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Global computer network originally developed as military project, then handed over to National Science Foundation for research and academic use


World Wide Web, Major transformation influence; Collection of linked documents, images, and sound over Internet


Temporarily holds data waiting to be processed, stored, or output


Where data can be left on a permanent basis when it is not immediately needed for processing


Entities that exist largely within computer networks such as online stores


Several technologies with distinct functions evolve to form single product
Ex: Cell Phone-Camera, Clock-Radio, Watch-Compass, iPod-Movies

Input Device

Keyboard or mouse; Gathers data and transforms into series of electrical signals for computer to store and manipulate


Computer Processing Unit, Most processing takes place here; Usually a microprocessor


Area of a computer that temporarily holds data waiting to be processed, stored, or output


Area where data can be left on a permanent basis when not immediately needed for processing


Operating System, Master controller for all activities that take place in a computer

Digital Data

Data converted to discrete digits such as 0s and 1s

Analog Data

Represented using infinite scale of values

Binary Number System

Represents characters using 2 digits- 0 and 1


Integrated Circuit, Super thin slice of semiconducting materials packed with microscopic circuit elements


Converts all statements of program in a single batch, resulting in collection of instructions called OBJECT CODE


Alternative to compiler, converts and executes one statement at a time as program is running


Arithmetic Logic Unit, Part of microprocessor, performs math functions


Used by ALU to hold data that is being processed

Control Unit

Part of microprocessor that fetches each instruction

Peripheral Device

Designates input, output, and storage equipment that might be added to a computer system to enhance its functionality

3 Personal Computer Platforms

Mac, Linux, PC

Multicore Processor

A single multiprocessor that contains circuitry for more than one processing unit; More cores usually means faster performance


Front Side Bus, Circuitry that transports data to and from microprocessor, a fast FSB moves data quickly and allows processor to work at full capacity

Serial Processing

Processor must complete all steps in instruction cycle before it begins to execute next instruction


Processor can begin executing an instruction before completing previous instruction


Random Access Memory, Temporary holding area for data, application program instructions, and operating system; In a PC, RAM is usually several chips or small circuit boards plugged into system board

Waiting Room



In RAM, holds bits that represent data

Virtual Memory

Area of hard disk used by operating system if program exceeds allocated space; Stores parts of programs or data files until needed


Read Only Memory, Holds computer's start-up routine, housed in single integrated circuit plugged into system board

Magnetic Storage

Stores data by magnetizing microscopic particles on a disk or tape surface
Ex: Hard Disk, Floppy Disk, Tape Storage

Optical Storage

Stores data as microscopic light and dark spots on disk surface
Ex: CD, DVD, Blu Ray

Solid State Storage

"Flash Memory," Stores data in erasable, rewritable circuitry, rather than on streaming tape or spinning disks
Ex: Digital cameras, iPods, PDAs

Power Surge

Sudden increase in electrical energy affecting the current that flows through electrical outlets; Power surges occur before or after power failures, which put computer and data at risk


Uninterruptible power supply; Provides surge protection and has battery power for backing up computers and network devicces in case of power outage

Application Software

Designed to help people achieve real-world tasks; Music, statistical, etc. apps for personal use

System Software

Designed for computer-centric tasks; Operating systems, utilities, device drivers, etc.

Device Driver

Software that helps peripheral device establish communication with computer

Software License

License Agreement; Legal contract defines ways in which you may use computer program


End-User License Agreement, Must agree to online display when you first install software


Set of program instructions attaches itself to a file, reproduces, spreads; Can only replicate on host computer


Self-Replicating program designed to carry out unauthorized activity; Spreads between computers without assistance


Software that can automate a task or autonomously execute a task when commanded to do so


A computer under the control of a bad bot; Carries out instructions from malicious leader


Person who controls bad bot-infested computers can link them together to form this

Trojan Horse

Computer program that seems to perform one function while actually doing something else; Not designed to spread; Doesn't replicate, masked as useful utilities or apps


Records keystrokes to record information and records such as passwords

Root Kit

Software tools used to conceal malware and backdoors that have been installed by a victim's computer; Can hide bots, keyloggers, spyware, worms, viruses; Distributed by Trojans

Open Source Software

Makes uncompiled program instructions, the source code, available to programmers who want to modify and improve the software; Can be copied an unlimited number of times, distributed or modified


Distributed for free and often comes pre-installed on new computers but is limited in some ways until payment

Commercial Software

Sold in computer stores or websites; Purchase only the right to use under terms of software license

Portable Software

Designed to run for removable storage, such as USB; Referred to as install-free software

Service Pack

Operation system updates; Set of patches designed to correct problems and address security vulnerabilities; Usually free, typically numbered using decimal places

Vertical vs. Horizontal Market Software

Designed to automate specialized tasks in specific business market vs. generic software

Absolute vs. Relative References

Never changes when you insert a new row on a spreadsheet vs. reference that can change

Operating System Software

OS, Type of system software that acts as the master controller for all activities that take place within a computer system; Factor for a computers compatibility and platform

User Interface

The combination of hardware and software that helps people and computers communicate with each other


Distributed along with its source code under a general public license, allows everyone to make copies for own use

Dual Boot vs. Virtual Machine

Utility that can switch between Mac OS and Windows vs. Allows you to use one computer to simulate the hardware and software of another

Logical vs. Physical Storage Model

Mental form of metaphors to make a picture of the way files are stored vs. What actually happens on disks and in its circuits, more complex

Full Backup

Makes a fresh copy of every file in the folders specified for the backup

Differential Backup

Only those files that were added or changed since the last full back up session

Incremental Backup

Makes a backup of the files addedchanged since last backup

Formatting a Disk

Prepares the surface of a disk to hold data in storage areas called tracks and further called sectors

Deleting Files

Operation System changes the status of the files clusters to empty and removes file name from index file

Fragmented Files

Part of files scattered on disk and computer writes files, stored in noncontiguous clusters


Allows multi parts/threads to run simultanerously


Supports a division of labor among all processing units

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