Computer Tutor: John Lucas

This month: a glossary of computer and Internet terminology:

App: short for computer applications. Programs such as Word, Excel and Photoshop are all apps for a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile apps can also be downloaded on newer cell phones. Some are free and some cost money.

Attachment: a file sent with an email. It could be a word document, photo, scanned document, music,video file, etc.

Compression software: a software utility program designed to reduce the memory size of a large file, such as a high-quality photo, to make it faster to send via email. WinZip and Stuffit are two examples of this kind of software.

Cookie: a small file saved by your web browser about you when you visit a specific web site. This personal information will help make your next visit to that site more personalized. For example, some sites address you by name when you visit them again.

ISP: the acronym for Internet Service Provider, a company that provides internet access for a fee. Comcast and AOL are two examples of ISPs.

Jump drive: a small, thumb-size memory stick which connects to a computer via a USB port. It can be used to physically store and/or easily transfer files between various types of computer devices.

LinkedIn: similar to FaceBook, but for people in the world of business. A free LinkedIn account will allow you to network and communicate with others with similar business interests. You can use it to share your skills and abilities, promote your business or look for a job.

Malware: a general term that refers to any kind of malicious software that can damage the functionality of your computer. The most common kinds of malware include viruses, worms and spyware. To minimize malware problems, do not open suspicious emails or attachments, be sure your firewall is turned on, and be sure to install anti-virus and spyware protection software. For PC users, Norton 360 is an excellent all-in-one program for keeping your computer safe and running smoothly.

Open source or shareware: software that is available to download for free or for a small donation on the Internet. Gimp, a photo editing software, and OpenOffice, an alternative to Microsoft Office, are both examples of quality shareware.

Smart phone: the next generation of cell phone, which functions like a mini-computer. It has the capacity to directly access and search the web as well as email, text and make standard phone calls.

Social media: websites where people gather on the Internet to “socialize,” share ideas and interests, and meet others online. FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube are a few examples of social media.

URL: the acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, which in simple terms is the unique address of a specific web page. An example would be, which is the URL for Chase Bank.

Web browser: a type of software program on your computer that allows it to connect and navigate the web. Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome are popular web browsers that can be downloaded for free from the Internet.

John Lucas is the owner of Your Computer Tutor which provides personalized home computer instruction and technical support for Macs and PCs in the Portland area. A retired teacher with a master’s in library science, Lucas welcomes questions about common computer issues. Reach him by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-333-8542.

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