Tech Glossary C

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Tech Glossary – C

Cable Modem

A cable modem is used for connecting to the Internet and is much faster than a typical dial-up modem. While a 56K modem can receive data at about 53 Kbps, cable modems support data transfer rates of up to 30 Mbps. Instead of connecting to a serial port like a external dial-up modem, cable modems attach to a standard Ethernet port so they can transfer data at the fastest speed possible.

Cache

This term is pronounced like “cash” — not “catch,” and definitely not “cash?.” There are many different types of caches but they all serve the same purpose. A cache stores recently-used information in a place where it can be accessed extremely fast. For example, a Web browser like Internet Explorer uses a cache to store the pages, images, and URLs of recently visted Web sites on your hard drive. Another common type of cache is a disk cache. This stores information you have recently read from your hard disk in the computer’s RAM, or memory. Since accessing RAM is much faster than reading data off the hard disk, this can help you access common files and folders on your hard drive much faster.

Chipset

A chipset describes the architecture of an integrated circuit. This includes the layout of the circuitry, the components used within the circuit, and the functionality of the circuit board. For example, the chipset of a modem card is much much different than the chipset of a computer’s CPU.

Bluetooth

This wireless technology enables communication between Bluetooth-compatible devices. It is used for short-range connections between desktop and laptop computers, PDAs (like the Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor), digital cameras, scanners, cellular phones, and printers.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to applications and services offered over the Internet. These services are offered from data centers all over the world, which collectively are referred to as the “cloud.” This metaphor represents the intangible, yet universal nature of the Internet.

Codec

The name “codec” is short for “coder-decoder,” which is pretty much what a codec does. Audio and video files are compressed with a certain codec when they are saved and then decompressed by the codec when they are played back.