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Technology Dictionary

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An alphabetical listing of General terms and items.

 
Mac   Dico Tools
The Apple Corporation's alternative to the PC, much loved by its devotees but completely incompatible with PCs, though some popular software is also released in Mac format.


Mac   Dico Tools
The Apple Corporation's alternative to the PC, much loved by its devotees but completely incompatible with PCs, though some popular software is also released in Mac format.


Mac Address   Dico Tools
The unique serial number of an Ethernet card, required for connecting a PC to a network. (Nothing to do with Apple Macs, despite the name).


Macintosh   Dico Tools
The Apple Corporation's alternative to the PC, much loved by its devotees but completely incompatible with PCs, though some popular software is also released in Mac format.


Macro   Dico Tools
A small program used to automate repetitive or complex tasks. The Windows equivalent is a wizard.


Mailbomb   Dico Tools
One or more very large emails, sent to someone maliciously to stop them being able to use their mailbox and/or internet connection, because all the available bandwidth is being used up downloading the mailbomb(s). Most ISPs will close down any account responsible for mailbombing. See also DoS (Denial of Service).


Malware   Dico Tools
A catch-all term for software installed by stealth onto a PC for malevolent purposes (hence the name). These may include displaying unwanted ads (adware), installing software you didn't ask for, or spying on your activities (spyware) and reporting them back to the culprit so that he can steal your bank account, address book etc.


Mbps   Dico Tools
(MegaBits Per Second) A measure of speed of information flow over a network (and if it's measured in Mbps, it's reasonably quick.) A Megabit is one million bits. See also bps, Kbps.


Megabyte   Dico Tools
Unit of measurement for pieces of information : approximately 1 million bytes or a thousand kilobytes. Often shortened to Meg or just M. See also Gigabyte, Kilobyte, Byte.


MegaHertz   Dico Tools
(Megahertz). Millions of cycles per second. Most often used as a measurement of a PC processor chip's speed and power, with bigger numbers meaning more speed and a higher price. See also GHz.


Megapixel   Dico Tools
A million pixels. Often used to measure the quality of digital cameras : the higher the number the better the camera.


Memory   Dico Tools
Also known as RAM. Where the computer holds whatever you are currently working on. The contents of memory are lost when the computer is switched off.


MFD   Dico Tools
(Multi Function Device). A combined printer, scanner, photocopier and fax machine.


MHz   Dico Tools
(Megahertz). Millions of cycles per second. Most often used as a measurement of a PC processor chip's speed and power, with bigger numbers meaning more speed and a higher price. See also GHz.


Micro   Dico Tools
(Microcomputer) When desktop computers first appeared in the 1970's, they were often called microcomputers, later shortened to micro, to distinguish them from the so-called minicomputers of the day, which far from sitting on a desk were a good deal bigger than it! There was also a popular home computer called the BBC Micro, now long obsolete.


Micro-filter   Dico Tools
A device which allows you to use an ordinary phone over a telephone line set up for an ADSL internet connection. Sometimes just called a filter.


Microsoft   Dico Tools
By far the largest software provider for PCs, they created Windows, Microsoft Office (which includes Word, Excel, Access and Powerpoint), Internet Explorer, Outlook and many other widely used programs.


MIDI   Dico Tools
(Musical Instrument Digital Interface; pr. "middy") A very popular standard for controlling musical instruments connected to computers. Many soundcards have a built-in synthesizer which can play back MIDI files, though if it's a cheap one they probably won't sound very good. A MIDI file is a set of instructions to play particular notes at particular intervals in particular styles, not a recording.


MIME   Dico Tools
(Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension; pr. "mime") An encoding system used in email, mainly for sending attachments. Email was originally designed to just use plain text, so programs, graphics etc have to be sort of disguised as text for email systems to be able to handle them. MIME is more powerful than its predecessor, UUENCODE (pr. you-you-encode), but not all systems accept it.


MLM   Dico Tools
(Multi-Level Marketing) A scam similar to pyramid selling, once much in evidence on the internet, particularly in spam. Despite the claims of those promoting MLM, it is of dubious legality in most jurisdictions.


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MMORPG   Dico Tools
(Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). An online role-playing game (RPG) designed to played by thousands of players simultaneously, such as Everquest or Warcraft.


Modem   Dico Tools
(MOdulator/DEModulator) A device for allowing computers to communicate over a phone line. May be either an expansion card, or an external device plugged into one of the serial ports.


Monitor   Dico Tools
The screen of a PC.


Motherboard   Dico Tools
The main circuitboard in the computer - all the other bits and pieces are plugged into it.


Mouse   Dico Tools
A device used to move a pointer around on the computer screen. Essential to get the most out of Windows, though it is not quite impossible to use Windows without one.


MP3   Dico Tools
(MPeg-1 audio layer 3). A very popular standard for compressing audio and particularly music files down to a reasonable size with little or no perceptible loss of quality, and the files created using it - "an MP3" is an audio file. See MPEG, Compression.


MPEG   Dico Tools
(Motion Picture Experts Group; pr. "em-peg") A set of standards for compressing video and audio files, and the committee that came up with them. Also, often used to mean movie files created to the MPEG standard.



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