Computer Terminology - U

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

UART: Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter. The chip that controls the serial ports.

Unicode: Like ASCII, Unicode is a code which assigns a number to each key on the keyboard. Unicode is newer and includes many characters not found in ASCII such as international characters and alphabets.

Uniform Resource Locator: (abbreviation: URL) An addressing scheme used by World Wide Web browsers to locate resources on the Internet.

UNIX: The operating system upon which the Internet was developed. UNIX was developed in the late 1960s/early 1970s as a joint venture between General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Massachusetts Institute for Technology. UNIX grew with support from the University of California Berkeley and other universities. Pure UNIX is based upon a command line interface. However, just as DOS has Windows to provide a GUI environment, UNIX has GUI overlays as well -- the two most notable are NextStep and X Windows. There are several free versions of UNIX; Linux and FreeBSD are examples. Also spelled "Unix".

upload: To send a file to a network. See also download and crossload.

UPS: Uninterruptable Power Supply. A device that supplies power to your computer it the power goes off, allowing you time to shut down your computer normally, without losing data.

urban legend: A story, which may at one time have been true, that has grown from constant retelling into a mythical yarn.

URL: See Uniform Resource Locator.

USB: Universal Service Bus. A recent innovation for computer interfacing.

USENET: The most available distribution of newsgroups is USENET, which contains over ten thousand unique newsgroups covering practically every human proclivity. It is not part of the Internet, but can be reached through most Internet service providers.

user: A person who uses computer software or hardware as opposed to someone who develops computer software or hardware. Sometimes used in a diminutive sense as in "I can't believe how brain-dead our users are."

User lD: This is the unique identifier (like your logon name) that you use to identify yourself on a computer. You probably typed your User ID (and password) when you logged onto the Internet today.

utility: A small computer program that performs some very useful function. For example, utilities exist to convert files from one format to another, to compress files, to detect and eliminate viruses, and to defragment hard drives. Utilities fill the gaps in an operating system, providing useful features that were left out. As an operating system grows, it often incorporates the features that were previously delivered only by utilities. UUCP: Abbreviation for Unix-to-Unix Copy. UNIX software that allows email and news messages to be exchanged on a store-and-forward basis between remote computers. Before the rise of the Internet, this was the main way that remote UNIX machines were networked. It is no longer in wide use.

uuencode: A process of converting a binary file to ASCII characters so that it can be easily transmitted by an ASCII-only protocol such as basic text email. Once the uuencoded file has been transferred it is uudecoded at the other end to transform it back to its original binary form. Uuencoding is not a form of cryptography or a security protocol. Anyone with a uuencoded file has the capacity to uudecode (assuming of course they have the uudecode utility program on their computer).

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