The Modem Dictionary (C) Copyright 1993 R. Scott Perry All Rights Reserved Version 1.50 +q

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The Modem Dictionary (C) Copyright 1993 R. Scott Perry All Rights Reserved Version 1.50 "What is this, why, and who is this guy?" I feel that this dictionary fills a major void. In my years of using BBS's, I have never seen such a dictionary. The closest thing I've seen was a text file that had about 40 words listed. These words included "RAM" "ROM" "Microcomputer" "Telex" and a bunch of other words that aren't really that important to under- stand computer telecommunications. I've seen some books about "modeming" in bookstores, but they tend to be expensive ($15- $49), and I don't recall seeing any dictionaries of terms relat- ing to modems. Also, many terms are easy to confuse and it can be very difficult to find definitions for these terms. I have seen terms used incorrectly in advertisements by modem manufac- turers and in many magazine articles. I hope that this diction- ary can be used as a good source of reference for confusing terms. Why do I feel qualified to write a dictionary such as this? I bought my first modem more than seven years ago and have been using computers for twice as long. Not only have I used many different computers and modems, I have seen the days where 1200bps BBS's were rare because most people had 300bps modems. For about a year I ran my own BBS, which was quite successful at the time. While I only had about 150K of storage for messages and files, I was able to get over 500 users in that year. I have also gathered, read, and searched through hundreds of text files, magazines, and program documentation, just to help define words and find new words for this dictionary. I have also spoken to representatives of major companies to help find out the truth behind the more confusing terms. LEGAL STUFF This dictionary is provided with no warranty of any kind. The author and/or distributor will not be liable for any conse- quences resulting from the use of this information. This is a field where misconceptions abound. Although to the best of our knowledge all information is accurate, we can not guarantee its accuracy. NOTES Note 1: It was difficult to decide what words to include and what words not to include. I tried to include every term relat- ing to computer telecommunications that the average user needs to know, or might come across and be curious about. Some words (such as PSK) are easily found in manuals for modems, but are hard to find definitions for. I tried to include as many of these as possible. Note 2: Since there are so many words defined here, and many of them are complex and easily misunderstood, I wouldn't be sur- prised if there are a couple errors of some sort. I tried to be as careful as I could, but it is possible that there may be some mistakes. If you notice any mistakes, or have suggestions of words to add (or take out), feel free to write to me. I'll correct any mistakes in future versions. MAKING COPIES OF THIS DICTIONARY This dictionary is being marketing as freeware. It is copy- righted, and you may not make any changes to it without my per- mission. O You may give copies to anyone you know. O Any BBS may have this dictionary available for downloading. O Any shareware distributors (including CD-ROM developers) may distribute this. I'd really appreciate a note saying that you are doing so. O If you SELL any communications products, and wish to distribute this dictionary with your product(s), you MUST get my permission first (if you do not, it is considered copyright infringement). Send requests to the address listed below. O If you wish to QUOTE this dictionary in any media, such as in an article for a computer magazine, you must let me know. Just send a note to the address below. PAYMENT? I've obviously put in countless hours over the past 4 years creating this dictionary. Just searching through new articles and information to find new words takes hours. As mentioned above, this dictionary is being marketed as freeware. Feel free to use it as much as you want. If you find that you are benefiting from it, I'd appreciate something. A letter of thanks or some input would be very welcome. I'd love to hear how you are using this dictionary. Since its first release in 1989, the dictionary has been used: in training courses run by modem manufacturers; as a reference for term papers for school; as a reference for an article for a Bar Association; by SysOps for new user messages; and more. "How do I reach the author?" I appreciate your input. If you notice an error, or a word that is not included, or have praise/complaints, want to let me know how you are using the dictionary, or for any other reason, feel free to write to me. I'm always looking to improve the dictionary. Send any comments/suggestions/notices/etc. to: R. Scott Perry 178 Morton Street Newton Centre, MA 02159 Hopefully, at some point there will be a BBS to call to get the latest version of the Telecommunications Dictionary, as well as to use as an easy way to contact me. Until then, you can get the latest version from Computerized Horizons. You can write to them at 2490 Black Rock Turnpike #309, Fairfield, CT 06430. I hope you enjoy this dictionary! Notes about the entries ----- ----- --- ------- * [Also called ] and [Same as ] mean that there are more than one word for a certain concept. Do not bother looking at , it will just refer you back to the original entry. * [See also ] at the end of a definition refers you to more information or an entry that may help you understand the original entry better. Also, a word and it's opposite will often refer to each another. * [See ] appearing directly after the term indicates that the definition is the same as , and you should look there. * BBS is used here generically to denote any service that you can call up with your computer, whether it is a bulletin board, a pay service, or even a mainframe. * Some entries refer to computers in general, but an understand- ing of them is sometimes needed to understand other entries. The Dictionary --- ---------- ---Numbers--- 8N1 - The most common modem format. [See also format]. 42A Block - This is a box about two inches square, with a modular jack, that separates the wires coming from the phone company. You can plug a phone or modem into this jacking, using a modular cord. [See also modular cord, modular jack, modular plug]. 103 - Officially, `Bell 103' which is the standard controlling transmission at 300 bps in the United States. It was created by AT&T. [See also 212A, V.21]. 212A - Officially, `Bell 212A' which is the standard controlling transmission at 1200 bps in the United States. It was created by AT&T. [See also 103, V.22]. 300 bps (baud) - A transmission speed that is now almost never used, although most modems will allow communication at the speed (since it was common in the early 1980's). It is roughly equal to 30 characters per second. 1200 bps (baud) - In the mid 1980s this was the most common transmission speed, until 2400 bps became popular/cheaper. It is roughly equal to 120 characters per second. 2400 bps (baud) - A fairly high-speed transmission speed that towards the end of the 1980s gained popularity. It is roughly equal to 240 characters per second. 3400 hertz - The highest pitch that a telephone line will trans- mit. This cutoff limits the ways in which computers can communi- cate over telephone lines. 8250 UART - The UART used for the communications ports on most older computers. [See also UART]. 9600 bps (baud) - This, along with 14,400 bps are the 2 standard speeds for high-speed modems. It can transmit and receive ap- proximately 960 characters per second (without compression). 14400 bps - Currently, the fastest standard speed for high-speed modems. 16450 UART - The UART used with some 286 computers. [See also UART]. 16550 UART - This is the UART used with most newer computers and high speed modems. There are several variations, but they all include one main feature: they include buffering, so that if data comes in or is sent faster than the computer/modem can accept it, the UART will hold the data (up to 16 bytes) until the computer/modem is ready for it. [See also UART]. 16550A UART - See 16550 UART. 16550AF UART - See 16550 UART. 16550AFN UART - See 16550 UART. ---A--- abort - [1] The command word used with editors that allows you to exit, destroying your message. [2] The character used to stop characters from a block of text appearing on your screen. Usual- ly the spacebar or CTRL-X are used to abort a message. access - Refers to an intangible amount (usually represented by a security level or flags) that indicate to what extent you are allowed to use a BBS. When used in a term such as `you will be granted access', it means the amount of access that new users will generally receive. account - A term that refers to information that a BBS has about you. It is usually referred to by an ID number or your name. The information it contains can include any information that you have at some point given the BBS, usually including your name, phone number, and security level. [See also user number]. account number - See user number. Acculink - A packet switched network that is used to save money on long-distance telecommunications. ACK - A character (CTRL-F) that ACKnowledges something, usually that a certain amount of data has been received correctly. [See also NAK]. acoustic coupler - This was common many years ago, but rare now. It is a cradle in which you would place the handset of a phone. This would be connected to a modem, and the modem would access the phone line through this coupler. Modern modems connect directly to the phone line. [See also acoustic modem]. acoustic modem - A modem that uses an acoustic coupler. [See also acoustic coupler]. adaptive data compression - See ADC. adaptive dialing - When a modem can determine whether to dial pulse or tone. It will try dialing with tones first. If that doesn't work, it will dial pulse. adaptive equalization - Modems that have this feature "listen" to the phone line to find the bandwidth with the least noise, and use that part of the band for transmission. This allows for less interference from noise. ADC - Adaptive Data Compression. A method of data compression developed by Hayes, with a possible compression ratio of 2:1. alias - A name that users can use on a bulletin board that is not their own. Aliases are usually used by young BBS users and those who pirate software or do other illegal activities. Some exam- ples of aliases are `Cracker Kid', `Starbuck', and `Midnight Killer'. [Also called handle]. [See also user name]. ampersand - A character (&) that usually means `and'. analog - As far as electronic signals are concerned, analog refers to signals that can represent an infinite range of num- bers, as opposed to digital which can only be distinct whole numbers. Analog data often comes from measurements. The sound a modem makes over the phone is analog since it can be any of a number of different frequencies. [See also digital]. anonymous - Refers to a message, where the author was able to leave out his name. On some BBS's you are allowed to post anony- mous messages so that others won't know who you are. The SysOp usually can find out who the author is, however. ANSI - ANSI is an organization that sets standards. ANSI graph- ics, however, is a set of cursor control codes which originated on the VT100 smart terminal. Many BBS's use these codes to help improve the sending of characters to communications programs. It uses the escape character, followed by other characters, which allows movement of the cursor on the screen, a change of color, and more. answering computer - This is the computer that is being called. Therefore, it is usually the BBS or mainframe. [See also origi- nating computer]. answering machine - See voice mail. answer frequency - The frequency of the carrier that a modem uses when it has been called by another computer. [See also originate frequency]. answer mode - When a modem is ready to pick up the phone when it rings. After picking up the phone, the modem will attempt to make a connection with another modem. All BBS's are in answer mode. [See also originate mode]. apostrophe - The character '. It is usually used in contractions of words, such as "don't". ARC - When a filename has the extension ARC, it means that it is an archive that has been compressed with the program PKARC. To get the files out of the archive, you need to use the program PKXARC. You should be able to find this program on many BBS's. [See also archive, unarchive]. archive - [noun] A group of programs that are together, usually compressed, in one file. [verb] the process of combining those files. There are a number of software packages which will com- press files into an archive, and most programs on BBS's have been archived with one of these software packages. [See also unar- chive, compress, ZIP, ARJ, ARC, PAK, LZH]. area code - The 3-digit number used by the telephone company to designate a geographic area. Each state in the United States has 1 or more area codes. If you call a phone number in a different area code, you must dial "1" and then the area code before the phone number. If you call a number within your area code, you just dial the phone number (if it is long distance within your area code, you must dial "1" and then the number). ARJ - [1] A file extension that indicates that the file was com- pressed with the program ARJ. [2] The program ARJ, used to archive and un-archive files with the ARJ extension. [See also archive, unarchive]. ASCII - An acronym for American Standard Code of Information Interchange. It uses 7 bits to represent all uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as numbers, punctuation marks, and other characters. ASCII often uses 8 bits in the form of bytes and ignores the first bit. [See also EBCDIC]. ASCII transfer - When a text file is sent directly as it is, without any special codes. asterisk - The character *. asynchronous communication - This is when the beginning and end of each byte that is sent over the phone lines is marked somehow. This way, if there is line noise, the modem can find out right away where the next byte should start. [See also synchronous communication]. AT command - Any instructions sent to a modem that begin with "AT". See also Hayes AT command set. AT command set - See Hayes AT command set. at sign - The character @. Often read as 'at'. AT&T - American Telephone and Telegraph, the inventors of the first modem. attended mode - This is the mode that a communications program is in while you are operating it. [See also unattended mode]. attention characters - The letters "AT", which get the modem's attention that you are about to send it a command. [See also Hayes AT command set]. audio monitor - A speaker that is included as part of a modem. It allows you to listen to whatever sound is on the phone line. This is often used to let you hear busy signals or make sure that the other modem picks up the carrier. auto-answer - When a modem has the ability to automatically pick up the phone when the phone rings and then attempt to connect with another computer. auto-answer LED - When this LED (found on some external modems) lights up, it means that the modem is ready to answer the phone when the phone rings (it will then try to connect to another modem). If it is not lit, the modem will not answer the phone. [See also LED indicators]. auto-baud detect - The ability of a modem to change to a lower bps rate if the computer it is calling is unable to communicate at the requested speed. auto-dial - When a modem is capable of dialing a phone number, so that you don't have to dial manually. Almost all modems have this ability. auto-download - The feature of some file transfer protocols whereby a BBS can automatically make your communications program start a download or upload (if your communications program has this capability too). This saves some time for the user, who would otherwise have to set up his program to upload or download. auto fall-back - See fall-back. auto-kill - A feature on some BBS's that will delete a message on a board if a certain threshold limit is reached. For example, a BBS might delete the second message on a board if there are already 100 messages and someone posts another message. This would limit the board to 100 messages, but still keep the first message (which is usually left by the SysOp). auto-redial - A feature that allows a modem or a communications program to dial a number again after it finds out that the number is busy. This is very handy when trying to get through to popu- lar bulletin boards that are often busy. auto-reliable - The ability of a modem to be able to communicate both with modems that do have error-control and/or data compres- sion, and those that do not. auto-reply - To send a message (either public or private) immedi- ately after reading a message on a BBS. Usually, this is used to respond to the author of the original message. auto-syncing driver - This is the part of a BBS program that automatically determines the bps rate of a caller. [See also manual-syncing driver]. auto-typing - This is when a communications program can upload information to a BBS as if the user were typing in the informa- tion. For example, the user might type a message into a file, and then the communications program can send it to a BBS (which assumes the user is actually typing the message) to post as a message. ---B--- backdoor - A way of getting into certain BBS's and getting full access, without using a regular account. Usually the author of the BBS program built the backdoor into the program so that he could get access to any BBS running his software. Backdoors are less common today than they used to be. background send/receive - The ability of a fax/modem to send or receive faxes while the computer is being used for other pur- poses. backslash - The character \. backspace - The character (CTRL-H) that causes the cursor on your screen to move back one space. [See also destructive backspace, non-destructive backspace]. bandwidth - A range of radio, audio, or other frequencies. Telephone lines have a bandwidth from 300 hertz to 3400 hertz. Since it is so limited, a modem must carefully change data into sounds that "fit" within this range. Similar to frequency spec- trum. bannerware - A software program that is free to use and copy, but advertises another program or product. [See also public domain]. batch file transfer - This is when more than one file is sent at a time by a file transfer protocol. The user will tell the BBS what files he wants, and then the BBS will send all the files before the user needs to do anything else. baud - A term referring to the speed at which modems communicate. Technically, it is the number of changes in an electronic signal per second. Since the number of changes used to be the same as the number of bits sent or received per second, bps and baud are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference, which is very often confused. For example, many 1200bps modems were advertised as 1200 baud, even though they operate at 600 baud. They send out 2 bits 600 times a second, which means that it is 600 baud. However, since it is so often misunderstood, you can assume that when you see "baud" it means bits per second, unless it is stated otherwise. The term comes from the scientist J. M. E. Baudot. [See also bps, dibit]. BBS - An acronym for Bulletin Board System. Usually it is a home computer that has a modem attached and is waiting for calls from other computers. It can, however, also refer to commercial serv- ices (such as CompuServe and Prodigy) and any other computers that you can call via telephone lines. BBS's almost always allow you to leave messages for other users. Most BBS's have programs that you can download and use on your computer. BBS can also be expanded more simply to `bulletin board'. BCC - Block Check Character. This is used to help make sure that a group of data has not been accidentally altered. Bell 103 - See 103. Bell 212A - See 212A. bisync - Refers to a modem that synchronizes with an electronic signal over the telephone lines that marks the beginning of blocks of data. It is one of a number of synchronous protocols. bit - A Binary digIT. It is a number in base 2 (binary), which means that it can only be a 0 or a 1. It is used in the expres- sion `bits per second'. [See also byte]. bitstream - BBS's and related activities. For example, you could say that a lot of public domain programs can be found in the bitstream. blind dial - This is when a modem will dial a number without waiting for a dial tone. Some long-distance telephone services require a number to be dialed, even though there is no dial tone. In this case, your modem should be set to blind dial. block - A group of data bytes. For example, when downloading a program, blocks of 128 or 1024 characters are often sent. block check character - See BCC. block size - This term, when used with either error control or data compression protocols, refers to the number of characters to be sent at one time. If error control is used, the codes are sent immediately following this block. Typical block sizes are 64, 128, 192, or 256 characters. Small block sizes are better when the line quality is bad (such as for long distance calls), while large block sizes are better during good connections (such as for local calls). board - [1] See BBS. [2] See message base. bps - Bits Per Second. The transmission speed of most modems is measured in baud or bps. Bps is literally the number of bits sent by the modem every second. [See also baud]. braces - The characters { and }. [See also left brace, right brace]. brackets - The characters [ and ]. [See also left bracket, right bracket]. break signal - This is a signal sent from one modem to another that lasts for about a second. It is sometimes used to try to clear up synchronization problems. On CCITT V.42 modems, there are more specialized procedures involved with the break signal, such as regarding the timing. In V.42 there are three kinds of break signals. [See also expedited signaling, destructive sig- naling, in sequence signaling]. browse - To go through the list of titles of messages or files on a BBS and note which ones you want to read. buffer - [1] (verb) To save all incoming data in memory. [2] (verb) to temporarily save incoming data until the computer has a chance to process it. [3] (noun) The place in memory where the saved information is stored, as in "I have a 32K buffer." bulk mailing - Used on a BBS when you send the same message to more than one person. This saves you from having to rewrite the message. [See also E-mail]. bulletin - A special message posted on a BBS, usually written by the SysOp. In most cases all users are expected to read any new bulletins that may have been posted since their last call. bulletin board - [1] See BBS. [2] Sometimes same as message base. bulletin board system - See BBS. busy - When a bulletin board is being used by as many users as it can handle, which is when all the telephone lines are being used. busy signal - The sound that you hear on a phone when the phone number you are trying to reach is in use (busy). It usually consists of 60 cycles per minute. [See also audio monitor]. byte - A group of 8 bits. It usually represents one character. [See also ASCII]. ---C--- call back unit - A device that can be attached to the phone line of a BBS to make it more secure. After you connect with the BBS and tell it who you are, the device will then call your phone number. This is used to make a very secure system to help pre- vent hackers from invading a system. It then becomes very diffi- cult, if not impossible, for a hacker to get into the computer system. caller - Anyone who connects with a BBS. It is usually used in a phrase such as "You are caller #4328." caller I.D. - A code that is sent over the phone lines in some areas when a person makes a phone call. This code includes the phone number of the person making the call. Some modems are able to understand this signal, and let you know who is calling you before you answer the phone. caller log - A list of callers who have called a BBS within a given time period. The list may also keep information such as the bps rate of the caller. This is used so that the SysOp can keep track of users, as well as any hackers, if they call the BBS. call progress monitoring - This is when your modem tells you what is happening when you dial another computer. It will tell you that it has dialed the number, if the number is busy, if you connect, etc. call waiting - A service that the phone company offers that allows the customer to hear a special sound on the phone if there is an incoming call while the customer is talking on the phone. The customer can then talk with either caller. This is a nice service unless you have a modem and call BBS's. If you are connected with a BBS and someone else calls you, you will be disconnected. In most areas there is a special 2 or 3 digit number that you can dial before a phone call that will disconnect call waiting for that call. If you have call waiting, check your phonebook or call the phone company to find out how to disconnect call waiting. capital letters - See uppercase. capture - To 'catch' text that is being sent to your computer from a BBS and put it in a buffer or a file. capture buffer - The area in a computer's memory where a communi- cations program stores incoming data that is to be saved. [Also called capture memory]. [See also buffer]. capture memory - See capture buffer. card (peripheral) - Any computer peripheral that can be connected directly, inside a computer. Internal modems are usually periph- eral cards. caret - The character ^. carriage return - See return. carrier - The tone that the modem sends over the phone lines before any data is sent on it. It has a fixed frequency and a fixed amplitude. It is then modified to indicate data. carrier detect - The wire in an RS-232C cable that holds the information as to whether or not the modem senses a carrier (and therefore is connected to another computer). [Also called CD]. carrier detect threshold - A way of measuring how well a modem can detect valid data over noisy phone lines. It is measured in negative dBm's (decibel-milliwatts). The bigger the number (the more negative) the better. For example, -45 dBm is better than -40 dBm. [Same as receive sensitivity]. carrier detect LED - This LED will light up on an external modem when it senses a carrier on the phone line. This indicates that the modem is connected to another modem. [See also LED indica- tors]. carrier frequency - This is the frequency which a modem uses to transmit or receive data. carrier loss time - The amount of time your modem will remain on the line when the carrier is lost. It will stay on the line for this amount of time, to see if the carrier comes back. If the carrier does not come back, the modem will hang up the phone line. CB simulator - A computer service where there are multiple phone lines (usually at least 5). The CB simulator allows all the users to send messages to one another while they are on-line. It usually allows you to send both public messages that everyone who is on-line can see and private messages that only one specific user can see. CCITT - International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Com- mittee. This group, created by the United Nations, establishes certain standards for data transmission. Their transmission, data compression, and error control standards all begin with V, for example V.22. To find the standards in this dictionary, look up the standard name, i.e. V.42. CD - See carrier detect. character - Any letter, numeral or symbol. [See also ASCII]. character format - See format. characters per second - The number of bytes or characters that can be sent over the phone lines in 1 second. This is determined by dividing the bps rate by the number of bits it takes to send one byte (usually 10--the start bit, 8 bits of data, and the stop bit). So, a 2400bps modem can send 240 characters per second (2400/10). [Same as CPS]. chat - A mode that allows two or more people (almost always a SysOp and a user on a BBS) to communicate directly with each other using the modem. Usually, each person can see what the other is typing at all times and can interrupt them (a beeping sound with a CTRL-G is useful to interrupt with). [See also page (verb)]. chat mode - This is when a communications program is set up so that the user can "chat" with someone on the other end of the line. One way this can work is that anything that is typed by the other person is printed on the top half of the screen, but anything you type would appear on the bottom half of the screen. [See also chat]. checksum - A number that represents a larger group of numbers in order to check for errors in data transmission. It is commonly used when downloading a program, as well as in error control protocols. The checksum is the result of a mathematical equa- tion, such as adding all the numbers in a block together (al- though it is usually more complex than that). chip set - A group of important IC chips on a modem (or other computer peripheral) that are all made by the same manufacturer. While there are many companies that make modems, there are only a few that make the chips for them. Because the chip manufacturer is making the chips for many companies, they produce more chips, and the price of the chips is lower than if each company produced their own. This decreases the price of the modems on the market. Christensen protocol - See Xmodem. circular dialing queue - This is used in some communications programs to allow you to enter a list of phone numbers to call, and it will keep going through the list and dialing numbers until it reaches one of them. This is useful if you are trying to reach BBS's that are often busy. city code - With many foreign countries, you need to dial a city code before the phone number you are trying to reach. You must dial the country code before the city code. The city code will be from 1 to 5 digits. [See also country code]. clear to send - See CTS. columns - A measurement of the width of your screen as measured by the number of characters your screen can fit across it. BBS's often ask for your screen width. Most computers have a screen width of 80 columns. COM port - IBM and compatible computers have the ability to hook up devices (such as modems and mice) to the computer, through ports. These ports are called COM ports, and are numbered 1-8. While all 8 could be used, usually only #1 and #2 are used, while #3 and #4 are used occasionally. [See also selectable COM port]. comm program - See communications program. command buffer - The place in your modem's memory where it stores the commands that you give it. [See also buffer]. command echo - When this is on, any AT command sent to the modem will then be sent back from the modem to the computer. For example, if you were to type "ATS11=40," the modem would act on the command, and then send "ATS11=40" back to the computer. command mode - This is when your modem interprets what you type as commands, rather than just sending the data over the phone line. [See also data mode, terminal mode, voice mode]. command set - A list of all the possible commands that you can give something, such as a modem, a BASIC program, or a BBS. [See also Hayes AT command set]. commands - Instructions that you can give to a modem, a BBS, or another similar device. commercial host system - An on-line system that you can call up, that is operated by a company that charges you to use it. commercial software - Software that is copyrighted and may not legally be distributed by BBS's or copied and given to other users. [See also public domain, copyright]. communication - The idea of transferring one's thoughts or ideas to another person. This can be through speaking, radio, T.V., telephones, mail, etc. communications program - A program that controls a modem, and has features that allow the user to do such things as upload, down- load, etc. It is similar to a terminal program but more sophis- ticated. It used to be used interchangeably with terminal pro- gram. [Same as comm program]. compatible - When one object can work just like another. Al- though the term is usually used with computers, it is often used with modems. Many modems are compatible with other popular modems. [See also V.42 compatible]. compliant - See V.42 compliant. compress - To make data take up less space. Archiving programs do this, which means that files will take less time to transfer with modems. Many modems now have the ability to automatically compress the information they send and receive. [See also ar- chive, data compression]. compression ratio - The ratio of the original size of data that is sent to the compressed size. For example, a 3:1 compression ratio means that the original data takes up 3 times the amount of space as the compressed data, and a modem would transfer the data 3 times more quickly than if it was not compressed. computer network - See LAN. configure - To set something to your liking. To configure a BBS, you may have to tell it your screen width, whether you need line feeds and other such information. configuration - Configuration is the information describing what your computer's hardware and software is like, so that a BBS can send information properly. For example, you need to tell a BBS how wide your screen is. connect - [1] To get to a point where you can start communicating with a BBS, as in "I have connected with the BBS." [2] Any point after you have established contact with a BBS, as in "I am still connected with the BBS" or "I have been connected with the bulle- tin board for just over an hour." connect speed - The speed, in bps, which your modem uses when it connects with a BBS. This speed will depend on the speed of your modem, and the BBS's modem. It will be no higher than the lower of the two speeds. If you have a 2400bps modem, and call a 1200bps BBS, your connect speed should be 1200bps. connection - The actual contact with a BBS. It is used most often in expressions such as "I have a bad connection," meaning that there is line noise. control character - Any of the 32 ASCII characters that do not print on your screen or printer. These characters are usually used to control your computer. [See also CTRL]. copyright - A term meaning that a program or text file is pro- tected by the government so that it may not legally be copied, except to make backup copies, or as specified by the author of the program. You should not upload a copyrighted program to a BBS, unless it is shareware or freeware. [See shareware, free- ware]. Co-SysOp - A term similar to a vice president. The Co-SysOp of a BBS has more access to the BBS than any other user except the SysOp. The Co-SysOp might check messages to make sure that they are suitable for the BBS (not containing illegal messages), and he may be able to validate users. Sometimes a Co-SysOp is just a title given to someone who helped the BBS a lot by doing things such as posting messages and uploading. Also, many times there is more than one Co-SysOp. [See also SysOp]. country code - The code that the telephone company uses to desig- nate a certain country. If you need to call a BBS (or a person) in a foreign country, you need to dial the country code, then usually the city code, and then the local phone number. The country code will be 2 to 3 digits. [See also city code]. CPS - See characters per second. - Carriage Return. See return. CRC - Stands for Cyclic Redundancy Check. CRC is a system to make sure that a block of data (usually from a downloaded pro- gram) is as free from error as possible. It is usually 16 or 32 bits long (CRC-16 and CRC-32 respectively). crash - When a BBS is harmed in such a way that it is temporarily inoperable. The usual cause is that some files are destroyed, either by accident or by a hacker. Some people try to crash BBS's, a fact that most users (and especially SysOps) think is sad. crash recovery - This feature of some file transfer protocols allows a user to continue a download or upload that had been interrupted. With this system, a user will not have to receive the data that had already been sent before the disconnection, which will save time. crippleware - This is software, usually distributed as shareware, but it is not a complete program. If it is a game, it might only let you play the first level. If it is a database program, it might only let you have 50 entries (whereas the real version would have more). CRT - Cathode Ray Tube. This is another name for a computer monitor. CTRL - The abbreviation for ConTRoL. This abbreviation is fol- lowed by a dash and then a character, such as CTRL-C, meaning the control character C. [See also control character]. CTRL-G - The control character G, which usually causes the com- puter to produce a beeping sound. CTS - Clear To Send. This is when the modem lets the other computer know that it can send information to the other computer. [See also flow control, RTS]. CTS/RTS - The method of flow control that uses the CTS and RTS signals. It is built into the hardware, not software. [See also CTS, RTS, flow control]. cursor - The marker that points out where text will next appear on your screen. It can be one of many things, usually a plain white or flashing square, or an underline character. cyclic redundancy check - See CRC. cycling - When a light (such as the RD light) on an external modem continuously turns on and off. ---D--- dash - The character -. data - A group of characters that represents meaningful informa- tion. This information can be anything, ranging from bank ac- count numbers to computer programs. [See also information]. database - [1] A program that keeps track of data, such as the information contained on mailing labels, or the price of stocks. [2] A large group of data. The sum of the information that you can receive on extensive pay services such as CompuServe can be considered a database. database hack - A way that hackers attempt to gain access to someone's account on a BBS. They create a list of common pass- words (such as SECRET and MINE) and try every one on an account to see if it is the right password. Because of this, an intelli- gent BBS user will not use easy-to-guess passwords. data bits - [1] The number of bits that the modem uses to repre- sent one byte. This is usually 8, though it can be 7 since ASCII needs only 7 of the 8 bits. [See also format]. [2] the actual bits within a byte being sent through the phone lines. data byte - A byte of information that is being sent over the phone lines. data carrier detect - See DCD. data communications equipment - See DCE. data compression - Some modems have the capability to 'squash' data so that it takes up less space. When another modem (that also has this capability) receives the data, it 'unsquashes' the data to its original form. By using data compression, a modem can send information faster. It's a lot like shorthand--all the information is still there, but it takes less space and is quick- er. [See also MNP-5, V.42bis]. data grade - A phone line that is set up by the phone company to be more convenient for data communications. It should have better electronic characteristics than a regular phone line. [See also voice grade]. data mode - The mode that a modem is in where all information typed on the computer will be sent through the modem, and all information received by the modem will be placed on the screen. [See also command mode, terminal mode, voice mode]. [Same as on-line mode]. data modem - A modem that does not have the ability to send or receive fax transmissions. data rate - See data transmission rate. data set ready - See DSR. data terminal equipment - See DTE. data terminal ready - See DTR. data throughput - See effective transfer rate. data transmission rate - The speed at which data travels. For example, data may be sent at 115,200bps. [Same as transmission rate, transmission speed, data rate]. [See also bps]. dB - See decibel. dBm - Decibel referred to one milliwatt. This is used to measure certain levels, such as transmit level. [See also transmit level, receive level, carrier detect threshold]. DB-25 - The 25 pin plug that connects an RS-232C cable to the RS-232 port. DCD - Data Carrier Detect. This tells the computer whether or not the modem is connected to another modem. DCE - Data Communications Equipment. These are computer periph- erals that communicate. A modem is a DCE. [See also DTE]. decibel - A unit describing how loud one sound is compared to another. [Same as dB]. decompress - The process of converting compressed data back to its original form. [See also archive]. decoy program - A program or text sent on mainframes and multi- line BBS's that simulates the log-on procedure. The unsuspecting user will see this and enter his password, and the person who made the decoy program will get the password and can use the account. default - A setting or an answer to a question that is automati- cally assumed. If 80 columns is a default, then you only have to change it if you want something other than 80 columns. delay time - The time it takes between sending data on a computer and receiving a response from the remote computer. If the delay is long, most file transfer protocols will slow down. [See also protocol]. demodulate - To convert the tones that a modem sends over the phone lines back into data. [See also modulate]. destructive backspace - A term that indicates that your communi- cations program deletes the character the cursor is on when it receives the backspace character. [See also non-destructive backspace]. destructive signaling - This is a type of break signal that causes all data to be destroyed while the break signal is being sent. [See also break signal]. dial - To send out either the tones or pulses that the phone company needs to understand what number you are calling. Most modems will dial automatically (auto-dial). dialing speed - See touchtone dialing speed. dialout facility - A service where you call a computer, and from that computer you can call other computers. It is usually used with packet switching networks, which saves you money on long distance calls. dialup line - A telephone line connected to the telephone compa- ny. This is a regular phone line. [Compare to leased line]. dialup modem - A modem that is used over normal (dialup) tele- phone lines. dial modifiers - Any commands that are sent to a modem which change the way a phone number is dialed. For example: tone, pulse, and pause. dial tone - The sound that you hear when you pick up the phone if it is ready to have an outgoing call made. Your modem, if it can dial, should understand this tone. dibit - Two bits sent simultaneously by a modem. For example, a modem can operate at 1200bps and 600 baud. What happens in this case is that 600 times a second, the modem sends out a dibit (two bits). Therefore, it is sending 1200 (600 times 2) bits per second. [See also bps, baud]. dictionary - The V.42bis data compression protocol stores certain data that is being sent/received in a "dictionary," which it refers to when compressing/decompressing data. [See also V.42bis, dictionary size]. [Same as encoder dictionary]. dictionary size - This is the number of characters in the dic- tionary used for the V.42bis data compression protocol. It is usually 2048, but can also be 1024, 512, or 4096. [See also dictionary, V.42bis]. digital - A system using discrete numbers to represent data. In computer systems, these are the numbers 0 and 1 (for binary). [See also analog]. digital signal processing - This is what is used to perform echo cancellation on a CCITT V.32/V.42 modem. [Same as DSP]. [See also echo cancellation]. DIP switch - DIP stands for Dual In-line Package. DIP switches are a group of small switches placed together on electronic equipment. Many modems have these. The switches can be changed to alter various settings. For example, one DIP switch on a modem may change the status of the DTR. direct mode - See MNP direct mode. disconnect - To hang up the phone and cause the connection be- tween your modem and another computer to be stopped. Most BBS programs have a way of disconnecting a user who has called the bulletin board, if it is needed. disk capture - This is when a communications program will save incoming information to the disk. This is useful if you are receiving a text file that you want to read later. dither tone - See echo suppressor defeat tone. door - A gateway that will allow a bulletin board to run a pro- gram while a user is on the BBS. Games are popular doors on BBS's, although doors can be used for serious purposes, too. down - A word meaning that a bulletin board is not working, so that you can not connect with it. This can mean that there was a crash, or it could simply mean that the SysOp is playing a game on his computer. Often a SysOp will leave a phone connected to his BBS line off the hook when he is using the computer so that you will get a busy signal. [See also running]. download - To receive a computer file from a bulletin board. It is usually a computer program, but can also be a text file. [See also upload, protocol]. DSP - See Digital Signal Processing. DSR - Data Set Ready. This indicates that the modem is on, and ready to accept input from the computer (either commands or data to be sent over the phone line). [Same as modem ready]. DTE - Data Terminal Equipment. This is computer equipment which is not directly responsible for communicating, for example, the computer itself and printers. [See also DCE]. DTMF - Dual Tone Multi-Frequency. This is used in tone dialing. It is a method where 2 distinct tones are sent for each digit dialed. DTR - Stands for Data Terminal Ready. The DTR signal is sent from the computer to the modem, to let the modem know that the computer is ready to communicate. dumb modem - A modem that only sends and receives characters to or from the phone line. [See also smart modem]. dumb terminal - A keyboard and monitor that receive and send information either to or from another computer or a phone line. It is up to the other computer to do anything else, such as word wrap. [See also terminal, smart terminal]. duplex - The capability of both sides of a connection to send information at the same time. Full duplex is the same as duplex. When you are talking on the telephone to someone you are using duplex (you can both talk at the same time if you want to). [See also half duplex]. ---E--- EBCDIC - Stands for Extended Binary-Coded Decimal Interchange Code. It is a way of coding characters. It is similar to ASCII, but it uses 8 bits instead of 7. [See also ASCII]. EBBS - Electronic Bulletin Board System. See BBS. echo - [1] A character that is sent back from a BBS instead of the character that was sent to the BBS. For example, if you enter your password on a BBS it will often say `dots will echo', meaning that it will send a period for every character in your password (it is a safety feature). [2] When a bulletin board or your terminal program sends back the characters that you type. If the bulletin board does not send back the characters, your terminal program should print them to your screen as you type them. [3] Echo on the phone lines is when you hear an echo on a long distance call. This can interfere with modem transmissions. [See also local echo, echo suppression]. echomail - This is a technique used by many BBS's that will allow a message base to be shared by many BBS's. Usually late at night the BBS's will exchange any new messages. This way a user on one BBS can interact with users on other BBS's. echo canceling - This is included in the CCITT V.32 standard. It attempts to cancel echoing on long distance calls, which other- wise would interfere with the transmission. It sends the exact opposite of the sound it receives, which cancels the echo. [See also echo suppression, digital signal processing]. echo suppression - Echo suppression is a technique that the phone company uses in an attempt to make long distance voice calls sound better, by minimizing echo. However, this can cause the carrier of a modem to be lost (or at least garbled, causing a loss of data). In order to prevent this problem, a modem needs to send a certain tone over the phone line at all times. [See also echo suppression defeat tone]. echo suppression defeat tone - This is a signal sent over the phone lines by some modems in an attempt to cancel out the nega- tive effects of echo suppression. In the Bell standard, it is 2225Hz +/- 10Hz, in CCITT standards it is 2100Hz +/- 15Hz. [Same as dither tone]. [See also echo suppression]. editor - The part of the BBS that allows you to enter a message and edit it. effective throughput rate - See effective transfer rate. effective transfer rate - This is the rate at which data can be sent after data compression has been accounted for. For example, a modem may be rated at 9600bps. If it uses data compression with a ratio that averages 2:1, it has an effective transfer rate of 19,200bps. While only 9600 bits are sent over the phone line, they represent 19,200 bits of real information after they are decoded. [Same as throughput, data throughput, effective throughput rate]. [See also raw speed, data compression]. EIA - Electronics Industry Association. They developed the RS- 232C standard. [See also RS-232C]. electronic mail - See E-mail. E-mail - Electronic mail. Messages that are sent to individual people. You choose who to send the message to and only that person receives the message. (Some BBS programs allow you to send bulk E-mail, which goes to more than one person, but the concept is still the same.) emotion icons - These are groups of several characters that are used to express emotion over the phone line. For example, :) is a happy face (when you look at it from the side). Similarly, :( is a sad face. emulate - When a communications program imitates a certain brand of terminal. encoder dictionary - See dictionary. encryption - Coding data so that people who are not supposed to see the data will not be able to understand it. ENQ character - This is the same as Control-E, ASCII value 5. It stands for Enquiry. EOF - Stands for End Of File. It is the character CTRL-Z, which can mark the end of a text file. equalization - When a modem adjusts its transmit level for dif- ferent frequencies, to account for the greater loss at certain frequencies over the phone line. [See also transmit level, receive level]. error - When there is line noise and one or more characters are changed. This is especially noticeable when downloading or uploading a program. In this case the error must be detected, and the data must be re-sent (or else the file will be destroyed). [See also line noise]. error control - The ability of a modem to notice errors in trans- mission, and have any incorrect data re-sent. [See also MNP 1-4, LAPM, V.42]. error correction - See error control. (Error control is a more correct term, since the modem does not correct incorrect data, it just has it sent again). error free - When referring to data transmission, error free refers to communications equipment in which data is transmitted perfectly. This is actually an impossible situation, but it is possible to have data that is very, very close to error-free. ESC - See escape key. escape character - ASCII character 27. [See also escape key, ASCII]. escape character guard time - See guard time. escape code - See escape sequence. escape key - The key marked ESC on a computer keyboard. It is often used to 'escape' out of a program or procedure in a pro- gram. Also, the ASCII character (ASCII 27) is used by ANSI to produce limited graphics. [Same as ESC]. [See also ANSI]. escape sequence - A sequence of characters (usually +++) that instruct a modem to change from data mode to command mode, if they are typed with a certain delay before and after they are typed. [See also data mode, command mode, guard time]. even parity - This indicates that the parity bit is always set such that the sum of the "1" bits in each byte that is sent, plus the parity bit, is an even number. [See also parity bit, format]. executive mode - When a user is connected to a bulletin board, but the SysOp is controlling the bulletin board. The most common use of an executive mode is when the SysOp validates users with- out the user having to hang up. exit - See logoff. expedited signaling - Break signals that are sent before any other data. All data will remain intact. [See also break sig- nal]. expert mode - Many BBS's have this feature, which allows a user who feels that he knows the system well to save time by not having menus sent to his system. If he forgets some commands that are available, he can have the menu appear. Otherwise, the menus will not appear. This is especially helpful at slow speeds. extension - The extension of a filename on an MS-DOS system is the last three characters, which are separated from the rest of the filename by a period. For example, the filename SPREDSHT.WKS has the extension "WKS". [See also archive]. external modem - A modem that is located outside of the computer. It is hooked up to the computer with a cable, most commonly an RS-232C cable. [Same as stand-alone modem]. [See also internal modem]. external program - A computer program that is separate from another program. When BBS software runs a program that is sepa- rate from it, it is called an external program. [See also door]. external protocol - This is a file transfer program that is not built into your comm program, but the comm program is able to run it anyway (as an external program). [See also internal proto- col]. extract - To take out files from an archive. [See also archive, unarchive]. ---F--- factory configuration - The way that your modem was set up when it left the factory. Typing ATZ normally returns your modem to the factory configuration. fall-back - The ability of a modem to change to a lower speed when there is a problem communicating at the higher speed (usual- ly caused by line noise). [Same as auto fall-back]. fall-forward - This is when a modem will change to a faster speed if line conditions improve after a fall-back occurs. fax - Short for facsimile. It is a copy of a piece of paper that is sent over the phone lines by a fax machine. Some modems also have fax machines built in them, so that they can send and/or receive faxes. [See also faxmodem]. faxmodem - A modem that also has the capability of sending and receiving faxes. [See also fax]. FCC - Federal Communications Commission. This is the government agency that is responsible for making sure that phone lines are being used correctly and that radio interference is at acceptable levels. FDM - Frequency Division Multiplexing. A way that some modems transmit full duplex information, by splitting the telephone bandwidth into two sections. One is used to receive data, the other is used to send data. This method can be used at speeds of up to 2400bps. [See also modulate]. feature negotiation - This is when a modem can determine the best protocol to use when connecting to another modem. This includes the fastest speed, error control, and data compression. It is part of hand-shaking. [Same as negotiation scheme]. feedback - A message that is sent by a user to the SysOp of a bulletin board. While it is meant to be a way for the user to let the SysOp know of any complaints or compliments they may have, it is more often a convenient way of sending E-mail to the SysOp. filter - When a communications program or a BBS program takes out certain characters or words and doesn't accept them. For exam- ple, a bulletin board program may filter out CTRL-G's so that the SysOp does not hear the beeping. Also, some BBS programs have the ability to take out obscene words from messages. [See also profanity filter]. filter device - A piece of hardware which goes between the modem and the phone line of a BBS. When a user calls up, they will either have a voice or computer connection that asks them for a special password before they can gain access to the main computer system. This makes it more difficult for hackers to get into the system, but is also more of a burden for the legitimate users. flash - On a normal telephone, this is when you quickly push down and release the off-hook button. It is often used for call waiting. Many modems have a command that will simulate this action. flag - A piece of information that is either TRUE or FALSE. It is used in some bulletin board security systems to indicate whether the user has access to certain parts of the bulletin board. It is also used by modems for certain indicators such as DTR. flow control - A method of controlling when information is sent. One method is Xon/Xoff, where a BBS will send information until your computer sends an Xoff (CTRL-S). It will resume sending information when you send an Xon (CTRL-Q). [See also Xon/Xoff, CTS/RTS]. format - Information such as "8N1" that describes the way that your computer and a bulletin board should be connected. The first digit is normally 7 or 8, the number of data bits. The second character is a letter describing the parity (N for None, M for Mark, S for Space, O for Odd, and E for Even). The last number is the number of stop bits. 8N1 is the most common for- mat. Data is sent as follows: Start bit (0) - 7 or 8 bits of data - (parity bit, if used) - stop bit (1) - (gap bits, if used) [Same as settings]. forward - To send E-mail that you received to someone else. framing bits - Bits that are used to separate characters. The bits themselves are not used as information. [See also stop bits, start bits]. framing error - This occurs when the UART in a modem does not detect a stop bit. The modems are probably out of sync with each other. freeware - Computer programs that are copyrighted, but they may be legally copied if there is no payment involved. They are almost the same as public domain programs, except that public domain programs are not copyrighted and may be sold for payment. Freeware programs often can not be changed when they are distrib- uted. [See also public domain]. frequency division multiplexing - See FDM frequency shift keying - See FSK. frequency spectrum - A range of frequencies having similar char- acteristics. All sounds we hear are grouped as the audio fre- quency spectrum. Similar to bandwidth. FSK - Frequency Shift Keying. This method that low-speed modems use to transmit information over phone lines uses 4 frequencies, which are used to represent 0's and 1's for both sending and receiving. These modems can only operate up to a speed of 600bps at full duplex (or 1200bps at half duplex). [See also modula- tion]. full duplex - See duplex. full flow - See streaming. ---G--- gap - See gap bits. gap bits - A series of 0's that are sometimes sent between data bytes over the phone lines. garbage - Unwanted characters that appear because of either line noise or incorrect settings. [See also line noise, format]. gateway - A connection between one network and another. For example, on some commercial on-line services, you can reserve airplane tickets. This usually involves the on-line service you called connecting to the airline's computer. general file - Any kind of text on a bulletin board that is not specifically E-mail, a bulletin of any sort, or a message. Usually they are long files for the user's information. Some examples of general files are: a file containing more information on the bulletin board program, a newspaper article about a con- troversial issue, and an article that explains how to make your own disk drive. global scan - When a bulletin board goes through all the messages on all boards to check for new messages that the user has not yet read. This is very useful as it prevents the user from having to go through each board to check for new messages. [See also quickscan]. goodbye - See logoff. group III FAX - The standard controlling fax communication. guard time - When the escape sequence is sent to your modem, the guard time is the amount of time that must occur between charac- ters of the escape code, for it to be considered the escape code. Otherwise, it will assume you are entering data that is meant to be sent to the other modem. [See also escape code, data mode, command mode]. guard tone - A tone that is sometimes sent over the phone line for echo suppression. 1800 hertz and 550 hertz are sometimes used. guest - When a user is just looking at a bulletin board and does not want to receive an account there. The user usually has the same privileges as a new user who has not yet been validated. Many bulletin board programs allow guests. This is a good fea- ture, since the SysOp does not have to validate users who will not be calling the board more than once or twice. ---H--- hacker - [1] A programmer who likes to experiment with computers (this is the type of person who often will not read the documen- tation to software before using it, so he can figure out how to use it by himself). [2] A person who attempts to abuse the privileges of computer BBS's and other services. His activities may range from getting and exploring an account he is not sup- posed to have on a mainframe computer to attempting to crash a bulletin board. These people are unwanted by most BBS's. They are often not malicious. The media sometimes confuses them with phreakers. [See also phreaker]. half card - For IBM compatible computers, this is a card that is smaller than normal (about half the size). It does not affect the operation of the modem. half duplex - This is a mode which allows only one modem at a time to transmit information. When one modem is finished, the other can then start to transmit. [Same as simplex]. [See also duplex]. hand-shaking - The process of establishing an electronic link between two modems. Handshaking lets both modems know informa- tion such as the speed they will be using, and whether or not the modems have the same type of error correction capability. [See also feature negotiation]. handle - See alias. hang - When a bulletin board all of a sudden starts to do noth- ing. That is, it will not accept calls or even let the SysOp type anything until the computer is reset. This can be caused by a problem with the BBS software, or the computer itself. hang up - When someone closes a switch which stops a telephone connection. This either happens when someone puts a telephone receiver into its cradle or when the person instructs the modem to hang up. hardware error control - This is when error control is performed by the modem, not the communications program. [See also error control]. Hayes compatible - Any modem which operates in the same way as the modems developed by Hayes. Most modems up to 2400bps are Hayes compatible. Hayes AT command set - This is the set of commands used to oper- ate Hayes modems and Hayes compatible modems. Almost all of the commands start with AT. help file - Many BBS systems will include information on how to run the system in case you are having troubles. Often just pressing "H" or a question mark at the main menu will show you the information, but with some systems you have to find the help file somewhere, occasionally amidst the files to be downloaded. hertz - A unit of frequency, which equals cycles per second. high speed - A modem that operates at a high speed. In most cases it is assumed to be at least 9600bps. host - The computer that is being used to store information from other computers. Every BBS is a host, and so are pay services. host program - A computer program that allows your computer to accept incoming calls, and let the callers upload or download files. It is limited compared to a BBS. If you want to do any- thing more, such as record information or print it out, you usually have to do the programming yourself. [Similar to unat- tended mode]. hot-keys - A term which means that you only have to press one key at a menu, rather than several. You don't have to hit the return key. Usually you can do this while a menu is being sent to your computer (so you don't have to wait for the whole menu to be sent). HST - High Speed Technology. A high speed protocol developed by US Robotics. It allows for 14400bps one way, and 450bps the other way. The two computers can switch when one has more infor- mation to send than the other. It is not compatible with the CCITT protocol. hyphen - The character -. Hz. - See hertz. ---I--- IBM graphics - On IBM computers, there is a group of "graphic" characters (such as lines, used to make boxes) that can be shown on the screen. Some BBS's will send these graphic characters if requested. Most non-IBM computers will not recognize these characters. These characters' bytes have their 8th bit set to 1. ID number - See user number. idle time - When a computer is not being used. This refers to either a computer running a BBS that is not busy, or a caller that is not sending anything or receiving anything. Some BBS's will hang up a user if there is a certain amount of idle time (such as a minute). inactivity timer - When this is on, a modem will automatically disconnect from a remote computer after a given amount of time passes without any information sent or received. incoming - Information that is being sent to your computer. information - Any data that is sent between computers. Data usually refers to numbers and small pieces of information. Information is usually used for larger things, such as text files. [See also data]. initialize - To set up either hardware or software to work cor- rectly with your system. Many modems have to be initialized each time they are used so they `know' how to act with the communica- tions program. When your software initializes your modem, it may tell the modem to expect 2400 baud and no parity, as well as the fact that you do not want any information to echo on your screen. [See also initialization string]. initialization string - This is the command that your communica- tions program sends to the modem when the program is started. In most cases, it is an AT command just like you would type in. [See also initialization]. interdigit interval - When pulse dialing is used, you need a certain amount of time free of "clicks" so that the phone company knows when each digit is finished. When you are dialing on a rotary phone, you don't need to worry about this because the time it takes to turn the dial is sufficient. A modem that sends pulse codes must wait a specified amount of time before going from one digit to the next in a phone number. A value between 1/2 second a 1 second is usually used. internal modem - A modem that is `hidden' inside your computer. Outside of your computer you will only see the phone cord. An internal modem can either be on a peripheral card that is placed inside your computer, or it can be built into your computer. [See also external modem]. internal protocol - A file transfer protocol that comes as part of a comm program, and is not separate from it. [See also exter- nal protocol]. interrupt - An interrupt, as far as modems and computers are concerned, is an electronic signal that tells the computer that something important is happening. Most modems can be set up by software to send an interrupt every time a character is received by the modem. When operating at fast speeds, this makes sure that the computer doesn't miss characters as it is printing them on the screen or saving them to a disk. in sequence signaling - Break signals that are sent in the proper order among data, as opposed to expedited signaling (which will send the signal before other data). No data is harmed, it all remains intact. [See also break signal]. ---J--- jack - The small plastic box that your phone cord connects to on your wall. jump - A command used on some BBS's to go from one board or section on a BBS to another. jumper - This is a piece of plastic and metal that can be moved on an internal modem to change a setting, such as the COM port to be used. [See also selectable COM port]. ---K--- K - When K is placed after a number, it means 1024 times that number. If you computer has 640K that means that it has a little more than 640,000 bytes of memory. Often communications software will tell you that you have a certain amount of free memory to use as a buffer. Kermit protocol - An almost error-free file transfer protocol usually used for text transfers. It was developed at Columbia University. [See also protocol]. keyboard macro - A macro that will allow you to hit one or sever- al keys and have the program act as though you had typed a lot directly from the keyboard. [See also macro]. kill - When referring to a message on a bulletin board, it means deleting that message from the board. Usually you can only delete the messages that you write (unless you are a SysOp). ---L--- LAN - Local Area Network. This is a group of computers that are all connected. Usually, there is one computer that controls all peripherals (such as printers and a hard disk drive). The other computers are linked to the controlling computer, which lets the other computers take turns using the peripherals. [Same as computer network]. LAPB - Link Access Procedure Balanced. This is a form of error control found in X.32 packet switched networks. LAPM - Link Access Procedure for Modems. A type of error control used by some modems. It is included in the V.42 protocol (V.42bis also includes it, since V.42bis includes all V.42 error control methods). It is NOT a compression method, even though some modem manufacturers have incorrectly advertised it as such. [See also V.42, error control]. leased line - A telephone line that directly connects two comput- ers. It is usually rented from the telephone company. A leased line doesn't have many of the electronic restrictions that a dialup line has, so data can be sent faster. However, data therefore can only be sent between those two computers. [Compare to dialup line]. [Same as private line]. LED indicators - The lights on external modems that indicate conditions such as speed, RD, DCD, etc. leech - A person who downloads a lot from a BBS, and does not contribute much to the BBS by uploading programs or using the message bases. left-brace - The character {. It's not used often. left-bracket - The character [. letter - [1] The characters A-Z (uppercase or lowercase) [2] Another term for a message posted on a BBS. LF - Line Feed. This is a control character (ASCII 10) that is used on some computers and printers to move down one line (on the screen or paper). It is usually used right after a carriage return. [See also return]. LHARC - A program that will extract archives with the extension "LZH". [See also archive, LZH]. line - [1] A row of characters on your screen, for example, many computers have screens with 25 lines. [See also columns]. [2] The connection between your computer and a BBS. Most commonly used in the term "line noise." [3] A phone line connected to a BBS. For example, a BBS might advertise that it has "4 lines," meaning that 4 people can call the BBS and use it at the same time. [Same as node]. line delay - See delay time. linefeed - See LF. line noise - This is interference on the telephone lines. It will cause a character or many characters of garbage to appear on your screen. In general, the higher the bps rate of your modem, the more line noise will appear. However, error control proto- cols strive to eliminate line noise (and get rid of most of it). [See also error control]. link access procedure - See LAPM, LAPB. local - On a computer that is running a BBS, there are 1 or more phone lines connected to it. However, the SysOp can usually use the BBS, too, from the keyboard. This is considered a local connection. local analog loopback - Tests the connection between a modem and the computer. [See also local digital loopback]. local area network - See LAN. local call - A phone call to a phone number in your local area, which will not incur long distance charges. [See also long distance call]. local digital loopback - Tests the connections between a comput- er, the modem, the phone line, and the remote computer. [See also local analog loopback]. local echo - This is when a communications program will send information (either that you type or from a file) to your screen, as well as to the other modem. Usually local echo is not used, and the BBS you are connected to will send the information back to you, and only then will the communications program print what you typed on your screen. local number - The phone number used after a country code, area code and/or a city code. In the United States, it is 7 digits long. log - A log is a file that keeps track of some kind of use. In a communications program, it might keep track of what BBS's you call. A BBS can keep a user log, which is a file that indicates which users called up and when. [See also user log]. logic bomb - This is part of a software program that will do something malicious. For example, the author of a BBS program might have the program set up so that if he enters his initials in a certain point while the program is running, it will destroy all of the files on the BBS. These are no longer as common as they used to be. logoff - To leave a BBS. When you choose to logoff, the BBS will usually ask if that's what you really want to do, then it will hangup. It may also ask if you want to leave a note to the SysOp. [Same as exit, quit, goodbye]. logon - The process of connecting to a BBS. The is what occurs after you have called the computer and the phone starts to ring, but before you actually start using the BBS. "Logon" can also include the process of entering your name and password (which is also called sign-on). [See also signon]. long distance call - A telephone call that is outside your local calling area, and that you must pay for. [See also local call]. lowercase - The letters that are normally used, such as in this sentence. The other kind of letters are UPPERCASE. [See also uppercase]. lurk - This is a term used on some CB simulators, which means that the person is leaving his computer for a while (and there- fore will not be able to respond to messages). LZH - This file extension refers to an archive that was com- pressed with the program LHARC. You need to get the program LHARC from a BBS before you can un-archive the file. [See also archive, unarchive, LHARC]. ---M--- macro - A series of instructions or text that can be entered by hitting a couple of keys. For example, a communication program might let you enter your user name and password just by hitting CTRL-N. [See also trigger character]. mainframe - A large computer that many people can use at the same time. Usually, a mainframe computer is owned by a large company, and it has a lot of memory and storage for its users. Some mainframes have phone lines connected to them so that employees (or other authorized people) can use the mainframe from home. make/break pulse ratio - During pulse dialing, the make/break pulse ratio is the ratio of the time that the phone is off the hook to the time the phone is on the hook. In America and Cana- da, it should be 39/61. manual-syncing driver - This is what a BBS uses if the BBS pro- gram can not determine directly what the user's bps rate is, and the user must hit the return key several times before the BBS can figure out the user's speed. mark - When you are looking at the titles of messages to read, some BBS programs will allow you to choose certain ones you want to read. This is called marking. mark bit - A bit that is set to 1. [See also space bit]. mark parity - This is when the parity bit is always set to a binary 1. [See also parity bit, format]. maximum string length - In V.42bis data compression, this refers to the maximum length of data (in characters) represented by one word. It can range from 6 to 250 characters, although it is usually 32. menu - A list of options that you can choose from. A BBS might have a menu that lets you choose from reading messages, download- ing, or logging off. In reality, there would be many more op- tions. message - Any text that is left in a message base on a BBS. These can range from questions for other users to answer, to information on new computer programs, to just about any topic you could imagine. message base - A group of messages on a BBS pertaining to a certain topic. For example, a BBS might have message bases for general messages, computer-related messages, and social informa- tion. Some BBS's have dozens or even hundreds of message bases. [Same as subboard, board]. minicomputer - A scaled-down version of a mainframe. A minicom- puter usually has many terminals connected to it, and can run many programs at the same time. It is more powerful than a microcomputer. MNP - Microcom Networking Protocol. A type of error control and data compression, created by Microcom, that many newer modems use. It is built into the modem, unlike software error correc- tion in file transfer protocols. There are different MNP levels. Levels 1-4 are error control protocols, and level 5 is a data compression protocol that can compress data to about 50% of its original size. A modem with MNP-5 also has MNP-4. MNP 1-4 is also included in the CCITT V.42 error correction system. MNP direct mode - This is a mode used on modems with the MNP protocols, where the speeds from the modem to the remote modem and to the computer are the same. Also, there is no buffering, and no flow control. [Same as direct mode]. [See also MNP normal mode]. MNP normal mode - This is the more common mode used with modems that have MNP capability, where the speed from the computer to the modem can be higher than the connection between the modem and the remote modem. This mode uses buffering to prevent lost data. [Same as normal mode]. [See also MNP direct mode]. mode - The state that a computer or a program is in. For exam- ple, a computer can be in a text mode, and a communications program can be in a chat mode (which operates differently than the normal mode). modem - MODulator/DEModulator. This is a computer peripheral which allows a computer to communicate over telephone lines. This is the heart of computer telecommunications. The main factor that differentiates modems is their speed, measured in bps. modem ready - See DSR. modify - See edit. modular cord - A standard telephone cord, with a modular plug at either end. [Same as modular line. [See also modular jack, modular plug]. modular jack - The square hole in which you put telephone cord (that has a modular plug). [See also modular cord, modular plug, 42A block]. modular line - See modular cord. modular plug - The square piece of plastic at the end of a tele- phone cord. It plugs into a modular jack. [See also modular cord, modular jack]. modulate - When a modem changes information from computer bits into tones that can be transmitted over the phone lines. Differ- ent methods of modulation are PSK, FSK, and FDM. [See also demodulate, PSK, FSK, FDM]. modulation scheme - The method that a modem uses to modulate data. [See also PSK, FSK, FDM]. MTA - Message Transfer Agent. This is what moves data across a network under the X.400 electronic mail system. [See also X.400]. multiple-speed - This refers to a modem that can operate at several speeds. Most modems are capable of doing this. While a modem may be listed as having a speed of 2400bps, it most likely also can operate at 1200bps and 300bps. multiple-state modulation - A modulation scheme that sends more than one bit per baud. multi-line BBS - A BBS that has more than one line or node. [See also line]. ---N--- NAK - This control character (CTRL-U) is sometimes used by commu- nications or BBS programs (usually in file transfers) to indicate that the information it received was bad. NAK stands for Nega- tive AcKnowledgement. [See also ACK]. negotiation scheme - See feature negotiation. network - A group of BBS's that are "linked" together. This means that the BBS's share messages and sometimes files. Usually the BBS's will call each other late at night to get the messages and files. [See also echomail]. new user - When you use a BBS, usually you will have the status of new user for the first few calls, until the SysOp verifies your account (at which time you will normally be considered a registered user). A new user usually has less privileges, such as not being able to download programs. news - Some BBS programs will have announcements that are shown when you log on to the BBS. These are often referred to as news, since they often inform you of changes to the BBS. [Same as system news]. [See also sign-on message]. next - A command in BBS programs that will let you view the next message in the message base. node - See line. noise - See line noise. noise level - See noise power. noise power - The "loudness" or strength of noise on a phone line. It is measured in -dBm's. [See also signal power]. non-destructive backspace - This is when a communications program will not delete any characters on the screen when the backspace key is pressed. [See also destructive backspace]. non-volatile memory - This is memory that many modems have which is not destroyed when the power is turned off. Using this memo- ry, you can store a certain configuration in the memory, and have the modem automatically use the configuration when you turn it on. normal mode - See MNP normal mode. null character - The ASCII character 0, or CTRL-@. This charac- ter usually will not be printed on the screen. It was originally used when communications programs were slower and could not receive information as fast as it was sent, so BBS programs would send these characters after every line to slow down the speed at which information had to be received. null modem - A special connection between two computers that will make the computers think that they are hooked up to a modem, so that the two computers can communicate with each other. numeric result codes - These are result codes that are printed as numbers, rather than words. [See also result codes, verbal result codes]. ---O--- odd parity - This indicates that the parity bit is always set so that the sum of the bits set to 1 in a byte, plus the parity bit, is an odd number. [See also parity, format]. off hook - The state that your telephone is in when you pick it up. In non-computer life, it usually means when the telephone connection is accidentally disconnected, such as "Someone must have left the phone off the hook." A modem that takes the phone "off hook" is taking control of the phone line, and it will usually then dial a phone number for you. When a telephone line is "off hook," you are not able to receive calls from other people, unless you have call waiting. [See also on hook]. off hook button - This is the button on a real telephone that is depressed when you put down the receiver. It signals the phone company when your phone is off hook, and ready to place calls. off line - When your computer is not connected to another BBS. [See also on line]. on hook - When your telephone is not being used, and it is ready to ring if someone calls. [See also off hook]. on-line - When your computer is connected to a BBS. For example, some communications programs will keep track of how long you have been on line. This lets you know how long you have been connect- ed to the BBS. on-line conference - This is when a group of people "get togeth- er" and have a conference using their computers. Some of the major on-line services do this. [Same as real-time conference]. on-line games - Any game that is played on a BBS. Sometimes they are played in real time against other players who are using the BBS at the same time, and sometimes they are played by making a move and waiting for their opponent(s) to make their move when they next call. [See also Role Playing Game]. on-line information service - Any on-line service that provides information. Most commercial systems fall into this category. [See also on-line service]. on-line mode - See data mode. on-line service - While this can refer to any computer that is hooked up to the phone line, it usually means a pay service such as Compuserve or GEnie. [Same as on-line system]. [See also on-line information service]. on-line system - See on-line service. originate - To call another computer and connect to it. The originating computer is the one that placed the telephone call (as opposed to the BBS, which is the answering computer). originate-only modems - Some older modems only operate using an originate frequency, which means that if you try calling one, you must change your modem to send an answer tone. This can be done on many modems by typing ATDT, the phone number you want to call, and then the letter R (before hitting return). originating computer - The computer which dials another computer. This is most likely referring to your computer (unless you have a BBS, or other people are calling your phone number, and you have your computer's modem answer the phone). [See also answering computer]. originate frequency - This is the frequency of the carrier that is used by the modem that places a call to another modem. [See also answer frequency]. originate mode - This is when a modem is ready to place a call, rather than accept an incoming call. [See also answer mode]. ---P--- packet - [1] A group of bits sent by a modem that comprise a byte of information. [2] A group of bytes sent by a file transfer protocol. packet switching network - A telecommunications service that transmits data from one computer to another using packets of data. They usually have telephone numbers in most areas of the country so that users can connect to on-line services without toll charges. pad - This happens when a file that is being transferred ends in the middle of a block of data. The communications program must add blank data to fill up the block. This is called padding. [See also protocol]. PAD - Packet Assembler/Disassembler. This is a device that disassembles incoming packets, and assembles outgoing packets. page - [1] (noun) A page is one screen's worth of information. Many BBS's will automatically wait for you to press a key after it has sent you a page of information. [2] (verb) to alert the SysOp that you would like to speak with him. Many BBS's will allow you to do this, and it will make beeping sounds so that the SysOp will know you want to talk to him. [Same as yell]. [See also chat]. PAK - [1] The extension for files archived with the program of the same name. You need the program PAK to un-arc an archive with this extension. [2] The program itself. [See also archive, unarchive]. parallel - This is when a computer sends data one byte (or any number of bits other than one) at a time. This is faster than the alternative, serial. [See also serial]. parallel interface - Any interface that transmits or receives more than one bit at a time. In most cases, 8 bits are trans- ferred at a time. The RS-232C standard involves a parallel interface. [See also serial interface]. parity bit - Most modems have the capability to send an extra bit for every byte sent, which is used to help sense errors. This is called the parity bit. It can be set to no parity, mark parity, space parity, odd parity or even parity. Most BBS's do not use a parity bit. [See also format, mark, space, odd, even]. password - A special code that only you should know. This code will allow you to gain access to your account on a computer. Different BBS's have different rules as to how long your password can be and what characters can be used. You should not use a password that is easy to guess (such as your name, or "password"), because a hacker might try to gain access to your account by guessing your password. pause - On most modems, you can send the modem a command that will pause at some point while dialing a number. This can be useful on PBX systems, if you have to wait for a dial tone. PBX - Private Branch Exchange. This is the telephone system that many offices have, allowing extensions for each telephone, and a connection to the main telephone system. PC-Pursuit - A packet switching network that allows people to save money on long distance calling, if they use modems. phase shift keying - See PSK. phone number - A number identifying a specific phone line. In the United States, a phone number consists of a 3 digit area code and a 7 digit number. If you call BBS's in other countries, there may be a specific country code and city code that is part of the phone number. You can find many of these codes in a phone book. A BBS will usually ask you to tell it your phone number before you can be a registered user. phreaker - A person who spends a lot of time trying to find out as much as possible about the telephone company, and how it works. They often try to find out ways to make long distance calls for free. Some steal calls from telephone credit card users, some steal calls from the phone company directly, and others don't make "free" long distance calls. They are sometimes confused with hackers. [See also hacker]. pick up - To pick up a carrier is when the 2 modems recognize each other's signals over a phone line. After this point the two computers can communicate. ping-pong - A 9600bps and 4800bps protocol developed by Hayes. It features fast turnaround. pins - The ports on the back of your computer and an external modem will have pins. Each pin has a certain function, such as letting the computer know that the modem is online. The pins from a computer's port and the modem are connected by a cable. PKARC - The program which will make an archive with the extension "ARC". [See also archive, unarchive, ARC]. PKUNZIP - The program which will un-arc a file that has the extension ZIP. [See also unarchive, archive, ZIP]. PKXARC - The program which will un-arc an archive created with PKARC. [See also unarchive, archive, ARC]. PKZIP - The program which will create an archive with the exten- sion "ZIP". It is one of the most popular archive programs. [See also archive, unarchive, ZIP]. pocket modem - An external modem that is small enough to be easily portable. It usually either uses a battery for power, or it can get its power from the phone line. poll - [verb] The process when a computer checks to see whether a peripheral or another computer has data to send. [noun] See vote. post - To save a message that you have written on a BBS so that other people can see it. [Same as leave message]. private - When referring to a message, it means that only a specific person or several people that you specify can view the message. [See also public]. private branch exchange - See PBX. private line - See leased line. privileged - Some BBS's have a privileged user level, where the user can do more than a regular user. For example, they may be able to download more programs than regular users. [See also user level]. profanity filter - Some BBS's have a special function that will take out specified words (usually swears) from messages that people leave. That way, the BBS will automatically keep itself "clean," even if users try to leave swears in their messages. prompt - A character or group of characters that are meant to remind the user of a BBS that he needs to enter some information. It might say "What now?" or it might list the name of the message base the user is currently in, or a list of possible commands. protocol - [1] When referring to file transfers, a protocol is a method of sending and receiving a program. There are many meth- ods available, each with different advantages and disadvantages. [See also upload, download, Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, Kermit]. [2] Protocol is also used to describe the way that hardware error control is managed. [See also error control]. PSK - Phase Shift Keying. In this method of modulation/demodula- tion, there are two frequencies used (usually 1200 hertz and 2400 hertz). There are 4 different phase angles (0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees), representing dibits 00, 01, 10, and 11. This is usual- ly used for 1200bps transmission. Note that the baud rate using PSK is really 1/2 of the bps rate, since 2 bits are sent at a time instead of one. [See also modulation]. PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Network. This is the regular phone lines that just about everybody uses. public - When referring to a message, it means that the message is available for everyone to see. [See also private]. public domain - A program that is in the public domain usually has no copyright, and can be copied legally by anybody. BBS's often have public domain software available for people to down- load. [See also shareware, freeware, commercial software, ban- nerware]. public messaging - A fancy term that means to read and/or leave messages in a message base. public switched telephone network - See PSTN. pulse dialing - A method that some phones use to dial numbers. It involves a series of "clicks." Most modems support this type of dialing, which is the only type available in some remote areas. The other method of dialing is tone dialing. [See also tone dialing]. ---Q--- quickscan - An option used by some bulletin board programs which will let you check several message bases to see if there are any new messages. [See also global scan]. quit - See logoff. ---R--- rack mounted modems - Some multi-line BBS's use rack mounted modems, so that the modems can be easily and safely stored. raw speed - The speed at which a modem can actually transmit data, before compression or other factors. [See also effective transfer rate]. RD - Receive Data. This is the wire in an RS-232C cable that receives data. real-time conference - See on-line conference. receive - To transfer information from another computer to your computer. To receive a file is the same as downloading the file. [See also send]. receive data LED - On external modems, this LED will light up when the modem is receiving data. [See also LED indicators]. receive level - The "loudness" of the sound that is received by a modem. It is measured in -dBm's. A modem will have a certain range which it can understand, for example, -33dBm to -9dBm. [See also equalization]. receive sensitivity - See carrier detect threshold. register - A location in memory that stores a value which refers to something specific. This value can be changed. For example, most modems have a register that holds a number which tells the modem how many rings it should wait for before picking up the phone. registered user - This is the most common user level on most BBS's. It usually allows reasonable usage of the BBS (perhaps it will give you a time limit of 45 minutes per day, and let you download up to 200K of programs per day). [Same as regular user]. [See also user level]. regular user - See registered user. reliable link - A connection that is "error-free," meaning that an error control protocol is being used. [See also auto-reliable link]. remote - A computer in a different location. For a BBS, the user is at a remote location (since they are connected by the phone line, and not right there). For a user, the BBS is at a remote location. request to send - See RTS. reread - After a message is sent to your computer from a BBS, the reread command will send the message again. This can be useful if the message is long, and you miss part of it. reset - A modem can be reset. This will change any options (such as parity and speed) to the values that they have when the modem is first used. This can be useful if you change some values for the modem and aren't sure what they do, and then you find that the modem won't work. Resetting the modem will fix everything for you. response format - The way that a modem sends certain information to the computer. It can either be verbal (such as "BUSY" or "NO CARRIER"), or it can be numeric ("7" or "3"). response time - How long it takes for the computer or modem to respond to a certain condition. For example, a carrier detect response time of 10ms means that it takes the modem 10 millisec- onds to figure out that there is a carrier. result codes - These are either numbers or words that the modem sends to the communications program (which will usually print them on the screen for you to see) that indicate how the modem responded to an action you requested. For example, if you tell the modem to dial a number, it may respond with "CONNECT 1200", which is a result code that means that the computer dialed the number and connected to a computer on the other end. [See also numeric result codes, verbal result codes]. retrain - Some modems have the capability of monitoring the phone line to "see" how good the connection is. If the line quality is poor, these modems can "retrain"--they change their equalization so as to better accommodate the lines. [See also equalization]. retransmit - To transmit information that was previously sent. Whenever an error is encountered, retransmitting the data will fix the problem. return - ASCII character 13. This is the key marked "RETURN" or "ENTER". It will advance the cursor to the next line. On some printers, it will just move the print head to the left hand side, and the printer then needs a linefeed to move to the next line. [Same as carriage return, ]. reverse - When you are in a message base, you may find this command which will allow you to read messages is backwards order (from newest to oldest messages). reverse mode - When a modem switches the signals it should send. For example, in reverse mode, a modem that dials another computer will act as though it just received the call. Some modems only let you dial out (they do not accept calls). In order to call one of these modems, you would have to set your modem to reverse mode, and then call the computer. RI signal - See ring indicator signal. right brace - The character }. right bracket - The character ]. ring - When someone calls you on the telephone, the sound that your phone makes is called a "ring." Also, when you call someone (or a computer), it will ring before they pick it up. This indicates that the number is not busy, but nobody has picked up the phone yet. ringback - The sound that you hear over the phone that indicates that the phone is ringing on the other end, and not busy. It sounds a lot like a phone actually ringing. ringing indicator LED - This is an LED on some external modems that lights up when the phone is ringing. [See also LED indica- tors]. ring indicator signal - This is the line on an RS-232C cable that indicates that the phone is ringing. RJ-11 - This is a normal phone jack. Modems usually have 2 jacks like this, one to connect to the phone line, and the other to connect to a telephone (that you can use when the modem isn't being used). RPG - See Role Playing Game Role Playing Game - Some computers don't act as places to leave messages or programs, but instead let you play a game. On these computers, you have a character and call up the computer to move around in a world with other characters (other people who call up), and you interact with them (for example, you may try to kill the character). [Same as RPG]. [See also on-line games]. rotary - A phone that dials with the pulse method. [See also pulse dialing, tone dialing]. RS-232 - The name of a specific type of port on the back of some computers, or peripherals such as modems. It has 9 or 25 pins. [See also RS-232C]. RS-232C - The name of a standard (created by the Electronics Industry Association) for communication between a computer and a serial device. The interface consists of 25 wires, although a variation contains 9 wires. Computers and peripherals which both have an RS-232 port can be connected easily with an RS-232C cable. running - Working. If a BBS is running, then it is working correctly and people can call it. [See also down]. RTS - Request To Send. This is when the computer tells the modem that it wants to send information to the other computer. It is only used in half duplex mode. [See also flow control, CTS]. ---S--- S register - A type of register that modems use. [See also register]. scan - To look through messages or file descriptions to either find new messages or files or look for certain key words within the messages or descriptions. screen width - The number of characters that a computer can display on one line. On most modern computers, it is 80 columns. [Same as video width]. [See also columns]. script language - Many communications programs allow the user to write a program, or script, which allows them to use the communi- cations program without actually typing anything. It is often used to call BBS's late at night to download programs or look for new messages. This way, the user does not have to be there when the communications takes place. scripting language - See script language. sector - A unit to measure storage space. It usually refers to 256 bytes. It is rarely used any more. security level - Some BBS programs have different user levels, usually numbered, which allow different levels of access. For example, 0 might refer to an unregistered user, 10 a registered user, and 99 for the SysOp. Each has different levels of access on the BBS. [Similar to user level]. selectable COM ports - On internal modems for IBM compatible computers, this allows you to change something on the modem (usually a jumper or DIP switch) to allow you to change which COM port the modem will be connected to. [See also COM port, jumper, DIP switch]. selftest - The ability of a modem to test itself to make sure it is functioning properly. send - To transfer information from one computer to another. To send a file is called uploading the file. [See also receive]. SendFax(TM) - A modem that can send faxes, but not receive them. serial - The method used when a computer sends and receives data one bit at a time. Contrast this to parallel. [See also paral- lel]. serial interface - An interface that transmits only 1 bit at a time. [See also parallel interface]. serial port - A port on a computer that is used to transmit and receive data in a serial fashion (one bit at a time). [See also RS-232C]. service class - The level of MNP protocol that is being used, such as MNP Class 4 or MNP Class 5. [See also MNP]. settings - See format. set-up - (noun) - Information that a BBS has about your computer. (verb) - To give the information about your computer to a BBS. This information usually includes screen width, whether or not you want hot-keys, and other miscellaneous information. shareware - Programs that can be distributed freely, but you must pay for these programs if you use them. They usually allow you to try them for a specified period of time and then you must either pay for the program or get rid of it. Many BBS's have shareware programs that you can download without paying the BBS, but you must remember that if you use a shareware program you are supposed to pay for it. [See also public domain]. shell virus - A virus which places itself either before or after a program on a disk or in memory. It can be easy to detect such a virus, since the length of the program will be longer after the virus hits than it was before. [See also virus]. SIG - Special Interest Group. This is similar to a message base, but it may also contain files. It is generally used on large services, such as CompuServe. [See also SIGop]. SIGop - SIG OPerator. The coordinator of a SIG. This person is responsible for checking messages to make sure that they pertain to the topic of the SIG. [See also SIG]. signal power - The loudness or strength of what a modem sends over the phone line. It is measured in -dBm's. [See also noise power]. sign-off message - A message that is displayed when you log off a BBS. Often the message will include the numbers of other BBS's, and in some cases the BBS will allow you to leave a message for the next user to call the BBS. sign-on - The procedure of letting a BBS know who you are. This involves giving the computer information such as you user number, name, password, and sometimes even phone number. [See also logon]. sign-on message - A message that is displayed by a BBS after you sign on. Often news about the BBS will go here. On some BBS's you can leave a sign-on message for the next caller. [See also news]. simplex - See half duplex. smart modem - Originally the brand name of a modem, it refers to a modem which has capabilities which make it 'smart'. Most modems now sold are considered smart. Basically, it means that the modem has many features. [See also dumb modem]. smart terminal - A terminal that is capable of certain editing features. [See also terminal, dumb terminal, terminal emulation]. space bit - A bit set to zero. space parity - This is when the parity bit is always set as a binary 0. [See also parity bit, format]. special interest group - See SIG. speed - This refers to the bps rate of a modem. The most common modem speeds are 300bps, 1200bps, 2400bps, and 9600bps. [See also effective transfer rate]. stand-alone modem - See external modem. stand-alone program - A program, usually that allows you to do file transfers, that is separate from your comm program, but can be called by it. start bit - This framing bit indicates that the data byte will be following. It is always a binary 0. [See also format, framing bits]. statistics - Any information that a BBS keeps on its users. Some BBS's keep track of how many messages a user posts, how many programs the user uploads or downloads, and even how many times the user calls. stats - See statistics. status line - In communications programs, sometimes the bottom line of the screen will contain a status line, which has informa- tion such as the speed of the modem, the parity, how long you have been connected to a BBS and other such information. status lights - See LED indicators. stop bit - When a modem sends a byte of data, it usually sends one or two framing bits after the data byte, before the next byte is sent. These bit(s) are called stop bits. They are always a binary 1. [See also format, framing bits]. streaming - When a file transfer protocol sends data continuous- ly, without waiting to make sure there are no errors. A stream- ing protocol should check for errors, but if an error occurs the file transfer should be stopped. A streaming protocol should only be used with modems that have hardware error control. [See also Ymodem-g, protocol]. [Same as full flow]. streaming Ymodem - See Ymodem-g. STU-III - Secure Telephone Unit, generation III. This is a system used by the government that makes voice and data calls much more secure. subboard - See message base. subject - Most BBS's require that you leave a short description about any messages that you post on the BBS. This description is referred to as the subject of the message. [Same as title]. subop - A term used for the operator of a subboard. Some BBS's allow a person besides the SysOp to control a specific message base. This person would be able to kill any messages that he/she felt were inappropriate. synchronous communication - With synchronous communication, data bytes are not marked with a beginning and end, but instead are sent at a specific interval. When computers send data to modems, it is synchronous communication. When modems send the informa- tion they get from the computer, the modem usually will add start and stop bits to identify the bytes. That is asynchronous commu- nication. [See also asynchronous communication]. SysOp - Short for SYStems OPerator. This is the person who is in charge of a BBS. He has the power to change anyone's user level, delete users, delete or edit messages. Usually this is the same person who paid for the BBS equipment and pays for the phone line. [See also Co-SysOp]. SysOp window - Some BBS programs have an area of the computer screen (on the computer that the BBS runs on, not the user's screen) that gives information about the user who is on-line, such as his password, where he is from and his phone number. This is called the SysOp window, and is for the convenience of the SysOp. [Similar to top of screen display]. system - [1] Your computer. When a BBS asks for your system configuration, it is referring to information about your comput- er, such as screen width. [2] A BBS. system files - Any computer files that are used by an operating system, or in the case of BBS's, files that are used by the BBS program that do not get changed. system news - See news. ---T--- tab - The key on your keyboard that will move the cursor forward about 5 spaces. It is not an ASCII character (it is similar to a function key, since it does not output a single character). talk mode - See voice mode. TCM - Trellis Coded Modulation. This is a form of error control used on some modems. TD - Transmit Data. This is the wire in an RS-232C cable that is used to transmit information. Telco - Abbreviation for Telephone Company. telecomm - Short for telecommunications. See telecommunications. telecommunication(s) - This word has no precise definition, but is frequently used. Its definition ranges from "any form of communication over a distance" to "any communication by electric means" to "two computers 'talking' to each other via modems." Methods of communications that probably are considered telecommu- nications: BBS's, telephones, TV's and fax machines. The word is used both in singular and plural. telecommuting - The idea of company employees working from home, rather than their office. At home, they can communicate with the office (and other entities) by modem or voice calls. telecomputing - Using computers to communicate. This usually involves using modems to communicate over the phone lines, but can also involve other media such as the air waves. Telenet - The packet-switched network that is used for PC-Pur- suit, which is operated by U.S. Sprint. term program - See terminal program. terminal - A CRT and keyboard that are connected to either a computer or a modem. [See also smart terminal, dumb terminal]. terminal emulation - When a communications program can simulate the operations of a smart terminal. terminal mode - Some modems have a built in terminal program. On these modems, if that program is running, the modem is said to be in its terminal mode. It also refers to the state where a modem is ready to accept commands, although command mode is the pre- ferred term. terminal program - A program that allows a person to use a modem. It is generally very limited. A communications program is a more advanced version of a terminal program. Usually a terminal program will simulate a specific brand of terminal. It generally does not support file transfers. [Also called term program]. terminate - To disconnect with another computer. This is some- times listed as a command in menus on BBS's. text file - Any information that can be read, and is stored in a computer file. A text file can be any kind of information, such as a description of a computer program. thread - A group of related messages on a BBS, within the same message base. If a user posts a reply to a message, some BBS's will start a thread. If a message is part of a thread, the BBS will have a command so that you can see the original message, which started the thread. throughput - See effective transfer rate. tilde - The character ~. time limit - Most BBS's have a time limit, where you can only be on the BBS for a certain amount of time. On some BBS's you can only be on for a certain amount of time each time you call, on others there is a limit of time that you can be on the BBS per day. time out - BBS programs often will disconnect a user if he doesn't type anything for a certain amount of time. Time out occurs when the time limit is reached and the BBS program hangs up on the user. This is done so that users do not tie up the BBS. If a user is connected to the BBS but is not using it, other callers might not be able to use the BBS. timing signal - A signal sometimes sent by modems over the phone line that lets the receiving modem know when a byte of informa- tion starts. It is required in synchronous communication. title - See subject. tone dialing - This is a method that a phone or modem can use to dial a phone number. It uses one audible tone per digit to be dialed. [See also pulse dialing]. top of screen display - Some BBS's have this display on the top of the screen of the computer running the BBS. This will show the SysOp certain information about the user who is on-line, such as his phone number, how many programs he has downloaded, etc. [Similar to SysOp window]. touchtone dialing speed - The length of time that your modem sends each touchtone digit over the phone lines. It is the equivalent to the length of time that you hold down the buttons on a phone when you make a call. transfer - To send a computer program from one computer to anoth- er. [See also download, upload, protocol]. transfer protocol - See protocol. transmission rate - See data transmission rate. transmission speed - See data transmission rate. transmit data LED - This is an LED on an external modem that will light when the modem is transmitting data over the phone line. [See also LED indicators]. transmit level - The "loudness" level of the sound leaving a modem to go over the phone lines. It is measured in -dBm's. It should be different at different frequencies, since certain frequencies have more loss over the phone line than others. [See also equalization]. trapdoor - This usually refers to a BBS program (or a mainframe that you call up) that has a special code that can be entered to give you high access. Usually, it is entered as a user name and password when logging on. These are undocumented by the program, and usually were created by the programmers so that they could gain access to any computer running their BBS program. Hackers try to find trapdoors, but they are usually not created by hack- ers. (Some other kinds of software have trapdoors, such as video games, which might have trapdoors to give you extra lives). Trellis-coded modulation - See TCM. trigger character - This is a character that, when pressed, starts a macro. [See also macro]. trojan horse - A trojan horse is a program within another pro- gram, usually on a mainframe or a computer running a BBS. The original program looks innocent, but when run it will trigger the trojan horse, which will usually try to gain access to the main- frame computer system or BBS. TTY - A TeleTYpe machine. It is a keyboard and a printer com- bined in one unit. It is hooked up to another computer. TTY mode - This is when a communications program emulates a TTY machine, which only involves printing characters and recognizing the linefeed, carriage return and backspace characters. [See also TTY]. two-wire leased line - See leased line. Tymnet - A packet-switched network. type-ahead buffer - Some BBS programs let you type characters to the BBS, even while it is sending information to you. When it is finished sending the information to you, it will then act on the information you sent. The type-ahead buffer refers to the proc- ess, and the space in the BBS computer's memory where the charac- ters are held. ---U--- UA - User Agent. It is the program that people use to create and read messages under the X.400 system. [See also X.400]. UART - Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter. This is a device in a computer or modem that will change serial data (the way data comes in over the phone line) to parallel, and vice versa. [See also serial, parallel, 16550 UART, 8250 UART, 16450 UART]. un-arc - See unarchive. unarchive - To take out the files from an archive. [Same as unarc]. [See also archive, extract, ARJ, ZIP, ARC, PAK, LZH]. unattended mode - This mode is available on some communications programs. It will let your computer wait for a telephone call from another computer, and will let the person using that comput- er access your computer (usually to download or upload programs). It is called unattended because you don't have to wait for the person to call, the program will automatically answer when some- one calls. [See also attended mode]. [Similar to host program]. underline character - The character _. underscore character - Any character (although almost always the underline character) that is used for underlining. When this method is used, the text to be underlined will be sent (usually to a printer), and then backspaces will be sent, and then the underscore character will be printed over the text, so it looks like it is underlined. upload - To send a program from your computer to a BBS. [See also download, protocol]. uppercase - Letters that are used for emphasis, as opposed to regular lowercase letters. CAPITAL letters are the same as uppercase letters. The first word in a sentence is in uppercase. Some older computers were only capable of displaying uppercase characters. user - A person who uses a BBS. For example, a BBS might claim that it has 500 users, which means that there are 500 different people who have called the BBS. user level - The level of security which a user has. This usual- ly is in the form of word(s), usually progressing from: New User, Registered User, Privileged User, SysOp Level. [See also securi- ty level]. user list - Most BBS programs will allow you to see a list of all its users. It will show the user's name, and often city and state. This is called the user list. Rarely will it show any phone numbers or more detailed information. user log - A file on a computer running a BBS that lists which users called, what time they called, and sometimes information as to what they did while they were on the BBS. user name - This is the name that a person uses on a computer system. Sometimes an alias is used, but it is more often the user's real name or a variation of it. [See also alias]. user number - A number that is used by some older BBS programs to keep track of users. On these BBS's, a user would have to remem- ber a specific number as well as his password. Most BBS's now just use the person's user name instead, which is much easier for a user to remember. [Same as account number, ID number]. userfile - A file that a BBS program has that keeps track of all users of the BBS and their statistics. ---V--- V.17 - The CCITT standard for fax transmission at 14,400bps. V.21 - The international standard, created by CCITT, that con- trols transmission at 300bps. [See also 103]. V.22 - The international standard for transmission at 1200bps, created by CCITT. [See also 212A]. V.22bis - The international standard, created by CCITT, that controls data transmission at 2400bps. V.23 - The CCITT protocol for transmission of 1200bps one way, 75bps the other way. V.24 - This, combined with V.28 is the CCITT standard equivalent to EIA's RS-232C standard. V.24/V.28 has 25 pins, just like the original RS-232C standard. [See also RS-232C]. V.28 - Part of V.24. [See also V.24]. V.29 - The CCITT standard for 9600bps half-duplex communications. V.32 - The international standard controlling transmission at 9600bps. It was created by CCITT. It has provisions for fall- back, if the line is too noisy. V.32bis - The international standard for 14,400 bps modems, created by CCITT. V.42 - A standard error control system created by CCITT that is in use on many 9600bps modems and some 2400bps modems. It in- cludes LAPM, as well as MNP 2-4. [See also error control, V.42 compatible, V.42 compliant]. V.42 compatible - This is a modem that follows all the V.42 specifications, except for LAPM error control (instead it uses MNP). [See also V.42]. V.42 compliant - This is a modem which follows all the V.42 specifications, and uses LAPM error control if possible. Other- wise, it will go to MNP error control. [See also V.42]. V.42bis - A CCITT standard for data compression. It can compress data with about a 3:1 compression ratio, although it can compress up to 4:1 given the right conditions. Any modem with V.42bis also has V.42 error control. [See also data compression]. verbal result codes - These are result codes which are printed as words, rather than numbers. [See also result codes, numeric result codes]. verify - This is when a SysOp makes sure that a new user is who he or she claims to be. The normal procedure is for the SysOp to call up a new user, just to make sure that the phone number he listed is real. This is a way to make sure that the users are less likely to abuse the system. However, most SysOps do not call new users, since it is time consuming. Some SysOps will look at the information the new user left just to make sure it "looks" right (if the new user says his phone number is 555-1212, the SysOp knows it is not real). After verifying the user, the SysOp will usually raise the user's user level. verified user - Any user who has been verified by the SysOp. It is also used to refer to users who have access better than that of new users. video width - See screen width. videotex - The idea of getting information by computer, over the phone lines, and paying for it. It is the computer version of audiotex (900 numbers, voice mail, having computers call you). virus - Any program which spreads itself secretly. It reproduces within a computer, and also will go to other computers if possi- ble (through file transfers). At a certain point in time, the virus will do something (anything from saying "Boo" to something destructive, such as erasing all files on a hard disk drive). They are often hidden inside legitimate programs that seem to run normally, but contain the virus. It will usually spread to every program you run. Viruses became widespread because BBS's can inadvertently spread virus all across the country. Whenever you download a program, it might have a virus in it. However, there are several programs available which find many viruses and can destroy them. voice detection - The ability of a modem to detect whether a computer answers the phone, or whether it is a human voice. voice grade - A telephone line that is designed to transfer human voice. This is the way most phone lines are set up. However, the phone company also has data grade lines, which are supposed to make data communications better. [See also data grade]. voice mail - An addition to some modems. This allows the modem to also answer incoming voice calls, send recorded (voice) mes- sages to the caller, and let them leave a message. [Same as answering machine]. voice mode - Some older modems require the user to manually dial phone numbers through a telephone. When this is done, the modem is in voice mode. When the remote computer picks up the phone, the user must switch his modem from voice mode to data mode. [Same as talk mode]. [See also data mode]. vote - Some BBS's have this feature, which allows the SysOp to find out user's preferences about things ranging from operation of the BBS to political positions. It is similar to a survey in the non-computer world. [Same as poll]. VT100 - A smart terminal, which is emulated by many communica- tions programs. It uses ANSI codes. [See also ANSI]. VT52 - Another smart terminal, which is emulated by some communi- cations programs. ---W--- window - A distinct area of a computer screen that contains information different than the rest of the screen. Sometimes it covers other information 'underneath' the window (in which case it is temporary), or it is permanent and does not contain other information. [See also SysOp window]. word wrap - A function of editors on BBS's (just like that found in most word processors) which will move a word that won't fit at the very right hand of the screen down to the next line. worm - A program which embeds itself within another program. Either it tries to find a space in which it won't be noticed, or it will just stick itself anywhere within the main program (which will ruin that program). A worm is almost always destructive. [See also virus]. ---X--- X.25 - This is a packet-switching protocol developed by CCITT. It is used to carry large amounts of data at fast speeds over leased phone lines. [See also X.32]. X.25 dialup - See X.32. X.32 - This is CCITT's 1984 update of X.25, also known as X.25 dialup. [See also X.25]. X.400 - This is the CCITT standard protocol for a global system for the exchange of electronic mail. X.500 - The CCITT standard for a directory of the users of the X.400 system. [See also X.400]. xfer - Short for transfer. It usually refers to file transfers. [See also upload, download]. Xmodem - A file transfer protocol developed by Ward Christensen around 1977. It is fairly slow by today's standards, but was the first widespread file transfer protocol. It uses blocks of 128 bytes, and after each block is sent, it sends a 1 byte checksum to check for errors. If an error is encountered, the block will be re-sent. Almost every communications program offers this protocol. [Same as Christensen protocol]. [See also protocol]. Xmodem/CRC - The same as Xmodem, but it has a 16-bit CRC instead of the checksum, which makes it more reliable (it catches more errors). [See also protocol]. Xmodem-1K - This is similar to Xmodem/CRC, except it uses blocks of 1024 bytes, rather than 128. It is faster than Xmodem, since it needs to stop less often to check for errors. This is some- times incorrectly called Ymodem. [See also protocol, Xmodem, Ymodem]. Xoff - The CTRL-S character. This is often used to pause infor- mation that is being sent. The information will be continued when an CTRL-Q is received. [See also flow control, Xon]. Xon - The CTRL-Q character. This will sometimes continue paused information. [See also flow control, Xoff]. Xon/Xoff - The flow control method using the Xon and Xoff charac- ters. It is built into the software, not the hardware. [See also Xon, Xoff, flow control]. ---Y--- yell - See page (verb). Ymodem - A file transfer protocol which can transfer more than one file at a time. It transfers both a file and some informa- tion about the file (including its length, and the name of the file). It is similar to Xmodem/CRC, except that Ymodem can transfer more than one file at a time. It will use CRC-16 if possible, or else it will use a 1 byte checksum. It will use both 1024 byte blocks and 128 byte blocks. [See also protocol]. Ymodem-g - This is Ymodem changed to provide best results with error-correcting modems. Errors can be discovered by the proto- col, since Ymodem-g uses CRC, but if there are any errors in the transmission, the transmission will be aborted. [See also Ymo- dem, protocol, streaming]. [Same as streaming Ymodem]. ---Z--- ZIP - The file extension which refers to archives that were created by the program PKZIP. You need the program PKUNZIP to get the files out of the archive. [See also archive, unarchive, PKZIP, PKUNZIP]. Zmodem - A file transfer protocol which is known for its speed, as well as the ability to transfer information about the files which it sends. It has crash recovery and auto-download fea- tures, and can use a 32 bit CRC, which makes it almost error- free. [See also protocol]. TRADEMARKS CompuServe is a trademark of CompuServe. GEnie is a servicemark of GE Information Services. Hayes is a trademark of Hayes Microcomputer Products, Inc. MNP is a trademark of MicroCom, Inc. SendFax is a trademark of Sierra Semiconductor. HISTORY Telecommunications Dictionary version 0.99: This was the first version available. It was incomplete, with about 150 words, only covering A-K. But it was nice for people not to have to wait another year to see part of it. It was released in 1989. It was usually in a file called "MODEMDIC". Telecommunications Dictionary version 1.00: This was the first real version. It had somewhere around 430 words defined in it. It was released on August 15, 1991. It was sent out originally as "TDIC100" in a ZIP compressed format. Telecommunications Dictionary version 1.10: This version had more than 530 words listed. Many words were added, some extra information was added to some old words, and several minor errors were corrected. It was released on August 22, 1991 (I was very busy that week!). It should be called TDIC110.TXT, or if archived, TDIC110.ZIP (or whatever extension). Telecommunications Dictionary version 1.20: This version was not officially released. It was an interim version. It updated about half the definitions existing in version 1.10, and minor inconsistencies were fixed. Also, a few words were added. Telecommunications Dictionary version 1.21: Another interim version, not officially released. Last modification in August, 1992. The Modem Dictionary version 1.25: An interim version, just before 1.30. The name was changed, since the dictionary is specific to modems, just a small portion of telecommunications. The Modem Dictionary, version 1.30: This version was widely distributed, and contains all of the improvements found in the previous, unreleased versions. It was marketed as shareware on a trial basis. This version is on file at the United States Copyright Office, in Washington. The Modem Dictionary, version 1.50: The current version. The main change is that is was changed back to freeware. It will remain that way.


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