Computer jargon explained
80211a, 80211b, 80211g, 80211i Different standards for operating wireless networks (Wi-Fi). Loosely
the higher the letter, the faster the speed. So far they are mostly incompatible with each other.
80286, 80386, 80486 (or 286, 386, 486) Three generations of PC processor, now pretty much obsolete,
the ancestors of the Pentium. The 286 was the earliest processor able to run (just about) a version of
Windows, although the 386 was really the minimum to run it properly. The 486 was the earliest processor
able to run Windows 95 - just about. Machines of this vintage cannot run modern versions of Windows at
all, but many are still in use as basic word-processors or where a dedicated machine is required which
doesn't need to be powerful.
ActiveX A powerful Windows technology which allows programmers to do all kinds of good things with
your computer. Unfortunately it also allows hackers do all kinds of bad things to your computer,
particularly via webpages in Internet Explorer, and is safest switched off. (In Internet Explorer go to
Tools/Internet Options/Security and set the Security Zone slider for Internet to High). A few websites
won't display properly, but most bad ones won't be able to hijack you.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) A method of connecting a computer to the internet over an
ordinary phone line using ethernet office networking technology instead of an ordinary modem, which
produces a much faster (broadband) connection. Asymmetric because it is faster from internet to PC than
the other way (also true of a 56K modem).
Adware Software which displays advertisements on your computer. Sometimes installed as part of a
"free" application, sometimes by stealth. See also Malware, Spyware.
AFAICS, AFAIK, AFAIR (As Far As I Can See/Know/Recall) Internet slang.
AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) A special slot on the PC motherboard for graphics cards, and the format
of the cards themselves. Standard on new PCs from 1998. "AGP x 2" runs at twice the speed of the
original AGP. Now gradually being supplanted by PCI Express.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) A program designed to respond "intelligently" to various situations, for
example the computer opponent(s) in a game.
AIUI (As I Understand It) Internet slang.
always-on An internet connection which remains on 24/7 such as ADSL or cable, rather than only
connecting on demand like a dialup.
AMD AMD is a leading manufacturer of processor chips for PCs, including the Athlon and Duron chips.
Antivirus Software which protects computers from viruses and suchlike. Has to be updated frequently to
keep up with the latest threats, so is usually sold with a subscription which enables you to download
updates from the internet.
AOL (America On Line) An Internet Service Provider, or ISP. AOL were in business as a large