CSGNetwork Custom Search
     Bookmark and Share

Search our glossary for words
beginning with the letters...

Glossary Home Page





Or use our search to find words on our entire site...


Definition Links Below

Computer, Telephony & Electronics
Industry Glossary


A web abbreviation for Business To Business. A particular for of business on the Internet.


A telephony acronym for Binary Eight Zero Suppression. B8ZS is a technique in T1 that modifies the AMI encoding to ensure minimum pulse density without altering customer data. When eight "zeros" in a row are detected, a pattern with intentional bipolar violations is substituted. These violations enable the receiving end to detect the pattern and replace the "zeros."


The top level of a hierarchical network; the central connection. The main data pipes along which data is transferred. The "Internet backbone" as it is sometimes referred to, though it doesn't exist as a single, physical tangible routing path, as do most LANs and WANs, is a good example. It is the portion of a network that joins servers to other servers, multiple concentrators or both. Smaller networks may not have or need a backbone. On enterprise networks that are considered large, either fiberoptic cable or RG-6 is usually the backbone. Smaller networks using backbone technology, use RG-58 to connect between bridges, routers and concentrators. Stub and transit networks that connect to the same backbone are guaranteed to be interconnected.

backbone network

The primary route from a control DSU or modem to its first tributary when the communications network contains extended controls.


1. A printing term depicting a scenario where the paper looks gray or appears dirty because small toner particles are transferred to non-printed areas (white space). A symptom of a print quality problem.
2. A term to describe one of the two multi-tasking states of the computer used to execute jobs, foreground or background. A primary job is in the foreground and a secondary job is in the background.


A term used for many years in mainframe and minicomputers. A common bus at the rear of the computer chassis connecting each circuit card slot to the other parts of the system. Motherboards on modern PCs are a general equivalent. It also distributes low-voltage AC and DC, filtered and un-filtered power to each slot.


1. The amount of data that can travel through a channel in a given period of time. Bandwidth is usually measured in cycles per second (hertz) or in bits per second (BPS). The larger the bandwidth, the more information the network can handle. Also see broadband. General KBPS standards for modem are 14.4KB, 28.8KB, 33.6KB and 56KB. ISDN is usually 64KB, 128KB or 256KB. ADSL and DSL are generally faster than ISDN and sometimes faster than cable. Cable connections are usually 500KB or 1MB. T1 is 1.5MB and T3 is 45MB. Satellite uplinks are usually between 25MB and 80MB. Actual speed is seldom a one to one relationship except on single user modems. Wide bandwidth on T3 and Sat links, and associated potential ultra fast speeds are usually diminished greatly by large numbers of users. Seldom will a T3 be 30 times faster than a T1 line.
2. The technical meaning is generalized in hacker slang. Individuals are said to be "high bandwidth" if they are able to process large volumes of information in short periods of time.
3. Bandwidth is the data transfer rate of an electronic communications system. The bandwidth of a transmitted communications signal is a measure of the range of frequencies the signal occupies. In plain English bandwidth is a measurement of the running data from one computer to another. All transmitted signals, whether analog or digital, have a certain bandwidth. The same is true of receiving systems. An example it would take more bandwidth to up download a streaming video than to upload a html file. Bandwidth is directly proportional to the amount of data transmitted or received per unit time.
4. The carrying capacity or size of a communications channel; usually expressed in hertz (cycles per second) for analog circuits (the original meaning of the term) and in bits per second (bps) for digital circuits (the newer more applicable meaning).
5. Another term for capacity. The volume of data (usually measured in bits per seconds) that can be sent through the Internet connection (the modem or transmission line). Think of bandwidth as a road. The wider the road, the more traffic can get through. Although the Internet is huge, only a certain amount of data can pass through at a time.
6. Need a representative table of various comparative speeds?


Spoken name for an exclamation point, used in old-style UUCP addresses to delimit the steps in a path from one site to another.


1. A slot or group of slots, usually on a systemboard (motherboard), that are populated by memory modules of the same capacity.
2. A slang term for general memory in a computer; the memory bank.
3. The place Bill keeps his money.

bank schema

A method of diagramming memory configurations. The bank schema system consists of rows and columns that represent memory sockets on a system: rows indicate independent sockets and columns represent banks of sockets.

barcode or bar code

Contrary to popular belief, barcode is NOT a programmer's listing of local watering holes, or a password to get in them! It is a series of parallel lines and spaces that represent symbols, letters or numbers and as a group is machine readable, not unlike OCR or the MICR line on the bottom of a check, though the MICR line is magnetic and human readable as well. Barcode and bar code are used interchangeably, one about as often as the other. Check out the CSG Time Bar Code Clock.

On October 7, 1952, inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver were granted the first patent for their invention. The only difference between the bar code we know and see today and the one Woodland and Silver invented was that theirs was comprised of a series of concentric circles, not the 59 black-and-white vertical lines synonymous with the current design. There are many different designations (names) for a particular group of barcode symbols. Code 39, Aztec, USPS Barcodes, EAN14, AIAG and SSCC-18 are a few. The technology for reading bar code is called RFID.

On June 26, 2009, the bar code celebrated its 35th birthday. In 1974, a scanner in a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio, met the simple black-and-white striped bar code design tacked onto a 10-piece pack of Juicy fruit gum. Now, more than 10 billion bar codes are scanned in 25 industries and in places including grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, business inventories, airports, hospitals, and shipping centers, according to Motorola. You may visit HTTP://WWW.BARCODE.COM/ or HTTP://WWW.BARCODING.COM/ to find out all you ever wanted to know about barcode, and more...


Repeated bounce messages, usually due to mail server or gateway errors, which cause significant annoyance.


One of the pins on a transistor, along with collector and emitter. The base, also known as the gate, is the switch that turns the transistor on and off in the main circuit. When on, it returns and amplified signal voltage; when it is off, it does not conduct. It usually takes slightly more than a half volt to trigger the base to the on position to allow conduction in the generic transistor; obviously, each transistor and circuit is different.


1. A single signal, un-modulated signal of digital information over relatively short distances. The antithesis is broadband. Ethernet, ARCNet and Token Ring are baseband networks.
2. Using the entire bandwidth of a transmission medium, such as copper cable, to carry a single digital data signal. Note that this limits such transmission to a single form of data transmission, since digital signals are not modulated.


BASIC is an acronym for a general programming language. Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. The name implies that the language is an instructional language when in reality, it is "a beginning language" only because in infancy, it was easier to learn than other languages of the time, such as Assembler, Cobol, Fortran or APL. The fact that Microsoft took a generally stagnant variation of BASIC running on mainframes and minicomputers and imported it to a usable form on all the microcomputers of the late '70s and '80s was a major factor in the growth of computers. Computers like C/PM machines, PET, TRS-80, MITS, Altair, Commodore, Apple, HP, Sinclair, Zenith, Atari, Xerox, Lanier, Kaypro, Heath and others ran variations of BASIC, mostly from Microsoft (also in its infancy). Most were ROM based and most were Z-80 CPU based; all were 8 bit machines. Many only had 4KB of RAM memory while a large computer had 64KB. While the language was growing, most computers were floppy disk based or cassette tape based. The popularity grew because BASIC was somewhat easy to learn and to use. Non-computer people became programmers to some degree. BASIC, since Microsoft accepted the role of heading up BASIC development for a flagship user language, has grown to a full fledged language that is used more than any other computer language. The current Microsoft version for Windows is Visual Basic. Revision 6 in mid-2000 is still current and is still 99% backward compatible in instruction form with the original MBASIC from Microsoft; quite an accomplishment in our book. In mid-2000, more software is written in Visual Basic than any other language for any computer. Visual Basic is the backbone of the Visual Development Suite that features several languages written or re-written by Microsoft for Windows environments. The later versions of DOS had a version of BASIC called QBASIC with it. BASIC is also available from several other vendors and comes in both interpretive and compiled versions. Since the introduction to BASIC on microcomputers, the usage on mainframes and minicomputers has grown significantly. There is some version of BASIC available for every computer marketed. Most of the software we have written over the years for business has been written in BASIC. Our current accounting system for the Windows environment is written in Visual Basic 6 and uses Access 2000 for the file I/O engine for network use. It is very powerful. We support questions on BASIC on all computers for our customers.
The "Hello World!" program in BASIC:
10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 END

batch file

A file, usually an ASCII file, that contains a group of commands or programs that are to run without user intervention. The DOS file, AUTOEXEC.BAT is a good example. UNIX and 'NIX based systems still use them but the Microsoft world has moved away from them with only a few exceptions. See batch processing.

batch processing

Executing a series of non-interactive jobs all at one time. The term originated in the days when users entered programs on punch cards. They would give a batch of these programmed cards to the system operator, who would feed them into the computer. Usually, batch jobs are stored up during working hours and then executed during the evening or whenever the computer is idle. This sort of process is called "after the fact" or "not real time" in terms of how up to date it is at any given moment. Batch processing is particularly useful for operations that require the computer or a peripheral device for an extended period of time. Once a batch job begins, it continues until it is done or until an error occurs. Note that batch processing implies that there is no interaction with the user while the program is being executed. The opposite of batch processing is transaction processing or interactive processing, which is NORMALLY considered to be real time. In interactive processing, the application responds to commands as soon as you enter them.


A storage cell for electricity. See DC.


The speed of a modem, or other serial device, attached to and communicating with a computer. Specifically, the number of times per second a communications channel changes the carrier signal it sends on the phone line. A 14400-baud modem changes the signal 14400 times a second. A variable unit of data transmission speed (as one baud per second). Often confused with bits per second (BPS). They are technically different measurements. The current generation of modems, as of January 2006, is typically called a 56KB modem, although the highest legal modem speed on the network of phone company lines is 53.6KB, though that can be increased in actual throughput by using various data compression techniques.


Bulletin Board System. An information and/or file upload and download service you connect to directly with your modem. This type of service has been more or less outdated by the Internet. While really still effective, the outdating factor is the long distance charges to most BBS computers compared to no long distance charges in most cases for the Internet.

BCC (Blind Carbon Copy)

Used in E-Mail to send a copy of a message to one or more people without any other recipients knowing about it. See CC.


Short for binary-coded decimal, a format for representing decimal numbers (integers) in which each digit is represented by four bits (nybble or nibble). See byte. For example, the number 375 would be represented as: 0011 0111 0101. One advantage of BCD over binary representations is that there is no limit to the size of a number. To add another digit, you just need to add a new 4-bit sequence. In contrast, numbers represented in binary format are generally limited to the largest number that can be represented by 8, 16, 32 or 64 bits.
Our 4 Bit Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) Clock Display is a good example. You may wish to see a schematic and instructions on building an LED BCD clock.


1. Short for Bearer-channel, the main data channel in an ISDN connection. Basic Rate ISDN (BRI) service consists of two 64 Kbps B-channels, and one D-channel for transmitting control information. Primary ISDN service consists of 23 B-channels (in the U.S.) or 30 B-channels (in Europe).
2. The "bearer" channel, in the ISDN scheme.With both Basic Rate and Primary Rate ISDN, this is a full duplex 64Kbps channel for sending and receiving data. See Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI).
3. A 64 kbps channel in basic rate and primary rate services of ISDN used for customer message exchange.


An acronym for Bit Error Ratio. BER is the ratio or bits with errors to the total number of bits detected, usually expressed as a number with an exponent to a power of 10. Used to measure the quality of a signal path.


An acronym for Bit Error Rate Test. A test that reflects the ratio of errored bits to the total number transmitted. Usually shown in exponential form (10^-6) to indicate that one out of a certain number of bits are in error.


A pre-release version of software, distributed to a selected group of users to test. At most software producers, software beta tests start with internal staff and a few selected users, and grows to many users during the late rounds of testing. By the end of a beta test, all major bugs should have been discovered and repaired. Generally, beta testing is considered to the the final pre-release stage of the tests, including experienced testers external to the developing organization. See alpha. This is not to be confused with older Sony video recorders and players. (Beta was the best format, far superior to VHS but died an unpleasant death. Should Apple have learned from this?)


Border Gateway Protocol, a standard routing protocol, used primarily for routing between large, heterogenous networks.


1. A detailed and sometimes authoritative reference book covering a particular operating system, platform, or application. Originally, this was used generically to describe fundamental source books; more recently, it has been embraced by computer book publishers as a marketing ploy. Not to be confused with the Bible, since computer bibles are often outdated in six months or so and, therefore, often are not factual at all.
2. The ultimate printed source for life and technology.


The method of describing a path for data flow, typically on a parallel printer port. Historically, parallel ports have been used by Centronics protocol printers with data only going to the printer. With the advent of several new protocols and hardware improvements, the parallel port can provide two way data flow for disk drives, scanning devices, FAX operations and even parallel modems. Data flows FROM the computer to the device and then from the device TO the computer. Slang term is Bi-Di, pronounced Buy-Die. It is also often called by the company's name setting the standard for the protocol, Bitronics.


Mathematical base 2, or numbers composed of a series of zeros and ones. Since zero's and one's can be easily represented by two voltage levels on an electronic device, the binary number system is widely used in digital computing. (See switch.) Pertaining to a number system that has just two unique digits. For most purposes, we use the decimal number system, which has ten unique digits, 0 through 9. All other numbers are then formed by combining these ten digits. Computers are based on the binary numbering system, which consists of just two unique numbers, 0 and 1. All operations that are possible in the decimal system (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) are equally possible in the binary system. We use the decimal system in everyday life because it seems more natural (we have ten fingers and ten toes). For the computer, the binary system is more natural because of its electrical nature (charged versus un-charged). In the decimal system, each digit position represents a value of 10 to the position's power. For example, the number 345 means: 3 three 100s (10 to the 2nd power), plus 4 four 10s (10 to the first power), plus 5 five 1s (10 to the zeroth power). In the binary system, each digit position represents a power of 2. For example, the binary number 1011 equals: 1 one 8 (2 to the 3rd power), plus 0 zero 4s (2 to the 2nd power), plus 1 one 2 (2 to the first power), plus 1 one 1 (2 to the zeroth power). So a binary 1011 equals a decimal 11. Because computers use the binary number system, powers of 2 play an important role. This is why everything in computers seems to come in 8s (2 to the 3rd power), 64s (2 to the 6th power), 128s (2 to the 7th power), and 256s (2 to the 8th power). Programmers also use the octal (8 numbers) and hexadecimal (16 numbers) number systems because they map nicely onto the binary system. Each octal digit represents exactly three binary digits, and each hexadecimal digit represents four binary digits. For a demonstration of binary number conversion, try our Base 2/10/16 number converter.

binary file

A file containing data or program instructions in a computer-readable format.

Binder Group

Cable pairs are typically arranged under the cable sheath in binder groups. The binder is a spirally wound colored thread or plastic ribbon used to separate and identify cable pairs by means of color coding. The enclosed pair group is called a binder group. The groups are composed of insulated twisted copper pairs that are also twisted within each binder. Typically they are wrapped in 25 pair bundles. For example, pairs 1-25 might be in one binder group and pairs 26-50 in another. One often hears in xDSL discussions of signal interference between adjacent pairs within a binder group. The best of all worlds is to keep a data pair separated from another data pair by assigning it to an adjacent binder group. If the data pairs are too close to each other they create what Telcos call " disturbers." (i.e., crosstalk and line noise) If a "disturber" exists in the binder group serving your SNI, NID, MPOE, etc. you may not "qualify" for DSL service.


Acronym for BINary HEXadecimal. A standard for converting 8-bit files into a 7-bit ASCII format for transmission over non-8-bit-clean (See 8-bit-clean.) mediums such as E-Mail. BinHex is commonly used on Macintosh systems. See also: uuencode or bit.


The term biometric is the name given a technology that is the measurement of a living, human characteristic. This process include the ability to measure characteristics such as fingerprints, voice recordings, irises, heat patterns, keystroke rhythms, and facial images; comparing a person's unique characteristics against previously enrolled images for the purpose of recognition. A leader in the industry is Identix. Please visit them at HTTP://WWW.IDENTIX.COM for a closer look at the technology and company.


Basic Input/Output System. Programs (stored in ROM) that handle the start-up operations on PCs. It is located in one or two chips, usually on the motherboard of the computer. Phoenix is one of the major players and now owns Award as well. This software is a major part of the Y2K non-compliance problem. Most manufacturers have supplied updates to eliminate part or all of the Y2K problem.


A representative signal range that includes both positive and negative values.




An acronym for BInary SYNChronous, a type of synchronous communications used primarily in mainframe networks. The first of the several methods is the bisync standard which is Binary Synchronous Communications (BSC) developed by IBM. The binary part of the name signifies that the data is binary coded. The synchronous part means that both the sender and receiver must be synchronized before the data transfer can begin. That is in contrast to the many asynchronous methods used in modern PC type computing.


A bit is the smallest measure of data. It is a compilation of letter from Binary digIT. See byte; it takes 8 bits to make a byte. Don't know your KB from your MB? You can see the conversion of bit flow rate units in our Data Rate Converter. If you are seeking byte conversion, please use our Memory and Storage Converter. For sample download times, try our Connection Speed - Download Speed Calculator. For a demonstration of binary number conversion, try our Base 2/10/16 number converter.

bit depth

A term used in imaging and scanning to describe the number of bits used to process scanned or captured images. The greater the number of bits, the more levels of gray that can be used to display or print the image.


A representation of a character or a graphic image in which each displayed or printed dot (pixel) is stored as a digital bit. Another term for the technology is raster. As an example in the printing industry, looking at a character printed by an HP printer, it is a mosaic made up of hundreds of closely fitted dots. These dots are arranged in neat rows and columns packed 300 dots to the inch. The technical for that mosaic is Bitmap. Bitmapped (or raster) graphics are images, rather than characters. They are composed of bits 0's and 1's, very similar to Bitmapped fonts. Virtually anything can be printed as described in this manner, such as a logo, a picture, or text. Each dot on the page has a one-to-one correspondence, or mapping, to a digital bit stored in computer memory. Since digital bits are either 0's or 1's, the correspondence is very simple. For each 1 stored in the computer, the printer will print a dot; for each 0 stored in the computer, the printer will leave a white (or open) space. The typical file extension for a Microsoft Windows bitmap file uses the extension of .bmp. A bitmap file defines an image (such as the image of a scanned page) as a pattern of dots, or pixels.

bitmapped font

In the technology used for computer printing, a bitmapped font is a complete set of characters that have similar characteristics, such as typeface, spacing, point size, style, weight, and symbol set. Ten-point Courier is one font; ten-point Courier Italic is another; ten-point Courier Bold is another, and so on. A laser printer font is a computer file that contains all the bitmaps needed to print a full set of characters and symbols. Along with the bitmap information the file also includes a header with various sorts of information identifying the font, such as typeface or point size. As an example, bitmap fonts may be stored in three places for HP LaserJet printers. Those are the ROM built into the printer itself; the ROM in an accessory cartridge to plug into the some printers; and soft font files that are stored on disk that can be downloaded (transferred) to the RAM of the printer.


Acronym for Because It's Time NETwork. An obsolete network used by the academic and research community for E-Mail, mailing lists, and file transfers. It is distinct from the Internet but connected to it through E-Mail and news gateways.


The speed at which bits (instead of baud or bytes) travel along a communications path.

bit robbing

Telephony coined phrase to describe a transmission process. The technique in T1 multiplexing in which the least significant bit (bit 8) of each byte in selected frames is "robbed" from being used to carry message information, and instead is used to carry signaling information.


The name of the company creating the parallel port bi-directional printer port standard. The port is often called by this name. Though pronounced the same, it has nothing to do with the company long associated with the Data General mini-computer emulation, Bitronix. In order to use this technology, the Centronics 36 pin cable must be fully implemented.


The total loss of electrical power.


Bluetooth is a telecommunications industry specification describing how certain types of mobile phones, computers, and personal digital assistants (PDAs) can be interconnected using a short-range wireless connection technology. The technology is also used for wireless keyboards, mice and similar pointing and input devices. Bluetooth networks feature a dynamic topology called a piconet or PAN. Piconets contain a minimum of two and a maximum of eight Bluetooth peer devices. Devices communicate using protocols that are part of the Bluetooth Specification. Version 1.1 of the specification is in widespread use today with versions 1.2 and 2.0 under development. It appears to us that the actual current driving force in the industry for Bluetooth is Microsoft who is providing most of the ability for interconnectivity. Using this technology, users of cellular phones, pagers, and personal digital assistants can buy a three-in-one phone that can double as a portable phone at home or in the office, get quickly synchronized with information in a desktop or notebook computer, initiate the sending or receiving of a FAX, initiate a print-out, and, in general, have all mobile and fixed computer devices be totally coordinated. Bluetooth requires that a very low-cost and low powered transceiver chip be designed into and included within each device. The transceiver transmits and receives in a previously unused frequency band of 2.45 GHz that is available globally. There are some minor variations of bandwidth in different countries, and optionally within a region. In addition to specific data information, there are up to three voice channels that are available. Each device has a unique 48-bit address from the IEEE 802 standard, somewhat similar to an Ethernet address. Connections can be point-to-point or multipoint. The maximum range is 10 meters; realistically, considerably less than that but not required as line of sight. Data can be exchanged at a rate of 1 megabit per second (up to 2 Mbps in the second generation of the technology); again realistically, much slower. Neither speed nor distance is close to WI-FI specifications, though this frequency falls within the WI-FI bandwidth. A frequency hop scheme allows devices to communicate even in areas with a great deal of electromagnetic interference. Built-in encryption and verification is provided as minimal security, but only minimal. As is true for WI-FI and other wireless technologies today, concerns with Bluetooth include security and interoperability with other networking standards. Practical adoption of the technology has not yet lived up to the initial industry speculation and red carpets; without Microsoft, it would not be here at all. When 2.0 is achieved, however, this will become a very viable technology.


An abbreviation for Biel Mean Time, a synonym for Internet Time. BMT is followed by a @and 3 numbers ranging from 001 to 999. The Swatch organization devised an idea to divide the 24 hour day into 1000 "beats", often called Swatchbeats, each being 26.4 seconds in length. That is derived by dividing a day by 1000. The idea has had mild attention but there is no worldwide effort to convert time internationally to the concept. See more about it here.


An electronics industry term to designate a populated PCB (Printed Circuit Board) in a computer, phone, TV or other electrical unit. Sometimes a board is also called a card. See motherboard or mainboard.

booklet printing

The name given to a particular type of document printing technology which allows printing a document as a booklet. In booklet printing, pages are reordered and printed two-up on each side of a sheet of paper. This allows for folding the paper in the middle, forming a booklet, and results in the pages falling in the correct order with no page shuffling. Some HP laser printers offer this technology.


A bookmark (or Favorite Place) is an easy way to find your way back to an area of your ISP's service or an Internet website -- just like a real bookmark helps you keep your place in a book you are reading. A routine that allows you to save a reference to a site or page that you have already visited. At a later point in time, you can use a bookmark to return to that page. It commonly refers to a feature of Netscape Navigator (a web browser), called Favorites in Internet Explorer, that allows you to collect and organize bookmarks of your favorite web sites.


Boolean logic, Boolean expressions and Boolean operators are key components in a mathematical syntax. The processes and logic associated with it are named after the nineteenth century mathematician George Boole. Boolean logic is a form of algebra in which all values are reduced to either TRUE or FALSE. Boolean logic is especially important for computer science because it fits nicely with the binary numbering system, in which each bit has a value of either 1 or 0. Another way of looking at it is that each bit has a value of either TRUE or FALSE, corresponding to 1 or 0. An expression that results in a value of either TRUE or FALSE. For example, the expression:
2 < 5 (2 is less than 5)
is a Boolean expression because the result is TRUE. All expressions that contain relational operators , such as the less than sign (<), are Boolean. The operators, AND, OR, XOR, NOT, NAND and NOR, are all Boolean operators. They are the four often used Boolean operators and two combination operators that can be used to manipulate TRUE/FALSE values. These operators have the following meanings, where x and y represent values of TRUE or FALSE. The OR operator is often called an inclusive OR, whereas XOR is an exclusive OR. Boolean operators are used widely in programming and also in forming database queries. For example, the query:
"SELECT ALL WHERE LAST_NAME = "Smith" AND FIRST_NAME = "John"" finds all records with the name John Smith. But the query "SELECT ALL WHERE LAST_NAME = "Smith" OR FIRST_NAME = "John"" finds all records with the last name "Smith" or the first name "John."
Boolean Operators
x AND y: Result is TRUE if both x and y are TRUE. Otherwise the result is FALSE.
x OR y: Result is TRUE if either x or y is TRUE. Otherwise the result is FALSE.
x XOR y: Result is TRUE only if x and y have different values. Otherwise the result is FALSE.
NOT: x Result is TRUE if x is FALSE. Result is FALSE if x is TRUE.
Sometimes considered but less often used:
NOR: is the combination of OR, followed by NOT
NAND: is the combination of AND followed by NOT


1. Short and slang for the early computing term, bootstrap loader. To start up or reset a computer. When a computer is booted, a bootstrap routine is automatically executed that looks for and loads the operating system. A cold boot is when the computer is powered up from an off state. A warm boot occurs when an already turned on computer is re-booted.
2. A process by which a short loader program loads itself into memory and then loads a longer program. The program brings itself into a desired state through its own action. This can be in a computer or other CPU controlled device, usually call an intelligent device. It is the startup process.
3. A term in slang to describe the action of terminating a connection to the Internet involuntarily. This process is usually done by an agent of an ISP if a flagrant violation of rules occurs. It can be initiated by a hacker to agitate or aggravate another user.


The protocol used to allow a machine to learn it's IP address and other configuration settings from remote server at boot time, as defined in RFC 951.


The ROM routine used to load the OS is often known as the 'bootstrap', from the expression "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps". See boot.


Beginning of Message; a telephony term. A short electrical pulse provided by a digital announcer when used in certain 4 wire E & M modes. The pulse alerts the PABX that the Beginning of a Message is coming.


1. The term originates from the earlier classification of intelligent agents as "knowledge robots", which subsequently got shortened to just "knowbots" or even "bots". In short, "bot" is just another term for intelligent agent. Today most people use the terms intelligent agent or bot interchangeably.
2. An Intelligent Agent, or bot, is a piece of software that can autonomously accomplish a task for a person or other entity. The software has some sort of "trigger" built into it and, once executed, the agent can carry out its function without further intervention. Some only count as intelligent agents those software programs which meet very strict criteria, but more and more people are accepting a more lenient definition of intelligent agent. The key ingredient is that the software program accomplishes some task autonomously once triggered.
3. Shorthand for 'robot', generally used to refer to an automated program used to process data with minimal human intervention. Most often referred to as certain types of search engines that seek out information from pages on the Internet. See some of our own information about robots, or see the BOTSPOT website for excellent information on bots.


The return of a piece of E-Mail because it could not be delivered to the specified address. Derived from the common term of bounced check. See also bounce message.

bounce message

A notification message returned to sender indicating that an E-Mail message could not be delivered. Usually the message is automatically generated by the Postmaster at the recipient's site, sometimes with an indication of what went wrong. The most common problem is an incorrect address, but sometimes E-Mail sent via the Internet fails for no apparent reason.


A computer chassis; the computer itself, less monitor and peripheral devices.

bozo filter

A feature of some E-Mail and newsgroup reader applications that screens out incoming messages from those whose correspondence in not valued.


An acronym for broadband over power lines. This is a technology that has never emerged successfully from many attempts since the early '80s. It is a direct competitor with both DSL and cable connectivity and attempts the same capability over electrical transmission lines. Power companies have experimented with various RF frequencies and transmissions to allow use over low voltage (relatively) into homes and businesses. The technologies used up through 2005 have caused many problems with RF interference and with the potential for user safety issues. In 2005, some major industry heavyweights began pouring money into the technology to see if resurrection could be achieved. The jury is still out.


BPS - Bits Per Second. A measurement of the speed that data is transmitted and received by a modem. The larger the number, the faster the data is sent and received. Typical rates are 2400, 14,400, 28,800 and 33,600 BPS. The newest standard dial-up rate is 57,600 BPS. Rates in the higher range are often abbreviated with KB, as in 33.6 KB. Often confused with Baud, although the terms are not interchangeable in the strictest sense; they are fairly close in accuracy for purposes of general conversation.


An acronym for Back Porch Time, the non-universal not really standard for time at the turn of the century. The time zone for it is your time zone, bordered by the creek on the East, the meadow to the South, the woods to the West and the valley to the North. Time and life slow down considerably there. See our laid back, take it easy demonstration of the BPT display.


An acronym for BiPolar Violation. BPV is the occurrence of two successive pulses of the same polarity in a bipolar signal. In T1 it is detected as an error.


Be Right Back. An example of online shorthand used in chat rooms, E-Mail, and instant messages.


A telephony industry acronym Basic Rate Interface. BRI is an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) interface typically used by smaller sites and customers. This interface consists of a single 16 Kbps Data (or "D") channel plus 2 Bearer (or "B") channels for voice and/or data. The term was also known as Basic Rate Access, or BRA, but was changed because of the sexist connotation.


1. A bridge is any hardware device that connects two physically distinct network segments, usually at a lower network layer than would a router, however the two terms are often interchanged. A device that connects two local-area networks (LANs), or two segments of the same LAN. The two LANs being connected can be alike or dissimilar. For example, a bridge can connect an Ethernet with a Token-Ring network. Unlike routers, bridges are protocol independent. They simply forward packets without analyzing and re-routing messages. Consequently, they're faster than routers, but also less versatile. Another way to describe the process is bridges filter packets between LANs by making a simple forward or don't forward decision on each packet they receive from any of the networks to which they are connected.
2. A bridge is a simple way to separate a local area network (LAN) or connect two LANs together. A bridge works similar to a hub in the sense that all data is passed through the bridge and on to the destination.
3. A software program that allows data to be accessed by a program that cannot read the native files.
4. A software program that translates files from one computer platform to another, such as from MAC to PC.
5. A software program that translates files from one application to another, such as from Word to WordPerfect. Most word processors now have bridge translators built into them but often they do not incorporate all the possibilities, just the most common.
6. Something over troubled waters, a spot in the data processing stream that programmers know only too well.

bridged tap

A telephony term. A bridged tap is an unterminated wire pair that sits in parallel to the main wire pair. In the local loop they appear when the local phone company "taps’ off an existing pair to provision a new service to a new subscriber. Typically, they do not remove the un-used cable segment and a bridged tap is created. In the home, every unused phone jack represents a bridged tap. Bridged taps create an impairment to the transmission system. The signal traverses down the un-terminated cable and reflects back to the main pair affecting the main signal. The reflection can severely affect the primary signal.


1. A term used in video monitor technology to modify how much voltage is sent to the display area of the monitor or screen, making the background and foreground images lighter or darker. Used with contrast to make the display more viewable.
2. A printing term that refers to the reflectance and whiteness of a sheet of paper. Higher brightness papers are more expensive to produce and are usually associated with higher quality. Also refers to the measure of the overall intensity of an image. The lower a brightness value, the darker the image will be and the higher the brightness value, the lighter the image will be.


A technology that provides an extremely wide and fast bandwidth so that many people can simultaneously use the service. This technology is in its infancy but offers great promise for the future of the Internet in true business applications. It is generally associated with multiple types of transmissions on the same connection such as voice, data, video and digital or analog information (such as security or TV polling). See bandwidth and DSL.


1. Normally refers to the sending a network message to all receptive parties, normally all users, that an action or activity pertaining to that group is going to, or has happened. In networking, a distinction is made between broadcasting and multicasting. Broadcasting sends a message to everyone on the network whereas multicasting sends a message to a select list of recipients.
2. To simultaneously send the same message to multiple recipients. Broadcasting is a useful feature in E-Mail systems. It is also supported by some FAX systems.
3. A transmitted frequency signal for radio, television or similar communications.

broadcast storm

An situation in which a message that has been broadcast across a network, local or not, results in even more responses, and each response results in still more responses in a snowball effect. A severe broadcast storm, often caused by virus programs or macros, can block all other network traffic, resulting in a network meltdown. Broadcast storms can usually be prevented by carefully configuring a network to block illegal broadcast messages.


A device that can provide the functions of a bridge, router or both concurrently; a brouter can route one or more protocols, such as TCP/IP and/or INS, and bridge all other traffic. Brouters have intelligent filtering in contrast to bridges or routers alone.


A perceptable reduction in the electrical line voltage supplied is usually caused by an excessive electrical demand on the electric utility or by an insufficient power-generation capability. This is also known as brown-down.


1. An application used to view information from the Internet. Browsers provide a user-friendly interface for navigating through and accessing the vast amount of information on the Internet. You can see more information about browsers and capability on our website by viewing our browsers page. The current generation of both Netscape and Microsoft's (IE) Internet Explorer are exceptionally intelligent. Be aware that all browsers do not interpret code from sites in the same manner; we support Microsoft's Internet Explorer as our primary browser. The current browsers are derivative of early ones such as Mosaic and Lynx. As of fall, 2004, the Mosaic FireFox is a somewhat competitive player in the browser wars. Get it here.
2. Also considered to be the person browsing, a delightful way to pass the time using the Internet. 3. Someone who looks but does not buy; a frequent Internet activity.

browser war

A catch phrase that refers to the battles between Netscape and Microsoft for dominance of the web browser market. Both sides seek to maximize their product's marketshare and mindshare in cyberspace. The battles are marked by short product development cycles, publicity campaigns, provocative public statements, appeals for federal intervention, and a general desire to crush the other side. The war may soon subside as AOL has now purchased Netscape. The government will decide the legal winner in this. You can be assured that Microsoft will win no matter the declared winner by the government.


A term that refers to exploring an online area, usually on the World Wide Web, generally through a software viewer known as a browser.


An electronics industry acronym for Bipolar Return to Zero. BRZ is a bipolar signal in which each pulse returns to zero amplitude before its time period ends. This prevents the buildup of DC current on the signal line.


An acronym for Binary Synchronous Communications, a standard for bisync, mainframe and minicomputer communications, developed and pioneered by IBM.


Acronym for British Telecom, MCI's world partner in an effort to gain position in the telephone and Internet access markets of the USA and Europe. See MCI.


Acronym for British Thermal Unit. The basic measurement of energy. One BTU is required to increase the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.


By The Way. An example of online shorthand commonly used in chat rooms, E-Mail, and instant messages.

Buddy Lists

Buddy Lists and similar utilities are powerful features and functions that help you keep track of and communicate with online associates or pals you frequently interact with. You create a list of screen names within Buddy Lists, and when those members come online, you are notified. From there, you can find out which chat room they are in, or you can send them Instant Messages. This utility, along with Instant Messages were originally proprietary to certain ISPs. However, as more intelligent software has been developed, this utility is becoming more attractive across services. It is similar to a Who Is There call on networks. It is also similar to the operation of a less functional address book.


1. A temporary memory location for data in transit from one device to another device; it is usually credited with making negotiations easier between devices of two different speeds. Your operating system or the application program decides which buffer to use. Most buffers are for disk I/O. In DOS, Windows and similar operating environments, you have the ability to tell the system how many buffers to set aside in memory VIA settings in CONFIG.SYS or in the registry. See z-buffering.
2. A buffer is a data area shared by hardware devices or program processes that operate at different speeds or with different sets of priorities. The buffer allows each device or process to operate without being held up by the other. Like a cache, a buffer is a "midpoint holding place" but exists not so much to accelerate the speed of an activity as to support the coordination of separate activities.
3. Being more buff than someone else.
4. Not to be confused with buffet, the place where most programmers end up.

buffered memory

This is when there is so much memory the chipset needs assistance to deal with the large loading introduced by the large amounts of memory. A buffer isolates the memory from the controller to minimize the load the chipset sees. See buffer and z-buffering.


A problem with computer software or hardware that causes it to malfunction or crash. The term is credited to Grace Hopper, an early pioneer in computing and the creator of COBOL, an early business computer language. It is said that one day in the late '40's, she was responsible for cleaning out Eniac, the first working computer. She was to try to find what was keeping it from working correctly. She found a real bug lodged in a mechanical relay. The term started as "getting the bugs" out of the computer, now known as debugging. As Paul Harvey would say, there is a story behind every story. Get the real story about the term.

bulletin board

An information service, also referred to as a BBS, that you connect to directly with your modem. This is also a term for a place to post common interest messages within a site or service from an ISP..... assuming, of course, you weren't thinking of the thing you hang on your wall and tack pictures to. ;)


A group of data at intermittent times.


1. A collection of wires through which data is transmitted from one part of a computer to another. You can think of a bus as a highway on which data travels within a computer. When used in reference to personal computers, the term BUS usually refers to internal bus. This is a bus that connects all the internal computer components to the CPU and main memory. There's also an expansion bus that enables expansion boards to access the CPU and memory. All buses consist of two parts, an address bus and a data bus. The data bus transfers actual data whereas the address bus transfers information about where the data should go. The size of a bus, known as its width, is important because it determines how much data can be transmitted at one time. For example, a 16-bit bus can transmit 16 bits of data, whereas a 32-bit bus can transmit 32 bits of data. Every bus has a clock speed measured in MHz. A fast bus allows data to be transferred faster, which makes applications run faster. On PCs, the old ISA bus is being replaced by faster buses such as PCI. Nearly all PCs made today include a local bus for data that requires especially fast transfer speeds, such as video data. The local bus is a high-speed pathway that connects directly to the processor. Several different types of buses are used on Apple Macintosh computers. Older Macs use a bus called NuBus, but newer ones use PCI.
2. In networking, a bus is a central cable that connects all devices on a local-area network (LAN). It is also called the backbone.
3. A way to get from point A to point B. Check out the BUS on the web.

BUS cycle

A single transaction between system memory and the CPU. See BUS.

BUS network

A BUS network is a multiple access medium for small networks and usually only consists of one cable and the devices that are attached to it. This is often called a tightly-coupled network. In an alternative architecture, a motherboard has slots for multiple CPUs on daughter cards. Often, these cards have up to four CPUs on the same card and get network signals across the BUS.

BUS width

The number of data bits that can be input or accessed simultaneously. Common bus widths of DRAM are 32, 36, 40, 64, 72 and 80 bits. See BUS.


A handshake signal, usually serial, sent from the monitor, modem or printer (or other device) to the sending computer indicating that the device cannot accept any more characters at the moment.


Objects that, when clicked once, cause something to happen. These may be part of a browser or seen through a browser.

butt set

A telephony term; also called a test set or hand set. A sophisticated one piece telephone used by technicians to diagnose telephone lines or equipment. The name is derived from the approximate position it is worn while clipped onto a technician's belt.


1. A byte is eight bits grouped and considered a unit. There are seldom used associated terms used in conjunction with byte. A nybble is half a byte, or four bits. As was determined in the '20s, half of a nybble, a quarter (of a byte) or 25 cents, is two bits. A word is two bytes, or sixteen bits; a large word is four bytes, or 32 bits. A tongue twister is eight bytes, 64 bits (no kidding).
2. An early computing enthusiasts' magazine.
3. Don't know your KB from your MB? Try our memory and storage converter. For a demonstration of bits within a byte and binary number conversion, try our Base 2/10/16 number converter.

Letter A -|- Letter C -|- Add A Word
Glossary Home Page

Leave us a question or comment on Facebook
Search or Browse Our Site
Free Information Calculators and Converters

International Copyright Violation
Registered® Trademark™ and Copyright© 1973 - CSG, Computer Support Group, Inc. and CSGNetwork.Com All Rights Reserved

Home | Advertising | Calculators and Converters | Contact Us | Javascript | Sitemap | Glossary | Top Free Apps