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Computer, Telephony & Electronics
Industry Glossary


I2 is the industry term for Internet2, the high speed Internet designed for academic communities. The goal was for first and most importantly, creating and sustaining a leading edge network capability for the national research community. Second, directing network development efforts to enable a new generation of applications to fully exploit the capabilities of broadband networks. Third, working to rapidly transfer new network services and applications to all levels of educational use and to the broader Internet community, both nationally and internationally.


A slang term for Inter-IC, a particular type of "bus" designed by Philips Semiconductors in the early 1980s, which is used to connect integrated circuits (ICs). I2C is a multi-master bus, which means that multiple chips can be connected to the same bus and each one can act as a master by initiating a data transfer. I2C is used in many devices, especially video devices such as computer monitors, televisions and VCRs.


An acronym for Intel Architecture - 64; a plan from Intel for full blown 64 bit computing power in a microprocessor. IA-64 is based on Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing and certainly designed as the foundation for Intel's line of microprocessors through 2005. The Itanium is the first in Intel's line of new 64 bit processors. IA-64 microprocessors will begin to appear in new high performance workstations, major Internet servers and enterprise servers over the next few years. Operating system software of all platforms will evolve to handle the full power of the processors.



Acronym for Internet Access Provider, a company that provides physical access to the Internet. IAPs generally provide dial-up access through a modem and PPP connection, though companies that offer Internet access with other devices, such as DSL, ADSL, ISDN, cable modems or wireless connections, could also be considered IAPs. The terms IAPs and ISP (Internet Service Providers) are often used interchangeably, though some people consider IAPs to be a subset of ISPs. Whereas IAPs offer only Internet access, ISPs may provide additional services, such as leased lines (T1 or T3) and Web development. In contrast to both IAPs and ISPs, online services provide their own proprietary content in addition to Internet access.


An abbreviation for Inside Air Temperature. This is used in the electronics industry to mean the ambient air temperature of the air mass within the unit in discussion. If it is a computer or telephone chassis, it means the air inside of the computer or chassis.


I-Biz, often associated with Ecommerce or Icommerce (Internet Commerce), is the act of doing business, with another business, on the Internet. Ecommerce or Icommerce is most often associated with consumer to business activities, as opposed to business to business activities. It takes specialized business software running on an Internet website to enable I-Biz. The most effective business sites are interactive with the customer, can take orders, allow selection variations and option and take payment, all in a secure and safe environment. I-Biz carries that substantially deeper into the businesses' own computer systems to include real time operations in inventory, accounting, ordering and fulfillment.


International Business Machines. In the early 1960s and 1970s, IBM was a definition for computers. While they were not initially major players in the microcomputer market, they have made a strong comeback in the Internet business world. See them at HTTP://WWW.IBM.COM.


1. See integrated circuit; see chip. An integrated circuit (IC) is a complete, very compact circuit made up from tiny resistors, diodes, transistors and capacitors. Each IC can contain hundreds, thousands or even millions of these components, and the circuits themselves are very complicated. However, we do not need to know the exact details, just what the IC needs as inputs and what we can expect as outputs. If you look in an electronics catalogue, you will usually only be told what voltage the IC was designed for and how each pin of the IC must be connected if it is to work properly.
2. Shorthand slang, IC, meaning "I see". See ICQ.


An acronym for Internet Control Message Protocol, the standard error and control message protocol for Internet systems. Defined in RFC 792, the most well known use of ICMP messages is the Echo Request - Echo Reply sequence used by Ping.

Icommerce or Ecommerce

Icommerce (Internet Commerce), often termed Ecommerce, is the act of doing business on the Internet. It is most often associated with consumer to business activities, as opposed to business to business activities. It takes specialized business software running on an Internet website to enable Ecommerce. The most effective business sites are interactive with the customer, can take orders, allow selection variations and option and take payment, all in a secure and safe environment.


An easy-to-use online instant messaging (IM) program developed by Mirabilis LTD. You can get a copy at WWW.MIRABILIS.COM. A sound alike, pronounced as individual letters, so that it sounds like "I-Seek-You," ICQ is similar to AOL's popular Buddy List and Instant Messenger programs, AIM, PAL and MSN's Messenger. It is used as a conferencing tool by individuals on the Net to chat, E-Mail, perform file transfers, play computer games, and more. Once you have downloaded and installed ICQ onto your PC, you can create a list of friends, family, business associates, etc. (who also have ICQ on their PC's). ICQ uses this list to find your friends for you, and notifies you once they have signed onto the Net. You can then send messages, chat in real time or conduct business communications. Seek ICQ at WEB.ICQ.COM.


1. A small picture that represents an action that your computer can perform. Usually, the picture shows what the button does. For example, the PRINT icon will probably look like a printer. The icon is the picture worth a thousand words. Use of this mnemonic convention originated at Xerox PARC and was subsequently popularized by the Apple Macintosh. Producing an effective icon is non-trivial because of size and color restraints. See iconographer.
2. A very noteworthy example, usually describing a person.


A skillful designer who elevates icon design to an art form.


1. An acronym for either Intelligent Drive Electronics or Integrated Drive Electronics, based on which manufacturer's data sheet you peruse. An IDE interface is an interface for mass storage devices, in which the controller is integrated into the disk or CD-ROM drive. The technology evolved from the late 1980s and is greatly advanced in capability over the original specifications. The popularity was mainly due to the universal acceptance of the idea and the low cost of manufacturing. Although it really refers to a general technology, most people use the term to refer the ATA specification, which uses this technology. See ATA.
2. An acronym for Integrated Development Environment. A method of writing software using varied languages and styles, into one end application. An example of a simplified IDE is HTML and scripting. PHP is heavily moving to IDE as a normal environment.


An acronym for ISDN Digital Subscriber Line. IDSL provides DSL technology over existing ISDN lines. Even though the transfer rates for IDSL are about the same as ISDN (144kbps v. 128kbps), and IDSL circuits can only carry data (not voice), the major benefits of switching to IDSL from ISDN are always-on connections, as opposed to dial-up, thus eliminating call setup delays; flat rate billing, instead of per minute fees; and transmission of data over the data network, rather than the PSTN. IDSL was developed by Ascend Communications, now part of Lucent Technologies, WWW.LUCENT.COM.

identity hacking

Posing as someone else while online. Posting anonymously or pseudonymously, usually with the intent to deceive. Some ISP's will terminate service if it is proven you have participates in such. If for financial gain, a felony charge of fraud can be the result.


IE is the abbreviation for Microsoft's Internet Explorer series of web and desktop browsers. The current release is 7.x (with early difficulties and incompatibilities), with several patches available. It is often referred to by the acronym IE7. Version 5 is the version that was released with Microsoft's OS versions of Windows 98, 2000, and Millenium while 6 was (and is currently) released with all XP versions and the Server 2003 OS. IE7 comes with Vista. There is a rollback operation to go from 7 back to 6 if needed. IE is a no cost system tool from Microsoft to combat Netscapes's Navigator and others. It is also available in several flavors of security. Go direct to the Internet Explorer area of the Microsoft website; do not pass GO and do not collect $200. Remember that this is the stuff lawsuits are made of! You can see more information about browsers and capability on our website by viewing our browsers page.


The acronym for the Institution of Electrical Engineers, of which I am a member. See them at HTTP://IEE.ORG for more information.


1. An acronym for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, pronounced I-triple-E, of which I am also a member. Founded in 1884, the IEEE is an organization composed of engineers, scientists, and students. The IEEE is best know for developing standards for the computer and electronics industry. In particular, the IEEE 802 standards for local-area networks are widely followed. See them at HTTP://IEEE.ORG for more information.
2. The IEEE 802 standard is the most widely recognized in the computer industry:
IEEE 802.1: Standards related to network management.
IEEE 802.2: General standard for the data link layer in the OSI Reference Model. The IEEE divides this layer into two sublayers, the data link control (DLC) layer and the media access control (MAC) layer. The MAC layer varies for different network types and is defined by standards IEEE 802.3 through IEEE 802.5.
IEEE 802.3: Defines the MAC layer for bus networks that use CSMA/CD. This is the basis of the Ethernet standard.
IEEE 802.4: Defines the MAC layer for bus networks that use a token-passing mechanism (token bus networks).
IEEE 802.5: Defines the MAC layer for token-ring networks.
IEEE 802.6: Standard for Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs).


An acronym for Internet Engineering Task Force, the main standards organization for the Internet. The IETF (HTTP://IETF.ORG) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.


An acronym for Internet Fibre Channel Protocol, an emerging protocol dealing with backup and storage. It is a gateway-to-gateway protocol for the implementation of a Fibre Channel fabric in which TCP/IP switching and routing elements replace Fibre Channel components. The protocol enables the attachment of existing Fibre Channel storage products to an IP network by supporting the subset of fabric services required by such devices. The encapsulation mechanism described in this document can also be leveraged to support other applications that transport Fibre Channel frames over IP networks.


Internet Group Management Protocol is defined in RFC 1112 as the standard for IP multicasting in the Internet. It's used to establish host memberships in particular multicast groups on a single network. The mechanisms of the protocol allow a host to inform its local router, using Host Membership Reports, that it wants to receive messages addressed to a specific multicast group. All hosts conforming to level 2 of the IP multicasting specification require IGMP.


An acronym of Internet Inter-ORB Protocol, a protocol developed by the Object Management Group (OMG) to implement CORBA solutions over the World Wide Web. IIOP enables browsers and servers to exchange integers, arrays, and more complex objects, unlike HTTP, which only supports transmission of markup language objects.


An acronym of Internet Information Server, Microsoft's Web server that runs on Windows NT platforms. In fact, IIS comes bundled with Windows NT 4.0. In most cases it is interchagable as an Intranet server as well. Security has been a problem so far. Because IIS is tightly integrated with the operating system, it is somewhat easy to administer. However, at present, IIS is available only for the Windows NT platform, whereas Netscape's Web servers run on all major platforms, including Windows NT, OS/2 and UNIX. Microsoft indicates it will run on Windows 2000.

illegal operation

This is an error message returned by the system what an attempt has been made by the software, control program or some layer in the environment, to execute an operation that it cannot do. It is usually the fault of poorly written or structured code, electrical glitches in the computer or memory that is not operating correctly. Seldom is there anything that an operator can do to create this error condition. See GPF and expression. Also see Watergate!

Instant Message (IM)

Originally, an AOL feature that allows you send a private, real-time message to anyone on the AOL system. Now a utility gaining popularity on cross providers' services. A real time communication alternative to E-Mail. Chat outside of a chat room for those involved.


A created or remapped graphic on a Web page that is divided into parts which link to different pages, places or sites. Areas of the image are "mapped" with "hot spots" that function as links.


Internet Message Access Protocol. This is a more modern version of mail and messaging that enhances or replaces the POP methodology. IMAP was originally developed at Stanford University in 1986 and has had several revisions since. The current and latest version, IMAP4, is similar to POP3 but has several more features. For example, with IMAP4, you can search through your E-Mail messages for keywords while the messages are still on mail server. You can then choose which messages to download to your machine. Rapid examination of messages can be by header only examination. Like POP, IMAP uses SMTP for communication between the E-Mail client and server. Some E-Mail clients, such as Outlook (not Outlook Express) can be either POP3 or IMAP compliant, depending on the user's choices.


In My Humble Opinion, online shorthand used in chat and in E-Mail. Most of the time, they are not (humble, that is) in opinion or anything else! See IMNSHO.


In My Not So Humble Opinion. An example of online shorthand used in chat rooms, E-Mail, and instant messages. See IMHO.


A term used in electronics, audio and electrical circuitry. Impedance is the general term for the ratio of voltage to current; it is measured in Ohms and is affected by both inductance and reactance in a circuit. It is similar to electrical resistance, in that it is a measure of the opposition to the flow of electricity. Impedance is meaningful only for alternating current (AC) circuits, and as a factor, changes value as the frequency of the electricity changes. We have several pages that deal with impedance on our Electronics Calculators, Converters and Tables menu.


A folder where you receive incoming mail. This is usually a part of your E-Mail software. The physical location can be either on the server or your local station's disk.


A mathematical process in which a number, most often one, is added to another number. This process is often used in programming. Another form would be a web site counter which increments (by one) every time a person logs onto the page. See decrement.


1. The name on some operating systems for a directory listing of files.
2. The starting point of a data set. For example, say a record within a sector of a cylinder of a disk. The first bit of the container does not have user data. It is the pointer to the index of that container.
3. A file of information, usually small amounts of the same information in another file that is much larger. The smaller file also keeps track of the exact record number of the record in the large file containing the same information, only in much greater detail. The index is accessed and information is obtained from the small file which gives a record number (and sometimes a file name) to quickly gain access directly to the exact record in the large file.
4. Usually, the initial file that browsers look for on a website; index.htm or .html.


By definition, a conductor of any kind, passed through a magnetic field, will have a voltage induced in it. To create such an inductance, the conductor (inductor) can be moved through the magnetic field or the magnetic field can be moved through the conductor. That is how twisted pair wiring works (the more twists to cut the fields, the more induced voltage), as well as all other induced voltage. The measure of inductance is the henry.


By definition, a device to create inductance; usually a coil of some sort.

Industry Canada

(Formerly DOC) is the equivalent of U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Check out the FCC at HTTP://FCC.GOV.


A variant of information superhighway. Often this is referred to when describing those with cable connections rather than dial up connections. A knock off on Germany's no speed limit highway.

information superhighway

An unimplemented proposal by Vice President Al Gore to wire the US for hundreds of cable television channels and for Internet connections through cable suppliers. Now synonymous with the Internet plan for high speed access. Mr. Gore seems to think that he originated the Internet and by all rights is a legend in his own mind.


An innovative Internet information service and search engine located at HTTP://WWW.INFOSEEK.COM. One of the best services on the web; a leader in technology for desktop searches and Intranet utilties. Although the URL is still good, Infoseek is now part of the GO Network at HTTP://WWW.GO.COM.


A coined term from Cisco Systems to mean the backbone and foundational structure of any network. It is all the techie things about the network.


Infra-red is a type of light wave. We cannot see it because it is just outside the range of light which our eyes can detect. However, you can feel it. Infra-red light warms things and is the way an electric fire heats a room. The infra-red equipment used in the computer industry is not that powerful and you will not feel any heat from it. It is primarily used as a pathway for communication signals to ride upon. It is used in computer to computer limited networking, for remote control operations and for computer to printer data transfer.


Acoustical waves with frequency content below the frequency range of the human ear, typically below 20 Hz. Infrasound can often be felt, or sensed as a vibration, and can induce motion sickness and other disturbances, and even kill. The level of infrasound in a modern industrial environment is quite high, with common sources of infrasound being automotive traffic, railroads, buildings, bridges, wind noise, and thunder. Infrasound is used by the military to detect explosions. When an explosion occurs, low frequency acoustic signals are emitted. Infrasound sensors can detect these signals. An Infrasound system may be employed to detect and identify atmospheric, shallow buried or moderately shielded explosions. It has sensors either buried underground or underwater to monitor the atmosphere for low frequency acoustic signals resulting from explosions. Usually, an infrasound system can detect kiloton-type explosions up to a distance of 3000 to 5000 km. In the U.S., the Department of Energy (DOE) conducts Infrasound Monitoring Research to improve the government's capability to detect explosions. The primary DOE laboratory involved in infrasonic monitoring research is the Los Alamos National Laboratory.


A utility program that starts up when you turn on or restart your Macintosh. On most computers, the term is BOOT, short for bootstrap loader.


1. The process of formatting a disk.
2. The process of starting a program, applet or function.
3. A programming term to assign a value to any type of variable. Usually it means to assign a 0 value to numeric variables and a null string to character based variables, if the process is done internally. That is seldom the case if the process reads a file. See initialization and ".INI" files.


1. A routine or set of instructions and procedures to start a process or to start (boot) a piece of hardware.
2. A particular data file used in all previous Windows programs and some current ones. The file contains information that sets variables with a default value at the beginning of the program. See ".INI" files.


Inodes are system data structures that contain information about files in Unix and similar type operating system file systems. Each file has an inode and is identified by a unique inode number in the file system where it resides. Inodes provide important information on files such as user and group ownership, access mode (read, write, execute permissions) and type. Inodes are created when a file system is created. There are a set number of inodes, which indicates the maximum number of files the system can hold. A file's inode number can be found using the ls -i command, while the ls -l command will retrieve inode information.

input box

A box that allows you type in text. An Instant Message contains one input box.


To load and configure a piece of software on a computer.


1. A physical site where there are hardware resources, usually a server and additional supporting equipment.
2. The finished process of getting a piece of software on a system.

instant messaging

A type of communications service that enables you to create a private chat room with another individual. Typically, the instant messaging system, IM, alerts you whenever somebody on your private list is online. You can then initiate a chat session with that particular individual. There are several competing instant messaging systems. Unfortunately, there's no standard, so anyone you want to send instant messages to must use the same instant messaging system that you use. There are several different services that are similar in architecture; most are based on E-Mail address information to locate the users online.


One of the basic set of commands, or instructions, that a microprocessor understands. One of the principal characteristics that separates RISC from CISC microprocessors is the size of the instruction set, RISC microprocessors have relatively small instruction sets whereas CISC processors have relatively large instruction sets.


Insulators are materials that do not allow charge to flow through them. They block the flow of electrons. All the materials that can be charged by rubbing are insulators. This is because if you tried to charge a conductor by rubbing it, the charge would immediately run away through you to the earth. However, if you charge up an insulator, the charge just stays there. It would be difficult to get it off. Insulators are the opposite of conductors. Also see semi-conductor.

integrated circuit

1. An electronic circuit consisting of components and connectors contained on a semiconductor chip. Usually packaged in a plastic or ceramic case with external connector pins.
2. A formal name for a component commonly termed chip or IC, that is a small electronic device made out of a semiconductor material. The first integrated circuit was developed in the 1950s by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor, now a part of Schlumberger (HTTP://WWW.SCHLUMBERGER.COM). Integrated circuits are used for a variety of devices, including microprocessors (CPUs), audio and video equipment, and automobiles. Integrated circuits are often classified by the number of transistors and other electronic components they contain:
SSI (small-scale integration): Up to 100 electronic components per chip
MSI (medium-scale integration): From 100 to 3,000 electronic components per chip
LSI (large-scale integration): From 3,000 to 100,000 electronic components per chip
VLSI (very large-scale integration): From 100,000 to 1,000,000 electronic components per chip
ULSI (ultra large-scale integration): More than 1 million electronic components per chip

Integrated Services Digital Network - ISDN



Intel is a major player in the CPU business; in fact they are THE major player. They have also ventured at different times into manufacturing of other computer components, such as motherboards, NICs, modems and video cards. The are primarily a chip maker, including various chipsets. They are know for the Pentium. You can visit them at HTTP://WWW.INTEL.COM. In the 1980's, the main competition was Zilog. It is now AMD.


1. To stop a telephone call directed to an improper telephone number, and redirect that call to an operator or recording.
2. An action on mail servers to "catch and identify" certain types of mail. That mail is then processed in a predetermined manner.


A point of connection or junction.


1. A display technique, used primarily in the early 1990s, that enables a monitor to provide more resolution inexpensively. With interlacing monitors, the electron guns draw only half the horizontal lines with each pass (for example, all odd lines on one pass and all even lines on the next pass). Because an interlacing monitor refreshes only half the lines at one time, it can display twice as many lines per refresh cycle, giving it greater resolution. Another way of looking at it is that interlacing provides the same resolution as noninterlacing, but less expensively. A shortcoming of interlacing is that the reaction time is slower, so programs that depend on quick refresh rates (animation and video, for example), may experience flickering or streaking. Given two display systems that offer the same resolution, the noninterlacing one will generally be better. Virtually all modern monitors are noninterlaced. There is a similar technique with disk data called the interleave process.
2. The preparation a graphic image so that alternating rows are displayed in separate passes. Interlaced images give a unique effect because the entire image is displayed quickly and then details are filled in gradually. Great for "Type A" personalities! They are especially prevalent on the Internet because of the slow transmission speed. Web pages with interlaced GIFs appear in a browser more quickly than pages with normal GIF images. The interlaced GIFs look blurry at first, but then become sharp as the rows are filled in.


1. To arrange data in a non-contiguous way to increase performance, such as on a disk drive. When used to describe disk drives, it refers to the way sectors on a disk are organized. In 1 to 1 interleaving, the sectors are placed sequentially around each track; this is the optimum condition to read a full track of data in one revolution of the disk. In 2 to 1 interleaving, sectors are staggered so that consecutively numbered sectors are separated by an intervening sector. This was the common method of data retrieval on MFM drives of the early and mid 1980s. The purpose of interleaving is to make the disk drive more efficient. The disk drive can access only one sector at a time, and the disk is constantly spinning beneath the read/write head. This means that by the time the drive is ready to access the next sector, the disk may have already spun beyond it. If a data file spans more than one sector and if the sectors are arranged sequentially, the drive will need to wait a full rotation to access the next chunk of the file. If instead the sectors are staggered, the disk will be perfectly positioned to access sequential sectors. The optimum interleaving factor depends on the speed of the disk drive, the operating system, and the application. The only way to find the best interleaving factor is to experiment with various factors and various applications. Seagate began the delivery of drive and controller combinations to match the technology of the time for optimum conditions. The Seagate ST238 RLL drive was the first production combination to offer 1 to 1 interleave factors in even the slowest of computers.
2. Memory can also be interleaved. With memory, it is the process of taking data bits (singly or in bursts) alternately from two or more memory pages (on an SDRAM) or devices (on a memory card or subsystem). This is done to achieve a faster rate of data extraction.


"A network of networks," the Internet supports FTP, WWW, Gopher, E-Mail, Telnet, and many other world-wide information transfer protocols and services. ISPs provide an effective interface with the Internet. The Internet itself is made up of thousands of LANs and WANs, all using TCP/IP to provide information services to millions of users. A worldwide network of networks that all use the TCP/IP communications protocol and share a common address space. First incarnated as the ARPANET in 1969, the Internet has metamorphosed from a military internetwork to an academic research internetwork to the current commercial internetwork. It commonly supports services such as E-Mail, the World Wide Web, file transfer, and Internet Relay Chat. The Internet is experiencing tremendous growth in the number of users, hosts, and domain names. It is gradually subsuming other media, such as proprietary computer networks, newspapers, books, television, and the telephone. Also known as "the net", "the information superhighway", and "cyberspace". See also ARPANET, domain, and Domain Name Service. While the term usually applies to the above, an Internet can be as simple as the joining of two networks. Al Gore takes credit for inventing it.


See I2.

Internet Domain Name

The unique name that identifies an Internet entity. For example: aol.com is the Internet domain name for America Online, whitehouse.gov is the Internet domain name for The White House (not to be confused with whitehouse.com) while npr.org is the Internet domain name for National Public Radio. Often called the name game, many individuals have made an industry of obtaining the rights to certain names of domains, then selling them at high profit to the parties that should have the right to them. WINDOWS95.COM did not originally belong to Microsoft, though it does now. (I bet heads rolled with that one!) In the case of that site, the owner is capitalizing on the name and really has a great site that is a public service location. He out did Microsoft at their own game. However, others are just ripoffs or smut sites (as in whitehouse.com) with minor name variations designed to lure in passers by or youth. The practice should be controlled.

Internet Font

An attempt by the industry to standardize text presentation on the Internet. The use of Internet fonts more or less guarantees that any current generation browser will see those fonts (and display them) the same way other browsers do. See a reasonable representation of them here here.

Internet Relay Chat - IRC


Internet Service Provider - ISP

See ISP.

Internet Society - ISOC

To quote its home page at HTTP://WWW.ISOC.ORG: "The Internet Society is a non-governmental International organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet and its internetworking technologies and applications. The Society's individual and organizational members are bound by a common stake in maintaining the viability and global scaling of the Internet. They comprise the companies, government agencies, and foundations that have created the Internet and its technologies as well as innovative new entrepreneurial organizations contributing to maintain that dynamic." A bit uppity IMHO!


The InterNIC is the entity that controls the registration of most domain names on the Internet. The InterNIC is a cooperative activity between the National Science Foundation, Network Solutions, Inc. and AT&T. Its business home page is at HTTP://WWW.INTERNIC.NET.


The ability of software and hardware on multiple machines from multiple vendors to communicate meaningfully. This does not describe anything in a MAC.


A software program that executes instructions written in a high level language. There are two ways to run programs written in a high level language. The most common is to compile the program; the other method is to pass the program through an interpreter. The interpreted action runs a program on top of itself. An interpreter translates high level instructions into an intermediate form, which it then executes on the fly. In contrast, a compiler translates high level instructions directly into machine language in a two step process, minimum. Compiled programs generally run faster than interpreted programs. The advantage of an interpreter, however, is that it does not need to go through the compilation stage during which machine instructions are generated. This process can be time consuming if the program is long. The interpreter, on the other hand, can immediately execute high level programs. For this reason, interpreters are sometimes used during the development of a program, when a programmer wants to add small sections at a time and test them quickly. In addition, interpreters are often used in education because they allow students to program interactively. Both interpreters and compilers are available for most high level languages. However, BASIC, Perl and LISP are especially designed to be executed by an interpreter. In addition, page description languages, such as PostScript, use an interpreter. Every PostScript printer, for example, has a built in interpreter that executes PostScript instructions.


See IRQ.


A form of advertisement on the Web, in which the ad is the main focus of the page. The opposite is something like small blocks ads or banner ads. They take up only a small part of a Web page and are not the center of the reader's attention.


An Intranet is a computer network used within one company or organization. It has limited access and usually provides a similar look and feel to the Internet in at least some areas. A private network that uses Internet-related technologies to provide services within an organization.


1. An acronym for Input/Output. This is also typically used to describe the parts of a computer that get data into the computer or get data out of the computer. For example, a keyboard is an input device, however, you can't detect that data is coming back out of the computer, even though it may trigger the return of data. A printer is an output device. A monitor is also an output device but with the advent of touch screens, can also be an input device. Serial ports are usually the gateways for devices that are both input and output, such as a modem. As technology has changes, parallel ports are now 2-way bi-directional (Bi-Di) as well. The term BIOS is an acronym for Basic Input Output System.
2. A description of a port in a computer's memory scheme. A location in a separate memory address map maintained for CPU/device communication. Each device's I/O ports are uniquely assigned within the map. I/O ports come in sets of 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32, and are referred to only by their Base Address. Often used in PC's in conjunction with memory-mapped I/O, where I/O Ports form the control channel, and memory access supplies the data channel. Except for PCs and the backward compatibility issues, the technology has been replaced by memory-mapped I/O.
3. An often used expression by the "computer people in the trenches", the front line workers. Often followed by "off to work I go!"


A veteran computer industry participant, established in 1980. By self definition, Iomega Corporation provides personal storage solutions that help people manage their important information, according to them, anywhere. Iomega is a leading manufacturer of smart, portable storage solutions, including drives and disks. Iomega's award winning products are used by millions of computer users for sharing, transporting, sorting and backing up their critical information. See zip for more information.


Internet Open Trading Protocol is an IETF specification which defines a way to create a business trading environment that is more reliable and personal than existing methods by giving the consumer more opportunities to interact directly with all parties of a transaction. IOTP focuses on the transaction process; therefore, it is application and payment system independent. IOTP relies on standard "Trading Components" to define and keep track of all the stages of an Ecommerce transaction. Parties involved use these Trading Components to send and receive the necessary information (always in XML format) to execute the deal. Here's an example of how a simple payment-exchange transaction works:

Let's say a consumer shows interest in a merchant's product. The merchant decides which payment brands (Visa, MasterCard, DigiCash, etc.,), protocols, and currency denominations he will accept. He then sends that info to the consumer using the Brand List Component. The consumer makes his choices and sends them back to the merchant using a Brand Selection Component. The merchant creates a Payment Component that details the payment selection and provides payment directions. He also creates an Organization Component that recognizes the payment handler and merchant roles. The consumer checks the information, then uses the Status Component to let the payment handler know the deal is good to go. The payment handler checks the information. If everything looks legitimate, he swaps Payment Scheme Components for payment brand and payment protocol. Finally, receipt is delivered to the consumer via the Payment Receipt Component. As transactions become more complex and involve more players, the need for more Trading Components becomes necessary.


Short for Internet Protocol and sometimes called 4bone; see TCP/IP. Also known as IPOD and IPv4; please also see IPv6.

IP address

A string of four numbers separated by periods (such as used to represent a computer on the Internet. The format of the address is specified by the Internet Protocol in RFC 791. When a PC accesses the Internet through an ISP, it sometimes receives a temporary IP address. That process is called a dynamic IP. That address can (and probably does) change each time a user logs in. A permanent IP address is called static; it is always the same and is associated as a characteristic of the local IP module. Each of the four number sets must be 255 or less; they may be 0.


This is the new name given to a visual technology originally developed by Omniview, now known as Internet Pictures Corporation. IPIX allows users to create and view 360-degree digital panoramic photographs. The process, originally called PhotoBubble, created IPIX images by patching together two hemispherical shots taken through a fish-eye lens. The result is a spherical panoramic image. To view an IPIX, you need a dedicated IPIX viewer or a plug-in that works within another application, such as a browser. The viewer allows you to move within the IPIX environment to view different parts of the image. Interactive Pictures Corporation, which is also called IPIX, offers a variety of viewers and plug-ins for free, and sells tools to create and manipulate IPIX images. A competing format for panoramic images is an Apple Computer developed product, QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR).

IP Multicast

Sending out data to distributed servers on the MBone (Multicast Backbone). For large amounts of data, IP Multicast is more efficient than normal Internet transmissions because the server can broadcast a message to many recipients simultaneously. Unlike traditional Internet traffic that requires separate connections for each source-destination pair, IP Multicasting allows many recipients to share the same source. This means that just one set of packets is transmitted for all the destinations.


An acronym for Internet Protocol Next Generation; a slang term for IPv6.

IPOD, iPOD or iPod

1. An acronym for Internet Protocol OutDated; a slang term for IPv4.
2. iPOD is a portable electronic device that is both a digital audio player and contained portable hard drive, made by Apple Computer. It is 4 inches by 2 and 1/2 inches, and depending on the model, about 1/2 in to 3/4 inch in depth. Though still emerging in technology, iPod disk sizes vary up to about 60GB and can be connected to a computer through either a FireWire (Mac or Windows) or USB (Windows only) port. There are several flavors of the iPOD and all have reputations for being user-friendly. To some, it may be used as a PDA. Users navigate iPOD with what Apple calls a "touch wheel," a centrally placed circular disk designed for single hand operation. Popular iPOD features include a calendar, address book, to do list, alarm clock with sleep timer, games, and text reader. It has external devices available that can interface it to a stereo or home theater system. The native default format for digital audio is AAC but the MP3 format is compatible.

IP spoofing

A technique used to gain unauthorized access to computers, whereby the intruder sends messages to a computer with an IP address indicating that the message is coming from a trusted port. To engage in IP spoofing, a hacker must first use a variety of techniques to find an IP address of a trusted port and then modify the packet headers so that it appears that the packets are coming from that port. Newer routers and firewall arrangements can offer protection against IP spoofing.


An acronym for Internet Protocol version 4; a slang term for the current IP standard. Also known as IPOD.


Short for Internet Protocol version 6, also known as 6bone. This is the latest level of the Internet Protocol is now included as part of IP support in many products including the major computer operating systems. (The current standard of IP is now often called IPv4, or IPOD.) IPv6 has also been called IPng (IP Next Generation). The most obvious improvement in IPv6 over the IPv4 is that IP addresses are lengthened from 32 bits to 128 bits (better try to remember your HEX math). This extension anticipates the Internet's considerable future growth and provides relief for what was perceived as an impending shortage of network addresses.


Short for Internetwork Packet Exchange, a networking protocol used by the Novell NetWare operating systems. Like UDP/IP, IPX is a datagram protocol used for connectionless communications. Higher-level protocols, such as SPX and NCP, are used for additional error recovery services. The successor to IPX is the NetWare Link Services Protocol (NLSP). IPX was a proprietary protocol used initially on DOS systems. See IP.


Short for InfraRed. An invisible band of radiation at the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum. It has beginnings in the middle of the microwave spectrum and goes up to an ambiguous area at the beginning of visible light. Infrared transmission requires a totally clear line of sight between transmitter and receiver. It is used for wireless transmission between computer devices and PDAs as well as most all current remote units for televisions, video devices and both home and mobile stereo equipment. See IrDA.


Internet Relay Chat. A tool that allows you to chat with others on the Internet by typing to them. IRC is very similar to many ISPs' chat rooms. A chat network that operates over the Internet. Originally evolved from the UNIX talk program, IRC is similar to the chat systems found on commercial online services.


An acronym for the Infrared Data Association, located in Walnut Creek, CA. A membership organization founded in 1993 and dedicated to developing standards for wireless, infrared (IR) transmission systems between computers. With IrDA ports, a laptop or PDA can intelligently exchange data with any other IrDA computer or use an IrDA printer without a cable connection. IrDA requires line-of-sight transmission like a TV remote control; it is very similar in operation except that it uses data streams instead of a one command burst. IrDA products began to appear in 1995. The LaserJet 5P was one of the first printers with a built-in IrDA port. The IrDA model is comprised of the IrDA Serial IR physical layer (IrDA-SIR), which provides a half-duplex connection of up to 115.2 Kbps. This speed allows the use of a low-cost UART chip; however, higher non-UART extensions for 1.15 and 4 Mbps have also been defined. IrDA uses the Infrared Link Access Protocol (IrLAP), an adaptation of HDLC, as its data link protocol. The Infrared Link Management Protocol (IrLMP) is also used to provide a mechanism for handshaking and multiplexing of two or more different data streams simultaneously. See them at HTTP://WWW.IRDA.ORG.


"In real life," (as opposed to cyber life) a slang term used in chat rooms, message boards and E-Mail.


A popular expansion board for PCs and Macintoshes that enables these personal computers to emulate IBM 3278 and 3279 mainframe terminals. In other words, personal computers with IRMA boards can function as both stand-alone computers and as terminals connected to a mainframe computer. IRMA boards are made by a company called DCA. This board is a hybrid cross between a NIC and a serial interface.

IRQ (Interrupt Request)

1. The hardware lines used by PC peripherals (such as printers or modems) to communicate to the microprocessor that the device is ready to send or receive data. Because of the limited amount of these designated by hardware and operating system designers years back, this function is often a major source of connectivity problems. Under most circumstances IRQs are unique and cannot be shared unless the operating system allows it. There is a number from 0 to 15 associated with them on most current microcomputers. See headache! Windows 98SE, Windows ME, 2000, NT and XP are doing better in that they can allow several IRQs to be shared without consequence. 2. A set of 16 hardware lines in the PC Bus architecture, that when asserted by the I/O device, notifies the CPU that the device is in need of servicing. IRQ's 2 and 9 are cascaded, as this is the way that the PC architecture was extended from the 8 bit 8 IRQ "PC/XT" bus to the 16 bit 286 "AT" bus. On most 32 bit protected mode operating systems, peripherals cannot share an IRQ, as the OS would not know which of the two peripherals needed servicing.
3. See interrupt and cascaded interrupt.

IRS (Interrupt Source)

Synonymous with bad guys, snakes, nightmares, ulcers, high blood pressure, audits and system crashes! See them at HTTP://WWW.IRS.GOV, though I can't imagine anyone wanting to!


Short for Information Systems, one of many names (not all are printable here...) of the department that is in charge of information services, information management and computing in general in larger businesses. See MIS and IT.


An acronym for Industry Standard Architecture. It is a particular configuration of bus slots so that cards can be added to a main or motherboard. The ISA configuration is now obsolete, 1999. It has been replaced by PCI and newer schemes for pin configuration and speed.


Acronym for Indexed Sequential Access Method, a popular form of record retrieval from files on larger systems. This method was consistent with IBM's method of dealing with multiple users in the same file at the same time. Though slow by today's standards, the methodology is sound and works remarkably well, no matter the size of the file. This method allowed programmers to give the ability to access data sequentially, randomly or VIA the index, directly. Because it was working in what was in reality, a large sequential file, commands for access of records could be queued because the relative position of the record in the file never changed. ISAM data systems are still around today, particularly on older mini-computers and mainframes.


Acronym for Internet Small Computer Systems Interface. This high-performance storage protocol implements newly emerging industry standards for the transport of SCSI storage protocols over IP, commonly referred to as iSCSI. See SCSI.


Integrated Services Digital Network, a fast method of service access and transferring data world-wide and an international communications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital telephone lines or normal telephone wires. You can use most online services with an ISDN line if you have a special access account. ISDN speed varies depending on the grade of line and service provided. It is an alternative to standard modem service but is usually much more expensive. It is also competitive with direct cable hookups and satellite links. While it is effective, the popularity has been low due to costs involved. This is a third generation modem technology. A technology offered by telephone carriers that allows for the rapid transfer of voice and data. ISDN supports data transfer rates of 64 Kbps (64,000 bits per second). Most ISDN lines offered by telephone companies give you two lines at once, called B channels. You can use one line for voice and the other for data, or you can use both lines for data to give you data rates of 128 Kbps, slightly more than 2 times the data rate provided by today's fastest modems. The original version of ISDN employs baseband transmission. Another version, called B-ISDN, uses broadband transmission and is able to support transmission rates of 1.5 Mbps. B-ISDN requires fiber optic cables and is not widely available.

ISDN Terminal Adapter

Integrated Services Digital Network Terminal Adapter; a telephony term. An interface between an ISDN line and a computer. Often these provide 1 or 2 analog POTS output ports.


Short for International Standards Organization. Dedicated to making standards within the world to allow seamless interaction with all hardware and software. See them at HTTP://WWW.ISO.ORG on the Internet. To see what we think is the most bizarre standard in computing today, take a quick look at ISO 8601. Also see TANS.


See Internet Society.


1. Short for Internet Service Provider. An ISP is an organization that provides access to the Internet via dial-up telephone lines. Many offer major services as well such as AOL, MSN and CIS. Newcomers are offering challenges to the veterans. Phone giants AT&T, MCI and Sprint are examples. Most ISPs now provide a service to the Internet and their services for a flat monthly fee.
2. A business that delivers access to the Internet, usually for a monthly fee. PSI, UUNET, and Netcom are examples of established ISPs but there are thousands of smaller ones all around the world.
3. Any business that provides Internet services such as web sites or web site development.
See IAP.


Short for Information Technology, usually the name of the department that is in charge of information services, information management and computing in general in larger businesses. See MIS and IS.


This is the code name from Intel for the first release in the line that Intel calls the next generation microprocessor. This is a full 64 bit internal and external CPU, and is the first in a family of 64-bit products from Intel. Designed for high-end, enterprise-class servers and workstations, the processor was built from the ground up with an entirely new architecture based on Intel's Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) design technology. It was released in mid-2001 with the Itanium 2 due out in mid-2002. The "after Windows2000" OS to efficiently run it is code named Whistler (now known as XP) from Microsoft. It was expected about the same time. It is a member of the Merced family of Intel chips, also known as the IA-64 processor line.


1. An action or a process of iterating or repeating, such as a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result, or the repetition of a sequence of computer instructions a specified number of times or until a condition is met. Similar to but not the same as recursive.
2. One execution of a sequence of operations or instructions is an iteration.
3. A cycle.


1. Acronym for United National International Telecommunications Union. It was eventually shortened to:
2. International Telecommunication Union, (HTTP://WWW.ITU.INT) an intergovernmental organization through which public and private organizations develop telecommunications. The ITU was founded in 1865 and became a United Nations agency in 1947. It is responsible for adopting international treaties, regulations and standards governing telecommunications. The standardization functions were formerly performed by a group within the ITU called CCITT, but after a 1992 reorganization the CCITT no longer exists as a separate body.
The following chart are some of the initial standards set by the ITU, roughly the equivalent of the ANSI organization in the USA.

This table of Communications Protocols shows the Protocol, the Maximum Transmission Rate, and Duplex Mode.

Bell 103 300 bps Full
CCITT V.21 300 bps Full
Bell 212A 1,200 bps Full
ITU V.22 1,200 bps Half
ITU V.22bis 2,400 bps Full
ITU V.29 9,600 bps Half
ITU V.32 9,600 bps Full
ITU V.32bis 14,400 bps Full
ITU V.34 33,600 bps Full
ITU V.90 56,000 bps Full


An acronym for Interactive Voice Response. A technology that allows a telephone based user to input or receive information remotely to or from a database.


An acronym for Interexchange Carrier; a telephony term. IXC is very much a U.S. term; an IXC is a long distance telecommunications provider that offers a range of circuit switched, packet switched, leased line, and enhanced communications services; any provider that providers communications services between exchanges on a long haul basis. In Europe, Asia and other nations around the world, the local Telco also serves as the major IXC in the country. See Telco.

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