Word of the Day: CRM

Stands for “Customer Relationship Management.” This is a business term that started somewhere in the deep abyss of the IT (Information Technology) world. CRM refers to solutions and strategies for managing businesses’ relationships with customers. (I suppose that’s why they call it customer relationship management). With the advent of Web retailing, companies have found it hard to develop relationships with customers since the e-commerce interface is so impersonal. After all, don’t you miss the firm handshake and sparkling smile of the salesperson who just sold you the most expensive computer system in the store? Well, whether or not you miss the personal experience of the retail store, the goal of CRM is to give you that feeling when you buy products over the Internet. When it comes to CRM, customer service is the number one priority. Yes, all companies seem to make that claim, but when online businesses create CRM models, it really is the case.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: Touchpad

A touchpad or “trackpad” is a flat control surface used to move the cursor and perform other functions on a computer. Touchpads are commonly found on laptops and replace the functionality of a mouse.

A touchpad is designed to be controlled with your finger. By sliding your fingertip along the surface, you can move the cursor on the screen. Similar to a mouse, touchpads can detect acceleration as well as linear motion. This allows you to have refined control with slow movements and quickly move the cursor across the screen using a fast motion.

Some touchpads have two buttons below them, which correspond to the left-click and right-click mouse buttons respectively. In modern laptops, the buttons may be hidden in the bottom portion of the touchpad. This allows for a larger touchpad surface, but you can press the lower left or lower right section of the touchpad to click the buttons.

Touchpads may also include multi-touch technology, which is common on touchscreen devices. This means you can use multiple fingers to perform different actions on your computer. For example, some programs allow you to use two fingers to pinch and zoom in or out on a document or image. You may also be able to twist two fingers on a touchpad to rotate an image left or right. Some programs allow you to swipe left or right to go back in a web browser or jump to another page in a document.

NOTE: There is no difference between “touchpad” and “trackpad,” so the two terms can be used simultaneously. However, “touchpad” is commonly associated with Windows computers while “trackpad” typically describes the touch controls built into Macs and Apple-branded peripheral devices.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: VLB

Stands for “VESA Local Bus.” (VESA stands for “Video Electronics Standards Association”). The VLB, or VL-bus is a hardware interface on the computer’s motherboard that is attached to an expansion slot. By connecting a video expansion card to the VLB, you can add extra graphics capabilities to your computer. The interface supports 32-bit data flow at up to 50 MHz. Though the VLB architecture was popular in the early 1990s, it has since been replaced by the newer and faster, but still three-lettered, ISA, PCI, and AGP slots.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: Brouter

A brouter is a device that functions as both a bridge and a router. It can forward data between networks (serving as a bridge), but can also route data to individual systems within a network (serving as a router).


The main purpose of a bridge is to connect two separate networks. It simply forwards the incoming packets from one network to the next. A router, on the other hand, is more advanced since it can route packets to specific systems connected to the router. A brouter combines these two functions by routing some incoming data to the correct systems, while forwarding other data to another network. In other words, a brouter functions as a filter that lets some data into the local network, while redirecting unrecognized data to another network.

While the term “brouter” is used to describe bridge/router device, actual brouters are pretty rare. Instead, most brouters are simply routers that have been configured to also function as a bridge. This functionality can often be implemented using the router’s software interface. For example, you may configure a router to only accept data from specific protocols and data sources, while forwarding other data to another network.

NOTE: Since routers are more complex than bridges, it is more likely for router than a bridge to function as a brouter. Therefore, brouters are also called bridging routers.

Word of the Day: Root

In the computer world, “root” refers to the top-level directory of a file system. The word is derived from a tree root, since it represents the starting point of a hierarchical tree structure. The folders within the tree represent the branches, while the actual files are considered the leaves. However, unlike a real life tree, a data tree can be visualized upside down, with the root at the top and directories and subdirectories spanning downward.

The root node of a file system is also called the root directory. On a Windows-based PC, “C:\” represents the root directory of the C drive. On Macintosh and Unix systems, the root directory is designated by a simple forward slash (“/”). Similarly, the root directory of a website is simply the domain name, followed by a forward slash (i.e. http://www.techterms.com/). If you ever use a terminal program to view files and folders on a computer, you can use the command "cd /" (change directory to root) to navigate to the root directory.

“Root” is also the name of the user who has administrative privleges on a Unix or Linux server. While most users can only access data within their own directory (i.e. “/users/~fred/”), the root user can access any folder on the hard drive. This allows the root user to install system software updates, modify the access privileges of other users, and perform other administrative tasks.

– definition from TechTerms

Word of the Day: Emoji

An emoji is a small icon that can be placed inline with text. The name “emoji” comes from the Japanese phrase “e” (絵) and “moji” (文字), which translates to “picture character.”

Since 2010, the popularity or emojis have grown rapidly. They are commonly used in text messaging, social media, and in apps like Instagram and Snapchat. They have largely replaced emoticons as the standard way to express an emotion in a message or comment.

While smiley faces are the most commonly used emojis, they can also represent people, places, animals, objects, flags, and symbols. By inserting emojis into a message, you can emphasize a feeling or simply replace words with symbols. For example, instead of writing, “I love coffee; it makes me happy,” you could simply write:

I ❤️ ☕️ ☺️.

How Emojis Work

Emojis can be inserted inline with text because each icon corresponds to a Unicode value for a specific character. Inserting an emoji is just like typing a letter or symbol on your keyboard. However, in order for the emoji to be displayed, it must be supported by the operating system (OS). In other words, the OS must recognize the Unicode value and have an emoji that corresponds to it. If no emoji is found, either a blank space or an empty box will be displayed.

Apple’s iOS was the first major OS to offer system-level support, so Apple’s database of emojis has historically been larger than those found on Android and Windows devices. Therefore, if you send an emoji recently added to Apple’s database to a user with an Android device, he may only see an empty box on his device.

NOTE: While the Unicode values for emojis has become standardized across platforms, there is no central database of emoji icons. Therefore, each platform displays different images for each emoji. For example, the “Smiling face” emoji will look different on Mac, Windows, and Android devices. Additionally, the way to insert emojis varies between operating systems, such as Windows and OS X.

– definition from TechTerms

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