Jargon in IT

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There are major issues with decoding IT jargon, just like medical jargon. It can even mean different things to different people. An example is GB or MB.

Alphabetical list of IT jargon

Contents

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

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B

  • Byte - 8 binary bits as in '1010'. The largest decimal number that can be stored in a byte is 15, which is hexidecimal 'F'

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C

  • C - a computer language which has been in wide use for over 30 years to write computer programs

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D

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E

  • ECMAscript - see Javascript

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F

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G

  • GB or Gbyte -1,073,741,824 bytes (binary meaning used in software and much computer hardware specification) or 1,000,000,000 bytes (decimal meaning used by hard disk manufacturers).

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H

  • Harddisk - a magnetic storage device for binary information.
  • Hardware - physical electronic equipment
  • Hex - hexadecimal represented by symbols 0-9,A-F. The most confusing part is that it is represented in different programming languages with different prefixs or postfixs, such as "#FFFFFF" for a colour value in HTML but "&#" and then the number for numbers, "0x" as a prefix in C and "$" as a prefix in Basic or Pascal, except Microsoft varients of Basic use "&H".

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I

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J

  • Java - completely distinct from Javascript - Java is an open but proprietary licenced computer software language developed by SUN Microsystems. Independent implementations exist including ones by IBM and an Open Source one.
  • Javascript - the name for a script (sic) language that has become the de-facto standard for web based appications. As a web standard is more correctly called ECMAscript but this jargon has not caught on for fairly obvious reasons. The name Javascript was coined by a now defunct company. Not to be confused with Java, although that might be inferred to have been the motivation behind its original name. Javascript by default will not write to your harddisk program instructions so is much safer than most other script languages but still can be used to create malware as it is a very powerful language. A major advantage of javascript is that it is transparent - in other words any one using the program if they know how will theoretically be able to understand what the program is about. It is impossible to create proprietary code in javacript, although you can copyright javascript code. In practice such copyright is rather difficult to enforce, which is seen as a disadvantage by many, but not all commercial entities.
  • Jscript - the Microsoft varient of Javascript. Allows very powerful (and hence potentially dangerous) access to Microsoft operating system computers through a technology called Active X.

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K

  • kilobyte - 1024 bytes (always by convention even though prefix would suggest 1000 bytes. This is where jargon took over !) This is based on the fact that the powers of 2 are very important in the field of computing, and 1024 = 210, the power of 2 that is closest to 1000.

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L

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M

  • 'M' the language is the current name for MUMPS, the first purpose-built language and database management platform intended for medical and healthcare data processing. This arose in Massachusetts at the general hospital and was intended from the outset for federating considerable numbers of large computing installations with large data stores, and for massive multi-user multi-processing. M is the underpinning of most successful healthcare IT systems, and after more than 30 years of heavy use is now fairly well worked out. Compared to SQL RDBMS', M is fast, robust and hard (although, how hard can a language with only 26 commands, each of one character, be?). GT.M is a fully-featured implementation of ANSI-standard M which is availabel for Intel and some other platforms under the GPL and for larger platforms on payment terms. Commercial and community support is available and the freely available US Veteran' Administration hospital automation - VISTA - has been ported to it by the WorldVista not-for-profit organisation. The first largescale GP computer system in the UK - the Exeter GP System - is written in M, and the currently most successful and popular GP computer system - EMIS - has all its reliable versions written in M.
  • MB or Mbyte - 1,048,576 bytes or 220 (binary meaning used in software and much computer hardware specification) or 1,000,000 bytes (decimal meaning used by hard disk manufacturers).

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N

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O

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P

  • Program -a self contained set of computer instructions.

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Q

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R

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S

  • Scripts - Computer programs written in ASCII characters that are interpreted by a another software program and translated into computer instructions. They can be very powerful
  • Software - computer instruction sets or programs. It can also mean databases.

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T

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U

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V

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W

  • Word - a length of binary storage. While it usually is 2 bytes in length it may not be, as it is defined by the individual operating system for the computer you use. Indeed early computer operating systems were chacterised by other word lengths, often dicated by hardware addressing limitations.

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X

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Y

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Z

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