Glossary

Service Notices

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Service Notices

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Hacker

While this term originally referred to a clever or expert programmer, it is now more commonly used to refer to someone who can gain unauthorized access to other computers. A hacker can "hack" his or her way through the security levels of a computer system or network. This can be as simple as figuring out somebody else's password or as complex as writing a custom program to break another computer's security software. Hackers are the reason software manufacturers release periodic "security updates" to their programs. While it is unlikely that the average person will get "hacked," some large businesses and organizations receive multiple hacking attempts a day.

Halftone

A halftone image is made up of a series of dots rather than a continuous tone. These dots can be different sizes, different colors, and sometimes even different shapes. Larger dots are used to represent darker, more dense areas of the image, while smaller dots are used for lighter areas.

Halftone images use used in newspapers and magazines because it is a much more efficient way to print images. Since a halftone image is made up of discreet dots, it requires significantly less ink to print than a continuous tone image. As long as the resolution of the image (measured in LPI) is high enough, the dots appear as a continuous image to the human eye. However, if you closely examine the images printed in a newspaper, you should be able to see the dots that make up the halftone image.

Handle

In online chat, the name you use is often referred to as your screen name, or handle. So if you decided to name yourself MooCow123, that would be your handle. Handles are nice because they allow you to represent yourself without giving away your real identity. The term originated from CB radio, where people refer to each other by their "handles."

Hard Disk

When you save data or install programs on your computer, the information is typically written to your hard disk. The hard disk is a spindle of magnetic disks, called platters, that record and store information. Because the data is stored magnetically, information recorded to the hard disk remains intact after you turn your computer off. This is an important distinction between the hard disk and RAM, or memory, which is reset when the computer's power is turned off.

The hard disk is housed inside the hard drive, which reads and writes data to the disk. The hard drive also transmits data back and forth between the CPU and the disk. When you save data on your hard disk, the hard drive has to write thousands, if not millions, of ones and zeros to the hard disk. It is an amazing process to think about, but may also be a good incentive to keep a backup of your data.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is what stores all your data. It houses the hard disk, where all your files and folders are physically located. A typical hard drive is only slightly larger than your hand, yet can hold over 100 GB of data. The data is stored on a stack of disks that are mounted inside a solid encasement. These disks spin extremely fast (typically at either 5400 or 7200 RPM) so that data can be accessed immediately from anywhere on the drive. The data is stored on the hard drive magnetically, so it stays on the drive even after the power supply is turned off.

The term "hard drive" is actually short for "hard disk drive." The term "hard disk" refers to the actual disks inside the drive. However, all three of these terms are usually seen as referring to the same thing -- the place where your data is stored. Since I use the term "hard drive" most often, that is the correct one to use.

Hardware

Computer hardware refers to the physical parts of a computer and related devices. Internal hardware devices include motherboards, hard drives, and RAM. External hardware devices include monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, and scanners.

The internal hardware parts of a computer are often referred to as components, while external hardware devices are usually called peripherals. Together, they all fall under the category of computer hardware. Software, on the other hand, consists of the programs and applications that run on computers. Because software runs on computer hardware, software programs often have system requirements that list the minimum hardware required for the software to run.

HDMI

Stands for "High-Definition Multimedia Interface." HDMI is a digital interface for transmitting audio and video data in a single cable. It is supported by most HDTVs and related components, such as DVD and Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and video game systems.

While other types of A/V connections require separate cables for audio and video data, HDMI carries the audio and video streams together, greatly eliminating cable clutter. For example, a component cable connection requires three cables for video and two for audio, totaling five cables in all. The same information can be transmitted using one HDMI cable.

Because HDMI is a digital connection, HDMI cables are less prone to interference and signal noise than analog cables. Also, since most components, such as DVD players and digital cable boxes process information digitally, using HDMI eliminates the analog to digital conversion other interfaces require. Therefore, HDMI often produces the best quality picture and sound compared to other types of connections.

HDMI cables are typically more expensive than analog cables, largely because they cost more to manufacture. But it is important to remember that with HDMI, you don't need to buy separate audio and video cables. Besides, the single all-purpose connection may alone be worth the difference to those who don't like dealing with confusing cables and connections. Just remember that before you buy an HDMI cable, make sure the devices you are connecting have HDMI connections available.

HDTV

Stands for "High Definition Televsion." HDTV is a high-quality video standard developed to replace older video formats often referred to as SDTV (standard definition television). While HDTV's video quality is one of the most noticeable improvements over SDTV, HDTV includes a number of other important improvements as well.

First of all, the HDTV signal is digital. Instead of an analog signal, used by traditional NTSC broadcasts, HDTV is always digital. This eliminates analog interference caused be electrical currents and magnetic fields. Secondly, HDTV uses a different aspect ratio than SDTV. While previous broadcasts used a 4:3 ratio (4 units wide for every 3 units tall), HDTV uses a ratio of 16:9. This wider aspect ratio more closely emulates how humans see the world, making the image appear more realistic. This ratio is also better for watching widescreen movies, which are recorded in widescreen for the same reason.

True to its name, high definition television offers a much higher resolution than standard definition video. While a typical analog broadcast in the U.S. contains a maximum of 525 horizontal lines of resolution, an HDTV signal supports up to 1080. The three formats used by HDTV are 1080i (interlaced), and 720p and 1080p (progressive). HDTV's higher resolution produces images that are much finer and contain more detail and more color than previous formats. HDTV also provides a higher-quality digital audio signal than SDTV and supports up to six audio channels compared to the two channels allowed previously.

To watch HDTV, you need an HDTV-compatible television and a means of receiving an HDTV signal. HDTVs come in both 16:9 and 4:3 formats (for backwards compatibility). Some HDTVs include HDTV tuners for receiving over-the-air broadcasts, but others require the receiver to be bought separately. Fortunately, most cable and satellite TV companies offer HDTV-compatible boxes with their digital service plans.

HDV

Stands for "High-Definition Video." According to a consortium of manufacturers including Sony, JVC, Canon, and Sharp, it is a "consumer high-definition video format." HDV is the next step up from Mini DV, which has been used in consumer digital camcorders for several years. The HDV technology allows high-definition video to be recorded on a Mini DV tape, using MPEG-2 compression.

Of course, recording in high-definition requires an HD camcorder, such as the Sony HDR-FX1 or the JVC GR-HD1. These cameras are significantly more expensive than their Mini DV counterparts, but can capture much higher quality video. HDV uses a native 16:9 widescreen format, with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This is a substantial improvement over Mini DV, which records video in a 4:3 format, with a maximum resolution of 500 horizontal lines. Most HDV camcorders allow the user to record in standard DV as well, but if you shell out a couple thousand dollars extra for a HDV camcorder, you might as well shoot everything in HD.

Heat Sink

A computer's CPU may perform millions of calculations every second. As the processor continues to work at a rapid pace, it begins to generate heat. If this heat is not kept in check, the processor could overheat and eventually destroy itself.

Fortunately, CPUs include a heat sink, which dissipates the heat from the processor, preventing it from overheating. The heat sink is made out of metal, such as a zinc or copper alloy, and is attached to the processor with a thermal material that draws the heat from away the processor towards the heat sink. Heat sinks can range in size from barely covering the processor to several times the size of the processor if the CPU requires it.

Most heat sinks also have "fins," which are thin slices of metal that are connected to the base of the heat sink. These additional pieces of metal further dissipate the heat by spreading it over a much larger area. A fan is often used to cool the air surrounding the heat sink, which prevents the heat sink from getting too hot. This configuration is referred to as a heat sink and fan or HSF combination. While heat sinks are used in nearly all computer CPUs, they have become commonplace in video card processors, or GPUs, as well.

Hertz

Hertz (abbreviated: Hz) is the standard unit of measurement used for measuring frequency. Since frequency is measured in cycles per second, one hertz equals one cycle per second.

Hertz is used commonly used to measure wave frequencies, such as sound waves, light waves, and radio waves. For example, the average human ear can detect sound waves between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Sound waves close to 20 Hz have a low pitch and are called "bass" frequencies. Sound waves above 5,000 Hz have a high pitch and are called "treble" frequencies.

While hertz can be used to measure wave frequencies, it is also used to measure the speed of computer processors. For example, each CPU is rated at a specific clock speed. This number indicates how many instruction cycles the processor can perform each second. Since modern processors can perform millions or even billions of instructions per second, clock speeds are typically measured in megahertz or gigahertz.

Hexadecimal

Hexadecimal is a base-16 number system. It is a different method of representing numbers than the base-10 system we use in every day practice. In base-10, we count in multiples of 10 before adding another digit. For example, "8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12..." and "98 - 99 - 100 - 101 - 102..." Notice how a new digit is added when the number 10 is reached, and another digit is added to represent 100 (10x10). In base-16, or the hexadecimal number system, each digit can have sixteen values instead of ten. The values of a hexadecimal digit can be:

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F

Therefore, the number 12 (in the common base-10 format) would be represented as "C" in hexadecimal notation. The number 24 would be 18 (16+8). 100 is 64 in hexadecimal (16x6 + 4) and 1000 is 3E8 (256x3 + 16x14 + 8).

While computers process numbers using the base-2, or binary system, it is often more efficient to visually represent the numbers in hexadecimal format. This is because it only takes one hexadecimal digit to represent four binary digits. Since there are eight binary digits in a byte, only two hexadecimal digits are needed to represent one byte.

HFS

Stands for "Hierarchical File System." HFS is the file system used for organizing files on a Macintosh hard disk. When a hard disk is formatted for a Macintosh computer, the hierarchical file system is used to create a directory that can expand as new files and folders are added to the disk. Since HFS is a Macintosh format, Windows computers cannot recognize HFS-formatted drives. Windows hard drives are typically formatted using WIN32 or NTFS file systems.

Since HFS was not originally designed to handle large hard disks, such as the 100GB+ hard disks that are common today, Apple introduced a updated file system called HFS+, or HFS Extended, with the release of Mac OS 8.1. HFS+ allows for smaller clusters or block sizes, which reduces the minimum size each file must take up. This means disk space can be used much more efficiently on large hard disks. Mac OS X uses the HFS+ format by default and also supports journaling, which makes it easier to recover data in case of a hard drive crash.

Hibernate

If you are not going to use your computer for a few hours, it is a good idea to put it to sleep (also known as standby mode) to save power. If you are not going to use the computer for more than a day, it is usually best to turn it off. However, some Windows computer offer an option that combines the benefits of sleep mode and powering down the computer, called "Hibernate."

When you select Hibernate, the computer saves the current state of the system from the computer's RAM to the hard disk, then shuts down. When the computer is restarted, instead of going through the typical boot sequence, the previously saved state is automatically loaded into the RAM. The open windows and running programs from your previous session appear just as they were when the computer entered Hibernate mode. Basically, Hibernate mode acts like Standby mode, except the computer can be completely turned off. This is especially helpful for laptop computers, which will slowly lose their battery charge if they are left in sleep mode.

To make your computer hibernate, select "Turn Off Computer" from the bottom of the Windows Start Menu. Then press and hold the Shift key when the dialog box appears. The "Standby" option should change to "Hibernate." If the Standby option does not change, you may need to enable Hibernate mode in Windows. This can be done by opening the "Power Options" control panel, clicking the Hibernate tab, and checking the box that says, "Enable hibernation."

Hit

Technically, a hit is a request made to a Web server. It is a popular misconception that the term refers to the number of visits a Web page gets, but that is not the case. If a Web page has five images on it, when the page is loaded, six "hits" will be recorded. This is because the browser has to make six requests to the Web server - one for the HTML of the Web page and five for the images.

The term "hit" can also be used to refer to search engine results. When you search for a phrase and the search engine finds 510 results, you can say there were 510 hits and be happy because you used the term correctly.

Home Page

This is the starting point or front page of a Web site. This page usually has some sort of table of contents on it and often describes the purpose of the site. For example, http://www.apple.com/index.html is the home page of Apple.com. When you type in a basic URL, such as "http://www.cnet.com," you are typically directed to the home page of the Web site. Many people have a "personal home page," which is another way the term "home page" can be used.

Host

This is a computer that acts as a server for other computers on a network. It can be a Web server, an e-mail server, an FTP server, etc. For example, a Web host is what provides the content of Web pages to the computers that access it. A host is also known as the mother computer. Well, not really, I just made that up.

Hover

When you roll the cursor over a link on a Web page, it is often referred to as "hovering" over the link. This is somewhat like when your boss hovers over you at work, but not nearly as uncomfortable. In most cases, the cursor will change from a pointer to a small hand when it is hovering over a link. Web developers can also use cascading style sheets (CSS) to modify the color and style of link when a user hovers over it. For example, the link may become underlined or change color while the cursor is hovering over it.

The term hovering implies your computer screen is a three-dimensional space. In this conception, your cursor moves around on a layer above the text and images. When you click the mouse button while the cursor is hovering over a link, it presses down on the link to activate it. Hovering can also be used in a more general sense such as moving the cursor over icons, windows, or other objects on the screen.

HSF

Stands for "Heat Sink and Fan." Nearly all computers have heat sinks, which help keep the CPU cool and prevent it from overheating. But sometimes the heat sink itself can become too hot. This can happen if the CPU is running at full capacity for an extended period of time or if the air surrounding the computer is simply too hot.

Therefore, a fan is often used in combination with the heat sink to keep both the CPU and heat sink at an acceptable temperature. This combination is creatively called a "heat sink and fan," or HSF. The fan moves cool air across the heat sink, pushing hot air away from the computer. Each CPU has a thermometer built in that keeps track of the processor's temperature. If the temperature becomes to hot, the fan or fans near the CPU may speed up to help cool the processor and heat sink.

HTML

Stands for "Hyper-Text Markup Language." This is the language that Web pages are written in. Also known as hypertext documents, Web pages must conform to the rules of HTML in order to be displayed correctly in a Web browser. The HTML syntax is based on a list of tags that describe the page's format and what is displayed on the Web page.

Fortunately, the HTML language is relatively easy to learn. Even more fortunately (so much for good grammar), many Web development programs allow you to create Web pages using a graphical interface. These programs allow you to place objects and text on the page and the HTML code is written for you.

HTTP

Stands for "HyperText Transfer Protocol." This is the protocol used to transfer data over the World Wide Web. That's why all Web site addresses begin with "http://". Whenever you type a URL into your browser and hit Enter, your computer sends an HTTP request to the appropriate Web server. The Web server, which is designed to handle HTTP requests, then sends to you the requested HTML page.

HTTPS

Stands for "HyperText Transport Protocol Secure." HTTPS is the same thing as HTTP, but uses a secure socket layer (SSL) for security purposes. Some examples of sites that use HTTPS include banking and investment websites, e-commerce websites, and most websites that require you to log in.

Websites that use the standard HTTP protocol transmit and receive data in an unsecured manner. This means it is possible for someone to eavesdrop on the data being transferred between the user and the Web server. While this is highly unlikely, it is not a comforting thought that someone might be capturing your credit card number or other personal information that you enter on a website. Therefore, secure websites use the HTTPS protocol to encrypt the data being sent back and forth with SSL encryption. If someone were to capture the data being transferred via HTTPS, it would be unrecognizable.

You can tell if a website is secure by viewing the URL in the address field of your Web browser. If the Web address starts with https://, you know you are accessing a secure website. Most browsers will also display a lock icon somewhere along the edge of the window to indicate the website you are currently visiting is secure. You can click the lock icon to view the secure certificate that authenticates the website.

So whenever you are asked to enter personal or financial information on a website, make sure that the URL starts with "https://" and that the lock icon appears in the window. Then you can be sure that the website is secure and any data you enter will only be recognized by your computer and the Web server.

Hub

This is a hardware device that is used to network multiple computers together. It is a central connection for all the computers in a network, which is usually Ethernet-based. Information sent to the hub can flow to any other computer on the network. If you need to connect more than two computers together, a hub will allow you to do so. If you only need to network two computers together, a simple crossover Ethernet cable will do the trick.

Hyper-Threading

Hyper-threading is a technology developed by Intel Corporation. It is used in certain Pentium 4 processors and all Intel Xeon processors. Hyper-threading technology, commonly referred to as "HT Technology," enables the processor to execute two threads, or sets of instructions, at the same time. Since hyper-threading allows two streams to be executed in parallel, it is almost like having two separate processors working together.

While hyper-threading can improve processing performance, software must support multiple processors to take advantage of the technology. Fortunately, recent versions of both Windows and Linux support multiple processors and therefore benefit from hyper-threading. For example, a video playing in Windows Media Player should not be slowed down by a Web page loading in Internet Explorer. Hyper-threading allows the two programs to be processed as separate threads at the same time. However, individual programs can only take advantage of Intel's HT Technology if they have been programmed to support multiple processors.

Hyperlink

A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that you can click on to jump to a new document or a new section within the current document. Hyperlinks are found in nearly all Web pages, allowing users to click their way from page to page. Text hyperlinks are often blue and underlined, but don't have to be. When you move the cursor over a hyperlink, whether it is text or an image, the arrow should change to a small hand pointing at the link. When you click it, a new page or place in the current page will open.

Hyperlinks, often referred to as just "links," are common in Web pages, but can be found in other hypertext documents. These include certain encyclopedias, glossaries, dictionaries, and other references that use hyperlinks. The links act the same way as they do on the Web, allowing the user to jump from page to page. Basically, hyperlinks allow people to browse information at hyperspeed.

Hypertext

Hypertext is text that links to other information. By clicking on a link in a hypertext document, a user can quickly jump to different content. Though hypertext is usually associated with Web pages, the technology has been around since the 1960s. Software programs that include dictionaries and encyclopedias have long used hypertext in their definitions so that readers can quickly find out more about specific words or topics. Apple Computer's HyperCard program also used hypertext, which allowed users to create multi-linked databases. Today, the Web is where hypertext reigns, where nearly every page includes links to other pages and both text and images can be used as links to more content.

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Our Address:
16913 Amy Drive
Sonora, CA 95370
Mailing Address:
PO Box 281
Standard, CA 95373
Hours of Operation:
Mon. to Fri. 8am to 5:00pm

Tuolumne County Service Area: Cable TV, high speed internet, and VoIP telephone service areas include the Hwy 108 communities of Sonora, Columbia, Jamestown, Soulsbyville, Twain Harte, Strawberry, Longbarn, Cold Springs and Pinecrest, and the Hwy 120 communities of Big Oak Flat, Groveland, and Pine Mountain Lake. Not all services available everywhere

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209-588-9601

Groveland:
209-962-6373

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