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Alphabet Soup

Computer language is filled with acronyms. How many of these do you know?

Cc: Carbon copy
Left over from the days when you needed a piece of carbon paper to create a second copy of a document, “carbon copy” is now the term used to copy an email to one or more recipients. The Cc field is usually right under the “To” field in an email address area.

CD: Compact Disc
The first CDs replaced audio tapes (which replaced records). They were the medium of choice because they could store much more information and, unlike their predecessors, do not wear out. CDs now store images, data, videos, and software programs.

DVD: Digital Versatile Disc
While a DVD looks like a CD, it is more sophisticated with its larger storage capacity (full-feature movies) and its ability to be played in DVD players.

DCIM: Digital Camera IMage
This is the name of the root folder that your digital camera uses to store your pictures. When you wish to upload your pictures to your computer, the computer looks for the DCIM folder.

DPI: Dots Per Inch
The resolution of an image is based on the number of dots that can fit into a linear inch; the more dots, the more detail in the image. For an image to appear clearly on a screen, it need only be 72 dpi, as compared to a printed image that needs to be closer to 300 dpi.

HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol
We’ve all seen this language in our browser address bar; it precedes a web address. This is the protocol used to transfer information over the internet. Every time you request a web page, the computer uses this protocol to request the information from the server where the page resides.

JPG (or JPEG): Joint Photographic Experts Group
This acronym is the name of the group that developed the format, but you only need to know that a JPG is an image file. JPGs are universally read on any computer.

PDF: Portable Document Format
What the JPG is to images. the PDF is to documents: they can be read on any computer. The PDF format was developed by Adobe and requires the free Adobe Reader program to open the documents. It is a good idea to save and send a document as a PDF — rather than in the “native” file in which you created the document — if you are emailing it to people who may not have the program you used.

RAM: Random Access Memory
When you open a computer program, it loads it into the RAM and you use it from there. Each program you have open takes up some of the RAM capacity. Therefore, the more RAM your computer has, the more software programs you can have open at the same time without slowing down the overall speed of the machine.

SMS: Short Message Service
SMS is the service that sends text messages to and from your cell phone. It is also the service that sends notifications and alerts to your mobile device.

USB: Universal Serial Bus
A USB is the most widely used type of computer port for connecting peripheral devices: printers, mice, external drives. With USB as the standard connection configuration, computers do not need more than one type of port, and you are not limited in your choice of peripherals.

If you are curious about other computer acronyms, or just wish to wow your friends at cocktail parties, please visit the site that helped me bring you this information:

The terms on the site are listed and defined alphabetically. If you click on any of the acronyms, you will see a more detailed definition.

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