The following is a list of IT terms you might encounter while using a computer. Many dictionarys and encyclopedias are available online; for IT terms not included here, please try Webopedia or Wikipedia.
DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
DHCP is a method in which a computer can obtain a valid IP address from a server. This is generally accomplished by having the MAC Address of the computer registered on the DHCP server. This protocol means that you can bring your laptop from home and connect it to the network without having to reconfigure it.
An application used to send, receive and view e-mail. Some common examples include Outlook, Outlook Express, and Netscape Messenger. This is different from an e-mail server, such as mail.usask.ca.
IMAP is a method of distributing e-mail. It is different from the standard POP3 method in that with IMAP, e-mail messages are stored on the server, while in POP3, the messages are transfered to the client's computer when they are read. Thus, using IMAP allows you to access your e-mail from more than one machine, while POP3 does not. This is important because some email servers only work with some protocols.
IP Address – Internet Protocol Address
All computers on campus have an IP address of the form 128.233.###.###
Also known as hardware address or ethernet address. This is a unique identifier specific to the network card inside the computer. It allows the DHCP server to authenticate that the computer is allowed to access the network. MAC Addresses are of the form XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX, where the X's are either digits or letters from A-F.
NSID – Network Services Identification
This is your name, as far as the computer is concerned. Everyone gets an NSID. Logging on to campus computers is done via your NSID and its associated password. More on NSID »
SIT – Student Information Terminal
Kiosks located around the campus for obtaining computer-related information. Most notably, they can be used to obtain your NSID, or to generate a new password if you forget your old one. Some of them sell laser printing as well. You need your student card to use them.
As of August, 2004, the list of locations is:
Physics Room 6
SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
SMTP is a process by which e-mail is delivered from one computer to another, by way of mail servers in between.
SSH – Secure Shell
Secure Shell is a program designed to perform a number of functions, such as file transfer between computers, execution of commands on a remote computer, or logging on to a computer over a network. It is intended to be able to do these tasks with greater security than previous programs such as telnet or ftp.
Trojan horse programs trick you into installing "back door" programs by enticing you to run an infected program. These programs or files appear to be something you would find useful or interesting, but actually harbour malicious code. An infected file can be included as an e-mail attachment or you can be infected by visiting a malicious website. These can allow intruders to access your computer without your knowledge, to change your system configurations, or to infect your computer with a computer virus.
Viruses & Worms
Computer viruses are man-made; some people distinguish between general viruses and worms although the distinction between them is often blurry. Viruses attack targeted computers, spreading as an executable e-mail attachment. People can trigger a virus without realizing it, just by opening the attachment. A worm is a piece of computer code that causes itself to spread over a network and infects other systems by e-mailing itself to other e-mail addresses or attaching itself to all e-mail messages you send.