What is a “Dashboard” ?

February 9, 2016

Dashboard (also called dash, instrument panel, or fascia) – A control panel placed in front of the driver of an automobile, housing instrumentation and controls for operation of the vehicle.

The word originally applied to a barrier of wood or leather fixed at the front of a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh to protect the driver from mud or other debris “dashed up” (thrown up) by the horses’ hooves.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “DDR SDRAM” ?

February 2, 2016

DDR SDRAM (Double data rate synchronous dynamic random-access memory) – A class of memory integrated circuits used in computers. DDR SDRAM, also called DDR1 SDRAM, has been superseded by DDR2 SDRAM, DDR3 SDRAM and DDR4 SDRAM. None of its successors are forward or backward compatible with DDR1 SDRAM, meaning DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4 memory modules will not work in DDR1-equipped motherboards, and vice versa.

Compared to single data rate (SDR) SDRAM, the DDR SDRAM interface makes higher transfer rates possible by more strict control of the timing of the electrical data and clock signals. Implementations often have to use schemes such as phase-locked loops and self-calibration to reach the required timing accuracy. The interface uses double pumping (transferring data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal) to lower the clock frequency. One advantage of keeping the clock frequency down is that it reduces the signal integrity requirements on the circuit board connecting the memory to the controller. The name “double data rate” refers to the fact that a DDR SDRAM with a certain clock frequency achieves nearly twice the bandwidth of a SDR SDRAM running at the same clock frequency, due to this double pumping.

With data being transferred 64 bits at a time, DDR SDRAM gives a transfer rate of (memory bus clock rate) × 2 (for dual rate) × 64 (number of bits transferred) / 8 (number of bits/byte). Thus, with a bus frequency of 100 MHz, DDR SDRAM gives a maximum transfer rate of 1600 MB/s.

“Beginning in 1996 and concluding in June 2000, JEDEC developed the DDR (Double Data Rate) SDRAM specification (JESD79).” JEDEC has set standards for data rates of DDR SDRAM, divided into two parts. The first specification is for memory chips, and the second is for memory modules.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “CAPTCHA” ?

January 26, 2016

CAPTCHA – (An acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human.

The term was coined in 2003 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper, and John Langford. The most common type of CAPTCHA was first invented in 1997 by Mark D. Lillibridge, Martin Abadi, Krishna Bharat, and Andrei Z. Broder. This form of CAPTCHA requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen. Because the test is administered by a computer, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is administered by a human, a CAPTCHA is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test. This term is ambiguous because it could also mean a Turing test in which the participants are both attempting to prove they are the computer.

This user identification procedure has received many criticisms, especially from disabled people, but also from other people who feel that their everyday work is slowed down by distorted words that are illegible even for users with no disabilities at all. It takes the average person approximately 10 seconds to solve a typical CAPTCHA.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is a “Card Reader” ?

January 19, 2016

Card Reader – A data input device that reads data from a card-shaped storage medium. The first were punched card readers, which read the paper or cardboard punched cards that were used during the first several decades of the computer industry to store information and programs for computer systems. Modern card readers are electronic devices that can read plastic cards embedded with either a barcode, magnetic strip, computer chip or another storage medium.

A memory card reader is a device used for communication with a smart card or a memory card. A magnetic card reader is a device used to read magnetic stripe cards, such as credit cards. A business card reader is a device used to scan and electronically save printed business cards.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is a “Batch File” ?

January 12, 2016

Batch File – A kind of script file in DOS, OS/2 and Windows. It consists of a series of commands to be executed by the command line interpreter, stored in a plain text file. A batch file may contain any command the interpreter accepts interactively and use constructs that enable conditional branching and looping within the batch file, such as “if”, “for”, “goto” and labels.

Similar to Job Control Language (JCL) and other systems on mainframe and minicomputer systems, batch files were added to ease the work required for certain regular tasks by allowing the user to set up a script to automate them. When a batch file is run, the shell program (usually COMMAND.COM or cmd.exe) reads the file and executes its commands, normally line-by-line. Unix-like operating systems (such as Linux) have a similar, but more flexible, type of file called a shell script.

The filename extension .bat is used in DOS and Windows. Windows NT and OS/2 also added .cmd. Batch files for other environments may have different extensions, e.g. .btm in 4DOS, 4OS2 and 4NT related shells. The detailed handling of batch files has changed. Some of the detail in this article applies to all batch files while other details apply only to certain versions.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is a “BIOS” ?

January 5, 2016

BIOS – An acronym for Basic Input/Output System and also known as the System BIOS, ROM BIOS or PC BIOS) is a type of firmware used to perform hardware initialization during the booting process (power-on startup) on IBM PC compatible computers, and to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs. The BIOS firmware is built into personal computers (PCs), and it is the first software they run when powered on. The name itself originates from the Basic Input/Output System used in the CP/M operating system in 1975. Originally proprietary to the IBM PC, the BIOS has been reverse engineered by companies looking to create compatible systems and the interface of that original system serves as a de facto standard.

The fundamental purposes of the BIOS in modern PCs are to initialize and test the system hardware components, and to load a boot loader or an operating system from a mass memory device. The BIOS additionally provides an abstraction layer for the hardware, i.e., a consistent way for application programs and operating systems to interact with the keyboard, display, and other input/output (I/O) devices. Variations in the system hardware are hidden by the BIOS from programs that use BIOS services instead of directly accessing the hardware. MS-DOS (PC DOS), which was the dominant PC operating system from the early 1980s until the mid 1990s, relied on BIOS services for disk, keyboard, and text display functions. MS Windows NT, Linux, and other protected mode operating systems in general ignore the abstraction layer provided by the BIOS and do not use it after loading, instead accessing the hardware components directly.

Most BIOS implementations are specifically designed to work with a particular computer or motherboard model, by interfacing with various devices that make up the complementary system chipset. Originally, BIOS firmware was stored in a ROM chip on the PC motherboard; in modern computer systems, the BIOS contents are stored on flash memory so it can be rewritten without removing the chip from the motherboard. This allows easy updates to the BIOS firmware so new features can be added or bugs can be fixed, but it also creates a possibility for the computer to become infected with BIOS rootkits.

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) was designed as a successor to BIOS, aiming to address its technical shortcomings. As of 2014, new PC hardware predominantly ships with UEFI firmware.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is an “Accumulator” ?

December 29, 2015

Accumulator – In a computer’s central processing unit (CPU), an accumulator is a register in which intermediate arithmetic and logic results are stored.

Without a register like an accumulator, it would be necessary to write the result of each calculation (addition, multiplication, shift, etc.) to main memory, perhaps only to be read right back again for use in the next operation. Access to main memory is slower than access to a register like the accumulator because the technology used for the large main memory is slower (but cheaper) than that used for a register. Early electronic computer systems were often split into two groups, those with accumulators and those without.

Modern computer systems often have multiple general purpose registers that operate as accumulators, and the term is no longer as common as it once was. However, a number of special-purpose processors still use a single accumulator for their work, in order to simplify their design.

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Source: Wikipedia


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