“Get a Personal Trainer for Your Computer!”©

NOTE:  Items highlighted in RED are defined elsewhere in this Glossary, while items highlighted in BLUE are site links for further information.


i: Lately, we’re seeing lots of “I”s.  Most come from Apple:  The iPod is a portable music player (“Portable On Demand,” get it?), which downloads music and podcasts from Apple’s iTunes site; the iPod Touch is a Wi-Fi equipped iPod (kind of like a phoneless iPhone); the iMac is a desktop Apple Macintosh computer; the iPhone is Apple’s cell phone and portable Internet device, iChat was Apple’s VOIP instant messaging entry (replaced by iMessage in OS X Mountain Lion), iPhoto, iMovie and iLife Apple apps. iOS is Apple’s mobile  operating system.  iCloud is Apple’s entry into the cloud computing market.  In January, 2010 came the iPad.  iBooks, available through iTunes, can let you read books on the iPad, iPhone and iPod.   And the Apple Watch (not iWatch as you might have expected, which uses Watch0S), Apple’s smart watch. And see iBeacon and iWork, below. Apple TV, which uses TvOS.  There is, as yet, no Apple iPen, but don’t count it out. Click HERE for more Apple “i’s”.  The iPaq, however, was from Compaq and is (was) a PDA. Then there’s the I-reporter, CNN’s name for citizen journalists who submit their own photographs and reports about news events, which started in August 1996. It is said that the “i” in the Apple product line stands for either (1) the Internet or (2) “I” as in “me,” because Apple empowers the individual AND connects the individual to others at the same time.  Who knows for sure?

I2P:  An anonymity network (like Tor), used by those on the Darknet.  Sites on this network use the extension .I2P and can be accessed only by using the I2P anonymity software.

IaaS:  Infrastructure as a Service.  The infrastructure oriented approach to SaaS, which seeks to provide access to virtualized computing resources in an on-demand manner. 

IANA:  Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the organization originally responsible for assigning Internet-wide IP addresses, TCP ports and the like.  Later, ICANN, see below. See Associations.

IARPA:  Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.  A part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  Among other things, in 2016 IARPA announced its Virtuous User Environment Program (“VirtUE”) which looks to securely implement the federal government’s impending migration to commercial cloud-based IT infrastructures and the current explosion of new virtualization and operating system concepts to create a more secure interactive computing environment than those from the past, which was basically Windows networking.  See also, DARPA.  See Associations.

iBeacon:  A technology introduced by Apple with iOS 7 which uses the mobile phone system to pinpoint phone users’ locations within a few feet.  This means that when you enter a retail establishment, the software can send you messages, coupons and other promotions not only when you enter the store, but when you pass by a kiosk or department.  This has been particularly attractive to organizations like major league baseball, which pushes coupons for various items when you walk down the aisles of the gift store.  This is a big advance in technology:  Prior to iBeacon, Apple mobile devices relied on GPS and Wi-Fi tower triangulation to track location, but those technologies are only accurate to about 30 feet.  Moreover, because iBeacon uses Bluetooth Low Energy, it isn’t confused by walls and other objects and uses far less cell phone battery power than its competitor, NFC (near field communications).  NFC, however, has a very short range, requires the cooperation of credit card companies and all devices don’t have the required chip as part of their software.  NFC runs on the Google Android mobile operating system, on phones developed by Nokia, Philips and Sony.  iBeacon, on the other hand, uses Bluetooth hardware on virtually all phones, is much more accurate and covers about 84,000 square feet, making it far less expensive for retail stores to cover their entire building. 

IBM logoIBM:  International Business Machines.  (Sometimes, due to the sheer size of the organization, insiders joked that it stands for “I’ve Been Moved”.)  The world’s largest information technology company (about $100 billion a year) for the past 50 years.  Originally founded by Thomas J. Watson, Sr. after he joined Herman Hollerith, inventor of theCRT logo0001  punch card, in 1911, and merged four corporations into the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation, which was renamed IBM in 1924.  Involved in hardware, software, servers, business software, etc. in over 170 countries, IBM has been responsible for its contributions to such milestones as social security, census tabulating, and the invention of the floppy disk. See also, punch cards.

IC:  Integrated Circuit.  A printed circuit board onto which are printed electronic circuits and onto which components like transistors and capacitors, and IC Chips (see below) are attached.  For more, see Boards and Chips.  Over the years, they have progressed from SSI (“small-scale integration,” containing a dozen components and a few logic gates) to MSI (“medium-scale integration,” containing hundreds of transistors) to LSI (“large-scale integration,” with thousands of transistors per chip) to VLSI (“very-large-scale integration,” with hundreds of thousands, then millions, of transistors).  By the time the first RAM chips were introduced around 1986, they contained over a million transistors; microprocessor and semiconductor chips passed the million transistor mark in 1989 and the billion mark in 2005, and are now in the tens and hundreds of billions per chip.  Beyond this, there are many specialized types of ICs, like SoC (system-on-a-chip), 3D-IC (three-dimensional ICs) and WSIs (wafer-scale integration), plus microprocessor “cores” which are increasing in number.  But there must be a physical limit, which will require nano-manufacturing (see the discussion about Moore’s law and the 7nm chip size limit in computers). 

ICANN:  Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  This non-profit entity, created in 1998, is headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California, and is responsible for managing the Domain Name System (“DNS”) to make sure that every address is unique and that all users of the Internet can find valid addresses.  See TLD. Every domain name must map to the correct IP address, so you can be confident that when you type “” in your browser, you will be seamlessly connected to the correct IP address for the site.  It is ICANN which manages the assignment (“registration”) of Internet domain names.  ICANN took over the duties previously performed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (“IANA”) on behalf of the U.S. Government, taking the management of Internet-related tasks away from the U.S. Government and placing them with an independent authority.  See WWW.

The 150 year old International Telecommunications Union, now the U.S. National Telecommunications & Information Administration (“NTIA”), a part of the U.S. Dept of Commerce, has long been the regulator of non-Internet telecommunications.  After years of discussion however, on October 1, 2016, the NTIA surrendered control over the DNS system to ICANN, effectively changing the standards and practices to the “multistakeholder model”  in which academia, technicians, individuals, NGOs and governments all focus under a consensus-driven type of governance under the ICANN umbrella. This model morphs from a model where governments, which have their own interests, had almost exclusive control, allowing them to shut down their local internet connections during times of perceived upheaval.  While ICANN manages the DNS Root Zone, it is actually maintained by others (currently Verisign).

>>Interestingly, (according to the U.K. Guardian newspaper, the same one which published Snowden’s revelations about the NSA) there actually IS a “reset” switch for the Internet, and it is held by a group of 14 ICANN members around the world, each of which has a key to their own safety deposit box containing a smartcard which in turn activates a machine that creates a new master key, which is then used to make sure that the DNS system is authentic.

ichatICHAT:  Apple’s instant messaging software for use on Apple devices using VoIP.  It was discontinued on 3/1/12, replaced in OS X 10.8 (“Mountain Lion”) by Apple Messages (iMessage protocol).  It also incorporates FaceTime support, initiating video conversation where available.

IC CHIP:  Integrated Circuit Chip.  A general description of any chip which is a miniaturized integrated circuit consisting of semiconductor devices and other more passive components, all manufactured on the surface of a very thin semiconductor substrate.  Jack Kirby of Texas Instruments is generally credited with the invention of the IC Chip in 1958, although Brit Geoffrey Dummer presented the idea publicly as far back as 1952, but never successfully built one.  See also (processor) chip, semiconductor chip.

iCloud logoiCLOUD:  Apple’s 2011 entry into the cloud computing market.   Click HERE for more information.  See MobileMe for more.

ICO:  Initial Cost of Ownership.  Refers to the “up front” cost of acquiring new hardware and/or software.  As in “the initial cost of ownership for a Mac is higher than for a PC.”

IC3:  Internet Crime Complaint Center.  A partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center (“NW3C”). a place to report crimes taking place over the Internet, such as where a purchaser paid for goods over the Internet but did not get them.

ICMP:  Short for Internet Control Message Protocol.  This is a special type of RAW protocol used for sending small control messages between computers, making sure that the other system is available, and reporting errors.  This is an extension to the Internet Protocol as defined by RFC 792.  The Ping command uses ICMP to test an Internet connection.

ICON:  A small picture (graphic) or pictogram, usually on a computer’s desktop screen, onto which one clicks the mouse in order to perform a task such as starting a program or opening a link or shortcut or file installed on that computer.  For example, the Internet Explorer logo icon starts Internet Explorer, the Microsoft browser.  The basic rule is that usually one double (left) mouse click on an icon will open a program, and a  single (left) mouse click will open a text menu. Apple’s icons were designed by Susan Kare, who used a skeSusan_Kare_phototchbook because such graphics didn’t exist in 1982.  She also designed the first proportional fonts for Macs.  [See also Keith Ohlfs, who designed the waiting “spinning wheel” and Andy Hertzfeld.]  After leaving Apple, she designed icons for Windows,  and later NY’s MoMa (“Museum of Modern Art”) and Facebook’s Gifts program where users sent each other gifts, flowers and treats.

Why are they called “icons”?  In 1975, when the engineers at Xerox PARC created the first GUI, they used icons as shortcuts for commands and programs.  PARC engineers like Alan Kay and Larry Tesler developed the GUI, icons, concepts like WIMP and such, which was later pretty much wholesale adopted by Apple.  My own take:  An icon, religious or not, is a representation of something else (like an idol represents a God), so an icon is a representation of the actual thing that results when the shortcut icon is selected.

ICONIC:  Possessing the qualities of an icon, i.e. a representation of a particular type of object, person (e.g. Steve Jobs representing Apple) or function.  As a computer icon, say a white page with a stylized blue “W” Word logo represents Microsoft Word, or a multi-colored bitten Apple Rainbow Logo apple representing Apple computer.

ICS (INTERNET CONNECTION SHARING):  A virtual (software) router built into all versions of Windows starting with Win98.  ICS will allow a user to share up to five devices, simultaneously, and even having different operating systems.  The only catch is that the host computer must have two separate NICs (network interface cards).  Depending on the version of Windows, the sharing setting can be found in the Control Panel.  Microsoft has tutorials showing how to do this.

ICSG:  Industry Connections Security Group, an assembly of six security companies:  McAfee, Sophos, Symantec, Microsoft, AVG, and Trend Micro (later expect banks and ISPs to be added) with the goal of creating best practices for computer security.

IDC:  Stands for “Insulation Displacement Connector”.  These are the connectors on telephone 66 and 110 blocks.  See punchdown block 66 Block for more.

IDE:  Stands for “Integrated Drive Electronics”.  This IDE CABLEis one of the standard ways that hard drives and CD-ROMs are connected to the computer mother- board, using a flat 40 pin/40 wire connector  gray “ribbon” cable and the IDE Bus Master interface.  There is also EIDE, which is enhanced-IDE, a slightly faster 40 pin/80 wire connection.  Sometimes called ATA or PATA (Parallel ATA), prior to introduction of SATA (Serial ATA) (see below and Link).  Click HERE for more.

IDENTITY THEFT:  Generally, this stands for the appropriation of any part of another’s identity without their permission.  While originally this term meant the wholesale appropriation of another individual’s life to stand in their stead for everything, it has been expanded to include the unauthorized misappropriation of any part of another’s identity, like an e-mail address, tax ID or social security number.  Hence Lifelock’s claim that “every 2 seconds, someone’s identity is stolen”.  This “definition inflation” has occurred at every level, including such terms as sexual harassment, child abuse and domestic violence.  To be clear, I am not denigrating these terrible crimes - only the ongoing trend toward increasing the numbers of these crimes by broadening their definition.  That’s just plain scare tactics by those who stand to gain (like Lifelock).

IDEO logoIDEO:  An international design firm formed in 1991 by David Kelley through a David Kelley photomerger of four leading design firms, with offices in San Francisco, CA.  It specializes in design of digital and electronic devices, and designed the first Apple mouse, the second Microsoft mouse and the Palm PDA, among other items.  See also, design thinking.

IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  Founded in 1884 as the AIEE, this organization develops standards for the computer and electronics industry, in particular the IEEE 802 standards for local-area computer networks. See, ETHERNET, above.  Also, Associations.

IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force.  This is the body that defines standard Internet operating protocols, such as TCP/IP.  The IETF is supervised by, and its members are drawn from, the IAB (Internet Society Internet Architecture Board).  Standards are expressed in the form of Requests for Comments (“RFCs”).  See Associations.

IFTT: If This Then That.  Short for a query that reads “If this <a trigger> than that <an action>.  Also the name of an RSS aggregator  (“IFTTT”) which operates on the principle that you specify trigger(s) for RSS feeds, then they are sent to you in that feed.

iGOOGLE:  See Google.

Ig Nobel Prizes:  Presented by the Annals of Improbable Research, these awards honor “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think”.  If you sometimes wonder who awards those grants of thousands of dollars or more for some of those ridiculous research projects, you may find the answers here.  Like whether mice given heart transplants respond more favorably to opera.  Or whether beer does, in fact, really make you more attractive.  Or how to predict when cows might lie down.  Or how dung beetles navigate on moonless nights.  You get it....  See also, Shorties, Webbies.

IIS:  Internet Information Server.  A component on Windows XP Pro, NT and other operating systems that is a group of server programs for building and administering web sies, a search engine and support for web based data bases such as SQL.

I LOVE YOU:  One of the first computer worm (virus) that became famous when it attached tens of millions of Windows computers in starting on May 4, 2000 when it was sent as an attachment to an e-mail message bearing the subject line “I Love You” as well as an attachment with a .txt designation which, when opened, sent a copy of itself to everyone in the user’s Windows Address Book and also made a number of other malicious changes to the user’s operating system. See, Spyware.

IM:  Instant Messaging”.  Sending text messages over the internet with a small program (such as AOL IM) using the computer.  When used with a cell phone, it’s called “Texting”.  See IM Acronyms to decipher what your kids may be IMing.  For more info, see SMS, in this Glossary.

IMAGE FILES:  For a discussion about file formats for images, graphics and photos and their storage sizes, see .jpg.  NOTE THAT photo images have “continuous tones” (adjacent pixels have similar colors), and are more gradient, while graphic images do not, because they use relatively fewer colors.

IMAP:  Stands for Internet Message (sometimes Mail) Access Protocol.  Like POP3, this is a mail protocol that provides management of received e-mail messages on a remote server.  It can include more functions than standard POP3 protocol, such as reviewing headers, creating and deleting mailboxes and folders and messages, and searching of contents remotely without downloading the message.

IMEI:  Short for International Mobile Equipment Identity.  This is a unique 15 digit ID number given to every mobile phone, like a serial number.  It’s usually located on the phone, just behind the battery (or, if your phone is powered on, by dialing “#06#”).   If you have a cellular phone connected to a GSM, UMTS, LTE and other networks, all IMEI numbers are centrally stored in a database known as the EIR (Equipment Identity Register) which contains the identities of all valid mobile phone equipment.  (CDMA has a MEID identifier system that is compatible with IMEI.) This way, when a cell phone is reported stolen or has other issues, the number can be marked invalid in many countries.  Here’s the format for the IMEI number:  It is composed of four groups.  The first set of numbers is the TAC or Type Approval Code.  The first two digits of the TAC are the country code and the rest make up the final assembly code with information about the network and the like.  The second group of numbers identifies the phone manufacturer (e.g. 01/02 = AEG; 07/40 = Motorola; 10/20 = Nokia, 41/44 = Siemens; 51 = Sony, Siemens, Ericsson).  The third set is the serial number of the phone.  The last single digit is an additional number called a “check digit”, calculated according to the Luhn formula (ISO/IEC 7812, see Associations), often a “0”.  Also, see Cell Phone Definitions.

Apple MessagesiMESSAGE:  The platform for Messages, Apple’s instant messaging app, introduced in the July 2012 release of OS X Mountain Lion, taking the place of iChat.  In addition to text, you can also exchange images, videos, contacts and locations.  Moreover, you can do group messaging, get delivery & read receipts, and see the recipient typing a reply.  The exchange is not in real time streaming video, though.  It’s simply a transmitted video message.  For videos, you’ll have to use FaceTime where available.


INCREDIMAIL:  A free e-mail program for PCs, available as a download (click here).  See, e-mail, FAQ #45  for more about free e-mail services.

INDUCTION:  An electromagnetic term which refers to the creation of voltage which occurs when an electrical conductor (like a wire) is crossed by a magnetic field.  Michael Faraday (see the cage) is generally credited with the discovery of induction in 1831 and since it has been applied to many types of electrical components.

.INF:  This extension on a file name indicates that it is an “information” type file.  It is  plain-text file commonly used by the Windows operating system when installing a software driver.  Some creative hoaxers have told people that the “.inf” extension stands for “infection” but that’s just misinformation.

INFOGRAPHIC:  As it sounds, this is a graphic (picture, video, cartoon, etc.) that actually contains sales or other information within a graphic format.  For example:  Google introduced its new browser using an infographic cartoon describing the browser’s use and features.  [See this LINK for the cartoon.}

INFORMATICS:  As in “health informatics”.  It is the study of informational phenomena like communication, knowledge, data, interaction, processing interaction and structure to develop a dynamic system in a field.  Often it provides a link between disciplines with their own methodologies like health and computers to create an emerging discipline combining both. See, e.g. telemedicine.

INFORMATION REVOLUTION:  The Internet Age.  Like the Industrial Revolution before it, the Internet has revolutionized the way people lead their lives.  It sparks uprisings, brings products and services to your door, and can help you find your mate, but it also allows companies to collect data for corporate advertising and the Government to collect data about potential terrorists and, evidently, U.S. citizens.  What has not been proven is that, aside from providing a way to spend mostly recreational time, the Information Revolution has actually propelled any kind of true economic growth.

INFOSEC:  Information Security. If this sounds like a military contraction, it was.  Now it’s used to mean the security for protecting any type of information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure and the like.

INFOSEEK:  Infoseek was a very popular search engine started in 1994 by Steven Kirsch.  It was originally operated by the Infoseek Corporation, headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, and was purchased in 1998 by Walt Disney, which used the technology to form  It was later replaced by Yahoo and is no longer in business.


INFORMATION SYSTEMS (“IS”):  A Western discipline primarily involving the explanation of how IT functions and is accepted in society and organizations.

INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY:  A popular term used through the  1990s used to describe all of the digital communication systems throughout the country.  The explosion of the World Wide Web over the Internet enabled the information superhighway.  The term is attributed to Senator, later Vice President Al Gore who allegedly introduced it in 1978 at a computer industry meeting in tribute to his father, Senator Albert Gore, Sr.

INFRASTRUCTURE: (1) When referring to a computer hardware, networks or software, the fundamental architecture of that system which determines how it fulfills its intended purpose or mission. (2)  This can also refer to a building or campus of several buildings subject to structured cabling, which is designed and installed according to a specific set of standards for data centers, offices, apartment buildings and the like for data and/or voice communications over various types of cable, commonly CAT 5 or 6.  See also, converged infrastructure.

INFRARED PORT: A communication method by which devices like computers, cell phones and the like can communicateIR connector with each other over a short range using a beam of invisible IR light in a line-of-site (up to ten feet) between the two devices.  It was originally used for TV remote controls and transfer of data between phones and (usually laptop) computers, through the IrDA standard (-SIR (slow); -MIR (medium); -FIR (fast) speeds).  This standard and function was replaced by Bluetooth, which uses radio instead of light waves, and is faster, does not require a line-of-site, can penetrate some walls and is more reliable and operates over a longer distance (up to 33 feet) than IR.

INGESTIBLE COMPUTERS: Pills or capsules containing miniscule sensors and transmitters that monitor health information and wirelessly send the data to a password protected cell phone app, often through an RFID patch on the user’s skin.  While these devices have been used by extreme professions, like astronauts, firefighters and athletes, and they’re now becoming mainstream, particularly in the medical industry.  They don’t even need batteries, as the magnesium and copper on each end generate sufficient power through contact with stomach acids.  Like using a potato to power a light bulb.  Companies like Proteus Digital Health of Redwood City, CA and HQ Inc. of Palmetto, FL are already manufacturing these devices.  And, yes, there are always the security worries about hacking and wireless transmissions (e.g. your insurance company will know about your condition), but they will certainly be outweighed by the benefits, particularly in serious circumstances.  Surprisingly, each pill only costs about $46 and travels through the body in about 24 hours.  But, good news, if it’s recoverable it is usually recyclable.

INGRESS: Distortion caused by improper or deteriorating cables and connections.  It can be in the form of vertical lines, horizontal dash lines or “beats” (little white random dots).  For more, see HERE.

INITIALIZATION STRING:  A series (“string”) of commands, often so-called “Hayes” commands (named after an early popular modem) which “initializes” a telephone modem so that it can connect over the Internet.  These commands include such things as error correction, data compression, flow control and other similar parameters.  The incorrect string may prevent connecting at all (or from hanging up after session completion), and sometimes has to be customized.   If a modem driver is readily available, it’s usually preferable.  A string may look like this: “AT&F+MS=56S202=32” and it’s usually put in the Windows hardware folder.  See Modem for more, plus links to the actual commands.

IN-LINE:  Refers to a device that is installed on the main wire or cable for that device.  Example:  The adjustment buttons on earbud cables for adjusting up and down volume to the earbuds. 

InterpunctINTERPUNCT:  A vertically centered punctuation mark which looks much like a raised period, to denote a space between words or letters, as in “goril·la”.

INKTOMI:  One of the early (circa 1996) Internet search engines, developed  at UC Berkeley.  It grew by making several acquisitions, its stock rising to $241/share in 2000, before crashing during the bust and being acquired by Yahoo in 2002 for $1.63/share. The name is said to be derived from a Lakota Indian legend about a trickster spider character, known for his ability to defeat larger adversaries through wit and cunning.  The 5 vector logo was created by Tom Lamar in 1996.

INPUT:  The process of putting something (raw data, for example) into a system (such as a computer) in order to achieve a defined result (an address list).

instagram logoINSTAGRAM:  A popular (app) program, acquired by FaceBook in 2012, for posting photos taken with cellular phones with others over the Internet.  See also, its Boomerang feature.  As technology has advanced, mere photos aren’t all that’s posted.  As of 2016, it boasts membership of 500 million of which 300 million use the site each day, closing the gap with Twitter, doubling its membership since 2014.  But the downside is the number of Instagram selfies posted while driving - the Washington Post calculates that on average, 22 of every 100,000 Instagram posts nationally are uploaded while driving.  And, although a dozen states have completely banned cell phone use while driving, and several more have partial bans, man of these states are the ones which lead the number of driving Instagram posts.   According to the Auto Insurance Center, the leading states are Hawaii, Nevada, California and Florida. Note how these states have higher insurance premiums, presumably in part due to high accident rates.  Also, behold Dronestagram, a site founded by Eric Dupin, dedicated to images taken mid-air by drones and posted to the web.  Truly incredible, check it out.  An extensive study published in 2016 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that Instagrammers are engaged and happier people compared to those who don’t!

INTEGRATED CIRCUIT/CHIP:  A complete electronic circuit, consisting of numerous components, such as transistors and other semiconductors, formed on a single silicon semiconductor chip.  Click HERE for more information about its history and development.

INTEL:  World’s largest maker of computer chips, including processors.  The name is said to be short for “intelligence”.  It’s legendary founder and chairman was Andy Grove (who died in 2016).

INTELLIGENT DEVICE:  A device which is more than a dumb pass-through (like a hub) and has some memory (like a switch) or computing ability.

INTERACTIVE:  A two way (“bi-directional”) communication.  Used for such electronic communication mediums as telephones, cable television and computers, where both parties can speak, text, make selections and transmit data back and forth.

INTERFACE:  Generically, this refers to the point at which the user interacts with a computer or other device, through the use of a mouse, keyboard, touch screen or the like.  More broadly, any point where two devices connect, such as when a camera is connected to a computer via USB cable to download photos. 

INTERFLOW:  A platform for the real-time sharing of information about cyber security threats, introduced by Microsoft in mid-2014.

INTERNALNET:  A term connoting a computer network composed of devices inside or on the human body. 

INTERNET: Click HERE for this explanation..


INTERNET CAFE:  Common in the 1970s and 80s when the Internet started, actual cafes (usually coffee shops) around the world which had dedicated internet ready computers, which users could use or rent while eating and drinking.  Rendered obsolete when smart phones made the internet available everywhere.

[THE] INTERNET OF THINGS (“IoT”):  Click HERE for this explanation.

Internet Explorer logoINTERNET EXPLORER:  Microsoft Windows’ built-in web browser.  See Browser. As part of Windows, it was one of the causes of the Windows/Netscapebrowser war” litigation in the late 1990s.  It is still one of the most widely used browsers (at 51%; although scheduled to be replaced in 2015 by the Microsoft Edge browser), it has also often maligned as a source of security holes, so much that, in a RedditAsk Me Anything” feature, Microsoft IEx development team members revealed that internal discussions were held to rename the browser.  But it didn’t happen. Win 10 will replace IEx with the Edge browser, although IEx 11 will still be available for use with older systems as well as Win 10 for some time to come.

INTERNET TV:  Television which can retrieve content over the Internet, through various internal and external devices.  See FAQ #46  “Cutting the Cord”.  Even now, Internet TV is in evolution:  Forrester Research finds that just 12% of the US population has an Internet TV in 2013, and less than 70% of those have actually connected it.  Just 8% have an internet-dedicated TV set-top box.  Even so, about a third of the TVs shipped from manufacturers have this capability.  Eventually, it will become prevalent, but it will take some time.

Interop logoINTEROP:  One of the three major tech conferences each year (see also CES and Comdex), this is a trade fair for the information technology industry sponsored by UBM TechWeb, a UK-based international media company.  The conferences take place at four different international geographic locations at various times of each year.  The purpose is to promote interoperability (see below) between its members, promoting open networks and cloud computing.

INTEROPERABILITY:  The ability “to work with each other.”  The ability of software, data and hardware on multiple machines from multiple vendors to communicate (“inter-operate”) with each other without special effort on the part of the customer.

INTERROBANG (also Interabang):  A non-standard English language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of a question mark with an exclamation point (a/k/a “bang”, see the discussion HERE) by superimposing one onto the other into a glyph.  It as invented in 1962 by Martin K. Speckter and, although it was included within the American typeface, and even came standard on some 1968 Remington typewriters, it never amounted to much more than a fad.  Here’s an example of what it looked like:Interrobang copy

INTRANET:  Essentially  an internal internet, i.e. a mini “in-house” internet, usually within an organization, which uses the same concepts, technologies and protocols as the Internet, but operates on an organization’s private, secure LAN.  For more, see Public vs. Private; networks.

INTRUSION:  An uninvited invasion into a computer, often through a known vulnerability, and usually for the purpose of exploiting the system, often for planting malware or viruses.  See Spyware.

INTUIT:  See, Quicken.

IOD:  Information On Demand - This acronym may be primarily the creation of IBM, which uses it to promote software tools and industry-specific data models, blueprints and consulting services to help enterprises draw more value from business data.

arrow08_down-rFor these next three definitions, pay close attention to where the caps are! arrow08_down-r

iOS:  Apple’s mobile operating system, iPhone OS, used in the iPhone and iPod touch.

iOS in the Car:  Apple’s in-car equivalent to AirPlay in the living room, offering voicemail, Maps, iTunes, Siri etc.  Rebranded in 2014 as CarPlay.

IoS:  Stands for Internet Over Satellite, a system that allows users to access the Internet via geosynchronous satellite.

IOS:  Stands for Internet Operating System, Cisco’s router control program.

I/O SHIELD: The metal plate that protects the ports on the back of a motherboard while it’s in its box prior to assembly.

IP: Means “Internet Protocol”.  IP specifies the formation of packets (also known as datagrams) to be sent over the Internet as well as an addressing scheme.  IP is usually combined with another higher-level protocol such as TCP (“Transfer Control Protocol”) which establishes a connection between the sender and the receiver.  It’s like the postal system:  IP lets you address mail and drop it off in the mail system, TCP delivers it to the right address. For further discussion, see Public vs. Private, Icann.

IP RATING: Stands for International (or sometimes Ingress) Protection Rating, which classifies the degree of protection afforded against either water or solid objects intruding on electrical enclosures.  It is defined (under IEC 60529, see Associations) by the letters IP, followed by two digits and sometimes an optional letter, “X” for no protection.  The first digit is solids protection, the second liquids, each on a scale of 1 -10.  Each code has a specific reference to the type of intrusion (fingers, dust, a drop into water, etc.).  A common example would be the “waterproof” standard of IP67 (IP 58 is merely dust resistant) for iPhone 7, which is which means the phone can survive being dropped in water up to 1 meter in depth for up to 30 minutes. Click HERE for the complete IP Rating Chart.

iPhone: The convergence device manufactured by Apple Corp. starting in 2007 which combined cell phone, internet, texting, e-mail and other unique applications into a single device.  Similar to the Blackberry at that time.

iPAD:  Introduced in 2010 by Apple, the iPad has revolutionized computing.  Priced between $499 and $829, depending on features (Wi-Fi 16/32 or 64 or 3G), iPad 1 is 1/2” thick and weighs 1.5 pounds, with a 9.7 inch multi-touch color screen.  There’s also the smaller iPad Mini.  iPad 2, introduced in mid-2011, is faster, thinner and lighter. It stores photos, reads books and magazines, plays videos, browses the web and more.  It has an oleophobic coating which creates an oil-repellant surface to repel water, dust, oil, and dirt on its surfaces.  (Mere hydrophobic coatings are just water repellant.)  Apple’s e-reader, the iBook,iBook logo still shows books in black-and-white format; it has the same operating system as the iPhone and will have access to its 140,000 applications (programmed in Objective-C).

IPP: Internet Printing Protocol.  A standard network protocol, like LPD, for remote printing as well as managing print jobs, etc.

iPod logoiPOD: Introduced on October 23, 2001, a combination portable digital media player (music and photos) and hard drive (for storage) from Apple. Tony Fadell of Apple is generally considered the father of the iPod.  Comes in several versions Classic (160Gb), Touch (8/32/64Gb), Mini, Shuffle (2Gb), Nano (8/16Gb), 3G, 4G, etc.  The Sony Walkman is officially dead.  And after 2014 so was the iPod, replaced by the iPhone for music listening.  Click HERE for a list of models and features.

IPSec: Internet Protocol Security is a protocol suite for end-to-end securing of Internet Protocol (“IP”) communications, which is done by authenticating and encrypting each IP packet of a TCP/IP communication session.  Other IP security systems include SSL (“Secure Sockets Layer”), TLS (“Transport Layer Security”) and SSH (“Secure Shell”).  IPsec was the successor to the earlier NSO standard known as NLSP (“Network Layer Security Protocol’).

IPTV: Internet Protocol Television.  A system where digital television service is received by the viewed through the technologies used for computer networks rather than through traditional broadcast and cable formats.

IPV: Internet Protocol Version:  The collection of IP addresses assigned by IANA (see above) .  Usually followed by a 4 (“IPv4”) or a 6 (“IPv6”). IPv4, which has been in use since 1981, is the current version of IPV, which provides 4,294,967,296 (4.3 billion 32-bit) possible IP addresses for Internet use.  Unbelievably, that number reached its saturation point (known as “address depletion” in February, 2011), so a new IPV, IPv6, had to be established. (IANA foresaw this, issuing RFC 2460 a decade earlier, back in 1998.) Because IPv6 will has 2128 128-bit addresses instead of the 232 addresses assigned IPv4, it equates to 340,282,366,920,938,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 possible addresses (that’s 340 undecillion, 2 to the 128th power, with 36 zeros).  The move to IPv6 not only provides some additional speed and security enhancements, but increases the number of unique addresses to the equivalent of about 128-bits.  This is partly because, while the IPv4 addresses are formatted in the familiar “dotted decimal” notation (, the IPv6 addresses now use hexadecimal notation, so that they include numbers and characters such as 0-9 and A-F (looking more like this:  3FFE:F200:0234:AB00:0123:4567:8901:ABCD.  Not to worry:  The display still shows as human-friendly domain names, (i.e.  A “localhost” address in IPv4 like “” will now look like “::1” in IPv6.  All of this was accomplished by changing the way of assigning the addresses to use what is called CIDR (Classless Inter-Domain Routing).  Under IPv4, addresses had been assigned in “blocks”; the smallest block - C class - contained 256 addresses.  The new CIDR scheme now lets class size vary, down to just one address. 

At this point the following discussion is mostly irrelevant, as by 2015, IPv6 is the norm.  But for historical purposes, I’ll leave it here:

The problem was that IPv4 and IPv6 addresses aren’t compatible: Until everything eventually transfers to IPv6, they’ll actually be running on, in effect, two “parallel” internets that will never be able to connect to each other.  This will cause a problem for some:  While the desktops and servers may be capable of automatic upgrading, a few networks and custom applications may have to be manually configured and some equipment possibly replaced.  There are three options currently available for the switchover for those few users: First, Using a protocol translator such Network Address Translation (“NAT64”) that will allow an IPv6-only device to talk to an IPv4-only device.  Second, Tunneling, which encapsulates packets of one protocol into packets of the other, so that v6 packets can run over the v4 network.  Third, either NAT444 or DS-Lite, which will enable ISPs to “dual stack” new customers with a public iPV6 address and a private IPv4 address so that equipment can run both v4 and v6 simultaneously and independently, perhaps as an overall v6 network with some v4 “islands” for specific equipment or software.  v4 will be around for years to come; very few entities will run exclusive v6 for a very long time.

But, for most of us, we’ll never know about how will we be affected by this change, although our ISPs will.  Comcast began working on the problem nearly six years ago and is already distributing “dual-mode” cable modems that support both the original and new IP versions.  All current versions of Windows since XP SP1 already have IPv6 support built in. You already probably have an IPv6 address and don’t even know it, although your ISP does.  [So why is there no IPv5 you might ask?  There was one, but only briefly:  It appeared for s short time as an experimental Internet Stream Protocol, but was never widely adopted and consequently disappeared.] 

arrow08_up-l UPDATE:  This definition was written in about 2009.  By 2013, most of us have been migrated to iPV6 without incident or even knowledge.  But this definition is historically interesting, so I left it.

IPX:  Internet Packet Exchange.  The network protocol in the old NetWare operating system, similar to the IP layer in TCP/IP, containing network addresses and allowing messages to be routed to different networks or subnets.

IR:  Short for “infrared”. A part of the invisible wavelength spectrum just past the red end of the visible spectrum.  Sometimes used to connect devices.

IRC:  Internet Relay Chat, a protocol created in August 1988 by a Finn, Jarkko Oikarinen (a/k/a/ The WiZ), enabling people to text chat each Jarkko Oinkarianother over the Internet, in real time, in groups called discussion channels, or individually, usually over special dedicated servers.  Unfortunately, C & C servers can also use IRC for botnet infections. There are still thousands of networks running IRC in the world.  The key difference between IRC and texting is that when the IRC window is closed, there is no remaining record of the conversation while the text messaging conversation remains on the phone, computer or other device.  See also, SMS, MMS, bots.

I.R.I.S.:  Image Recognition Integrated Systems, a companyIris Logo headquartered in Belgium, is a computer software company which specializes in text recognition (“OCR”) solutions.  One of the main programs included with many document scanners is ReadIris.

IronkeyIRONKEY:  The proprietary brand name for encrypted flash and storage drives, manufactured by Imation, which are commonly used for enterprise and spy operations.

IRQ:  Interrupt Request.  The IRQ is a number (usually 1 through 16)  set in  the computer, which is assigned to each hardware device (e.g. mouse, modem, CD) allowing it to “interrupt” or send a signal to the CPU to be recognized so it can perform its work.  Older computers had to manually set IRQs - click HERE for the assignment list; newer ones are PnP (see Build Your Own Computer).

ISA:  Industry Standard Architecture (See, PCI).  A motherboard expansion slot (bus) commonly used in earlier PCs that accepted plug-in boards for sound, video and peripherals.  Originally called the “AT bus” because it was introduced with the IBM PC AT in 1984, the AT/ISA bus extended the PC bus from 8 to 16 bits.    Later, in 1988, a PC bus standard known as EISA (Extended ISA) was developed.  EISA extended the 16-bit ISA (AT bus) to 32 bits and provided bus mastering.  Both run at the relatively slow 8Mhz speed. Both have been pretty much phased out by PCI architecture. 

ALSOInstruction Set Architecture, the part of the computer related to programming and software (such as instructions, registers, addresses, memory, interrupts, exceptions, etc.).  Distinguish this from Microarchitecture, which applies the instruction set to the processor itself.

ISDN:  Stands for “Integrated Services Digital Network”.  This type of telephone line is composed entirely of digital signals (i.e. Os and 1s), offering speeds up to 128,000 Kbps, twice as fast as POTS (@56,000kpbs)

ISO:  (1) An .ISO image is a disk image of an ISO 9660 file system, a relic originally devised for data CDs, now used with the UDF file system.  (I know: That doesn’t help much.  Read on...) This is an international standard (devised by the International Standards Organization, also “ISO”) originally devised for storing data on a CD/DVD-ROM.  An ISO file is basically an entire CD or DVD (with all files and directories) all packed up into a single file called an “image”.  You can then use a CD/DVD burning program (Nero, Roxio, some versions of Windows, etc.) to “burn” the image file onto a CD/DVD, thereby extracting the ISO file into its original file & folder structure.  If you have Windows 7 or later operating system, simply double-click on the ISO file icon and follow the prompts to create a disk, no additional software is required! And, to read the disk, simply put it into your drive and read it as any other external drive. [Earlier versions of Windows require you to mount the drive.] Increasingly, as file sizes increase beyond even DVD media, ISO files are used to create backups of computer hard drives.  (2) Also, a reference to a standard issued by the International Standards Organization (see ASSOCIATIONS).

ISOCHRONOUS:  Events occur at regular intervals, vs. synchronous.

ISP:  Stands for “Internet Service Provider”.  That would be providers such as AOL, Verizon or Comcast which provide local users and networks with access to the Internet for purposes of browsing and e-mail.

ISV:  Stands for “Independent Software Vendor”A person or company that develops software, usually application rather than system software.  Usually an ISV specializes in software only and not hardware or computer systems.

IT:  Means, of course, “Information Technology,” that is, both the hardware and the software that are used to store, retrieve and manipulate data.

ITU:  Stands for International Telecommunications Union, the group that, among other things, provides precise definitions for 3G and 4G.

itunes_logoiTUNES:  The Apple website from which owners of Apple products such as iPods, iPhones and iPads can download music, video &, books and sync their devices, among other things. It is a “closed” system (as opposed to “open” systems) - a “walled garden” - the only way to sync and update Apple products.

iTUNES PLUS:  An audio standard introduced in iTunes in 2007 which provides tracks of higher quality and free of copy protection.  As a result, you can burn music to a CD as often as you like or play songs on multiple devices without restriction.  It costs, at present, 30 cents per song or $3 per album.

ITERATION:  Technospeak for “version” or “revision”.  Engineers use this term to denote a step-by-step refinement process for designs.

ITERATIVE:  A type of software development testing that is continually done during the different states of development (i.e. during each iteration), usually used with Agile program development, rather than at the end, as done with Waterfall software development.

ITIL:  Means Information Technology Infrastructure Library.   This is a globally recognized collection of “best practices” for information service management. (A “best practice” is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has been proven to reliably lead to a desired result.)  Created by the U.K.’s Central Computer & Telecommunications Agency (“CCTA”) in response to a growing dependence on IT for meeting business needs, ITIL provides businesses with a customizable framework to achieve quality service.  It does this through services, products, training, qualification, software tools and user groups.  ITIL is organized into “sets” of books which are defined by related functions: Service strategy, service design, managerial, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement.  HP and Microsoft are just two businesses that use ITIL as part of their best practices frameworks. 

ItoI:  A video communication program for use with iPads which is designed with lenses and mirrors to move the video image of a face in front of a camera to that the users are looking at each other (“eye-to-eye,” get it?).

IV:  Stands for “Initialization Vector”.  This is a required key for RC4 encryption, which is included in the algorithm.  See the general discussion in encryption and also concatenation for how the IV is added for more.

Jony IveIve, Jony: [Sir Jonathan Paul Ive (2/27/67 -   )] Apple’s Chief Design Officer (“CDO”), who oversees the Industrial Design Group, responsible for the unique design of many Apple products.

IVR:  Stands for “Interactive Voice Response”.  This is the telephone software that enables a computer to interpret human speech into useable input to the system.  You get this when you call a telephone help line (say “1” or “PC” for PC computers; say “2” or “Mac” for Apple computers...)

iWATCH:  There is no iWatch.  However, see Apple Watch.

iWork:  Apple’s productivity software, consisting of Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentation) that mimic Microsoft’s Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  It’s supposed to be fairly compatible with Office formats.  iWorks also works with iPads while, as yet, Microsoft has balked at introducing a version of Office that will work on iPad.  (In fact, starting October, 2013, Apple waived the $9.99 fee for the app, making it free to those who buy new hardware, vice Microsoft’s $100/yr for Office 365.  Still, users didn’t give it a great review, finding glitches and features that didn’t work as advertised.)





























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