ESRL logo
online community

Technology Terminologies (A to Z)

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

fiber optics

A high speed channel for transmitting data. Made of high-purity glass sealed within an opaque tube. Much faster than conventional copper wire such as coaxial cable.


Usually the smallest data element in a record; a specified area used for a particular category of data; for example, columns used to represent a particular item of data, such as an employees wage (fixed field). The particular field is always used to record the same kind of information. In free field records, each field has an identifier that is present in the record and linked to the contents of the field.


A collection of any form of data that is stored beyond the time of execution of a single job. A file may contain program instructions or data, which may be numerical, textual or graphical information.

file format

The type of file, such as picture or text; represented as a suffix at the end of the filename (text = TXT or .txt, etc.).

file server

A computer designated to store software, courseware, administrative tools, and other data on a local- or wide-area network. It "serves" this information to other computers via the network when users enter their personal access codes.


A place where a user's e-mail messages may be stored. Every user has a folder for new messages, and on most systems may create other folders for specific purposes.


A set of consistent size, shape or style of printer characters, including alphabetic and numeric characters and other signs and symbols.


High-priority processing, usually for realtime activities, automatically given precedence, by means of interrupts, over lower-priority processing.


The paper on which output data is printed.

form feed

The feature that automatically advances a roll of paper to the top of the next page or the next form when the printer has finished printing a document or form of one or more pages.


The defined structure of information that is recorded on magnetic media, displayed on a visual display device or printed on a page. Used as a verb, it means to put data into a predetermined structure or divide a storage medium, such as a disk into sectors, so that it is ready to receive data.


FOrmula TRANslation. A high level scientific programming language.


Partial packet caused by a collision.


A packet sent over a serial link.


Software that is distributed for free, with no license fee.


A measurement of the number of electromagnetic waves that pass over a given point in a given period of time.


Frequently Asked Questions. A collection of information on the basics of any given subject. Often put together and archived on a server so that people don't waste bandwidth asking simple questions.


File Transfer Protocol. A program that allows for file transfers over the Internet.


Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. "FUD factor"

function key

A keyboard key that gives an instruction to a computer, as opposed to keys that produce letters, numbers, marks of punctuation, etc.

[to the top]