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Computer, Telephony & Electronics
Industry Glossary


It is used to denote the original Intel Pentium line of processors, introduced in 1993. See FSB.


It is used to denote the Intel Pentium II line of processors, introduced in 1997. See FSB.


This is an abbreviation for peer-to-peer, a particular type of networking protocol.


1. P3 is AOL's data transfer protocol. It is comparable to ZMODEM. The same technology is used, as of 1996, by other ISPs also.
2. It is also often used to denote the Intel Pentium III line of processors; it was introduced in 1999. See FSB.


P4 is used to denote the new Intel Pentium IV line of processors, released to the public in November 2000. See FSB. There are several different versions of the processor line.


An acronym for Private Automatic Branch eXchange; telephony jargon. A phone system used to switch telephones between extensions and to outside lines. For incoming and outgoing (dial 9) calls. Sometimes just called PBX though a PBX system does not have to be automatic or may not even have the capability for total automation.


A unit of data sent across a network. When a large block of data is to be sent over a network, it is broken up into several packets, sent, and the reassembled at the other end. Packets often include checksum codes to detect transmission errors. The exact layout of an individual packet is determined by the protocol and network architecture being used. In many cases, it could be also called a sub-unit of a data stream; a grouping of information that includes a header (containing information like address destination) and, in most cases, user data. This is not to be confused with "Pack It!", a term many arrogant programmers have heard from many supervisors over the years.

packet reflection

This error message is received when a packet of data could not be transmitted properly and was sent back (reflected) to the origin. This is a network based error.

packet sniffing

The intentional and usually illegal act of intercepting packets of data being transmitted over the Internet and searching them for information. This can be done without the sender's or recipient's knowledge. It is the equivalent of line-tapping.

packet switched network or PSN

A network sub-architecture that does not establish a dedicated path through the network for the duration of a session, opting instead to transmit data in units called packets in a connectionless manner; data streams are broken into packets at the front end of a transmission, sent over the best available network connection of possibly many, and then reassembled in their original order at the destination endpoint.

packet switching

A switching system that uses a physical communications connection only long enough to transit a data message; data messages are disassembled into packets and reassembled at the receiving end of the communication link; packets may travel over many diverse communications links to get to the common endpoint. This is most often contrasted with circuit switching in data communications, where all data messages transmitted during a session are transmitted over the same path for the duration of the session.


1. A specially surfaced material to allow the users of mice, a place to optimize operation.
2. A graphics tablet for data input into programs such as CAD/CAM. They are often mouse-like in function but stationary with a pointer that moves over them.
3. An acronym for Packet Assembler/Disassembler. The hardware device used to connect simple devices (like character mode terminals) that do not support the full functionality of a particular protocol to a network. PADs buffer data and assemble and disassemble packets sent to such end devices.
4. A digitizer.
5. A place where many nerdy type programmers lived in the '60s.

pad character

1. A character used to fill empty space. (In some cases, it could be considered "education"...) Many applications have fields that must be a particular length. For example, in a database application, you may have a field that is ten characters in length. If you use only four of the allotted characters, the program itself must fill in the remaining six characters with pad characters. Some applications allow you to choose the character to be used as padding. Most padding by default is done with a space character, as issued by the spacebar.
2. A "home body" from the 1960's.


The process, in most word processors, of calculating the properties of a page in order to assign page breaks and page characteristics.


Excite's online instant message service, (as of mid-2001) now defunct. See others like PAL here.


Palmtops are a class of portable personal computers (generally with PDA software) that fit in the palm of your hand. One of the most well-known palmtops is the Pilot, developed by PalmOS and marketed originally by US Robotics, now 3COM.


A leading manufacturer and supplier in all commercial electronics industries worldwide. They have several International manufacturing and operations locations. See them at HTTP://WWW.PANASONIC.COM.


A telephone industry slang jargon acronym term for Pretty Amazing New Stuff. This fits with the industry term POTS.


1. An acronym for Password Authentication Protocol. A means of authenticating passwords which is defined in RFC 1334. PAP uses a two-way handshaking procedure. The validity of the password is checked at login. See also CHAP, the exact opposite of PAP.
2. A sometimes used acronym for Plug And Play, though the most often used is PNP.

Paper Mail

Some E-Mail services offer this service so that you can send Internet E-Mail to people who don't even own computers. A form of snail-mail. A loose reference to the US Mail service. See mail.


A paradigm is a pattern or an example of something. The word also connotes the ideas of a mental picture and pattern of thought. The entire concept of computers is a paradigm in that computers always follow programming. See logic.


1. A paradox is a statement or concept that contains conflicting ideas. Some people think computers themselves are a paradox in concept. In logic, a paradox is a statement that contradicts itself; for example, the statement "I never tell the truth" is a paradox because if the statement is true (T), it must be false (F) and if it is false (F), it must be true (T). In everyday language, a paradox is a concept that seems absurd or contradictory, yet is true. In a Windows environment, for instance, it is a paradox that when a user wants to shut down their computer, it is necessary to click "start".
2. In nautical terms, two places to put your boat.


1. A form of data transfer and communications, most often used with printers. It is the opposite of and an alternative to serial communications. Printers and other devices are said to be either parallel or serial. Parallel means the device is capable of receiving more than one bit at a time (that is, it receives several bits in parallel). Most modern printers are parallel or USB. Here is the pin information for PC parallel printers.
2. A type of bus connection, transferring data in a similar means as a parallel printer connection.
3. In electronics, two components can be connected together in two different ways, series and parallel. Each component has two different ends or poles. They can be positive and negative but may not be. For identification, they are known as Alpha and Beta. While the nomenclature is not exactly original, it serves the purpose. If similar components, such as a resistor and another resistor, or a capacitor and another capacitor, are in parallel in a circuit, the alpha pole of one is connected to the alpha pole of the other, directly, while the beta pole and other beta pole also connect directly. See our Parallel Resistance Calculator and our Parallel Capacitance Calculator to resolve values for either resistance or capacitance.


A guideline or limitation of software or process functions. In the case of search software, parameters are Boolean factors, the words or letters you are trying to find, where you want the search to include in the looking process and the like.

Parental Control

Parental Control is an ISP feature that allows a parent to restrict a child's access to certain areas of ISP provided services and the Ineternet. Such control is also available in most modern browsers and is available as a separate application. While it is not foolproof, it is a good thing. There are also some standards being set on the web. See Net Nanny, SafeSurf or Recreational Software Advisory Council for more information. These are certainly not all involved but a representative group. This site CSGNETWORK.COM, is rated for users of all age groups and is devoted to keeping unfit material off the Internet, at least filtering it.


A method of data integrity checking that adds a single bit to each byte of data. The parity bit is responsible for checking for errors in the other 8 bits (or less, depending on the arrangement). Parity is logic that detects the presence of an error in memory. Generally, a single parity bit is used for each byte (8 bits) of data. The most commonly used forms of parity are even parity, odd parity, and checksums.


To search through a stream of text and either break it up into useful chunks of information or reformat it in some other manner.


1. A portion or a segment of memory or storage memory, such as a hard disk. Most commonly used as a section of a hard drive. Hence the name partition. When you format a hard drive, you can assign the number of partitions you want on a physical hard disk. The computer will recognize each partition as a separate drive, and they will show up as different drives under most operating systems; a logical drive.
2. The act of creating a logical (as opposed to physical) drive.
3. To break into smaller sections, such as a hard drive. Most often, smaller but multiple partitions can improve the efficiency of your hard drive. On larger drives, the cluster, or block sizes (the minimum amount of space a file can take up), are also very large, which can result in a waste of disk space. So multiple partitions can actually give you more usable space.
4. Partitioning can also be used to allow multiple operating systems on the same drive of a given computer. Most of the 32 bit file structures do not allow that, for native operation, but earlier OS software, such as Windows 85, 98 (original), OS2, DOS and early NT did.
5. A form of computer office and work area segregation so that hardware people can be isolated from software people, for example. Often referred to as cubicle world.


An acronym for Portable Applications Standards Committee; a group within the IEEE. PASC is the group that has and continues to develop the POSIX family of standards. See them at HTTP://WWW.PASC.ORG.


Your password is like a key to your home. It is one of the primary forms of online security. It is needed for you to get online, and to change your billing information. A different password is often needed for applications that are online. NEVER GIVE YOUR PASSWORD(s) TO ANYONE. Most ISP's staff will NEVER ask you for your password. If someone does ask for that password, challenge them as to who they really are.

password surfing

Like any large community, all ISP services have their share of undesirable characters. On most services, they make themselves known by masquerading as ISP employees. Frequently they will send a new member an instant message or E-Mail claiming that the system has lost their information, or offering them free service for a year. This is called password surfing. These people are NOT ISP employees, and they are trying to steal from you. To protect yourself, NEVER give your password or billing information to anyone. Most ISP employees will never ask you for your password or billing information.


An acronym for Port Address Translation, a technique used to share a single IP address to provide Internet access to a LAN, from the outside. The process is usually handled by a router, firewall or another computer, usually a server of some type. PAT associates an internal network address to an appropriate outside published network IP, followed by a port number, which is the key to routing communications into the LAN. For instance, a computer on a LAN has the dynamic or, most often, static address of internally but is seen as by the outside world. See NAT.


1. A software fix for a bug in a program, often called a zap. It is usually a section of code that an installed program places in the patch area of generated code so that you do not have to install an entire program or library. See kluge.
2. A particular type of cable for networking that is a through cable; pin 1 to pin1, pin2 to pin 2 and so on.


1. The hierarchical description of where a directory, folder, or file is located on your computer or on a network.
2. The marketing version of the Yellow Brick Road, where many computer sales people lead you; often preceded by Primrose.


1. A telephony term that describes the portion of a frame or cell that carries user traffic. It is effectively what remains in the frame or cell if you take out all headers or trailers.
2. In computer virus jargon, the virus itself, after having been deposited by a trojan horse.


1. A telephony acronym denoting Private Branch Exchange, a physical private telephone network.
2. A small telephone switching system (exchange) usually on a customer's premises that also connects to the public switched telephone network. See PABX.


See personal computer.


In roughly the middle of 1998, Intel introduced the BX chip set to their motherboard designs. One element in this new architecture included an increase in the PC main memory bus speed (Host bus) from 66 to 100 MHz, called PC100. To match the 100MHz bus speed, 100MHz SDRAM modules are used. These modules are often referred to as PC100 compliant. See personal computer (PC).


In roughly the middle of 2000, Intel upgraded all current chip sets in their motherboard designs to this standard. One element in this new architecture included an increase in the PC main memory bus speed (Host bus) up to 133 MHz, called PC133. To match the 133MHz bus speed, 133MHz SDRAM modules are used. These modules are often referred to as PC133 compliant. A further extension of the PC100 specification, the PC133 specification details the requirements for SDRAM used on 133MHz FSB motherboards. PC133 SDRAM can be used on 100MHz FSB motherboards but will not yield a performance advantage over PC100 memory at 100MHz. See personal computer (PC).


1. An acronym for Partial Constant Angular Velocity. See (CAV) and (CLV).
2. An acronym for Personal Computer Anti-Virus.


A component made up of layers of copper and fiberglass; the surface of a PCB features a pattern of copper lines, or "traces," that provide electrical connections for chips and other components that mount on the surface of the PCB. A term used in the electronics industry to denote a RAW (non-populated) Printed Circuit Board. Once components are populated on it, the board is sometimes called a card. See motherboard, systemboard or mainboard.

PC Card

The current and newest name for PCMCIA.


The sometimes used name for PCOS.


Acronym for Peripheral Component Interconnect, a local bus computer standard developed by Intel Corporation and others associated with the industry. Most modern PCs include a bus that is only PCI capable; early PCI designs incorporated the PCI bus in addition to a more general ISA expansion bus. Those are now called Legacy capable motherboards. Many analysts, however, believe that PCI will eventually supplant ISA entirely (as of April 2002, it has not completely but is well on the way); it appears that non ISA systems are now the norm rather than the exception in the year 2000. PCI is also used on newer versions of the Macintosh computer. PCI is a 64-bit bus, though it is usually implemented as a 32-bit bus. It can run at clock speeds of 33, 66, 100 and 133 MHz. At 32 bits and 33 MHz, it yields a throughput rate of 133 MBps. Board pin density is also greater and for confusion avoidance, boards will not interchange in ISA and PCI slots. Although it was initially primarily developed by Intel, PCI is not tied to any particular family of microprocessors. As of March 2000, the current specification is 3.0 and it is an evolutionary release of the PCI specification that includes edits to provide better readability and incorporate Engineering Change Notices (ECNs) that have been developed since the release of version 2.3. The Conventional PCI 3.0 specification also completes the migration to 3.3V-only slots by removing support for 5.0V-only keyed add-in cards. Version 3.0 is the current standard for Conventional PCI, to which vendors should be developing products. All PCI variations and specifications can be reviewed at PCI-SIG.


Acronym for Peripheral Component Interconnect - Express, a local bus computer standard extension of PCI. Designed in 2002, and surfaced for retail in 2004, the design was not accepted well, even though well engineered for control and video purposes. It was initially supposed to be backward compatible with PCI but it appears that not all offerings are that. The main claim to fame is that processing is not just serial as is PCI and PCI-X, but parallel. All PCI variations and specifications can be reviewed at PCI-SIG.


Acronym for Peripheral Component Interconnect - Extended, a local bus computer standard extension of PCI. It was engineered, beginning in 1996 but not reaching popularity until 1999, primarily for video characteristics that could be faster than PCI or AGP. All PCI variations and specifications can be reviewed at PCI-SIG.


The acronym for Printer Control Language, a product of HP. This was originally designed by HP for the LaserJet+. It is now the base, in revision 6, of all of the printers in the HP line. It is an interpreted language, similar to but more intelligent than PostScript. See the history of PCL here.


A telephony term describing a particular type of modulation, Pulse Code Modulation.


An acronym meaning Personal Computer Memory Card Industry Association. A standard that allows interchangeability of various computing components on the same connector. The PCMCIA standard is designed to support input/output (I/O) devices, including memory, Fax/modem, SCSI, and networking products. Many laptop computers use these devices as modems or network interfaces. It is an organization consisting of some 500 companies that has developed a standard for small, credit card-sized devices, called PC Cards. Originally designed for adding memory to portable computers, the somewhat loose PCMCIA standard has been expanded several times and is now suitable for many types of devices. There are in fact three types of PCMCIA cards. All three have the same rectangular size (85.6 by 54 millimeters), but different widths:
Type I cards can be up to 3.3 mm thick, and are used primarily for adding additional ROM or RAM to a computer.
Type II cards can be up to 5.5 mm thick. These cards are often used for NIC, modem and fax modem cards.
Type III cards can be up to 10.5 mm thick, which is sufficiently large for portable disk drives.
As with the cards, PCMCIA slots also come in three sizes:
A Type I slot can hold one Type I card
A Type II slot can hold one Type II card or two Type I cards
A Type III slot can hold one Type III card or a Type I and Type II card.
A full house beats three of a kind! So much for the details.
In general, though there are always exceptions, you can exchange PCMCIA Cards on the fly, without rebooting your computer. For example, you can slip in a Fax modem card when you want to send a fax and then, when you're done, replace the Fax modem card with a memory card. You can also fit (and use) smaller cards into larger slots but not the reverse. They are currently (as of mid-1999) just known as PC Cards.


See microcode.


Personal Computer (IBM PC) Operating System, a coined shorthand name for the DOS only software from several companies running a low level platform on compatibles. This was originally the name, though also known as PCDOS, given to IBM's version of the first IBM produced operating for PCs. They soon gave way to Microsoft produced DOS. They have made several other efforts at PC operating systems but have not been able to produce one that was competitive to Microsoft.


1. An acronym for Personal Communications Service, often called personal cellular service, though incorrectly. It is a wireless phone service very similar to cellular phone service, but with an emphasis on personal service and extended mobility. The term "PCS" is often used in place of "digital cellular," but true PCS means that other services like paging, caller ID and e-mail are bundled into the service. PCS phones use frequencies between 1.85 and 1.99 GHz.
2. A telephony term describing wireless communications technology that operates between 1850 and 1990 MHz. A loosely defined future, currently in the infancy stages, ubiquitous telecommunication service that will allow "anytime, anywhere" voice and data communication with personal communication with personal communications devices.


1. An acronym for Personal Digital Assistant. A small, totally portable device that combines computing, telephone/fax, and networking features. A typical PDA can function as a cellular phone, Fax sender, and personal organizer. Unlike portable computers, most PDAs use a pen-like stylus rather than a keyboard for input. This means that they also feature handwriting recognition. Some PDAs also make use of voice recognition technologies. Apple Computer pioneered the field of PDA by introducing the Newton MessagePad in 1993. Shortly thereafter, several other manufacturers offered similar products. To date, PDAs have had only modest success in the marketplace, due to their high price tags and limited applications. However, many experts believe that PDAs will eventually become common gadgets.
2. PDA is a term for any small mobile hand-held device that provides computing and information storage and retrieval capabilities for personal or business use, often for keeping schedule calendars and address book information handy. Most PDAs have a small keyboard. Some PDAs have an electronically sensitive pad on which handwriting can be received. Some PDAs offer a variation of the Microsoft Windows operating system called Windows CE. Other products have their own or another operating system.

pdf files

Adobe's Portable Document Format (pdf) is a translation format used primarily for distributing files, such as documentation, across a network, or on a web site. This is an inexpensive way for CD distributors to include documentation with a CD based program or suite of programs. Files with a .pdf extension have been created in another application and then translated into .pdf files so they can be viewed by anyone, regardless of platform. The Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader software is necessary to view these files, and can be obtained free at many sites, provided by Adobe, or get it here, Acrobat PDF Reader central. Adobe can be accessed through HTTP://WWW.ADOBE.COM.


The acronym for Pure Dumb Luck, a programmer's or system engineer's best friend when it comes to fixing things.


The acronym for Pure Digital Monitor, one that has no analog capability.


1. The acronym for Public Data Network. Network operated either by a government (as in Europe) or by a private organization or association to provide computer communications to the public, usually for a fee. PDNs enable small organizations to create a WAN without the equipment costs of long distance circuits.
2. An acronym for Packet Data Network. This can be either a public or private packet based network, such as an IP or X.25 network.


A simple, small type of network in which each workstation has the ability for equivalent capabilities and responsibilities. Each station can be a server and each can be a client at the same time. This differs from client/server architectures, in which some computers are dedicated to serving the others. Peer-to-peer networks are generally simpler and less expensive, but they usually do not offer the same performance under heavy loads. In fact, they are a compromise at best in either way they are used. But they are efficient with high enough horsepower hardware and with a good network integrated operating system. A major player in the early LAN days, offering this type technology, was Artisoft's LANtastic. Currently, all Windows operating systems of 95 and up offer this technology built in. It is just referred to as the Microsoft network when used with NetBEUI.

Peer Web Services

See PWS.


One of Intel's family of microprocessors; introduced in 1993. A class of microprocessor made by Intel. The series has come from the early Pentium (1993) 60 Mhz, bus speeds of 66 Mhz and a 64kb cache, to the Pentium II (1997) series which began at 233 Mhz to 450 Mhz with bus speeds of 100 Mhz and a L2 chache of 512kb with full speed capability, to the Pentium III series (1999), from 450 Mhz well into the Ghz speed, 133 Mhz bus with a 512kb to 2mb L2 cache with full speed capability. (As of August 2000, a 1.5 Ghz Pentium IV has been announced for November release. Early chips have been problematic. As of February, 2002, the P4 is in production of 2.2 Ghz versions. As of January 2006, a 3.6 Ghz version is out.) There has also been a Pentium Pro (1995) with speeds in the 166 Mhz to 266 Mhz range, and Pentium XEON (1998) to add to the group; a revised XEON version was made in 1999 in Pentium III configuration with speeds in the 800+ Mhz range, and another in P4 form in 2001. There have also been low power consumption versions for laptops. In 1999, a lower performance version was released, called the Celeron; it was designed to lower the overall cost of computers that did not need ultra high performance. The Celeron has a slower bus, smaller cache and less efficient (slower) decision making path. The Pentium series CPUs were designed to run Windows but will obviously run other OS software as well. See FSB. The Itanium series was released in 2001.

people connection

The People Connection, or similar name, is most ISP's main chatting forum. There are always hundreds or thousands of people chatting about something.


A term to describe planetary distance from an orbiting body. A typical orbit of a body around a planet, for instance, the moon around the Earth, is that of an ellipse. The point at which the moon is closet to the Earth is called the perogee. The opposite is the apogee.


A programming language whose acronym stands for "Practical Extraction and Report Language". Perl is a powerful, yet unstructured language that is especially good for writing quick and dirty programs that process text files. Because of these abilities, Perl is a common choice of programmers for writing CGI scripts to automate input and output from web pages. It is one of the very few languages still used today that is based on an interpreter rather than a compiler. Perl was invented in 1986 by Larry Wall and is available to anyone at no charge. The library is now Perl5. We strongly suggest that you may want to visit the site of a company in Colorado, SPADS at HTTP://WWW.SPADS.COM, that deals entirely in Perl scripts; talk to Vince and tell him we sent you. They are great people and seem to know their stuff. We also write custom CGI scripts in Perl.

Here is the Perl version of "Hello World!":
print "Hello World\n";

permanent virtual circuit or PVC

1. A PVC is a permanent channel connection between two ATM devices. PVC’s allow network transmissions to be started without having to first establish a connection with the end point ATM device. When a PVC is constructed, the end points of the connection will agree upon a path in which data will travel, and therefore agree upon the route that data will travel to reach its destination.
2. A type of conduit pipe made of plastic used to tunnel or route network and phone cables in some installations.

personal computer - PC

The original personal computer model introduced by IBM in 1981. Because IBM was late to enter the desktop computer field, it created the PC with an "open architecture" so that it could compete with the then popular Apple II computers. This open architecture meant that any computer manufacturer could legally manufacture PC-compatible machines that could run the same software as IBM's PC. Since IBM purchased its CPU chips from Intel and its operating system (DOS) from Microsoft, makers of PC-compatibles (called clones at the time) were able to utilize the same chips and OS as IBM. As a result, PCs became the most popular home computer, IBM's fortunes dropped, and Microsoft and Intel became the multi-million dollar companies that they are today. Current popular usage of the term PC refers to both IBM produced personal computers and PC-compatible computers produced by other manufacturers.

Personal Preferences

Personal choices and preferences is your ISP's online preference utility. All services have some such device. With it you can change your multimedia preferences or change your screen names, as well as other things. What you select is what you get!

Personal Filing Cabinet or PFC

Your ISP's file organization tool, through your browser or service.

Personal Finance & Management

A channel of most ISP online services that is dedicated to your money, helping you to keep it and making it grow.

Personal Web Server

See PWS.


A number that is the literal equivalent of 2 to the 50th power (1,125,899,906,842,624) bytes; it is a quadrillion in the American system. A petabyte is equal to 1,024 terabytes. It is a noun and not an action (it has nothing to do with pets that bite). Don't know your KB from your MB? Try our memory and storage converter. (Also see powers of ten, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, exabyte, zettabyte and yottabyte.)


See Pretty Good Privacy.


1. An individual process in a group of processes, a portion of an overall job. Software projects are often broken down into phases.
2. In electricity, the type of electrical service, most often single phase for residential use or three phase for industrial use. In the case of single phase, it is relating to a circuit energized by a single alternating electromotive force; in three phase, it is relating to, or operating by means of a combination of three circuits energized by alternating electromotive forces (EMF) that differ in shift phase by one third of a cycle.


A leading manufacturer and supplier in all commercial electronics industries worldwide. They have several International manufacturing and operations locations. See them at HTTP://WWW.PHILIPS.COM.


1. Trying to illegally obtain someone's password by false representations. Frequently, "phishers" will send instant messages or E-Mail to new members claiming that they are ISP employees and need the password because of a system problem. GENERALLY, NO ISP STAFF MEMBER WILL EVER ASK FOR YOU PASSWORD. If you are asked for your password, the person asking you is not an ISP staff member, and they should be reported or ignored.
2. The technique is also often used to secure credit card numbers, bank account information, brokerage information, and generally anything that could yield a financial gain in line with fraud operations. This is a tremendous source of identity theft. See this site for the latest scams and advice.


See ISP.


The "phunny pharm" name for Phlash Phelps, of XMRadio (if you are not familiar with what XMRadio is, check out the information here...); Phlash is the "on the air" personality and DJ extraordinaire, certainly our phavorite XM host. (You know that you have "made it" when you get into the CSG Glossary!) His 60s shows are a wonderful contradiction of the technology of satellite radio and the yesteryear of music in the era that I enjoyed youth. His knowledge of the era appears to be second to none. We chat with him from time to time from the CSG Phlying Machine, listening to XM. Take a look at his website HTTP://WWW.PHLASHPHELPS.COM, view the HTTP://WWW.XMRADIO.COM site or send him a note from the XMRadio webmail function on the Sixties Page. Be sure to say Hi from CSG in warm and sunny Southern California....


The industry name for Phoenix Technologies, an industry pioneer and giant in the BIOS business for computers, hand held devices and phones; best know for BIOS work. See them at HTTP://WWW.PHOENIX.COM.


This is a special type of resistor and is sometimes called an LDR. Photoconductors are made so that their resistance decreases as the level of light falling on them increases.


This type of diode reacts to light. It is mounted so that the cathode is more 'positive' than the anode. It relies on the fact that all diodes leak a small amount of current back out of the anode. The amount of current leaking through depends on the amount of light falling onto the diode. It is not the same an an LED.


This type of transistor has only two pins, the collector and the emitter. Because they have no base pin, they can sometimes be mistaken for a normal diode or an LED. The amount of light falling on them acts instead of the base current and once a certain level is reached, the transistor is switched on.


Personal Home Page is a server-side (SSI), HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. In an HTML document, PHP script (similar syntax to that off Perl or C ) is enclosed within special PHP tags. Because PHP is embedded within tags, the author can jump between HTML and PHP (similar to ASP and Cold Fusion) instead of having to rely on heavy amounts of code to output HTML. And, because PHP is executed on the server, the client cannot view the PHP code. PHP can perform any task any CGI program can do, but its strength lies in its compatibility with many types of databases. Also, PHP can talk across networks using IMAP, SNMP, NNTP, POP3, or HTTP. PHP was created sometime in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. During mid 1997, PHP development entered the hands of other contributors. Two of them, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, rewrote the parser from scratch to create PHP version 3 (PHP3). Today, PHP is shipped standard with a number of Web servers, including RedHat Linux.

physical layer

Layer 1 of the OSI reference model. The physical layer defines the electrical, mechanical, procedural, and functional specifications for activating, maintaining, and deactivating the physical link between end systems. Corresponds with the physical control layer in the SNA model.


Pi, denoted by the Greek letter (), is the most famous (and controversial) ratio in mathematics, and is one of the most ancient numbers known to humanity. Pi is approximately 3.14, by definition, the number of times that a circle's diameter will fit around the circle. Pi goes on forever, and can't be calculated to perfect precision. On our site and in all of our calculators, 3.14159 is the value we use. Please see our Piece Of Pi information, and our Historical Computation Of Pi Table. (Please don't leave crumbs on the table.) You can also calculate it yourself using our Pi Calculator. Dividing the Pi(e) has always been a problem but sometimes multiplying with it is also. You can do either here.


A metric prefix that denotes the equivalent of one trillionth, 10 to the -12th power, in the American system. See the inverse represented by terabyte.


A measurement of time. There are 1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) picoseconds in a second. For more information on both common and uncommon timely tidbits, see our displays of time and time zone conversions on our listing of time converters and calculators and our listing of various converters and calculators.

Picture Studio

Picture Studio is a place where you can learn about chat events, search for pictures of your favorite chat partners, or catch up on the latest hot community news. Most ISP services provide such a service under various names.


Acronym for Program for Internet News and E-Mail, a character-based E-Mail client for UNIX systems. Developed at the University of Washington, PINE replaces an older E-Mail program called elm. They were somewhat similar but not exactly the same. Both are somewhat antiquated now.


1. Abbreviation for Packet InterNet Groper. A connection testing program that sends a self-returning packet to a host and times how long it takes to return.
2. The actual name of a program to measure network latency.
3. Great golf clubs.


1. Acronym for Programmed Input/Output, a method of transferring data between two devices that uses the computer's main processor as part of the data path. ATA uses PIO and defines the speed of the data transfer in terms of the PIO mode implemented, as shown in the information below:
PIO Mode, Data Transfer Rate (MBps), Standard
0 3.3 ATA
1 5.2 ATA
2 8.3 ATA
3 11.1 ATA-2
4 16.6 ATA-2
ATA-3, ATA/33 and ATA/66 do not have a PIO mode assignment as of yet, although ATA-3 is often used in PIO4 since it is really a correction to ATA-2.


In DRAMs and SRAMs (memory), a method for increasing the performance using multistage circuitry to stack or save data while new data is being accessed. The depth of a pipeline varies from product to product. For example, in an EDO DRAM, one bit of data appears on the output while the next bit is being accessed. In some SRAMs, pipelines may contain bits of data or more.


A pixel is the smallest unit of space on a computer screen; one pixel is the smallest area that can be manipulated by the computer. Each little dot is a pixel. Resolution is a measure of how many pixels you can fit on your screen. The greater the resolution, the smaller the images but the more you see on the screen at one time. The greater the resolution, the longer the screen refresh time and the slower the overall operation. 640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768 are the most common. Resolution and numbers of colors available are determined by your computer's video card capability. More often than not, the larger the number of colors, the slower the operation. Most Internet operations are limited to 256 colors and numbers set for greater than that do not usually help; however, many sites now are turning to more intense contrast and color since newer computers have that capability and also have higher speed Internet connections. Older equipment may only support 16, 64 or 256 colors.


An acronym for Public Key Infrastructure. PKI enables users of a basically unsecure public network such as the Internet to securely and privately exchange data and money through the use of a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority. The public key infrastructure provides for a digital certificate that can identify an individual or an organization and directory services that can store and, when necessary, revoke the certificates. Although the components of a PKI are generally understood, a number of different vendor approaches and services are emerging. Meanwhile, an Internet standard for PKI is being worked on. The public key infrastructure assumes the use of public key cryptography, which is the most common method on the Internet for authenticating a message sender or encrypting a message. Traditional cryptography has usually involved the creation and sharing of a secret key for the encryption and decryption of messages. This secret or private key system has the significant flaw that if the key is discovered or intercepted by someone else, messages can easily be decrypted. For this reason, public key cryptography and the public key infrastructure is the preferred approach on the Internet. (The private key system is sometimes known as symmetric cryptography and the public key system as asymmetric cryptography.) A public key infrastructure consists of:
1. A certificate authority (CA) that issues and verifies digital certificate. A certificate includes the public key or information about the public key
2. A registration authority (RA) that acts as the verifier for the certificate authority before a digital certificate is issued to a requestor
3. One or more directories where the certificates (with their public keys) are held
4. A certificate management system.


The acronym for Printer Control Language, a printer dependent language release from HP. See more information on PJL here.


PKUnzip is a standard DOS decompression utility used to extract files from .ZIP archives. There are also Windows versions of this architecture; not all are from the original PK company. PKZip is the compression utility. The resulting files are called .ZIP files.

The initials PK are from the company and architecture founder, Phil Katz. Phil was a friend of mine and a business associate. We often discussed the viability of the compression technology in the early 1980s. He felt is would be big; I didn't but we still were close in sharing technology. Phil passed away in April of 2000. He is missed already, especially by me. The PK company is at HTTP://WWW.PKWARE.COM.


PKZip is a standard DOS compression utility used to creat .ZIP archives. There are also Windows versions of this architecture; not all are from the original PK company. PKUnzip is the decompression utility. The resulting files are called .ZIP files. The PK company is at HTTP://WWW.PKWARE.COM.


An acronym for Programmable Logic Array, a chip (IC) based programmed logical program. PLAs are members of a broad category of chips called PLDs.

plasma display

A technology for both TV and video monitors for computers. Often called a gas plasma display, it works by layering neon gas between two plates. Each plate is coated with a conductive print. The print on one plate contains vertical conductive lines and the other plate has horizontal lines. Together, the two plates form a grid. When electric current is passed through a horizontal and vertical line, the gas at the intersection glows, creating a point of light, or pixel. You can think of a gas-plasma display as a collection of very small neon bulbs. Images on gas-plasma displays generally appear as orange objects on top of a black background. Although plasma displays produce very sharp monochrome images, they require much more power than the more common and less LCD displays. 2001 and up technology has introduced spectacular color images from plasma, with far fewer drawbacks. Current plasma displays are bright, with a wide color gamut, and can be produced in fairly large sizes, up to 60 inches diagonally. While very thin, usually less 4 inches, plasma displays use twice as much power as a comparable CRT television, thus limiting the use in laptop computers. While spectacular in viewing perception, there is prohibitive cost factor, compared to other flat panel technology. The use of phosphors, as in CRTs, limits their useful finite life to less than convention CRTs or other flat panels.


1. A platform is a version of interface software meant for a specific computer. Examples of such software are for the DOS, Windows, Windows95, AS400, Data General, Unix, DEC, Magic Link, Casio Zoomer, and Macintosh platforms. there are many more. Many ISPs only support two or three platforms; some only one.
2. Something that short (height challenged) programmers put chairs on so that they can reach the keyboard on top of the desk.


An acronym for Programmable Logic Controller.


An acronym for Programmable Logic Device. While often just called a logic chip, it is an integrated circuit (IC) that can be programmed, with proper equipment, to perform complex functions. A PLD consists of arrays of internal AND and OR gates (see Boolean). A system designer implements a logic design with a device programmer that blows fuses on the PLD to control gate operation. The logic is based on which gates are open and which gates are closed. System designers generally use development software that converts basic code into programmatic instructions a device programmer needs to create a design and put it into operation. PLD types can classified into three groups, PROMs, PALs or GALs and PLAs, and two classifications, Simple PLDs (SPLD) and Complex PLDs, (CPLD).

plug-and-play or PnP

Plug and Play is at best a hopeful name. Long time industry people renamed the term to Plug and Pray. (it seems there were many clergy involved in the original development.) PnP is the acronym (there is always an acronym...) that also has a counterpart, TnT, indicating how unstable the early PnP cards really were. Since R2 of W95, things have been better. W2000 was supposed to really have a grip of sorts on PnP with an entire section of System devoted to it. The theory is that OS and card, working together, have the ability within a computer system to automatically configure expansion boards and other devices. You should be able to plug in a device and play with it, without worrying about setting DIP switches, jumpers, and other configuration elements. Since the introduction of the NuBus, the Apple Macintosh has been a plug-and-play computer. The players involved and the varied options are limited by Apple's resistance to sharing technology. The Plug and Play (PnP) specification has made PCs more plug-and-play, although it doesn't always work as advertised.


Plug-ins are software programs that extend the usability of a program you are using, most often browsers. There are plug-ins for playing real time audio clips, video clips, animation, and more. Internet plug-ins work with your ISP service or with your browser. PNP

1. A class of transistor PNP or NPN, indicating the layers (each connected to a pin) of semi-conductor material polarity of positive-negative-positive. The middle layer is the base. The others are the collector and emitter.
2. See plug-and-play.


A coined term to define a broadcast of multimedia files to an Apple IPod or other appropriate receiver. A podcast is an audio or video file that subscribers can hear or view online. The advantage to a podcast is that you don't need to remember to go back and get the newest information from your favorite online source. Once you subscribe to the podcast it will automatically show up in your reader. The readers are usually free or at a very low cost. The majority of podcasts are available as audio files in MP3 format, syndicated through an RSS (XML) file. Other formats and other types of files, such as video, can also be podcasted. The content is downloaded to your desktop PC or mobile device. It is not a streaming format, so you can access the content when you want.


An acronym from the phrase Power Over Ethernet. In this scenario, the voltage to power a particular device, is powered by DC voltage on pins 4, 5, 7 and 8 of a typical (or special) 8 pin Ethernet cable. The power is from a central point and usually powers something where conventional ability to have power is unavailable; more often than not, it is a wireless bridge or access point.

Point of Presence - POP

A site that has a collection of telecommunications equipment, usually refers to ISP or telephone company sites. This is not to be confused with POP3, a particular mail server technology supporting Post Office Protocol.

Point To Point Connection

A data network circuit with one control and one tributary. Also see PPP.

Point to Point Protocol

See PPP.


A term referring to the direction of electron flow, and the condition that creates it. A polar, or polarized circuit, usually has ground as the negative (-) reference point in the circuit. The positive side (+) of the circuit is based on the reference to ground, as in the poles of a battery. There is a positive side and a negative side. See reverse polarity.


PONS is an acronym for Passive Optical Network. This is a high bandwidth point to multipoint optical fiber network based on the asynchronous transfer mode protocol, (ATM). PONs generally consist of an OLT (Optical Line Termination), which is connected to ONUs (Optical Network Units), more commonly known as subscriber terminals, using only fiber cables, optical splitters and other passive components (do not transmit signals using electricity). At present, a maximum 32 ONUs can be connected to any one OLT but OLTs can be cascaded. The OLT is located at a local exchange (CO), and the ONU is located either on the street, in a building, or even in a user's home. PONs rely on lightwaves instead of copper wire for data transfer. In a PON, signals are routed over the local link with all signals along that link going to all interim transfer points. Optical splitters route signals through the network; optical receivers at intermediate points and subscriber terminals tuned for specific wavelengths of light direct signals intended for their groups of subscribers. At the final destination, a specific residence or business can detect its own and only its own, specified signal. PONs are capable of delivering high volumes of upstream and downstream bandwidth (up to 622 Mbps downstream and 155 Mbps upstream), which can be changed "on-the-fly" depending on an individual user's needs. This type of tuning of the bandwidth is a technology that will be very popular in the near future.


See Point of Presence. Also a protocol used for E-Mail functions, now in the 2nd revision, POP3. Most E-Mail applications (sometimes called an E-Mail client) use the POP protocol, although some can use the newer IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). There are two versions of POP. The first, called POP2 (why did it start with a 2? Why ask why?), became a standard in the mid-80's and requires SMTP to send messages. The newer version, POP3, can be used with or without SMTP. Most ISPs still use SMTP for transmission and only a few do NOT use POP3.


1. A physical address on a computer or computer device. This may often be associated with a mapped mapped memory location to allow certain types of connections or may also be associated with a physical connecting device. This is often used in conjunction with Input/Output devices.
2. A location we all look for in a storm; any will do!
3. A programming beverage for sophisticated programmers, usually enjoyed with cheese and crackers; most veteran (real!) programmers drink Pepsi and have moon pies.


1. A term used to describe hardware that is small and lightweight, and can be battery powered for at least an hour. A portable computer is a computer small enough to carry. Portable computers include, ranging from largest to smallest, laptops, notebook and subnotebook computers, hand-held computers, palmtops, and PDAs.
2. An ambiguous term used to describe software has the ability to run on a variety of computers. Portable and machine independent mean the same thing; the software does not depend on a particular type of hardware. Java is a language that creates such software although there are other languages that do the same thing. The software may require compiling for a platform but the native code is the same.


A Web site or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, most of which, but not all, are on-line, such as e-mail, forums, search engines, and on-line shopping malls. The first Web portals were online services, such as AOL and Compuserve, that provided access to the Web, but by now most of the traditional search engines have transformed themselves into Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience. Typically, this sort of service also yields the user a central place to find what he needs. See vortal.


Portfolios are an ISP feature that allows you to keep track of your stocks.


An acronym for Point Of Sale. POS is both the time and place in which a transaction is made and it describes a special terminal used in computerized accounting systems. POS computer systems include cash registers, optical scanners, BAR code equipment, special printers, magnetic card readers, and special monitors or terminals. Reading merchandise tags, updating inventory, checking credit and directly or indirectly interfacing with an accounting system are some of the operations performed by the point of sale system.


An acronym for Portable Operating System Interface for UNIX, a group of IEEE and ISO standards that more or less define an interface between programs and hypothetical operating systems. (This has nothing to do with portable devices.) By designing their programs to conform to POSIX standards and requirements, software developers have some degree of assurance that their software can be easily ported to POSIX compliant operating systems, now and in the future. At present, this includes most flavors and offerings of UNIX as well as Windows NT. The standard is loose at the moment but will be more stringent in the future. The POSIX standards are now maintained by a division of the IEEE called the Portable Applications Standards Committee (PASC). Considering the impact of portability of operating systems, this may well be an important factor in the future of computing.


1. To send a message to a public area like a BBS or newsgroup where it can be read by many others.
2. A programmer's work area; Man your post!

Post Master

The name given to the person in charge of dealing with E-Mail for a particular site. In the case of mail, it is postmaster (all one word, lower case). According to convention, mail sent to postmaster@your.com should be read by a real live person, if you have one.

Post Office

The ISP post office is an area that helps new members acclimate themselves to the world of E-Mail. There are many forms of E-Mail and the exact protocol is different from one ISP to another.


Short for plain old telephone service (also see PANS), which refers to the standard telephone service that most homes use. In contrast, telephone services based on high-speed, digital communications lines, such as ISDN and FDDI, are not POTS. The main distinctions between POTS and non-POTS services are speed and bandwidth. POTS is generally restricted to about 52 Kbps (52,000 bits per second). The POTS network is also called the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

POTS splitter

A frequency splitting device used on standard POTS lines to invoke operations involved with others services, such as DSL operations. In the case of ADSL, the splitter divides the total bandwidth of the line into three channels, one for fairly high speed downloading, one for medium speed uploading and one for standard voice. All can take place on the same standard dialup line at the same time. Each uses a different frequency.


1. A math term for designating a number times itself, x number of times where x is the power. The power of 2 is referred to as squared and the power of 3 is referred to as cubed.
2. A general term with the implication of volts present. For example, when testing an electrical circuit, turn on the power mean to add voltage, sometimes called juice.
3. A indication of work, measured in watts. See our Ohm's Law Calculations With Power.
4. A designation of authority.

power newbie

An enthusiastic newbie (network newcomer) who takes advantage of educational resources in an effort to become a knowbie. Power newbies share their knowledge with other newbies both face-to-face and in bulletin boards and chat rooms. See also newbie and knowbie.

powers of ten

We offer a wonderful page we found at Cal Tech as an understandable source of information on the powers of ten as related to data. That page was taken down for some reason but see the general information from it here!. (Also see kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte, exabyte, petabyte, zettaabyte and yottabyte.)


PowerQuest Corporation, by self-definition, is a leading software developer and technology pioneer, providing solutions to simplify complex storage management issues. We think that is modest. We define them as producing some of the best software available to do things with disk drives that DOS, Windows, Novell and Linux can probably do, but take much longer, in many more steps and have far less acceptable results. We have found that our business cannot get along without them. See them at WWW.SYMANTEC.COM as they have been taken over; hopefully the software will not go the way of so many others that Symantec has acquired.

power supply

1. The component that supplies power to a computer or other electrical device. Most personal computers can be plugged into standard electrical outlets. The power supply then pulls the required amount of electricity and converts the AC current to DC current. It also regulates the voltage to eliminate voltage or current spikes and surges common in most electrical systems. Not all power supplies, however, do an adequate voltage-regulation job, so a computer is always susceptible to large voltage fluctuations. Power supplies are rated in terms of the number of watts they generate. The more powerful the computer, the more watts it can provide to components. In general, 200 watts should be sufficient. See UPS.
2. The term given to an electrical generator, used where power is not available always or at all.


Point to Point Protocol, one of two standard methods of connecting to the Internet. With a PPP account, you can connect to some generally direct connect services over the Internet. As the name implies, it is a protocol.


An acronym for Point to Point Tunneling Protocol, a new technology for creating Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) , developed jointly by Microsoft Corporation, U.S. Robotics (now 3COM), and several remote access vendor companies, known collectively as the PPTP Forum. A VPN is a private network of computers that uses the public Internet to connect some nodes. Because the Internet is essentially an open network, the Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is used to ensure that messages transmitted from one VPN node to another are secure. With PPTP, users can dial in to their corporate network via the Internet. Although PPTP has been submitted to the IETF for standardization, it is currently available only on networks served by a Windows NT 4.0 server and Linux. See L2F and L2TP, two competing but similar technologies.


An acronym for Priority Queuing. It is the assignment of order of operation.


An acronym for Programmable Random Access Memory. A device that has a stored routine, such as BIOS, that is moved to and executed from RAM for speed.


1. On a DRAM (memory), the amount of time required between a control signal's (such as RAS) transition to an inactive state and its next transition to an active state.
2. With your children, it is a time before you allow them to use your credit cards. The skill of charging is usually taught by the wife in the family.


An ISP software feature that allows you to customize such features as sound and text size. A group of options controlled by you.

presentation layer

Layer 6 of the OSI reference model. This layer ensures that information sent by the application layer of one system will be readable by the application layer of another. The presentation layer is also concerned with the data structures used by programs and therefore negotiates data transfer syntax for the application layer. Corresponds roughly with the presentation services layer of the SNA model. See also application layer, LLC, MAC, network layer, physical layer, PQ, session layer, and transport layer.

Pretty Good Privacy - PGP

A program, developed by Phil Zimmerman, that uses cryptography to protect files and electronic mail from being read by others. PGP also includes a feature which allows users to digitally "sign" a document or message, in order to provide non-forgeable proof of authorship. New technology is under consideration by the government to allow such actions to be legal and binding.


An acronym for Primary Rate Interface, an ISDN service providing users with 23 64 kbps bearer (or B) channels for message information and 1 64 kbps data (or D) channel for signaling and control over an existing telephone line. This service has been antiquated with the advent of DSL variations.

primary memory

See RAM and secondary memory.


1. If you have a printer connected to your computer, you can use the PRINT option under the FILE menu to print text and some pictures.
2. The fine stuff you didn't bother to read when you signed up for 50 years of Internet service at $50 a month because you thought it was a great deal!


A hardware device to put text or graphics on paper rather than on the monitor or system display.


See CPU.


A commercial online ISP and Internet service.


A series of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Also, as a verb, to create or revise a program. See programmer.


1. An individual who creates or revises a program on any sort of device that responds to structured instructions as the control for operations. 2. A device that places instructions into a PROM, ROM or other chip for use in a computerized device.

programming language

A computer language that programmers utilize to create programs. C, Perl, Java, BASIC, and COBOL are examples of programming languages. In essence, programming languages are translators that take words and symbols and convert them to binary codes that the CPU can understand. A few others are Ada, APL, AppleScript, assembly language, awk, C++, CODASYL, cxml, Delphi, Eiffel, FORTRAN, GW-BASIC, MBASIC, NetBASIC, MuBASIC, JavaScript, JScript, LISP, machine language, P-Code, microcode, Modula-2, K-Man, MUMPS, Pascal, Prolog, pseudocode, Python, QBASIC, VBASIC, query language, RPG, Smalltalk, Turtle, BasicA, SQL, Tcl, UML, VBScript, Visual Basic and Visual C++.

progressive rendering

Progressive rendering is a download method where the file begins to display itself before the download is completed. Downloading a graphic with some ISP's latest software and most current browsers use this technique. It is also called Smart Art, streamers, quick grafix and similar "catchy" names.

progressive scan

Progressive scanning is a technology process used in describing how the electronics of such devices work, but also defines the process used by image processors and also decodes MPEG-2 formats. Standard NTSC televisions have been using the "interlaced" technique, breaking each frame image (480 viewable lines) into two sections called fields (actually 240 viewable alternating lines), which is simply to scan 480 viewable lines in each pass of the electron beams. The beams run at 60 cycles per second. Because this process occurs at such rapid speed, the human eye sees a full frame picture. This NTSC standard has been used since the inception of television. While it is acceptable on a size of a set up to about 27" viewable, the images start to degrade quickly as the screen size increases. The introduction of Digital/High-Definition TV brings the progressive scan technology which has been used in computer monitors for years. Today's television can scan at double the frequency of the standard NTSC television. Because much of today's analog broadcasts are displayed in the interlaced format, manufacturers of these sets often include a "line doubling" chip, which repeat the alternating lines to fill the gaps between scan lines, giving the impression of a brighter image. Digital broadcasts bring new terms, 480p, 1080i, and 720p to the TV specifications. The ideal is to provide more lines of resolution for better details in the image quality. As of the 2002 technology for digital TV, these terms are:
480p - Upconverted material from the standard NTSC 480 lines interlaced video.
1080i - 1080 alternating interlaced lines, accepted as the most common high definition standard with the most line count, and available on virtually all HD capabe and HDTV units.
720p - 720 progressive lines translates to less resolution, however one that translates to seeing more on screen in a single pass, with the intent of eliminating the artifacting process. 720p DTVs use a higher frequency, and therefore are more difficult and costly to build.

proportional amplifier

A particular type of operational amplifier where the output voltage is in proportion to the difference between the inputs. Unlike the comparator, which can based on exactly the same IC, the Prop-Amp has two individual inputs instead of one input and one reference value. This use is sometimes called a differential amplifier or subtractor.


A set of rules that governs how information is to be exchanged between computer systems. See TCP/IP, SLIP or PPP as an example of a protocol used to connect to the Internet. Also used in certain structured chat rooms to refer to the order in which people may speak.


1. An acronym for Programmable Read-Only Memory. A type of read-only memory (ROM) that allows data to be written into the device with hardware called a PROM programmer, often termed a burner. After a PROM has been programmed, it is dedicated to that data, and it cannot be reprogrammed. PROMs are part of the PLD family of chips.
2. A wonderful social event of the 50's, 60's and 70's.


A server (actual hardware and software) that sits between a client application, such as a Web browser, and a real server. It intercepts all or designated requests to the real server, local or distant, to see if it can fulfill the requests itself. If not, it forwards the request to the real server. It is also a first line for privacy.

Proxy servers have two main purposes:

1. Improve Performance: Proxy servers can dramatically improve performance for groups of users. This is because it saves the results of all requests for a certain amount of time, in memory buffers of its own. Consider the case where both user X and user Y access the World Wide Web through a proxy server. First user X requests a certain Web page, which we'll call Page 1. Sometime later, user Y requests the same page. Instead of forwarding the request to the Web server where Page 1 resides, which can be a time-consuming operation, the proxy server simply returns the Page 1 that it already fetched for user X. Since the proxy server is often on the same network as the user, this is a much faster operation than pulling the same information more than once. Real proxy servers support hundreds or thousands of users. The major online services such as Compuserve and America Online, for example, employ an array of proxy servers.
2. Filter Requests: Proxy servers can also be used to filter requests, usually for security. For example, a company might use a proxy server to prevent its employees from accessing a specific set of Web sites. Those types of applications are often used with FIREWALL functions to give company LANs and servers protection both ways on the Web. See ANALOGX.


Short for Public Switched Telephone Network, which refers to the international telephone system based on copper wires carrying analog voice data. This is in contrast to newer telephone networks base on digital technologies, such as ISDN and FDDI. Telephone service carried by the PSTN is often called plain old telephone service (POTS). Most telephone companies are trying to filter data and streaming services into one network and leave the PSTN for mostly voice usage.


A semi-conductor which has a shortage of conduction electrons, or and excess of "holes", making it more positive. A semi-conductor can be made into P-type by adding trace amounts of another element to the original semiconductor crystal. Virtually all modern transistors and diodes require sections of both P-type and N-type semi-conductors.


An acronym for Projection TeleVision. This projection definition was the original technology, from the front of the screen. Current projection technology is moving toward RPTV. Please see SDTV for more information.


Another phrase for being disconnected during your online session. (i.e. - I was punted offline last night - probably for good reason!)

purge the cache

The effort to delete the files the web browser has stored (cached) on your disk. These files were stored on your disk so they could be retrieved quickly if you returned to the same web sites. Sometimes when purging the cache, cookies are also deleted. This usually requires that you again fill out certain information at key sites you have previously visited and have authorization to visit regularly. This is not to be confused with "purge the cash", a term often used and associated with the need to upgrade.


See permanent virtual circuit.


PWS is an abbreviation for one of the many Microsoft products directed at making the distance from your desktop to the Internet seem smaller, Personal Web Server. It is also the acronym for Peer Web Services which is more or less the same thing only based on NT. PWS is the baby brother of IIS, Internet Information Server. Both products are hybrid compilations and substitutes for an Internet capable web server. PWS runs on the local operating system, on the local hard disk, simulating a separate computer to psuedo-serve pages to an Intranet or LAN, or possibly the Internet under the most controlled of conditions. PWS has virtually no security and is an invitation to trouble if used in the "real world". PWS is a simple HTML server used in a local office peer-to-peer network that does support Microsoft's Front Page activities and extensions. It was originally introduced for W95, later migrated to NT4 and works with upward compatible products from Microsoft. There is also a MAC version. The product has never been terribly popular, probably because it is far more efficient (and probably far less trouble) to set up a regular server. Only a couple of pages on Microsoft's vast array of servers are designated for information about the PWS freebie as far as making it available to you. Roughly 340 pages are dedicated to troubleshooting it. Is there a clue there?

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