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Note: This is only a limited glossary. Exhaustive coverage of the computer terms can be found at

Apple A computer company whose brands and models include the Macintosh, PowerBook, and iMac. The Apple operating system is different from the DOS and Windows systems.

applet A self-contained program that is downloaded to your computer through your browser; once downloaded, it does its job, such as creating animated and interactive features.

ARPAnet A network of computers established in the 1960s by the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, renamed DARPA in the 1970s). ARPAnet's purpose was to enable the exchange of information among universities and scientific and research organizations; the military also used this network for communication.

bandwidth The amount of data that can be transmitted through a particular medium, such as a telephone line, cable television cable, or wireless communication device. See also bps.

bps Bits per second, used to express modem transmission speed. browser The software (application) that acts as the tool for accessing the Internet and determines how a Web page is displayed on a screen. The most-used Web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape.

cable modem High-speed modem that connects a computer to the Internet via cable television wire and fiber-optic connections. The latter carry much more information than conventional copper wire and are far less subject to electromagnetic interference.

CATV Cable television.

CD-ROM drive A drive that allows your computer to access the information or programs stored on a compact disc (CD).

CGI Script A common gateway interface program that gives instructions to your server. Such scripts are necessary for complex processing of some Web pages.

commission caps Absolute dollar limits on commissions paid by airlines to travel agencies and agents.

computer graphics Applications that allow the user to create graphic works such as drawings, maps, special titles, animations, and the like.

computerized reservation system (CRS) Proprietary reservation systems such as Amadeus, Apollo, SABRE, and Worldspan.

connectivity The ability to work or communicate with diverse computer equipment types. See also protocol.

CRS See computerized reservation system.

cyber- Prefix denoting the computer- and/or electronic-relatedness of the modified word. New words and phrases beginning with cyber are coined daily. They all go back to cybernetics, the theoretical study of communication and control processes in biological, mechanical, and electronic systems, especially the comparison of these processes in biological and artificial systems.

cyber literacy The ability and skill to use online services effectively.

cyberspace The universe of the Internet, in which persons interact by means of connected computers. A defining characteristic of cyberspace is that communication is independent of physical distance.

database Any stored collection of data that can be manipulated.

database management The creation and manipulation of a set of interrelated files that may include data, text, spreadsheet, graphic, audio, and video content. An interactive database, ideally, seamlessly integrates all these file types into a comprehensive and user-friendly information system.

desktop publishing The use of a personal computer to produce high-quality electronic and printed output that is ready for the printer or marked up for use as a Web page.

DOS (Disk Operating System) Computer operating system software developed by Microsoft.

download To move information from a distant computer to one's own computer.

Dynamic HTML (DHTML) A newer version of HTML that works only on Netscape 4.0 and MS Explorer 4.0 and higher. Older browsers do not recognize DHTML.

e-commerce Electronic commerce; typically, sales conducted via the Internet.

e-mail The transmission of messages over a network. Users can send e-mail to a single recipient or broadcast the same message to multiple users. Attachments can be used to transmit large files in addition to the e-mail message.

Explorer See Internet Explorer.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) The agency of the U.S. government with primary responsibility for the safety of civil aviation.

FAT (File Allocation Table) Application that partitions a computer's hard disk.

Frame relay A packet-switching protocol for use on wide-area networks. Frame relay transmits variable-length packets at up to 1.544 Mbps.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) A technique to transfer files from one computer to another.

GIF (Graphics Information File) A file suffix describing a common Web graphic format.

giga One billion (one gigabyte = one billion bytes).

Global Distribution System (GDS) Another term for CRS.

GUI (Graphical User Interface) An onscreen environment that uses icons, menus, and dialog boxes to represent programs, files, and options; each graphic item can be activated by pointing and clicking with a mouse.

hard disk (hard drive) A personal computer's main data storage space; the bigger the better.

HDTV (high-definition television) A type of television that has twice as many lines on the screen as traditional sets; data is used in digital form.

hit A visit to a Web site, as recorded in the log of the site's Web server. A visit to an HTML page containing three graphic images results in four hits in the log.

home-based agents Travel agents using the home as their main base of operations.

home page The first page of a multipage Web site.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) A set of special codes (tags) that are embedded in the text of a Web page to add formatting and linking information. Typical format information includes line and paragraph breaks; typical linking information allows users to point and click to move to different parts of the same Web page, to other pages on the same Web site, or to altogether different Web sites.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) The set of rules regulating the transfer of Web-formatted data.

hypertext The main idea of the World Wide Web; the ability to jump from link to link by pointing and clicking.

Internet A worldwide network of computers that enables the exchange of information in a variety of formats.

Internet Explorer (Microsoft) A proprietary browser developed by Microsoft.

Internet service provider (ISP) An organization or company that offers Internet/Web access to end users.

Java A compiled computer code created by Sun Microsystems especially for use on the World Wide Web.

Javascript A language used in Web design to create mouse rollovers and other special effects.

JPEG/JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) A file format/suffix denoting a common Web graphic format; usually used for photographs.

LAN (local area network) A limited network of linked computers such as within an agency, company, or school. Now mostly synonymous with intranet.

laptop A portable computer that can be used, literally, on one's lap.

Linux An operating system invented by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki in Finland. This system is very complete, fast, and free; both the system and its source code are openly available.

Macintosh A brand and model of Apple Computer. mainframe Large computer, often the hub of a vast network with many users; an example is a CRS.

microprocessor A complex chip that is the central processing unit (CPU) of a personal computer. All the computer's operations are controlled from and accomplished here.

Microsoft (MS) A Seattle-based software company headed by Bill Gates; its products include the Windows systems, Internet Explorer, FrontPage, Works, Office, and many other programs.

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension) An addition to the original e-mail protocol that allows the exchange of audio, graphic, and video information in addition to the basic ASCII files.

minicomputer A stand-alone enterprise machine sized between the personal computer and the mainframe computer; few if any of these are produced now.

Modem (MOdulation-DEModulation) Hardware that adapts a terminal or computer to a CATV or telephone line for the transmission of data.

mouse The device needed to point and click.

MS See Microsoft.

NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation) system A virtual stock exchange that lists the stock of many publicly traded companies.

Netscape A company that produces popular Internet browsers, including Netscape Communicator and Netscape Navigator.

niche marketing Marketing to a small, distinct group of people.

operating system (OS) The main system of a computer that manages and enables all other programs/applications.

personal computer (PC) A small desktop or laptop computer; usually denotes an IBM-compatible machine.

personalized news service Online service that continually scans the Internet for information in accordance with your instructions.

platform The underlying computer operating system on which application programs can run, such as Windows.

point and click An essential and basic activity, accomplished with the mouse, in Apple and Windows environments.

presentation software An application that enables the creation of high-quality documents or Web pages; contents may include pictures, text, and other elements.

programming language An artificial language (set of codes and rules) used to give instructions to a computer.

protocol A set of rules or "language" that enables computers to "talk" to each other, thereby enabling connectivity (see connectivity).

psychographic traits Personality characteristics of a group; often used in connection with marketing surveys that also measure demographic traits.

random access memory (RAM) The personal computer's working memory, which is active only when the computer is turned on.

read only memory (ROM) A storage chip containing hardwired instructions to boot up the computer.

search engine A means of locating information on the Internet.

server An online computer that stores Web site information and sends it to users over the Internet.

site Usually refers to an entire Web site rather than a single Web page (see Web site).

SOHO Acronym for "small office/home office"; a home-based travel agent might be considered SOHO.

spreadsheet Software that simulates a paper spreadsheet or worksheet in which columns of numbers are summed or calculated; typically used for budgets and planning.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) The standard for data transmission over networks, including the Internet, intranets, and extranets.

telephony Use of a computer to make phone calls via the Internet.

ticketless travel Ticketing technique that allows passengers to board a plane without a paper ticket. All relevant information is stored and transmitted electronically.

touchpad An alternative point-and-click device.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) An Internet address.

upload To move information from one's own computer to a distant computer.

Usenet An older area on the Internet that allows text-only access to discussion groups; the discussion groups may be organized by specific topic, such as travel to a particular area, city, or country.

videoconferencing At its simplest, a technique that allows people both to talk to each other and see each other via the Internet. More sophisticated equipment gives small groups of people the opportunity to virtually meet with each other.

Web page One page of a Web site.

Web site A collection of Web pages. Although each page is referred to as a Web page, the first page is called the home page or index page.

Windows Microsoft's proprietary operating system.

World Wide Web The most popular area of the Internet, which allows the easy exchange and transmission of text, graphics, audio, and video.

Word processing The creation and management of (primarily) text documents.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) An improved version of HTML.
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Author:Maurer, Ed
Publication:Internet for the Retail Travel Industry
Article Type:Glossary
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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