Word of the Day: Crossplatform

Software that can run on multiple types of computer systems. For example, the graphics program Adobe Photoshop and the word processor Microsoft Word are both available for the Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Therefore, Photoshop and Word are considered to be crossplatform applications.

While “crossplatorm” is typically used to describe computer software, it can refer to hardware as well. For example, peripherals such as keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, and digital cameras that work on both Mac and PC are crossplatorm. Software and hardware that work on more than one platform are also called multiplatform.

Word of the Day: Gigaflops

Gigaflops is a unit of measurement used to measure the performance of a computer’s floating point unit, commonly referred to as the FPU. One gigaflops is one billion (1,000,000,000) FLOPS, or floating point operations, per second.

The term “gigaflops” appears to be plural, since it ends in “s,” but the word is actually singular since FLOPS is an acronym for “floating point operations per second.” This is why gigaflops is sometimes written as “gigaFLOPS.” Since gigaflops measures how many billions of floating point calculations a processor can perform each second, it serves as a good indicator of a processor’s raw performance. However, since it does not measure integer calculations, gigaflops cannot be used as a comprehensive means of measuring a processor’s overall performance.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: Infotainment

Infotainment is a combo word, like “fantabulous,” that combines two words into one. It refers to television shows, movies, websites, and software that blend information and entertainment together. For example, shows on the Food Network and Animal Planet provide information to the viewer, but are also fun to watch. Certain news broadcasts can also be considered infotainment, since they strive to be as entertaining as they are informational.

Websites like Yahoo.com and CNET.com also have content that is both informational and entertaining. Software titles such as Grolier Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Britannica serve primarily to inform, but are also geared to be entertaining, so they can be considered infotainment. While there is a blurry line between basic information and infotainment, if informational media makes an intentional effort to entertain, you can call it infotainment.

Word of the Day: Newbie

A new user of a technology, such as a computer, a certain computer program, or the Internet, is often referred to as a “newbie.” The term originated sometime around 1990 and supposedly comes from the English phrase, “new boy,” which refers to someone in their first year of public schooling. In online chat rooms, veteran net users like to call anybody who asks an easy question a newbie. If you ever get called a newbie, just shake it off — everybody has to learn sometime.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of th Day: Redundancy

The general definition of redundancy is exceeding what is normal. However, in computing, the term is used more specifically and refers to duplicate devices that are used for backup purposes. The goal of redundancy is to prevent or recover from the failure of a specific component or system.

There are many types of redundant devices. The most common in personal computing is a backup storage device. While most other computer components can be easily replaced, if a hard drive fails, it may not be possible to recover personal data. Therefore, it is important to regularly back up your data to a secondary hard drive. In enterprise situations, a RAID configuration can be used to mirror data across two drives in real-time.

Another type of redundant device is a secondary power supply. High traffic web servers and other critical systems may have multiple power supplies that take over in case the primary one fails. While an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is not technically a redundant device, the battery within the surge protector provides power redundancy for a few minutes if electricity is lost.

Computer networks often implement redundancy as well. From local area networks to Internet backbone connections, it is common to have redundant data paths. This means if one system goes down, the connection between other systems will not be broken. For example, an FDDI network has a duplicate data “ring” that is used automatically when the primary data path is interrupted. Network redundancy can be accomplished by either adding extra physical connections or using networking software that automatically reroutes data when needed.

– definition from TechTerms

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