pictures and symbols on the screen.  It [the computer] needs a brain, a central processing unit for basic operations like adding and subtracting. The CPU is the computer's main coordinator.


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speaker    digital

Definition: Expressed in binary digits or bits (see below) for use by a computer.
Context: A digital clock tells us that time jumps from one second to the next with nothing in between the numbers.


speaker    download

Definition: To transfer (data) from a usually large computer to the memory of another device (such as a smaller computer).
Context: Fans can download concerts for free.

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speaker    e-mail

Definition: Messages sent and received electronically via telecommunications links.
Context: You can send an e-mail message from the U.S. to almost anywhere in the world in just seconds.

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speaker    Floppy Disk

Definition: A portable storage device which stores data in the same way that the hard disk does.
Context: Thousands of instructions in a word processing program are loaded into RAM from some form of external device: either a removable floppy disk or a hard drive.  Newer computing systems use USB ports for external storage or wireless uploads to remote servers.  However, floppy disks are still used in some legacy systems.

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speaker    GPS

Definition: Global Positioning System - a navigation system which utilizes a network of satellite signals for navigation.
Context: GPS, a space based radio navigation system consisting of 24 satellites.

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speaker    Hard Drive

Definition: Storage device usually installed inside the computer's case which holds software programs and data which the computer can retrieve when it needs them.
Context: Thousands of instructions in a word processing program are loaded into RAM from some form of external device: either a removable floppy disk or a hard drive.

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speaker    input

Definition: A device that provides a way of communicating with a computer. Examples include mouse, keyboard, joystick, microphone, scanner, modem.
Context: A computer needs a way to connect to the outside world: a keyboard and a mouse for input, a screen for output.

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speaker    modem

Definition: A device that converts information from your computer into signals that can travel through telephone lines.  A modulator-demodulator is a device that modulates (transforms) digital signals from a computer into the analog form that can then be successfully carried on a standard voice phone line) and demodulates (transforms the analog signals back to digital signals before passing them to the receiving computer).
Context: What makes it all possible is a box that takes digital signals from the computer and turns them into analog signals that can travel on the phone line: a modulator-demodulator or MODEM.
 A modem takes information from your computer and turns it into a signal that can travel through the telephone lines.

speaker    Mouse

Definition: A hand-held device that lets you point to and select items on the monitor screen.
Context: This funny-looking device was the world's first mouse.

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speaker    output

Definition: A device that lets a computer communicate with you. Examples include a monitor, a printer, a set of speakers.
Context: A computer needs a way to connect to the outside world: a keyboard and a mouse for input, a screen for output.


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speaker    RAM

Definition: Random Access Memory is a temporary storage for data which disappears when the computer is turned off.
Context: Think of RAM as something written on the blackboard. When you are finished with the words, you just wipe them out.

speaker    ROM

Definition: Read Only Memory is a permanent storage for data which is essential to the basic operations of the computer.
Context: Think of ROM as letters carved in stone.

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speaker    satellite

Definition: A manufactured object or vehicle intended to orbit the earth, the moon, or another celestial body.
Context: Satellites are manmade robots that are circling earth sending information to us.


speaker    scanner

Definition: A device that allows one to convert pictures into images on the computer.
Context: You can also use a scanner to turn pictures into images on the computer that you can put on your Web site.

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speaker    Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Definition: The address of a Web page, which allows people to find the page on the Internet.
Context: A Web page address is called a URL; that is an acronym that stands for uniform resource locator.

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