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Abbreviations of Computer Stuff

USB   Universal Serial Bus  It is a way to connect devices to the computer such as printers or external hard drives.  There are at least 3 variations on the plug shape.   The one on the outside of the computer is a female flat plug with 4 contacts.   The one on the side of a printer is a female rectangular plug.  The one on a digital camera or a GPS device is a smaller rectangular one.
There are USP plug spots on the motherboard but they have a different shape.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)  This is the address of a web site, like http://www.frisinger.net/ and it goes in the little window at the top of your brouser.

IDE     The type of connection that hard drives and DVD drives used until around 2008. It is sometimes called a Parallel ATA system.  It uses a flat cable about 2 inches wide.  It is being replaced by SATA.

SATA    Serial ATA  (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment).  The current favorite for connecting components inside the computer.  The wires and connectors are much smaller.

PCI      Peripheral Component Interconnect.  This is the commend connection for general peripherals installed in a computer such as an Ethernet or sound card.  They are cream colored and about 4 inches long.  Introduced in 1993 replacing the ISA bus introduced in 1981

Sleep verses Hibernate  Both are intended to save power.  Sleep keeps data in memory and draws a small amount of power to do that.  Hibernate is intended primarily for laptops.  It writes everything to the hard disk so the computer can be completely shut off then pick up where it left off when it is started again.  It takes longer to start up again than sleep does but does not draw any power.

Domain Helper  This is a "feature" that Comcast has added that is activated whenever you enter a bad URL, It erases the URL that you entered and presents you with a list of possible alternatives and some adds.  You can search their help site to find out how to disable it or call their help line, 1-800-COMCAST (266-2278)

Video related terms

AGP     Accelerated Graphics Port    This is a special plug near the PCi plugs for attaching a video card.  They first came out in 1998 and were replace by PCIe plugs and devices around 2005.  I think the plugs (slots) are typically red.

PCI Express  (PCIe) Peripheral Component Interconnect Express.  This is the current type plug for graphics cards.  The initial ones were version 1.0, As of 2010 they were up to 2.1 but are backwardly compatible so you can plug a PCIe 2.0 video card in a PCIe 1.0 slot on a motherboard.

VGA Connector   This is the typical monitor connection going back to 1988.  It is 3 rows of pins and is a female plug on the computer.  It is being gradually phased out in favor of the DVI plug.  Video cards typically have both.  You can also get a simple converter plug to go between the two.

DVI      Digital Visual Interface.   A white plug used to connect monitor to a computer. The pins are in two square groups and a third area with a flat pin.  They were introduced in 2000 and are gradually replacing the VGA Connector.

HDMI    High-Definition Multimedia Interface.  This is replacement for the VGA Connector and DVI.  If differs in that it caries the audio signal as well as the video.  The connector is a flat (2 pin wide) connector about 3/4 of an inch wide.  Newer graphics cards have them.  Introduced in 2004.


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Rev 826/10 fixed