Glossary of Terms

chadrschulz.com Terms

Blog vs Post: A post is something defined by its subject, like a review, guide or display of creativity. A blog is defined by the author’s opinion on the subject, like a political commentary or story/reflection on his/her life. Both, in regards to this website, are subjective and have a distinct perspective. Neither are too be regarded as “the true and nothing but”;)

Guide vs Review: A guide provides an overview of something, a guide to help or inform. A review is a more specific opinion and critique on a subject.

Photo vs Image: This is a subjective subject. I believe a photo is anything made by a camera–either of quality or just a simple snapshot. But an image is something specifically made and presented by someone to be MORE than that. An image is usually (subjective!) of higher quality and more artistic than a simple snapshot and may involve additional manipulation far beyond what the camera has produced.

Publisher: The company whose finances the business side of literature and books. They print and distribute the physical media, hardcover and softcover. And they format and digitally distribute the eBook and audiobook versions of the novel.

Country (of origin): The country who either financed/made the project and/or the country by which those who “made” the product come from. Not always the same countries that the product was made in.

Sarcasm: A means intelligent people use to convey understanding to others;)

Health Terms

Diabetes: A condition in which the body (specifically the beta cells of the pancreas) no longer produce the peptide hormone insulin which is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Requiring insulin injections (Type I and some Type II) or oral insulin “boosters” (Type II) and diet/exercise management (all diabetics need this).

Type I: A partial or total loss of insulin production, usually occurring in juveniles.
Type II: Insulin resistance and reduction of insulin production, mostly occurring in adults.

Blood Sugar Level: A measure of the amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood. Normal levels for non-Diabetics is between 70-100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Diabetics try to keep their levels between 70-130 before meals and under 180 mg/dL after meals (measured around 2 hours after eating for best effect).

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs at levels under 70 mg/dL, becoming ever more dangerous as the levels decline. Caused when the body receives/produces too much insulin for the amount of sugar in the blood–eaten carbohydrates produce glucose. Don’t eat enough food for the insulin you give=low blood sugar. Can be treated with the ingestion of any high carbohydrate food or liquids. And at dangerously low levels, when the diabetic can no longer eat, injections of glucagon, a hormone which allows the liver to convert a stored sugar into glucose, may also be used. Side-effects include confusion, lack of coordination/balance, profuse sweating, mood swings, and/or heart palpitations. See also
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) occurs at levels above 180 mg/dL (or thereabouts). Levels consistently above 200 are hard on the body, becoming increasing dangerous as the levels rise. Caused by the body not getting/producing enough insulin to tackle the sugar build-up in the blood. The body attempts to “flush” the toxic sugar using the kidneys resulting in dehydration. Other symptoms include increased hunger(as the body doesn’t have insulin to break down the sugar it thinks it needs more(!) sugar), frequent thirst and urination, fatigue, arrhythmia, blurred vision, nausea, fruity breath. Ketoacidosis can occur at high blood sugar levels; without enough insulin the body breaks down fat for energy–this can be a life threatening condition. It is chronic hyperglycemia in diabetics that causes/increases the risks of many of the serious complications that develop as those diabetics age.

Insulin: A peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas that is central in the regulation of carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. For diabetics, this hormone must be injected to replace what the body no longer produces. Pre-1990s insulin was manufactured from animals (beef and pork). Now pharmaceutical insulin is manufactured with Human rDNA (recombinant DNA)–it is genetically similar from naturally produced human insulin. Different types of insulin refer to the engineered dispersal of the insulin in the body, like time released pain medication. Some are quick acting and some are slow acting.

Unit: A standard for measurement of “product” in syringe based dispersal. U-100 Insulin for example has 100 units per 1 ml of insulin. A standard 10 ml vial therefore has 1000 units of insulin in it. Typical insulin injections range from 2-3 units up to no more than 30-40 units per injection.

Gastroparesis: AKA delayed gastric emptying. Partial paralysis of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for a longer time than normal. My cause is diabetes related nerve damage (neuropathy) to the vagus nerve which controls the contractions that the stomach makes to move the food down into the small intestine. Requires a restrictive diet of food that’s easier for the stomach to digest (soft foods, liquids).

Movie Terms

Cinematography: The “photography” field for video and film. The cinematographer, usually, provides the lighting, camera choices, and camera positioning for the scenes the director stages. A very important part of making the movie/TV experience seem real and/or artistic.

Director: The person who controls the creative aspect of the film making process. They are usually the one in charge on-set and “direct” the cast and crew towards his/her interpretation of the story. Some directors are also hands-on with much of the business of film-making like hiring cast/crew. And many directors also contribute to the cinematography and editing of the film/TV show.

Editor: If the director buys/makes the ingredients, the editor puts them together to bake. Editors often have a greater impact on the finished product then the directors as they are the one’ who dig through all the footage, organize it, and assemble it for the final version shown on TV or in the theaters. A greatly undervalued job.

Producer (Film): A producer can be the “boss” of the project, hiring, assembling, and guiding the crew and cast. Or they can simply provide the business requirements of the film/TV show to make sure everyone gets/has what they need, when they need it. What they do depends a lot on the relationship with the director and the source of the money funding the project.

Screenwriter: The person(s) who get the most credit for “writing” the finished film/tv show. They often get help from other uncredited writers to polish the scripts. And many scripts are adaptations of other people’s work–books, old or foreign films, TV shows into movies, comic books, etc… Can be important to the production or may not even be present during the filming.

Genre: the French word for “style”. It is a definable style or category of art. Like mystery, crime, documentary, fiction, biography, renaissance, classical, medieval, folk, heavy metal, jazz, science-fiction, etc… It can either describe in broad terms or in very specific terms what a piece of music, book, book, TV show, etc. is a part of and how it relates to other pieces of art.

Country (of origin): The country who either financed/made the project and/or the country by which those who “made” the product come from. Not always the same countries that the product was made in.

Blu-ray: A digital optic disc data storage format superseding DVD. Containing up to 25GB on single single layered discs and 50GB on dual layered discs. Uses a Blue laser for reading the discs (hence the name). Discs are 120mm diameter and 1.2mm thick (same as CDs and DVDs).

HD-DVD: High-Definition DVD. A format that lost to blu-ray in 2008. 15GB per single layered disc and 30GB per dual layered disc.

DVD: Digital Video Disc. A digital optical storage format. Held the industry standard for well over a decade 1997-on. A standard for film format distribution and recordable data storage on computers and other devices. DVD-R, DVD+R single layered can store 4.7 GBs and dual layered (DL) can hold up to 8.5 GBs. Discs are the same size as CDs which predate them.

VHS: Video Home System. A consumer analog recording videotape. Held the standard for video content distribution from the 1980s into the early 21st century when DVD took over.

Laserdisc: The world’s first optical disc storage medium from 1978-2000. Analog video and audio stored together on a transparent disc measuring almost 12 in in diameter. The discs were capable of having dual-sided content which usually meant having to turn the discs over to continue viewing the content with a maximum of 60 minutes of video per side (CLV format). The first format to offer trick play and single frame pause (CAV format). And in the 1980s the format adopted digital audio (a first leading to CDs). With the ability to have both analog and digital audio on every film companies could now have multiple soundtracks for the film (including the industry first audio commentary tracks) and this lead to AC3 (Dolby Digital 5.1) features. The formats size and inconvenience with disc flipping and swapping prevented a mass market presence even though the format was the first to bring high quality, wide-screen video and digital sound to home video.

DIVX/XVID/MPEG-4/x264: A variety of modern codecs (encoding formats for digital audio/video). DIVX and XVID were a common standard to encoding video from about 2000-2010–it offered smaller file sizes and decent near DVD quality. More modern formats (.mp4 and .x264) provide even smaller compression and better quality allowing for better finished encodes with the same or smaller file sizes than last generation encodes. All formats can use any resolutions, High-Def or Standard-Def.

Music Terms

Producer (Music): The person most important to getting the artist(s) to work towards a common sound/theme/goal. A great producer can “improve” the finished product by helping to tie it all together and direct the creativity and personalities. Often responsible for mixing the album as well.

Mastering: Preparing the “mix” for the finished format. Basically taking all of the tracks and making sure they are at the correct volume and the peaks (high sounds) and valleys (low sounds) reach the full potential of the format they are intended for–CD, DVD, cassette, LP, etc…

Mixing: The process of taking all the individually recording sounds/instruments/voices and “mixing” them together to get the right combination of sound. A master at mixing can completely invigorate a song.

Contributor(s): Any people instrumental in the completion of all or part of the finished project. Can be both behind or in front of the scenes.

Genre: the French word for “style”. It is a definable style or category of art. Like mystery, crime, documentary, fiction, biography, renaissance, classical, medieval, folk, heavy metal, jazz, science-fiction, etc… It can either describe in broad terms or in very specific terms what a piece of music, book, book, TV show, etc. is a part of and how it relates to other pieces of art.

Country (of origin): The country who either financed/made the project and/or the country by which those who “made” the product come from. Not always the same countries that the product was made in.

Harmony: In music, the use of simultaneous pitches or chords. Like in vocal choruses and the use of two or more guitarists playing the same part, a metal music favorite. Called the “vertical” aspect of music as the sounds are stacked on top of each other.

Melody: In music, a linear succession of tones that the listener perceives as a single entity–a tune. A combination of pitch and rhythm. Often melodies are repeated throughout a song to give that song a definable tune. Called the ‘horizontal’ aspect of music as the sounds are played after each other. This is often the parts of music that people hum or whistle.

CD: Compact Disc. The current and forever(?) standard for digital optical audio disc format. Can hold up to 80 minutes of uncompressed audio. And roughly 700 MB of data on CD-Rs. Digital distribution is quietly and quickly replacing this once industry giant.

LP or album: Long Play. A 33 1/3 rpm microgroove vinyl record. Used for storing and playing analog sound that has been recorded. Typically a 12″ two-sided disc holding around 60 minutes of music per side. A standard format for audio going back to 1948. Still in limited production/use today.

45: A vinyl record played at 45 rpm. usually smaller than LPs and typically only have one or two songs recorded on them. A two-sided format. The “B-side” is the song on the other side of the single presented on the main “A-side”–hence the origin of the term B-side.

MP3: MPEG-1 or 2 Audio Layer III. An extremely common format using lossy data compression for digital audio. Can use multiple bit-rates for compression allowing a lot of flexibility in size and quality of the audio files. It is usually regarded that any bit-rate above 192 kbits/s produces near-CD quality. And higher bit-rates simply produced a better quality sound, but utilizing more audio data for the inaudible portion of the music. Extreme compression is less a factor in a modern world where large storage space in computers and portable devices is cheap and common. VBR (Variable Bit Rate) is available and allows for flexible bit-rate within the encode as the audio’s needs change.

WAV/AAC/FLAC/m4a: The variety of formats for digital audio and video compression seem limitless. Each format offers benefits to quality and size considerations. And some formats allow DRM (Digital Rights Management) encoding to prevent the dissemination of copyrighted material between users. Typically the larger the file size, regardless of format, provides better quality.

Lossless encoding vs Lossy encoding: Lossless has no quality reduction from the source, but typically have much larger file sizes. Lossy compression removes parts of the video/audio/image that may or may not be noticeable to people depending on the level of compression/reduction. Lossy compression removes the part of the media that typically can’t be discerned by humans first and then gradually starts “removing” more noticeable aspects of the content as the compression increases. Lossless is usually only used in archival purposes (like in pre-editing) and has little practical benefit over using a high-quality Lossy compression format for the finished result.

TV Show Terms

Cinematography: The “photography” field for video and film. The cinematographer, usually, provides the lighting, camera choices, and camera positioning for the scenes the director stages. A very important part of making the movie/TV experience seem real and/or artistic.

Director: The person who controls the creative aspect of the film making process. They are usually the one in charge on-set and “direct” the cast and crew towards his/her interpretation of the story. Some directors are also hands-on with much of the business of film-making like hiring cast/crew. And many directors also contribute to the cinematography and editing of the film/TV show.

Editor: If the director buys/makes the ingredients, the editor puts them together to bake. Editors often have a greater impact on the finished product then the directors as they are the one’ who dig through all the footage, organize it, and assemble it for the final version shown on TV or in the theaters. A greatly undervalued job.

Producer (Film): A producer can be the “boss” of the project, hiring, assembling, and guiding the crew and cast. Or they can simply provide the business requirements of the film/TV show to make sure everyone gets/has what they need, when they need it. What they do depends a lot on the relationship with the director and the source of the money funding the project.

Screenwriter: The person(s) who get the most credit for “writing” the finished film/TV show. They often get help from other un-creditted writers to polish the scripts. And many scripts are adaptations of other people’s work–books, old or foreign films, TV shows into movies, comic books, etc… Can be important to the production or may not even be present during the filming.

Show-Runner: The person(s) responsible for guiding the show’s arc and themes as it progresses. They are involved in all aspects of the operation of the series, even if they themselves are not the ones writing or directing the individual episodes. A show-runner determines the path the show is taking and tries to keep all the different people going down that path.

Creator: The person(s) who created the show. Usually the writers created with writing the “pilot” episode. Often the creators end up leaving the series before it’s conclusion.

Contributor(s): Any people instrumental in the completion of all or part of the finished project. Can be both behind or in front of the scenes.

Pilot episode: The episode that a television studio contracts a production team to make before they determine whether or not the show will get to series. Usually this episode becomes the first episode of a series. But sometimes the pilot is redone before the series gets aired. Most pilots never, ever get made into series and most are never completely finished and/or ever shown in any form to anyone outside of the television studio.

Genre: the French word for “style”. It is a definable style or category of art. Like mystery, crime, documentary, fiction, biography, renaissance, classical, medieval, folk, heavy metal, jazz, science-fiction, etc… It can either describe in broad terms or in very specific terms what a piece of music, book, book, TV show, etc. is a part of and how it relates to other pieces of art.

Country (of origin): The country who either financed/made the project and/or the country by which those who “made” the product come from. Not always the same countries that the product was made in.

Blu-ray: A digital optic disc data storage format superceding DVD. Containing up to 25GB on single single layered discs and 50GB on dual layered discs. Uses a Blue laser for reading the discs (hence the name). Discs are 120mm diameter and 1.2mm thick (same as CDs and DVDs).

HD-DVD: High-Definition DVD. A format that lost to blu-ray in 2008. 15GB per single layered disc and 30GB per dual layered disc.

DVD: Digital Video Disc. A digital optical storage format. Held the industry standard for well over a decade 1997-on. A standard for film format distribution and recordable data storage on computers and other devices. DVD-R, DVD+R single layered can store 4.7 GBs and dual layered (DL) can hold up to 8.5 GBs. Discs are the same size as CDs which predate them.

VHS: Video Home System. A consumer analog recording videotape. Held the standard for video content distribution from the 1980s into the early 21st century when DVD took over.

DIVX/XVID/MPEG-4/x264: A variety of modern codecs (encoding formats for digital audio/video). DIVX and XVID were a common standard to encoding video from about 2000-2010–it offered smaller file sizes and decent near DVD quality. More modern formats (.mp4 and .x264) provide even smaller compression and better quality allowing for better finished encodes with the same or smaller file sizes than last generation encodes. All formats can use any resolutions, High-Def or Standard-Def.

Photography Terms

Photo vs Image: This is a subjective subject. I believe a photo is anything made by a camera–either of quality or just a simple snapshot. But an image is something specifically made and presented by someone to be MORE than that. An image is usually (subjective!) of higher quality and more artistic than a simple snapshot and may involve additional manipulation far beyond what the camera has produced.

Aperture: The opening within the lens that light passes through from the lens elements to either the film or sensor. More specifically, the larger the opening (larger aperture) the narrower the depth of field, or vice versa the smaller the aperture the longer the depth of field. Size of aperture is controlled by the camera/lens and is measured in f-stops. (e.g. f/5.6). Of course the larger aperture also means more light enters, allowing for night time photography and/or faster shutter speeds.

Depth of field: A measure of the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear sharp. The DoF is variable based on the focal length, focal point, and aperture. The longer the focal length, closer the focal point, and wider the aperture all reduce the DoF (or vice versa).

Exposure: The quantity of light that reaches film or the digital photo sensor of the camera. It’s a value derived from a combination of the amount of light let in (Aperture) and the length of time the light hits the senor/film (shutter speed). Higher ISO values allow less light and/or higher shutter speeds to reach a normal exposure. Normal exposure values are made by cameras and/or photographers to best balance the light and dark parts of an image to provide a pleasant photo. Over and under exposures are sometimes needed for creative purposes (reducing or increasing the exposure).

Focal Length: The strength of the lenses ability to bring into focus objects at a distance. The longer the focal length, the more magnification the lens has.

Telephoto: long focal lengths typically 85mm and beyond
Normal: focal lengths closer to the way our eyes see the world 35-85mm
Wide-Angle: short focal lengths that expand the field of view. 35mm and below
Fish-eye: the smallest focal lengths, it allows for a near 180 degree view (like a fish bowl)

Focal Point: The point at which the camera or photographer has placed the center (near to far) of the focus. The point of “perfect focus” regardless of any other variable, like DoF, aperture, or focal length.

Field of View: AKA Angle of view. The measure of what the lens/camera combination can see measured from right to left and also from top to bottom. (e.g. 180 degrees is complete view from right to left–half of a circle).

ISO: A holdover from film. Referrs to the “speed” of the film, or in modern digital photography the light sensitivity of the digital sensor. The more sensitive the sensor allows for higher ISOs (3200, 6400, 12800, etc…) but usually a reduction in contrast, detail, and an increase in digital noise. Typically high ISOs are reserved for darker shooting conditions or in instances where a fast shutter speed is required (sports and wildlife).

Shutter speed: Or exposure time. This is the length of time the camera’s shutter is open when taking a picture. Usually measured in fractions of a second (1/8, 1/64, 1/2000, etc.) Also refers to modern digital “shutterless” cameras that simply turn “on” the sensor for the designated exposure time.

Bokeh: pronounced as Boh-kay. Refers to the aesthetic quality of the blur in the out-of-focus areas of an image. Vital for photographers wanting to best show-off the focused subject in a photo. The better, or smoother, the bokeh–the less distracting the blurry parts are in an image.

dSLR or SLR: single-lens reflex or digital single-lens reflex cameras. Consist of at least two parts, the camera body and the lens. SLR main difference from other camera types in that light entering from the lens is directed through a mirror-box that allows the photographer and camera to see exactly what the camera sees and frame and focus accordingly. The mirror is moved when an exposure is taken allowing the light to enter the viewfinder (for film) or the digital sensor. These are powerful tools with lots of moving parts and complexity. They also have much larger sensors than P&S and much faster focusing and shooting speed. They are being phased out my more modern technology–like the mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras.

Mirrorless Interchangeable: These cameras are a “hybird” of point and shoot and SLR. They do not use a mirror box for framing and focusing–therefore no mirror to remove before exposure. Instead the camera focuses from the image directly on the digital sensor–like a P&S. However, they also offer interchangeable lenses for creative and special needs and purposes. As technology improves the focusing speed (previously very slow compared to SLRs) is increasing and should eventually surpass dSLRs. These cameras also offer much better and usually much bigger digital sensors vs P&Ss–allowing more/better detail and less noise that a typical point and shoot.

Lossless encoding vs Lossy encoding: Lossless has no quality reduction from the source, but typically have much larger file sizes. Lossy compression removes parts of the video/audio/image that may or may not be noticeable to people depending on the level of compression/reduction. Lossy compression removes the part of the media that typically can’t be discerned by humans first and then gradually starts “removing” more noticeable aspects of the content as the compression increases. Lossless is usually only used in archival purposes (like pre-editing) and has little practical benefit over using a high-quality Lossy compression format for the finished result.

HDR photography: or High-Dynamic range. A style of photography and post-processing where an image or a collection of many images are combined and processed to produce the absolute most detail in an image regardless of the lightness/darkness in the original scene. Usually a photographer makes multiple exposures of the same image (using a tripod or really fast shooting)–lots (at least 3, sometimes more than 10!) of under-exposed, over-exposed, and normally exposed shots. And then with software (or using many newer cameras built-in HDR features) stitches the images together into one image. Can appear surreal/artistic, or quite realistic based entirely on the photographer’s taste.

Point And Shoot/P&S: A compact style camera that is designed for simple operation. Virtually no interchangeable parts, and much more automation in the act of making a photo. Popular for their small size (modern sizes are smaller than a pack of playing cards) and their ease-of-use. P&S’s are not necessarily inferior tools for photography–all tools have their purpose and designed needs.

Speedlight, or Speedlite: A flash-unit designed to attach to the hot-shoe (a flash specific mount) on a camera, allowing metering by the camera for flash photography. All majors camera manufacturers have their own line of external flashes. Some are very simple and small (and reasonably inexpensive) and some are quite large with lots of fancy modes and features (like strobing effects and complex built in light diffusing methods). The use of a speedlite is usually consider better for flash photography as the larger size and ability to “aim” or “bounce” the light provides are more pleasant and more controllable image. Many brands, including Nikon and Canon, have wireless capabilities for some of their higher end flashes and cameras allowing for the camera and flash unit(s) to be kept apart (no cord) for more creative uses.

Jpeg: Joint Photographic Expert Group(WTF?). The most commonly used method of lossy compression for digital photography. The degree of compression is adjustable, allowing for a trade-off in storage size and image quality. Images in JPEG can only use 8-bit color space.

RAW: Contains minimally processed data directly from the image sensor of the digital camera, image scanner, or film scanner. Allows for the maximum flexibility during photo editing. All of the color and light data captured is still present providing for a wider dynamic range. Requires a RAW converter to pre-process the image for photo tools like Photoshop to be able to work with them. Many modern cameras allow RAW capture and some also allow lossy/lossless compression of the RAW image to save on storage space.

PSD: Photoshop document. A file type for storage of Photoshop images allowing for all of the layers and effects to be re-editable upon opening. A very flexible format with almost RAW dynamic range, but very large file sizes.

TIFF: Tagged Image File Format. An Adobe format popular for storing images in the publishing industry. Can be either lossy or lossless and 8-bit or 16-bit. And like PSD files can retain image layers for re-editing later on.

8-bit vs 16-bit vs 32-bit color depth: AKA bit depth. The number of bits used for each color component (channel) of a single pixel. (for example: 8-bit RGB color depth allows 256 variations of Red, Green, and Blue per pixel color, or 256x256x256=16 million colors. Theoretically 16-bit RGB can handle 65536 variations per channel or 281 trillion(!) colors). 32-bit color space requires conversion into 8 or 16-bit to be processed on a normal computer monitor, 32-bit is mostly used in HDR image stacking to allowing extra dynamic range processing.

RGB vs CMYK vs LAB color space. AKA color models. Anyway a color can be represented by combinations (tuples) of numbers, typically 3 or 4 values. Any image can be converted to another color space with the potential for altering the colors, as each color space has limits to what colors can/cannot exist within them.

RGB uses three values (R)ed, (G)reen, and (B)lue to represent a color. It is the color model used in light–monitors, cameras, etc…

sRGB, Adobe RGB, and ProPhoto RGB are examples of RGB color spaces that have differing gamuts (the range of color). ProPhoto has the largest gamut and allows for more wiggle room when editing images. sRGB is the industry standard color space for digital display and web design, also used in printing.

CMYK uses four values (C)yan, (M)agenta, (Y)ellow, and black (K) to represent color. It is the color model used for printing. The industry standard for commercial printing as it allows discrete manipulation of the levels for the most commonly used ink colors, CMYK.
LAB is a color-opponent color space. It uses three dimensions, L for light, and the A (red-green) channel and B (blue-yellow) channel for colors. LAB allows the luminesce of an image (light vs dark) to be edited independently of the color. And with a and b channel adjustments a broad range of color manipulations are possible by influencing how red-green and yellow-blue interact. LAB’s gamut far exceeds RGB and CMYK color spaces.

Computer Terms

CPU or processor: The “heart” of a computer/device. It runs the computations that programs need to solve problems and perform tasks. Nowadays, most CPUs have multiple cores within them which allow many problems/tasks to be performed simultaneously and without the “slowdown” common in past computers. Any CPU with at least 2-cores running at 2 GHz or faster should meet the needs of 99% of the users in the world.

GPU or video card: Can be either built-in to the motherboard or an add-on card. A GPU performs the 3D/2D visual tasks given to it by programs and games. Modern GPUs are capable of rendering very complex and often realistic scenes easily. Add-on cards with discrete RAM and faster GPUs are preferred for people doing animation/video editing work and, of course, for hardcore gamers demanding the best quality experience.

Motherboard: This is the nervous system of a computer/device. It contains the circuitry that connects the CPU, GPU, sound processor, hard drive controller, mouse/keyboard/USB interfaces, and all the other components needed for the computer to do what it is designed to do. Very complex components that do a lot of work.

RAM: Random Access Memories. Memory used by computerized devices that can be accessed randomly, when needed. This type of memory can be rewritten and reused as the device needs. The form of memory that remains active as the device is powered and/or the software is running. The content of the RAM must be restored from somewhere else when the device powers up or the software is executed.

ROM: Read Only Memory. Memory present on the hardware that is consistent and constant. The ROM provides the instructions for all the components in the device allowing it to function. In modern terminology ROM is called firmware and most devices allow for updates to the firmware to improve compatibility and functionality of the device as technology evolves.

Ethernet: A family of computer networking tech for LAN (Local Area Networks). Modern systems use RJ45 modular connectors on CAT 5/6 cables connected to ethernet ports on computers, switches, and routers. Wired is still faster than wireless–but the gap is narrowing. Current maximum speeds run near 100 Gbits/s.

Internet: A global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). Basically a bunch of computers worldwide who interconnect.

Hard Drive or SSD: HDD is a data storage device that remains the standard in most computers. The data is stored/retrieved on rotating platters using magnetics. They are very cost-effective and come in 3.5 inch for desktop/server usage and 2.5 inch for notebooks. Capacities range from a few megabytes to over 4 terabytes–and growing. HDD are magnetic and mechanical (moving parts) and they do wear-out and degrade in function.

SSD: Solid State Drives. These are data storage devices utilizing integrated circuit memory (flash memory). SSDs have no mechanical components and are exponentially faster for both reads and writes–typically only limited by the interface between the drive and motherboard. Most use NAND-flash memory which store data even after a power loss. These SSDs are much more expensive per GByte of storage than traditional plater HDDs. And their longevity is still being proven–some say they actually wear out faster than HDDs–but I’m skeptical.

SATA: Serial ATA. A host interface standard for devices (usually hard drives). The new standard is SATA 3 which allows transfer speeds up to 6 Gbits/s. Emerging SATA 3.2 (express) would allow speeds up to 16 Gbits/s. All SATA device will interface with all SATA ports (using SATA designated cables), however they will only function at the lowest protocol of the shard devices (A SATA 1 drive on an SATA 3 port will operate at SATA speeds, etc…)

IDE: (or PATA) An obsolete standard interface for hard drives. Runs at a maximum throughput of 100 Mbits/s. Still utilized by many DVD/ROM drives.

eSATA: external SATA. A more robust external connector for hard drive/ssd interface. It allows faster connections for external drives with compatible systems.

Bit vs Byte: A bit is a has only one of two values (0 or 1). A byte has 8 bits and in the early days of computing it was designated as how many bits were needed for a single character of text. A byte allows for any value between 0-255.

Megabit=1000 kilobits, 1 million bits. Megabyte or MB=1024 (or 1000) kilobytes

Gigabit=1 billion bits. Gigabyte or GB=1 billion bytes or 1024 megabytes

  • typically storage mediums like hard drives and RAM, flash drives, etc. use bytes (megabytes, gigabyte, terabytes, etc…)
  • and networks protocols like USB, ethernet, internet, DSL, etc. use bits (megabits per second, Gbits/s, etc…)

8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit processors and computing are standards of complexity that the industry uses. It refers directly to the number of memory addresses available for the device to use when computing tasks. Typically 64-bit processors/architectures are capable of handing more complexity in the tasks and security available to the users than 32-bit systems.

A 64-bit system has a theoretical limit of 4 petabytes (a crap load) of RAM while a 32-bit system is limited to 4 gigabytes (GBs) of RAM. Mostly 32-bit software can run on 64-bit architecture, but 64-bit software CANNOT run on 32-bit architecture.

USB 2 & USB 3: Universal Serial Bus is an industry standard for communication protocols between two or more devices. USB 1 (from 1996) limited communications at 12 Mbits/s. USB 2 (from 2000) allowed speeds up to 480 Mibts/s. USB 3 (from 2008) allows speeds around 4 Gbits/s. As you can see each generation provided exponentially faster speeds. But all USB ports are backwards compatible. You can a USB 1 device on a USB 3 port, and vice-versa but the speed is restricted to the slowest USB device. You won’t gain anything having a USB 2 device plugged into a USB 3 port, vs a USB 2 port, for instance.

Gbits/s: gigabits per second

PS/2: A proprietary architecture developed in 1987. Keyboards and mice can still connect using this “round” port in some systems. No longer standardized, having been replaced by the much faster and more universal USB architecture.

PCI and PCIe: Peripheral Component Interconnect (express). A local computer bus for attaching hardware devices. PCI replaced the old ISA standard. PCIe is currently replacing PCI (and VGA for graphics cards) as the standard. All external graphics/sound/network cards interface with modern motherboards using either PCI or PCIe. These external cards interface with corresponding slots. PCIe is much higher speed/throughput and usually a much smaller footprint that the old PCI standard. PCIe comes in x1,x4,x8, and x16 variations. The smaller cards will fit into the larger slots (i.e. a x4 card will fit into x16 slot) but not vice versa.

BSOD: Blue Screen of Death. A Windows system hardware failure that is distinguishable from its bright blue screen. Usually occurs from a hardware conflict/failure, may be from faulty drivers or software that “caused” the hardware failure. More serious than the usual lock-up or crash in that it is almost always a result of something serious, even if the cause proves to be something simple–like a failed RAM module, overheating, or a driver update.

DVD: Digital Video Disc. A digital optical storage format. Held the industry standard for well over a decade 1997-on. A standard for film format distribution and recordable data storage on computers and other devices. DVD-R, DVD+R single layered can store 4.7 GBs and dual layered (DL) can hold up to 8.5 GBs. Discs are the same size as CDs which predate them.

CD: Compact Disc. The current and forever(?) standard for digital optical audio disc format. Can hold up to 80 minutes of uncompressed audio. And roughly 700 MB of data on CD-Rs. Digital distribution is quietly and quickly replacing this once industry giant.

These are lists of terms that I often use within reviews, guides, and blogs for this website.

I assume nothing, and therefore provide definitions for anything that I think someone without computer, photography, movie production, etc. knowledge might need.

This glossary will grow as I continue to expand and finesse this website. Any errors are entirely my own. Feel free to contact me and correct my mistake(s).

To use: Select the field you may need some guidance with and the glossary will open up for that specific field’s terms.

Chad Schulz