Glossary

Service Notices

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Service Notices

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I/O

Stands for "Input/Output" and is pronounced simply "eye-oh." Computers are based on the fundamental idea that every input results in an output. For example, if you are running a word processor program and type a sentence on your keyboard, the text will appear on the screen. The keyboard is an input device and the screen is an output device. You might also print the text using a printer, which is another output device. The computer's CPU handles all the I/O operations, sending the data it receives to the correct path. The path may be to the video card, to the hard drive, or to the RAM, just to name a few.

The ports on the outside of a computer are commonly referred to as "I/O ports" because they are what connect input and output devices to the computer. Software developers use I/O to describe how a program will function, depending on what a user enters. For example, if the user presses the space bar key in a game, say "Super Jumper Man," the character on the screen will jump. Multiply that by several thousand other scenarios of user input and you have yourself a computer game.

I/O Address

Each I/O device connected to your computer is mapped to a unique I/O (Input/Output) address. These addresses are assigned to every I/O port on your computer, including USB, Firewire, Ethernet, VGA, and DVI ports, as well as any other ports your computer might have.

Having a unique address assigned to each port allows your computer to easily recognize and locate devices attached to your computer. Whether it is a keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, or any other device, the computer can locate it by its I/O address. Because I/O addresses are controlled by the computer's motherboard, they do not use up any system memory, or RAM.

ICANN

Stands for "Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers." The ICANN is an non-profit corporation that is responsible for allocating IP addresses and managing the domain name system.

Every computer connected to the Internet, from servers to home PCs, has an IP address. However, it would be unrealistic for the ICANN to directly assign each computer an individual IP address. Instead, the ICANN allocates blocks of IP addresses to companies, educational institutions, and Internet service providers. These organizations then allocate IP addresses to computers that use their Internet connections.

While the ICANN is a US-based organization, it is also a global Internet community. According to ICANN's website, the organization is "dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes" (icann.org).

ICF

Stands for "Internet Connection Firewall." ICF is a Windows XP feature that protects computers connected to the Internet from unauthorized access. When ICF is enabled, Windows keeps a log of incoming requests from other systems on the Internet. If the request is something the user has requested, like a Web page, the transmission will not be affected. However, if the request is unsolicited and is not recognized by the system, the transmission will be dropped. This helps prevent intrusion by hackers or malicious software such as spyware.

While ICF limits incoming traffic from the Internet, it does not affect outgoing traffic. This means data sent from your computer is still vulnerable to viruses or other disruptions even when ICF is enabled. If you have multiple computers sharing the same Internet connection via ICS, you can enable ICF for all the computers. However, you should enable ICF for the router or system connected directly to the Internet connection, not for each individual system.

ICMP

Stands for "Internet Control Message Protocol." When information is transferred over the Internet, computer systems send and receive data using the TCP/IP protocol. If there is a problem with the connection, error and status messages regarding the connection are sent using ICMP, which is part of the Internet protocol.

When one computer connects to another system over the Internet (such as a home computer connecting to a Web server to view a website), it may seem like a quick and easy process. While the connection may take place in a matter of seconds, there are often many separate connections that must happen in order for the computers to successfully communicate with each other. In fact, if you were to trace all the steps of an Internet connection using a traceroute command, it might surprise you that Internet connections are successful as often as they are. This is because for every "hop" along the way, the network must be functional and able to accept requests from your computer.

In cases where there is a problem with the connection, ICMP can send back codes to your system explaining why a connection failed. These may be messages such as, "Network unreachable" for a system that is down, or "Access denied" for a secure, password-protected system. ICMP may also provide routing suggestions to help bypass unresponsive systems. While ICMP can send a variety of different messages, most are never seen by the user. Even if you do receive an error message, the software you are using, such as a Web browser, has most likely already translated the message into simple (and hopefully less technical) language you can understand.

Icon

Ever since the Macintosh was introduced in 1984, icons have been the way we view files on computers. An icon on your computer screen represents an object or a program on your hard drive. For example, the folders you see on your desktop or in open windows are icons. The files that you see in those folders are also icons. The trash can on the Macintosh and the recycle bin on Windows are both icons as well.

Icons are a visual representation of something on your computer. For example, a blue "e" on your screen most likely repersents the Internet Explorer program. An icon that looks like a sheet of paper is probably a text document. By clicking and dragging icons, you can move the actual files they represent to various locations on your computer's hard drive. By double-clicking an application icon, you can open the program. Icons are one of the fundamental features of the graphical user interface (GUI). They make computing much more user-friendly than having to enter text commands to accomplish anything. Some Unix nerds would beg to differ, but I'm talking about normal people here.

ICS

Stands for "Internet Connection Sharing." ICS allows multiple computers to connect to the Internet using the same Internet connection and IP address. For example, several computers in a household can connect to same cable or DSL modem using a router. As long as the router is connected to the modem, every computer connected to the router is also connected to the Internet. Network address translation (NAT) allows the computers to share the same IP address.

ICS can also be done using software. Windows 98 and later, as well as Mac OS X, support Internet connection sharing. This allows one system's network settings to be modified, turning the computer into a gateway. Other computers on the same network can then use that computer's Internet connection. Windows users can also use programs such as WinGate and WinProxy to achieve the same result. While it is possible to share an Internet connection using software, using hardware (such as a router) for ICS is the easiest and most hassle-free solution.

IDE

IDE may either stand for "Integrated Device Electronics" or "Integrated Development Environment." The first is a hardware term, while the second is software-related. Both terms are highly technical and if you know what they mean, you can impress even the nerdiest of your friends.

1. Integrated Device Electronics

IDE is one of the most widely-used hard drive interfaces on the market. The fancy name refers to how the technology integrates the electronics controller into the drive itself. While the original IDE standard could only support hard drives containing up to 540 MB of data, the new standard, EIDE (Enhanced-IDE), supports hard drives with over 250 GB of data. It also allows for data transfer rates that are over twice as fast as the original IDE.

Another common hard drive interface is SCSI, which is faster than EIDE, but usually costs more per megabyte. Newer hard drives may also use a SATA (Serial ATA) connection, which improves speed and power consumption over both SCSI and IDE.

2. Integrated Development Environment

Computer programming is a complicated and time-consuming task. Therefore, software development programs aim to make the development process as smooth as possible. IDE programs include a source code editor, compiler, and usually a debugger that all work together when building a software program. The IDE keeps track of all files related to a project and provides a central interface for writing source code, linking files together, and debugging the software.

IDE programming software may also include a runtime environment (RTE) for testing the software. When a program is run within the RTE, the software can track each event that takes place within the application being tested. This can be an invaluable tool for debugging the program. Because the IDE software uses a central interface for writing the code and testing the program, it is easy to make quick changes to the code, recompile it, and run the program again. Programming is still hard work, but IDE software helps make the processes a little more trouble-free.

IEEE

Stands for the "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers." This is a non-profit organization that develops, defines, and reviews electronics and computer science standards. Though it is a U.S. based organization, standards developed by the IEEE often become International standards. Some examples of commonly-used products standardized by the organization are the IEEE 1284 interface (a.k.a. Parallel Port), which many printers use, and the IEEE 1394 interface (a.k.a. Firewire), which is a super-fast connection for digital video cameras, hard drives, and other peripherals.

The IEEE describes itself as "the world's largest technical professional society -- promoting the development and application of electrotechnology and allied sciences for the benefit of humanity, the advancement of the profession, and the well-being of our members."

IGP

Stands for "Integrated Graphics Processor." An IGP is a graphics chip that is integrated into a computer's motherboard. The IGP serves the same purpose as a video card, which is to process the graphics displayed on the computer.

Integrated graphics processors take the graphcis portion of the processing load off the main CPU. However, because IGPs are soldered onto the motherboard, their size is limited and they cannot use a dedicated fan to cool them, like some video cards do. For this reason, IGPs typically do not have the same performance as video cards, which may be attached to the computer's PCI or AGP slots. Because integrated graphics processors cannot be removed, they also cannot be upgraded like video cards can. However, because of their small size, IGPs are a good solution for laptop computers and entry-level desktop PCs.

Illegal Operation

When a program on your computer has an error, you may see a message pop up on the screen saying, "Illegal Operation." This is a rather tactless way of saying something went wrong with the program that was running. It could also be a fault with the operating system itself. The problem with the phrase "Illegal Operation" is that it seems to put the blame on you, the user. The fact is, the error was most likely caused by a bug in the program, and is certainly not your fault.

Common errors that produce illegal operation messages are divide by zero errors (no number is divisible by zero), and memory leaks where the program tries to address memory in another program's memory space. If these errors happen while a program is running, the execution comes to an abrupt halt and the program usually quits. Illegal operations can happen on both Windows and Macintosh computers, though the Mac OS X operating system is better at avoiding system-level errors.

IM

Stands for "Instant Message." Instant messaging, or "IMing," as frequent users call it, has become a popular way to communicate over the Internet. Two people with the same IM client software can type messages back in forth in a private online chat session. IM software allows users to build a list of friends, or "buddies" and displays what other users are online. After seeing who is online, the user can open up chat sessions with as many other people as he or she wants. While I find it difficult to focus on one conversation at a time, apparently some teenage girls that can keep more than ten conversations going at once.

Instant messaging can be a much more efficient way to communicate with others than sending multiple e-mails back and forth. For this reason, IMing has become a useful tool among friends and co-workers. Some people even find it more convenient to IM their friends than to talk on the phone, which I do not understand.

IMAP

Stands for "Internet Message Access Protocol" and is pronounced "eye-map." It is a method of accessing e-mail messages on a server without having to download them to your local hard drive. This is the main difference between IMAP and another popular e-mail protocol called "POP3." POP3 requires users to download messages to their hard drive before reading them. The advantage of using an IMAP mail server is that users can check their mail from multiple computers and always see the same messages. This is because the messages stay on the server until the user chooses to download them to his or her local drive. Most webmail systems are IMAP based, which allows people to access to both their sent and received messages no matter what computer they use to check their mail.

Most e-mail client programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Mac OS X Mail allow you to specify what kind of protocol your mail server uses. If you use your ISP's mail service, you should check with them to find out if their mail server uses IMAP or POP3 mail. If you enter the wrong protocol setting, your e-mail program will not be able to send or receive mail.

Impression

It is said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Well, in the wonderful world of the World Wide Web, publishers have thousands of chances each day. An impression is counted each time a Web page is shown to a visitor. Advertisers measure the reach of their ads by tracking ad impressions, or the number of times their ads are shown. The revenue that publishers generate based on 1,000 impressions is called CPM.

Impressions are counted each time a page is visited by a user, so a single user can rack up numerous impressions for one website. However, publishers and advertisers are also interested in unique impressions, which count only the number of unique visits to a website. For example, if Greg views 3 pages on a website, while Mary views 4 and Kathy views 10, their visits would total 17 impressions, but only 3 unique impressions. Unique impressions are usually counted by sending a cookie to visitors' browsers that expire in 24 hours. This way, if Greg visits the site on Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, it would could as two unique impressions.

Index

An index is a list of data, such as group of files or database entries. It is typically saved in a plain text format that can be quickly scanned by a search algorithm. This significantly speeds up searching and sorting operations on data referenced by the index. Indexes often include information about each item in the list, such as metadata or keywords, that allows the data to be searched via the index instead of reading through each file individually.

For example, a database program such as Microsoft Access may generate an index of entries in a table. When an SQL query is run on the database, the program can quickly scan the index file to see what entries match the search string. Search engines also use indexes to store a large list of Web pages. These indexes, such as those created by Google and Yahoo!, are necessary for quickly generating search results. If search engines had to scan through millions of pages each time a user submitted a search, it would take roughly forever. Fortunately, by using search indexes, Web searches can be performed in less than a second instead of several hours.

The term "index" can also be used as a verb, which not surprisingly means to create an index. It may also refer to adding a new item to an existing index. For example, Mac OS X 10.4 and later indexes the hard disk to create a searchable index for Apple's Spotlight search utility. Google's "Googlebot" crawls the Web on a regular basis, adding new Web pages to the Google index. While most database and hard disk indexes are updated on-the-fly, search engine indexes are only updated every few hours, days, or even weeks. This is why newly published Web pages may not show up in search engine results. While it may be a frustration for Web developers, it is a small price to pay for the convenience of super-fast Web searches.

Infotainment

Infotainment is a combo word, like "fantabulous," that combines two words into one. It refers to television shows, movies, websites, and software that blend information and entertainment together. For example, shows on the Food Network and Animal Planet provide information to the viewer, but are also fun to watch. Certain news broadcasts can also be considered infotainment, since they strive to be as entertaining as they are informational.

Websites like Yahoo.com and CNET.com also have content that is both informational and entertaining. Software titles such as Grolier Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Britannica serve primarily to inform, but are also geared to be entertaining, so they can be considered infotainment. While there is a blurry line between basic information and infotainment, if informational media makes an intentional effort to entertain, you can call it infotainment.

Inkjet

Inkjet printers are the most common type of consumer printers. The inkjet technology works by spraying very fine drops of ink on a sheet of paper. These droplets are "ionized" which allows them to be directed by magnetic plates in the ink's path. As the paper is fed through the printer, the print head moves back and forth, spraying thousands of these small droplets on the page.

While inkjet printers used to lack the quality and speed of laser printers, they have become almost as fast as laser printers and some can even produce higher-quality images. Even low-budget inkjet printers can now print high-resolution photos. The amazing thing is, as the quality of inkjet printers has improved, the prices have continued to drop. However, for most people, refilling the inkjet cartridges a few times will often cost more than the printer.

Input

Whenever you enter data into your computer, it is referred to as input. This can be text typed in a word processing document, keywords entered in a search engine's search box, or data entered into a spreadsheet. Input can be something as simple as moving the mouse or clicking the mouse button or it can be as complex as scanning a document or downloading photos from a digital camera.

Devices such as the keyboard, mouse, scanner, and even a digital camera are considered input devices. This is because they allow the user to input data into the computer (yes, the word "input" can also be used as a verb). While input generally comes from humans, computers can also receive input from other sources. These include audio and video devices that record movies and sound, media discs that install software, and even the Internet, which is used to download files and receive data such as e-mail or instant messages.

The opposite of input is output, which is what the computer produces based on user input. Input and output devices are collectively referred to as I/O devices.

Input Device

An input device is any device that provides input to a computer. There are dozens of possible input devices, but the two most common ones are a keyboard and mouse. Every key you press on the keyboard and every movement or click you make with the mouse sends a specific input signal to the computer. These commands allow you to open programs, type messages, drag objects, and perform many other functions on your computer.

Since the job of a computer is primarily to process input, computers are pretty useless without input devices. Just imagine how much fun you would have using your computer without a keyboard or mouse. Not very much. Therefore, input devices are a vital part of every computer system.

While most computers come with a keyboard and mouse, other input devices may also be used to send information to the computer. Some examples include joysticks, MIDI keyboards, microphones, scanners, digital cameras, webcams, card readers, UPC scanners, and scientific measuring equipment. All these devices send information to the computer and therefore are categorized as input devices. Peripherals that output data from the computer are called output devices.

Install

Most software programs require that you first install them on your computer before using them. For example, if you buy Microsoft Office, you need to install it on your computer before you can run any of the included programs such as Word or Excel. You can install software from a CD or DVD, an external hard drive, or from a networked computer. You can also install a program or software update from a file downloaded from the Internet.

Installing a software program writes the necessary data for running the program on your hard drive. Often the installer program will decompress the data included with the installer immediately before writing the information to your hard drive. Software updates, which are typically downloaded from the Internet, work the same way. When you run the update, the installer file decompresses the data and then updates the correct program or operating system.

Installing software is usually a simple process. It involves double-clicking an installer icon and then clicking "I Agree" when the license agreement pops up. You may have to choose what directory on your hard disk you would like to install the software in, but often the installer will even choose that for you. Some software can be installed by simply dragging a folder or application program onto your hard drive. Either way, installing software is a rather simple process and should not be intimidating. If you can cook you dinner in the microwave, you can install your own software.

Installer

In order to install new software on your computer, you often need to run an installer program. This program unpacks compressed data included with the installer and writes new information to your hard drive. While some installers do not use compressed data, most use some level of compression since it reduces the size of the files included with the installer. This is especially helpful when downloading programs or software updates from the Internet.

An installer can either install a new program on your computer or can update a program currently on your hard drive. It can also update or add files to your operating system. Most installers can be run by simply double-clicking the installer icon and then choosing the folder you want to install the software into. The nice thing about installers is that they do all the work for you, decompressing and writing the data on the hard drive. Once the installer is finished, you can often use the new or updated software right away. If any system files were installed, you will be asked to restart your computer before using the new software. This is because system files can only be loaded during the computer's boot process.

Integer

An integer is a whole number (not a fraction) that can be positive, negative, or zero. Therefore, the numbers 10, 0, -25, and 5,148 are all integers. Unlike floating point numbers, integers cannot have decimal places.

Integers are a commonly used data type in computer programming. For example, whenever a number is being incremented, such as within a "for loop" or "while loop," an integer is used. Integers are also used to determine an item's location within an array.

When two integers are added, subtracted, or multiplied, the result is also an integer. However, when one integer is divided into another, the result may be an integer or a fraction. For example, 6 divided by 3 equals 2, which is an integer, but 6 divided by 4 equals 1.5, which contains a fraction. Decimal numbers may either be rounded or truncated to produce an integer result.

Integrated Circuit

An integrated circuit, or IC, is small chip that can function as an amplifier, oscillator, timer, microprocessor, or even computer memory. An IC is a small wafer, usually made of silicon, that can hold anywhere from hundreds to millions of transistors, resistors, and capacitors. These extremely small electronics can perform calculations and store data using either digital or analog technology.

Digital ICs use logic gates, which work only with values of ones and zeros. A low signal sent to to a component on a digital IC will result in a value of 0, while a high signal creates a value of 1. Digital ICs are the kind you will usually find in computers, networking equipment, and most consumer electronics.

Analog, or linear ICs work with continuous values. This means a component on a linear IC can take a value of any kind and output another value. The term "linear" is used since the output value is a linear function of the input. For example, a component on a linear IC may multiple an incoming value by a factor of 2.5 and output the result. Linear ICs are typically used in audio and radio frequency amplification.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to the ownership of intangible and non-physical goods. This includes ideas, names, designs, symbols, artwork, writings, and other creations. It also refers to digital media, such as audio and video clips that can be downloaded online.

Since intellectual property is intangible, it is more difficult to protect than other types of property. For example, tangible property, such as a car, can be recovered or replaced if it is stolen. However, if intellectual property is stolen, it may be difficult to recover. Say for example, a person comes up with a great idea for a new invention. If someone else steals the idea, the potential profit of the invention may also be taken away. Similarly, if a digital recording of a new song is "leaked" on the Internet, thousands of people may download it and redistribute it to others. If this happens, the profit potential of selling the music may be substantially diminished.

Because of its monetary implications, intellectual property it is often used as a legal term to safeguard the rights of creators and inventors. It has also become increasingly important to media production companies who need to protect the distribution of their digital media. By defining and establishing intellectual property rights, innovators and creators can have legal protection of their ideas and creations. This may be done by copyrighting written works, applying for patents for inventions, and trademarking brands, names, and logos. Of course, the sooner these legal steps are taken, the better. After all, it is much easier to protect an idea before it is stolen than after someone else takes it!

Interface

An interface is a port on a hardware device that allows it to connect to another device. Common hardware interfaces found on computers include USB, Firewire, and Ethernet connections. Other electronic devices may use different interfaces, such as HDMI connections on a TV or MIDI ports on a digital piano. The term "interface" may also refer to a user interface.

Interlaced

A common way to compress video is to interlace it. Each frame of an interlaced video signal shows every other horizontal line of the image. As the frames are projected on the screen, the video signal alternates between showing even and odd lines. When this is done fast enough, i.e. around 60 frames per second, the video image looks smooth to the human eye.

Interlacing has been used for decades in analog television broadcasts that are based on the NTSC (U.S.) and PAL (Europe) formats. Because only half the image is sent with each frame, interlaced video uses roughly half the bandwidth than it would sending the entire picture.

The downside of interlaced video is that fast motion may appear slightly blurred. For this reason, the DVD and HDTV standards also support progressive scan signals, which draw each line of the image consecutively.

Internal Hard Drive

As the name implies, an internal hard drive is a hard drive located inside a computer. Nearly all computers come with an internal hard drive, which serves as the computer's primary storage device. It typically contains the operating system, software applications, and other files.

While most computers only have one internal hard drive, some system units and servers have room for multiple hard drives. Extra internal hard drives can be added to these systems to provide additional storage inside the computer. If a computer only has one internal hard drive bay (such as a laptop), extra storage can be added using an external hard drive.

Internet

Believe it or not, the Internet was created way back in 1969, during the Cold War, by the United States military. It was meant to be a "nuke-proof" communications network. Today, the Internet spreads across the globe and consists of countless networks and computers, allowing millions of people to share information. Data that travels long distances on the Internet is transferred on huge lines known collectively as the Internet backbone. The Internet is now maintained by the major Internet service providers such as MCI Worldcom, Sprint, GTE, ANS, and UUNET. Because these providers make huge amounts of revenue off the Internet, they are motivated to maintain consistent and fast connections which benefits everyday Internet users like you and me.

Many people think the Internet and the World Wide Web are the same thing. They're not! The World Wide Web is what you are browsing right now. It is one of the many features of the Internet. E-mail, FTP, and Instant Messaging are also features of the Internet.

InterNIC

Stands for "Internet Network Information Center." The InterNIC is an organization created by the National Science Foundation to provide Internet information and domain name registration services. While the InterNIC was started as a joint effort between Network Solutions and AT&T, it is now run by the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

While the InterNIC still monitors domain names and provides WHOIS data, the domain name registration process has been relinquished to commercial domain registrars. Public information regarding domain names, registrars, and other Internet-related data can be accessed at the InterNIC website.

Intranet

Contrary to popular belief, this is not simply a misspelling of "Internet." "Intra" means "internal" or "within," so an Intranet is an internal or private network that can only be accessed within the confines of a company, university, or organization. "Inter" means "between or among," hence the difference between the Internet and an Intranet.

Up until the last few years, most corporations used local networks composed of expensive proprietary hardware and software for their internal communications. Now, using simple Internet technology, intranets have made internal communication much easier and less expensive. Intranets use a TCP/IP connection and support Web browsing, just like a typical Internet connection does. The difference is that Web sites served within the intranet can only be accessed by computers connected through the local network. Now that you know the difference between the Internet and an intranet, you can go around telling people on the street what you know and impress them.

IP

Stands for "Internet Protocol." It provides a standard set of rules for sending and receiving data through the Internet. People often use the term "IP" when referring to an IP address, which is OK. The two terms are not necessarily synonymous, but when you ask what somebody's IP is, most people will know that you are referring to their IP address. That is, most people who consider themselves computer nerds.

IP Address

Also known as an "IP number" or simply an "IP," this is a code made up of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet. Every computer, whether it be a Web server or the computer you're using right now, requires an IP address to connect to the Internet. IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by three dots. For example "66.72.98.236" or "216.239.115.148". Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), will assign you either a static IP address (which is always the same) or a dynamic IP address, (which changes everytime you log on). ISPs typically assign dial-up users a dynamic IP address each time they sign on because it reduces the number of IP addresses they must register. However, if you connect to the Internet through a network or broadband connection, it is more likely that you have a static IP address.

ISPs and organizations usually apply to the InterNIC for a range of IP addresses so that all their clients have similar addresses. There are three classes of IP address sets that can be registered: Class C, which consists of 255 IP addresses, class B, which contains 65,000 IP addresses, and class A, which includes hundreds of thousands of IP addresses. Because there are so many computers now connected to the Internet, the InterNIC is actually running out of IP addresses. Therefore, Class A and Class B address blocks are very hard, if not impossible, to get. Most large companies have to register multiple Class C addresses instead. To resolve this problem, the Internet Engineering Task Force, which created the original IP address standard, is working on a new protocol called "IP Next Generation" or "IPng."

IP Phone

IP phones are telephones that contain an internal ATA. Instead of plugging a traditional telephone into an ATA and then plugging the ATA into an Internet router, the telephone is plugged directly into the Internet. Analog-to-digital conversion occurs in the telephone. The IP packets are generated by the telephone and sent out via your broadband connection.

iPad

The iPad is a lightweight tablet PC developed by Apple. It looks similar to an iPhone, but has a much larger touchscreen display. Like the iPhone, the iPad supports multi-touch (using multiple fingers at once) and gestures, such as swiping or pinching objects on the screen.

The iPad runs the iOS, which is the same operating system the iPhone uses. Therefore, the interface of the iPhone and iPad are similar and include many of the same features. The iPad can also run iPhone apps, as well as iOS apps written specifically for the iPad. iPad apps can be downloaded through iTunes or directly from the App Store app on the iPad.

iPhone

Apple's iPhone is a smartphone that functions as a mobile phone, an iPod, and can run third-party apps. It runs the iOS, which is an operating system developed by Apple specifically for portable devices.

The iPhone includes a touchscreen display, which is used to control most functions of the phone. For example, you can swipe sideways on the home screen to browse through multiple screens of apps, then tap the icon of the app you want to open. Similarly, you can swipe your finger up and down in the address book to browse through your list of contacts and tap the name of the person you want to call.

While iPhone functions as both a cell phone and an iPod, its greatest potential lies in third-party apps developed for the iPhone. There are hundreds of thousands of apps available through Apple's App Store, which include productivity programs, utilities, games, and many other types of applications. These apps allow you to customize your iPhone with whatever functionality you need.

iPod

The iPod is a portable music player developed by Apple Computer. Though it is an Apple product, the iPod can be used with both Macs and PCs. The iTunes software, also created by Apple, is used to organize and transfer songs and playlists to the iPod. Both iTunes and the iPod support a wide variety of audio formats, including MP3, AAC, WAV, and AIFF. MP3 is the most common audio compression format, while AAC is the format used by the iTunes Music Store. WAV and AIFF are nearly identical formats that store CD-quality audio.

Since introducing the iPod in 2001, Apple has released several new versions of the popular device. These include iPod, iPod mini, iPod Special Edition, iPod photo, and iPod shuffle. iPod mini is a smaller version of the iPod that comes in various colors and stores fewer songs. iPod Special Edition is a variation of the basic iPod (the first being a black U2 iPod with the signatures of the band members on the back). iPod photo is an iPod with a color screen that allows users to store and view a library of photos as well as play music. iPod shuffle is an extra small iPod that only holds a couple hundred songs and does not have a screen.

All iPods store data on an internal hard drive, except the iPod Shuffle, which uses flash memory. This means each iPod, including the shuffle, can also be used as a hard drive. Aside from being a music player, the iPod can serve as a backup device, a basic organizer, and an alarm clock. To transfer files to the iPod, you must first connect it to your computer using a USB or Firewire cable. iTunes can automatically transfer your playlists and songs or you can change the program's preferences to manually update the iPod.

IPv4

IPv4 is the fourth revision of the Internet Protocol and is the most common version used today. It uses 32-bit addresses, which are formatted as "111.111.111.111." Each section may contain a number from 0 to 255, which provides a total of 4,294,967,296 (2^32) possible addresses.

Since each computer connected to the Internet must have a unique IP address, 4.3 billion IP addresses is not enough to cover the worldwide requirement for unique IPs (nice planning guys). Therefore, IPv6, which supports 128-bit IP addresses, is currently being developed to replace IPv4.

IPv6

Every computer system and device connected to the Internet is located by an IP address. The current system of distributing IP addresses is called IPv4. This system assigns each computer a 32-bit numeric address, such as 120.121.123.124. However, with the growth of computers connected to the Internet, the number of available IP addresses are predicted to run out in only a few years. This is why IPv6 was introduced.

IPv6, also called IPng (or IP Next Generation), is the next planned version of the IP address system. (IPv5 was an experimental version used primarily for streaming data.) While IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, which increases the number of possible addresses by an exponential amount. For example, IPv4 allows 4,294,967,296 addresses to be used (2^32). IPv6 allows for over 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 IP addresses. That should be enough to last awhile.

Because IPv6 allows for substantially more IP addresses than IPv4, the addresses themselves are more complex. They are typically written in this format:

hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh

Each "hhhh" section consists of a four-digit hexadecimal number, which means each digit can be from 0 to 9 and from A to F. An example IPv6 address may look like this:

F704:0000:0000:0000:3458:79A2:D08B:4320

Because IPv6 addresses are so complex, the new system also adds extra security to computers connected to the Internet. Since there are so may IP address possibilities, it is nearly impossible to guess the IP address of another computer. While most computer systems today support IPv6, the new Internet procotol has yet to be fully implemented. During this transitional process, computers are often assigned both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address.

IPX

Stands for "Internetwork Packet Exchange." It is a networking protocol used to connect networks based on Novell's NetWare. IPX is "connectionless," meaning it doesn't require connections to be maintained during an exchange of packets, like a phone call does. It can just pick up where it left off when a connection is temporarily dropped. Another nice thing about IPX is that it usually only loads when you log on to a network, so it doesn't take up unnecessary resources. As some video game players may know, IPX used to be the standard protocol for network games. However, most video games now use the more robust TCP/IP protocol, which allows for long distance network gaming.

IRC

Stands for "Internet Relay Chat." IRC makes it possible for people using the Internet to converse with each other in real time by typing messages back and forth. In order to talk to someone through IRC, you need to connect to the same IRC server. When you and others connect to the server, you can join a channel (a.k.a. chat room), and talk with the other people who have joined that channel. Usually, channels have specific topics like "teenchat," "macusers," or "folksingingmotorcyclists." To connect to an IRC server, you'll need a software program like Ircle (Mac) or mIRC (Windows). Most IRC programs also let you transfer files with other users, which is a cool feature, but has also led to a lot of software piracy.

IRQ

Stands for "Interrupt Request." PCs use interrupt requests to manage various hardware operations. Devices such as sound cards, modems, and keyboards can all send interrupt requests to the processor. For example, when the modem needs to run a process, it sends an interrupt request to the CPU saying, "Hey, hold up, let me do my thing!" The CPU then interrupts its current job to let the modem run its process.

It is important to assign different IRQ addresses to different hardware devices is because the interrupt request signals run along single IRQ lines to a controller. This interrupt controller assigns priorities to incoming IRQs and sends them to the CPU. It's kind of like taking a number at the local deli, except the hardware usually only has to wait a couple of nanoseconds instead of like twenty minutes). Since the interrupt controller can control only one device per IRQ line, if you assign the same IRQ address to multiple devices, you are likely to get an IRQ conflict. This can cause a range of errors from not allowing network connections to crashing your computer. So make sure you assign unique IRQs to new hardware you install and avoid the frustration and keyboard throwing that conflicts can cause.

ISA

Stands for "Industry Standard Architecture." ISA is a type of bus used in PCs for adding expansion cards. For example, an ISA slot may be used to add a video card, a network card, or an extra serial port. The original 8-bit version of PCI uses a 62 pin connection and supports clock speeds of 8 and 33 MHz. 16-bit PCI uses 98 pins and supports the same clock speeds.

The original 8-bit version of ISA was introduced in 1981 but the technology did not become widely used until 1984, when the 16-bit version was released. Two competing technologies -- MCA and VLB -- were also used by some manufacturers, but ISA remained the most common expansion bus for most of the 1980s and 1990s. However, by the end of the twentieth century, ISA ports were beginning to be replaced by faster PCI and AGP slots. Today, most computers only support PCI and AGP expansion cards.

iSCSI

Stands for "Internet Small Computer Systems Interface." iSCSI is an extension of the standard SCSI storage interface that allows SCSI commands to be sent over an IP based network. It enables computers to access hard drives over a network the same way they would access a drive that is directly connected to the computer.

iSCSI is a popular protocol used by storage area networks, which allow multiple computers to share multiple hard drives. For example, data centers can be spread out over multiple locations using iSCSI and a standard Internet connection. While the data access time may be slower over the Internet than compared to a direct SCSI connection, iSCSI can serve as a helpful means for creating off-site backups and sharing large amounts of data across multiple locations.

ISDN

Stands for "Integrated Services Digital Network." No, it's not the same thing as the ISBN you see in books. ISDN is a data transfer technology, created in 1984, that can transfer data significantly faster than a dial-up modem. ISDN enables wide-bandwidth digital transmission over the public telephone network, which means more data can be sent at one time. A typical ISDN connection can support transfer rates of 64K or 128K of data per second. While these speeds are faster than what you can get with a dial-up modem, the newer DSL technology can support even faster transfer rates and is less costly to set up and maintain.

ISO

Stands for "International Organization for Standardization." Yes, technically the acronym should be "IOFS," but I guess ISO sounds better. The ISO works with standards institutes from over 150 countries to develop technology and product standards. These standards lead to a more efficient, safer, and cleaner development of products. It also leads to more standardized products for consumers.

The ISO is important to the computer industry, since the organization standardizes many of the technologies used by your computer hardware and software. For example, the ISO 9660 standard defines a file system used by CD-ROM media. CDs formatted using this standard can be used on any operating system that supports the ISO 9660 standard, including Windows, Mac, and Unix systems.

The ISO is similar to the IEEE, but performs a much broader range of standardizations. To find out more about the International Organization for Standardization, visit the ISO home page.

ISP

Stands for "Internet Service Provider." In order to connect to the Internet, you need an ISP. It is the company that you (or your parents) pay a monthly fee to in order to use the Internet. If you use a dial-up modem to connect to your ISP, a point-to-point protocol (PPP) connection is established with another modem on the ISP's end. That modem connects to one of the ISP's routers, which routes you to the Internet "backbone." From there, you can access information from anywhere around the world. DSL and cable modems work the same way, except after you connect the first time, you are always connected.

IT

Stands for "Information Technology," and is pronounced "I.T." It refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses. IT jobs include computer programming, network administration, computer engineering, Web development, technical support, and many other related occupations. Since we live in the "information age," information technology has become a part of our everyday lives. That means the term "IT," already highly overused, is here to stay.

iTunes

iTunes is an audio playback program developed by Apple Computer. You can use iTunes to import songs from CDs as well as other audio files from your hard drive. The program can also download songs (for a small fee) from the iTunes Music Store. While songs are the most common files played by iTunes, you can also play spoken word files, such as audio books or other recordings. iTunes also has a radio option that allows you to play live streams of Internet radio from a variety of stations.

Each file you import with iTunes get stored in the iTunes library. Fortunately, the library can be organized into multiple playlists, which is especially helpful when you have thousands of songs. (Yes, some people have over 10,000 songs in their library.) You can also create "smart playlists," which store songs according to the parameters you set. For example, if you want a playlist of only rock music, you can create a smart playlist that only holds songs where the "Genre" tag contains "Rock." iTunes is the software that comes with the iPod, and allows you to transfer your playlists from your computer to your iPod. Like the iPod, iTunes can be used on a Mac or PC.

IVR

Stands for "Interactive Voice Response." IVR is a telephony technology that can read a combination of touch tone and voice input. It gives users the ability to access a database of information via phone. A typical IVR system has several menus of prerecorded options that the caller can choose from. While many choices are as basic as choosing a number, some options may require the caller to speak detailed information such as his name or account number. This input is read by the IVR system and is used to access the appropriate information in the database.

For example, a bank may have an IVR system that allows members to call in and check their balance or recent transactions. Credit card companies and stock brokerage firms also use IVR systems to allow users to access information from their account. The technology can also be used used for other purposes such as phone surveys, checking movie times, and call center forwarding. Because the caller can vocally respond to prerecorded messages, using an IVR system is almost like talking to another human being. That is, as long as it understands you.

SNC Location Map
Our Address:
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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

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209-962-6373

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