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Reference / Glossary

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Cross References
backbone n. A set of nodes and their interconnecting links that form a central, high-speed network interconnecting other, typically lower-speed, networks or client nodes.
backbone network n. A central network to which smaller networks, normally of lower speed, connect. The backbone network usually has a much higher capacity than the networks it helps interconnect or is a wide-area network (WAN) such as a public packet-switched datagram network.
back-burner v. To move something to a lower priority in the hope that it will go away or be solved by someone else.
background picture n. The diagram or image that is displayed behind other symbols to show their context or relations.
background process n. A process that does not require operator intervention but can be run by the computer while the workstation is used to do other work.
background task n. A task that is running even though the user is not currently interacting with it.
back-level n. Pertaining to a prior release of an IBM product, which may not support certain functions in a more current release.
ballpark v. To make a rough estimate. When the term is used before the noun "number," it absolves the speaker of any responsibility for incorrect data.
bandwidth 1. n. The difference, expressed in hertz, between the highest and the lowest frequencies of a range of frequencies. 2. n. In asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), the capacity of a virtual channel, expressed in terms of peak cell rate (PCR), sustainable cell rate (SCR), and maximum burst size (MBS). 3. n. A measure of the capacity of a communication transport medium (such as a TV cable) to convey data.
Basic Input/Output System n. Code that controls basic hardware operations, such as interactions with diskette drives, hard disk drives, and the keyboard
batch 1. n. An accumulation of data to be processed. 2. n. A group of records or data processing jobs brought together for processing or transmission. 3. n. Pertaining to activity involving little or no user action.
batch file n. A file containing data that is to be processed unattended.
baud n. In asynchronous transmission, the unit of modulation rate corresponding to one unit interval per second; that is, if the duration of the unit interval is 20 milliseconds, the modulation rate is 50 baud.
bean n. A reusable Java component that is built using the JavaBeans technology.
beta test v. To test a prerelease version of a piece of software by making it available to selected customers and users.
big iron n. large computers
bit n. Either of the digits 0 or 1 when used in the binary numeration system.
bitmap 1. n. A representation of an image by an array of bits. 2. n. A pixmap with a depth of one bit plane.
block n. A string of data elements recorded or transmitted as a unit. The elements may be characters, words, or physical records.
blue letter n. The document once distributed by the IBM Data Processing Division to announce a new product or education course. So named because it was printed on blue paper, the blue letter contained the generalized product description and specifications that were used to make the IBM marketing representatives expert on the new offering. The blue letters were later printed on ivory colored paper and it then became fashionable to call the documents "ivory letters."
boil the ocean v. To attempt something too ambitious. Some managers who have a propensity for boiling the ocean are ideal candidates for serving on task forces (see).
boiler plate 1. n. Content-free portions of a presentation included to capture the attention and otherwise distract the listener from any real issues. 2. n. The standard language used in a press release to describe the company issuing the release.
Boolean 1. n. Pertaining to the processes used in the algebra formulated by George Boole. 2. n. A value of 0 or 1 represented internally in binary notation.
Boolean operation 1. n. Any operation in which each of the operands and the result take one of two values. 2. n. An operation that follows the rules of Boolean algebra.
boot v. To prepare a computer system for operation by loading an operating system.
box n. A hardware product, usually a computer (as in: "They're selling a lot of boxes now.").
bps n. Bits per second.
broadband 1. n. A frequency band broad enough to be divided into several narrower bands, each of which can be used for different purposes or be made available to different users. 2. n. A frequency band divisible into several narrower bands so that different kinds of transmission (such as voice, video, and data) can occur at the same time. 3. n. Transmission media and techniques that use a broad frequency range, divided into sub-bands of narrower frequency.
broadcast 1. n. Transmission of the same data to all destinations. 2. n. Simultaneous transmission of data to more than one destination.
browse v. To look at records in a file.
browser See Web browser.
buck slip n. 1. A routing slip listing the names of members of a department. Used to make the loss of correspondence more organized. 2. n. A routing slip attached to a document to rid it from one's desk and lay it onto another's, usually adorned with the words "Please handle."
buffer 1. n. A routine or storage used to compensate for a difference in rate of flow of data, or time of occurrence of events, when transferring data from one device to another. 2. v. To allocate and schedule the use of buffers. 3. n. A portion of storage used to hold input or output data temporarily.
bug n. A very broad term denoting a defect in either hardware or software. Personality bugs are denoted with different language.
build-to-order adj. Of a hardware product: manufactured or to be manufactured, following customer orders.
build-to-plan adj. Of a hardware product: manufactured or to be manufactured, independently of customer orders.
bullet 1. n. One of a list of items to be emphasized, usually marked by a graphical device alongside it on a foil (see). 2. n. A short, factual statement.
bullets v. To convert a proposal, argument or result into a list of items for a foil (which may or may not be preceded by bullets).
burn v. To make a photocopy.
burst n. In data communication, a sequence of data counted as one unit in accordance with some specific criterion or measure.
bus 1. n. A facility for transferring data between several devices located between two end points, only one device being able to transmit at a given moment. 2. n. A computer configuration in which processors are interconnected in series.
button 1. n. A mechanism on a pointing device, such as a mouse, used to request or initiate an action or a process. 2. n. A graphical device that identifies a choice. 3. n. A graphical mechanism that, when selected, performs a visible action. For example, when a user clicks on a list button, a list of choices appears.
byte 1. n. A string that consists of a number of bits, treated as a unit, and representing a character. 2. n. A binary character operated upon as a unit and usually shorter than a computer word. 3. n. A group of 8 adjacent binary digits that represent one EBCDIC character.
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