Jargon Dictionary

  • A - B

  • C - F

  • G - M

  • N - T

  • U - Z

  • A - B

    ANSI Color Graphics -Standard for color graphics representation, mostly applicable to IBM PCs and clones. ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute. SciBoard is capable of sending ANSI color graphics. In order to use them, you should have DEVICE = ANSI.SYS in your CONFIG.SYS file. Alternatively, you can use a terminal program that can recognize and service ANSI characters such as Procomm.

    .ARC Files- Archived files, named for the original .ARC filename extension. These are files that have been compressed to save space on disk and to save transfer time. ARC files will have the .ARC extension when seen in files lists; e.g. ASTROSIM.ARC. ARC files are prepared with an Arcing program. They cannot be used until they are recovered with a dearcing program. (See also .ZIP files and .LZH files.)

    ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The alphabetic characters, digits, punctuation marks and a few (invisible) control codes make up the 128 characters of the ASCII code. Messages, text, and source code for programs are usually stored in ASCII code. Compiled programs, graphics, and data files are usually not ASCII. Many ASCII files have the extension .ASC, .TXT, or .DOC. ASCII files can be copied directly to the screen or printer, TYPEd or PRINTed.

    .BAT Files - A text file in which each line of text is a bona fide DOS command. Batch files are on the dividing line between pure text files and pure executable files. When the filename of a .BAT file is typed at the DOS prompt, the .BAT file is "run" by DOS in the sense that each command is executed as though it had been typed at the keyboard. This definition applies to many computers, but to IBM PCs and clones in particular.

    Baud Rate - Information rate in signaling elements per second. Signaling speed in bauds is equal to the bit rate for binary systems. Typical baud rates are 2400, 14400 and 28800. 2400 baud is rapidly becoming obsolete. SciBoard transmits and receives at rates up to 28800 baud.

    BBS - (Electronic) Bulletin Board System.

    Binary File - A file containing general binary codes (as opposed to ASCII files in which all the binary codes represent letters and numbers). Examples: .COM, .EXE, .ZIP, .GIF, etc.

    Bit - A single 1 or 0; the smallest piece of computer information. Bytes are made up of bits.

    Byte - 8 bits.

    C - F

    .COM File - An executable file. Files with .COM extensions are programs to run (on IBM PC & clones) by typing the file name with or without the extension. .COM files are always less than 64k, and DOS treats them differently in memory than .EXE files. .COM files are binary code files as opposed to text files (like ASCII files). If you try to view them or print them, you will see gibberish.

    Communications Protocol - A scheme for organizing data for communications over phone lines. The protocol on each end (sender and receiver) must be the same. Common protocols are Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, Kermit, SEAlink, and Telink. Some protocols are faster, and some have better error- correcting capabilities.

    Download - To transfer a program or file from a BBS to your personal computer over the phone lines. See communications protocol.

    .EXE File - An executable file. Files with the .EXE extension are programs that will run on the IBM PC and clones by typing the file name with or without the extension. .EXE files can be larger than 64k, and DOS treats them differently in memory than .COM files. .EXE files are binary code files as opposed to text files. If you treat them as though they contain text (like an ASCII file) you will see gibberish.

    File Extension - the (up to) three characters preceded by a period following the file name. The file extension usually gives information on the type of file:

    .ARC - files compressed with the ARC format
    .BAT - batch file
    .COM - executable file
    .DAT - data file
    .DOC - documentation
    .EXE - executable file
    .GIF - files containing graphics (pictures)
    .LZH - files compressed with the LZH format
    .TXT - text file
    .ZIP - files compressed after the PKZIP format

    File Name - the (up to) eight characters identifying the name of the file before the period.

    G - M

    .GIF File - A binary file containing graphic images in CompuServe's (R) Graphic Interchange Format. They require a specific .GIF file viewer program for your machine.

    Kermit - 1) A communications program mainly used for data transfer between mainframe computers and personal computers but also often used for PC-to-PC communications. See Communications Protocol; 2) the protocol designed for use with 1. Your communications program may support the Kermit protocol but not be the Kermit program itself; 3) Jim Henson's frog.

    .LZH Files - A compressed binary file containing one or more files compressed with Lev-Zimpel-Huffman compression techniques, popular in Japan and becoming more common in the U.S. Needs an LZH-type compressor/decompressor.

    Modem - Modulator/demodulator. This device allows translation of telecommunications signals to/from digital data. Hooked to your personal computer and a phone line, it allows you to communicate with a BBS. Modems can either be internal or external. Internal modems can only be used on the machine for which they were designed. An external modem can be connected to the RS232 serial port of any personal computer. See Baud and RS232.

    N - T

    Off line - Something that happens while you are not connected to the internet.

    On line - Something that happens while you are connected to the internet.

    Pirated Software - Stolen software that was copied illicitly from another user with the intention of evading or helping someone else evade payment. SciBoard discourages all forms of piracy, and we suggest that if the price of a software package seems too high, please look for a shareware replacement. Also buy your software from discount mail order companies to lower the cost. But don't steal it. That commits an intellectual crime against the author. People who would NEVER steal a piece of gum somehow blink at piracy.

    Protocol - See Communications Protocol.

    Public Domain Software - Software that the authors have released into the public domain (made public and free). Anyone is free to copy and use the software in any way. There is some very good software in this group.

    RS232 - Standard defining how serial digital data will enter and leave a computer or other machine.

    SEAlink - See Communications Protocol.

    Shareware - As opposed to commercial software and public domain software (freeware ). The shareware concept holds that users should be allowed to "try before they buy," and pay for the software that they actually discover they use the most. Shareware cuts out the middleman and helps bring excellent software directly from the programmer to you. BUT if users mindlessly continue to pirate everything in reach, shareware will dry up and we can all look forward to $500+ software again. Check out the prices; you'll find they are reasonable.

    Sysop - System operator; the person who operates the bulletin board.

    Telink - See Communications Protocol.

    Terminal Program - A program on your personal computer that allows you to communicate with a BBS. These programs also frequently provide communication protocols for sending and receiving data files. Procomm, Kermit, Access, and Pibterm are all terminal programs.

    Text File - A file containing human - readable type. Instructions, documentation and source code are frequently contained in text files. On the IBM PC and clones, text files can be viewed by typing TYPE followed by the name of the text file. (See ASCII file and .BAT file.)

    Transfer Protocol - See Communications Protocol

    Trojan Horse - This is a program which pretends to do one task while in fact doing something else. For example, a trojan can pretend to do a directory of your disk while it in fact deletes every file on it!

    U - Z

    Upload - To transfer a program from your computer to a Server over the phone lines. SciBoard sysops encourage you to upload science-oriented materials to SciBoard. See Communications Protocol.

    Virus - Computer code that seeks to perpetuate itself in other programs that it finds. It is code written by someone to attach itself to programs written by someone else. Viruses may be highly destructive or merely inconvenient. The inconvenient ones are not blameless in the sense that they waste time and intellectual resources of other people. It may be an interesting concept and a challenge to write one, but it is not at all necessary to unleash it against your fellow man. Notify the world that you've written one and NOT released it, and they will be much more appreciative.

    Worm Code - A worm is code that is designed to do something destructive to your system. Some programmers used to "protect" their software with worms. For example, if the software decided that it was an illegal copy, it would "punish" the user by reformatting the hard disk, destroying all data in the process.

    XModem - The earliest error-correcting communications protocol (which see) for uploads and downloads. The X-Modem was designed by Ward Christensen.

    YModem - A newer transfer protocol (which see). It is faster than Xmodem but slower than Z-Modem.

    ZModem - A modern transfer protocol (which see). It is fast and has good error-handling capabilities.

    .ZIP File - A file that contains one or more files compressed with the PKZIP program. This is done to reduce storage space and transmission time. These files are identified with the .ZIP file extension. Before such files can be used they must be expanded using the PKUNZIP program. Many files on SciBoard are stored in the ZIP format. Such files should be downloaded only to IBM PCs and clones. The ZIP format was designed by Phil Katz.