Fidonet Dictionairy

Last update: 2001.07.20

Abort: [1] The command word used with editors that allows you to exit, destroying your message. [2] The character used to stop characters from a block of text appearing on your screen. Usually the spacebar or CTRL-X are used to abort a message.
Access: Refers to an intangible amount (usually represented by a security level or flags) that indicate to what extent you are allowed to use a BBS. When used in a term such as `you will be granted access', it means the amount of access that new users will generally receive.
Account number: See User Number.
Account: See User number. A term that refers to information that a BBS has about you. It is usually referred to by an ID number or your name. The information it contains can include any information that you have at some point given the BBS, usually including your name, phone number, and security level.
Acculink: A packet switched network that is used to save money on long-distance telecommunications.
ACK: See NAK: A character (CTRL-F) that ACKnowledges something, usually that a certain amount of data has been received correctly.
Acoustic coupler: See Acoustic modem: This was common many years ago, but rare now. It is a cradle in which you would place the handset of a phone. This would be connected to a modem, and the modem would access the phone line through this coupler. Modern modems connect directly to the phone line.
Acoustic modem: See Acoustic coupler: A modem that uses an acoustic coupler. [See also acoustic coupler].
Adaptive data compression: See ADC:
Adaptive dialing: When a modem can determine whether to dial pulse or tone. It will try dialing with tones first. If that doesn't work, it will dial pulse.
Adaptive equalization: Modems that have this feature "listen" to the phone line to find the bandwidth with the least noise, and use that part of the band for transmission. This allows for less interference from noise.
ADC: Adaptive Data Compression. A method of data compression developed by Hayes, with a possible compression ratio of 2:1.
Address: See Network address, Matrix address. Similar to a physical mailing address, an address lets people know how you can be reached on a network. It may consist of numbers or words, for example, 1:212/113 or
Alias: See Handle: See User name: A name that users can use on a bulletin board that is not their own. Aliases are usually used by young BBS users and those who pirate software or do other illegal activities. Some examples of aliases are `Cracker Kid', `Starbuck', and `Midnight Killer'.
America Online: A commercial on-line service.
Ampersand: A character (&) that usually means `and'.
Analog: See Digital. As far as electronic signals are concerned, analog refers to signals that can represent an infinite range of numbers, as opposed to digital which can only be distinct whole numbers. Analog data often comes from measurements. The sound a modem makes over the phone is analog since it can be any of a number of different frequencies.
Annoying behavior: Policy 4. There are references throughout Policy 4 to "excessively annoying behavior". It is difficult to define this term, as it is based upon the judgment of the coordinator structure. Generally speaking, annoying behavior irritates, bothers, or causes harm to some other person. It is not necessary to break a law to be annoying.
There is a distinction between excessively annoying behavior and (simply) annoying behavior. For example, there is a learning curve that each new sysop must climb, both in the technical issues of how to set up the software and the social issues of how to interact with FidoNet. It is a rare sysop who, at some point in this journey, does not manage to annoy others. Only when such behavior persists, after being pointed out to the sysop, does it becomes excessively annoying.
Anonymous: Refers to a message, where the author was able to leave out his name. On some BBS's you are allowed to post anonymous messages so that others won't know who you are. The SysOp usually can find out who the author is, however.
ANSI: ANSI is an organization that sets standards. ANSI graphics, however, is a set of cursor control codes which originated on the VT100 smart terminal. Many BBS's use these codes to help improve the sending of characters to communications programs. It uses the escape character, followed by other characters, which allows movement of the cursor on the screen, a change of color, and more.
Answer frequency: See Originate frequency. The frequency of the carrier that a modem uses when it has been called by another computer.
Answer mode: See Originate mode: When a modem is ready to pick up the phone when it rings. After picking up the phone, the modem will attempt to make a connection with another modem. All BBS's are in answer mode.
Answering computer: See Originating computer: This is the computer that is being called. Therefore, it is usually the BBS or mainframe.
Answering machine: See Voice mail:
Apostrophe: The character '. It is usually used in contractions of words, such as "don't".
ARC: See Archive: See Unarchive: When a filename has the extension ARC, it means that it is an archive that has been compressed with the program PKARC. To get the files out of the archive, you need to use the program PKXARC. You should be able to find this program on many BBS's.
Archive: See Unarchive: See Compress: See ZIP: See ARJ: See ARC: See PAK: See LZH: [noun] A group of programs that are together, usually compressed, in one file. [verb] the process of combining those files. There are a number of software packages which will compress files into an archive, and most programs on BBS's have been archived with one of these software packages.
Area code: The number used by the telephone company to designate a geographic area. Each state in the United States has 1 or more area codes. If you call a phone number in a different area code, you must dial "1" and then the area code before the phone number. If you call a number within your area code, you just dial the phone number (if it is long distance within your area code, you must dial "1" and then the number).
ARJ: See Archive: See Unarchive: [1] A file extension that indicates that the file was compressed with the program ARJ. [2] The program ARJ, used to archive and un-archive files with the ARJ extension.
ARPANET: The network from which Internet was formed.
ASCII transfer: When a text file is sent directly as it is, without any special codes.
ASCII: See EBCDIC: An acronym for American Standard Code of Information Interchange. It uses 7 bits to represent all uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as numbers, punctuation marks, and other characters. ASCII often uses 8 bits in the form of bytes and ignores the first bit.
Asterisk: The character *.
Asynchronous communication: See Synchronous communication: This is when the beginning and end of each byte that is sent over the phone lines is marked somehow.This way, if there is line noise, the modem can find out right away where the next byte should start.
AT command set: See Hayes AT command set:
AT command: See Hayes AT command set: Any instructions sent to a modem that begin with "AT".
At sign: The character @. Often read as 'at'.
AT&T: American Telephone and Telegraph, the inventors of the first modem.
Attended mode: See Unattended mode: This is the mode that a communications program is in while you are operating it.
Attention characters: See Hayes AT command set: The letters "AT", which get the modem's attention that you are about to send it a command.
Audio monitor: A speaker that is included as part of a modem. It allows you to listen to whatever sound is on the phone line. This is often used to let you hear busy signals or make sure that the other modem picks up the carrier.
Auto answer LED: See LED indicators: When this LED (found on some external modems) lights up, it means that the modem is ready to answer the phone when the phone rings (it will then try to connect to another modem). If it is not lit, the modem will not answer the phone.
Auto answer: When a modem has the ability to automatically pick up the phone when the phone rings and then attempt to connect with another computer.
Auto baud detect: The ability of a modem to change to a lower bps rate if the computer it is calling is unable to communicate at the requested speed.
Auto dial: When a modem is capable of dialing a phone number, so that you don't have to dial manually. Almost all modems have this ability.
Auto download: The feature of some file transfer protocols whereby a BBS can automatically make your communications program start a download or upload (if your communications program has this capability too). This saves some time for the user, who would otherwise have to set up his program to upload or download.
Auto fall back: See Fall-back:
Auto kill: A feature on some BBS's that will delete a message on a board if a certain threshold limit is reached. For example, a BBS might delete the second message on a board if there are already 100 messages and someone posts another message. This would limit the board to 100 messages, but still keep the first message (which is usually left by the SysOp).
Auto redial: A feature that allows a modem or a communications program to dial a number again after it finds out that the number is busy. This is very handy when trying to get through to popular bulletin boards that are often busy.
Auto reliable: The ability of a modem to be able to communicate both with modems that do have error-control and/or data compression, and those that do not.
Auto reply: To send a message (either public or private) immediately after reading a message on a BBS. Usually, this is used to respond to the author of the original message.
Auto syncing driver: See Manual syncing driver: This is the part of a BBS program that automatically determines the bps rate of a caller.
Auto typing: This is when a communications program can upload information to a BBS as if the user were typing in the information. For example, the user might type a message into a file, and then the communications program can send it to a BBS (which assumes the user is actually typing the message) to post as a message.
Backbone: The "BackBone"s are a series of popular echo conferences that are grouped to further their distribution.
We can USUALLY get backbone echoes into this Network through the normal feed system. Sometimes we can't, but it is fair to say that by far the largest majority of backbone conferences (echoes) are available.
Backdoor: A way of getting into certain BBS's and getting full access, without using a regular account. Usually the author of the BBS program built the backdoor into the program so that he could get access to any BBS running his software. Backdoors are less common today than they used to be.
Background send/receive: The ability of a fax/modem to send or receive faxes while the computer is being used for other purposes.
Backslash: The character /.
Backspace: See Destructive backspace: See Non destructive backspace: The character (CTRL-H) that causes the cursor on your screen to move back one space.
Bandwidth: A range of radio, audio, or other frequencies. Telephone lines have a bandwidth from 300 hertz to 3400 hertz. Since it is so limited, a modem must carefully change data into sounds that "fit" within this range. Similar to frequency spectrum.
Bannerware: See Public Domain: A software program that is free to use and copy, but advertises another program or product.
Batch file transfer: This is when more than one file is sent at a time by a file transfer protocol. The user will tell the BBS what files he wants, and then the BBS will send all the files before the user needs to do anything else.
Baud: See Bps: See Dibit: A term referring to the speed at which modems communicate. Technically, it is the number of changes in an electronic signal per second. Since the number of changes used to be the same as the number of bits sent or received per second, bps and baud are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference, which is very often confused. For example, many 1200bps modems were advertised as 1200 baud, even though they operate at 600 baud. They send out 2 bits 600 times a second, which means that it is 600 baud. However, since it is so often misunderstood, you can assume that when you see "..images/baud" it means bits per second, unless it is stated otherwise. The term comes from the scientist J. M. E. Baudot.
BBS: An acronym for Bulletin Board System. Usually it is a home computer that has a modem attached and is waiting for calls from other computers. It can, however, also refer to commercial services (such as CompuServe and Prodigy) and any other computers that you can call via telephone lines. BBS's almost always allow you to leave messages for other users. Most BBS's have programs that you can download and use on your computer. BBS can also be expanded more simply to `bulletin board'.
BCC: Block Check Character. This is used to help make sure that a group of data has not been accidentally altered.
Bisync: Refers to a modem that synchronizes with an electronic signal over the telephone lines that marks the beginning of blocks of data. It is one of a number of synchronous protocols.
Bit: See Byte: A Binary digIT. It is a number in base 2 (binary), which means that it can only be a 0 or a 1. It is used in the expression `bits per second'.
Bitstream: BBS's and related activities. For example, you could say that a lot of public domain programs can be found in the bitstream.
Blind dial: This is when a modem will dial a number without waiting for a dial tone. Some long-distance telephone services require a number to be dialed, even though there is no dial tone. In this case, your modem should be set to blind dial.
Block check character: See BCC:
Block size: This term, when used with either error control or data compression protocols, refers to the number of characters to be sent at one time. If error control is used, the codes are sent immediately following this block. Typical block sizes are 64, 128, 192, or 256 characters. Small block sizes are better when the line quality is bad (such as for long distance calls), while large block sizes are better during good connections (such as for local calls).
Block: A group of data bytes. For example, when downloading a program, blocks of 128 or 1024 characters are often sent.
Board: See BBS: See Message base:
Bps: See Baud: Bits Per Second. The transmission speed of most modems is measured in baud or bps. Bps is literally the number of bits sent by the modem every second.
Braces: See Left brace: See Right brace: The characters { and }.
Brackets: See Left bracket: See Right bracket: The characters [ and ].
Break signal: See Expedited signaling: See Destructive signaling: See In sequence signaling: This is a signal sent from one modem to another that lasts for about a second. It is sometimes used to try to clear up synchronization problems. On CCITT V.42 modems, there are more specialized procedures involved with the break signal, such as regarding the timing. In V.42 there are three kinds of break signals.
Browse: To go through the list of titles of messages or files on a BBS and note which ones you want to read. On some BBS's, you can search through the messages and look for specific words. This can be handy if there are lots of messages, and you do not want to go through them all.
Buffer: [1] (verb) To save all incoming data in memory. [2] (verb) to temporarily save incoming data until the computer has a chance to process it. [3] (noun) The place in memory where the saved information is stored, as in "I have a 32K buffer."
Bulk mailing: See Email: Used on a BBS when you send the same message to more than one person. This saves you from having to rewrite the message.
Bulletin board system: See BBS:
Bulletin board: See BBS: See Message base:
Bulletin: A special message posted on a BBS, usually written by the SysOp. In most cases all users are expected to read any new bulletins that may have been posted since their last call.
Busy signal: See Audio monitor: The sound that you hear on a phone when the phone number you are trying to reach is in use (busy). It usually consists of 60 cycles per minute.
Busy: When a bulletin board is being used by as many users as it can handle, which is when all the telephone lines are being used.
Byte: See ASCII: A group of 8 bits. It usually represents one character.
Call back unit: A device that can be attached to the phone line of a BBS to make it more secure. After you connect with the BBS and tell it who you are, the device will then call your phone number. This is used to make a very secure system to help prevent hackers from invading a system. It then becomes very difficult, if not impossible, for a hacker to get into the computer system.
Call progress monitoring: This is when your modem tells you what is happening when you dial another computer. It will tell you that it has dialed the number, if the number is busy, if you connect, etc.
Call waiting: A service that the phone company offers that allows the customer to hear a special sound on the phone if there is an incoming call while the customer is talking on the phone. The customer can then talk with either caller. This is a nice service unless you have a modem and call BBS's. If you are connected with a BBS and someone else calls you, you will be disconnected. In most areas there is a special 2 or 3 digit number that you can dial before a phone call that will disconnect call waiting for that call. If you have call waiting, check your phonebook or call the phone company to find out how to disconnect call waiting.
Caller I.D.: A code that is sent over the phone lines in some areas when a person makes a phone call. This code includes the phone number of the person making the call. Some modems are able to understand this signal, and let you know who is calling you before you answer the phone.
Caller log: A list of callers who have called a BBS within a given time period. The list may also keep information such as the bps rate of the caller. This is used so that the SysOp can keep track of users, as well as any hackers, if they call the BBS.
Caller: Anyone who connects with a BBS. It is usually used in a phrase such as "You are caller #4328."
Capital letters: See Uppercase:
Capture buffer: See Capture Memory: See Buffer: The area in a computer's memory where a communications program stores incoming data that is to be saved.
Capture memory: See Capture buffer:
Capture: To 'catch' text that is being sent to your computer from a BBS and put it in a buffer or a file.
Card (peripheral): Any computer peripheral that can be connected directly, inside a computer. Internal modems are usually peripheral cards.
Caret: The character ^.
Carriage return: See Return:
Carrier detect LED: See LED indicators: This LED will light up on an external modem when it senses a carrier on the phone line. This indicates that the modem is connected to another modem.
Carrier detect threshold: A way of measuring how well a modem can detect valid data over noisy phone lines. It is measured in negative dBm's (decibel-milliwatts). The bigger the number (the more negative) the better. For example, -45 dBm is better than-40 dBm. [Same as receive sensitivity].
Carrier detect: The wire in an RS-232C cable that holds the information as to whether or not the modem senses a carrier (and therefore is connected to another computer). [Also called CD].
Carrier frequency: This is the frequency which a modem uses to transmit or receive data.
Carrier loss time: The amount of time your modem will remain on the line when the carrier is lost. It will stay on the line for this amount of time, to see if the carrier comes back. If the carrier does not come back, the modem will hang up the phone line.
Carrier: The tone that the modem sends over the phone lines before any data is sent on it. It has a fixed frequency and a fixed amplitude. It is then modified to indicate data.
CAS: Communications Applications Specification. This is a standard for fax communications. The other fax standards are class 1, class 2, and class 3.
CB simulator: A computer service where there are multiple phone lines (usually at least 5). The CB simulator allows all the users to send messages to one another while they are on-line. It usually allows you to send both public messages that everyone who is on-line can see and private messages that only one specific user can see.
CCITT: See ITU TSS: International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee. This group, created by the United Nations, establishes certain standards for data transmission. Their transmission, data compression, and error control standards all begin with V, for example V.22. To find the standards in this dictionary, look up the standard name, i.e. V.42. Note that this organization is now referred to as ITU-TSS.
CD: See Carrier detect:
Character format: See Format:
Character: See ASCII: Any letter, numeral or symbol.
Characters per second: See CPS: The number of bytes or characters that can be sent over the phone lines in 1 second. This is determined by dividing the bps rate by the number of bits it takes to send one byte (usually 10--the start bit, 8 bits of data, and the stop bit). So, a 2400bps modem can send 240 characters per second (2400/10).
Chat mode: See Chat: This is when a communications program is set up so that the user can "chat" with someone on the other end of the line. One way this can work is that anything that is typed by the other person is printed on the top half of the screen, but anything you type would appear on the bottom half of the screen.
Chat: See Page: A mode that allows two or more people (almost always a SysOp and a user on a BBS) to communicate directly with each other using the modem. Usually, each person can see what the other is typing at all times and can interrupt them (a beeping sound with a CTRL-G is useful to interrupt with).
Checksum: A number that represents a larger group of numbers in order to check for errors in data transmission. It is commonly used when downloading a program, as well as in error control protocols. The checksum is the result of a mathematical equation, such as adding all the numbers in a block together (although it is usually more complex than that).
Chip set: A group of important IC chips on a modem (or other computer peripheral) that are all made by the same manufacturer. While there are many companies that make modems, there are only a few that make the chips for them. Because the chip manufacturer is making the chips for many companies, they produce more chips, and the price of the chips is lower than if each company produced their own. This decreases the price of the modems on the market.
Christensen protocol: See Xmodem:
CIM: CompuServe Information Manager. This is a program created by CompuServe which is supposed to make it easier to use CompuServe.
Circular dialing queue: This is used in some communications programs to allow you to enter a list of phone numbers to call, and it will keep going through the list and dialing numbers until it reaches one of them. This is useful if you are trying to reach BBS's that are often busy.
CIS: See Compuserve: Compuserve Information Service.
City code: See Country code: With many foreign countries, you need to dial a city code before the phone number you are trying to reach. You must dial the country code before the city code. The city code will be from 1 to 5 digits.
Class 1, 2, 3: See CAS: Fax standards.
Clear to send: See CTS:
Columns: A measurement of the width of your screen as measured by the number of characters your screen can fit across it. BBS's often ask for your screen width. Most computers have a screen width of 80 columns.
COM port: IBM and compatible computers have the ability to hook up devices (such as modems and mice) to the computer, through ports. These ports are called COM ports, and are numbered 1-8. While all 8 could be used, usually only #1 and #2 are used, while #3 and #4 are used occasionally.
Comm program: See Communications program:
Command buffer: See Buffer: The place in your modem's memory where it stores the commands that you give it.
Command echo: When this is on, any AT command sent to the modem will then be sent back from the modem to the computer. For example, if you were to type "ATS11=40," the modem would act on the command, and then send "ATS11=40" back to the computer.
Command mode: See Data mode: See Terminal mode: See Voice mode: This is when your modem interprets what you type as commands, rather than just sending the data over the phone line.
Command set: See Hayes AT command set: A list of all the possible commands that you can give something, such as a modem, a BASIC program, or a BBS.
Commands: Instructions that you can give to a modem, a BBS, or another similar device.
Commercial host system: An on-line system that you can call up, that is operated by a company that charges you to use it.
Commercial software: See Public domain: See Copyright: Software that is copyrighted and may not legally be distributed by BBS's or copied and given to other users.
Communication: The idea of transferring one's thoughts or ideas to another person. This can be through speaking, radio, T.V., telephones, mail, etc.
Communications Applications Specification: See CAS:
Communications program: A program that controls a modem, and has features that allow the user to do such things as upload, download, etc. It is similar to a terminal program but more sophisticated. It used to be used interchangeably with terminal program.
Compatible: See V.42 compatible: When one object can work just like another. Although the term is usually used with computers, it is often used with modems. Many modems are compatible with other popular modems.
Compliant: See V.42 compliant:
Compress: See Archive: See Date compression: To make data take up less space. Archiving programs do this, which means that files will take less time to transfer with modems. Many modems now have the ability to automatically compress the information they send and receive.
Compression ratio: The ratio of the original size of data that is sent to the compressed size. For example, a 3:1 compression ratio means that the original data takes up 3 times the amount of space as the compressed data, and a modem would transfer the data 3 times more quickly than if it was not compressed.
CompuServe Information Service (CIS): See Compuserve:
CompuServe: The first major commercial on-line service.
Computer network: See LAN:
Conference: A group of related messages on a BBS. Often, many BBS's are linked together for a conference (so that all users on all the BBS's see the messages and can reply to them). For example, there may be a conference just on Windows.
Configuration: Configuration is the information describing what your computer's hardware and software is like, so that a BBS can send information properly. For example, you need to tell a BBS how wide your screen is.
Configure: To set something to your liking. To configure a BBS, you may have to tell it your screen width, whether you need line feeds and other such information.
Connect speed: The speed, in bps, which your modem uses when it connects with a BBS. This speed will depend on the speed of your modem, and the BBS's modem. It will be no higher than the lower of the two speeds. If you have a 2400bps modem, and call a 1200bps BBS, your connect speed should be 1200bps.
Connect: [1] To get to a point where you can start communicating with a BBS, as in "I have connected with the BBS." [2] Any point after you have established contact with a BBS, as in "I am still connected with the BBS" or "I have been connected with the bulletin board for just over an hour."
Connection: The actual contact with a BBS. It is used most often in expressions such as "I have a bad connection," meaning that there is line noise.
Control character: See CTRL: Any of the 32 ASCII characters that do not print on your screen or printer. These characters are usually used to control your computer.
Copyright: See Shareware: See Freeware: A term meaning that a program or text file is protected by the government so that it may not legally be copied, except to make backup copies, or as specified by the author of the program. You should not upload a copyrighted program to a BBS, unless it is shareware or freeware.
CoSysOp: See SysOp: A term similar to a vice president. The Co-SysOp of a BBS has more access to the BBS than any other user except the SysOp. The Co-SysOp might check messages to make sure that they are suitable for the BBS (not containing illegal messages), and he may be able to validate users. Sometimes a Co-SysOp is just a title given to someone who helped the BBS a lot by doing things such as posting messages and uploading. Also, many times there is more than one Co-SysOp.
Country code: See City code: The code that the telephone company uses to designate a certain country. If you need to call a BBS (or a person) in a foreign country, you need to dial the country code, then usually the city code, and then the local phone number. The country code will be 2 to 3 digits.
CPS: See Characters per second:
CR: See Return: Carriage Return.
Crash recovery: This feature of some file transfer protocols allows a user to continue a download or upload that had been interrupted. With this system, a user will not have to receive the data that had already been sent before the disconnection, which will save time.
Crash: When a BBS is harmed in such a way that it is temporarily inoperable. The usual cause is that some files are destroyed, either by accident or by a hacker. Some people try to crash BBS's, a fact that most users (and especially SysOps) think is pathetically sad.
CRC: Stands for Cyclic Redundancy Check. CRC is a system to make sure that a block of data (usually from a downloaded program) is as free from error as possible. It is usually 16 or 32 bits long (CRC-16 and CRC-32 respectively).
Crippleware: This is software, usually distributed as shareware, but it is not the complete program. If it is a game, it might only let you play the first level. If it is a database program, it might only let you have 50 entries (whereas the real version would have more). Some SysOps refuse to have programs on their system that are crippled.
Cross link: This occurs when 2 or more echos are joined together, either accidentally or purposely. If this happens, the joined echos then contain the same messages.
CRT: Cathode Ray Tube. This is another name for a computer monitor.
CTRL+G: The control character G, which usually causes the computer to produce a beeping sound.
CTRL: See Control character: The abbreviation for ConTRoL. This abbreviation is followed by a dash and then a character, such as CTRL-C, meaning the control character C.
CTS/RTS: See RTS: See CTS: See Flow control: The method of flow control that uses the CTS and RTS signals. It is built into the hardware, not software.
CTS: Clear To Send. This is when the modem lets the other computer know that it can send information to the other computer. [See also flow control, RTS].
Cursor: The marker that points out where text will next appear on your screen. It can be one of many things, usually a plain white or flashing square, or an underline character.
Cyclic redundancy check: See CRC:
Cycling: When a light (such as the RD light) on an external modem continuously turns on and off.
Dash: The character -.
Data bits: [1] The number of bits that the modem uses to represent one byte. This is usually 8, though it can be 7 since ASCII needs only 7 of the 8 bits. [See also format]. [2] the actual bits within a byte being sent through the phone lines.
Data byte: A byte of information that is being sent over the phone lines.
Data carrier detect: See DCD:
Data communications equipment: See DCE:
Data compression: See V.42bis: Some modems have the capability to 'squash' data so that it takes up less space. When another modem (that also has this capability) receives the data, it 'unsquashes' the data to its original form. By using data compression, a modem can send information faster. It's a lot like shorthand--all the information is still there, but it takes less space and is quicker.
Data grade: See Voice grade: A phone line that is set up by the phone company to be more convenient for data communications. It should have better electronic characteristics than a regular phone line.
Data mode: See Online mode: The mode that a modem is in where all information typed on the computer will be sent through the modem, and all information received by the modem will be placed on the screen. [See also command mode, terminal mode, voice mode].
Data modem: A modem that does not have the ability to send or receive fax transmissions.
Data rate: See Data transmission rate:
Data set ready: See DSR:
Data terminal equipment: See DTE:
Data terminal ready: See DTR:
Data throughput: See Effective transfer rate:
Data transmission rate: See Bps: The speed at which data travels. For example, data may be sent at 115,200bps.
Data: A group of characters that represents meaningful information. This information can be anything, ranging from bank account numbers to computer programs.
Database hack: A way that hackers attempt to gain access to someone's account on a BBS. They create a list of common passwords (such as SECRET and MINE) and try every one on an account to see if it is the right password. Because of this, an intelligent BBS user will not use easy-to-guess passwords.
Database: [1] A program that keeps track of data, such as the information contained on mailing labels, or the price of stocks. [2] A large group of data. The sum of the information that you can receive on extensive pay services such as CompuServe can be considered a database.
DB: 5 - The 25 pin plug that connects an RS-232C cable to the RS-232 port.
DB: See Decibel:
DBm: See Transmit level, Receive level, Carrier detect threshold
Decibel referred to one milliwatt. This is used to measure certain levels, such as transmit level.
DCD: Data Carrier Detect. This tells the computer whether or not the modem is connected to another modem.
DCE: See DTE: Data Communications Equipment. These are computer peripherals that communicate. A modem is a DCE.
Decibel: A unit describing how loud one sound is compared to another.
Decompress: See Archive: The process of converting compressed data back to its original form.
Decoy program: A program or text sent on mainframes and multiline BBS's that simulates the log-on procedure. The unsuspecting user will see this and enter his password, and the person who made the decoy program will get the password and can use the account.
Default: A setting or an answer to a question that is automatically assumed. If 80 columns is a default, then you only have to change it if you want something other than 80 columns.
Delay time: See Protocol: The time it takes between sending data on a computer and receiving a response from the remote computer. If the delay is long, most file transfer protocols will slow down.
Delphi: One of the major on-line services. As of this writing, it does not support high speed modems.
Demodulate: See Modulate: To convert the tones that a modem sends over the phone lines back into data.
Department name: See Internet address: This is the last piece of information needed for an internet address.
Destructive backspace: See Non-destructive backspace: A term that indicates that your communications program deletes the character the cursor is on when it receives the backspace character.
Destructive signaling: See Break signal: This is a type of break signal that causes all data to be destroyed while the break signal is being sent.
Dial modifiers: Any commands that are sent to a modem which change the way a phone number is dialed. For example: tone, pulse, and pause.
Dial tone: The sound that you hear when you pick up the phone if it is ready to have an outgoing call made. Your modem, if it can dial, should understand this tone.
Dial: To send out either the tones or pulses that the phone company needs to understand what number you are calling. Most modems will dial automatically (auto-dial).
Dialing speed: See Touchtone dialing speed:
Dialout facility: A service where you call a computer, and from that computer you can call other computers. It is usually used with packet switching networks, which saves you money on long distance calls.
Dialup line: A telephone line connected to the telephone company. This is a regular phone line. [Compare to leased line].
Dialup modem: A modem that is used over normal (dialup) telephone lines.
Dibit: See Bps: See Baud: Two bits sent simultaneously by a modem. For example, a modem can operate at 1200bps and 600 baud. What happens in this case is that 600 times a second, the modem sends out a dibit (two bits). Therefore, it is sending 1200 (600 times 2) bits per second.
Dictionary size: See V.42bis: This is the number of characters in the dictionary used for the V.42bis data compression protocol. It is usually 2048, but can also be 1024, 512, or 4096.
Digital signal processing: See Echo cancellation: This is what is used to perform echo cancellation on a CCITT V.32/V.42 modem.
Digital: See Analog: A system using discrete numbers to represent data. In computer systems, these are the numbers 0 and 1 (for binary).
DIP switch: DIP stands for Dual In-line Package. DIP switches are a group of small switches placed together on electronic equipment. Many modems have these. The switches can be changed to alter various settings. For example, one DIP switch on a modem may change the status of the DTR.
Direct mode: See MNP direct mode:
Disconnect: To hang up the phone and cause the connection between your modem and another computer to be stopped. Most BBS programs have a way of disconnecting a user who has called the bulletin board, if it is needed.
Disk capture: This is when a communications program will save incoming information to the disk. This is useful if you are receiving a text file that you want to read later.
Dither tone: See Echo suppressor defeat tone:
Domain name: This is the name for an internet domain. The most common domains are COM (commercial), EDU (educational), and GOV (government).
Domain: See Domain name: The domain is the main category for an internet address.
Door: A gateway that will allow a bulletin board to run a program while a user is on the BBS. Games are popular doors on BBS's, although doors can be used for serious purposes, too.
Down: See Running: A word meaning that a bulletin board is not working, so that you can not connect with it. This can mean that there was a crash, or it could simply mean that the SysOp is playing a game on his computer. Often a SysOp will leave a phone connected to his BBS line off the hook when he is using the computer so that you will get a busy signal.
Download: See Upload: See Protocol: To receive a computer file from a bulletin board. It is usually a computer program, but can also be a text file.
DSP: See Digital Signal Processing:
DSR: Data Set Ready. This indicates that the modem is on, and ready to accept input from the computer (either commands or data to be sent over the phone line).
DTE: Data Terminal Equipment. This is computer equipment which is not directly responsible for communicating, for example, the computer itself and printers.
See DCE:
DTMF: Dual Tone Multi-Frequency. This is used in tone dialing. It is a method where 2 distinct tones are sent for each digit dialed.
DTR: Stands for Data Terminal Ready. The DTR signal is sent from the computer to the modem, to let the modem know that the computer is ready to communicate.
Dumb modem: See Smart modem: A modem that only sends and receives characters to or from the phone line.
Dumb terminal: See Terminal, Smart terminal.A keyboard and monitor that receive and send information either to or from another computer or a phone line. It is up to the other computer to do anything else, such as word wrap.
Duplex: See Half duplex: The capability of both sides of a connection to send information at the same time. Full duplex is the same as duplex. When you are talking on the telephone to someone you are using duplex (you can both talk at the same time if you want to).
Duplicate Message: See EchoMail, NetMail
Because of the technology employed by some FidoNet Conference Mail distribution systems, improper routing information or topology can cause multiple copies of the same message text to be delivered to FidoNet systems. A duplicate message is as any message arriving at a FidoNet node whose message body (the text entered by the human originator of the message) is identical to the message body of a previously received message.
EBCDIC: See ASCII: Stands for Extended Binary-Coded Decimal Interchange Code. It is a way of coding characters. It is similar to ASCII, but it uses 8 bits instead of 7.
Echo canceling: See Echo suppression: See Digital signal processing: This is included in the CCITT V.32 standard. It attempts to cancel echoing on long distance calls, which otherwise would interfere with the transmission. It sends the exact opposite of the sound it receives, which cancels the echo.
Echo suppression defeat tone: See Echo suppression: This is a signal sent over the phone lines by some modems in an attempt to cancel out the negative effects of echo suppression. In the Bell standard, it is 2225Hz +/- 10Hz, in CCITT standards it is 2100Hz +/- 15Hz.
Echo suppression: See Echo suppression defeat tone: Echo suppression is a technique that the phone company uses in an attempt to make long distance voice calls sound better, by minimizing echo. However, this can cause the carrier of a modem to be lost (or at least garbled, causing a loss of data). In order to prevent this problem, a modem needs to send a certain tone over the phone line at all times.
Echo: See Local echo: See Echo suppression: [1] A reference to an echomail conference. For example, "This echo has too many messages." [2] A character that is sent back from a BBS instead of the character that was sent to the BBS. For example, if you enter your password on a BBS it will often say `dots will echo', meaning that it will send a period for every character in your password (it is a safety feature). [3] When a bulletin board or your terminal program sends back the characters that you type. If the bulletin board does not send back the characters, your terminal program should print them to your screen as you type them. [4] Echo on the phone lines is when you hear an echo on a long distance call. This can interfere with modem transmissions.
Echomail: Many BBS's have message bases that are shared with other BBS's. Usually late at night the BBS's will exchange any new messages. This way a user on one BBS can interact with users on other BBS's. Sometimes echomail can extend across the world.
Editor: The part of the BBS that allows you to enter a message and edit it.
Effective throughput rate: See Effective transfer rate:
Effective transfer rate: See Raw speed: See Data compression: This is the rate at which data can be sent after data compression has been accounted for. For example, a modem may be rated at 9600bps. If it uses data compression with a ratio that averages 2:1, it has an effective transfer rate of 19,200bps. While only 9600 bits are sent over the phone line, they represent 19,200 bits of real information after they are decoded.
EIA: See RS-232C: Electronics Industry Association. They developed the RS232C standard.
Electronic mail: See Email:
Email: Electronic mail. Messages that are sent to individual people. You choose who to send the message to and (usually) only that person receives the message. (Some BBS programs allow you to send bulk E-mail, which goes to more than one person, but the concept is still the same.) Originally, you could only send mail to people on the same BBS. Now, through networks, it is possible to send mail to anyone on any BBS in the network.
Emotion icons: These are groups of several characters that are used to express emotion over the phone line. For example, :) is a happy face (when you look at it from the side). Similarly, :( is a sad face.
Emulate: When a communications program imitates a certain brand of terminal.
Encryption: See Annoying behavior: Encryption is coding data so that people who are not supposed to see the data will not be able to understand it.
FidoNet is an amateur system. Our technology is such that the privacy of messages cannot be guaranteed. A sysop, has the right to review traffic flowing through your system, if for no other reason than to ensure that the system is not being used for illegal or commercial purposes.
Encryption obviously makes this review impossible. Therefore, encrypted and/or commercial traffic that is routed without the express permission of all the links in the delivery system constitutes annoying behavior.
ENQ character: This is the same as Control-E, ASCII value 5. It stands for Enquiry.
EOF: Stands for End Of File. It is the character CTRL-Z, which can mark the end of a text file.
Equalization: See Transmit level: See Receive level: When a modem adjusts its transmit level for different frequencies, to account for the greater loss at certain frequencies over the phone line.
Error control/correction: The ability of a modem to notice errors in transmission, and have any incorrect data re-sent.
Error free: When referring to data transmission, error free refers to communications equipment in which data is transmitted perfectly. This is actually an impossible situation, but it is possible to have data that is very, very close to error-free.
Error: See Line noise: When there is line noise and one or more characters are changed. This is especially noticeable when downloading or uploading a program. In this case the error must be detected, and the data must be re-sent (or else the file will be destroyed).
Escape character guard time: See Guard time:
Escape character: See ASCII: ASCII character 27.
Escape code: See Escape sequence:
Escape key: See ANSI: The key marked ESC on a computer keyboard. It is often used to 'escape' out of a program or procedure in a program. Also, the ASCII character (ASCII 27) is used by ANSI to produce limited graphics.
Escape sequence: See Guard time: A sequence of characters (usually +++) that instruct a modem to change from data mode to command mode, if they are typed with a certain delay before and after they are typed.
Excommunication: A system which has been dropped from the network is said to be excommunicated (i.e. denied communication). If you find that you have been excommunicated without warning, your coordinator was unable to contact you. You should rectify the problem and contact your coordinator.
Executive mode: When a user is connected to a bulletin board, but the SysOp is controlling the bulletin board. The most common use of an executive mode is when the SysOp validates users without the user having to hang up.
Executive mode: When a user is connected to a bulletin board, but the SysOp is controlling the bulletin board. The most common use of an executive mode is when the SysOp validates users without the user having to hang up.
It is considered annoying behavior to assist a system which was excommunicated in circumventing that removal from the nodelist. For example, if you decide to provide an echomail feed to your friend who has been excommunicated, it is likely that your listing will also be removed.
Exit: See Logoff:
Expedited signaling: See Break signal: Break signals that are sent before any other data. All data will remain intact.
Expert mode: Many BBS's have this feature, which allows a user who feels that he knows the system well to save time by not having menus sent to his system. If he forgets some commands that are available, he can have the menu appear. Otherwise, the menus will not appear. This is especially helpful at slow speeds.
Extension: See Archive: The extension of a filename on an MS-DOS system is the last three characters, which are separated from the rest of the filename by a period. For example, the filename SPREDSHT.WKS has the extension "WKS".
External modem: See Internal modem: A modem that is located outside of the computer. It is hooked up to the computer with a cable, most commonly an RS-232C cable.
External program: See Door: A computer program that is separate from another program. When BBS software runs a program that is separate from it, it is called an external program.
External protocol: See Internal protocol: This is a file transfer program that is not built into your comm program, but the comm program is able to run it anyway (as an external program).
Extract: See Archive: See Unarchive: To take out files from an archive.
Factory configuration: The way that your modem was set up when it left the factory. Typing ATZ normally returns your modem to the factory configuration.
Fall back: The ability of a modem to change to a lower speed when there is a problem communicating at the higher speed (usually caused by line noise).
Fall forward: This is when a modem will change to a faster speed if line conditions improve after a fall-back occurs.
Fax: See Faxmodem: Short for facsimile. It is a copy of a piece of paper that is sent over the phone lines by a fax machine. Some modems also have fax machines built in them, so that they can send and/or receive faxes.
Faxmodem: See Fax: A modem that also has the capability of sending and receiving faxes.
FCC: Federal Communications Commission. This is the government agency that is responsible for making sure that phone lines are being used correctly and that radio interference is at acceptable levels.
FDM: See Modulate: Frequency Division Multiplexing. A way that some modems transmit full duplex information, by splitting the telephone bandwidth into two sections. One is used to receive data, the other is used to send data. This method can be used at speeds of up to 2400bps.
Feature negotiation: This is when a modem can determine the best protocol to use when connecting to another modem. This includes the fastest speed, error control, and data compression. It is part of hand-shaking.
Feed: The connection between a BBS and a message network. When a BBS "loses its feed," that means that it is no longer receiving messages from the network, and can not send to the network.
Feedback: A message that is sent by a user to the SysOp of a bulletin board. While it is meant to be a way for the user to let the SysOp know of any complaints or compliments they may have, it is more often a convenient way of sending E-mail to the SysOp.
Fidolag: Fidolag is the expression used to define the time taken for messages to get through the network. FidoNet is an amateur network, with little funding, therefore a considerable time period may take place between messages.
FidoNet Technical Standards Committee (FTSC): The FTSC exists for the purpose of establishing minimum requirements in software and hardware to be able to interface with the FidoNet structure and mesh into the NetWork in general. These minimum requirements must be followed at every level and such requirements are subject to change from time to time. Nodes not meeting these minimum requirements are ineligible for the assignment of a node number.
FidoNet: FidoNet is an amateur electronic mail system. As such, all of its operators are unpaid volunteers.
FidoNet is not a common carrier or a value-added service network and is a public network only in as much as the independent, constituent nodes may individually provide public access to the network on their system.
FidoNet is large enough that it would quickly fall apart of its own weight unless some sort of structure and control were imposed on it. Multinet operation provides the structure. Decentralized management provides the control.
Fidonews: FidoNews is a weekly newsletter distributed in electronic form throughout the network. It is an important medium by which FidoNet sysops communicate with each other. FidoNews provides a sense of being a community of people with common interests. Accordingly, sysops and users are encouraged to contribute to FidoNews. Contributions are submitted to node 1:1/1; a file describing the format to be used is available from 1:1/1 and many other systems.
Filter device: A piece of hardware which goes between the modem and the phone line of a BBS. When a user calls up, they will either have a voice or computer connection that asks them for a special password before they can gain access to the main computer system. This makes it more difficult for hackers to get into the system, but is also more of a burden for the legitimate users.
Filter: See Profanity filter: When a communications program or a BBS program takes out certain characters or words and doesn't accept them. For example, a bulletin board program may filter out CTRL-G's so that the SysOp does not hear the beeping. Also, some BBS programs have the ability to take out obscene words from messages.
FINGER: On internet, a function that allows you to determine if a user is connected to the network.
Flag: A piece of information that is either TRUE or FALSE. It is used in some bulletin board security systems to indicate whether the user has access to certain parts of the bulletin board. It is also used by modems for certain indicators such as DTR.
Flash: [1] On a normal telephone, this is when you quickly push down and release the off-hook button. It is often used for call waiting. Many modems have a command that will simulate this action. [2] It is also a noun that descries a ROM chip that can undergo software upgrading. eg. a modem can be FLASHed to change it's settings.
Flow control: See Xon/Xoff: See CTS: See RTS: A method of controlling when information is sent. One method is Xon/Xoff, where a BBS will send information until your computer sends an Xoff (CTRL-S). It will resume sending information when you send an Xon (CTRL-Q).
Format: Information such as "8N1" that describes the way that your computer and a bulletin board should be connected. The first digit is normally 7 or 8, the number of data bits. The second character is a letter describing the parity (N for None, M for Mark, S for Space, O for Odd, and E for Even). The last number is the number of stop bits. 8N1 is the most common format. Data is sent as follows: Start bit (0) - 7 or 8 bits of data - (parity bit, if used) - stop bit (1) - (gap bits, if used)
Forum: See Conference:
Forward: To send E-mail that you received to someone else.
FOSSIL driver: Fido-Opus-Seadog Standard Interface Layer. This is a program that allows BBS and related programs to communicate with different types of modems, keyboard, and monitors.
Fossils are a little strange in that some work with some configurations, and others work with other configurations. Two of the most common are X00 and BNU. If one doesn't work, try the other. Many of the Fido boards in our net carry fossils or would be willing to "put one up" (means: make it available) for you.
Framing bits: See Stop bits: See Start bits: Bits that are used to separate characters. The bits themselves are not used as information.
Framing error: This occurs when the UART in a modem does not detect a stop bit. The modems are probably out of sync with each other.
Freeware: See Public domain: Computer programs that are copyrighted, but they may be legally copied if there is no payment involved. They are almost the same as public domain programs, except that public domain programs are not copyrighted and may be sold for payment. Freeware programs often can not be changed when they are distributed.
Freq: Short for "File REQuest." It is used to get program(s) from a BBS, without logging on. In order to do this, you need to be part of a network that that the BBS is also part of.
Frequency division multiplexing: See FDM:
Frequency shift keying: See FSK:
Frequency spectrum: A range of frequencies having similar characteristics. All sounds we hear are grouped as the audio frequency spectrum. Similar to bandwidth.
Front end mailer: See Mailer: These are programs that answer the phone for you. If they detect another computer, they do one thing. If they detect a human caller, they pass control to the BBS via a batch file. Any board that tells you "Press Escape to continue" is running a front end mailer. The Escape character tells the Mailer there's a human on the line. If nothing happens, it will also exit to the BBS. Escape just hastens the process.
FSK: See Modulation: Frequency Shift Keying. This method that low-speed modems use to transmit information over phone lines uses 4 frequencies, which are used to represent 0's and 1's for both sending and receiving. These modems can only operate up to a speed of 600bps at full duplex (or 1200bps at half duplex).
FTP: File Transfer Protocol. This is the method of transferring files on internet.
Full duplex: See Duplex:
Full flow: See Streaming:
Gap bits: A series of 0's that are sometimes sent between data bytes over the phone lines.
Gap: See Gap bits:
Garbage: See Line noise: See Format: Unwanted characters that appear because of either line noise or incorrect settings.
Gateway: A connection between one network and another. For example, on some commercial on-line services, you can reserve airplane tickets. This usually involves the on-line service you called connecting to the airline's computer.
General file: Any kind of text on a bulletin board that is not specifically E-mail, a bulletin of any sort, or a message. Usually they are long files for the user's information. Some examples of general files are: a file containing more information on the bulletin board program, a newspaper article about a controversial issue, and an article that explains how to make your own disk drive.
GENIE: One of the major on-line services.
Global scan: See QuickScan: When a bulletin board goes through all the messages on all boards to check for new messages that the user has not yet read. This is very useful as it prevents the user from having to go through each board to check for new messages.
Goodbye: See Logoff:
Group III FAX: The standard controlling fax communication.
Guard time: See Escape code: See Data mode: See Command mode: When the escape sequence is sent to your modem, the guard time is the amount of time that must occur between characters of the escape code, for it to be considered the escape code. Otherwise, it will assume you are entering data that is meant to be sent to the other modem.
Guard tone: A tone that is sometimes sent over the phone line for echo suppression. 1800 hertz and 550 hertz are sometimes used.
Guest: When a user is just looking at a bulletin board and does not want to receive an account there. The user usually has the same privileges as a new user who has not yet been validated. Many bulletin board programs allow guests. This is a good feature, since the SysOp does not have to validate users who will not be calling the board more than once or twice.
Hacker: See Phreaker: [1] A programmer who likes to experiment with computers (this is the type of person who often will not read the documentation to software before using it, so he can figure out how to use it by himself). [2] A person who attempts to abuse the privileges of computer BBS's and other services. His activities may range from getting and exploring an account he is not supposed to have on a mainframe computer to attempting to crash a bulletin board. These people are unwanted by most BBS's. They are often not malicious. The media sometimes confuses them with phreakers.
Half card: For IBM compatible computers, this is a card that is smaller than normal (about half the size). It does not affect the operation of the modem.
Half duplex: See Duplex: This is a mode which allows only one modem at a time to transmit information. When one modem is finished, the other can then start to transmit.
Hand shaking: See Feature negotiation: The process of establishing an electronic link between two modems. Handshaking lets both modems know information such as the speed they will be using, and whether or not the modems have the same type of error correction capability.
Handle: See Alias:
Hang up: When someone closes a switch which stops a telephone connection. This either happens when someone puts a telephone receiver into its cradle or when the person instructs the modem to hang up.
Hang: When a bulletin board all of a sudden starts to do nothing. That is, it will not accept calls or even let the SysOp type anything until the computer is reset. This can be caused by a problem with the BBS software, or the computer itself.
Hardware error control: See Error control: This is when error control is performed by the modem, not the communications program.
Hayes AT command set: This is the set of commands used to operate Hayes modems and Hayes compatible modems. Almost all of the commands start with AT.
Hayes compatible: Any modem which operates in the same way as the modems developed by Hayes. Most modems up to 2400bps are Hayes compatible.
Help file: Many BBS systems will include information on how to run the system in case you are having troubles. Often just pressing "H" or a question mark at the main menu will show you the information, but with some systems you have to find the help file somewhere, occasionally amidst the files to be downloaded.
Hertz: A unit of frequency, which equals cycles per second.
High ASCII: See ASCII: High-ascii characters are those above ascii 127, i.e.: 128-255 inclusive. These represent cute little boxes and other symbols on IBM machines. But to other computers they can represent gibberish. That's because where the codes for characters are fairly standard below 128, they are divergent above 128. There are many, many high-ascii character sets.
FidoNet has a policy of "NO HIGH-ASCII" on the echoes. So if you have a habit of writing messages with cute boxes, bar codes, and other fanciness, prepare to stop doing it on any echoed conference. Offline mail readers are particularly prone to using this kind of stuff to offset quotes.
High speed: A modem that operates at a high speed. In most cases it is assumed to be at least 9600bps.
Host program: A computer program that allows your computer to accept incoming calls, and let the callers upload or download files. It is limited compared to a BBS. If you want to do anything more, such as record information or print it out, you usually have to do the programming yourself.
Host: The computer that is being used to store information from other computers. Every BBS is a host, and so are pay services. On a network, hosts are all the computers that are connected to the network.
Hot keys: A term which means that you only have to press one key at a menu, rather than several. You don't have to hit the return key. Usually you can do this while a menu is being sent to your computer (so you don't have to wait for the whole menu to be sent).
HS/LINK: A file transfer protocol that allows you to upload and download at the same time, which can theoretically double your transferring time.
HST: High Speed Technology. A high speed protocol developed by US Robotics. It allows for 14400bps one way, and 450bps the other way. The two computers can switch when one has more information to send than the other. It is not compatible with the CCITT protocol.
Hyphen: The character -.
Hz.: See Hertz:
IBM graphics: On IBM computers, there is a group of "graphic" characters (such as lines, used to make boxes) that can be shown on the screen. Some BBS's will send these graphic characters if requested. Most non-IBM computers will not recognize these characters. These characters' bytes have their 8th bit set to 1.
ID number: See User number:
Idle time: When a computer is not being used. This refers to either a computer running a BBS that is not busy, or a caller that is not sending anything or receiving anything. Some BBS's will hang up a user if there is a certain amount of idle time (such as a minute).
In sequence signaling: Break signals that are sent in the proper order among data, as opposed to expedited signaling (which will send the signal before other data). No data is harmed, it all remains intact. [See also break signal].
Inactivity timer: When this is on, a modem will automatically disconnect from a remote computer after a given amount of time passes without any information sent or received.
Incoming: Information that is being sent to your computer.
Information: See Data: Any data that is sent between computers. Data usually refers to numbers and small pieces of information. Information is usually used for larger things, such as text files.
Initialization string: See Initialization: This is the command that your communications program sends to the modem when the program is started. In most cases, it is an AT command just like you would type in.
Initialize: See Initialization string: To set up either hardware or software to work correctly with your system. Many modems have to be initialized each time they are used so they `know' how to act with the communications program. When your software initializes your modem, it may tell the modem to expect 2400 baud and no parity, as well as the fact that you do not want any information to echo on your screen.
Interdigit interval: When pulse dialing is used, you need a certain amount of time free of "clicks" so that the phone company knows when each digit is finished. When you are dialing on a rotary phone, you don't need to worry about this because the time it takes to turn the dial is sufficient. A modem that sends pulse codes must wait a specified amount of time before going from one digit to the next in a phone number. A value between 1/2 second a 1 second is usually used.
Internal modem: A modem that is `hidden' inside your computer. Outside of your computer you will only see the phone cord. An internal modem can either be on a peripheral card that is placed inside your computer, or it can be built into your computer. [See also external modem].
Internal protocol: See External protocol: A file transfer protocol that comes as part of a comm program, and is not separate from it.
International coordinator: See Zone coordinator: See Zone coordinator council: The International Coordinator (elected by the Zone Coordinators) is the "first among equals" Zone Coordinator, and coordinates the joint production of the master nodelist by the Zone Coordinators.
The International Coordinator acts as the chair of the Zone Coordinator Council and as the overseer of elections -- arranging the announcement of referenda, the collection and counting of the ballots, and announcing the results for those issues that affect FidoNet as a whole.
International Telephone Union: See ITU:
Internet address: See IP address: This is an address used to reach someone on the internet. It is actually a 32-bit number assigned by the U.S. Government agency DDN Network Information Center. It is broken down into 4 parts, the domain, the organization, the system, and the department.
Internet format: An address on internet. For example,
Internet relay chat: On the internet, it is possible for 2 or more users to talk to each other in "semi-real time", meaning that their messages may take a while to reach each other, but quick enough that they can wait for replies and "chat."
Internet: This is the largest network of BBS's. It was originally started by the U.S. Government. It connects hundreds of thousands of host computers.
Internetwork Coordinator: The Internetwork Coordinator is the individual within FidoNet who has the responsibility for overseeing the granting, installation, and maintenance of FidoNet to Other Network Gateways.
The INC shall be designated by and act as the agent of the FidoNet International Coordinator.
Interrupt: An interrupt, as far as modems and computers are concerned, is an electronic signal that tells the computer that something important is happening. Most modems can be set up by software to send an interrupt every time a character is received by the modem. When operating at fast speeds, this makes sure that the computer doesn't miss characters as it is printing the mon the screen or saving them to a disk.
IP address: See Internet address: Internet Protocol address.
IP: See Internet address: Internet Protocol.
IRC: See Internet relay chat:
ITU TSS: See ITU: See CCITT: Telecommunications Standards Sector of the International Telephone Union. ITU-TSS can be considered the new name of the CCITT. It is responsible for creating standards relating to computer telecommunications, namely the V. series of standards. It is expected to be able to bring standards to the industry faster than the CCITT was able to.
ITU: See ITU TSS: International Telephone Union, a part of the United Nations involving telephone systems. Its divisions are responsible for creating standards, and helping underdeveloped countries with their phone systems.
Jack: The small plastic box that your phone cord connects to on your wall.
Jump: A command used on some BBS's to go from one board or section on a BBS to another.
Jumper: See Selectable COM ports: This is a piece of plastic and metal that can be moved on an internal modem to change a setting, such as the COM port to be used.
K: When K is placed after a number, it means 1024 times that number. If you computer has 640K that means that it has a little more than 640,000 bytes of memory. Often communications software will tell you that you have a certain amount of free memory to use as a buffer.
Kermit protocol: See Protocol: An almost error-free file transfer protocol usually used for text transfers. It was developed at Columbia University.
Keyboard macro: See Macro: A macro that will allow you to hit one or several keys and have the program act as though you had typed a lot directly from the keyboard.
Kill: When referring to a message on a bulletin board, it means deleting that message from the board. Usually you can only delete the messages that you write (unless you are a SysOp).
LAN: Local Area Network. This is a group of computers that are all connected. Usually, there is one computer that controls all peripherals (such as printers and a hard disk drive). The other computers are linked to the controlling computer, which lets the other computers take turns using the peripherals.
LAPB: Link Access Procedure Balanced. This is a form of error control found in X.32 packet switched networks.
LAPM: See Error control: Link Access Procedure for Modems. A type of error control used by some modems. It is included in the V.42 protocol (V.42bis also includes it, since V.42bis includes all V.42 error control methods). It is NOT a compression method, even though some modem manufacturers have incorrectly advertised it as such.
Leased line: See Private line: See Dialup line: A telephone line that directly connects two computers. It is usually rented from the telephone company. A leased line doesn't have many of the electronic restrictions that a dialup line has, so data can be sent faster. However, data therefore can only be sent between those two computers.
LED indicators: The lights on external modems that indicate conditions such as speed, RD, DCD, etc.
Leech: A person who downloads a lot from a BBS, and does not contribute much to the BBS by uploading programs or using the message bases.
Left brace: The character {. It's not used often.
Left bracket: The character [.
Letter: [1] The characters A-Z (uppercase or lowercase) [2] Another term for a message posted on a BBS.
LF: See Return: Line Feed. This is a control character (ASCII 10) that is used on some computers and printers to move down one line (on the screen or paper). It is usually used right after a carriage return.
LHARC: See Archive: See LZH: A program that will extract archives with the extension "LZH".
Line delay: See Delay time:
Line noise: See Error control: This is interference on the telephone lines. It will cause a character or many characters of garbage to appear on your screen. In general, the higher the bps rate of your modem, the more line noise will appear. However, error control protocols strive to eliminate line noise (and get rid of most of it).
Line: See Columns: [1] A row of characters on your screen, for example, many computers have screens with 25 lines. [2] The connection between your computer and a BBS. Most commonly used in the term "line noise." [3] A phone line connected to a BBS. For example, a BBS might advertise that it has "4 lines," meaning that 4 people can call the BBS and use it at the same time.
Linefeed: See Lf:
Link access procedure: See LAPM, LAPB.
Local analog loopback: See Local digital loopback: Tests the connection between a modem and the computer.
Local area network: See LAN:
Local call: See Long Distance Call: A phone call to a phone number in your local area, which will not incur long distance charges.
Local digital loopback: See Local analog loopback: Tests the connections between a computer, the modem, the phone line, and the remote computer. [See also local analog loopback].
Local echo: See Echo: [1]This is when a communications program will send information (either that you type or from a file) to your screen, as well as to the other modem. Usually local echo is not used, and the BBS you are connected to will send the information back to you, and only then will the communications program print what you typed on your screen.
[2]This could also mean an echomail conference that is geographically local to a particular group of users.
Local number: [1]The phone number used after a country code, area code and/or a city code. In the United States, it is 7 digits long.
[2]A phone number this is charged at "local rate" to where you are calling from.
Local: On a computer that is running a BBS, there are 1 or more phone lines connected to it. However, the SysOp can usually use the BBS, too, from the keyboard. This is considered a local connection.
Log: See Use log: A log is a file that keeps track of some kind of use. In a communications program, it might keep track of what BBS's you call. A BBS can keep a user log, which is a file that indicates which users called up and when. [See also user log].
Logic bomb: This is part of a software program that will do something malicious. For example, the author of a BBS program might have the program set up so that if he enters his initials in a certain point while the program is running, it will destroy all of the files on the BBS. These are no longer as common as they used to be.
Logoff: To leave a BBS. When you choose to logoff, the BBS will usually ask if that's what you really want to do, then it will hangup. It may also ask if you want to leave a note to the SysOp.
Logon: The process of connecting to a BBS. The is what occurs after you have called the computer and the phone starts to ring, but before you actually start using the BBS. "Logon" can also include the process of entering your name and password (which is also called sign-on).
Long distance call: See Local call: A telephone call that is outside your local calling area, and that you must pay for. [See also local call].
Lowercase: See Uppercase: The letters that are normally used, such as in this sentence. The opposite of these kind of letters are UPPERCASE.
Lurk: This is a term used to describe the action of reading public echomail conferences, while not posting yourself, remaining totally anonymous to the posters.
Lurker: See: Lurk, Echo. This is a term used to describe people who follow a echomail thread, yet never post themselves remaining totally invisible to the posters.
LZH: See: Archive, Unarchive, LHARC. This file extension refers to an archive that was compressed with the program LHARC. You need to get the program LHARC from a BBS before you can un-archive the file.
Macro: See Trigger Character
A series of instructions or text that can be entered by hitting a couple of keys. For example, a communication program might let you enter your user name and password just by hitting CTRL-N.
Mailer - A program used by BBS's that allows for other BBS's to call, so that mail and/or files can be transfered automatically between the two.
Mainframe - A large computer that many people can use at the same time. Usually, a mainframe computer is owned by a large company, and it has a lot of memory and storage for its users. Some mainframes have phone lines connected to them so that employees (or other authorized people) can use the mainframe from home.
Make/break pulse ratio - During pulse dialing, the make/break pulse ratio is the ratio of the time that the phone is off the hook to the time the phone is on the hook. In America and Cana- da, it should be 39/61.
Manual-syncing driver - This is what a BBS uses if the BBS pro- gram can not determine directly what the user's bps rate is, and the user must hit the return key several times before the BBS can figure out the user's speed.
Mark - When you are looking at the titles of messages to read, some BBS programs will allow you to choose certain ones you want to read. This is called marking.
Mark bit: See Space Bit. A bit that is set to 1.
Mark Parity: See Parity bit
See Format. This is when the parity bit is always set to a binary 1.
Matrix address: See Address. The address of a node on a network.
Matrix: See Topology
Maximum string length - In V.42bis data compression, this refers to the maximum length of data (in characters) represented by one word. It can range from 6 to 250 characters, although it is usually 32.
Menu - A list of options that you can choose from. A BBS might have a menu that lets you choose from reading messages, download- ing, or logging off. In reality, there would be many more op- tions.
Message base: See Subboard, Board. A group of messages on a BBS pertaining to a certain topic. For example, a BBS might have message bases for general messages, computer-related messages, and social informa- tion. Some BBS's have dozens or even hundreds of message bases.
Message network: See Network. A network of BBS's that transfer messages between each other.
Message: See Message Base. Any text that is left in a message base on a BBS. These can range from questions for other users to answer, to information on new computer programs, to just about any topic you could imagine.
Minicomputer - A scaled-down version of a mainframe. A minicom- puter usually has many terminals connected to it, and can run many programs at the same time. It is more powerful than a microcomputer.
MNP - Microcom Networking Protocol. A type of error control and data compression, created by Microcom, that many newer modems use. It is built into the modem, unlike software error correc- tion in file transfer protocols. There are different MNP levels. Levels 1-4 are error control protocols, and level 5 is a data compression protocol that can compress data to about 50% of its original size. A modem with MNP-5 also has MNP-4. MNP 1-4 is also included in the CCITT V.42 error correction system.
MNP direct mode: See Direct Mode, MNP normal mode. This is a mode used on modems with the MNP protocols, where the speeds from the modem to the remote modem and to the computer are the same. Also, there is no buffering, and no flow control. Same as direct mode.
MNP normal mode: See Normal Mode, MNP Direct node. This is the more common mode used with modems that have MNP capability, where the speed from the computer to the modem can be higher than the connection between the modem and the remote modem. This mode uses buffering to prevent lost data. Same as normal mode.
Mode - The state that a computer or a program is in. For exam- ple, a computer can be in a text mode, and a communications program can be in a chat mode (which operates differently than the normal mode).
Modem - MODulator/DEModulator. This is a computer peripheral which allows a computer to communicate over telephone lines. This is the heart of computer telecommunications. The main factor that differentiates modems is their speed, measured in bps.
Modem ready - See DSR.
Moderator - The person who is in charge of a conference. This person usually checks to make sure that all rules are followed (for example, that people do not swear).
Modify - See edit.
Modular cord. A standard telephone cord, with a modular plug at either end. Same as modular line.
Modular jack The square hole in which you put telephone cord (that has a modular plug)
Modular line - See modular cord.
Modular plug - The square piece of plastic at the end of a tele- phone cord. It plugs into a modular jack.
Modulate - When a modem changes information from computer bits into tones that can be transmitted over the phone lines. Differ- ent methods of modulation are PSK, FSK, and FDM. [See also demodulate, PSK, FSK, FDM].
Modulation scheme - The method that a modem uses to modulate data. [See also PSK, FSK, FDM].
MTA - Message Transfer Agent. This is what moves data across a network under the X.400 electronic mail system. [See also X.400].
Multi-line BBS - A BBS that has more than one line or node.
Multiple-speed - This refers to a modem that can operate at several speeds. Most modems are capable of doing this. While a modem may be listed as having a speed of 2400bps, it most likely also can operate at 1200bps and 300bps.
Multiple-state modulation - A modulation scheme that sends more than one bit per baud.
NAK: See: ACK. This contrl character (CTRL-U) is sometimes used by communications or BBS programs (usually in file transfers) to indicate that the information it received was bad. NAK stands for Negative AcKnowledgement.
Navigator: A program that makes it easier to access the various functions of an on-line service.
NC: See: Network coordinator:
Negotiation scheme: See: Feature negotiation:
Netmail: Direct system to system mail, addressed to the receipient. These messages are not private. These messages are sent either routed or direct. The word "private" should be used with great care, especially with users of a BBS. Some countries have laws which deal with "private mail", and it should be made clear that the word "private" does not imply that no person other than the recipient can read messages. Sysops who cannot provide this distinction should consider not offering users the option of "private".
Network address: See: Network, Address. In order for a message to find its way to the correct system in a network, it must include an address. Every system in a network should have its own address.

Note: Although there is officially no mention of the region in the Network address, the net numbers are often generated by the region. Eg. Net254 is in Region 25.
Network coordinator: See: Network, Regional coordinator. The Network Coordinator (Usually appointed by the Regional Coordinator) is responsible for maintaining the list of nodes for the network, and for forwarding netmail sent to members of the network from other nodes. The Network Coordinator may make arrangements to handle outgoing netmail, but is not required to do so.
Network routing hub: See: Network, Network coordinator. Network Routing Hubs exist only in some networks. They may be appointed by the Network Coordinator, in order to assist in the management of a large network. The exact duties and procedures are a matter for the Network Coordinator and the hubs to arrange, and will not be discussed here, except that a network coordinator cannot delegate responsibility to mediate disputes.
Network: See: Node. A network can be collection of nodes in a local geographic area, usually defined by an area of convenient telephone calling. Networks coordinate their mail activity to decrease cost.
New user: When you use a BBS, usually you will have the status of new user for the first few calls, until the SysOp verifies your account (at which time you will normally be considered a registered user). A new user usually has less privileges, such as not being able to download programs.
News: Some BBS programs will have announcements that are shown when you log on to the BBS. These are often referred to as news, since they often inform you of changes to the BBS.
Next: A command in BBS programs that will let you view the next message in the message base.
Node: See: Address, Line. [1] A BBS telephone/telnet line [2]A BBS that is connected to a network. It has an address that lets everyone know how to reach it from the network.
Nodediff: See: Nodelist. The "Nodediff" files are smaller weekly updates to the Nodelist made available by your Network Coordinator. They erase Nodes which have left FidoNet, and add new ones. They contain the weekly changes. Every time you receive a NODEDIFF file, you must merge it into your existing Nodelist file. Because of internal error checking, you can't skip any Nodediff files when you "recompile" your Nodelist. They must be done in order. This is your responsibility. You perform this task by using a NODELIST COMPILER, a special program designed for this purpose.
Nodelist: See: Node. The nodelist is a file updated weekly which contains the addresses of all recognized FidoNet nodes. This file is currently made available by the Zone Coordinator not later than Zone Mail Hour each Saturday, and is available electronically for download or file request at no charge. To be included in the nodelist, a system must meet the requirements defined by Policy 4.

Partial nodelists (single-zone, for example) may be made available at different levels in FidoNet. The full list as published by the International Coordinator is regarded as the official FidoNet nodelist, and is used in circumstances such as determination of eligibility for voting.
Noise level: See: Noise power.
Noise power: See: Signal power. The "loudness" or strength of noise on a phone line. It is measured in -dBm's.
Noise: See: Line noise.
Non destructive backspace: See: Destructive backspace. This is when a communications program will not delete any characters on the screen when the backspace key is pressed.
Non volatile momory: This is memory that many modems have which is not destroyed when the power is turned off. Using this memory, you can store a certain configuration in the memory, and have the modem automatically use the configuration when you turn it on.
Normal mode: See: MNP normal mode.
NSFNET: The National Science Foundation network. The NSF is a government agency. This network was the basis for the internet.
Null character: The ASCII character 0, or CTRL-@. This character usually will not be printed on the screen. It was originally used when communications programs were slower and could not receive information as fast as it was sent, so BBS programs would send these characters after every line to slow down the speed at which information had to be received.
Null modem: A special connection between two computers that will make the computers think that they are hooked up to a modem, so that the two computers can communicate with each other.
Numeric result codes: See: Result codes, Verbal result codes. These are result codes that are printed as numbers, rather than words.
Odd parity: See: Parity, Format. This indicates that the parity bit is always set so that the sum of the bits set to 1 in a byte, plus the parity bit, is an odd number.
Off hook button: This is the button on a real telephone that is depressed when you put down the receiver. It signals the phone company when your phone is off hook, and ready to place calls.
Off hook: See: On hook. The state that your telephone is in when you pick it up. In non-computer life, it usually means when the telephone connection is accidentally disconnected, such as "Someone must have left the phone off the hook." A modem that takes the phone "off hook" is taking control of the phone line, and it will usually then dial a phone number for you. When a telephone line is "off hook," you are not able to receive calls from other people, unless you have call waiting.
Offline mail reader: A program that allows you to read messages and reply to them after you call a BBS. This can save you money if you call BBS's long distance (because you do not spend the time reading messages while online with the BBS). Also, it makes it easier for other callers to reach the BBS, since you spend less time on line.
Offline: See: On line. When your computer is not connected to another BBS.
On hook: See: Off hook. When your telephone is not being used, and it is ready to ring if someone calls.
Online conference: This is when a group of people "get together" and have a conference using their computers. Some of the major on-line services do this.
Online games: Any game that is played on a BBS. Sometimes they are played in real time against other players who are using the BBS at the same time, and sometimes they are played by making a move and waiting for their opponent(s) to make their move when they next call.
Online information service: See: Online service. Any on-line service that provides information. Most commercial systems fall into this category.
Online mode: See Date mode:
Online navigator: See Navigator:
Online service: See Online information service: While this can refer to any computer that is hooked up to the phone line, it usually means a pay service such as Compuserve or Genie.
Online system: See Online information service.
Online: When your computer is connected to a BBS. For example, some communications programs will keep track of how long you have been on line. This lets you know how long you have been connected to the BBS.
Organization name: See Internet address: This is part of an internet address. It is usually an abbreviation of the name of the company or organization that controls the computers at that point in the network.
Originate frequency: See Answer frequency: This is the frequency of the carrier that is used by the modem that places a call to another modem.
Originate mode: See Answer mode: This is when a modem is ready to place a call,rather than accept an incoming call.
Originate only modems: Some older modems only operate using an originate frequency, which means that if you try calling one, you must change your modem to send an answer tone. This can be done on many modems by typing ATDT, the phone number you want to call, and then the letter R (before hitting return).
Originate: To call another computer and connect to it. The originating computer is the one that placed the telephone call (as opposed to the BBS, which is the answering computer).
Originating computer: The computer which dials another computer.This is most likely referring to your computer (unless you have a BBS, or other people are calling your phone number, and you have your computer's modem answer the phone).
Othernet: See Network: Also See: Multi-Network (MultiNet): See Zone: Othernets is a word to describe networks that use FidoNet technology, but have their own policy and/or echomail conferences. Othernets often distribute their own nodelists (using unused Zone numbers) and policy documents detailing requirements.
Packer: See Mailer: A program that some BBS's have which takes new messages, and packs them together to be sent out by a mailer.
Packet radio: The equivalent of a BBS, but with with radio connections instead of telephone connections. It requires an amateur (ham) radio setup, instead of a modem. With the right setup, you can read/send messages and even files, using radio waves.
Packet switching network: A telecommunications service that transmits data from one computer to another using packets of data. They usually have telephone numbers in most areas of the country so that users can connect to on-line services without toll charges.
Packet: [1] A group of bits sent by a modem that comprise a byte of information. [2] A group of bytes sent by a file transfer protocol.
PAD: Packet Assembler/Disassembler. This is a device that disassembles incoming packets, and assembles outgoing packets.
Pad: See Protocol: This happens when a file that is being transferred ends in the middle of a block of data. The communications program must add blank data to fill up the block. This is called padding.
Page: See Chat: [1] (noun) A page is one screen's worth of information. Many BBS's will automatically wait for you to press a key after it has sent you a page of information. [2] (verb) to alert the SysOp that you would like to speak with him. Many BBS's will allow you to do this, and it will make beeping sounds so that the SysOp will know you want to talk to him.
PAK: See Archive: Also See: Unarchive: [1] The extension for files archived with the program of the same name. You need the program PAK to un-arc an archive with this extension. [2] The program itself. [See also archive,unarchive].
Parallel interface: See Serial interface: Any interface that transmits or receives more than one bit at a time. In most cases, 8 bits are transferred at a time. The RS-232C standard involves a parallel interface. [See also serial interface].
Parallel: Also See: Serial: This is when a computer sends data one byte (or any number of bits other than one) at a time. This is faster than the alternative, serial.
Parity bit: Most modems have the capability to send an extra bit for every byte sent, which is used to help sense errors. This is called the parity bit. It can be set to no parity, mark parity, space parity, odd parity or even parity. Most BBS's do not use a parity bit.
Password: A special code that only you should know. This code will allow you to gain access to your account on a computer. Different BBS's have different rules as to how long your password can be and what characters can be used. You should not use a password that is easy to guess (such as your name, or "password"), because a hacker might try to gain access to your account by guessing your password.
Pause: On most modems, you can send the modem a command that will pause at some point while dialing a number. This can be useful on PBX systems, if you have to wait for a dial tone.
PBX: Private Branch Exchange. This is the telephone system that many offices have, allowing extensions for each telephone, and a connection to the main telephone system.
PC Pursuit: A packet switching network that allows people to save money on long distance calling, if they use modems.
Phase shift keying: See PSK:
Phone number: A number identifying a specific phone line. In the United States, a phone number consists of a 3 digit area code and a 7 digit number. If you call BBS's in other countries, there may be a specific country code and city code that is part of the phone number. You can find many of these codes in a phone book. A BBS will usually ask you to tell it your phone number before you can be a registered user.
Phreaker: Also See: Hacker: A person who spends a lot of time trying to find out as much as possible about the telephone company, and how it works. They often try to find out ways to make long distance calls for free. Some steal calls from telephone credit card users, some steal calls from the phone company directly, and others don't make "free" long distance calls. They are sometimes confused with hackers.
Pick up: To pick up a carrier is when the 2 modems recognize each other's signals over a phone line. After this point the two computers can communicate.
Ping pong: A 9600bps and 4800bps protocol developed by Hayes. It features fast turnaround.
Pins: The ports on the back of your computer and an external modem will have pins. Each pin has a certain function, such as letting the computer know that the modem is online. The pins from a computer's port and the modem are connected by a cable.
PKARC: See Archive: Also See: Unarchive: Also See: ARC: The program which will make an archive with the extension "ARC".
PKUNZIP: See Archive: Also See: Unarchive: Also See: ZIP: The program which will un-arc a file that has the extension ZIP.
PKXARC: See Archive: Also See: Unarchive: Also See: ARC: The program which will un-arc an archive created with PKARC.
PKZIP: See Archive: Also See: Unarchive: Also See: ZIP: The program which will create an archive with the extension "ZIP". It is one of the most popular archive programs.
Pocket modem: An external modem that is small enough to be easily portable. It usuallyeither uses a battery for power, or it can get its power from the phone line.
Point: See Network: Also See: Node: Also See: Nodelist: A point is a FidoNet-compatible system that is not in the nodelist, but communicates with FidoNet through a node referred to as a bossnode. A point is generally regarded in the same manner as a user, for example, the bossnode is responsible for mail from the point.
Policy 4: This is the document that all nodes must read regularly, and agree with before a nodelist entry is granted.
Poll: [verb] The process when a computer checks to see whether another computer has mail or files to send to it.
Post: To save a message that you have written on a BBS so that other people can see it.
Private branch exchange: See PBX.
Private line: See Leased line:
Private node: Node, Nodelist. Persons requesting private nodes (nodes without a telephone field in the nodelist. Private nodes are special cases, and such status is normally not granted. Private Nodes in the nodelist are marked with a PVT at the front of the nodelist entry.
Private: See Public: When referring to a message, it means that only a specific person or several people that you specify can view the message.
Privileged: See User level. Some BBS's have a privileged user level, where the user can do more than a regular user. For example, they may be able to download more programs than regular users.
Profanity filter: Some BBS's have a special function that will take out specified words (usually swears) from messages that people leave. That way, the BBS will automatically keep itself "clean," even if users try to leave swears in their messages.
Prompt: A character or group of characters that are meant to remind the user of a BBS that he needs to enter some information. It might say "What now?" or it might list the name of the message base the user is currently in, or a list of possible commands.
Protocol: Also See: Error control: [1] When referring to file transfers, a protocol is a method of sending and receiving a program. There are many methods available, each with different advantages and disadvantages. [See also upload, download, Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, Kermit]. [2] Protocol is also used to describe the way that hardware error control is managed.
PSK: See Modulation: Phase Shift Keying. In this method of modulation/demodulation, there are two frequencies used (usually 1200 hertz and 2400 hertz). There are 4 different phase angles (0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees), representing digits 00, 01, 10, and 11. This is usually used for 1200bps transmission. Note that the baud rate using PSK is really 1/2 of the bps rate, since 2 bits are sent at a time instead of one.
PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network. This is the regular phone lines that just about everybody uses.
Public domain: See Freeware: Also See: Bannerware: Also See: Shareware: Also See: Commercial software: A program that is in the public domain usually has no copyright, and can be copied legally by anybody. BBS's often have public domain software available for people to download.
Public messaging: A fancy term that means to read and/or leave messages in a message base.
Public switched telephone network: See PSTN:
Public: See Private: When referring to a message, it means that the message is available for everyone to see.
Pulse dialing: See Tone dialing: A method that some phones use to dial numbers.It involves a series of "clicks." Most modems support this type of dialing, which is the only type available in some remote areas. The other method of dialing is tone dialing.
Quickscan: See Global scan: An option used by some bulletin board programs which will let you check several message bases to see if there are any new messages.
Quit: See Logoff:
Quote: Quote is the term for re-stating text from a previous message, to remind people what was said.
Quotes are another issue. You've all seen someone quote an entire long message, then at the bottom type "I agree." What a waste of bandwidth! Some echoes have a "rule" of no more than 50% of your message may be quotes. This is hard to enforce, and it usually isn't.
QWK: Pronounced 'quick'. A means of packaging messages for transport. Some BBS's use them to share message bases, in a 'QWK Network' (as opposed to FidoNet's FTSC). Also used to download messages to read offline, via a QWK Mail Reader, and a REP packet is uploaded on the next login to upload any replys.
Quote: Quote is the term for re-stating text from a previous message, to remind people what was said.
Quotes are another issue. You've all seen someone quote an entire long message, then at the bottom type "I agree." What a waste of bandwidth! Some echoes have a "rule" of no more than 50% of your message may be quotes. This is hard to enforce, and it usually isn't.
Rack mounted modems - Some multi-line BBS's use rack mounted modems, so that the modems can be easily and safely stored.
Raw speed - The speed at which a modem can actually transmit data, before compression or other factors. [See also effective transfer rate].
RD - Receive Data. This is the wire in an RS-232C cable that receives data.
Real-time conference - See on-line conference.
Receive - To transfer information from another computer to your computer. To receive a file is the same as downloading the file. [See also send].
Receive data LED - On external modems, this LED will light up when the modem is receiving data. [See also LED indicators].
Receive level - The "loudness" of the sound that is received by a modem. It is measured in -dBm's. A modem will have a certain range which it can understand, for example, -33dBm to -9dBm. [See also equalization].
Receive sensitivity - See carrier detect threshold.
Register - A location in memory that stores a value which refers to something specific. This value can be changed. For example, most modems have a register that holds a number which tells the modem how many rings it should wait for before picking up the phone.
Registered user - This is the most common user level on most BBS's. It usually allows reasonable usage of the BBS (perhaps it will give you a time limit of 45 minutes per day, and let you download up to 200K of programs per day). [Same as regular user]. [See also user level].
Regular user - See registered user.
Reliable link - A connection that is "error-free," meaning that an error control protocol is being used. [See also auto-reliable link].
Remote - A computer in a different location. For a BBS, the user is at a remote location (since they are connected by the phone line, and not right there). For a user, the BBS is at a remote location.
Request to send - See RTS.
Reread - After a message is sent to your computer from a BBS, the reread command will send the message again. This can be useful if the message is long, and you miss part of it.
Reset - A modem can be reset. This will change any options (such as parity and speed) to the values that they have when the modem is first used. This can be useful if you change some values for the modem and aren't sure what they do, and then you find that the modem won't work. Resetting the modem will fix everything for you.
Response format - The way that a modem sends certain information to the computer. It can either be verbal (such as "BUSY" or "NO CARRIER"), or it can be numeric ("7" or "3").
Response time - How long it takes for the computer or modem to respond to a certain condition. For example, a carrier detect response time of 10ms means that it takes the modem 10 milliseconds to figure out that there is a carrier.
Result codes - These are either numbers or words that the modem sends to the communications program (which will usually print them on the screen for you to see) that indicate how the modem responded to an action you requested. For example, if you tell the modem to dial a number, it may respond with "CONNECT 1200", which is a result code that means that the computer dialed the number and connected to a computer on the other end. [See also numeric result codes, verbal result codes].
Retrain - Some modems have the capability of monitoring the phone line to "see" how good the connection is. If the line quality is poor, these modems can "retrain"--they change their equalization so as to better accommodate the lines. [See also equalization].
Retransmit - To transmit information that was previously sent. Whenever an error is encountered, retransmitting the data will fix the problem.
Return - ASCII character 13. This is the key marked "RETURN" or "ENTER". It will advance the cursor to the next line. On some printers, it will just move the print head to the left hand side, and the printer then needs a linefeed to move to the next line. Same as carriage return,
Reverse - When you are in a message base, you may find this command which will allow you to read messages is backwards order (from newest to oldest messages).
7 Reverse mode - When a modem switches the signals it should send. For example, in reverse mode, a modem that dials another computer will act as though it just received the call. Some modems only let you dial out (they do not accept calls). In order to call one of these modems, you would have to set your modem to reverse mode, and then call the computer.
RI signal - See ring indicator signal.
Right brace - The character }.
Right bracket - The character ].
Ring - When someone calls you on the telephone, the sound that your phone makes is called a "ring." Also, when you call someone (or a computer), it will ring before they pick it up. This indicates that the number is not busy, but nobody has picked up the phone yet.
Ring indicator signal - This is the line on an RS-232C cable that indicates that the phone is ringing.
Ringback - The sound that you hear over the phone that indicates that the phone is ringing on the other end, and not busy. It sounds a lot like a phone actually ringing.
Ringing indicator LED - This is an LED on some external modems that lights up when the phone is ringing. [See also LED indicators].
RJ-11 - This is a normal phone jack. Modems usually have 2 jacks like this, one to connect to the phone line, and the other to connect to a telephone (that you can use when the modem isn't being used).
Role Playing Game - Some computers don't act as places to leave messages or programs, but instead let you play a game. On these computers, you have a character and call up the computer to move around in a world with other characters (other people who call up), and you interact with them (for example, you may try to kill the character). [Same as RPG]. [See also on-line games].
Rotary - A phone that dials with the pulse method. [See also pulse dialing, tone dialing].
RPG - See Role Playing Game
RS-232 - The name of a specific type of port on the back of some computers, or peripherals such as modems. It has 9 or 25 pins. [See also RS-232C].
RS-232C - The name of a standard (created by the Electronics Industry Association) for communication between a computer and a serial device. The interface consists of 25 wires, although a variation contains 9 wires. Computers and peripherals which both have an RS-232 port can be connected easily with an RS-232C cable.
RTS - Request To Send. This is when the computer tells the modem that it wants to send information to the other computer. It is only used in half duplex mode. [See also flow control, CTS].
Running: See Down. Working. If a BBS is running, then it is working correctly and people can call it.
S register: See Register: A type of register that modems use.
Scan: To look through messages or file descriptions to either find new messages or files or look for certain key words within the messages or descriptions.
Screen width: See Columns: The number of characters that a computer can display on one line. On most modern computers, it is 80 columns.
Script language: Many communications programs allow the user to write a program, or script, which allows them to use the communications program without actually typing anything. It is often used to call BBS's late at night to download programs or look for new messages. This way, the user does not have to be there when the communications takes place.
Sector: A unit to measure storage space. It usually refers to 256 bytes. It is rarely used any more.
Security level: See User level: Some BBS programs have different user levels, usually numbered, which allow different levels of access. For example, 0 might refer to an unregistered user, 10 a registered user, and 99 for the SysOp. Each has different levels of access on the BBS.
Selectable COM ports: See COM port, Jumper, DIP switch. On internal modems for IBM compatible computers, this allows you to change something on the modem (usually a jumper or DIP switch) to allow you to change which COM port the modem will be connected to.
Selftest: The ability of a modem to test itself to make sure it is functioning properly.
Send: See Receive: To transfer information from one computer to another. To send a file is called uploading the file.
SendFax(TM): A modem that can send faxes, but not receive them.
Serial interface: See Parallel interface: An interface that transmits only 1 bit at a time.
Serial port: See RS 232C: A port on a computer that is used to transmit and receive data in a serial fashion (one bit at a time).
Serial: See Parallel: The method used when a computer sends and receives data one bit at a time. Contrast this to parallel.
Service class: See MNP: The level of MNP protocol that is being used, such as MNP Class 4 or MNP Class 5.
Set: p - (noun) - Information that a BBS has about your computer. (verb) - To give the information about your computer to a BBS. This information usually includes screen width, whether or not you want hot-keys, and other miscellaneous information.
Settings: Also See: Format:
Shareware: Also See: Public domain: Programs that can be distributed freely, but you must pay for these programs if you use them. They usually allow you to try them for a specified period of time and then you must either pay for the program or get rid of it. Many BBS's have shareware programs that you can download without paying the BBS, but you must remember that if you use a shareware program you are supposed to pay for it.
Shell virus: See Virus: A virus which places itself either before or after a program on a disk or in memory. It can be easy to detect such a virus, since the length of the program will be longer after the virus hits than it was before.
SIG: See SIGop. [1] Signiture, usually a macro, at the end of any posted message. [2] Special Interest Group. This is similar to a message base, but it may also contain files. It is generally used on large services, such as CompuServe.
Sign off message: A message that is displayed when you log off a BBS. Often the message will include the numbers of other BBS's,and in some cases the BBS will allow you to leave a message for the next user to call the BBS.
Sign on message: See News: A message that is displayed by a BBS after you sign on. Often news about the BBS will go here. On some BBS's you can leave a sign-on message for the next caller.
Sign on: Also See: Logon: The procedure of letting a BBS know who you are. This involves giving the computer information such as you user number, name, password, and sometimes even phone number.
Signal power: See Noise power: The loudness or strength of what a modem sends over the phone line. It is measured in -dBm's.
SIGop: See SIG: SIG OPerator. The coordinator of a SIG. This person is responsible for checking messages to make sure that they pertain to the topic of the SIG.
Simplex: See Half duplex:
Smart modem: See Dumb modem: Originally the brand name of a modem, it refers to a modem which has capabilities which make it 'smart'. Most modems now sold are considered smart. Basically, it means that the modem has many features.
Smart terminal: See Terminal: Also See: Dumb terminal: See Terminal emulation: A terminal that is capable of certain editing features.
Space bit: A bit set to zero.
Space parity: This is when the parity bit is always set as a binary 0.
Special interest group: See SIG:
Speed: See Effective transfer rate: This refers to the bps rate of a modem. The most common modem speeds are 300bps, 1200bps, 2400bps, and 9600bps.
Stand alone modem: See External modem:
Stand alone program: A program, usually that allows you to do file transfers, that is separate from your comm program, but can be called by it.
Start bit: This framing bit indicates that the data byte will be following. It is always a binary 0.
Statistics: Any information that a BBS keeps on its users. Some BBS's keep track of how many messages a user posts, how many programs the user uploads or downloads, and even how many times the user calls.
Stats: See Statistics:
Status lights: See LED indicators:
Status line: In communications programs, sometimes the bottom line of the screen will contain a status line, which has information such as the speed of the modem, the parity, how long you have been connected to a BBS and other such information.
Stop bit: When a modem sends a byte of data, it usually sends one or two framing bits after the data byte, before the next byte is sent. These bit(s) are called stop bits. They are always a binary 1.
Streaming Ymodem: See Ymodem/g:
Streaming: Also See: Ymodem/g: When a file transfer protocol sends data continuously, without waiting to make sure there are no errors. A streaming protocol should check for errors, but if an error occurs the file transfer should be stopped. A streaming protocol should only be used with modems that have hardware error control.
STU III: Secure Telephone Unit, generation III. This is a system used by the government that makes voice and data calls much more secure.
Subboard: Also See: Message base:
Subject: Most BBS's require that you leave a short description about any messages that you post on the BBS. This description is referred to as the subject of the message.
Subop: A term used for the operator of a subboard. Some BBS's allow a person besides the SysOp to control a specific message base. This person would be able to kill any messages that he/she felt were inappropriate.
Synchronous communication: See Asynchronous communication. With synchronous communication, data bytes are not marked with a beginning and end, but instead are sent at a specific interval. When computers send data to modems, it is synchronous communication. When modems send the information they get from the computer, the modem usually will add start and stop bits to identify the bytes. That is asynchronous communication.
SysOp window: Some BBS programs have an area of the computer screen (on the computer that the BBS runs on, not the user's screen) that gives information about the user who is on-line, such as his password, where he is from and his phone number. This is called the SysOp window, and is for the convenience of the SysOp.
SysOp: See CoSysOp: Short for SYStems OPerator. This is the person who is in charge of a BBS. He has the power to change anyone's user level,delete users, delete or edit messages. Usually this is the same person who paid for the BBS equipment and pays for the phone line.
System files: Any computer files that are used by an operating system, or in the case of BBS's, files that are used by the BBS program that do not get changed.
System name: A BBS or system in a network's name.
System news: See News.
System: [1] The smallest recognised part of a network. [2] A BBS. [3] Your computer. When a BBS asks for your system configuration, it is referring to information about your computer, such as screen width.
Tab: The key on your keyboard that will move the cursor forward about 5 spaces. It is not an ASCII character (it is similar to a function key, since it does not output a single character).
Tag: To choose what you want from a list. A BBS might let you tag certain files to download all at once. Also, you can tag certain message areas. This way, the BBS will assume those are the only message areas you are interested in, and it will not send you messages from other areas.
Tagline: When using an offline mail reader, you often have the option of including a "tagline" at the end of your messages. This is often a funny saying or a quote, and usually takes up just 1 line.
Multi-line taglines will often cause a little controversy. A single line is sufficient. Sometimes controversy over tag lines gets downright silly, but multiple-lines will get you a thwack, mostly because Sysops hate to cart around advertising for some joker with a big ego.
Talk mode: See Voice mail:
TCM: Trellis Coded Modulation. This is a form of error controlused on some modems.
TCP/IP: Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol combined.
TCP: Transmission Control Protocol. This is used to control the flow of data on the internet.
TD: Transmit Data. This is the wire in an RS-232C cable that is used to transmit information.
Telco: Abbreviation for Telephone Company.
Telecomm: See Telecommunications: Short for telecommunications.
Telecommunication(s): This word has no precise definition, but is frequently used. Its definition ranges from "any form of communication over a distance" to "any communication by electric means" to "two computers 'talking' to each other via modems." Methods of communications that probably are considered telecommunications: BBS's, telephones, TV's and fax machines. The word is used both in singular and plural.
Telecommuting: The idea of company employees working from home, rather than their office. At home, they can communicate with the office (and other entities) by modem or voice calls.
Telecomputing: Using computers to communicate. This usually involves using modems to communicate over the phone lines, but can also involve other media such as the air waves.
Telenet: The packet-switched network that is used for PC-Pursuit, which is operated by U.S. Sprint.
Term program: See Terminal program.
Terminal emulation: When a communications program can simulate the operations of a smart terminal.
Terminal mode: Some modems have a built in terminal program. On these modems, if that program is running, the modem is said to be in its terminal mode. It also refers to the state where a modem is ready to accept commands, although command mode is the preferred term.
Terminal program: A program that allows a person to use a modem. It is generally very limited. A communications program is a more advanced version of a terminal program. Usually a terminal program will simulate a specific brand of terminal. It generally does not support file transfers.
Terminal: See Smart terminal: See Dumb terminal: A CRT and keyboard that are connected to either a computer or a modem.
Terminate: To disconnect with another computer. This is sometimes listed as a command in menus on BBS's.
Text file: Any information that can be read, and is stored in a computer file. A text file can be any kind of information, such as a description of a computer program.
Thread: A group of related messages on a BBS, within the same message base. If a user posts a reply to a message, some BBS's will start a thread. If a message is part of a thread, the BBS will have a command so that you can see the original message, which started the thread.
Throughput: See Effective transfer rate:
Tilde: The character ~.
Time limit: Most BBS's have a time limit, where you can only be on the BBS for a certain amount of time. On some BBS's you can only be on for a certain amount of time each time you call, on others there is a limit of time that you can be on the BBS per day.
Time out: BBS programs often will disconnect a user if he doesn't type anything for a certain amount of time. Time out occurs when the time limit is reached and the BBS program hangs up on the user. This is done so that users do not tie up the BBS. If a user is connected to the BBS but is not using it, other callers might not be able to use the BBS.
Timing signal: A signal sometimes sent by modems over the phone line that lets the receiving modem know when a byte of information starts. It is required in synchronous communication.
Title: See Subject.
Tone dialing: See Pulse dialing: This is a method that a phone or modem can use to dial a phone number. It uses one audible tone per digit to be dialed.
Top of screen display: Some BBS's have this display on the top of the screen of the computer running the BBS. This will show the SysOp certain information about the user who is on-line, such as his phone number, how many programs he has downloaded, etc.
Topology: How a network is organized. In other words, which computers (or BBS's) are connected to each other.
Touchtone dialing speed: The length of time that your modem sends each touchtone digit over the phone lines. It is the equivalent to the length of time that you hold down the buttons on a phone when you make a call.
Training sequence: A way of detecting the quality of the phone lines. Two compatible modems can do this by sending out the "training sequence," which tests the phone line at various frequencies. When one of the modems receives this information, it compares it to what it should be (if the phone lines were perfect). The modem then can adjust various frequencies (using equalization) to accommodate the problems in the phone line.
Transfer protocol: See Protocol
Transfer: See Upload, Download, Protocol. To send a computer program from one computer to another.
Transmission control protocol: See TCP
Transmission rate: See Data transmission rate:
Transmission speed: See Data transmission rate
Transmit data LED: See LED indicators: This is an LED on an external modem that will light when the modem is transmitting data over the phone line.
Transmit level: See Equalization: The "loudness" level of the sound leaving a modem to go over the phone lines. It is measured in -dBm's. It should be different at different frequencies, since certain frequencies have more loss over the phone line than others.
Trapdoor: This usually refers to a BBS program (or a mainframe that you call up) that has a special code that can be entered to give you high access. Usually, it is entered as a user name and password when logging on. These are undocumented by the program, and usually were created by the programmers so that they could gain access to any computer running their BBS program. Hackers try to find trapdoors, but they are usually not created by hackers. (Some other kinds of software have trapdoors, such as video games, which might have trapdoors to give you extra lives).
Trellis coded modulation: See TCM.
Trigger character: See Macro: This is a character that, when pressed, starts a macro.
Trojan horse: A trojan horse is a program within another program, usually on a mainframe or a computer running a BBS. The original program looks innocent, but when run it will trigger the trojan horse, which will usually try to gain access to the mainframe computer system or BBS.
TTY mode: See TTY: This is when a communications program emulates a TTY machine, which only involves printing characters and recognizing the linefeed, carriage return and backspace characters.
TTY: A TeleTYpe machine. It is a keyboard and a printer combined in one unit. It is hooked up to another computer.
Two wire leased line: See Leased line.
Tymnet: A packet-switched network.
Type ahead buffer: Some BBS programs let you type characters to the BBS, even while it is sending information to you. When it is finished sending the information to you, it will then act on the information you sent. The type-ahead buffer refers to the process, and the space in the BBS computer's memory where the characters are held.
UA: See X.400. User Agent. It is the program that people use to create an dread messages under the X.400 system.
UART: Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter. This is a device in a computer or modem that will change serial data (the way data comes in over the phone line) to parallel, and vice versa.
Un arc: See Unarchive.
Unarchive: To take out the files from an archive.
Unattended mode: See Attended mode: This mode is available on some communications programs. It will let your computer wait for a telephone call from another computer, and will let the person using that computer access your computer (usually to download or upload programs). It is called unattended because you don't have to wait for the person to call, the program will automatically answer when someone calls.
Underline character: The character _.
Underscore character: Any character (although almost always the underline character) that is used for underlining. When this method is used, the text to be underlined will be sent (usually to a printer), and then backspaces will be sent, and then the underscore character will be printed over the text, so it looks like it is underlined.
Upload: See Download: See Protocol: To send a program from your computer to a BBS.
Uppercase: Letters that are used for emphasis, as opposed to regular lowercase letters. CAPITAL letters are the same as uppercase letters. The first word in a sentence is in uppercase. Some older computers were only capable of displaying uppercase characters.
User level: See Security level: The level of security which a user has. This usually is in the form of word(s), usually progressing from: New User, Registered User, Privileged User, SysOp Level.
User list: Most BBS programs will allow you to see a list of all its users. It will show the user's name, and often city and state. This is called the user list. Rarely will it show any phone numbers or more detailed information.
User log: A file on a computer running a BBS that lists which users called, what time they called, and sometimes information as to what they did while they were on the BBS.
User name: See Alias: This is the name that a person uses on a computer system. Sometimes an alias is used, but it is more often the user's real name or a variation of it.
User number: A number that is used by some older BBS programs to keep track of users. On these BBS's, a user would have to remember a specific number as well as his password. Most BBS's now just use the person's user name instead, which is much easier for a user to remember.
User: A person who uses a BBS. For example, a BBS might claim that it has 500 users, which means that there are 500 different people who have called the BBS.
Userfile: A file that a BBS program has that keeps track of all users of the BBS and their statistics.
V.17: The CCITT standard for fax transmission at 14,400bps.
V.21: The international standard, created by CCITT, that controls transmission at 300bps.
V.22: The international standard for transmission at 1200bps, created by CCITT.
V.22bis: The international standard, created by CCITT, that controls data transmission at 2400bps.
V.23: The CCITT protocol for transmission of 1200bps one way, 75bps the other way.
V.24: See RS 232C: This, combined with V.28 is the CCITT standard equivalent to EIA's RS-232C standard. V.24/V.28 has 25 pins, just like the original RS-232C standard.
V.28: See V.24: Part of V.24.
V.29: The CCITT standard for 9600bps half-duplex communications.
V.32: The international standard controlling transmission at 9600bps. It was created by CCITT. It has provisions for fallback, if the line is too noisy.
V.32bis: The international standard for 14,400 bps modems, created by CCITT.
V.42 compatible: This is a modem that follows all the V.42 specifications, except for LAPM error control (instead it uses MNP).
V.42 compliant: This is a modem which follows all the V.42 specifications, and uses LAPM error control if possible. Otherwise, it will go to MNP error control.
V.42: A standard error control system created by CCITT that is in use on many 9600bps modems and some 2400bps modems. It includes LAPM, as well as MNP 2-4.
V.42bis: A CCITT standard for data compression. It can compress data with about a 3:1 compression ratio, although it can compress up to 4:1 given the right conditions. Any modem with V.42bis also has V.42 error control.
V.Fast: At this time, the proposed CCITT standard for communications at up to 28,800bps. It will most likely be the new standard for high-speed data communications. It probably will use adaptive line probing and symbol rates to determine the fastest acceptable speed, given the condition of the phone line. Most people will not be able to achieve 28.8Kbps rates originally, until phone line conditions improve.
Verbal result codes: These are result codes which are printed as words, rather than numbers.
Verified user: Any user who has been verified by the SysOp. It is also used to refer to users who have access better than that of new users.
Verify: This is when a SysOp makes sure that a new user is who he or she claims to be. The normal procedure is for the SysOp to call up a new user, just to make sure that the phone number he listed is real. This is a way to make sure that the users are less likely to abuse the system. However, most SysOps do not call new users, since it is time consuming. Some SysOps will look at the information the new user left just to make sure it "looks" right (if the new user says his phone number is 555-1212, the SysOp knows it is not real). After verifying the user, the SysOp will usually raise the user's user level.
Video width: See Screen width:
Videotex: The idea of getting information by computer, over the phone lines, and paying for it. It is the computer version of audiotex (900 numbers, voice mail, having computers call you).
Virus: Any program which spreads itself secretly. It reproduces within a computer, and also will go to other computers if possible (through file transfers). At a certain point in time, the virus will do something (anything from saying "Boo" to something destructive, such as erasing all files on a hard disk drive). They are often hidden inside legitimate programs that seem to run normally, but contain the virus. It will usually spread to every program you run. Viruses became widespread because BBS's can inadvertently spread virus all across the country. Whenever you download a program, it might have a virus in it. However, there are several programs available which find many viruses and can destroy them.
Voice detection: The ability of a modem to detect whether a computer answers the phone, or whether it is a human voice.
Voice grade: See Data grade: A telephone line that is designed to transfer human voice. This is the way most phone lines are set up. However, the phone company also has data grade lines, which are supposed to make data communications better.
Voice mail: An addition to some modems. This allows the modem to also answer incoming voice calls, send recorded (voice) messages to the caller, and let them leave a message.
Voice mode: See Data mode: Some older modems require the user to manually dial phone numbers through a telephone. When this is done, the modem is in voice mode. When the remote computer picks up the phone, the user must switch his modem from voice mode to data mode.
Vote: Some BBS's have this feature, which allows the SysOp to find out user's preferences about things ranging from operation of the BBS to political positions. It is similar to a survey in the non-computer world.
VT100: See ANSI: A smart terminal, which is emulated by many communications programs. It uses ANSI codes.
VT52: Another smart terminal, which is emulated by some communications programs.
Window: See SysOp window: A distinct area of a computer screen that contains information different than the rest of the screen. Sometimes it covers other information 'underneath' the window (in which case it is temporary), or it is permanent and does not contain other information.
Word wrap: A function of editors on BBS's (just like that found in most word processors) which will move a word that won't fit at the very right hand of the screen down to the next line.
Worm: See Virus: A program which embeds itself within another program. Either it tries to find a space in which it won't be noticed, or it will just stick itself anywhere within the main program (which will ruin that program). A worm is almost always destructive.
X.25: This is a packet-switching protocol developed by CCITT.It is used to carry large amounts of data at fast speeds over leased phone lines.
X.25 dialup: See X.32:
X.32: This is CCITT's 1984 update of X.25, also known as X.25 dialup.
X.400: This is the CCITT standard protocol for a global system for the exchange of electronic mail.
X.500: The CCITT standard for a directory of the users of theX.400 system.
Xfer: See Upload: See Download: Short for transfer. It usually refers to file transfers.
Xmodem 1K: See Protocol: This is similar to Xmodem/CRC, except it uses blocks of 1024 bytes, rather than 128. It is faster than Xmodem, since it needs to stop less often to check for errors. This is sometimes incorrectly called Ymodem.
Xmodem/CRC: See Protocol: The same as Xmodem, but it has a 16-bit CRC instead of the checksum, which makes it more reliable (it catches more errors).
Xmodem: See Protocol: A file transfer protocol developed by Ward Christensen around 1977. It is fairly slow by today's standards, but was the first widespread file transfer protocol. It uses blocks of 128 bytes, and after each block is sent, it sends a 1 byte checksum to check for errors. If an error is encountered, the block will be re-sent. Almost every communications program offers this protocol.
Xoff: See Xon: See Flow control: The CTRL-S character. This is often used to pause information that is being sent. The information will be continued when an CTRL-Q is received.
Xon/Xoff: See Xon, Xoff, Flow control. The flow control method using the Xon and Xoff characters. It is built into the software, not the hardware.
Xon: See: Xon, Flow control. The CTRL-Q character. This will sometimes continue paused information.
Yell: See Page
Ymodem/g: This is Ymodem changed to provide best results with error-correcting modems. Errors can be discovered by the protocol, since Ymodem-g uses CRC, but if there are any errors in the transmission, the transmission will be aborted.
Ymodem: See Protocol. A file transfer protocol which can transfer more than one file at a time. It transfers both a file and some information about the file (including its length, and the name of the file). It is similar to Xmodem/CRC, except that Ymodem can transfer more than one file at a time. It will use CRC-16 if possible, or else it will use a 1 byte checksum. It will use both 1024 byte blocks and 128 byte blocks.
ZIP: See Archive: See Unarchive, PKZIP, PKUNZIP. The file extension which refers to archives that were created by the program PKZIP. You need the program PKUNZIP to get the files out of the archive.
Zmodem: See Protocol: A file transfer protocol which is known for its speed, as well as the ability to transfer information about the files which it sends. It has crash recovery and auto-download features, and can use a 32 bit CRC, which makes it almost error-free.
Zone coordinator council: See Zone: See Zone coordinator: See International coordinator: See Nodelist: The Zone Coordinator (elected by by the Regional Coordinators in their zone) compiles the nodelists from all of the regions in the zone, and creates the master nodelist and difference file, which is then distributed over FidoNet in the zone. A Zone Coordinator does not usually perform message-forwarding services for any nodes in the zone.
Zone coordinator: See Zone: See Regional coordinator: See Nodelist: The Zone Coordinator (elected by by the Regional Coordinators in their zone) compiles the nodelists from all of the regions in the zone, and creates the master nodelist and difference file, which is then distributed over FidoNet in the zone. A Zone Coordinator does not usually perform message-forwarding services for any nodes in the zone.
Zone mail hour (ZMH): See Zone: Zone Mail Hour (ZMH) is a defined time during which all nodes in a zone are required to be able to accept netmail. Each FidoNet zone defines a ZMH and publishes the time of its ZMH to all other FidoNet zones.
Zone Mail Hour has previously been referred to as National Mail Hour and Network Mail hour. The term Zone Mail Hour is more accurate.
Zone: See Othernet: See Zone coordinator: A zone is a large geographic area containing many regions, covering one or more countries and/or continents. An Othernet may also use unused Zone numbers.