Internet

Bounce Definition

Bounce Definition

The term “bounce” has several different IT related meanings, yet none of them include bouncy balls. The most common definition of bounce used in the computer world refers to e-mail messages.

1. Returning E-mail

When you send an e-mail message to another person, the mail server processes the message and delivers it to the appropriate user’s mailbox. For example, if you send a message to “mrman@mail.com,” the mail.com server looks for a user named “mrman” to deliver the message to. If the user does not exist, the mail server may bounce the message back to the sender, saying “Sorry, that user does not exist.” These messages often come from “Mail Delivery Subsystem” and have a subject line that reads “Returned mail: see transcript for details.”

If you receive a bounced message, you may want to check the e-mail address you sent the message to and make sure it was typed correctly. If the address is correct, it may help to read the body of the bounced message for more details. The transcript may say something like “User quota over limit,” which means the recipient has reached his or her e-mail quota and must delete some messages and/or attachments in order to receive new mail. If this is the case, you may want to call the person or use an alternative e-mail address to let the person know he or she has some Inbox maintenance to do.

2. Restarting a Computer

The term “bounce” can also describe the process of rebooting or restarting a computer. For example, a workstation may need to be bounced after installing new software. Similarly, a Web server may be bounced if websites hosted on the server are not responding correctly.

3. Exporting Audio

“Bounce” can also describe the process of exporting several tracks in an audio mix to one mono track or two stereo tracks. This helps consolidate audio tracks after they have been mixed. Bouncing audio tracks limits the need for processing power since the computer only has to process one track instead of all the tracks individually. Digital Performer is the primary audio software program that uses bouncing to export audio.

4. Hiding a Network Connection

Finally, “bouncing” can also be used in networking to describe a method of hiding the source of a user’s network connection. This type of bouncing is often abbreviated “BNC.” Someone who bounces his network connection is called a “bouncer,” though this is not the same person who checks your ID at the bar.

Internet

Web Forum Definition

Web Forum Definition

A Web forum is a website or section of a website that allows visitors to communicate with each other by posting messages. Most forums allow anonymous visitors to view forum postings, but require you to create an account in order to post messages in the forum. When posting in a forum, you can create new topics (or “threads”) or post replies within existing threads.

Web forums are available for all kinds of topics. Examples include software support, help for webmasters, and programming discussions. While lots of Web forums focus on IT topics, they are not limited to information technology. There are forums related to health, fitness, cars, houses, teaching, parenting, and thousands of other topics. Some forums are general, like a fitness forum, while others are more specific, such as a forum for yoga instructors.

Since Web forums are comprised of user-generated content (UGC), they continue to grow as long as users visit the site and post messages. The webmaster of a Web forum simply needs to manage the forum, which may require moving, combining, and archiving threads. It may also involve monitoring postings and removing ones that are inappropriate. While this can be a large task for popular forums, most forum software, like vBulletin and phpBB, can filter out inappropriate content.

Because Web forums are constantly growing, they have become a large part of the Web. In fact, if you search for help on a certain topic, there is a good chance one or more forum pages will appear in the top results. After all, if you have a question about something, odds are you’re not the only one. You can use forums to glean knowledge from others who have shared your questions in the past. Conversely, you can help others by sharing your ideas and answers in an online forum.

NOTE: Web forums are also called Internet forums, discussion boards, and online bulletin boards.

Internet

Newsgroup Definition

Newsgroup Definition

A newsgroup is an online discussion forum accessible through Usenet. Each newsgroup contains discussions about a specific topic, indicated in the newsgroup name. You can browse newsgroups and post or reply to topics using a newsreader program. Access to newsgroups also requires a Usenet subscription. Most Usenet providers offer monthly access for around $10 USD per month.

Newsgroups may be either moderated or unmoderated. In a moderated newsgroup, a moderator must approve posts in order for them to become part of the discussion. In an unmoderated group, everything posted is included in the discussion. Some newsgroups may also use bots to moderate the content, automatically eliminating posts that are deemed offensive or off topic.

While many people now use web forums and online chat instead of newsgroups, the service is still popular around the world. In fact, there are estimated to be over 100,000 newsgroups in existence. While many newsgroups host traditional text-based discussions, a large number of newsgroups are now used for file sharing. These newsgroups, which primarily provide links to files, often have the term “binaries” in their name.

Newsgroup Examples

Below are some examples of active newsgroups. The first part of the name (before the first dot) is the primary category (or hierarchy) or the newsgroup. For example, sci. is used for science-related discussions.

  • alt.politics
  • talk.religion
  • sci.physics
  • comp.software.testing
  • alt.binaries.documentaries
  • alt.binaries.multimedia.comedy

You can browse discussions and post to newsgroups using a newsreader.

Internet

IRC Definition

IRC Definition

Stands for “Internet Relay Chat.” IRC is a service that allows people to chat with each other online. It operates on a client/server model where individuals use a client program to connect to an IRC server. Popular IRC clients include mIRC for Windows and Textual for OS X. Several web-based clients are also available, including KiwiIRC and Mibbit.

In order to join an IRC conversation, you must choose a username and a channel. Your username, also called a handle, can be whatever you want. It may include letters and numbers, but not spaces. A channel is a specific chat group within an IRC network where users can talk to each other. Some networks publish lists of available channels, while others require you to manually enter channel names in order to join them. Channels always begin with a hashtag followed by a name that represents their intended chat topic, such as “#teenchat,” “#politics,” or “#sports”. Some IRC channels require a password while others are open to the public.

When you join a channel, the chat window will begin displayig messages people are typing. You can join the conversation by typing your own messages. While channel members can type whatever they want, popular channels are often moderated. That means human operators or automated bots may kick people out of the channel and even ban users who post offensive remarks or spam the channel with repeated messages.

While IRC was designed as a public chat service, it supports other features such as private messaging and file transfers. For example, you can use an IRC command (which typically begins with a forward slash “/”) to request a private chat session with another user. Then you can use another IRC command to send the user a file from your local system.

NOTE: IRC was a popular way for users to connect online before social media became prevalent in the early 2000s. Today, many people still use IRC, but social media sites and apps are much more popular.

Internet

Search Engine Definition

Search Engine Definition

Google, Excite, Lycos, AltaVista, Infoseek, and Yahoo are all search engines. They index millions of sites on the Web, so that Web surfers like you and me can easily find Web sites with the information we want. By creating indexes, or large databases of Web sites (based on titles, keywords, and the text in the pages), search engines can locate relevant Web sites when users enter search terms or phrases. When you are looking for something using a search engine, it is a good idea to use words like AND, OR, and NOT to specify your search. Using these boolean operators, you can usually get a list of more relevant sites.

Internet

Reciprocal Link Definition

Reciprocal Link Definition

A reciprocal link is a mutual link between two websites. For example, if website A links to website B, then website B can add a reciprocal link back to website A. The result of a reciprocal link is two websites that link to each each other.

Reciprocal links are typically created for one of two purposes: 1) to establish a partnership between two websites, or 2) to boost search engine ranking. If two websites provide related information, the webmasters may decide it makes sense to link to each other. They can establish an online partnership by providing reciprocal links on their websites. Additionally, if a company or individual owns multiple sites, the webmaster may add reciprocal links to each site so that visitors are aware of the other sites.

Reciprocal linking is also used to boost search engine ranking. Since search engine ranking algorithms factor in the number of incoming links, or “inlinks,” a website has, reciprocal links can help increase a website’s search engine ranking. However, since search engines also factor in the quality of each site providing an incoming link, not all reciprocal links are beneficial.

NOTE: A reciprocal link may link to any page within a website, not just the page that contains the link back to the site.

Internet

Web 2.0 Definition

Web 2.0 Definition

Web 2.0 is a term that was introduced in 2004 and refers to the second generation of the World Wide Web. The term “2.0” comes from the software industry, where new versions of software programs are labeled with an incremental version number. Like software, the new generation of the Web includes new features and functionality that was not available in the past. However, Web 2.0 does not refer to a specific version of the Web, but rather a series of technological improvements.

Some examples of features considered to be part of Web 2.0 are listed below:

  • Blogs – also known as Web logs, these allow users to post thoughts and updates about their life on the Web.
  • Wikis – sites like Wikipedia and others enable users from around the world to add and update online content.
  • Social networking – sites like Facebook and MySpace allow users to build and customize their own profile sand communicate with friends.
  • Web applications – a broad range of new applications make it possible for users to run programs directly in a Web browser.

Web 2.0 technologies provide a level user interaction that was not available before. Websites have become much more dynamic and interconnected, producing “online communities” and making it even easier to share information on the Web. Because most Web 2.0 features are offered as free services, sites like Wikipedia and Facebook have grown at amazingly fast rates. As the sites continue to grow, more features are added, building off the technologies in place. So, while Web 2.0 may be a static label given to the new era of the Web, the actual technology continues to evolve and change.

Internet

Usenet Definition

Usenet Definition

Usenet is collection of online discussions that are organized into newsgroups. Users may create their own discussion topics or contribute to existing threads within a topic. Some newsgroups provide forums for questions and answers, while others are designed primarily for file sharing.

Usenet started in 1980 as a medium for discussing topics online, similar to a bulletin board system (BBS). However, instead of being hosted on a single server, Usenet newsgroups were hosted on hundreds of servers across the world. As the Internet grew in popularity, so did Usenet, extending online discussions to countries around the globe.

While Usenet was designed for text-based discussions, it evolved to support file sharing as well. Today, Usenet is commonly used to distribute files (or “binaries” since the files may contain any type of binary data). Examples include videos, songs, pictures, and software programs. Usenet downloads commonly have an .NZB extension, which is an XML file that describes one or more locations where the actual file can be downloaded.

Usenet data is transmitted over the Network News Transfer Protocol. Access to Usenet is available through a number of different Usenet providers, typically for around $10 USD per month. Examples include Usenet Storm, Newshosting, and Astraweb, among many others. Some services offer web-based tools to access and contribute to newsgroups, but you can also use a newsreader, such as Newsbin, Agent, and Pan.

Internet

ICMP Definition

ICMP Definition

Stands for “Internet Control Message Protocol.” When information is transferred over the Internet, computer systems send and receive data using the TCP/IP protocol. If there is a problem with the connection, error and status messages regarding the connection are sent using ICMP, which is part of the Internet protocol.

When one computer connects to another system over the Internet (such as a home computer connecting to a Web server to view a website), it may seem like a quick and easy process. While the connection may take place in a matter of seconds, there are often many separate connections that must happen in order for the computers to successfully communicate with each other. In fact, if you were to trace all the steps of an Internet connection using a traceroute command, it might surprise you that Internet connections are successful as often as they are. This is because for every “hop” along the way, the network must be functional and able to accept requests from your computer.

In cases where there is a problem with the connection, ICMP can send back codes to your system explaining why a connection failed. These may be messages such as, “Network unreachable” for a system that is down, or “Access denied” for a secure, password-protected system. ICMP may also provide routing suggestions to help bypass unresponsive systems. While ICMP can send a variety of different messages, most are never seen by the user. Even if you do receive an error message, the software you are using, such as a Web browser, has most likely already translated the message into simple (and hopefully less technical) language you can understand.

Internet

IPv6 Definition

IPv6 Definition

Every computer system and device connected to the Internet is located by an IP address. The current system of distributing IP addresses is called IPv4. This system assigns each computer a 32-bit numeric address, such as 120.121.123.124. However, with the growth of computers connected to the Internet, the number of available IP addresses are predicted to run out in only a few years. This is why IPv6 was introduced.

IPv6, also called IPng (or IP Next Generation), is the next planned version of the IP address system. (IPv5 was an experimental version used primarily for streaming data.) While IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, which increases the number of possible addresses by an exponential amount. For example, IPv4 allows 4,294,967,296 addresses to be used (2^32). IPv6 allows for over 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 IP addresses. That should be enough to last awhile.

Because IPv6 allows for substantially more IP addresses than IPv4, the addresses themselves are more complex. They are typically written in this format:

hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh:hhhh

Each “hhhh” section consists of a four-digit hexadecimal number, which means each digit can be from 0 to 9 and from A to F. An example IPv6 address may look like this:

F704:0000:0000:0000:3458:79A2:D08B:4320

Because IPv6 addresses are so complex, the new system also adds extra security to computers connected to the Internet. Since there are so may IP address possibilities, it is nearly impossible to guess the IP address of another computer. While most computer systems today support IPv6, the new Internet procotol has yet to be fully implemented. During this transitional process, computers are often assigned both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address. By 2008, the U.S. government has mandated that all government systems use IPv6 addresses, which should help move the transition along.