Word of the Week: Migration

Word of the Week: Migration

In information technology (IT), migration is the process of moving from the use of one operating environment to another operating environment that is, in most cases, thought to be a better one. Migration can involve upgrading to new hardware, new software or both.

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Word of the Day: AUP

Stands for “Acceptable Use Policy.” An AUP is list of rules you must follow in order to use a website or Internet service. It is similar to a software license agreement (SLA), but is used specifically for Internet services.

Most well-known, high traffic websites include an AUP, which may also be called Terms of Service (TOS) or Terms of Use (TOU). You can often find a link to the to the website’s AUP in the footer of the home page. Many web services, such as cloud applications require you to agree to an AUP in order to use the online service. ISPs often provide an AUP with each account, which states specific guidelines you must follow.

The specifics of an AUP vary depending on the service offered. Even website AUPs may differ greatly based on the purpose of the website and the website’s content. However, most AUPs include a list of general dos and don’ts while using the service, such as the following:

  1. Do not violate any federal or state laws.
  2. Do not violate the rights of others.
  3. Do not distribute viruses or other malware.
  4. Do not try to gain access to an unauthorized area or account.
  5. Respect others’ copyrights and intellectual property.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the usage guidelines and report violations.

An AUP serves as an agreement between the user and the company offering the online service. Some rules are basic netiquette, while others may have legal ramifications. If you fail to comply with a policy in a AUP, the company has the right to suspend or terminate your account or take legal action if necessary. Therefore, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the AUPs of the Internet services you use.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: Backlink

A backlink is an incoming link from an external website to specific webpage. For example, if you publish a webpage and 20 other websites link to it, your webpage has 20 backlinks. Links to the page from within your own website are not included in the backlink total.

Web developers benefit from backlinks (or “inlinks”) in two different ways — direct traffic and search result placement. As more links to a specific webpage are published on external sites, there is greater potential for traffic to be generated from other websites. This is called direct traffic. By increasing direct traffic, a website can gradually grow its presence on the Web and generate a steady stream of visitors from other websites.

While direct traffic is helpful, most websites generate the majority of their traffic through search engines. Since search engines use backlinks as an important part of the algorithms for search result placement, external links are important for good search ranking. Therefore, generating backlinks has become common practice for search engine optimization, or SEO. The more backlinks a webpage has, the better the chance that the page will rank highly in search results for relevant keywords. If a website has many pages that have backlinks, the overall number of incoming links may help increase the ranking of all pages within the website. While most backlinks point to a website’s home page, incoming links to other pages within the website are beneficial as well.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: Avatar

Generally speaking, an avatar is the embodiment of a person or idea. However, in the computer world, an avatar specifically refers to a character that represents an online user. Avatars are commonly used in multiplayer gaming, online communities, and Web forums.

Online multiplayer role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft and EverQuest allow users to create custom characters. These characters serve as the players’ avatars. For example, a World of Warcraft player may choose a Paladin with blue armor as his avatar. As the player progresses in the game, his character may gain items and experience, which allows the avatar to evolve over time.

Avatars are also used in online communities, such as Second Life and The Sims Online. These avatars can be custom-designed to create a truly unique appearance for each player. Once a user has created an avatar, he or she becomes part of an online community filled with other users’ avatars. Players can interact with other avatars and talk to them using text or voice chat. It’s no surprise that “Second Life” refers to a virtual life that players live through their avatars.

Finally, avatars may also seen in Web forums. Online discussion boards typically require users to register and provide information about themselves. Many give users the option to select an image file that represents the user’s persona. This image, combined with a made-up username, serves as a person’s avatar. For example, a user may select a picture of a Pac-Man and choose the name “pac32” for his avatar. This avatar typically appears next to each posting the user contributes in an online forum.

Regardless of the application, avatars allow people to represent themselves online in whatever way they want. They may be considered alter-egos, since users can customize characters that are completely different than their actual personas. Of course, what’s the point of having a “second life” if it’s the same as reality

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: SMS

Stands for “Short Message Service.” SMS is used to send text messages to mobile phones. The messages can typically be up to 160 characters in length, though some services use 5-bit mode, which supports 224 characters. SMS was originally created for phones that use GSM (Global System for Mobile) communication, but now all the major cell phone systems support it.

While SMS is most commonly used for text messaging between friends or co-workers, it has several other uses as well. For example, subscription SMS services can transmit weather, news, sports updates, and stock quotes to users’ phones. SMS can also notify employees of sales inquiries, service stops, and other information pertinent to their business. Doctors can receive SMS messages regarding patient emergencies.

Fortunately, text messages sent via SMS do not require the recipient’s phone to be on in order for the message to be successfully transmitted. The SMS service will hold the message until the recipient turns on his or her phone, at which point the message will be sent to the recipient’s phone. Most cell phone companies allow you to send a certain number of text messages every month for no charge. Though it would be a good idea to find out what that number is before you go text message crazy.

– definition from TechTerms

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