Computer Terminology - D

This web page looks at some of the terminology associated with the Computer Industry. This appendix is not to be deemed as complete but does cover a large range of common terminology.

If you find a term not covered in this file you may Email Button and list the word (computer connected terminology ONLY). We will endeavour to locate the meaning and respond to you. If we consider it a common enough term, we will add it to our list. New terminology (with explanation) may also be submitted for consideration.

Index SIZE Numeric 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

daemon: In the UNIX operating system, a background process that lies dormant waiting to perform some useful task. The sendmail daemon, for example, continually runs but becomes active only when email is sent or received.

data encryption key: A string of characters used to mathematically encode a message so that it can only be read by someone in possession of another related key.

Data Encryption Standard: (abbreviation: DES) A popular, standard encryption scheme.

Database: A collection of similar information stored in a file, for example, a database of addresses. This information may be created and stored in a database management system. dedicated line: A telephone line that is reserved for the singular purpose of providing a data connection between two computers.

DDR: Double Data Rate. This is a type of memory used for RAM or on graphics cards. They are capable of processing data at twice teh rate of SDRAM.

delivery receipt: An optional email feature that notifies you when your email message has been delivered to its recipient. See also Read Receipts.

delurk: To come out of online lurking mode; to actively participate in a online discussion after a period of just watching or lurking. This term is derived from episodes of Star Trek that feature Klingon warships that can hide ("cloak") or appear ("decloak") at will.

DES: See Data Encryption Standard.

Desktop publishing: Use of a personal computer in combination with text, graphics, and page layout programmes to produce publication-quality documents.

DHTML: Dynamic HyperText Markup Language.

dial-up: 1. A temporary connection between computers established over a telephone line.
2. To establish a temporary connection to another computer.

Digital: Operating in discrete units or steps. Not continuous. Since microcomputers operate using discrete voitages and timing pulses, they are said to be digital. Usually contrasted with analogue.

digerati: The digital elite. Derived from "literati".

DIMM: Dual In-line Memory Module. A small circuit board used to hold system memory chips.

Directory: A list of files stored in the computer.

Disc: The spelling used when the storage device cannot be modified (CD and DVD).

Disk: Two distinct types: the so-called "hard disk" that is inside the computer and stores vast amounts of data (new computers currently come standard with 1-2 gigabyte hard drives); and the "floppy" disk, which is portable, 3.5" square, and can store about 1.4 megabytes of data (the name is a vestige of early 5.25" disks, which were flexible).

Disk Drive: The equipment that a floppy disk is inserted into so that information may be stored on or retrieved from the disk.

DNS: See Domain Name Service.

Domain Names: These are the names each site has on the Internet, given in plain English rather than the series of numeric identifiers that are associated with them. There format is as follows:

Where the domain-name is the actual name of the site, the type indicates just what type of site it is and the location is what country it resides in. The letters au indicate an Australian site. If no location is given then the site is in the USA. The Domain Name is often proceeded by the letters www for the Internet Address but this is not always essential. Domain Name System: Usually referred to as DNS, it is the method used to identify the millions of sites that are found on the Internet.

domainism: Prejudice against people on the basis of their Internet address. For example, adopting a dismissive attitude towards anyone who posts from a commercial online service. "Why should anyone listen to you, you're posting from!"

DOS: Disk Operating System. The operating system designed to make computers work.

Download: The action of loading information from one computer to another.

download charges: Monetary charges associated with downloading a file from a commercial online service. This method of information exchange is not very popular.

dpi: Dots per inch. DPI specifies the resolution of an output device, such as a computer screen or a printer, or an input device, such as a scanner. Web page resolution ranges from 72-86 dots per inch. Print resolution usually runs from 300-600 dots per inch on a Laser Printer and 125-200 dots per inch for photographic images on a print brochure.

drag: To move an image or a window from one place on the screen to another by grabbing it and pulling it to a new location.

Driver: A piece of software designed to operate a specific piece of computer hardware (internal or externnal).

dump: 1. A large mass of information that shows the exact contents of computer memory at a particular time. Dumps are used by programmers in the debugging process.
2. To send a large volume of information to somewhere specific such as a printer or a screen.
3. A backup or a backup file created by the UNIX dump utility.

DVD: Digital Video Disc. An optical storage medium with improved capacity and bandwidth over the Compact Disc.

© Design by Compsale - May 2005