Chapter 1:
Internet Art
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Digital Weakness
Table of Figures
James Hayes' art website

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A selection of terms compiled from the following internet resource websites, where a great quantity of terms (technical and otherwise) can be accessed:

ARPANet -- (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network): The precursor to the Internet. Developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the US Department of Defense as an experiment in wide-area-networking to connect together computers that were each running different systems so that people at one location could use computing resources from another location.

ASCII -- (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): This is the defacto world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111.

Bandwidth: How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 57,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.

Binary: Information consisting entirely of ones and zeros. Also, commonly used to refer to files that are not simply text files, e.g. images.

Bit -- (Binary Digit): A single digit number in base-2, in other words, either a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerised data. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second.

Browser: A Client program (software) that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources.

Bulletin board: An area of a Web site where users can post messages for other users to read. In most cases, readers can contact the author of a bulletin board message by e-mail.

Byte: A set of Bits that represent a single character. Usually there are 8 Bits in a Byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made.

Cyberspace: Term originated by author William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. The word Cyberspace is currently used to describe the whole range of information resources available through computer networks.

Domain Name: The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots.

E-mail -- (Electronic Mail): Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses.

FAQ -- (Frequently Asked Questions): FAQ's are documents that list and answer the most common questions on a particular subject.

GIF -- (Graphic Interchange Format): A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same colour. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format (see below), but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG. The GIF is encoded in binary. There are two versions of the format, 87a and GIF89a. Version 89a (July, 1989) allows for the possibility of an animated GIF, which is a short sequence of images within a single GIF file. The LZW compression algorithm used in the GIF format is owned by Unisys, and companies that make products that exploit the algorithm need to license its use from Unisys. In practice, Unisys has not required users of GIF images to obtain a license, although their licensing statement indicates that it is a requirement. Unisys says that getting a license from them does not necessarily involve a fee. Meanwhile, many GIF downloaders and Web site builders on the Web continue to be ignorant of or indifferent to the requirement to get a license from Unisys for the use of their algorithm.

HTML -- (HyperText Markup Language): The coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear. The "hyper" in Hypertext comes from the fact that in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or an image, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a "Web Browser".

HTTP -- (HyperText Transfer Protocol): The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Notice that website addresses start with the letters http.

Internet (Upper case I): The vast collection of inter-connected networks that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Internet connects tens of thousands of independent networks into a vast global internet.

internet (Lowercase i): Any time you connect 2 or more networks together, you have an internet - as in inter-national or inter-state.

ISP -- (Internet Service Provider): An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money.

JPEG -- (Joint Photographic Experts Group): JPEG is a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art. JPEG uses a compression algorithm specifically design for continuous tone (photographic) images.

Mosaic: The first WWW browser that was available for the Macintosh, Windows, and UNIX all with the same interface. Mosaic really started the popularity of the Web. The source-code to Mosaic was licensed by several companies and used to create many other web browsers. Mosaic was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), at the University of Urbana-Champange in Illinois, USA. The first version was released in late 1993.

MP3 -- (Motion Picture Experts Group-Layer 3): MP3 is an audio compression format that creates near-CD-quality files that are 10 to 20 times smaller than music files on standard CDs. Research on the MP3 format was begun by the Fraunhofer IIS-A (Institut Integrierte Schaltingen) in 1987 and completed in 1991. MP3 makes it possible to move high-quality sound files via dial-up modem and can pack 150 songs onto one CD. MP3 is an open standard, meaning no one organisation controls it. On the Internet, open standards win and this is why even without any significant corporate backing, MP3 is already the de facto standard.

Netiquette: The etiquette on the Internet. An example of Netiquette is if a set of words is typed ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, this indicates that the person is shouting their message, and this should be avoided unless it is intentional and appropriate.

Netizen: Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet, or someone who uses networked resources. The term connotes civic responsibility and participation.

Network: Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.

Node: Any single computer connected to a network.

Portal: Usually used as a marketing term to described a Web site that is or is intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a "Portal site" has a catalogue of web sites, a search engine, or both. A Portal site may also offer e-mail and other service to entice people to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence "portal") to the Web.

Search Engine: A (usually web-based) system for searching the information available on the Web. Some search engines work by automatically searching the contents of other systems and creating a database of the results. Other search engines contain only material manually approved for inclusion in a database, and some combine the two approaches. See Appendix 2 - Search Engines for more details.

Server: A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. "Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out." A single server machine can (and often does) have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.

Spam (or Spamming): An inappropriate attempt to use a mailing list, or USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number of people who didn't ask for it. The term probably comes from a famous Monty Python skit, which featured the word spam repeated over and over. The term may also have come from someone's low opinion of the food product with the same name, which is generally perceived as a generic content-free waste of resources. Spam® is a registered trademark of Hormel Corporation, for its processed meat product.

URL -- (Uniform Resource Locator): The standard way to give the address of any resource (file) on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web (see WWW below). URL commonly takes the form of URL variations center around country of origin - for Ireland, for England, etc. or type of organisation - for a government website, for an Internet Service Provider, for a company, etc. A URL is an "absolute" reference meaning that it will be correct from any machine anywhere, as opposed to a "relative" reference often used in HTML to link pages to other pages within the same website.

WWW -- (World Wide Web): Frequently used when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major meanings - First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) which are the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be mixed together.

by James Hayes
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