BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)

An easier to learn programming language. It is ideal for the beginning programmer.

Baud

The number of bits transmitted per second. This unit of measure is pretty accurate for lower data transfer rates. As the rates get faster, (over 1,200 bits per second), the accuracy drops. At higher baud rates, the transfer speed may be two bits per second, or even more. For this reason, transfer rates at higher speeds are normally given in bits per second (bps).

BBS (Bulletin Board System)

Similar to a newsgroup. Users post and respond to messages posted on a bulletin board. Generally there is a topic for discussion.

Binary

A system of numbers using only the two digits 1 and 0. A computer only understands binary information, known as machine language. Even though programs are written in C++, Assembly, Java, Basic, and etc., these programs eventually have to be translated into binary, (or machine language), so the computer can understand them. The binary numbering system, which is represented by 0, (for an "off" bit), and 1, (for an "on" bit), is not so hard to understand. Our normal numbering system is known as the decimal system. Binary 0000 = Decimal 0, Binary 0001 = Decimal 1, Binary 0010 = Decimal 2, Binary 0011 = Decimal 3, Binary 0100 = Decimal 4, Binary 0101 = Decimal 5, Binary 0110 = Decimal 6, Binary 0111 = Decimal 7, and so-on. The first place represents 8, the next 4, the next 2, and the last place represents 1. The numbers are multiplied by 2 for each position from right to left starting with the 2nd position from the right. If the first digit had been "on" and the rest were off like this: Binary 1000, the Decimal equivalent would have been 8, since the binary "8 position" would have been on. If all the positions for 8,4,2,and 1 were on like Binary 1111, the decimal equivalent would be 15, because 8+4+2+1 = 15. Binary 1010 = Decimal 10, because 8+0+2+0 = 10. What would 16 be? If you said Binary 10000 you were exactly right! Notice: (64x2=128), (32x2=64), (16x2=32), (8x2=16), (4x2=8), (2x2=4), (1x2=2), and finally the (1) position. This is all of the values for a binary number with 8 digits like binary 11110000, which equals Decimal 240, since 128+64+32+16+0+0+0+0 = 240. The maximum value for an 8 digit binary number is 255 (128+64+32+16+8+4+2+1). An 8 bit, (or digit), binary number is known as a byte. 00110011 is a byte just as 11000011 is a byte. They both just represent different binary numbers.

BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)

BIOS is the computer's "built-in" operating system. It is always available even without battery power. When you first boot, (or turn on), your computer the BIOS is in charge. Once everything is functioning properly the BIOS turns the computer over to Windows or the primary operating system on your computer. When first starting your computer, (or booting), you are given the option of entering the BIOS setup. BIOS setup is where you can configure the components installed on your computer. This area is for advanced users only! The BIOS setup can cause your computer to go haywire if done wrong!

Bit

A single on/off binary position. If the position is set to 1 the bit is "on." If the position is off the bit would be set to 0. 8 bits make a byte. (Now that makes me hungry!)

BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich)

A great sandwich for all computer users! (Just felt like throwing that one in!) :-)

BMP (Bit Mapped)

A great Graphic files ending with the ".bmp" extension. They are called "bit-mapped" because they are made up of a bunch of little on/off square bits, grouped together on a graphical map, composed of rows and columns. These bits are so tiny that we do not notice that they are squares. If you keep zooming in on the image eventually the squares will become visible.

Browser

A program used to browse files. A Web browser browses Internet files. Both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer are Web browsers.

Bus

The connections between the computer's components. PCI busses are paths, (or connections), that connect the PCI slots to the Processor. Busses can be wires, paths, or any other type of electrical circuit used to connect one component to another.

Byte

A group of 8 binary on/off bits. Bytes often have an extra bit known as a "parity bit" that is used for error checking. This type of byte actually has 9 bits instead of 8, but normally a byte is only thought of in terms of 8 bits.