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Part: 6 “Houston, We've Got a Problem” > Glossary Speak Like a Geek: The Comple... - Pg. 323

Glossary Speak Like a Geek: The Complete Archive 323 application Also known as program, a set of instructions that enable a computer to perform a specific task, such as word processing or data management. An application also can be a collection of pro- grams called a suite. ASCII file A file containing characters that any program on any computer can use. Sometimes called a text file or an ASCII text file. (ASCII is pronounced "ASK-key.") ATA drive Short for AT Attachment, a common standard for IDE and EIDE drives. ATA actually is another name for IDE drives. Fast ATA is the same as EIDE. The Ultra ATA drive is a step up from EIDE drives, offering a 33MBps transfer rate. ATA/66 drives offer transfer rates of 66MBps. BIOS (basic input/output system) The BIOS, pronounced "BUY-ose," is the built-in set of instructions that tells the computer how to control the disk drives, keyboard, printer port, and other components that make up your com- puter. bit The basic unit of data in a computer. A computer's alphabet consists of two characters: 1 and 0. 1 stands for on; 0 stands for off. Bits are combined in sets of eight to form real characters such as A, B, C, and D. See Also byte. bits per second (bps) A unit for measuring the speed of data transmission. Remember that it takes eight bits to make a byte (the equivalent of a single character). Modems have common bps ratings of 28,800 to 56,600. boot To start a computer and load its operating system software (usually Windows). bps See bits per second (bps). bus A superhighway that carries information electronically from one part of the computer to another. The wider and faster (speed is measured in MHz) the bus, the faster your computer. The old ISA bus could carry 16 bits of data at a time; the newer PCI bus can carry 32 bits or 64 bits. byte A group of eight bits that usually represents a character or a digit. For example, the byte 01000001 represents the letter A. cable modem A modem that supports high-speed connections to the Internet through a TV cable connection. (To use a cable modem, you must have a cable company that offers Internet service.) See Also modem. cache Pronounced "cash," a temporary storage area in memory or on disk that computer components and various programs use to quickly access data. CD burner A device that can write data to a special type of CD. A CD burner typically uses a laser beam to heat the surface of a disc in order to make some areas of the disk refract light, rather than reflect it. A CD-ROM drive or CD player bounces a low-intensity laser beam against the surface of the disk to "read" data from it. CD-R (Compact Disc Recordable) A CD drive that can write data to a disc as well as read data from a disk. A CD-R drive can write data to a CD-R disc only one time; it cannot erase a CD-R disc or write over data stored on a disc.