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Jargon Buster



  1. DAAP

    Digital Audio Access Protocol. A technology used by Apple’s iTunes software to send music across a network.

  2. DAB

    Digital Audio Broadcasting. The system used in the UK for digital radio.

  3. Database

    A file used to store information. Databases can contain one or more tables of data, plus functions used to process it.

  4. Data breach

    A term used for when confidential data is lost or stolen.

  5. Data table

    The table of information in a spreadsheet used to create a chart.

  6. DDR

    Double Data Rate. A type of computer memory, now largely superseded by DDR2 and DDR3.

  7. DDR2

    A type of computer memory, newer than DDR but older and slower than DDR3.

  8. DDR3

    The newest, fastest commonly used type of computer memory.

  9. Dead pixel

    Flat-screen monitors are split up into millions of coloured pixels. A pixel is ‘dead’ if it is always stuck on one colour.

  10. Dead spot

    A term used to describe areas where you cannot connect to a wireless network because the signal is impeded in some way.

  11. Decoder

    A device that takes the surround-sound information from a film and splits it into channels, one for each speaker. Decoders and amplifiers are often combined.

  12. Decryption

    The process of unscrambling encrypted data or files.

  13. Dect

    Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications. A technology used by cordless digital home telephones.

  14. Default

    A standard setting used by a program or Windows itself unless you tell it otherwise.

  15. Definition file

    A file downloaded by an anti-virus program, giving it details of how to spot the latest threats.

  16. Defragment

    To reorganise the data stored on a hard disk so files are stored in one piece and can be accessed quickly. Sometimes shortened to defrag.

  17. Denial of Service

    To attack a website by overloading it with requests, preventing it from working properly.

  18. Desktop

    The background area of Windows where icons can be shown.

  19. DHCP

    Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A system where one device on a network, normally the router, distributes network addresses to the others on request.

  20. DHTML

    Dynamic HTML, an umbrella term for techniques used to make websites more interactive.

  21. Dialogue box

    A window that pops up to display or request information.

  22. Dial-up

    Connecting to the internet using a non-broadband modem and telephone line.

  23. Dial-up Networking

    The part of Windows that allows it to connect to the internet using a traditional modem and phone line.

  24. Digital

    Information transmitted or stored as a series of ones and zeros.

  25. Digital audio output

    A connection that allows a computer to output surround sound digitally so it can be processed by a decoder.

  26. Digital signature

    A block of scrambled data that can be used to verify the sender of an email.

  27. Digital sound output

    A way to get sound from a device such as a computer, into an amplifier, speakers or other computer. Offers higher quality than conventional sockets and can be used for surround sound.

  28. Digital stabilisation

    A technique that can attempt to remove blur from a photo or video by digitally processing the result. Not as effective as optical stabilisation.

  29. Digital zoom

    Gives the effect of zooming in by cropping the image from a camera, but unlike optical zoom this means detail is lost.

  30. Dimm

    Dual Inline Memory Module. An older standard for computer memory modules.

  31. Directory

    An old name for a computer folder.

  32. DirectX

    A Microsoft technology required to run many games in Windows.

  33. Disc image

    A file that contains all the information from a CD or DVD. Sometimes known as an ISO.

  34. Disc spanning

    Copying a file that’s too large to fit on one disc across several so it can be reconstituted later.

  35. Display adapter

    The name Windows gives to the part of the PC that produces the image you see on screen.

  36. Displayport

    A new socket for connecting monitors that’s still relatively rare.

  37. Distribution

    A version of the Linux operating system and the programs that go with it, ready to install.

  38. Dithering

    A process that uses dots of colour or black to give the impression of more colours, or shades of grey.

  39. DivX

    A popular type of compressed video file.

  40. DLL

    Dynamic Link Library. DLL resources can be made use of by one or more Windows programs.

  41. DLP

    Digital Light Processing. A technology used in some projectors that uses tiny moving mirrors to create the image.

  42. DNS

    Domain Name System. A technology that associates computers with their addresses on the internet.

  43. DOC

    The file extension of a document created in Microsoft Word 2003 or earlier.

  44. Dock

    In Mac OS X, the dock runs across the bottom of the screen and stores program and file shortcuts.

  45. Docking station

    A product into which a portable device, such as a phone or music player, can be placed, connecting it to a PC.

  46. Dolby Digital

    An audio codec used for film and video soundtracks.

  47. Domain name

    The address of a website on the internet.

  48. Domain registrar

    An organisation that manages the distribution and sale of internet addresses.

  49. Dongle

    A device that connects to a PC, adding a new feature or unlocking software.

  50. Dos

    Disk Operating System, Dos was the predecessor to Windows.

  51. Dot pitch

    The distance between the dots that make up images on a computer monitor.

  52. Double-click

    To quickly press and release a mouse button – almost always the left button – twice in succession.

  53. Double-layer DVD

    A writeable DVD that holds up to 8.5GB of data.

  54. Download

    To transfer a file from the internet to your computer.

  55. DPI

    Dots per inch. A measure of printed image quality, or the size an object will be shown on screen.

  56. Draft-n

    Wireless network devices made according to an early version of the new 802.11n system.

  57. Drag

    After clicking to select an item on screen you can move the mouse while keeping the button held down to drag it elsewhere.

  58. Drag and drop

    To move an item on screen by clicking it, holding the left mouse button down while moving the mouse, then releasing the button where you want it to be.

  59. Drive bay

    Part of a computer’s case designed to hold a floppy disk, optical or hard disk drive. Most desktop PCs have several spares.

  60. Driver

    A file that tells Windows how to work with a peripheral device.

  61. Driver manager

    A Windows tool that lists drivers on the computer.

  62. DRM

    Digital Rights Management. Software that limits the copying of a file.

  63. Dropdown menu

    A list of options that appears when you click a menu name or button, normally marked with a down-pointing arrow.

  64. Dropper tool

    A tool in image-editing programs that allows you to click the image to select the colour at that point.

  65. DSLR

    Digital Single Lens Reflex. A digital camera that uses a moving mirror so its viewfinder looks out through the lens. DSLRs use interchangeable lenses and large sensors for high-quality photos.

  66. DSP

    Digital Signal Processor. A device that alters an audio signal, applying effects.

  67. DTP

    Desktop Publishing. Creating documents, books, leaflets or other printed matter on a computer.

  68. DTS

    A type of surround sound used on some DVDs.

  69. Dual band

    Some wireless routers have two wireless radios working on the 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies or bands. Wireless networks working at 2.4GHz have longer range, but are more prone to interference. Wireless networks working at 5GHz have shorter range, but are less prone to interference and therefore tend to be faster than 2.4GHz networks. Some routers work on both bands simultaneously.

  70. Dual band

    A mobile phone that can work at two radio frequencies, so it can be used in the UK and another part of the world.

  71. Dual boot

    To set up a PC with two operating systems, so that one must be chosen each time it starts.

  72. Dual core

    When two processors are combined into a single chip.

  73. Duplex

    Printing on both sides of a sheet of paper.

  74. DV

    Digital Video. DV cameras record digitally to tape, hard disk or memory card.

  75. DVD

    A type of disc able to store up to 8.5GB of video or data.

  76. DVD-R

    A blank DVD disc that can be recorded to once only.

  77. DVD R

    A blank DVD disc that can be recorded to once only.

  78. DVD-Ram

    A type of recordable DVD that can be written to and erased from rather like a floppy disk. Not all DVD writers support these discs.

  79. DVD region

    All video DVDs are marked with a code denoting the geographic region in which they are meant to be sold and played. To play a disc from another region you will need a special player. The UK is in DVD region 2.

  80. DVD-Rom

    A DVD that can be read but not written to. Generally used to refer to data rather than video discs.

  81. DVD-RW

    A blank DVD disc that can be erased and recorded to again.

  82. DVD RW

    A blank DVD disc that can be erased and recorded to again.

  83. DVD writer

    A drive that can write to DVD discs.

  84. DVI

    Digital Visual Interface. A common type of display connector that can carry a digital signal.

  85. Dye-sublimation

    A printing technology used in small photo printers.

  86. Dynamic range

    The difference between the lightest and darkest shades in an image. Computers can be used to combine multiple images, creating a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image.

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