Your Guide to Geek Speak Internet, Philippines and Internet in the Philippines



by Joy Arrieta

POTS stands for "plain old telephone service." It's the term tech weenies use when comparing the existing phone lines to other Internet service conduits, such as ISDN or broadband (cable). It may be plain, and it certainly is slow, but right now POTS is the most affordable, widely available, and widely used means of connecting to the Internet and the Web.

Fuzzy Logic
Fuzzy logic is a system of logic that can deal with the "gray area" between absolute truth and falsity. In other words, it's a system of logic more like the one we humans use in our heads. Not surprisingly, fuzzy logic plays a big part in artificial intelligence systems, which are designed to emulate the human mind.

Wild card
In a search, a wild card is a character that you use in place of letters to indicate that you'll accept more than one possible result for that particular character. For example, to search a document for all forms of the word "mean" ("means," "meant," "meaning," "meanings," and so on), you'd search for "mean*". The asterisk is a wild card that indicates you'll accept any word as long as its first four letters are "mean." Of course, this particular search also returns the word "meander," which is not a form of the word "mean." Therein lies the downside of wild cards.

Commerce Server
A commerce server is software that lets you set up an online store, complete with a product catalog, order forms, and a direct connection to your inventory applications. A commerce server either includes or works with an online payment system so that customers can use credit cards to purchase items from your store.

In geek-speak, replication is a way of synchronizing a single database that many people use, even at one time. Each person using the database has his or her own copy of the database; periodically or on command, each copy is updated so that everybody's changes appear in every copy. It's pretty slick--and a whole lot more complicated to pull off than our description might indicate.

ISV stands for "independent software vendor"--in other words, a company that makes software. Microsoft, Lotus, and Netscape are all ISVs. ISV is a classic example of a technocrat finding a long name--and a corresponding acronym--for something they could describe in a simple and universally understood word or two.

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

User Group
A user group is a group of people that meets regularly (maybe once a month) to discuss a favorite aspect of computing--usually a particular software program (such as Microsoft Word) or a particular computing task (such as desktop publishing). If this doesn't sound like the kind of club you want to run right out and join, ask yourself where ELSE you can go to meet people who might be able to provide no-charge tips, advice, and answers to your annoying questions.

SIG stands for "special interest group." A SIG is like a user group--which we told you about last time--but with two important differences. First, a SIG is usually more specialized: While a user group might focus on Microsoft Excel, a SIG is more likely to focus on budget forecasting with Excel. Second, a SIG usually "meets" online: Users exchange information electronically by posting messages to forums.

A DIVX, which stands for "digital video express," is a DVD disc designed to work only for a specified time period, such as two days. The bigwigs in Hollywood think DIVX would be a great new medium for video rentals; you just slip in the disc, watch your movie, and throw the disk away. But there are still some kinks to work out--not the least of which is the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have already bought DVD players, which CAN'T play DIVX disks.

Blue bomb
A blue bomb is a packet of information that one computer sends to another computer for the sole purpose of causing the other computer to crash. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Well, players who are about to lose online games have been known to send blue bombs, as have chat participants who want to be sure theirs is the last word. (It's called a "blue" bomb after the "blue screen of death," which Windows 95/98 displays when it's about to crash.)

Ever find that, after you've spent several long days in front of the computer, your eyes start to hurt, your vision starts to blur, and you get headaches? You've probably got yourself a case of CVS, or computer vision syndrome. Don't worry: You can "cure" CVS simply by taking a little hiatus from the computer--something you ought to be doing from time to time, anyway.

In Web lingo, a gravesite is a Web site that's still accessible--still "up" on the Web--but that has apparently been abandoned by its creators and/or updaters. Marketing weenies also use "gravesite" to refer to Web sites that have stopped attracting enough traffic to interest advertisers. You can always count on marketers to co-opt a term.

Zombie is the cyberspeak term for an abandoned or neglected Web site--which is a "gravesite"--that has been moved to another Web address, or URL. You read it right: Nobody has bothered to update the site, but somebody HAS bothered to move it. The term zombie is appropriate: The site is something that's dead but seems to move.

Linkrot refers to the overall percentage of bad links--links to pages that cease to exist or have been moved elsewhere--on the Web. For example, suppose that tomorrow the folks at changed the address for a popular book (such as Angela's Ashes) to which many sites include a link; the occurrence of linkrot would increase by quite a bit. Because sites don't make a point of TELLING others when they move pages or reorganize themselves, we'll probably have linkrot for as long as we have the Web.

A phreak is a type of hacker who uses his or her computer to break into a telephone network to either 1) listen in on other people's conversations or 2) make long-distance phone calls for free.

In your computer, the motherboard is the main board, the one that contains the circuits connecting the computer's processor to its hard disk, memory, and other components. Motherboards also contain slots into which you can add other components, such as an internal modem, a scanner card, and so on.

A "mobo" is computer weenie slang for motherboard. If you encounter a person who uses the term "mobo" often, he or she is undoubtedly the most devoted form of computernik--a person to be avoided in virtually every social situation, except when you need help with your computer.

Ever visit a Web site that provides links to other Web sites and, when you take one of those links, displays the other site in a frame within the original site? The original site is a para-site. Para-sites are good because they let you surf many sites from within the friendly confines of a single site. Para-sites can also be annoying because they don't allow you to directly bookmark the sites displayed within the frame--which forces you to be overly dependent on the para-site.

Sneakernet, jargon for "sneaker network," is the derogatory phrase that techies use to describe the practice of carrying files on floppies from one computer to another instead of transmitting them over a REAL network. In this case, the techies have a point: Today, with e-mail on virtually every desktop in the world, there's little or no excuse for time-consuming file transfer via sneakernet.


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