Glossary: A

This page contains glossary terms beginning with the letter A.
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Word or Term Description or Explanation
Abbreviations there are a number of standard abbreviations used to save time and space in emails and postings - here are a few:
AFAIK as far as I know
BCNU be seeing you (get it?)
BRB be right back
BTW by the way
FTF or F2F face to face, as opposed to screen-to-screen interaction
FWIW for what it's worth
FYI for your information
IIRC if I remember correctly
IMHO in my humble opinion
IMO in my opinion
IRL in real life (as opposed to Net.life)
ISR or ISTR I seem to recall
LOL laughing out loud - an expression of humour, surpassed only by ROTFL
OTOH on the other hand
POV point of view
ROTFL rolling on the floor laughing
RSN real soon now
RTFM read the flipping manual!
TIA thanks in anticipation
TLA three-letter acronym
WRT with regard to
YMMV your mileage may vary
Action button a button in a dialogue box which causes some action to occur
Address on the Net, this is an electronic mail address - addresses are often structured person@[subsite.]domain.type.country, e.g. fred@arcade.demon.co.uk. - the type indicates the nature of the organisation running the site, ORGanisation, COmpany, GOVernment, ACademic - not all addresses adhere to this structure.
ADFS Advanced Disc Filing System - this is the proprietary system used by Acorn for organising and storing data on floppy and hard drives
ADSL Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line (Communications) - a method for moving data over regular phone lines - an ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service - an ADSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line - a commonly discussed configuration of ADSL would allow a subscriber to receive data (download) at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes) per second, and to send (upload) data at speeds of 128 kilobits per second, hence the Asymmetric part of the acronym - another commonly discussed configuration would be symmetrical: 384 Kilobits per second in both directions. In theory, ADSL allows download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second - ADSL is often discussed as an alternative to ISDN, allowing higher speeds in cases where the connection is always to the same place
AGP accelerated Graphics Port - an advanced bus specification for PCs which allows a 3D graphics card faster access to the main memory than via the usual PCI bus
AIM Another Image Manager - a suite of image processing software produced by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands
AMD K6/K6-2 alternative PC microprocessors to Intel's Pentium and Pentium II, manufactured by Advanced Micro Devices
AMS Authorised Manufacturing Sub-licensee - the name given by RISCOS Ltd to those companies who manufacture RISC OS-based devices under licence
Anonymous ftp this enables a user to retrieve files from an ftp site on the Internet without having to establish a user-id and password on the system - when you log in, type 'anonymous' (or just 'ftp') as your user-id and give your email address as the password if one is required
ANSI (1) American National Standards Institute - the body that, amongst other things, validates the specification for the C language - there is also specify a character set that bears their name
ANSI (2) computers use several different methods for deciding how to put information on your screen and how your keyboard interacts with the screen - ANSI is one of these "terminal emulation" methods - although most popular on PC-based bulletin-board systems, it can also be found on some Net sites - to use it properly, you will first have to turn it on, or enable it, in your communications software
Antialiasing a technique used by the RISC OS font manager to improve the appearance of fonts - it removes the visual impression of jagged edges in the characters by representing certain pixels in intermediate colours
AOF Acorn Object Format - a way of storing computer code
Application the more general use of this word means any job for which the computer may be used, but it has a more specific definition - it is used to refer to a directory (with a name beginning with a "!") which contains a program or programs that work under RISC OS to perform a particular function - when the application is loaded, it usually makes itself available to the user via an icon on the righthand side of the iconbar
Application directory similar to an ordinary directory in that it contains other files and directories but its name starts with an exclamation mark so that when you double click on the directory, it starts up the application rather than just opening the directory. - to open an application directory, double click with <shift> held down
Apps icon this is an icon that appears on the lefthand side of the iconbar (RISC OS 3 onwards) - it gives you access to a range of applications such as Draw, Paint, etc., that are provided with each Archimedes or RiscPC computer
Archie an index of FTP servers - the best known Archie server in the UK is at Imperial College, London and has indexes to hundreds of FTP sites around the world - if there's a program you're having trouble in locating, Archie can probably help
Archive the best RISC OS magazine ever, or... a file or group of files and/or directories that have been joined together into a single file and, often, are compressed - this reduces the time taken to transfer the information and also makes it simpler to handle as a single file
ARM Acorn RISC Machine - this is the original name for the 32-bit RISC processor designed by Acorn Computers Ltd - in the name "ARM Ltd", the company formed between Acorn and Apple, the "ARM" actually stands for Advanced RISC Machine
ARM Linux see under RiscBSD
ARP Address Resolution Protocol - the protocol used to map an Internet address to an MAC address (like Ethernet)
ARPANet a predecessor of the Internet. Started in 1969 with funds from the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency
Article a message which appears on one or more Usenet newsgroups - each article has a unique message identifier, which is sometimes quoted in a followup article - some news servers also assign article numbers - these are unique only to that server, and are meaningless to users at other sites
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange - this is the most commonly used code for representing text using 8-bit binary numbers, although strictly, it is only a 7-bit code - ASCII also refers to a method, or protocol, for copying files from one computer to another over a network, in which neither computer checks for any errors that might have been caused by static or other problems
ASCII graphics it is possible, using ASCII characters to draw a rudimentary picture although it only works if the text is viewed using mono-spaced type
ASIC Application Specific Integrated Circuit - a single chip electronic circuit that is specially designed (by computer simulation - what else?!) for a particular application, e.g. to provide the logic needed to interface a '486 processor on a RiscPC second processor card to the main ARM600 processor and its address and data buses
Assembler a compiler for converting a program written in mnemonics into a machine code executable program
ATAPI ATA Packet Interface - a development of the IDE standard allowing CD-ROM drives, scanners, etc., to be connected more easily
ATM Asynchronous Transfer Mode - this is an aproach to network design characterised by a number of features - firstly, data to be transmitted is broken into a sequence of FIXED size packets, each of which contain enough information to allow the packet to be routed to its destination - secondly, ATM uses 'virtual circuits' whereby, before any data can be moved from one node to another, a circuit must be established, much like a telephone call across the telephone network - the third major feature is that, with ATM, the endpoints must agree in advance (during the setup of the circuit) the maximum bandwidth of data that will be transmitted - multiple streams of packets can be interleaved onto the physical network hardware without any data getting lost by virtue of the fact that the system knows the maximum data rate of each virtual circuit and the data rate of the physical network
the stream nature of ATM, coupled with the guarantee of bandwidth, makes ATM ideal for real-time communications such as audio and video - indeed, the analogy with a telephone network is no coincidence; these days most digital telephone networks use ATM in their underlying layers - it is a common misconception that ATM networks mean fast networks - the simplicity of ATM, and the very low level, does mean that it can be made to go very fast but the data to the endpoints of a telephone network tend to go at only 64Kb/s
AUN Acorn Universal Networking - this does not apply to a specific product or even a network user interface but "the overall banner for Acorn's networking policy for the '90s giving the strategic direction of networking for Acorn computers."
AUP Acceptable Use Policy - a statement by an ISP of the allowable uses of an account with them

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