To learn more about Alpha Web Smarts stop looking at the source code ;) -->



Access time:
The time required to retrieve information from the computer's memory or from a disk drive, server or network.

Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line - a high speed signal processing technology that expands the usable bandwidth of traditional copper telephone lines.

A small application that is downloaded to the browser and run as required. It is then removed from the memory when you move to another web page.

American Standard Code for Information Interchange- an ASCII file contains standard text characters as data.

Active Server Pages. ASP is the SSI (Server Side Included) language developed by Microsoft.

Application Service Provider - third party organisations that distribute and manage software-based services and applications.

A computer file or document attached to an email message before it is sent.

A system whereby people gain trusted access to systems only through adequate proof of identity.




Business to business ecommerce. This refers to the increasing number of websites designed to trade with each other over the Internet. These are usually industry specific.

Business to client ecommerce. This refers to websites designed to allow consumers to buy goods and services over the Internet.

Main high-speed internet connection path that links the country's Internet Service Providers. There's an Australian and US backbone.

The amount of stretch in a network connection, ie its maximum carrying capacity for data traffic.

A binary unit of information. In digital data a bit is either 1 or 0.

Bounced mail is email bounced back or returned to the sender when it is not accepted by the destination.

Bits Per Second- the data transmission speed of a modem.

A high bandwidth network (carrying voice audio and data simultaneously) allowing for high-speed Internet access.

Software that makes it possible for a networked computer to visit Web pages. Common browsers include Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

A byte represents one character of data or information and is made up of eight bits.




A small temporary memory store for regularly accessed or recently used data.

Carbon Copy is the duplicate of an email document.

Click-through Rate:
An online advertising term which refers to the number of website visitors that click on an online advertisement.

An individual's desktop PC or work station connected to a network that requests information from a server.

The process of making a file smaller for faster transfer and storage.

A simple coded file sent to a Web server every time you visit a site. Cookies allow websites to identify users and customise information based on previous visits.

Country code:
A two letter code identifying the country or location of a host computer such as .au for Australia, .uk for United Kingdom, etc.

The criminal use of other people's computer accounts and software. Not to be confused with hacking.

The registration of a domain name for the purpose of selling it back to the rightful owner for a large sum of money. Refers also to the abusive registration of domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark.



If a message is encrypted for security reasons it must be converted back to text before it can be read.

Denial of Service:
When an intruder floods a Web server with data causing it to slow down or crash.

Digital cash:
A virtual currency system that allows users to purchase goods and services online. The widespread use of digital cash in ecommerce has been hampered be the emergence of a number of alternative payment methods.

Digital certificates:
Attachments made to electronic messages used to authenticate the identity of a sender. Also referred to as digital signatures. Digital certificates will grow in importance in ecommerce as a way of confirming the identity of customers thus avoiding credit card fraud.

Domain Name System (DNS) which is the way Internet domain names are located and translated into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Domain name server:
The computer or server that converts numeric IP adresses to domain names and back up again.

Domain name:
Internet adresses are actually IP numbers such as To make these adresses easier to remember a system of domain names was devised to correspond with these numbers.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) - brings high-bandwidth information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines. Variations include ADSL, HDSL and RDSL.




Software that scrambles sensitive information and payment details for safe passage and storing on the internet. Particularly important in ecommerce when people provide credit card details.

An online system for an organisation's buyers and suppliers to purchase goods and services.

A popular local area network (LAN) used to connect computers, printers, servers and other devices.

An intranet which allows varying levels of access to outsiders. Usually used to connect a company to its customers and or business partners.




A tool separating an internal network and the rest of the Internet thus making the Internet more secure.

Part of a Web browser's software that divides your computer screen into several sections or windows.

The process of creating a frame or window within a website to display a different website.

Software and utilities made freely available. Although you don't have to pay any fees, freeware is still covered by copyright. FTP: File Transfer Protocol- a system for moving files across networks.

Fulfilment houses:
These are companies created to organise delivery orders following electronic transactions. Fulfilment houses are growing in importance as a standard avenue for exchanging and conducting ecommerce and are often the key to a successful online business.




Graphics Interchange Format- a file for storing and exchanging pictures.

General Packet Ratio Service- a new wireless technology for WAP and mobile phones, involves breaking data into packets.




Hackers are technologically-minded individuals who sniff out problems in computer systems in a quest to enhance their technical competency. Hackers have an undeservedly bad reputation. Not to be confused with cracking.

Handheld Device Markup Language. The proprietary language of Used to format content for Web-enabled (WAP) phones. Header: The top of an email or newsgroup message that lets you know where the message comes from and when it was posted.

This is a highly inaccurate Web traffic measure and is becoming obsolete. Often confused with page impressions, hits refer to the number of links on a page. Therefore one page impression could carry as much as ten or more hits.

Home page:
The opening or entry page of a website. A home page is linked to other pages within a website.

Hyper Text Markup Language- the tags used to mark text documents for publication on the World Wide Web.

Hyper Text Transport Protocol- the standard used for sharing information on the Internet. Hypertext: Hypertext is a hyperlinked piece of text which links to another section of a page, another section of a site or to another site altogether.




Internet radio:
Internet only radio stations are websites that use audiostreaming to webcast and link users to a live audio feeds. There are now many players in the internet radio space.

An intranet is a private or internal computer network that uses technology similar to the Internet to disseminate information within an organisation.

Internet Relay Chat- a chat system that requires software running on your computer.

Integrated Services Digital Network- a high-speed digital communications medium used for fast connection to the Internet and for video-conferencing.ISDN is transmitted digitally over ordinary telephone lines, delivering Web pages at up to 128Kbps.

Internet Service Provider- an organisation that allows users to dial into its computers to connect to the wider Internet for a fee.




A cross-platform, secure programming language created by Sun Microsystems used to write Java applets and allow applications to be developed and sent across the Web.

A set of programming commands (unrelated to Java) created by Netscape for inclusion in Web pages.

Joint Photographic Experts Group- a format for storing graphics files that allows them to be compressed.




Kilobits per second. A unit of measurement indicating the speed at which data is transferred over phone lines.

Kilobytes per second. A unit of measurement indicating the speed at which data is transferred over phone lines.




Local Area Network- Two or more personal computers linked together in order to share programs, data, email, printers and other peripherals such as modems.

A server on the internet that sends a newsletter to registered users. Usually a type of mailing list or newsletter that exists amongst a particular group of enthusiasts.

Log File:
A server log file records the time, date and email address of each visitor to a website, providing the website owner with information on the Internet traffic to their site.




Mailing list:
A list of people who receive email on a particular topic.

Megabyte- a common measurement of computer storage equalling approximately one million bytes.

Mbps :
Megabits per second.

Tags: Meta Tags are the key words embedded in the opening page of a website that allow search engines to categorise websites.

Megahertz- a system measuring a computer system's speed. One MHz is equivalent to one million cycles per second.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions- an Internet standard for transferring sound and pictures by using email.

Mirror site:
A website that contains exactly the same information as another site elsewhere in the world. A method used to spread the load on popular sites.

The hardware that connects your computer to an ISP through the telephone network. Derived from the words modulate and demodulate.

A moderator ensures all contributions to a newsgroup are suitable before sending them.

MPEG 3 is a compressed sound file. MP3 also refers to the growing trend of downloading sound files from the Internet and playing them on the PC or MP3 players.

Motion Picture Experts Group- a standard for compressing audio and video data.

Multiple User Dungeon or Domain- a Net space designed and inhabited by users who adopt a role or identity and type in their character's actions. The popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons is an example.




A newsgroup is a series of public messages posted on the Internet which are devoted to a specific subject. A message is publicly posted and others reply on the topic.




Operating System- the basic software that controls a computer's fundamental operations. Common OS's include Windows, Macintosh and Linux.




Page impressions:
One page impression means one person has seen a Web page once. The number of page impressions should not include refreshed pages.

Public Key Infrastructure- the combination of software, encryption technologies and services that enables businesses to protect the security of its information and financial transactions on the Internet.

An add-on feature for your browser that increases functionality, such as providing multimedia capabilities.

Points of Presence- used by ISPs to give local dial-in access to a network service.

Pop-up box:
An online advertisement that appears or pops up in a separate box or window over the top of a website's content. Pop-up boxes can be closed down by the users or will expire after a set time.

A horizontal portal acts as a gateway or one stop shop for Net users, offering a range of services such as news, search engines and links to other sites. Portal examples include Exite, Looksmart and Yahoo.

Point to Point Protocol- a direct connection to the Net from your computer, via a modem and phone line.

A server used as a store for commonly accessed files. Speeds up Net use.




Random Access Memory- a temporary memory storage area to load program instructions and store files while in use. Information stored in RAM will be lost once the computer is turned off unless a file is saved to disk or hard drive.

A division of the unique users by the total Internet population during a reported time period. The idea is to show how many of all Net users a particular site has reached.

RealAudio is a brand of software that allows Web servers to send sound. Versions that use streaming technology are also available.

Return users:
The number of users who visited a site more than once (returned). Not to be confused with unique visitors.

A device used to transfer packets from a computer to one network (LAN) to other computers on other networks via the fastest and most efficient route.




Search engine:
A program that searches indexes of addresses using keywords. The depth of the search is up to you and or the extent of its index.

Any computer that's connected to a network that stores information and makes it available to outside users.

Secure Electronic Transaction- the current security standard for online payments. set encrypts and uses digital certificates to verify customers, merchants and banks are authorised to use and accept credit cards.

Copyright protected software that is publicly distributed on the condition that if a user trials a program and decides to keep using it they will send a payment to the author.

Shockware Flash:
A Macromedia program which allows animation files to be played on the internet.

Shopping basket:
A software system designed for online shopping sites that records individual items for purchase in the form of an order.

These are credit card sized devices that contain a computerchip. They can be used for a variety of payment options- credit, debit and stored-value electronic cash- as well as storage of financial and personal information.

An unsolicited piece of advertising sent en masse via email or posted to a newsgroup.

Secure Sockets Layer- a technology developed by Netscape which allows Internet browsers to automatically encrypt private data, such as credit card numbers, before sending it over the Internet.

A method of delivering sound and video files "live" as they arrive at your computer.




Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol- a system of communications that enables computers with different architectures and operating systems to communicate to the Internet.

Telephone company. General term for Optus, Testra or Vodaphone.

Tagged Image File Format- a common graphics file format used for still images.




Unique Users:
Refers to the number of different users who visited a website within a given period.

Uniform Resource Locater. The address system used on the Web.

Universal Serial Bus. A serial bus on hardware that allows users to plug a peripheral into a USB port.USB ports are standard in PCs and notebooks today.




Visit duration:
The average length of users' visits to a particular site. The longer, the better.

A vortal is a (vertical market) portal designed to appeal to a specific niche audience. For example, a vortal could be designed for a specific industry, age or life-style group.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language- a programming language for the creation of virtual worlds. Using a VRML viewer you can take a virtual tour of a 3D model building or manipulate 3D animations.




Wide Area Network- a computer network that covers a wide geographic area and is joined by dedicated lines.

Wireless Application Protocol- a new technology for mobile phone networks that allows Internet access using hand-sets. It is believed that WAP will lead to a variety of other wireless technologies and services that will revolutionise the way people use their mobile phones and other appliances.




Software files compresses into .ZIP format so they take up less space. The process of compression is called zipping and decompression is called unzipping.


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