by Joy Arrieta
Translates your hand movements into digital information and then
transfers that information to a computer--or, even more commonly, to
the headset of a virtual reality game system.
Short for "hand-held PC," what the rest of us more likely refer to a
personal digital assistant, or PDA. HPC is what Microsoft wants you to
call the device--probably because if you start thinking of it as an
actual PC, you're more likely to choose one that runs Microsoft's
Windows CE, a Windows 95-like operating system created especially for
PDAs, or HPCs, or whatever you choose to call them.
If someone in a chat room or discussion group calls you a lamer, well,
you haven't been making the right impression. A lamer is someone who
just isn't doing things correctly, someone who betrays a total lack of
online savior-faire. There ARE worse things to be called--just not in
Stands for "eXtensible Markup Language." Developed by the World
Wide Web Consortium, or W3C (we tell you about THEM in a later tip),
XML lets Web developers do things they couldn't do in HTML--such as
have a link point to any of several documents (depending on certain
criteria) instead of just one. Whether you see Web pages written in
XML anytime soon depends on whether the manufacturers of Web browsers
decide to support XML anytime soon.
Tech weenies pronounce it as "vermal." It stands for "Virtual Reality
Modeling Language." Think of VRML as a 3-D version of HTML: Whereas
HTML lets you create two-dimensional Web pages, VRML lets you create
three-dimensional Web pages. These days, you can find quite a few VRML
spaces on the Web; you can browse them if you have a VRML browser
(which you probably don't have) or a VRML plug-in to your existing
browser (which you can download from several locations on the Web).
Founded by Tim Berners-Lee, the actual developer of the World Wide Web.
It is a group of companies from around the world that have decided to
base a huge chunk of their business on the Web and who want to make
sure that its development standards stay open, or accessible, to
Stands for Frames Per Second and refers to the number of still images
shown in each second of a video. Hollywood movies typically display 24
frames per second (hence, the title of the excellent movie Web site
www.24framespersecond.com). Digital video--like the kind you download
from the Web--can range from 15 frames per second (which is pretty
choppy) to 60 frames per second (which is great, but which still
doesn't look as good as film because of its lower resolution).
AVI stands for "Audio Video Interleave"--one of the longest-running
file formats for digital video. AVI files are big: An AVI that plays
for about 10 seconds could be 2MB in size and take a long time to
download over a telephone-line Internet connection. Many popular Web
video technologies, such as Apple's QuickTime and Microsoft's Video
for Windows, create and play video files in AVI format.
Refers to a set of digital video compression standards and file formats
developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group. Yes, the group's name
suggests that it has a high opinion of itself, but that opinion may,
in fact, be warranted. MPEG videos are usually more compact and of
higher quality than videos in popular competing formats such as AVI.
Stands, loosely, for "MPEG audio layer 3" and is an extension of the
MPEG compression scheme that compresses sound from a CD by a factor of
12, without sacrificing the quality of the sound. MP3 is the biggest
step yet toward making downloading entire songs or albums from the Web
to your computer practical.
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