Understanding Tech Jargon

We know there is a lot of technical jargon out there and many people can find it all quite confusing.

We’ve made this guide to help you out next time you are confronted with technical jargon.

What is a wireless network?

A network consists of 2 or more computers or devices connected to one another.  A Wireless network is exactly the same thing only there are no cables involved, instead high range frequencies are used.  Networks allow for computers to share files between one another and connect to the internet among many other things.

What are Windows Updates?

Microsoft often releases Updates to correct problems and improve upon the Windows Operating System.    These problems are often vulnerabilities which allow viruses and other malicious software to access your computer.  By keeping your Windows Operating System up to date it substantially helps in keeping your computer and it’s data safe.

What is VoIP? (Voice over Internet Protocol)

VoIP is a protocol that allows for phonecalls to be made over an internet connection using either your computer or a VoIP handset.  Skype is a commonly used VoIP service available for free from Microsoft.  You can download skype from www.skype.com, for this service to work well you will need a fast internet connection, a microphone and a webcam if you want to stream video.

What is a Virus?
Viruses are malicious software programs that self replicate which allows them to spread from computer to computer.  This is much like how a common cold spreads from person to person, hence the name virus.  There are many types of viruses ranging from mild to severe in nature.  Some can tamper with your systems files.  Others can take you to innappropriate websites without your permission.  You should always keep an up to date virus scanner installed on your system and scan regularly to prevent infections from occuring.

What is a User Account?

A user account is what you log in to when you turn your computer on.  It typically contains your documents, pictures, movies, music, emails and all other important data relating to you.  Sometimes computers have multiple User Accounts setup so that different individuals can log on and access their personal data.

What is a UPS?

An Uninterupted Power Supply or UPS is essentially a big battery that sits beside your computer.  In the event of a power outage the battery can take over providing valuable time to allow you to properly shut down your computer system.  Typically most households don’t have UPS’s, they are more regularly used with servers as these have large amounts of important data that can be corrupted if they are turned off suddenly.

What is streaming?

Streaming allows you to watch or listen to content on the internet.   Unlike downloading, with streaming you don’t get a copy of what you watch stored on your computer after.  The benefit of streaming content is that it requires no storage space and allows for faster viewing of online content.  A good example of a popular website that supports streaming video is www.youtube.com.

What is Spyware / Malware?

Innocent looking programs can occasionally contain additional malicious software that can infect your system and create problems, these are known as Spyware or Malware.  Typically these infections are designed to collect data or promote online services that you may not necessarily be interested in.  They can often be quite intrusive and difficult to remove.  You can reduce the risk of being infected by Spyware by installing a good antivirus package and carefully reading terms and conditions when installing new software.

What is Spam?

Spam are E-mails sent to you without your permission.  They can be from a variety of sources which are often illegitamate.  Spam E-mails are typically advertisements or online scams making false claims to collect bank details and other information from unsuspecting individuals.  More Information about Online Scams and how to protect yourself can be found here:www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/OnlineScams

What is a Router?

A router is a device that links computer devices together forming a network.  It chooses where data should be sent and allows for computers to share data and access resources such as printers and the internet.  Often routers can have additional advanced features such as Firewalls (which can prevent outsiders intruders) and WIFI which can allow computers to connect without cables.

What is Ripping?

Ripping is a process where content such as music or video is copied off of a medium such as a CD, DVD or BluRay and stored on your computer.  There are many programs that can perform this task for you.  It is important to check the medium licensing details before ripping content as there may be laws in place preventing you from doing so.

What is a Refresh Rate?

As you look at your computer screen (or your tv screen for that matter) the image you are looking at is being updated or re-drawn several times every second.  The rate of which this occurs is can be measured in hertz (hz).   Typically a screen should be refreshing at a frequency of at least 60 hz which means the screen is being redrawn 60 times per second.

What is a CPU?

The CPU is much like the computers “Brain”.  It makes many calculations constantly while you use your computer.  Your CPU can greatly influence the speed of your system but it is not the only component responsible. Other computer components such as RAM can also greatly influence your computers speed.

What is RAM?

You can think of  Random Access Memory as your computers short term memory.  It is used to store chunks of live data as you use various applications on your computer.  When you turn your computer off the RAM is immediately completely erased and it fills up again when you turn it back on and start using applications.
What is a Hard Disk Drive?

You can think of your Hard Disk Drive (or HDD for short) as your computers long term memory.  It stores all your files, your photos, your important documents, your operating system, everything.  Unfortunetely not all hard drives last forever, in fact often they can crash and your typically very important information can be lost.  It is always very important to keep a full backup of all your computers contents on a seperate hard disk drive as this will ensure that if anything ever happens to your hard drive you always have another copy to rely on.

What is a PSU?

A Power Supply Unit (PSU) is a device that sends power to each of your computers internal components.  Without a PSU your computer wouldn’t be powered and you couldn’t turn it on.  Each of the computers components such as it’s hard disk drive, BluRay player and motherboard are all powered via the computers PSU.  A 300 Watt Powersupply is usually sufficient for most users however often components can require more power such as systems with high end graphics cards for video games.  In these situations a 500 or even 600 watt PSU is required.

What is an Operating System?

An Operating System is the main software that you use to operate your computer.  Typically most people use Windows but there are other operating systems out there such as Mac OSX and Linux.  When you turn your computer on your operating system is designed to start up straight away.  An operating system allows a computer user to do such things as; open programs, access files and browse the internet.

What is a network?

A network consists of  two or more computers devices linked together.  When you connect to the internet you are connecting to the worlds largest network of computers.  Networks are often used to share files, printers and other information between systems.

What is a Motherboard?

A motherboard is a big circult board inside your computer that links all your computers components together.  Every component inside your computer such as it’s RAM, CPU, Hard Drive and BluRay drive all plug in to the Motherboard.

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