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Computer, Telephony & Electronics
Industry Glossary


An abbreviation for On Approved Credit, a method that computer retailers love to use to sell a $1000.00 computer for $2000.00, after you get finished paying for it.


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


In programming, an often practiced process to make code unclear for someone else to follow. It is an intentional effort to mislead or confuse. The term obfuscation is often used in virus issues. I think it is also a course, taken by all documentation writers, so that when they write documentation for larger programs or systems, often accounting systems, the reader will have absolutely no idea of what the writer is trying to express.


In programming terminology, a free standing chunk of code that defines the properties of some thing. For example, this Glossary applet is an object that contains button objects, scrolling list objects, window objects, URL objects, definition objects, etc. Not all programming languages use this object model; the ones that do are said to be object-oriented.

Object Oriented Programming - OOP

A style of computer programming which entails building of independent pieces of code which interact with each other. For example, JAVA and C++ are object oriented programming languages.


1. An acronym for Optical Carrier. Since there are several designations for OC, it is often seen as OC-x where the "x" represents increments of 51.84 Mbps. (If x = 3, then the speed is 3 x 51.84Mbps.) This is base unit found in the SONET hierarchy. See also Synchronous Optical Network.
2. Used to specify the speed of fiber optic networks conforming to the SONET standard. The table below shows the speeds for common OC levels.
OC-x = Speed
OC-1 = 51.84 Mbps
OC-3 = 155.52 Mbps
OC-12 = 622.08 Mbps
OC-24 = 1.244 Gbps
OC-48 = 2.488 Gbps


OCR is the abbreviation for Optical Character Recognition. It is the software process of converting a scanned document into text that a computer word processor, editor or other text based software can understand. Two similar yet different technologies are MICR and barcode. OCR refers to the branch of computer science that is often called imaging. The process "reads and translates" images into a form that the computer can manipulate (for example, into ASCII codes). An OCR system enables you to take a book or a magazine article, feed it directly into an electronic computer file, and then edit the file using a word processor. All OCR systems include an optical scanner for reading text, and sophisticated software for analyzing images. Most OCR systems use a combination of hardware (specialized circuit boards) and software to recognize characters, although some inexpensive systems do it entirely through software. Advanced OCR systems can read text in large variety of fonts, but they still have difficulty with handwritten text, although there are tablet entry systems for word processing on many newer computers. The potential of OCR systems is enormous because they enable users to harness the power of computers to access printed documents. OCR is already being used widely in the legal profession, where searches that once required hours or days can now be accomplished in a few seconds. The industry has spawned other forms of imaging such as fingerprint, eyeprint, voice and other forms of recognition for security.


Refers to the base-8 number system, which uses just eight unique symbols (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). Remember that no one working with octal is a fashion statement; you can't be dressed to the nines and work with octal! The most common use for octal today is on UNIX servers, setting the rights for files with CHMOD, though we also have an Octal Time Display Calculator. With the advent of hexadecimal computers, this technology is nearly antiquated. Manufacturers that used it in the 60's, 70's and 80's such as Data General, Digital, General Automation, Point 4, DDC and Honeywell have all embraces the more efficient qualities of HEX (base-16). Programs often display data in octal format because it is relatively easy for humans to read and can easily be translated into binary format, which is the most important format for computers. By contrast, decimal format is the easiest format for humans to read because it is the one we use in everyday life, but translating between decimal and binary formats is relatively difficult. In octal format, each digit represents three binary digits; for example, the octal number 3456 is 011 100 101 110 in binary.


Open DataBase Connectivity. The service that is the most widely supported standard for open database middleware. The process and the standard were developed by Microsoft but have been enhanced individually by DBMS vendors and developers. All major databses at present support this and most supply their own ODBC software. The ultimate goal of ODBC is to make it possible to access any data from any properly written application, regardless of which database management system (DBMS) is handling the data, and regardless of how data was inserted into the DBMS. ODBC manages this by inserting a middle layer, called a database driver, between an application and the DBMS. The purpose of this layer is to translate the application's data queries into commands that the DBMS understands. For this to work, both the inquiring application and the issuing DBMS must be totally ODBC compliant. In other words, the application must be capable of issuing ODBC commands and the DBMS must be capable of responding to them intelligently. Since creation of the standard, version 2.0, the standard supports SAG SQL. The process has had some reasonable success in standard applications but has been very successful in the area of report writers.

odd parity

A type of data integrity checking where the parity bit checks for an odd number of 1's (as opposed to an even number of 1's).


OEM is a term that stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Over the years, the term manufacturer has become very loose and often means maker or assembler. It is a term to segment out a section of the industry that creates computers or computer equipment. Since 1985 the term has come to mean unnamed or unbranded. Hence, a manufacturer of unbranded products or a reseller that brands unbranded products to a proprietary brand or name.


Office is the name given to several suites of software. Microsoft Office includes word processing, a spreadsheet, graphics and other options depending on the particular package. Corel WordPerfect also offers an office. IBM's Lotus does also. The best selling suite is Microsoft; the current release is 2003 but Office 2002 (XP) other previous releases, Office 2000 and Office '97 are still fully supported. There are two service release patches out for '97. Get the SR1 or SR2 patch from this link for Office '97, depending on what you need. Office 2000, 2002 and 2003 do have several security patches also. It is an ongoing process. Find all the support information concerning Microsoft Office here and get all the latest information concerning the products in Office here. You can now opt to have the Microsoft automatic downloads patch your office installation as well.


1. The process of accessing resources from your local computer and not other than yours, on a LAN, WAN, VPN or network interface to the Internet.
2. Generally regarded as being detached and not operating on the Internet. See online. This happens when your modem loses connection with your ISP, or any full time connection you may have through some sort of network, is down.
3. Not connected. For example, all printers have a switch that allows you to turn them off-line. While the printer is off-line, you can perform certain commands like advancing the paper (form feed), but you cannot print documents sent from the computer. The opposite of off-line is on-line.
4. Aside from its technical meaning, off-line is used frequently in a more general sense to describe events that occur outside of a standard procedure. For example, if somebody at a meeting says "let's continue this discussion off-line," it means "let's discuss it informally at another time".


A unit of resistance. (Pronounced Home, with a silent H.) It is the measure of the opposition offered to the flow of current in an electrical or electronic circuit. Resistance is usually the product of a resistor. The resistance offered by a column of Mercury 106.e centimeters in length and 1 square millimeter in cross-sectional area, at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. One ohm is the resistance value through which one volt will maintain a current of one ampere. Here at CSG or CSGNetwork.Com, we offer very few ohms. If you would like to see more about Ohm's Law, click here or click here. You can also see the industry color code for resistors, measured in ohms, by clicking your mouse here.


1. Object Linking and Embedding, Microsoft's proprietary mechanism for allowing documents and applications to access data and subroutines from within other applications. OLE is itself built on top of COE. OLE is a major component of ActiveX, and sees some minimal use in linking data (primarily video and audio clips) across applications.
2. OLE, an acronym for Object Linking and Embedding is a Windows technology that allows not only the creation of compound documents with data originating from more than one program, but also the editing of cut-and-paste data using the originating application program without leaving the host program.

One Stop InfoShop

America Online's main self-help area, One Stop InfoShop allows you to browse all of AOL's help files in a free area. 95% of questions asked can be answered here. Most all ISPs offer similar services and most intelligent Internet sites are beginning to do the same.


The process of accessing resources from a computer other than yours, on a LAN, MAN, WAN, VPN or network interface to the Internet. Generally regarded as being attached and operating on a network or the Internet.

Online Clock

The online clock will tell you the time and how long you've been on your service, often it includes the time on the ISP's billing clock. If it does NOT indicate your billing time, but only the actually time that you've been connected to the service, it is generally due to the trend of unlimited usage for a flat fee.

Online Database

The methodology for business on the net to keep information and data. In another sense, it is a file used by the Macintosh versions of some ISP's software to keep track of important account information. This file should not be altered in any way.

Online Store

A cyber shop or place of business. You can generally browse through merchandise and services that you can optionally purchase directly or indirectly online. See Ecommerce.


See Object Oriented Programming.


An commonly used industry term, a short form of the proper name, Operational Amplifier. The opamp was originally designed to carry out mathematical operations in analog computers, such as calculating positions and co-ordinates. It however has been found to have numerous other applications. The opamp IC comes in several packages but the most common form is an 8 pin integrated circuit, the most common one being the type 741. They are tremendously popular hobby circuit components. The 741 has two inputs and one output. The input marked with a - sign produces an amplified inverted output. The input marked with a + sign produces an amplified but non inverted output. The opamp requires positive and negative power supplies, together with a common ground although some circuits can be designed to work from a single supply. If the two inputs are joined together, then the output voltage should be exactly midway between the two supply rails, zero volts. If it is not, then there are two connections for adding a potentiometer. See one of our hobby projects using a 741 opamp. It is an Automotive Interior Lights Delay Dimmer.


The command used to view a document or other file. It is found under the FILE menu of your control program or browser.


A telephony acronym for Off Premise Extension. A telephone line from the phone system terminated in a different building than the phone system.

operating system

The master set of programs responsible for overseeing the basic hardware resources of a computer such as disks, memory, keyboard, screen, and CPU time. UNIX, XENIX, Linux, OS2/WARP, DOS, Windows, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows NT, Macintosh System 7, and IBMs VM and VS/VME are examples of operating systems. OSs that are network based are called NOSs, Network Operating Systems. Some examples of early, older OSs no longer in use were CP/M, MP/M, TurboDOS, TRSDOS, UltraDOS, NetDOS and CEDDOS, the last two written by us for early Radio Shack TRS-80 computers. There have been many that have come and gone including the original IBM PCDOS and PCOS. PCOS was released to support cassette tape players before the first IBM PC had a floppy disk drive! According to IBM records, there were only 24 of these released, all to Beta users. The vast majority of operating systems have been written over the years in assembler for a partifular processor or family of processors. A few notable exceptions have been UNIX family members written in C, BLIS Cobol, written in Cobol and SECOR, written in a BASIC derivitive. Most non-assembler OSs were very slow but were easier for revision and repair. Most often, they were made available in source to the general public VIA groups known as SIGs (Special Interest Groups) through public domain. UNIX and the derivitives have been reasonably successful. Most all of the others have had a "cult-like" following based on the fact that the OS did some particular job that others didn't or did some job better than other OSs. Most everyone that written or participated in writing an OS knows the support headaches involved as different hardware comes online. That is why at present, even though there are millions of users of OSs, there are only a handful available.


1. Organizational Role. This is a characteristic of Networe Directory Services, NDS. The object specifying a position within an organization structure can be occupied by different staff members from time to time. The Netware NWADMIN program allows this to happen on an as-needed basis.
2. OR is also a Boolean term, as opposed to AND, to set a condition for a software logic decision. An example of such in use in obvious conditions are Internet Search Engines.
3. As programmers go, when you are up the creek without a paddle, this is what you look for.


In mathematics, relating to or composed of right angles. Generalized to mean independent of, separate from, or irrelevant to. For example, a message about the weather in Nebraska might be orthogonal to a discussion of the Java programming language. Then again, it may depend on the kind of nerd you are discussing it with.


See operating system.


An operating system developed by IBM for use on PCs. It was exceptional in capability but was plauged by bugs and poor support. It never really caught on with end-users; even IBM didn't use it in the organization. It was both server and peer-to-peer capable. It used both NetBIOS and TCP/IP protocols.


1. An acronym for On Screen Display; a term describing the menu that pops up on many newer generation monitors to give digital control functions, as opposed to analog control functions, to adjust and set the characteristics of the monitor. This menu "superimposes" itself above and in front of anything else on the screen to give adjustment capability.
2. An acronym for Open Source Development. See OSDL.


Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) is a nonprofit corporation founded by the consortium IBM, Intel, and Computer Associates to support Linux developers and users. (It could be safely said that Microsoft was NOT among them!) The goal of OSDL is to provide a place where Linux and other Open Source developers can work together and create standardized and compatible Linux platform applications. Plans for a state-of-the-art laboratory based somewhere in Oregon were announced in August 2000 by Scott McNeil, who is widely credited with the concept for OSDL. In 2007 OSDL merged with the Free Standards Group to form the Linux Foundation. See the Linux Foundation site.


1. Open Systems Interconnect is the standard for a seven layer network model. It was originally published in 1984 by the International Standards Organization (ISO) to help software developers create software of different levels, independently, that work together, hopefully in network harmony. No one needs to know the details of this unless you are a developer or are interest in a CNE or MCSE certification. If so, plan on doing some heavy studying; you will be tested on this in the morning!
2. A 7-layer architecture model for communications systems; the OSI model was created by the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Table of the OSI Model
Physical layer: Layer 1, the lowest of seven hierarchical layers. The physical layer performs services requested by the data link layer. The major functions and services performed by the physical layer are:
(a) establishment and termination of a connection to a communications medium;
(b) participation in the process whereby the communication resources are effectively shared among multiple users, e.g., contention resolution and flow control; and,
(c) conversion between the representation of digital data in user equipment and the corresponding signals transmitted over a communications channel.
Data link layer: Layer 2. This layer responds to service requests from the network layer and issues service requests to the physical layer. The data link layer provides the functional and procedural means to transfer data between network entities and to detect and possibly correct errors that may occur in the physical layer. Examples of data link protocols are HDLC and ADCCP for point-to-point or packet-switched networks and LLC for local area networks.
Network layer: Layer 3. This layer responds to service requests from the transport layer and issues service requests to the data link layer. The network layer provides the functional and procedural means of transferring variable length data sequences from a source to a destination via one or more networks while maintaining the quality of service requested by the transport layer. The network layer performs network routing, flow control, segmentation/desegmentation, and error control functions.
Transport layer: Layer 4. This layer responds to service requests from the session layer and issues service requests to the network layer. The purpose of the transport layer is to provide transparent transfer of data between end users, thus relieving the upper layers from any concern with providing reliable and cost effective data transfer.
Session layer: Layer 5. This layer responds to service requests from the presentation layer and issues service requests to the transport layer. The session layer provides the mechanism for managing the dialogue between end user application processes. It provides for either duplex or half-duplex operation and establishes checkpointing, adjournment, termination, and restart procedures.
Presentation layer: Layer 6. This layer responds to service requests from the application layer and issues service requests to the session layer. The presentation layer relieves the application layer of concern regarding syntactical differences in data representation within the end user systems. An example of a presentation service would be the conversion of an EBCDIC coded text file to an ASCII coded file.
Application layer: Layer 7, the highest layer. This layer interfaces directly to and performs common application services for the application processes; it also issues requests to the presentation layer. The common application services provide semantic conversion between associated application processes. Examples of common application services of general interest include the virtual file, virtual terminal, and job transfer and manipulation protocols.


An acronym for Operating System Power Management. It is a major segment in the effort known as ACPI. OSPM is an industry effort to return management and monitoring of the computer power interface control from the BIOS to the user at an operating system level.


An abbreviation for Outside Surface Temperature. This is used in the electronics industry to mean the surface temperature of a component. It is generally used in conjunction with CPUs.


An abbreviation for On The Air.


An abbreviation for Organizational Unique Identifier. This is a GUID for companies or organizations, as established by the IEEE. An OUI (company ID) is a 24 bit globally unique assigned number referenced by various standards. OUI is used in the family of 802 LAN standards, for example, Ethernet, Token Ring, and now, wireless units.


A folder where you store E-Mail before it about to be sent, after it has been created.


Microsoft's current mail client and office information package. Comes as a separate product or part of Office. Outlook Express, a leaner version of Outlook, comes with all of the Microsoft operating systems since W98.


An ill-fated group of processors derived from Intel's 80486 family. See DX4 and DX2.

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