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packet -- A unit of data sent across a network. When a large block of data is to be sent over a network, it is broken up into several packets, sent, and the reassembled at the other end. Packets often include checksum codes to detect transmission errors. The exact layout of an individual packet is determined by the protocol being used.

packet sniffing -- The intentional and usually illegal act of intercepting packets of data being transmitted over the Internet and searching them for information.

parse -- To search through a stream of text and either break it up into useful chunks of information or reformat it in some other manner.

password -- A secret code that you utilize along with your user ID in order to log on to a network.

path -- The hierarchical description of where a directory, folder, or file is located on your computer or on a network

PC -- See personal computer.

Perl -- A programming language whose acronym stands for "Practical Extraction and Report Language". Perl is a powerful, yet unstructured language that is especially good for writing quick and dirty programs that process text files. Because of these abilities, Perl is a common choice of programmers for writing CGI scripts to automate input and output from web pages. Perl was invented in 1986 by Larry Wall and is available to anyone at no charge.
Here is the Perl version of "Hello World!":
print "Hello World\n";

personal computer -- (abbreviation: PC)
The original personal computer model introduced by IBM in 1981. Because IBM was late to enter the desktop computer field, it created the PC with an "open architecture" so that it could compete with the then popular Apple II computers. This open architecture meant that any computer manufacturer could legally manufacture PC-compatible machines that could run the same software as IBM's PC. Since IBM purchased its CPU chips from Intel and its operating system (DOS) from Microsoft, makers of PC-compatibles (called clones at the time) were able to utilize the same chips and OS as IBM. As a result, PCs became the most popular home computer, IBM's fortunes dropped, and Microsoft and Intel became the multi-million dollar companies that they are today. Current popular usage of the term PC refers to both IBM produced personal computers and PC-compatible computers produced by other manufacturers.

PGP -- See Pretty Good Privacy.

PING -- Abbreviation for Packet InterNet Groper. A connection testing program that sends a self-returning packet to a host and times how long it takes to return.

plug-ins -- Third party add-on software that adds new features to a commercial application. Many companies have written plug-ins for Netscape Navigator.

Point of Presence -- (abbreviation: POP)
A site that has a collection of telecommunications equipment, usually refers to ISP or telephone company sites.

Point-to-Point Protocol -- (abbreviation: PPP)
A protocol used by TCP/IP routers and PCs to send packets over dial-up and leased-line connections.

POP -- See Point of Presence.

post -- To send a message to a public area like a BBS or newsgroup where it can be read by many others.

postmaster -- The name given to the person in charge of administrating email for a particular site. According to convention, mail sent to postmaster@foo.com should be read by a real live person.

power newbie -- An enthusiastic newbie (network newcomer) who takes advantage of educational resources in an effort to become a knowbie. Power newbies share their knowledge with other newbies both face-to-face and in bulletin boards and chat rooms. See also newbie and knowbie.

PPP -- See Point-to-Point Protocol.

Pretty Good Privacy -- (abbreviation: PGP)
A program, developed by Phil Zimmerman, that uses cryptography to protect files and electronic mail from being read by others. PGP also includes a feature which allows users to digitally "sign" a document or message, in order to provide non-forgable proof of authorship.

Prodigy -- A commerical online service.

program -- A series of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Also to create or revise a program.

programming language -- A computer language that programmers utilize to create programs. C, Perl, Java, BASIC, and COBOL are examples of programming languages. In essence, programming languages are translators that take words and symbols and convert them to binary codes that the CPU can understand. See also BASIC, C, and Java.

protocol -- A series of rules and conventions that allow different kinds of computers and applications to communicate over a network.


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