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  1. 1. COMPUTER CONCEPTS Vocabulary Chapter 1 Using Computers: Essential Concepts
  2. 2. Central processing unit (CPU) <ul><li>The main processing unit in a computer, consisting of circuitry that executes instructions to process data. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Computer <ul><li>A device that accepts input, processes data, stores data, and produces output. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Data <ul><li>In the context of computing and data management, data refers to the symbols that a computer uses to represent facts and ideas. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Input <ul><li>As a noun, &quot;input&quot; means the information that is conveyed to a computer. </li></ul><ul><li>As a verb, &quot;input&quot; means to enter data into a computer. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Memory <ul><li>The computer circuitry that holds data waiting to be processed. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Output <ul><li>The results produced by a computer (for example, reports, graphs, and music). </li></ul>
  8. 8. Process <ul><li>A systematic series of actions that a computer performs to manipulate data; typically represented on a DFD by a rounded rectangle. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Storage <ul><li>The area in a computer where data is retained on a permanent basis. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Hardware <ul><li>Electronic and mechanical devices used for input, output, processing, and storing data. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Peripheral devices <ul><li>Components and equipment that expand a computer's input, output, and storage capabilities, e.g., a printer or scanner. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Software <ul><li>The instructions that set up a computer to do a task, indicate how to interact with a user, and specify how to process data. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Desktop microcomputer <ul><li>A computer that is built around a single microprocessor chip and is small enough to fit on a desk. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Microcomputer <ul><li>A category of computer that is built around a single microprocessor chip. The computers typically used in homes and small businesses (also called a personal computer). </li></ul>
  15. 15. Notebook computer <ul><li>A small lightweight portable computer that usually runs on battery power. Sometimes called a laptop. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Personal digital assistant (PDA) <ul><li>A computer that is smaller and more portable than a notebook computer (also called a palm-top computer). </li></ul>
  17. 17. Minicomputer <ul><li>A midrange computer, somewhat larger than a microcomputer, that can carry out processing tasks for many simultaneous users. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Terminal <ul><li>A device with a keyboard and a monitor, used for input and output, but not for processing. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Mainframe <ul><li>A large, fast, and expensive computer generally used by businesses or the government to provide centralized storage processing and management for large amounts of data. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Supercomputer <ul><li>The fastest and most expensive type of computer, capable of processing more than one trillion instructions per second. </li></ul>
  21. 21. CD-ROM disk <ul><li>A high capacity read-only optical disk that can store up to 680 MB of data. An acronym for compact disc read-only memory. </li></ul>
  22. 22. CD-ROM drive <ul><li>A storage device that uses laser technology to read data from a CD-ROM. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Disk drive <ul><li>A computer storage device that records and retrieves data on disks. Drive types include floppy, Zip, and hard disk drives. </li></ul>
  24. 24. DVD <ul><li>An optical storage medium similar in appearance and technology to a CD-ROM but with higher storage capacity. The acronym stands for &quot;digital video disc&quot; or &quot;digital versatile disc.&quot; </li></ul>
  25. 25. DVD drive (Digital Video Disc) <ul><li>An optical storage device that reads data from CD-ROM and DVD disks. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Floppy disk <ul><li>A removable magnetic storage medium, typically 3.5&quot; in size with a capacity of 1.44 MB. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Floppy disk drive <ul><li>A storage device that writes data on, and reads data from, floppy disks. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Hard disk drive <ul><li>A computer storage device that contains a large-capacity &quot;hard disk&quot; sealed inside the drive case. A hard disk is not the same as a 3.5&quot; removable disk that has a rigid plastic case. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Keyboard <ul><li>An arrangement of letter, number, and special function keys that acts as the primary input device to a computer. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Monitor <ul><li>A display device that forms an image by converting electrical signals from the computer into points of colored light on the screen. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Mouse <ul><li>An input device that allows the user to manipulate objects on the screen by moving the mouse on the surface of a desk. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Storage media Storage medium <ul><li>The physical material used to computer data, such as a floppy disk, a hard disk, or a CD-ROM. </li></ul>
  33. 33. System unit <ul><li>The case or box that contains the computer's power supply, storage devices, the main circuit board, processor, and memory. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Compatible platforms <ul><li>Computer brands or models that operate in essentially the same way, use the same software, and accept the same peripheral devices. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Computer platform <ul><li>A hardware and software configuration shared by a group of computers that use the same software and peripheral devices. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Macintosh computer (Mac) <ul><li>A microcomputer platform manufactured primarily by Apple Computer Inc. and based on a proprietary architecture. </li></ul>
  37. 37. PC <ul><li>1) A microcomputer that uses the Windows software and contains an Intel-compatible micro-processor. </li></ul><ul><li>2) A personal computer. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Windows software <ul><li>Software that has been designed to run on computers with the Windows operating system. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Computer network <ul><li>A collection of computers and related devices, connected in a way that allows them to share data, hardware, and software. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Password <ul><li>A special set of symbols used to restrict access to a user's computer or network. </li></ul>
  41. 41. User ID <ul><li>A combination of letters and numbers that serves as a user's &quot;call sign&quot; or identification. Also referred to as a user name. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Internet <ul><li>The worldwide communication infrastructure that links computer networks using TCP/IP protocol. </li></ul>
  43. 43. Web <ul><li>Short for World Wide Web. An Internet service that links documents and information from computers distributed all over the world. Uses HTTP protocol. </li></ul>
  44. 44. User interface <ul><li>The software and hardware that enable people to interact with computers. </li></ul>
  45. 45. Prompt <ul><li>A message displayed on the computer screen that asks for input from the user. </li></ul>
  46. 46. Wizard <ul><li>A sequence of dialog boxes that direct the user through multi-step software tasks, such as creating a graph. </li></ul>
  47. 47. Command <ul><li>An instruction that the user inputs into the computer to tell it to carry out a task. </li></ul>
  48. 48. Command-line interface <ul><li>A type of user interface that requires the user to type in commands. </li></ul>
  49. 49. Parameter <ul><li>A delimiting variable used to modify a command, i.e., /ON modifies the DIR command so it displays files in order by name. </li></ul>
  50. 50. Syntax <ul><li>Specifications or rules for the sequence and punctuation of command words and parameters. </li></ul>
  51. 51. Syntax error <ul><li>An error that results when an instruction does not follow the syntax rules, or grammar, of the programming language. </li></ul>
  52. 52. Menu <ul><li>A list of commands or options. </li></ul>
  53. 53. Submenu <ul><li>An additional menu of choices that appears when a menu option is selected. </li></ul>
  54. 54. Check box <ul><li>An on-screen box that allows the user to select options clicking the box. </li></ul>
  55. 55. Dialog box <ul><li>An on-screen window that provides options associated with a command. </li></ul>
  56. 56. Drop-down list <ul><li>A list of options that is displayed when the user clicks an arrow button. </li></ul>
  57. 57. Option button <ul><li>An on-screen control that allows a user to select one of two or more options in a dialog box. Also referred to as radio buttons. </li></ul>
  58. 58. Spin box <ul><li>A control within a graphical user inter- face that lets the user increase or decrease a number by clicking arrow buttons. </li></ul>
  59. 59. Button <ul><li>An on-screen user interface element that simulates the action of a push button. By clicking the button, a user initiates a command or action. </li></ul>
  60. 60. Graphical object <ul><li>A small picture on the computer screen that the user can manipulate, using a mouse or other input device. </li></ul>
  61. 61. Icon <ul><li>A graphical representation of an object such as a disk, printer, or program. </li></ul>
  62. 62. Window <ul><li>A rectangular representation of a work area in a graphical user interface. </li></ul>
  63. 63. Graphical user interface (GUI) <ul><li>A type of user interface that features on-screen objects such as menus and icons, manipulated by a mouse. Abbreviated GUI (pronounced &quot;gooey&quot;). </li></ul>
  64. 64. Pointer <ul><li>A symbol on the computer screen, usually shaped like an arrow, whose movement corresponds to the movement of the mouse. </li></ul>
  65. 65. Cursor <ul><li>A symbol, usually an underline, that marks the user's place on the screen and shows where typing will appear. </li></ul>
  66. 66. Function key <ul><li>The keys numbered Fl through F12, located at the top of the computer keyboard, that activate program-specific commands. </li></ul>
  67. 67. Insertion point <ul><li>A flashing vertical bar that appears on the screen, indicating where the user can begin entering text. </li></ul>
  68. 68. Keyboard shortcut <ul><li>A combination of keys, such as Ctrl+C, that allows the user to activate a program function without clicking a series of menu options. </li></ul>
  69. 69. Numeric keypad <ul><li>A calculator-style input device for entering numbers and arithmetic symbols. Often part of a standard computer keyboard. </li></ul>
  70. 70. Toggle key <ul><li>A key such as the Caps Lock key that switches a device back and forth between two modes. </li></ul>
  71. 71. Bitmap display <ul><li>A monitor or other display device that uses an on-screen matrix of pixels to display text and graphics. </li></ul>
  72. 72. Character-based display <ul><li>Method of display in which the monitor screen is divided into a grid of rectangles, each of which can display a single character from the standard character set. </li></ul>
  73. 73. Pixel <ul><li>Short for picture element, a pixel is the smallest unit in a graphic image. Computer display devices use a matrix of pixels to display text and graphics. </li></ul>
  74. 74. Resolution <ul><li>The density of the grid used to display or print text and graphics. The greater the horizontal and vertical density, the higher the resolution. </li></ul>
  75. 75. Online Help <ul><li>On-screen documentation that is available to a user while a software application is running. </li></ul>
  76. 76. Web browser software <ul><li>Computer software, such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, that allows users to view Web pages and follow links to jump from one document to the next. </li></ul>
  77. 77. Web search engine <ul><li>A feature of a Web site that allows users to search for information by entering key terms. </li></ul>
  78. 78. Artificial intelligence (Al) <ul><li>A characteristic of computers that exhibit human-like intelligence or behaviors. A field of research that includes robotics, expert systems, and speech recognition. </li></ul>
  79. 79. Boolean string <ul><li>A sequence of key words, field names and logical operators that specify a query. </li></ul>
  80. 80. Computer program <ul><li>A set of detailed, step-by-step instructions that tells a computer how to solve a problem or carry out a task. </li></ul>
  81. 81. Return to Title Page <ul><li>Prepared by James Q. Jacobs </li></ul>

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