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PC Glossary

Definitions of Computer and Internet Terms

Computer Terms Beginning with "P"

P2P Stands for "Peer to Peer." In a P2P network, the "peers" are computer systems which are connected to each other via...
Packet This is a small amount of computer data sent over a network. Any time you receive data from the Internet, it comes to...
Page Orientation Page orientation describes the way a document is printed or displayed on a screen. The two main types are "Portrait...
Page View Each time a user visits a Web page, it is called a page view. Page views, also written "pageviews," are tracked by...
Parallel Port This interface is found on the back of older PCs and is used for connecting external devices such as printers or a...
Parse No, this is not a typo of the word "sparse." The word "parse" means to analyze an object specifically. It is commonly...
Partition A partition is a section of a hard disk. When you format a hard disk, you can usually choose the number of partitions...
Password A password is a string of characters used for authenticating a user on a computer system. For example, you may have an...
Paste Just like you can paste a note on a sheet of paper, you can paste data into a document on a computer. The paste...
Path A path, also known as a "file path" or "directory path," defines the location of a file or folder. Paths can either be...
Payload When data is sent over the Internet, each unit transmitted includes both header information and the actual data being...
PC Stands for "Personal computer." PCs are are what most of us use on a daily basis for work or personal use. A typical...
PCB Stands for "Printed Circuit Board." A PCB is a thin board made of fiberglass or a similar material. Electrical wires...
PCI Stands for "Peripheral Component Interconnect." It is a hardware bus designed by Intel and used in both PCs and Macs...
PCI Express First came PCI, then PCI-X, then PCI Express. PCI Express can be abbreviated as PCIe or, less commonly and more...
PCI-X Stands for "Peripheral Component Interconnect Extended." Once again, "Ex" is abbreviated with an "X" instead of an...
PCMCIA Stands for "Personal Computer Memory Card International Association." It can also mean, perhaps more appropriately...
PDA Stands for "Personal Digital Assistant." These are the little electronic devices you see people jotting stuff down on...
PDF Stands for "Portable Document Format." PDF is a multi-platform file format developed by Adobe Systems. A PDF file...
Pebibyte A pebibyte is a unit of data storage that equals 2 to the 50th power, or 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes. While a...
Peopleware Peopleware refers to the role of people in the computing process. While hardware and software make up a computer...
Peripheral A computer peripheral is any external device that provides input and output for the computer. For example, a keyboard...
Perl Perl actually stands for "Practical Extraction and Report Language," but you don't really need to know that unless you...
Permalink Short for "permanent link." A permalink is a URL that links to a specific news story or Web posting. Permalinks are...
Personal URL A personal URL, or "purl," is a custom Web address that you can select for your profile page within a website...
Petabyte A petabyte is 2 to the 50th power, or 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes. However, petabytes are often estimated as 10 to the...
Petaflops Petaflops (also PFLOPS) is used to measure the performance of a computer's floating point unit (FPU). One petaflops...
Pharming Pharming is yet another way hackers attempt to manipulate users on the Internet. While phishing attempts to capture...
Phishing Phishing is similar to fishing in a lake, but instead of trying to capture fish, phishers attempt to steal your...
PHP Stands for "Hypertext Preprocessor." (It is a recursive acronym, if you can understand what that means.) PHP is an...
Phreaking Phreaking refers to experimenting with or exploiting a telephone system and is often considered to be the predecessor...
Piconet A piconet is a network that is created using a wireless Bluetooth connection. Some examples of piconets include 1) a...
PIM Stands for "Personal Information Manager." A PIM is a software application that serves as a planner, notebook, and...
Ping This term refers to a golf equipment brand, as well as the sound made by striking your glass with a spoon at the dinner...
Pinterest Pinterest is a website created for women. It allows users to share photos about topics such as cooking, clothing, and...
Pipeline Computer processors can handle millions of instructions each second. Once one instruction is processed, the next one...
Piracy When someone installs and uses commercial software without paying for the program, it is called "pirating" the...
Pixel The term "pixel" is actually short for "Picture Element." These small little dots are what make up the images on...
Plain Text Plain text is another name for unformatted text. Unlike rich text, plain text does not support italics, underlining...
Platform In the computer world, a "platform" typically refers to a computer's operating system. For example, a Dell computer...
Plug and Play Plug and Play, sometimes, abbreviated PnP, is a catchy phrase used to describe devices that work with a computer system...
Plug-in A plug-in (also "plugin") is software add-on that adds extra features and capabilities to an application. Typically...
PMU Stands for "Power Management Unit." The PMU is a microcontroller, or integrated circuit, that controls the power...
PNG Stands for "Portable Network Graphic." This format was designed as an alternative to the GIF format (which has been...
Podcast The name "podcast" combines the terms iPod and broadcast into a single catchy word. As the name suggests, podcasts are...
Pop-Up The term "pop-up" has two computer-related meanings. One refers to a window and the other is a type of menu. ...
POP3 Stands for "Post Office Protocol." POP3, sometimes referred to as just "POP," is a simple, standardized method of...
Port As if computer terms weren't hard enough to understand, there are three different meanings of the word "port." 1. An...
Portal While this term can also refer to a matterless vortex used to travel between different dimensions, an Internet portal...
PostScript PostScript is a page description language (PDL) that describes a page's text and graphical content. It can be used to...
Power Cycle While the phrase "power cycle" appears to be a noun, it is actually more commonly used as a verb. In simple terms, to...
Power Supply A power supply is a component that regulates and provides power to an electrical device. It receives power from a wall...
Power User When it comes to computers, there are regular users and there are power users. Most people fall into the regular...
PowerPoint PowerPoint is a presentation program developed by Microsoft. It is included in the standard Office suite along with...
PPC Stands for "Pay Per Click," and is used in online advertising. PPC advertisements generate revenue for Web publishers...
PPGA Stands for "Plastic Pin Grid Array" (not the Pretty People Golfer's Association). PPGA is a type of processor design...
PPI Stands for "Pixels Per Inch." The resolution of a printed photo is often measured in DPI, or "dots per inch." The DPI...
PPL Stands for "Pay Per Lead." PPL is similar to CPL, but measures the cost per lead from the advertiser's perspective...
PPM Stands for "Pages Per Minute." PPM is used to measure the printing speed of both inkjet and laser printers. Most...
PPP Stands for "Point to Point Protocol." It is the Internet standard for dial-up modem connections. PPP is a set of...
PPPoE PPPoE is short for "Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet" and is pronounced "P-P-P-oh-E." It is a protocol commonly...
PPTP Stands for "Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol." PPTP is a networking standard for connecting to virtual private...
PRAM Stands for "Parameter Random Access Memory," and is pronounced "P-ram." PRAM is a type of memory found in Macintosh...
Prebinding Prebinding is an optimization process that allows faster launching of applications in Mac OS X. Often, when a program...
Primary Key A primary key is a unique identifier for a database record. When a table is created, one of the fields is typically...
Primary Memory Primary memory is computer memory that is accessed directly by the CPU. This includes several types of memory, such as...
Printer A printer is an output device that prints documents from a computer. Common printers include inkjet and laser...
Process A process is a program that is running on your computer. This can be anything from a small background task, such as a...
Processor This little chip is the heart of a computer. Also referred to as the "microprocessor," the processor does all the...
Program Program is a common computer term that can be used as both a noun and a verb. A program (noun) is executable software...
Progressive Scan Video signals are generated using horizontal lines. An interlaced picture draws every other line and alternates...
PROM PROM stands for "Programmable Read-Only Memory" and is pronounced "P-ROM." It is a type of ROM used in small...
Protocol When computers communicate with each other, there needs to be a common set of rules and instructions that each computer...
Proxy Server Most large businesses, organizations, and universities these days use a proxy server. This is a server that all...
PS/2 PS/2 is a type of port used by older computers for connecting input devices such as keyboards and mice. The port was...
Pseudocode Most software programs are developed using a programming language, like (C++|cplusplus) or Java. These languages have...
Push Push refers to a system in which data is "pushed" to a user's device rather than "pulled" by the user. In other words...
Python Python is a programming language commonly used for creating Web applications and software plug-ins. It is designed to...

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