Define Bi-Tronics | What is Bi-Tronics

A modified Centronics connection created by Hewlett-Packard. It utilizes bidirectional communication, allowing the printer to send messages to the computer (for example, out of paper, paper jam, and so forth).

Define Bit | What is Bit

The smallest unit of information that is recognized by a microcomputer. Shorthand term for binary digit. There are only two possible binary digits: 0 and 1.

Define BIOS | What is BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)

Software that includes the initialization programs stored on ROM (read-only memory) chips. Used during the startup routine to check out the system and prepare to run the hardware.

Define Binary System | What is Binary System

The language used by computers that is based on something being either on or off. There are only two digits used in binary language: 1 equals on, and 0 equals off.

Define Binary File | What is Binary File

A file type in the form of pure data (1s and 0s) that needs to be converted to an image, sound, or application to be used. See also ASCII file.

Define BBS (Bulletin Board System) | What is Bulletin Board System

A local computer system that is not part of the Internet. It allows users to dial in and chat with others and download or upload files.

Define Baud | What is Baud

Roughly speaking, a measurement of how fast data can be sent over telephone lines.

Define Battery | What is Battery

A power source for use outside or as an alternate to electricity. Prevents unique information about the setup of the computer from being lost when the power is turned off. Also maintains the external clock time (not to be confused with the CPU's clock).

Define Bandwidth | What is Bandwidth

Used in several ways to denote the amount of data or load capacity of a medium. (1) The range of frequencies that an electronic system can transmit. High bandwidth allows fast transmission or the ability to transmit many signals at once. (2) On a monitor screen, a higher bandwidth provides a sharper image. (3) The rate at which data can be sent over a modem or other telecommunication device.

Define Backslash | What is Backslash (\)

Symbol used to separate each directory level, for instance C:\Windows\Utilities. For this reason, it is a reserved character and cannot be used as part of a filename.

Define Attachment | What is Attachment

A file attached to e-mail; most e-mail clients allow the user to append files (for instance, graphics files like .gif or .jpeg files) to e-mail as a handy way of sending information to other people.

Define Asynchronous | What is Asynchronous

Not synchronized—the computer is free to transmit any number of characters at any time. The bits constituting a single character are transmitted at a fixed rate, but the pauses between transmissions can be of any duration.

Define ASCII File | What is ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

Commonly used term to refer to a text file that contains only data as set forth by the American Standard Code for Information Interchange to conform to their standard.

Define Ampere | What is Ampere

A measurement of electrical current strength.

Define AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) | What is AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port)

An Intel- designed expansion port found on Pentium II and later computers that allows a separate data path for display adapters.

Define Address Bus - What is Address Bus

A group of parallel conductors (circuit traces) found on the motherboard that are used by the CPU (central processing unit) to "address" memory locations. Determines what information or code is sent to or received from the data bus.

Define Access Speed - What is Access Speed

The time required to complete read or write instructions as required by the memory controller chip. Usually measured in nanoseconds (ns) for memory chips and milliseconds (ms) for disk drives. Most manufacturers rate average access time on a hard disk as the time required for a seek across one third of the total number of cylinders plus one half of the time for a single revolution of the disk platters.