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Part: 6 “Houston, We've Got a Problem” > Glossary Speak Like a Geek: The Comple... - Pg. 331

Glossary Speak Like a Geek: The Complete Archive 331 See Also PC card. Pentium The most popular CPU for PCs is manufactured by Intel. During the writing of this book, the Pentium 4 was the latest, greatest chip. You also might encounter an older Pentium, called Pentium (the original), Pentium Pro (a step up from the Pentium), Pentium MMX (Pentium with enhanced multimedia features), Pentium II (essentially a Pentium Pro with built-in MMX sup- port), or Pentium III (still used in many laptop computers). peripheral A device attached to the computer but not essential for the basic operation of the computer. The system unit is the central part of the computer. Any devices attached to the system unit are considered peripheral, including a printer, modem, or joystick. Some manufacturers consider the monitor and keyboard to be peripheral, too. pixel A dot of light that appears on the computer screen. A collection of pixels forms characters and images on the screen. PnP Short for plug-and-play, PnP enables you to install expansion cards into your computer without having to set special switches. You plug it in, and it works. port replicator A slimmed-down version of a docking station. See Also docking station. ports The receptacles at the back of the computer. They get their name from the ports where ships pick up and deliver cargo. In this case, the ports enable information to enter and leave the system unit. PPP Short for Point-to-Point Protocol, a language that computers use to talk to one another. What's important is that when you choose an Internet service provider, you get the right connection-- SLIP or PPP. program A group of instructions that tells the computer what to do. Typical programs are word processors, spreadsheets, databases, and games. prompt A computer's way of asking for more information. The computer basically looks at you and says, "Tell me something." In other words, the computer is prompting you or prodding you for infor- mation or a command. protocol A group of communications settings that control the transfer of data between two computers. pull-down menu A menu that appears at the top of the screen listing various options. The menu is not visible until you select it from the menu bar. The menu then drops down, covering a small part of the screen. random-access memory (RAM) A collection of chips your computer uses to store data and programs temporarily. RAM is meas- ured in kilobytes and megabytes. In general, more RAM means you can run more powerful programs and more programs at once. Also called memory. record Used by databases to denote a unit of related information contained in one or more fields, such as an individual's name, address, and phone number.