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s/w
abbreviation for software
safe mode
a troubleshooting boot option that limits the operating system's operation to basic functions, starting it with only core drivers and services
salami shaving
a computer crime that involves manipulating programs or data so that small amounts of money are deducted from a large number of transactions or accounts and accumulated elsewhere
salt
random data used as an additional input to a one-way function that hashes data, a password or passphrase
sandbox
a style of game in which minimal character limitations are placed on the gamer, allowing the gamer to roam and change a virtual world at will; in contrast to a progression-style game, such a game emphasizes roaming and allows a gamer to select tasks
scale
to change the size of an object while maintaining it’s shape
scanner
an optical input device that uses the reflection of light to copy text or graphics into a computer
screen tearing
a visual artifact in video display; display information from two or more frames in a single screen draw
screensaver
a type of computer program initially designed to prevent phosphor burn-in on CRT and plasma computer monitors by blanking the screen or filling it with moving images or patterns when the computer is not in use
scroll
to move through displayed information smoothly on the screen either horizontally or vertically
scrollbar
the part of a graphical user interface window that allows the user to move through a document by clicking or dragging with the mouse
SCSI
a standard way of connecting peripheral devices to a personal computer system, often used to connect hard disks and CD-ROM drives in server computers
SDRAM
a type of fast dynamic memory that uses a separate clock signal in addition to the normal control signals
search engine
a program designed to find information on the World Wide Web according to data entered by the user, usually accessed from a special website
sector
a formatted section of a circular magnetic track used for storing data on a disk
Secure Shell
a cryptographic network protocol for secure data communication, remote shell services or command execution and other secure network services between two networked computers
Secure Sockets Layer
cryptographic protocol used for secure transmission of encrypted data stream
seek time
the amount of time taken by a disk drive to find a particular track on a disk
segment
a subdivision of data created by a network communications transport layer for which a checksum is generated
selfie
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a mobile phone or other digital camera and shared on social media e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Myspace
self-test
an automatic examination of a device
semaphore
a variable or abstract data type that provides a simple but useful abstraction for controlling access by multiple processes to a common resource in a parallel programming environment
semiconductor
a material, such as silicon, which allows electricity to move through it more easily when its temperature increases, or an electronic device made from this material
sensor
a device which is used to record that something is present or that there are changes in something
SEO
the practice of manipulating aspects of a website to improve its ranking in search engines; various approaches are taken to achieve that goal, such as submitting the website to directory services, and addressing the website’s architecture and content
Serial ATA
a drive interface that feeds signals one after the other along the same connector, in contrast to the earlier, slower, parallel ATA standard that fed signals at the same time along a set of connectors
serial number
a number that uniquely identifies a product
serial port
the small connector at the back of the system unit of a personal computer that is used to connect a serial device such as a serial mouse or a modem; two serial ports labelled COM1 and COM2 are usually provided on a PC
serial
describing the transfer of data one bit at a time; control signals are also passed in sequence with the data
serialization
the process of translating data structures or object state into a format that can be stored and resurrected later in the same or another computer environment
service tag number
a number used to identify a computer for maintenance agreements
session layer
the part of a network communications system that opens communications and has the job of keeping straight the communications among all nodes on the network. It sets boundaries for beginning and end of a message and establishes whether the massages will be sent half-duplex or full duplex
SGML
the complex metalanguage from which both HTML and XML were created
shareware
software that is distributed freely and only paid for if the user decides to keep it
shell script
a text file that contains a sequence of commands for a UNIX-based operating system; in DOS operating systems it is called a batch file
shell
a graphical user interface for an operating system
shortcut
a special type of file in some operating systems that points to another file or device
sign up
to create an account on a website
SIM card
a plastic card in a mobile phone that contains your personal information and allows you to use the phone
Simple Network Management Procotol
a network management system which defines how status data is sent from monitored nodes back to a control station
simulation
a programmed virtual environment that imitates a real or planned system
Single Sign-On
a session and user authentication service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials (e.g., name and password) to access multiple applications
site map
a webpage that is used to show the overall layout of a website
Skin
a computer program that is used to change the interface of another program, e.g. to change the screen display on an MP3 player program
Skywiper
an extremely sophisticated strain of malware more commonly referred to as Flame (or Flamer), although some security experts classify the two differently
sleekbook
a marketing term developed by Hewlett-Packard to refer to AMD-powered ultraportable laptops that fit between Intel’s ultrabook designation and the more traditional notebook or laptop
SLI
a brand name for a multi-GPU technology developed by NVIDIA; two or more video cards together to produce a single output to increase the processing power available for graphics
slideshow
an on-screen presentation of information or ideas presented in sequence
SM band
common name for the Industrial Scientific and Medical frequency band
smalltalk
an object-oriented language, an object-oriented environment, and a library of objects first developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre
smart card reader
a device used for reading smart cards
smart card
a plastic card containing a processor and memory chip; it can be used to store large amounts of confidential data
smart device
a device that contains an embedded processor and memory
smartphone
a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone
SMTP
a set of standards for sending email from an email client and transferring email between server computers on the Internet
snail mail
letters or messages that are not sent by email, but by regular post
sneakernet
transfer of electronic information by physically moving storage media rather than transmitting the information over a computer network
social engineering
a psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information
soft error
an error occurrence in a computer’s memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value
Software as a Service
a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted
software engineering
the discipline of designing high quality software solutions
software house
a company that designs and produces software
software piracy
a computer crime that involves unauthorised copying of a program for sale or distributing to other users
software
the programs and data used in a computer
solid-state drive
a data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently
soundcard
the electronic circuit expansion board in a computer that is used to process audio signals and connect to and control a microphone loudspeaker or headphone
source code
programming code that has to be processed by a compiler or translator to make object code for use in a computer
southbridge
one of the two chips in the core logic chipset on a personal computer motherboard, the other being the northbridge, also named Input/Output Controller Hub (ICH)
spaghetti code
slang expression used to describe a program’s source code that is difficult to read or follow by a human because of how the original programmer wrote the code; it is often not organized and has portions of code that may belong at the bottom of the code at the top of the code or vice-versa
spam
unsolicited email sent to large numbers of people indiscriminately usually advertsing or trying to sell a product
spammer
a person or company that sends unsolicited email
Spanning Tree Protocol
a link management protocol preventing media access control (MAC) bridge loops and broadcast delays on any Ethernet local area network (LAN)
speaker
an output device for providing sound output
spectrum analyser
an instrument that plots a graph of frequency band
spell checker
a program that checks the spelling of words in a text document
spim
type of spam targeting users of instant messaging services
spit
the term used for spam on a VoIP system i.e. unsolicited telephone calls made using VoIP on the Internet
SPL
an esoteric programming language designed to make programs appear to be something other than programs; in this case, Shakespearean plays
splash page
the page of a Web site that the user sees first before being given the option to continue to the main content of the site, used to promote a company, service or product or to inform the user of what kind of software or browser is necessary in order to view the rest of the site’s pages
splitter-based service
a DSL system that separates the data signal from the phone line as it enters a building and sends it to a DSL modem
spread spectrum
a radiowave system that switches rapidly between different frequencies in a frequency band allowing a number of devices to share the same frequency band without interfering with each other
spreadsheet
a type of application program with an array of cells that is used for calculating formulas
spreadsheet
a computer program, used especially in business, which allows you to do financial calculations and plans
spyware
a computer program that watches what people do with their computers, and then sends that information over the Internet
SQL injection
code injection technique, used to attack data-driven applications, in which malicious SQL statements are inserted into an entry field for execution
SSH
a security protocol based on a Unix shell for logging into a remote server; it provides an encrypted session for transferring files and executing server programs
SSHD
storage device containing solid-state drive (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD)
stamina
in gaming, it describes the amount of power that a given character has to keep playing the game
standalone
not connected to a network
star network
a simple network topology with all links connected directly to a single central node
start bit
a data bit that marks the beginning of a data block in a network transmission
start-stop transmission
another name for asynchronous transmission where data is sent one byte (or character) at a time
static earthing band
a strip of material that is wound round the wrist of repair technican and connected to earth to prevent the build up of static electricity which could destroy electronic components
status bar
a narrow band displayed across the bottom of a window in a Microsoft Windows application to display useful information for the user, e.g. number of pages in a document
stealth virus
a type of virus that hides itself making it hard to detect
stop bit
a data bit that marks the end of data block in a network transmission
Storage Area Network
a high-speed interconnection of shared storage devices
storage device
a piece of equipment used for reading from and writing to a storage medium
storage medium
a material used for storing programs and data
streaming
a process of downloading and storing the next part of a data signal while the first part is being used. In this way the data signal, e.g. an audio or video is fed to the slower destination device at a steady rate
string
a series of data characters which can be a mixture of letters or numbers
striping
a process where data is spread across all drives in a RAID array rather than filling up one disk with data before writing to the next disk in the array
structured language
a computer programming language tha requires the programmer to write programs made up of self-contained units or procedures
structured programming
the process of writing a program using a structured programming language
structured query language
a high-level language for writing routines to query relational databases, originally developed by IBM in 1973, it is now an ANSI standard
style sheet
a word-processing software feature that ensures a uniform style within a document
stylus
an electronic I/O device that is used to draw or write on the screen
subfolder
storage area that provides a subdivision of a folder so that stored files can be organised into smaller groups
submenu
a list of choices that is displayed when the user clicks on an item in a menu
subnet mask
a 32-bit number that masks an IP address; divides the IP address into network address and host address
sub-network
a self-contained part of a larger network
subpage
a webpage that gives further datailed information about part of the information on a main webpage
subprogram
a small program called by another program to perform a specific function
sub-program
a small program that performs a specific function and is part of a larger program
subset
a small group of related data that is part of a larger set of data
supercomputer
the most powerful type of mainframe computer
superset
a larger group of objects that include a smaller set of objects
supervisor
the most important program in the operating system. it is resident and controls the entire operating system; it loads other operating system programs into memory when they are needed
support analyst
a person who provides help to computer users by studying their requirements and designing systems to provide for their needs
support engineer
a professional who provides help for computer users by designing, building, and maintaining computer systems
support group
a group of staff who are specialists in a particular piece of software
surf
to browse webpages on the Internet in an unplanned way
surge protector
an electronic device that protects equipment from damage due to sudden high voltage or current in the power supply
SVG
an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation; its specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium
switched network
a network topology in which a central switching device is used to connect devices directly
synch byte
a start or stop bit pattern that marks the beginning or end of a transmitted data block
synchronise
to cause different processes to occur at the same time
synchronous orbit satellite
a satellite that orbits the Earth at a controlled speed so that it maintains its position in relation to the Earth
synchronous
occurring at regular intervals and in step with other systems usually controlled by an electronic clock circuit
syntactic sugar
syntax within a programming language that is intended to make the code more readable and easier to express
synthesizer
a device that uses electronic circuits to generate sounds
system tray
a section at the far right of a Microsoft Windows task bar that holds icons for the clock and other programs that run constantly in the background
systems administrator
a person who maintains a multi-user computer system
systems program
a program or set of programs that is used to control the basic functions of a computer system, e.g. operating system programs
systems programmer
a person who specialises in writing systems software such as operating system programs
systems programming
the writing of systems programs
systems routine
utility programs provided by the computer operating system, can be used for converting numerical data into different formats or performing operations on dates