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ASCII (pronounced as-key) is the American Standard Code for Information
Interchange and is a standard way of representing ordinary text
as a stream of binary numbers with a code set of 128 characters.
The first 32 characters are control codes and the remaining 96
are upper and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation marks,
and special characters.
To verify the identity of an Internet user or computer or person.
For example, some merchants will use advanced security systems
to authenticate your identity before they will accept your online
The maximum speed at which data can be transmitted between computers
in a network.
A component of a Web page containing an advertisement that is
usually an inch or less tall and spans the width of the Web page.
The banner contains a link to the advertiser's own Web site.
- Baud rate:
A measure of the rate at which a modem can transmit data. This
is measured in bits per second (bps). Named after the French engineer
Jean Maurice Emile Baudot.
The smallest unit of information understood by a computer. A bit
can take a value of 0 or 1. A byte is made up of 8 bits which
is large enough to contain a single character. For example the
character 2 would be equivalent to "00000010" when represented
A Kilobyte is equivalent to 1,024 bytes.
A Megabyte is equivalent to 1,024 Kilobytes.
A Gigabyte is equivalent to 1,024 Megabytes.
A Megabit is 1,048,576 bits.
A bookmark is a stored URL set up by the user to a particular
Web page. This allows the user to select the bookmark in the future
to automatically retrieve that Web page.
- Browser (also, Web browser):
An application program which interprets HTML and presents the
final Web page; used to surf the World Wide Web. Examples include:
Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Mosaic.
A group of eight binary digits processed as a unit by a computer
and used especially to represent an alphanumeric character. Also,
a unit of computer information equivalent to the result of a choice
between two alternatives (as "yes" or "no," "on" or "off").
(pronounced "cash") A cache memory is a small, but very fast type
of memory used to store frequently-used data or instructions.
It tries to "guess" what data is going to be needed next by the
processor, based on historical data.
Small text files placed on a user's computer by a Web server.
Each cookie contains unique identifying characteristics, usually
in the form of a long string of seemingly random characters. A
cookie can later be read by the same server and matched against
the server's own database in order to learn which pages on that
server have already been seen by the user.
The process of scrambling and unscrambling information so that
only the intended parties can read it. For example, when you send
your payment data over the Internet for a purchase, cryptography
can prevent everyone but the intended merchant from reading your
Visa account number and card expiration date.
The online world of computer networks. The term was coined by
science-fiction writer William Gibson in his 1984 novel,Neuromancer.
Data Encryption Standard. A commonly-used standard method for
encrypting and decrypting data. Encryption is necessary, as valuable
and sensitive information is often sent from one computer to another
via a network that technically can be accessed by anybody. It
provides a degree of security should the information fall into
the wrong hands. DES was developed by the U.S. National Institute
of Standards & Technology.
- Dial-up connection:
A temporary connection between two computers via a telephone line,
normally using a modem. Dial-up is the most common method used
to access the Internet.
The Domain Name System is how the Internet links together the
thousands of networks that comprise the Web. DNS is used whenever
you send an e-mail or access a particular Web page. Each computer
on the Internet has one or more Domain Names, such as "visa.co.uk".
The .co indicates a commercial organization and the .uk indicates
that the computer is physically located in the United Kingdom.
Standard conventions used in domain names include:
ac - Educational institution
co - Commercial organization
com - Commercial organization
edu - Educational institution
gov - Non-military government organizations
int - International organizations
mil - Military government organizations
net - Networks
org - Non-profit organization
You will also see these codes in URLs, such as "visabrc.com/dbo/index.html".
These DNSs convert the domain names to a unique number known as
an IP address (the IP stands for Internet Protocol). You will
often see the IP address displayed by your Web browser when you
are connecting to a particular computer.
- Domain name:
A unique name that represents each computer on the Internet. (Some
machines do have more than one domain name.) The DNS converts
the domain name requested by an Internet user into an IP address.
To copy files from another computer to your own computer via a
network or using a modem.
Business which takes place between companies using services such
as the Internet, Electronic Data Interchange, or Electronic File
Transfer. Two companies-the supplier and the customer-can transmit
inquiries, orders, invoices, or payments directly through their
Electronic Mail. A way of sending other people messages from your
PC, e-mail is a widely-used facility on the Internet that basically
sends addressed messages over a network.
Your e-mail address consists of two halves, a user name, and a
domain name, joined by the @ sign (email@example.com). If
you're on AOL and your screen name is Bruno, that means your e-mail
address would be Bruno@aol.com
The process of converting data into "unreadable code" is so that
prying eyes cannot understand the content. Encryption is necessary
as valuable and sensitive information is often sent from one computer
to another via a network that technically can be accessed by anybody.
It provides a degree of security should the information fall into
the wrong hands.
Very similar to an intranet with the added feature that the information
contained can be accessed externally by business partners.
Frequently Asked Questions. A set of questions asked rather often
about a given topic at a Web site so the site's owners post a
list of the queries and answers. The user then can access the
FAQs any time they want.
- File extension:
In DOS or Windows, computer files have to be named using a standard
consisting of a name, a point, and a file extension. AUTOEXEC.BAT
has a file extension of BAT, indicating it is a batch file. Each
file extension corresponds to a file type.
A combination of specialized hardware and software designed to
keep unauthorized users from accessing information within a networked
File Transmission Protocol. A standard for moving files from one
computer to another, and predominantly used on the Internet. The
master copy of this document resides on Visa's computer. When
we make a change to it, we use FTP to transfer the updated files
to the computer of our Internet Service Provider.
A computer on the Internet that specifically stores files forusers
to FTP to their own computers is called an FTP site.
When the FTP site does not require the user to have a specific
user ID and password, it is called an anonymous FTP site.
Graphics Interchange Format. The most common type of image file
used on the Internet. These files are compressed so they take
up a minimum amount of space and can therefore be downloaded a
lot quicker than other graphics files. GIFs can be used for backgrounds,
banner ads, or buttons. They can be animated or transparent, but
are limited to 256 colors. Interlaced versions are designed to
allow the image to be gradually revealed as it is downloaded.
GIF is also the extension for GIF files.
A person who deliberately logs on to other computers by somehow
bypassing the security system. This is sometimes done to steal
valuable information or to cause irreparable damage.
This occurs when a Web page is accessed by a user or a program.
A "hit" was registered on this particular Web page when you requested
to look at it.
- Home page (also, welcome page):
The opening Web page for a Web site. It should contain some navigation
and contact information about your business.
Any computer that can function as the beginning and end point
of data transfers. An Internet host has a unique Internet address
(IP address) and a unique domain or host name.
HyperText Markup Language. The text-based language used to construct
Web pages, interpreted by Web browsers.
HyperText Transfer Protocol. When you select a link, you are sending
a request for that file to the http protocol on the computer hosting
the Web site. For example, selecting a link to "http://www.visabrc.com"
sends a request to the hosting computer at Visa. The file is then
transmitted to your Web browser (you're probably using either
Netscape or Explorer.)
A highlighted, underlined phrase or word on a Web page that can
be selected to proceed to another part of the page or even to
another Web page.
Text which contains links that can be selected with a mouse. When
the user clicks the link, he/she is taken to another document
or a different section of the current document. This glossary
is a good example of hypertext.
A world-wide computer network through which you can send a letter,
chat with people electronically, or search for information on
almost any subject. Quite simply, it is a network of computer
An internal or company network that can be used by anyone who
is directly connected to the company's computer network (e.g.,
sales reps, partners, vendors).
- IP address:
Internet Protocol Address. A unique number that is used to represent
every single computer in a network. All the computers in cyberspace
have a unique IP address. The format of the IP Address is four
sets of numbers separated by dots (eg., 188.8.131.52).
A modern programming language first used in 1995 to bring Web
pages to life. Java programs are referred to as "applets." Java
applets are always small in size and can be downloaded from the
Internet and executed as part of the Web page being displayed.
Joint Photographic Experts Group. A type of image file used on
the Internet. Like GIF files, JPEGs are compressed. Unlike GIFs,
JPEG files cannot be interlaced or transparent. The file extension,
".jpg", is used for JPEG files.
A unit of measure for data storage. One kilobyte is equivalent
to1,024 bytes or 8,192 bits.
A component of a hypertext document which, when selected with
a mouse, takes the user to another document or a different section
of the current document. For example, this glossary has links
for each of the letters of the alphabet.
Stands for List Server, a program that allows you to subscribe
to a mailing list which distributes e-mail to members, usually
on a specific subject matter.
The file or directory where your incoming e-mail messages are
stored by your Internet Service Provider.
- Mailing list:
A single e-mail address comprised of several different e-mail
addresses. An automated software allows you to send e-mail to
one address, at which point your message (e.g., a newsletter)
is copied and sent to all of the other mailing list subscribers.
The list can consist of one, ten, 100, 1000, or more people.
A unit of measure for data storage. One megabyte is equivalent
to 1,024 kilobytes or 1,048,576 bytes or 8,388,608 bits.
A list of options presented to the user to enable them to perform
a specific task. Each option on the list will perform a different
Modem comes from the two words: Modulation and Demodulation. A
modem converts information from analog to digital and vice versa.
Digital information is represented in a series of 1's and 0's.
Analog information varies continuously, such as a sound wave.
Typically, when you send an e-mail, your modem converts the digital
e-mail message to analog.
Moving Picture Experts Group. A standard used on the Internet
for video and audio files. Compression techniques enable the files
to be transmitted significantly more quickly than other audio
and video files. The Web browser you are using must be capable
of running MPEG files. The file extension, ".mpg", is used for
The presentation of video, sound, graphics, text, and animationby
A term used to describe somebody who is new to the Internet.
- News group:
One of the many facilities available on the Internet. Like most
of the Internet, news groups are run voluntarily and cooperatively.
A news group is centered on a discussion topic, like business
ownership (e.g., biz.merchant.talkback.com). Within these news
groups, several discussions or threads take place on themes within
the discussion topic. If you see a particular news group of interest,
you can "subscribe" to it, and then "post" your comment or query.
Eventually it will be seen by anyone else who subscribes to the
particular news group.
Some categories of news groups include:
rec - recreational activities
biz - business related groups
comp - computers including technical discussion & support
soc - social issues
sci - scientific discussions
alt - alternative groups
A term popular in news groups and e-mail. You can opt-in to receive
e-mails on a certain subject. For example, by establishing an
opt-in on your Web site, you can send customers an e-mail when
you have a sale.
- Page impression:
Occurs every time a particular Web page is displayed by someone
using the Internet. A page impression is similar to a "hit," except
that a hit is also registered when a spider, or similar program,
accesses the Web page.
A device that attaches to a PC and is controlled by its processor
(eg., printer, modem, joystick, zip drive).
- Plug and play:
The concept of adding new components to a PC (such as an external
modem) without having to manually configure anything. In other
words, the operating system does it all for you.
A portal is a Web site that serves as a gateway to the Internet,
often consisting of a collection of links to the most popular
Web services on the Internet.
- Push technology:
An Internet technology that sends prearranged information to users
before they actually request it. The user sets up a profile specifying
the type of information that they require.
Personal information about you that's stored with a merchant and
usually consists of your address and shopping preferences, which
makes it easier for merchants to tailor their services to your
This term generally refers to databases. A query is used to retrieve
database records that match certain criteria. For example, you
might query a system with:
- List all customers from Melbourne
- List the total sales for March 1999 by region
- List customers who spent more than $10,000 last month
- Radio button:
Radio buttons often appear in Windows applications. They are used
when you have to make a choice. Each option may have a circle
by it, and if you click inside the circle it becomes selected
(e.g., goes from white to black). If you select a second option
the first one becomes deselected because you can select only one
from the list.
Rich Text Format. A file format developed by Microsoft. Most word
processors can process RTF files. The format was developed to
enable documents to be transferred between application programs.
RTF files have the file extension, ".rtf".
Hardware or software that is scaleable can be easily expanded
to suit future requirements. For instance, a particular application
program may be set up to run for two concurrent users but can
be scaled up for more users if the company using it needs to expand
in the future. This is very important quality when you are making
A host computer that stores information (e.g., Web sites) and
responds to requests for information (e.g., links to another Web
page). The term "server" is also used to refer to the software
that makes the act of serving information possible. Commerce servers,
for example, use software to run the main functions of an e-commerce
Web site, such as product display, online ordering, and inventory
Free software. The author usually, however, requests a small fee
to pay for registration and/or documentation.
A term most commonly used in Windows. It is an icon set up to
lead to either a file on the hard disk, network, software program,
or the Internet. When the icon is selected, the file is executed,
the program starts, or an application opens with a selected document.
Small Office/Home Office. This describes businesses that are either
run from home or a small office. Software and hardware companies
sometimes promote products as being suitable for the SOHO market.
(n) Unsolicited (usually commercial) e-mail sent to a large number
(v) To send unsolicited e-mail to numerous addresses.
A search engine that obtains its information by starting at a
specified Web page and visiting each page linked to it, and so
on. This process continues as a spider moves its way across the
- Splash screen:
Images depicting a company logo and normally displayed just after
an application program has started. Microsoft uses this technique-the
clouds that display when Windows starts and ends is a splash screen.
Secure Sockets Layer. A security standard that many merchants
use to keep their Web sites secure and to protect the safety,
privacy, and reliability of payment data traveling over the Internet.
SSL encrypts the channel between browser and Web server so only
the intended parties can read certain data, such as payment or
Looking around the Internet, jumping from page to page, just going
to wherever takes your fancy at that time. Similar to channel-surfing
with a TV remote control.
This term has many different meanings but the most common refers
to e-mail and news groups. A series of messages or postings all
related to the same topic.
Sits across the top or down the side of a particular window. The
toolbar allows the user to perform certain tasks such as opening
a file or submitting a print. The toolbar can usually be customized
so that the user can add those tasks most regularly performed.
To copy files from your own PC to another computer via a network
or a modem. This is the opposite of download.
Uniform Resource Locator. Pages are identified by URLs. It is
the address at which a page resides. Hypertext links allow you
to jump from page to page without typing in a long URL each time.
This is a program that can damage your PC files. It is often created
intentionally to do so.
A term used to indicate how many times a Web page has been visited
by people on the Internet. For example, if a site has received
over 200,000 "visits," the main page has been displayed by different
users all over the world more than 200,000 times.
- Web browser (also, browser):
An application program that interprets HTML and presents the final
Web page. A browser is used to surf the World Wide Web. Examples
of browsers include: Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and
- Web page:
An HTML document that contains information which can be viewed
from the Internet. For example, you are currently on a Web page
within a Web site.
- Web site:
A group of Web pages that collectively represents a company or
individual on the World Wide Web. A group of Web pages that are
developed together to present information on a specific subject
is also a Web site.
- Welcome page (also, home page):
The opening Web page for a Web site. It should contain both some
navigation and contact information about your business.
World Wide Web (proper noun). The Internet facility thatallows
you to browse linked Web pages.