Tips & Definitions:
Online Games- Available for immediate use. It typically refers to being connected to the Internet or other remote service. When you connect via modem, you are online after you dial in and log on to your Internet provider with your username and password. When you log off, you are offline. With cable modem and DSL service, you are online all the time. Peripherals Are Also Online A peripheral device (terminal, printer, etc.) that is turned on and connected to the computer is also online. For example, if your data are on a disk attached to your computer, the disk and the data are said to be online. If your data are on a removable disk cartridge in your desk drawer, it is offline. A printer can be taken offline by simply pressing the ONLINE, GO or SEL button. The printer is still attached and connected, but is internally cut off from receiving data from the computer. Pressing the button turns it back online. Online Vs. Batch In the 1960s and 1970s, the ancient days of computers, systems were designed as either online or batch. Online meant terminals were connected to a central computer, and batch meant entering batches of transactions (from punch cards or tape) on a second or third shift. Other terms, such as realtime and transaction processing evolved from online processing. See also nearline. Want to Impress Your Friends? Although truly overkill, it is not incorrect to say that one has an online, realtime, transaction processing system (that is, providing you do). In this day and age of buzzwords, this phrase still sounds pretty high tech. But if you say this at your next cocktail party, watch out. Your friends will start asking you how to get their printers to work right and their programs not to crash. An experienced computer professional, however, will probably just chuckle at the antiquity of the phrase.
Online- Online means being connected to the Internet or another similar electronic network, like a bulletin board system. Some companies have "online" in their name, such as America Online. Although it sounds similar, online is not the same as on air. When one is online, one can receive and transmit information, whereas when one is on the air, one is broadcasting television or radio signals. Some consider certain experiences while online to be taking place in a universe called cyberspace that is distinct from real life, the world of experience when offline. A variety of slang terminology has evolved to describe these cyberspacial experiences. Online also refers to information stored in a computer, whether networked or not, as distinct from media such as paper that are not mechnically searchable.
Communications: The electronic transfer of information from one location to another. "Data communications" or "datacom" refers to digital transmission, and "telecommunications" or "telecom" refers to a mix of voice and data, both analog and digital. "Networking" refers specifically to LANs and WANs. The term "communications" used by itself generally pertains to telecom-related subjects such as PBXs, modems, call centers and the like. However, the word is also a generic English word that is used descriptively such as in the headline "Analog Vs. Digital Communications" below. Thus, "communications" is used specifically in some cases and more generically in others. The Protocol The way data communications systems "talk to" each other is defined in a set of standards called "protocols." Protocols work in a hierarchy starting at the top with the user's program and ending at the bottom with the plugs, sockets and electrical signals. See communications protocol and OSI. Analog Vs. Digital Communications The world's largest communications system is the telephone network, which is a mix of analog and digital communications. The system, which used to be entirely analog and transmitted only voice frequencies is now almost entirely digital. The only analog part is the line between your telephone and a digital conversion point (digital loop carrier) within a mile or so of your house. Analog systems are error prone, because the electronic frequencies get mixed together with unwanted signals (noise) that are nearby. In analog telephone networks, amplifiers were placed in the line every few miles to boost the signal, but they could not distinguish between signal and noise. Thus, the noise was amplified along with the signal. By the time the receiving person or machine got the signal, it may have been impossible to decipher. In a "digital" network, only two (binary) distinct frequencies or voltages are transmitted. Instead of amplifiers, repeaters are used, which analyze the incoming signal and regenerate a new outgoing signal. Any noise on the line is filtered out at the next repeater. When data are made up of only two signals (0 and 1), they can be more easily distinguished from the garble. Digital is simple! Information Information is a term with many meanings depending on context, but is as a rule closely related to such concepts as meaning, knowledge, instruction, communication, representation, and mental stimulus.
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