Old Geeks, What Happened to K? Part 2

I’m continuing my rambling journey through the 1990 Associated Press Stylebook section of Computer Terms.
Remember, this is AP’s instructions for proper use of terms in journalism.


log off (v.) log-off (n. and adj.) log on (v.) long-on (n. and adj.)  A process by which a person identifies himself to the computer to gain admission to it.  An individual who wants to use the computer must type a code on a terminal keyboard.  To log off, another code is typed.

mainframe  A full-size central computer.  Also the central processing unit of a computer system.

main memory The internal memory of a computer.  The direct access storage of the computer as opposed to peripheral storage units such as disks.  Main memory is often synonymous with random access memory.

MDS An abbreviation for multipoint distribution system.  Transmission by microwave, usually for pay television.  Range is about 25 miles.

menu  A display of a list of options on a terminal screen of tasks that can be performed by the terminal or  the computer.

microcomputer  A very small computer which has a processor a small number of terminals and a storage system.  Primarily used as a personal computer or for a small office system.  Storage generally is less than that of a minicomputer.

minicomputer  A compact computer with greater storage and processing capacity and capable of handling more terminals than a microcomputer.

modem  Literally: modulate, demodulate.  A device that allows computers to communicate with a central data base via a phone line.

non-volatile  In computer terminology, this means it will not be destroyed if the machine loses power.  A bubble memory is non-volatile.

offline, online  Usually a storage or processing system not directly accessible in an offline system.  An online system has information storage and processing immediately accessible by the user.

peripheral (n. and adj.)  Equipment and machines that can be connected to a computer.  Examples include disk systems, buffers, special input and output devices, and terminals.

personal computer  A version of a microcomputer designed for individual use.  They vary greatly in size and capacity.  Do not use the abbreviation PC.

prioritize  Never.  Use set priorities instead.

real time (n.) real-time (adj.) Instantaneous.  Used to describe computers which have no delay in receiving an instruction and processing it.  Analog computers are real-time computers.

stand-alone (adj.) Not dependent on a main computer for processing.  Many personal computers are used in a stand-alone situation.

synchronous,  synchronous communication  Computer activity that is controlled by time and schedule.  The task cannot be performed except on a strict schedule.

telecommunication (n. and adj.)The transmission of information over radio waves, microwaves, optical fibers or wires.

user friendly.  Avoid.  For example: The system is easy to use, not the system is user friendly.

word  When used in referring to computers, a word is a basic unit of data in computer memory.  A word consists of a predetermined number of characters or bits.  Word length is seven bits, a 24-bit word.


That would be the last word in how language and technology have changed in a mere two decades.  . . .  I have processed, input, made no attempt at being user friendly and now, I brandish my cursor and with a click, log off.


One response to “Old Geeks, What Happened to K? Part 2

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