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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating an HTML Web Page

Speak Like a Geek: The Complete Archive

Speak Like a Geek: The Complete Archive

access counter
A small program inserted in a Web page that tracks the page's hit count (how many times it's been accessed).
access provider
See service provider.
A word or phrase in a Web page that's used as a target for a link. When the user selects the link, the browser jumps to the anchor, which may exist in the same document or in a different document.

anonymous FTP
An FTP session where you log in using "anonymous" as your user ID, and you enter your e-mail address as the password. Most modern Web browsers support anonymous FTP and will handle the logging in part for you automatically. 99 and 44/100 this of all your FTP sessions will use anonymous FTP.
A Java program.
A person that spends way too much time either surfing the Web or fussing with their home page.
An Internet service that searches a database of FTP sites for a file. Named after, but not to be confused with, the comic strip character of the same name.
A measure of how much stuff can be stuffed through a transmission medium such as a phone line or network cable. There's only so much bandwidth to go around at any given time, so you'll see lots of Net paranoia about "wasting bandwidth." Bandwidth is measured in baud or bits per second.
Barney page
A page whose sole purpose in life is to capitalize on a trendy topic. The name comes from the spate of pages bashing poor Barney the Dinosaur that were all the rage a while back. Recent Barney pages have been dedicated to O.J. and the Pentium chip fiasco.
This is a measure of how much bandwidth a transmission medium has. Its technical definition is "level transitions per second," but nobody knows what that means. Most people prefer to use bits per second to describe bandwidth because it's easier to understand.
The fundamental unit of computer information (it's a blend of the words "binary" and "digit"). Computers do all their dirty work by manipulating a series of high and low electrical currents. A high current is represented by the digit 1 and a low current by the digit 0. These 1's and 0's-or bits-are used to represent absolutely everything that goes down inside your machine. Weird, huh?
Any form of digital correspondence.
bits per second (bps)
Another, more common, measure of bandwidth. Since it takes eight bits to describe a single character, a transmission medium with a bandwidth of, say, 8 bps would send data at the pathetically slow rate of one character per second. Bandwidth is more normally measured in kilobits per second (Kbps-thousands of bits per second). So, for example, a 14.4 Kbps modem can handle 14,400 bits per second. In the high end, bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (Mbps-millions of bits per second).
The section of the Web document where you enter your text and tags. See also head.
In a Web browser, a list of your favorite Web pages, which you can set while you are surfing. To return to a page, just select it from the list. In the Internet Assistant HTML editor (see Chapter 18), bookmark is another name for an anchor.
See bits per second.
The software you use to display and interact with a Web page. When cobbling together your own pages, you'll need to bear in mind that there are two kinds of browsers: those that display only text and those that support graphics and other fun elements.
Eight bits, or a single character.
When computer users discuss things that nearby noncomputer users don't understand. See also geeking out.
Century-21 site
A Web site that has moved to a new location and now contains only a link to the new address.
character reference
Sounds like something you'd put on your résumé, but it's really an HTML code that lets you insert special characters in your Web pages (such as é). See also entity name.
The "path" a person takes as they navigate through the World Wide Web.
A programmer who breaks into computer systems either to trash them or just for the sheer thrill of doing it (and, of course, to brag about it later). A hacker who has succumbed to the dark side of The Force.
The place you "go to" when you reach out beyond your own computer (usually via modem) and interact with information or people on other computer systems.
A person who surfs cyberspace.
The beautiful people of the online world; the Internet intelligentsia. It's a blend of the phrase "digital literati."
dirt road
A frustratingly slow connection to a Web site. "Geez, that GIF still hasn't loaded yet? The Web server must be on a dirt road." See also JPIG and spinner.
domain name
The part of your e-mail address to the right of the @ sign. The domain name identifies a particular site on the Internet.
See smiley.
entity name
An HTML code that lets you insert special characters in your Web pages (such as " and ö). Entity names are easier to use than character references, but they aren't supported by all browsers.
external image
A Web page image that the browser can't handle, so it passes the buck to a graphics program that displays the image in a separate window. See also inline image.
The aficionado's short form for a Frequently Asked Question. The correct pronunciation is fack.
A page rendered unreadable because of a poorly chosen background image. "I had to bail out of that page because the background was flooded with some butt-ugly tartan." See also wrackground image.
foo, bar, and foobar
These words are used as placeholders in descriptions and instructions. For example, someone might say "To change to the /foo directory on a UNIX system, use the command cd /foo." Here, "foo" acts as a generic placeholder for a directory name. If two placeholders are needed, then both "foo" and "bar" are used, like so: "To FTP two files named foo and bar, use the mget command: mget foo bar." "Foobar" is often used as a single placeholder. It's derived from the military acronym FUBAR (sanitized version: Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition).
A Web document used for gathering information from the reader. Most forms have at least one text field where you can enter text data (such as your name or the keywords for a search). More sophisticated forms also include check boxes (for toggling a value on or off), radio buttons (for selecting one of several options), and push buttons (for performing an action such as submitting the form).
In Netscape 2.0, rectangular Web page areas that contain separate chunks of text, graphics, and HTML. In other words, you can use frames to divide a single Web page into two or more separate pages.
Frequently Asked Questions list
A list of questions that, over the history of a newsgroup or Web site, have come up most often. If you want to send a question to a newsgroup or to a Web site's administrator, it's proper netiquette to read the group's FAQ list to see if you can find the answer there first.
File Transfer Protocol. This is the usual method for retrieving a file from another Internet computer and copying it to your own. Note that it's okay to use FTP as both a noun (a method for transferring files) and a verb ("Hey bozo, before posting to this group you should FTP the FAQ file and give it a good look"). See also anonymous FTP.
Someone who knows a lot about computers and very little about anything else. See also nerd.
geeking out
When geeks who are byte-bonding start playing with a computer during a noncomputer-related social event.
Graphics Interchange Format. The most commonly used graphics format on the Web.
A system that displays Internet documents and services as menu options. You just select a menu choice and the Gopher will either display a document or transfer you to a different gopher system. Gophers get their name from the mascot of the University of Minnesota, where the first Gopher system was born.
To use the Web for monetary gain.
Someone who enjoys exploring the nuts and bolts of computer systems (both from the hardware side and, more often, from the software side), stretching these systems to their limits and beyond, and programming for the sheer pleasure of it. Not to be confused with cracker.
This is like an introduction to a Web page. Web browsers use the head to glean various types of information about the page (such as the title). See also body.
A single access of a Web page. A hit is recorded for a particular Web page each time a browser displays the page.
hit-and-run page
A Web page that gets a huge number of hits and then disappears a week later. Most hit-and-run pages contain pornographic material and they get shut down when the Web site's system administrators figure out why their network has slowed to a crawl. See also slag.
hit count
The number of hits a particular page has had. Many pages have installed access counters to track (and display) the number of hits they've had.
home page
The first Web document displayed when you follow a link to a Web server.
horizontal rule
A straight line that runs across a Web page. Useful for separating sections of the page.
See Web server.
hosting provider
A company that provides you with storage space (usually at a fee) for your Web pages. The company runs a Web server that enables other Internauts to view your pages.
hot potato
A shortcut pronunciation of http://. See also triple dub. For example, instead of spelling out, you could say "hot potato triple dub dot yahoo dot com."
A collection of links to cool or interesting sites that you check out regularly.
HyperText Markup Language. The collection of tags used to specify how you want your Web page to appear.
HTML editor
A program that makes it easier to mark up a document by using menu commands and toolbar buttons to insert tags.
hypertext link
See link.
Image map
A "clickable" inline image that takes you to a different link, depending on which part of the image you click on.
inline image
An image that gets displayed within a Web page. See also external image.
An Internet traveler; a cyberspace surfer.
A worldwide collection of interconnected networks. A breeding ground for geeks, nerds, hackers, and crackers.
A person who deliberately creates and disseminates Internet jargon; someone interested in Net jargon.
A programming language designed to create software that runs inside a Web page.
A common Web graphics format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. See also GIF.
A Web page that takes forever to load because it's either jammed to the hilt with graphics, or because it contains one or two really large images. See also dirt road and spinner.
Kilobits per second (thousands of bits per second).
A word or phrase that, when selected, sends the reader to a different page or to an anchor.
A blend of "loser" and "user." Someone who doesn't have the faintest idea what they're doing and, more importantly, this individual refuses to do anything about it.
Megabits per second (millions of bits per second).
mouse potato
The computer equivalent of a couch potato.
CD-ROM discs that are jam-packed with second-rate pictures, sounds, and programs. Also applies to some lame Web sites.
An idiot totally lacking in personal hygiene and social skills.
The hip, short term for the Internet.
An informal set of rules and guidelines designed to smooth Internet interactions. Netiquette breaches often result in the offender being flamed (sent a nasty e-mail message).
A collection of two or more computers (usually dozens or hundreds) connected via special cables so they can share resources such as files and printers. The Internet is, in its most prosaic guise, a worldwide collection of networks.
A person who is (or acts like they are) new to the Internet. Since this term is almost always used insultingly, most Net neophytes try to behave as non-newbie-like as possible. The best way to avoid this label is to bone up on netiquette.
A downed network.
A person who insists on converting every multiword computer term into an acronym.
one-link wonder
A Web page that contains only a single useful link.
A program that attaches itself to a Web browser. The functionality of the program then becomes an integral part of the browser. An example is WebFX, a VRML plug-in for Netscape.
To make a Web page available to the World Wide Web community at large.
A Web page that serves no other purpose other than to let you know that there is nothing available at this URL, but that something will be coming soon.
Serial Line Interface Protocol
A method of Internet access that enables your computer to dial up a service provider and exchange info reliably.
A computer that sends out stuff. Check out Web server for an example.
service provider
A business that sells Internet connections to individuals and small companies. Also called an access provider.
To bring a network to its knees because of extremely high traffic. "That Babe of the Week page has totally slagged the network." See also notwork.
See Serial Line Interface Protocol.
A combination of symbols designed to indicate the true intent or emotional state of the author. The classic smiley is the sideways happy face :-). Smileys are fine in moderation, but overusing them not only indicates that your writing isn't as clear as it could be, but it also brands you as a newbie.
An extremely slow link. The name comes from Mosaic's globe icon, which spins while the program tries to access a site. If the site is particularly slow, the only sign you have that anything is actually happening is the spinning globe. See also and JPIG.
A person who changes his or her daily sleep schedule to coincide with being awake when Web traffic is lowest (i.e., late at night).
To leap giddily from one Web page to another by furiously clicking on any link in sight; to travel through cyberspace.
The HTML commands, in the form of letter combinations or words surrounded by angle brackets (<>). They tell a browser how to display a Web page.
See anchor.
A program that lets you log onto another computer on the Internet and use its resources as though they existed on your machine. The most common use for Telnet is to use software (such as an e-mail program) on another computer.
A short description of a Web page that appears at the top of the screen.
triple dub
A shortcut pronunciation of WWW. See also hot potato.
A link found on almost everyone's hotlist. "Yahoo must be on every hotlist on the planet. It's a total ubiquilink."
Uniform Resource Locator
See URL.
A Web addressing scheme that spells out the exact location of a Net resource. For example, Yahoo's URL is See Chapter 7 "Making the Jump to Hyperspace: Adding Links," for an almost-comprehensible explanation of how URLs work.
A system that distributes a collection of newsgroups throughout the Internet.
vanity plate
An annoyingly large Web page graphic that serves no useful purpose. See also JPIG.
A link that points to a nonexistent Web page.
Virtual Reality Modeling Language. Used to create Web sites that are 3-D "worlds" that you "enter" using a VRML-enhanced browser. You can then use your mouse to "move" around this world in any direction.
See World Wide Web.
Web browser
See browser.
Web host
See Web server.
Web server
A computer that stores your Web pages and hands them out to anyone with a browser that comes calling. Also known as a Web host.
World Wide Web
A system of documents containing text, graphics, and other multimedia goodies. Each Web document serves two purposes: It contains information that is useful in and of itself, and it contains specially marked words or phrases that serve as "links" to other Web documents. If you select the link, the Web loads the other document automatically.
wrackground image
A background image that ruins a page by making the text unreadable. See also flooded.
See World Wide Web and triple dub.
You own your own words. This refers to the copyright you have on the text in your Web pages.