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backbone -- The top level of a hierarchical network. The main pipes along which data is transferred. The "Internet backbone" is sometimes referred to, though it doesn't exist.

bandwidth -- 1. The amount of information or data that can be sent over a network connection in a given period of time. Bandwidth is usually stated in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (kbps), or megabits per second (mps).
2. The technical meaning is generalized in hacker slang. Individuals are said to be "high bandwidth" if they are able to process large volumes of information in short periods of time.

bang -- Spoken name for an exclamation point, used in old-style UUCP addresses to delimit the steps in a path from one site to another.

barfmail -- Repeated bounce messages, usually due to mail server or gateway errors, which cause significant annoyance.

BASIC -- Acronym for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code. An easy-to-learn, highly flexible computer language invented at Dartmouth University. Different versions of BASIC run on various operating systems. Since each version has its own peculiar quirks, a BASIC program written in one version may not be compatible with another version.
The "Hello World!" program in BASIC:
10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 END

baud -- The speed of a modem. Specifically, the number of times per second a communications channel changes the carrier signal it sends on the phone line. A 2400-baud modem changes the signal 2400 times a second. Baud is often confused with bits per second (bps). They are technically different measurements.

BBS -- See bulletin board system.

bcc: -- Abbreviation for Blind Carbon Copy. To bcc: an email message to someone is to send them a copy of the email message without the knowledge of the person to whom the email message is addressed to.

beta -- A version of an application that is made available prior to the official release for the purposes of testing.

bible -- A detailed and sometimes authoritative reference book covering a particular operating system, platform, or application. Originally, this was used generically to describe fundamental source books; more recently, it has been embraced by computer book publishers as a marketing ploy.

binary -- Mathematical base 2, or numbers composed of a series of zeros and ones. Since zero's and one's can be easily represented by two voltage levels on an electronic device, the binary number system is widely used in digital computing.

bit -- Stands for binary digit. A bit is either on or off and is represented by "1" or "0". A collection of bits are put together to form a byte.

BITNET -- Acronym for Because It's Time NETwork. An obsolete network used by the academic and research community for email, mailing lists, and file transfers. It is distinct from the Internet but connected to it through email and news gateways.

bookmark -- A routine that allows you to save a reference to a site or page that you have already visited. At a later point in time, you can use a bookmark to return to that page. It commonly refers to a feature of Netscape Navigator (a web browser) that allows you to collect and organize bookmarks of your favorite web sites.

boot -- To start up or reset a computer. When a computer is booted, a bootstrap routine is automatically executed that looks for and loads the operating system. A cold boot is when the computer is powered up from an off state. A warm boot occurs when an already turned on computer is rebooted.

bounce -- The return of a piece of email because it could not be delivered to the specified address. See also bounce message.

bounce message -- A notification message returned to sender indicating that an email message could not be delivered. Usually the message is automatically generated by the Postmaster at the recipient's site, sometimes with an indication of what went wrong. The most common problem is an incorrect address, but sometimes email sent via the Internet fails for no apparent reason.

box -- A computer.

bozo filter -- A feature of some email and newsgroup reader applications that screens out incoming messages from those whose correspondence in not valued.

bps -- Abbreviation for bits per second. A measurement of the number of bits of information that can be sent over a network connection. See also bandwidth.

browser -- An application used to view and navigate the World Wide Web and other Internet resources.

browser war -- A catch phrase that refers to the battles between Netscape and Microsoft for dominance of the web browser market. Both sides seek to maximize their product's marketshare and mindshare in cyberspace. The battles are marked by short product development cycles, publicity campaigns, provocative public statements, appeals for federal intervention, and a general desire to crush the other side.

BTW -- Abbreviation for By The Way.

bug -- A problem with computer software or hardware that causes it to malfunction or crash.

bulletin board system -- (abbreviation: BBS)
An open computer system that members can dial into in order to send email, join discussion groups, and download files. Since the 1970s, BBS's have provided an early means for home users to get online. Originally, BBS's were freestanding local systems, but now many provide access to Internet email, telnet, FTP, and other Internet services.

byte -- A collection of bits to form a binary number. The size of bytes varies from system to system. On the original home computers, bytes were composed of 8 bits. Now many computers operate with bytes that are 32 bits long.


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