by Joy Arrieta
AIFF stands for Audio Interchange File Format, an Apple Macintosh
sound file type that you can play on either a Mac or a PC but not
without installing a browser plug-in first. Fortunately, the Web is
overrun with places to download such a plug-in.
Codec is an abbreviation for "compressor-decompressor" and, not
surprisingly, is any technology that compresses and decompresses data.
MPEG and MP3 are excellent examples of codecs.
JDK stands for Java Development Kit, a package of software tools that
enable a programmer to write Java applets or applications.
Certified irc nuts know what BBIAB or BBIAF mean. Let's say you're in
the middle of a very interesting chat and your mother hollers from the
kitchen and tells you to set the table for dinner, you type BBIAB or
BBIAF on your chat window to let the other person know you'll be away
from the keyboard for a few minutes. BBIAB stands for "Be Back In A
Bit" and BBIAF is for "Be Back In a Few/Flash."
When bit-heads talk about a batch, they're talking about a bunch of
files, grouped together to be printed or transferred or transmitted or
otherwise acted upon all at one time. Obviously, doing something to a
batch of files at once is a lot more efficient than doing the same
thing to each file individually.
A buffer page is a page that either requires you to do something (such
as read a warning or prove your age) OR tries to get you to do
something (such as visit one of the site's advertisers) BEFORE you
enter the site itself.
Google is a new, bare-bones search engine, the beta (or prefinal)
version of which is currently being tested on the Web. Google doesn't
offer all the organizational categories, site reviews, and other
sizzle features you find on other search engines. Instead, it
concentrates on delivering as many sites that match your search
criteria in the shortest possible time. It's named for "googol," which
is 10 to the 100th power, a huge number. Try it out at
A supercomputer is a giant computer with incredible calculation power,
used for special calculation-intensive applications--such as
cinema-quality animation and high-level artificial intelligence. Or
playing chess (which, we suppose, qualifies as high-level artificial
intelligence). It was an IBM supercomputer named Deep Blue that beat
Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov in a series of chess games a few
years ago--and then once again in a rematch this May.
A mainframe is a large computer capable of serving applications and
data to thousands of users at the same time. Whereas a supercomputer
(explained in yesterday's tip) is designed to use all of its colossal
power to run a single application as quickly as possible, a mainframe
is designed to run many applications at the same time.
A minicomputer is a class of computer that falls somewhere between a
personal computer--which is designed to service one person at a
time--and a mainframe computer, which is designed to service thousands
of people. A minicomputer typically has multiple processors (say, four
Pentium chips) and can simultaneously support several hundred
workstations. And it isn't "mini" at all: It typically requires its
own space on the floor rather than on a desk.
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