Lexicon

This page defines a limited number of technical terms used in the context of this blog. If a technical term is not found on this page, please do a “Google Search” or go to http://www.webopedia.com/ for a definition.

Backup

The data, information and software used and stored on a computer, to make the computer produce the expected results for the end-user.  If any of the above is damaged or destroyed due to a computer malfunction or virus, the inconveniences and costs can be dramatic, especially if that information cannot be recuperated. Therefore, it is most advisable to regularly take a copy of all the above to be in a position to recuperate quickly in the event of a disaster. This copying action and resulting file are called a backup.

Circuit memory (Semiconductor memory)

Integrated circuits consisting of silicon-based transistors used as primary memory but also for other purposes in computers and other digital electronic devices. There are two main types of semiconductor memory: volatile and non-volatile. Non-volatile circuit memory can retain the stored information even when not powered. Since the price of non-volatile circuit memory has come down dramatically over the last several years, it is now used to replace peripheral based memory, such as hard drives. This is why the iPad is so thin. It has no hard drive to store software and data.

Cloud Computing

The delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. Shared computing and storage resources, software and information are provided to computers, tablets and smartphones, free or as a metered service over a network (typically the Internet). Cloud computing do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services. Since all the end-user information is stored in one place, users don’t have to worry about synchronizing this information even if they use various devices to access that information. The advent of smartphones in addition to personal computers has rendered this type of service very appealing and popular.

Computer

A computer is an electronic device incorporating the following components:

  1. a processor to execute instructions supplied by software,
  2. main memory to store the computer instructions and the data it is working on,
  3. auxiliary memory to store all of the computer software and all the computerized user data,
  4. input and output facilities (screen + keyboard + microphone+…) to communicate with its user,
  5. an operating system, such as Windows 7, to operate and manage all of the above.

Computers come in many forms: personal desktop and laptop computer, tablets, smartphone, GPS, most of the instruments in use today, etc.

Throughout the text the expression computer may refer to any or all of the above. I invite you to read article “6.1 – What is a computer?” to better understand computers.

Download

The action of copying an application or data from a supplier’s computer to your own computer over a network or the internet.

Personal computing

Personal computing includes all equipment and technologies used by individuals to meet their communications and information processing needs. This include personal computers and their peripherals, local area networks, the Internet, smart phones and tablets, and they incorporate all the functionality i.e. camera, GPS, etc.. plus services that serve and support these individuals.

Paperless

An operational environment where everything is done electronically using computers, tablets or smartphones, and all data and information is stored on computers, therefore requiring no paper. An example: Apple is paperless. When you buy at an Apple store, the clerk takes your order on his smartphone and enters all of the required information on his smartphone including your credit card information. The order is processed on Apple’s computers and all the information is stored on their computers for future references. Your receipt is emailed to your email address. During the whole transaction, no paper is used since everything is done electronically, hence “paperless”.

Smartphones

A smartphone is a high-end mobile phone built on a mobile computing platform (Apple iOS5, Google Android, Blackberry OS,…), with advanced computing ability and connectivity. Modern smartphones typically include a personal digital assistant (PDA), a mobile phone, a portable media players, compact digital cameras, a pocket video cameras, a GPS navigation unit, a high-resolution touchscreens, web browsers that can access and properly display standard web pages, high-speed data access via Wi-Fi and mobile broadband, and a variety of other functionality depending on the make and model.

Tethering

Tethering means sharing the Internet connection of an Internet-capable mobile phone with other devices, such as a PC. This sharing can be offered over a wireless LAN (Wi-Fi), Bluetooth, or by physical connection using a cable. In the case of tethering over wireless LAN, the feature may be branded as a mobile hotspot. The Internet-connected mobile phone acts as a portable router when providing tethering services to others. Many mobile phones are equipped with software to offer tethered Internet access.

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