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expressions commonly used by computer-users.
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Words in our glossary starting with "M" ...
This board holds a Pentium Pro processor and fits into a Slot 1 slot on a motherboard. This provides a sort of backwards compatibility of Pentium Pro chips with the newer Pentium II motherboards.
M3U is a special type of metafile playlist that is used with MP3 files that have an .mp3 file extension. The .m3u files list one MP3 or other media file on each line, normally with full path or URL to the file. If the .m3u file is loaded to an MP3 player, the player normally plays the list of media files in the order they are listed in the playlist (unless options such as "randomize" have been selected in the MP3 player).
Computer system by Apple Inc. Officially named Macintosh.
MAC-Address (Medium Access Control Address)
A MAC address is more specific than an IP address and cannot (simply) be changed because it is specific to each network hardware device.
Sequence of commands/actions which can be predefined to automate tasks on your computer.
This is a method of copy protection that rapidly modulates colorburst signals and pulses the vertical blanking signal in order to make videotape copies of protected materials unwatchable. Some older VCRs and beamers have trouble viewing Macrovision protected movies. DVD players typically have Macrovision circuits built in to make copying of DVD movies impossible, however, some DVD players enable Macrovision to be disabled.
MAE (Metropolitan Area Exchange)
A large Internet traffic switching station where ISP backbones meet and traffic moves between them.
A magnetic stripe is a piece of plastic coated with ferromagnetic particles to hold a magnetic flux. In human speak: a strip of audiotape glued onto a card to hold a bit of information. Every credit card has one on the back: it's the brown part. It usually holds the stuff that's written on the card, like the account number and the expiration date.
Magnetic stripe unit
A device to read and encode cards with a magnetic stripe. They basically come in two shapes: one where you have to manually move the card along the "reader" (seen in the supermarket) and one that automatically moves the card for you along the "reader" (seen in ATM's).
Basically, a large and powerful computer designed to be very fault tolerant. Historically, mainframes with lots of memory and disk space are hooked to a bunch of dumb terminals that can be used to access data on the mainframe, but can do nothing without the mainframe.
A group name for malicious software (like spyware, etc).
MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
A network intended for use in a limited area, for example a city.
Under SNMP, the management console is the computer or device that collects SNMP messages and stores them in the MIB.
MAPI (Messaging Application Program Interface)
Programming interface by Microsoft for e-mail messaging. Designed so any Windows application can more easily use e-mail in Windows.
When two IDE or EIDE devices are put on the same cable, one must be master, and the other slave. The master / slave configuration is used not only to allow communications to work properly for two devices on one channel, but also so that there is a specific boot order when two or more IDE hard drives are encountered on a system. The master hard drive on the first IDE channel will be the first IDE drive checked when the system attempts to boot from an IDE device.
In a graphical OS, this is the act of clicking on the maximize button of an active window and causing it to cover the entire screen so that the desktop and other running programs cannot be viewed.
Megabits per second. Transfer rate of 1 milion bits per seconde.
MBR (Master Boot Record)
This refers to the first sector on a hard disk or other disk media. When a computer boots up, it searches for a master boot record wherever the BIOS tells it to (usually the floppy first, then the primary C: hard drive) and based on what the master boot record says, loads up an operating system. Thus, if the master boot record becomes corrupt or is tampered with by a virus, it can cause your computer to be unable to boot.
MCA (Micro Channel Architecture)
This is a 32-bit standard developed by IBM for expansion cards. The standard offered improvements over 16-bit ISA, but never caught on outside of IBM computers. The industry chose to go with EISA, which was only found in servers and workstations for the most part, and was eventually replaced by PCI.
MCGA (MultiColor Graphics Array)
This is a graphics standard prior to VGA, which allows 320x200 resolutions with 256 colors, or 640x400 resolutions with 2 colors. It is a bit better than CGA.
MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer)
This is a certification program offered by Microsoft. To become an MCSE, you must pass a series of standardized tests at Microsoft approved testing facilities. On the positive side, the MCSE certification is designed to give employers an easier way of screening candidates. On the negative side, a candidate with an MCSE and little practical knowledge may unfairly receive consideration over a more qualified non-MCSE. Some Geeks think it's worthy to aspire to be an MCSE, but many others think it's just a waste of time and money learning the "Microsoft way."
The MD5 algorithm takes as input a message of arbitrary length and produces as output a 128-bit "fingerprint" or "message digest" of the input. It is conjectured that it is computationally infeasible to produce two messages having the same message digest, or to produce any message having a given prespecified target message digest. The MD5 algorithm is intended for digital signature applications, where a large file must be "compressed" in a secure manner before being encrypted with a private (secret) key under a public-key cryptosystem such as RSA.
MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)
This is a type of particle board (wood based) that is often used in the construction of subwoofer enclosures. It is used due to it's ability to absorb vibration and its sturdiness. The best MDF is 3/4" or thicker. Today, MDF is also being used in do-it-yourself for furniture.
1. Multiple document interface. An interface that confines all of an application's internal frames inside its desktop pane.
2. An abbreviation for 4,4? diphenylmethane diisocyanate.
3. Metered Dose Inhaler
4. Medium Dependent Interface (for example RJ45 connects can carry 10Base and/or 100Base network signal)
Short for medium dependent interface crossover (the ?X? representing ?crossover?), an Ethernet port connection that allows networked end stations (i.e., PCs or workstations) to connect to each other using a null-modem, or crossover, cable. Commonly this is an extra connector on for example a router or switch which is crossed. Commonly this port is in parallel with the first or last port of the router.
MDRAM (Multibank DRAM)
This is a form of graphics RAM created by MoSys that allows transfers of up to 1 GB/second. The Tseng ET6000 graphics chipset uses this form of graphics RAM to help achieve its high performance.
This name is used by Canal+ France for the SECA encoding system. See SECA.
Data storage size unit = 1024 x 1024 Bytes.
This is 1,048,576 pixels. This term is most often used when talking about how fast 3D graphics cards can pump data to the display device. As a general rule, higher megapixel ratings typically equate to higher maximum performance. See also gigapixel. This term is also being used to expres the capabilities of a digital camera (either photo or film). In that situation it indicates the potential resolution of an image taken. For example, an image of 2500 x 1600 pixels (without using interpolation) can be taken with a 4 Megapixel camera.
Chips in a computer that remember data. Also commonly referred to as RAM.
A condition where a program continues to request more memory from an operating system, and doesn't tell the operating system when it is no longer using the memory. Programs with memory leaks (which can be considered a BUG) can end up using all of the memory available, or at least enough to cause performance problems.
Memorystick is a Sony product. It's a memory card which can be used for digital imaging (making pictures and such), MP3 music files, etc. At this point in time, only Sony seems to be using memorySticks. Currently we know the normal MemoryStick and the Pro version. The Pro version has a higher capacity.
Note: more expensive digital camera's of Sony recently seem to start using Compact Flash card. Is this the end of memorySticks?
A metafile is a list of commands that can be played back to draw a graphic. Typically, a metafile is made up of commands to draw objects such as lines, polygons and text and commands to control the style of these objects. NOTE: Some people equate metafiles with vector graphics. In most cases this is fine; but, strictly speaking, a metafile can contain any mix of vector and raster graphics. For example, a metafile could contain just one command to display a bitmap!
MFC (Microsoft Foundation Class)
This is a library of C++ functions provided by Microsoft that allows developers to more easily work with the Windows operating system.
This the ability of a system to compute 1 million floating point operations in one second.
Megahertz. Indicaties frequency, the amount of times a event takes place within a second. Often used to indicate processor speed.
MIB (Management Information Base)
When SNMP devices send SNMP messages to the management console, it stores information in the MIB.
This is a device that changes audio into an electric signal.
An analog I/O sound port that accepts a microphone. If you want your computer, laptop or sound device to be able to record your voice, it must have a mic in port, or a built in microphone.
This is the older term for a common home computer, or single processor computer.
This is like a scaled-down computer designed for a very specific task, unlike a desktop computer, which has many uses. An example of an application for a microcontroller would be a traffic light, or the chip that controls the suspension system of your new car. The Basic-Stamp is an example of an microcontroller that has been created for hobbyists to play with and explore the potentials of a microcontroller.
This is the length of one millionth of a meter, or 1/1000000 meters. This length is also referred to as a micrometer. There is also a computer hardware company called Micron. See also, nanometer.
The size of lines capable of being etched onto a chip. A fabrication plant with a .25 micron process can create smaller chips that consume less power, and can run faster than a fab with a .35 micron process.
Maker of DOS and Windows, almost monopolist as far as operating systems for home computers goes.
Mid Tower case
A metal box about 2 feet high that has special fittings to hold computer components like drives, motherboards and such.
Software that is used to tie an application to a network, thus the "middle" terminology. Often, the middleware is a type of network authentication or directory of network resources.
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
This is the way to connect musical instruments (traditionally a piano keyboard) to your computer. To connect them to your computer, you need a MIDI cable and a MIDI port. The MIDI port usually doubles as a game controller port on your sound card. Instead of recording the sound that comes from the instrument, it records the notes that are played. This can then be played back in a number of ways: its speed can be changed or its tone can be changed. The most interesting aspect is that it can be applied to different instruments.
MIDI (Musical Instruments Digital Interface)
Interface for interconnectivity between digital music instrucments for example a keyboard to you computer. Commonly connected using a so called DIN-5 connector, a rond shaped plug with 5 pins.
Piece of memory on, for example, your soundcard containing, mostly, sounds of music instruments.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
A method used for the attachment of binary files to an e-mail message. MIME is the most common group of functions used to make this translation, and allows us to tack on graphics, sound, and executable files to our e-mail messages.
Refers to "mini" mainframe computers that are a step smaller than a large corporate mainframe. They were once popular in small businesses that couldn't afford real mainframes, but now you only find reference to them in free subscription surveys for computer industry print magazines, or in some college campus or large business networks.
This is a CDR or CDRW mastered with DVD structure and content. So basically you created a DVD, with very limited content, and burned it on a CDR or CDRW. Naturally a miniDVD cannot hold the same amount of data as a regular DVD. Most PC DVD player can handle this type of disc. Most standalone DVD players do not support miniDVD.
In a graphical OS, this is the act of clicking on the minimize button of an active window and causing it disappear from view, or appear in a smaller form somewhere on screen. When minimized, programs still run, but allow other windows or the desktop to be viewed.
MIP Mapping (Multum in Parvam Mapping)
Multum in Parvam is "many in few." It stores a copy of the bitmap used as a texture in different sizes to minimize the distortion caused by shrinking or enlarging the textures during perspective correction.
MIPS is a company that produces CPU's found in systems like the Sony PlayStation 2, PDA's, etc.
MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second)
This is a rating of how quickly a processor can process instructions. A processor rated at 100 MIPS can process 100,000,000 instructions per second.
Most often, it is used to describe a method of redundancy where data is mirrored across two devices, whether they are physically separate devices or not. Basically, the same data is written to both devices, so if one device fails, the other can be used and the data will be fine. See RAID.
MIS (Management Information Systems/Services)
The science (?) of collecting and shaping information in such a way that managers see enough (and not too much) information to make decisions. Information can for example be transformed to a chart, which makes it easier to read.
Usually any application that is critical to the proper running of a business or activity. If this application fails for any length of time, you may be out of business. For example, an order-entry system may be considered mission critical if your business relies on taking lots of orders.
MMC (MultiMedia Card)
This is a postage stamp sized flash memory card that allows data to be saved on it. MMC cards are a means of exchanging data between PDAs, phones, digital cameras, and other devices, but they can also serve the function of acting similar to a hard drive on a PC for the storage of data and programs.
MMO / MMOG
A Massive Multiplayer Online game (also called MMOG) is a video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature at least one persistent world.
MMOGs can enable players to cooperate and compete with each other on a large scale, and sometimes to interact meaningfully with people around the world. They include a variety of gameplay types, representing many video game genres.
MMORPG, massively multiplayer online role-playing game - see MMO
MMX (Matrix Math Extensions)
64 additional instructions for matrix math operations that are commonly used to process multimedia data. A slight improvement of the Pentium and Pentium Pro chip designs that is supposed to make it easier and faster to deal with video and audio. Also refered to as "Multi Media Extensions".
Tweakers acronym for Motherboard or Mainboard of a PC.
Short for Module or Modification. Or the fileextension used for music tracker files:
a) Addon to a program (module)
b) Modification of soft- or hardware
c) music file from wayback (Commodore Amiga)
This is a dialog box, or window, that must be responded to before operation of a program can continue. Modal dialog boxes are easier to program than modeless dialog boxes since you don't have to account for as many conditions. However, modal dialog boxes are generally annoying to users. Common examples are errors (file not found) and "are you sure" questions.
Modem (Modulator DEModulator)
Used for modulating and demodulating (converting) digital information for use with an analog phone line. Mostly used for hooking up your computer to the Internet over a PSTN (POTS) phoneline.
This is a group of modems that answer calls at a single phone number and connect callers to a specific resource. ISPs use modem pools to connect callers to the Internet. You call a single number and get connected to the Internet. Many offices use modem pools to connect callers to the LAN or WAN. Usually, a phone switch takes care of the actual "pooling" of modems. Thus, if one modem is busy, it forwards calls to the next one. Well known modem-pool equipment can be found at Ericsson (Trigris) and Shiva.
Emulating an analog modem using for example an ISDN adpater.
This refers to a graphic effect that puts an undesirable pattern on an image. When monitors focus too tightly, certain colors will appear to have patterns on them. You can attempt to remove these patterns if there is a moire control on the monitor. Additionally, these types of patterns appear sometimes when printed images are scanned.
A money order is a check issued by an organization such as the Postal Service or sold by third parties such as grocery stores, convenience stores, or banks and other financial services companies, to allow individuals to make payments to each other or to pay bills such as utilities and rent.
A money order is purchased for the amount desired. In this way it is similar to a certified check. The main difference is that money orders are usually limited in face value to some specified figure (usually under $1,000) while certified checks are not. A money order is usually considered safer for payments from parties unknown to the payee, as opposed to a personal check drawn on the maker's bank account, since a money order is generally guaranteed cashable by the receiving party, unlike an ordinary check. In recent years, partly for this reason, and partly for convenience, money orders have also been much used as payment for goods bought over the Internet; such transactions more often take place between two private individuals than is the case for non-Internet transactions, which are most often between individuals on the one hand and commercial companies on the other.
A device for viewing the output from a computer, traditionally a much more precise TV set. See also CRT.
Former Intel chairman Gordon Moore is credited with predicting the trend that transistor counts in processors double every 18 months. This law has held true since the 1970s. The law can also be applied to other technologies and works frighteningly well with hard drive and memory chip density, processor speeds, processor power, and processor size (micron process). Try applying this law for the year 2010 from what we have today and you'll be looking forward to it.
The first graphical browser for the Web. Mosaic recognizes the HTTP protocol and will display HTML graphically. It was created by Marc Andreessen in 1993 while he was at the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) and released as freeware. After Mosaic was introduced to the Internet, the Web flourished as the amount of websites and Web users grew very quickly. The Microsoft Internet Explorer is based on Mosaic.
Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor - This is a transistor with a source and gain region kept apart by a gate. A voltage applied to the gate controls the flow of electrons from the source to the drain. MOSFETs are used to amplify electrical signals.
The circuit board that your CPU, IO chips and all the peripheral cards plug into.
Motherboard or Mainboard
The base of your PC. All PC parts must be mounted or connected to the mainboard in order to get a working computer. Often CPU, memory and PC-cards can be found on this board.
Thin sheets of glass that LCD screens are cut out of.
System to convert human motion to computers graphics.
This term comes from the days when tape media had to be physically mounted at the instruction of an operating system. It is still used in UNIX / Linux environments. When the system is powered on, all hard drives are typically set to mount automatically, but removable media such as CD-ROMs and floppy disks typically have to be manually set to be recognized by the operating system (mounted) after they are inserted into the computer. Some newer GUI UNIX / Linux interfaces will mount media for you automatically and save you the trouble of typing in a mount command.
1) Mount Rainier is a format for re-writable optical discs which provides for packet writing and defect management. Its goal is the replacement of the floppy disk. Mount Rainier (MRW) can be used only with drives that explicitly support it and works with standard CD-RW and DVD+RW media. The physical format of MRW disks is an extension of the UDF format.
2) a mountain near Seattle, Washington, USA.
A pointing device that uses a roller ball on the bottom to detect motion.
A pad that has a surface made for use with a mouse.
An open source project put together to create the next generation of Netscape web browsers starting after Netscape Navigator 4.x. The project is run by developers that work for Netscape, but development is done by both Netscape employees and independent developers.
Popular compression tecnique for audio where file size is reduced by compression and remoing redundant - not noticable - information.
Short for MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group) audio layer III.
MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3)
This is a compression standard for audio. It enables compression of CD-audio by about 10x, depending on the bit and sampling rate. It does not stand for MPEG-3.
MP3 ID TAG
This is a tag (piece of "text") included in with the MP3 that can hold additional info on the MP3 sound track. Information like Artist, Title, etc. can be found here. Some tools like WinAmp support and read this info.
Software and/or hardware for MP3 audio playback.
Motion Picture Association of America, a group of movie publishers. Well known for it's lawsuit against the programmer of DeCSS.
MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group)
A compression technique for animated (movies etc) images so that the result does not need that much space. Commonly used in VideoCD (CBR 1,15 Mbps), SuperVideoCD (VBR 2,6 Mbps) and DVD (VBR 6 Mbps). MP3 is NOT and one of these!
Standard for video/audio compression for optimal usage of storage space. Used in Super VideoCD and DVD.
This is a standard for levels of electromagnetic field emissions by computer monitors published by the Swedish National Board for Measurement and Testing. Monitors must have electromagnetic field emissions below certain levels to meet MPR standards.
This is a newer version of the Swedish MPR electromagnetic field emission standards. It has much more stringent requirements, and CRT computer monitors meeting this standard are presently considered to be safe.
1) Multi-Processor Specification, for mainboards that can work with 2 or more processors.
2) Mobile Positioning System, techology used with cellphones for determining your position (somewhat like GPS).
MPU (Micro Processor Unit)
Commonly used to describe the CPU. More specifically, it refers to the part of the CPU that actually does the work, since many CPUs now contain L1 and L2 caches on-chip.
Product (IBM) which enables communication between applications on different platforms like Windows NT, Unix, OS/2, z/OS (MVS). The interface is based on the use of mailboxes. This allows the easy and simple communication.
MRAM (Magnetic RAM)
This is a form of memory that stores information magnetically instead of electrically like DRAM. IBM has been working on developing MRAM since 1974, and when it is available as early as 2003, it should be faster than DRAM and be able to hold as much information, but it will not require the electrical refresh of DRAM. It will hold onto data like flash memory.
This is one thousandth of a second. Usually used to measure the access speed of hard drives .
MTA (Message Transfer Agent)
In the X.400 Message Handling System this is a program that stores and forwards messages between different mail systems.
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)
This is a time normally given in hours that predicts the failure of a device. The larger the number the better.
MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit)
This is the largest size of a data packet that can be sent over a TCP/IP or other packet or frame based network. Ethernet uses an MTU of 1500 bytes, while the standard Internet MTU is 576 bytes. Using a higher MTU is recommended for fast networks, while slower or more congested networks need a smaller MTU as there is a greater chance that not all of the packet will make it through in one shot. Of course, using a small MTU on a fast network causes a lot of extra traffic to be generated as the packet has to be split into smaller pieces with more conversations for data to be transmitted.
MUD (Multi User Domain)
Also known as Multi User Dungeon, a world created and that exists solely for the interaction of people within it. They often have themes as to what should be done, but the basis is simply that there is a world detailed by words that you, as a character, can navigate through and interact with. For many people, this is the most addictive part of the Internet.
Some operating systems allow multiple parts, or threads, of a single process to run simultaneously. These OSs are referred to as multi-threaded. UNIX is a multi-threaded OS, as is Windows NT.
Multi-tier client server
This is a form of client/server application that uses the multi-tiered architecture.
This is a scalable application architecture (over 2-tier and 3-tier). It is the most complex type of architecture, splitting the application and database management tasks into many discrete components. For example, take the 3-tier architecture and change it so that the application logic is separate from the database management system. This gets you to 4-tier architecture. To get to five tiers, you could move some of the application logic to the client to optimize performance.
This is a form of TCP/IP being proposed that will allow for high-bandwidth transmissions (like television channels) to be broadcast over the Internet to all the routers in the world (possibly) that are connected to someone watching that channel. To see the benefit, think of 1000 people making separate connections to the USA network (if it were an Internet TV channel--give me some leeway!). Each packet of data sent out would have to be sent to 1000 people. Thus, you have 1000 conversations active between the USA network server and people's machines, each one saying the same thing. That's poor scalability. Now, imagine that in this fantasy network, we only have 10 routers with these 1000 people connected to them. In simplistic terms, you only have to send each packet to 10 places, and each machine downloads packets directly from the router it is connected to. Thus, the USA network server doesn't have to do much work to keep movies going to 1000 people at once, and the rest of the network isn't clogged with all 1000 conversations. However, there's lots of minute details that must be considered.
PC software that allows you to watch payTV channels (only DVB satellite!) without paying for it. Naturally this is illegal and works only with a perticular type of satellite receiver card (Hauppauge Nexus-s, Technotrend, etc).
Bij positioning two (or more) LNB's in front of a dish (commonly either oval dish or a larger dish than usual), one can recieve two (or more) satellites at the same time without the need for a rotor.
A machine with more than one NIC attached to more than one network. If a machine has multiple NICs but is only attached to one network, it is not multihomed. You must have more than one network attached to be a multihomed machine.
Any use of audio or video in a computer. In simplest terms, this refers to the basic functions of sound cards and video cards. In addition the term also covers television and video integration in computers.
This is the ability of an operating system to run two or more tasks at once. With one processor, you will not actually have more than 1 task using the processor at a given moment in time, but the tasks will be scheduled so that they can all appear to be running at the same time, and do not interfere with each other. A task can be a program (i.e. the Windows Calculator), or an instance of a program (opening the Windows Calculator multiple times).
MUNG (MUNG Until No Good)
This is a recursive acronym that refers to tweaking something until it is so tweaked that it is broken.
MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage)
This is an IBM mainframe operating system. The term MVS is used to describe an entire family of mainframe operating systems. The term "multiple virtual storage" refers to the use of multiple virtual memory areas in the operating system.
MovieWorks file extension. Similar to Macromedia Flash, used to create multimedia presentations. See http://www.movieworks.com.
MX Record (Mail eXchange Record)
This is a record that exists on a DNS server and tells e-mail servers where to send mail to for any particular DNS entry.
The product name for ADSL by KPN, when they introduced ADSL in the Netherlands.
MySQL is an open source RDBMS that relies on SQL for processing the data in the database. MySQL provides APIs for the languages C, C++, Eiffel, Java, Perl, PHP and Python. In addition, OLE DB and ODBC providers exist for MySQL data connection in the Microsoft environment. A MySQL .NET Native Provider is also available, which allows native MySQL to .NET access without the need for OLE DB. MySQL is most commonly used for Web applications and for embedded applications and has become a popular alternative to proprietary database systems because of its speed and reliability. MySQL can run on UNIX, Windows and Mac OS.
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