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“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.

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M6 HOLES:  Square holes common with rack mount equipment and server cabinets, sized to hold a metric 6mm bolt.  They can also be adjusted to a round hole in a cage unit.

M-BLOCK:  See 66 Block.

MAC:  Short for Macintosh, one of Apple’s most popular computers.  Also, synonymous with Apple itself, as in PC vs. MACs.  See the MAC link for more information, and Macintosh, below.

MAC Address: In a local area network (LAN) the MAC (“Media Access Control”) is your computer’s (and your cell phone or other device’s) unique hardware identifier.  Your computer can have several MAC addresses, each representing a physical device:  For example, your cable modem may have its own MAC address, as will your ethernet card.  Some cable providers require Mac Address Registration, that is, you have to tell the provider the MAC address of the hardware in order to establish a connection.  Also, the term “cloning the MAC” means that you use a feature in your router to copy the MAC address of your cable modem so that your provider doesn’t think that the modem’s MAC address has changed it you connect a router afterwards.  This isn’t really necessary much any more, as ISPs now recognize the popular router addresses.

MACINTOSH:  Apple’s 2nd desktop computer (after the unsuccessful Lisa).  Introduced during the Superbowl XVIII in the famous “1984” commercial (run only once, directed by filmmaker Ridley Scott, and voiced by Richard Dreyfus, and not Steve Jobs, as originally planned) and dubbed “the computer for the rest of us,” a swipe at Microsoft’s near total domination of the PC market at that time.  In it, a female athlete wielding a sledgehammer runs into the room, pursued by police, and hurls the hammer into the face of Big Brother in a revolutionary act of defiance.   Click HERE for the commercial. Interestingly, the Apple board almost didn’t approve it.

Both the commercial ("On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984'") and the computer became important events in Apple’s rise as a computer and electronics powerhouse, although Apple’s board almost nixed it from running.  Click HERE for a list of the hundreds of Apple ad slogans through the years. INTERESTING NOTE: Fred Goldberg, account manager for ad agency Chiat/Day at the time, remembers that the 200+ extras, who were to resemble mindless robots, were anything but.  Rather they were “crazy lowlifes.  These [skinheads] were the guys who went around London [where the commercial was filmed in a seedy warehouse] at that time beating the crap out of immigrants,” throwing rocks at each other and harassing women, particularly the hammer-wielding actress. [Recounted from his book The Insanity of Advertising: Memoirs of a Mad Man]

MACHINE LANGUAGE:  See also, Object Code.  The programming language which is executed by a computer’s CPU and is, in fact, determined by the specific architecture of that machine’s CPU.  It looks somewhat like this, depending on the particular chip in the computer:

1010001000 RR RR RR

ex: R0 = R1 – R2

1010001000 00 01

Assembly instructions, on the other hand, are just shorthand for machine instructions:

Machine Language = Equivalent Assembly Instruction

1000000100100101 = LOAD R1 5

1000000101000101 =  LOAD R2 5

1010000100000110 = ADD R0 R1 R2

1000001000000110  = SAVE R0 6

1111111111111111  = HALT

ON THE OTHER HAND, CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, THE “HEIROGLIPHICS” [e.g. sdr49,.ejdinafh;y]] THAT YOU SOMETIMES SEE ON YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN OR PRINTOUT ARE NOT MACHINE LANGUAGE.  COMPUTER CODE IS “BINARY” (0’s AND 1’s, NOT PICTURES OR SYMBOLS.

- - Rather, they are usually either symbols from an ASCII character set, a font reset to type Wingdings, or a corrupt printer driver changing the printed output.

MACHINE LEARNING:  A type of big data analytics that utilizes artificial intelligence (“AI”) to enable computers to learn without specific instructions.  It differs from data mining, which searches through big data to look for patterns which are then analyzed by humans, by detecting the data patterns and adjusting the programs accordingly.  A subset of machine learning is “deep learning,” which breaks down constituents of data (like elements of facial recognition) and uses those characteristics to learn how their combinations create new learning patterns. Popular programs: Apache Spark and Singa, Caffe, Microsoft Azure ML Studio, Amazon Machine Learning, Google Tensor Flow.

MACRO:  A macro is a keystroke or combination of keystrokes which are an abbreviation (shortcut) for a series of commands that can be recalled when necessary.  For example, in a word processor, you could design a macro that would insert a letterhead at the top of a document, including the current date. Unfortunately, it can also be used by a virus to propagate itself.  See Spyware.

magnetic stripsMAGNETIC STRIPE:  A scannable, usually black, “stripe” that is found on everything from motel room and credit cards to driver’s licenses, which contains differing types of encoded data. This is created using special encoding equipment and software, often on a computer.   There are two types:  HiCo, which is much more difficult to demagnetize and LoCo, which is easier to magnetize and less expensive to produce.  In many cases, the stripe can be demagnetized and reused again (like hotel door keys).

MAGIC NUMBER:  See packet.

mAh:  Stands for milli-ampere-hours.  An electrical unit measurement (1 milli-amp = 1/1,000 amp) used primarily to rate rechargeable batteries - the higher the rating, the more powerful the battery and the longer the charge will last.  For example, battery “sticks” rate at about 2600mAh, sufficient to get your phone charged once, while external drives can start at 10,000 mAh and top out at over 20,000 mAh, enough to charge an iPhone 10 times.  mAh measures the total battery power storage that will be discharged over a period of time, usually expressed in hours.  For example: A 3000 mAh battery will theoretically store double the amount that a 1500 mAh battery can store.  That 1500 mAh battery will theoretically deliver that 1500 mAh (translate: 1.5A) for about 10 hours, while the 3000 mAh battery will deliver (3A) for about 10 hours.  How long it will last depends on the device drain.  So, if your 1100 mAh battery runs a device that uses 1100 mAh, it will last about an hour.  But if the device only uses 11 mAh, it will last 100 hours.  And, if the battery is increased to 3300 mAh, the time will be adjusted to 3 hrs/300 hrs respectively.  We say “theoretically” because there will always be a negative effect due to the heat generated and internal battery resistance which increases as the discharge current increases as well as varying with the particular device and conditions where it is used.  Further, the usable voltage for a particular device may well drop before the battery is completely discharged.  Generally, batteries with different mAh ratings are interchangeable (although they may weigh and cost more), so you can use “high capacity” batteries with higher mAh ratings in the same device, so long as they are physically the same and have the same voltage rating (e.g. 9 volt, but 3000 mAh or 6000 mAh).  Best bet - cost aside - get the highest mAh rating for the batteries you use in your mobile devices.

Mailbox logoMailbox:  An e-mail app for OSX, iPhone, iPad and Android which lets you add all of your Gmail, Google Apps and iCloud accounts into a simple, unified inbox.  Features include the ability to put off messages until later, returning them to the inbox automatically later.  It also uses “Auto-Swipe” to learn from your swipes (like dragging marketing junkmail into trash) and snoozes to automate common actions for you.  It was acquired by Dropbox and is available for download at http://mailboxapp.com  or the Google Store.

MAIN BOARD OR MOTHERBOARD:  The large, flat printed circuit board on a computer onto which is mounted the processor (chip), RAM, riser cards and cables or connectors for the various drives.  Click HERE for a labeled photo. See also, daughter board, riser card. The size of the motherboard also determines the size of the case for the computer. Motherboard form factors (sizes) are shown below [Photo Credit:Wikipedia]:Motherboard Form_Factor_Comparison

Malicious Software Removal Tool:  See Microsoft Desktop Security.

MAINFRAME:   An extremely large high-end commercial computer used mainly by large organizations for bulk data processing and analysis requiring high input and output, such as financial records, transaction processing, census statistics and the like.  Because of their stability and reliability, they can run uninterrupted for decades, making them perfect for back-end processing systems for manufacturing, financial services, banking, etc.See also Big Iron, Cobol

MAKER MOVEMENT:  Do-it-yourselfers (“DIYs”), in electronics and elsewhere, who believe in “learning through doing”.

MAKER FAIRE:  An event held at various locations in the U.S. on an annual basis since 2006.  It is sponsored by Make Magazine with the purpose of promoting science projects, engineering, arts & crafts and the “DIY mindset”.  It has since been expanded into international faires as well as “Mini Maker Faires” at various locations.  See makerfaire.com.

MALWARE:  Malicious Software.  See Spyware for full discussion.

MAN:  Metropolitan Area Network, a wireless LAN that connects all users in a city.

MANAGED:  A term which refers to the ability of hardware to be monitored and even customized from elsewhere.  Managed switches and e-mail appliances are an example.  Hardware that is not managed is often referred to as “dumb” or “simple”.

MANAGED PRINT SERVICE:  A service offered by printer manufacturers like HP and Xerox to assist business end-users by streamlining management and minimizing costs associated with printing and imaging.  Often by providing consultants, these companies will work with the specific business to develop systems and procedures.

MANGA:  (Pronounced “man-gah”) Japanese comics, sometimes digitized.  See anime for more.

MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL:  A stock character in films, games, etc.  Generally cast as the romantic interest for a depressed or brooding male protagonist, she usually has an eccentric personality and is unabashedly girlish. exemplified by such characters as Natalie Portman in Garden State (2004), Zooey Deschanel in 500 days of summer (2009 and, before that, Goldie Hawn in Cactus Flower (1969), Barbra Streisand in What’s Up Doc?  The term was coined by film critic Nathan Rabin after viewing Elizabethtown’s Kirstin Dunst (2005).  See also trope, meme.

MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE ATTACK:  Where an intermediate party intercepts and eavesdrops on data before passing it on to its intended destination.  See, SPYWARE.

MANUFACTURING ANALYTICS:  A review of data across a factory network which helps management learn about and repair issues faster an more efficiently by providing a complete view of the factory, quickly narrowing the root cause of quality and scrap issues, avoiding major issues that can cause unplanned downtime and tracking plant activity in real time from anywhere.  See also, Big Data.

MAP:   Used as a verb, as “to map a network drive”.  This means that your computer shows one or more drives on other computers on a network which you access or store data on, as if they are actually located on your own computer.  If you’re logged on to another machine on a network (at school, a work VPN, etc.), you can “map” the drive by giving it its own drive letter “e.g. ‘Z’”) that will show on your own machine so you can readily access it.  It’s “mapped”.

MAPI:   Messaging Application Program Interface.  A Microsoft Windows program interface that enables one to send an e-mail from within a Windows application and then attach the document to an e-mail note.  When you select <send> from the pull-down <file> menu, for example, in MS Word, the document is sent to the MAPI server for e-mailing.  It has been replaced by Microsoft’s Exchange Web Services (“EWS”).  See discussion in e-mail for more.

mAPM:   Apps used by enterprises to monitor mobile systems for crash and error reporting and service consumption, ensuring customer satisfaction and workforce productivity.

MARMicrosoft Authorized Refurbisher.  This is basically a program that Microsoft has provided to refurbishers to volume license pre-owned PCs.  Purchasers of these PC are assured that they have purchased a refurbished PC with a genuine Microsoft operating system, and can get upgrades and patches without worry.

Martin, JamesMARTIN, JAMES:  (1933-2013) A British information technology consultant who was one of the main developers of RAD.  He was nominated for a Pulitzer prize for his book, The Wired Society: A Challenge for Tomorrow (1977).

mashable logoMASHABLE:  One of the Pete CashmoreInternet’s largest websites and news blog, primarily covering social media news, founded by Pete Cashmore.

MASHUP:  This is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool.  For example, a mashup might use the Google earth satellite information, along with listing information from Century 21 Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau to create a distinct web service not previously available.

MAU:  Monthly Active Users, a uniform measure of activity for phone and Internet apps.

MAXIMIZE/MINIMIZE:   In Windows computers, to make the window larger or smaller, usually using the boxes at the upper right of the window.

MAYER, MELISSA:   Originally from Google, in 2012 appointMelissa Mayered CEO and President of Yahoo until its purchase in 2016 by Verizon.  See Yahoo for more.

Mbps:   Million Bits Per Second.  A standard measurement of transmission speed, as in “ethernet transmits across the network at 100Mbps..........”

MBR:  Master Boot Record.  See also, Boot Sector. Sometimes called the partition sector.  The boot sector reserves sectors on a partitioned disk (hard, floppy, USB, etc.) that are used to load the operating system.  On startup, a computer using BIOS looks for the MBR, which is typically the first (512 byte) sector in the first partition of the disk (LBA Sector 0).  The MBR contains a program that reads the partition table (e.g. FAT32, NTFS) which points to the first sector that contains the operating system and also contains another small program that starts the O/S.  The boot sector of a non-partitioned disk is called a Volume Boot Record (“VBR”). There can also (rarely) be a record that acts as both MBR and VBR known as a multi-boot record). For more information about hard drives, click HERE

Apple doesn’t have MBR, it uses APM.  And, due to the upgrade from BIOS to UEFI (starting in 2011 with Win 8 systems and all 64-bit systems) MBR is no longer used.  Instead UEFI uses  GPT (Globally Unique Identifier Partition Table), with 64-bit addressing.  This makes it easier to detect rootkit viruses and eliminates the MBR max of 2.2Tb/32-bit limit for formatting drives, instead handling drives up to 10 zettabytes and four primary partitions.  A possibility for partitioning larger drives in BIOS systems is Seagate’s DiskWizard tool, available at their web site.

MCA: Micro Channel Architecture (See, PCI)Developed by IBM primarily for use in the PS-2 line of desktop computers, this was a proprietary 32-bit bus which transferred data from 20 to 80Mbytes/sec and had a built-in ID that allowed for easier installation than ISA devices.  In late 1996, IBM discontinued its use in favor of PCI.

McAfeeMCAFEE: One of the largest of the anJohn McAfeeti-virus software providers (along with Norton), founded by John McAfee in 1987 and purchased by Intel in 2010, when it dropped the McAfee name.  John McAfee himself resigned in 1994, but was the subject of headlines when he became entangled in a murder case about his next door neighbor in Belize, where he was living at the time.  Although never charged, he fled the country and now lives in Lexington, TN, where he has established a fledgling tech incubator.  An interesting but enigmatic man, he has been described as everything from brilliant to mysterious, manipulative, insane and drug-addled.  He has announced his bid to run in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, claims he would legalize pot if elected, among other things.

McCarthy, John: A mathematician turned computer scientist who started the Pentagon-financed Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University in 1963.  The goal of his lab has been to create a thinking machine which would surpass human intelligence.  A father of AI, he also invented the LISP AI language, which included “garbage colleMcCarthy, Johnction” and utility computing and promoted remote access and computer sharing which is common today as well as the field of robotics.  McCarthy’s goal was radically different from that of Douglas Englebart at the Augmentation Research Center (also started at Stanford about 1963), who instead was attempting to “bootstrap” human intelligence through the use of computers.  For more of his contributions, see LISP, Watson, Neural Network and AI. [Looks a little like Mark Twain, don’tcha think?]

MCSE:  Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.  One of the more common and the top-ranking computer technology certifications, since its introduction only 14 years ago.  In addition to various training and courses, an applicant must have a minimum of 10 years advanced IT experience and must also appear before an oral board of industry peers.  MCSE has three series: (technology, professional & architect) and four credentials (IT Professional, Professional Developer, Support Technician & Architect).  Other certifications include those from Sun, Linux, Cisco and Novell, each with their own tiers of certification.  In addition, various technology providers and vendors offer their own certifications for use with their product (from Oracle to VMWare).  

MEDIA:  (1) Means of communication (e.g. TV, Radio, SMS, telephone, e-mail).  (2) The device on which data is stored or transmitted (e.g. disks, flash drive, CD/DVD, etc.) (3) The surface on which data is stored (metal disk, plastic disk, electronic circuit card, tape, etc.)  Click HERE for photo examples.

MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY:  See telemedicine.

Meego logoMeeGo:  A software platform created by Nokia as a smartphone platform also used for cars, home phones and computers.  Competes with Apple, Google and Windows smart phone software. Discontinued in 2011 when Nokia also discontinued the Symbian operating system in favor of Windows Phone.  Its 2014 successor: Tizen.

MEG:  Industry slang for megabyte (“Mb”).  See Bits & Bytes.

megaupload logoMEGAUPLOAD.COM:  An online file hosting service established in 2005 based in Hong Kong which allowed users to upload and store files on their servers.  While many of the files were for wedding videos and other files too large to transmit vKim Dotcomia email, it was alleged that many users uploaded copyrighted materials such as movies.  The U.S. Dept. of Justice, urged by the U.S. film industry, raided the site (at one time the 13th most popular site on the entire Internet) in 2012, closing it down and confiscating materials in the possession of entrepreneur Kim Dotcom (nee Kim Schmitz) at his house in Aukland, New Zealand, but he could not be extradited to the U.S. for prosecution.  He claimed that he only ran the hosting computers and had no connection to the types of files his users uploaded.  Certainly, more to follow. In May, 2014, most of his seized assets were ordered released, but the litigation continues.  The NZ court ruled that the raid was legal, but that the U.S. cloning of electronic evidence wasn’t.  They also ruled that he didn’t have to turn over the access codes to the hard drives seized in the raid.  In addition, the U.S. entertainment industry, a heavyweight in its own right, has also launched multiple lawsuits against Dotcom, alleging damages in the millions for allegedly lost revenue.  Meanwhile, Dotcom, who is currently out on bail and living in NZ, has launched a new file storage site, Mega, and has his own political party, the Internet Party (which has merged with an existing group to become #InternetMana)  Alas, it won no seats.  His hearing for extradition to the U.S. began in Aukland in September, 2015.  Prosecutors claim that Megaupload produced at least $175 million in illegal assets generated by fees and ads for its owners from its creation in 2005 through its demise in 2012.  What’s currehtly remaining, they say, is the $75 million being kept in Hong Kong and new Zealand, subject to restraining orders allowing Dotcom and his associates to withdraw millions for legal and living expenses.  As a result, in 2014, the U.S. moved to seize Dotcom’s assets in both countries.  They won a default judgment in Virginia in 2015, but the Defendants appealed on the ground that they were unconstitutionally deprived of their defense rights.  In August 2016, a three judge panel for the 4th Cir. Ct. of Appeals denied the appeal.  It remains to be seen if an appeal from that decision will be heard by the entire Circuit Court.  Meanwhile, the highest court in New Zealand ruled on 2/20/17 that Dotcom could be extradited to the U.S. to face fraud (but not copyright violtion) charges.   Dotcom has fought extradition to the U.S. to face piracy charges, but has not yet appeared.   Keep up HERE.

MELISSA:  a/k/a Mailissa, Simpsons, Kwyjibo or Kwejeebo.  A macro virus created by N.J. hacker David L. Smith and discovered in March, 1999  which was spread on Word and Excel programs and e-mail clients like Outlook, which ran a macro which, among other things, replicated itself through the first 50 entries in the Windows Address Book.  It was not a worm (such as the I Love You worm) because it was not a stand alone program.  Supposedly named after a Miami stripper, it persisted into later versions, i.e. Melissa U, V, W and AO.  For more info about Spyware, click HERE and David Smith HERE.

MEME:  An Internet meme (pronounced “meeem”) is a concept or idea (which may be humorous, political or art related) that is usually propagated through the World Wide Web.  Examples are Lolcats, Slenderman, Grumpy Cat, Gangnam Style, Doge and The Old Spice Guy. Also, Damn Daniel and Alex from Target.  And in 2016 a series of “No Sense” memes juxtaposing nonsensical images and captions (think: a photo of a battery with the caption “why don’t you call your mother any more” and the tag “this makes no sense”). Memes are an adaptation of a word introduced in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene” where he posited that certain genes replicated and passed on by generation.  Similarly, the concept was extended to ideas or elements of social behavior which are passed on by culture or imitation.  There’s also an absurd side to memes:  The 2016 @bgmemes, for example:  The FaceBook page for “Garlic Bread Memes” (with 250,000 subscribers, who knew?) received hundreds of outraged Reddit and Instagram posts when an image macro of two pieces of garlic bread were posted that many found to be transphobic, i.e. gender identified.  Even though memes are actually intended to make absurdities of the things they depict, it can be misinterpreted the opposite way, particularly by those ever-present “social injustice warriers” (the derogatory name for those people who perpetually speak out on social issues.   And there’s can be another downside:  Many popular meme celebrities’ sites have been pranked, hacked, trolled or otherwise harassed. 

The word comes from the Greek word “minmema” which means “to imitate”.  See also, trope.  For the difference between a meme, trope and avatar, click HERE.  In August, 2016, the Washington Post listed the 25 most popular memes: Dancing Baby (1996), Hampster Dance (1998), Peanur Butter Jelly Time (1998), All Your Base Are Belong To Us (2001), Star Wars Kid (2002), Spongemonkeys (2003), Numa Numa (2004), O RLY (2005), Chuck Norris Facts (2005), I Can Has Cheeseburger (2007), Rickroll (2007), Success Kid (2007). Dramatic Chipmunk(2007), Philosoraptor (2008), Deal With It (2010), Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife (2010), Nyan Kat (2011), Ermahgerd (2012), Bad Luck Brian(2012), Grumpy Cat (2012), Ridiculously Photogenic Guy (2012), Doge (2013), Crying Michael Jackson (2014), Ice Bucket Challenge (2014), Left Shark (2015).  [You can Google these to see them.]

Memex Deep Web Search Engine:  See Deep Web.

MEMORY: Computers have many types of memory, some faster than others, some only temporary - they differ both in their physical location and purpose:  Hard drive memory is permanent (doesn’t disappear when the computer is powered off) but it relatively slow compared to other types of memory, primarily due to the large size of the drive and the effort to retrieve data from a mechanical drive.  Random Access Memory (“RAM”), which is contained in chips on your main board, is temporary, but much faster and is used to operate programs.  It is also on some types of cards, like video cards, which generally use GDDR5, essentially DDR3 optimized for graphic operations.  Cache is another type of temporary memory which is used to speed up access to RAM and can be contained on the processor and elsewhere.  Memory contained in the processor register is quite fast but disappears if it’s not written to the hard drive after whatever computations are completed.  External memory can be put on flash drives, hard drives, SD cards and other storage devices (see Media), which are generally somewhat slower than RAM, cache or register memory, but are permanent:

WHY so many types of memory?  Generally, because memory is divided into temporary memory (which is designed to speed up processing by making data more quickly available, much like having several open desktop windows) and permanent memory (slower, archival [but permanent] storage). 

TYPE*

PERMANENT

TEMPORARY

HARDWARE

SPEED

PURPOSE

HARD DRIVE

YES

NO

DRIVE

SLOW

BULK STORAGE

EXTERNAL

YES

NO

DRIVE, FLASH

SLOW

STORAGE

RAM

NO

YES

CHIP

FAST

PROGRAMS

CACHE

NO

YES

CHIP

FAST

PROGRAMS, SYSTEM

REGISTER

NO

YES

CHIP

FAST

PROGRAMS, SYSTEM

[*See also types of buffer memory like Write Combining, which is temporary and releases stored data in bursts as required.]

MEMRISTORS:  Short for “memory transistors.”  An advance to transistors, which are about 30-40 nanometers in size, while memristors are about 3nm in size.  Switching is a nonosecond (billionth of a second).  With its small size, low power usage and speed, memristors will probably eventually become more common than transistors, replacing flash memory in many devices and chips. They were conceived in 1971 by Leon O. Chua, an electrical engineer at University of California, Berkeley, perfected by HP in 2010.  Recently, DARPA has made use of memristors in a new approach to Artificial Intelligence that mimics how neurons process information.  See board components

MEMS: These are the devices which are propelling such ideas as medical monitoring and smart homes and appliances. The newest features in Apple and other phones for monitoring health and exercise, as well as wearable computers and smart watches are examples. MEMS is short for microelectromechanical systems”.  These miniaturized sensors are manufactured in much the same way as microprocessors, through a lithography process common in microfabrication.  But they aren’t just a chip, they are a complete autonomous system.  The sensors are usually  paired with an application-specific integrated circuit (“ASIC”) which is programmed with various control capabilities and, when paired with a microprocessor and a wired or wireless communications device, will allow control over the Internet of Things (“IoT”).  Predictably, in the future, such devices will become commonplace.  We can expect to find them in such things as skin patches, microchips embedded in our bodies and even tattoos and smart dust

MENU:  Much like a restaurant menu gives you a limenusst of choices and options, so too does a computer menu.  When a user clicks on a toolbar, text menu, or blank desktop, for example, various heirarchal text menus will appear, “dropping down” or “flying out”  sideways or “popping up” (see toaster) into submenus, and sub-submenus, and so forth, until the user clicks on the desired selection.  See also, Breadcrumb vs. Go Button navigation, Ribbon, and context menus, all discussing types of menus in Windows

Meraki logoMERAKI:  A company started in 2006 by two MIT PhD students, Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket (also Hans Robertson) and funded by Google and Sequoia Capital, which started in Mountain View, CA before moving to San Francisco. Originally it started the “Free the Net” campaign to provide free internet service (see Wi-Max”) throughout SCisco Meraki logoan Francisco’s Mission District, but it was eventually discontinued, leaving Meraki as a provider of wireless networks for buildings (especially motels) and businesses.  It was acquired by Cisco in 2012 for est. $1.2 billion, but still operates under the Cisco Meraki name.

MESSAGING SERVICES:  Not that long ago, e-mail was considered the best diWhatsApp logogital communication system since sliced bread.  Log on over the Internet, get your mail.  Don’t even have to leave your home.  Dead was the old written “snail mail”.  AOL Instant Messaging provided a further way to send brief instant messages over the Internet, as opposed to full e-mails, but you still had to log in to AOL to get them.  A few years later, in 2006, TwitViber logoter started the SMS revolution, limiting messages via smart phones to instant bursts 165 characters or less, with no need to log in to retrieve them.  They simply show up on your phone’s screen.  But now even this is getting old.  The 2014 Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp for $22 billion signals a move along the instant messaging time line to more full featureKik logod apps built for smart phones, but ones that can go beyond 165 characters.  Actually, there’s no limit to the number of characters, perhaps 5Mb to each attachment.  Apps like WhatsApp, Kik and Viber are now replacing SMS as ways of rapid text communication between phones. Each works with iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry systems.  These new messaging services have more features than the old ones:  Once you register your phone number and put in your contacts, you can see things like “status flags” that will tell others if you’re available to chat or if you’re busy, you can broadcast “group” chats, you can add photo, video, location data or other types of information, desktop backgrounds, display organizational and contact information, Facebook connections, receipts for read messages, etc.  And some apps, like Viber and WhatsApp (which claims 1 billion users as of 2016), let you place free digital voice calls that don’t use your phone’s minutes, like Skype (which claims to carry in excess of 2 billion minutes of calls per day), but are more updated.  The apps are free, at least for the first year, and about $1 a year thereafter.

METERED CONNECTION:  An internet connection where the user has a set amount of data usage for the billing period, after which a charge for the overage is assessed.

META:  A prefix which is generally used to mean “about” the category it describes.  So, for example, “metadata” means “a description of data (say, in a file or website)” or “metalanguage” means “a description of a particular language”.  This the type of data that the NSA says they’re collecting. (See laws, rant, privacy.

META KEY:  A keyboard key which looks like a solid diaMeta Keymond, which is used on MIT keyboards.  It’s in the same location as the Mac command key (Esc key on the eMac) or the Windows or Alt keys, depending on the PC keyboard.  The keyboards, which are used on Sun Microsystems and Space-cadet keyboards, use the key for certain specific functions.  Linux also uses the meta key.

METACOVER:  I’ve only seen this term used once, by Hauppauge, the company which sells TV cards for computers, but they use it with such conviction that I believe it must be used by others.  The metacover is the removable plate on the back of the case which covers the back of the empty slot (e.g. PCI) into which the card is inserted.

METADATA:  Actually “data about data”.   Metadata provides a description about how, when and by whom a particular (raw) data set was collected and how it is formatted, for example, so that computers on the WWW can use the XML and HTML tags to turn it into useful information. 

METAPAPER:  Wi-Fi blocking wallpaper.  Developed by the French, rights acquired by the Finnish firm Ahlstrom, this conductive silver ink and metallic patterned paper filter out close to 99% of electromagnetic waves coming from outside while making the interior signals secure and stronger.  While filtering out Wi-Fi, it does allow FM and emergency  signals to pass through.  Currently in development, scheduled for release soon.

METAWATCH:  A watch produced by Fossil in 2009 or so which pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth and displays notificationsmetawatch-horizontal-gallery (incoming calls, SMS messages, weather conditions and e-mail messages) right on the watch itself.  The Metawatch is made to be paired with iPhones or Android and can be customized with free apps.   The Metawatch Strata is about $179.  It’s kind of similar to the old (2007) Microsoft Spot watch to me.  Maybe it was just bad timing, like the Newton (Circa 1993) didn’t make it but the iPad (introduced in 2010) did.  To me it seems kinda clunky (this from a guy that bought one of those thick, heavy Pulsar watches in the 1970s!), but I can see that it might appeal to techno-gadget junkies.  Other available bluetooth smartphone watches:  The Pebble, I’m Watch, Sony Smartwatch.  And the  Apple Watch was introduced in September, 2014.  This doesn’t include exercise type watches, like the Motoactv fitness tracker that also relies on bluetooth. See smart watch.

METHODOLOGY: SometimesModel”.  A set of rules or practices used in development, more specifically in software development.  Software methodologies include Waterfall, Scrum, Spiral, Iterative, Incremental, Prototype, Cleanroom, Agile, Lean, V and Dual V and a host of others.

METRICS:  Relating to computers, this means the “measurement”  of performance, usually web site statistics.  Terms like number of hits, eyeballs, links and the like are metrics for a website.  This is different from “analytics,”  which is the science which uses those measurements to solve business problems ( i.e., how do these numbers increase our business?).  For more discussion, see Internet Marketing.

METRO:  Microsoft’s original name for the “interface” between the user and the device introduced by Metro phone interfaceMicrosoft in its phone (2010) and Xbox (2011) software and in Windows 8 (2012) as well as Office 2013, which signals Microsoft’s move toward pad computing.  The squares (called “tiles”) with symbols of phones, envelopes, shopping carts, FacebookInternet Explorer and the like were actually influenced by airport and road signs, which are easy to decipher on the fly.  See Windows 8. When Windows 8 was actually introduced on 10/26/12, Microsoft removed the “Metro” name and decided to call the interface only the “Windows 8” style, after Microsoft discovered during development that the term “Metro Style” had already been copyrighted by someone else.  Still, some users still use this term.

MFP:  Stands for Multi-Function Printer.  This is a device that not only prints (cabled or wirelessly) but can also perform other features such as copying, scanning and faxing as well.

MICKEY:  A unit of measurement for the speed and movement direction of a computer mouse.  The speed of the mouse is the ratio between how many pixels the cursor moves on the screen and how many centimeters the mouse is moved on the mouse pad.  The directional movement is the “horizontal mickey” and the “vertical mickey” count. One “mickey” is approximately 1/200 of an inch.

MICR:  Magnetic Ink Character Recognition.  A technology used to verify the legitimacy or originality of paper documents, especially bank checks, using special magnetic inks, which are computer-scanned for veracity.  This older technology has been somewhat reduced or at least supplemented by the use of ATM (Automated Teller Machines or other “cashpoints”) and EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale, i.e. debit card) technologies.

MICROARCHITECTURE:  See, ISA

MICRO BATTERIES:  Rechargeable lithium ion batteries the size of a grain of sand, produced by a 3D printer, used to power tiny electronics and medical devices

MICROCHIP:  See, chip

MICROBLOGGING:  See, Blogging.  A form of brief blogging (usually no more than 140 characters in length), such as Twittering, MMS and SMS.

MICROCONTROLLER:  A very small computer on s single integrated circuit board, containing a processor core, memory and programmable input/out peripherals.  Like Raspberry Pi or Arduino.

MICROCODE/MICROPROGRAMS:  Generally, microprogramming is a method of operating the control unit of a computer by breaking down the control instructions into a sequence of tiny steps.  Programmers develop microprograms by creating microcode which controls different parts of a computer’s CPU, storing the program in an area of memory called a “control store.

MICROPROCESSOR:  See, processor

MICROFLUIDICS:  The science of building microminiaturized devices with chambers and tunnels for the containment and flow of fluids. With devices measured at the micrometer level and fluids measured in nanoliters and picoliters, microfluidics devices are widely used in inkjet printer heads (see Printers) and so-called “labs on a chip” which are used to analyze body fluids for medical purposes.   Nanofluidics measure fluids at the nanometer, rather than the micrometer, level.

MICROCELL: A device used to extend the range of cell phones so that the signal can be received in geographically or structurally difficult locations, redirecting the cell signal over the Internet.

Microsoft photo of Gates and AllenMICROSOFT: a/k/a “MS”. The company founded by Bill Gates (right in photo) and childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, which in 1980 invented DOS (“Disk Operating System”) and, later, Windows, the most used computer operating system in the world. Allen left Microsoft in 1983.

MICROPROCESSOR:  Generally, the basic arithmetic, logic and control elements required for processing, generally contained on only one integrated circuit chip.  Used not just on computers, but also household appliances video games, etc. See, CPU, Processor.

MICROSOFT: a/k/a “MS”. The company founded by Bill Gates (right in photo) and childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, which in 1980 invented DOS (“Disk Operating System”) and, later, Windows, the most used computer operating system in the world. Allen left Microsoft in 1983.

MICROSOFT ACTIVE DIRECTORY:  See, Active Directory.

MICROSERVER:  Inexpensive, dimunitive, low power, somewhat limited computer servers whose parts have been shrunk and scaled back, allowing them to be packed into clusters in racks.

MICROSERVICES:  A type of computer architecture which has become popular among many enterprises as containers and APIs have become more commonplace. While the older, more monolithic, architectures rely on large applications to be deployed at single users and devices throughout the enterprise, microservices are the opposite: Through cloud middleware such as Microsoft’s Azure Service Fabric, users can more easily build, test and manage scalable and reliable applications to run on a shared pool (“cluster”) of physical or virtual machines.  This is done via a set of small, single function, loosely coupled applications that communicate mostly though APIs and are easily assembled into bespoke experiences for distinct users or devices.  Basically a “building block” approach tailored to meet users’ needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.  The opposite of microservice architecture is monolithic architecture.

MICROSOFT BOB: A Microsoft product, released in March, 1995 and designed for Windows 3.1x and Windows 95, to simplify the navigational experience for novice computer users.  The main interface was portrayed as the inside of a house inside which Bob lives, the different rooms of which represent different computer applications (calendar, word processor, etc.), each of which had cartoon characters called “Assistants” to help the user use the applications.  Bob was one of Microsoft’s biggest failures, and was withdrawn prior to the introduction of Windows 98, although some of the characters still remain as part of Microsoft Office’s assistants.  Luckily, Bill Gates didn’t hold a grudge against Bob’s project managers, one of whom was Melinda French, who was his then girlfriend and who later became his wife.

< Microsoft Bob Logo

and  His House>

 

Also, the Microsoft Bear and Microsoft Bunny, both as “Easter eggs” in older Windows O/S versions

Microsoft BunnyMicrosoft Bear

 

 

MICROSOFT DELVE:  The file discovery feature for Office 365 in later versions.

MICROSOFT DOCUMENT IMAGE WRITER:  You may notice in your printer folder a reference to the Microsoft Document Image Writer.  It is not a physical printer, but rather a “virtual” printer.  This is a program, installed by Microsoft Office, that allows you to save any Office document as an image that can be viewed but not changed by other computers, and which can also be printed by any available physical printers. Office 2007 added the .xps image writer.

MICROSOFT FEATURES AND EASTER EGGS:  See, Easter Eggs, Features & Bugs

MICROSOFT GARAGE:  A little known but quite useful group of Microsoft employees which produce (and sometimes support) software, but on their own time.  Some of it never makes it to become an official Microsoft product, so they’re not tested as fully as those projects which do become adopted, but they’re often quite useful.  Some garage projects that became mainstream have been part of Sharepoint Services (formerly OfficeTalk) and Windows Phone.  For a stand-alone product, see Mouse Without Borders, below.

MICROSOFT MAGIC MIRROR:  Announced at a Singapore technology conference in 2016, this “smart mirror” in development uses facial recognition to read eight common human emotions to display IoT and other useful information, including of course targeted advertising.

MICROSOFT HOTMAIL:  Microsoft claims this to be the most successful e-mail service in the world.  Launched in 1996, it has in 2012 just over 325 million users worldwide, with g-mail 298.2 million users and Yahoo Mail at 298 million.  This will change in late 2012, when Microsoft has decided to reinvent it’s Hotmail e-mail service into Outlook, named after its app based Office program.  Hotmail users will be able to keep their @hotmail.com and @live.com addresses, but new users will choose between @outlook.com or @live.com.  The Outlook.com interface is cleaner, eliminates ads (in person-to-person e-mails, at least), allows IM with Facebook friends right from Outlook, and will integrate Skype, purchased by Microsoft last year as well.  It will also add unique features such as tracking package shipments and newsletters and universally deleting spam. [Over the years, Microsoft has been issuing e-mail addresses under various names: Hotmail, Microsoft Passport, MSN, .NET Passport, Member Services Passport, Messenger ID, Windows Live ID, Xbox Live ID, Zune/Zune Pass ID, Windows Phone, SkyDrive ID, and more. As of 2012, all of those terms are now obsolete; they're all just Microsoft accounts, any of which will allow you to log on to Microsoft’s services, such as logging on to Windows 8.]

MICROSOFT OFFICE:  See, OFFICE.

MICROSOFT PLANNER:  A feature added to Microsoft’s Office 365 in October 2016 versions and later for task management.

MICROSOFT DESKTOP SECURITY:  The good news is that, as Windows has evolved, Microsoft offers many free programs either included in the O/S or available for download that were previously available for purchase from outside vendors.  The bad news is that not everything works with every O/S, not everything is preventative and Microsoft has done its usual confusing naming for its products.  To summarize:

Malicious Software Removal Tool (“MSRT”) is included with all versions of Windows and protects against much of the common malware in circulation. It’s a basic anti-virus program, included with all versions of Windows since XP.  It refreshes itself once a month and automatically runs a scan at that time, although you can still run it manually in between updates. But it’s a post-infection program and not preventative in any way.  And pretty basic.  But better than nothing.

Windows Defender (“WD”) is Microsoft’s anti-malware suite.  It is installed by default in Vista and Windows 7, can be downloaded for XP, Windows 8 has its own program.  And it’s built into Windows 10.  Originally the successor to Windows System Center Endpoint Protection, then included in Windows as  Microsoft Anti-Spyware (after Microsoft’s 1996 acquisition of Giant, then Windows Anti-Spyware (1996), now Windows Defender Online (2012).  To make matters even more confusing, on the small business side, Microsoft acquired Sybari in 2005 and introduced ForeFront that same year. WD doesn’t detect or remove viruses, but does provide preventative infection against spyware, adware, keyloggers and other potentially unwanted software that can harm your system.  When it detects a potentially harmful program that shows up in your files or browsing activity, a pop-up dialogue box will appear. Not always easy to find, WD is customizable by using the command line MpCmdRun.exe as an administrator, where you will find switches controlling the time, extent and other features for running the program.

The new version of Defender for Win 10 contains improvements, including protecting the O/S after booting (named Early Launch Anti-Malware), better User Account Control integration and now post-breach protection.  While it’s relatively simple to use for home computers, it isn’t up to snuff for enterprises (it doesn’t always play well with the Group Policy Manager), although there are ways to customize it to make it better. 

A couple of years later, Microsoft created software dubbed Microsoft Security Essentials (“MSE”) which is used for both consumer and corporate versions     (and will supersede Windows Defender if both are installed on the same computer).  It’s Microsoft’s all-in-one desktop security tool.  In contrast to the WD and MSRT, it is always on and provides real-time protection against a wide variety of malware.  And, while it is highly automated once installed, it must be manually downloaded and installed as it is not included in any version of Windows.  

The new and improved Windows Defender Online (“WDO”) that comes with Windows 8 has none of the original code of WD which was used for XP, Vista and Windows 7 above, more capabilities, and is more like MSE/ForeFront.  On the other hand, it is included in Win8 and doesn’t have to be downloaded and covers a lot of ground.

Add to these programs Microsoft Safety Scanner (“MSS”) (a downloadable manual scanner which can detect and remove malicious and potentially unwanted software) and Windows Defender Offline (which offers post-infection cleanup and verification for both malicious and potentially unwanted software) to complete the suite of potential desktop security protection tools provided by Microsoft.  And, if you are using a version of Windows before Windows 8, you may be able to use either the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit  (“EMET”) (which reduces vulnerabilities, particular zero-day threats, to Internet Explorer and other apps), Malware Prevention troubleshooter (which checks whether various Windows settings are properly configured) or Baseline Security Analyzer (which checks a couple of dozen security-related system settings).

To RECAP:  MSRT works with all Windows versions, but only targets malicious software (e.g. viruses) but no potentially unwanted software (spyware, adware) and is a post-infection tool.  WD works with XP, Vista and Win7, targets only potentially unwanted software and is preventative.  MSE (XP (only if you have it on or before 4/8/14), Vista, Win 7) and WDO (Win8) both target malicious software and both are preventative.  WDO (all Windows versions) targets both malicious software and potentially unwanted software but is for post-infection cleanup.  And MSS (also all Windows versions) also works for both malicious software and potentially unwanted software, but is a post-infection cleanup tool.  Got it?

So how does Windows 10 change things?  The old “Microsoft Security Essentials” is still part of your O/S, but has been rebranded as “Windows Defender” and integrated into Windows itself.  It automatically runs in the background as an anti-virus program, scanning files when they are accessed and before they are opened.  It will also pop-up informing you when you open malware.  It is accessed through the Settings app (Start>Settings>Update & Security>Windows Defender).  It has all of the settings of most anti-virus apps and (unlike the Win 7 version) will allow you to install another anti-virus program, and notify you that it will be disabled if you do so.

MICROSOFT SAFETY SCANNER:  See Microsoft Desktop Security.

MICROSOFT SECURITY ESSENTIALS:  See Microsoft Desktop Security.

MICROSOFT SHARE:  A feature introduced in Windows 8 which is a “charm” letting a user share content between applications (which support the tool).  For example, you can select a photo in Win 8 mail and share it on Twitter.

MICROSOFT STORE:  (1) Physical retail stores established by Microsoft starting in 2009 for sales of its products and software as well  as (2) an Internet site (a la iTunes for Apple computers) where users can download software, both paid and free, for use with Windows 8 and later operating systems.

MICROSOFT SWAY:  Microsoft’s presentation enhancement software in Office 365’s later versions.

MS Works logoMICROSOFT WORKS:  A productivity suite much like Microsoft Office, offered by Microsoft until 2012.  For what to do to read and edit files created with this legacy program, go to Tip #99.

MICROSOFT SILVERLIGHT:  See Silverlight.

MICROSOFT TRANSLATOR:  See Translation Apps.

MID:  Mobile Internet Device.  See also, UMPCs, below.

MIDDLEWARE:  Software that links applications and data, so that the data can be useful.  Includes programs such as Microsoft Biz Talk Server and Azure Service Fabric (see microservices, above) and Jitterbit. Used primarily in business applications, commonly used to match two separate and often already existing programs, such as a database written in one language not on the system to be readable by another program, on the computer already, to read it.  See also, EAI.

MIDI:  Musical Digital Instrument Interface”.  This means all the hardware and software that a computer uses to play music.

MIFI:  (Pronounced <my fy>).  Wireless computer technology introduced by Verizon in 2009 that lets computer users connect to a 3G high-speed wireless cellular data network anywhere and anytime, using the Novatell MiFi 2200 credit card device and, in 2010, the Pre Plus smart phone.  No seeking a WiFihot spot”; instead you carry a wireless ”umbrella” over you and your devices wherever you go.

MIGRATION:  This is, truly, one of those geek phrases you hear when something goes wrong, as in “you didn’t get your e-mail on time because we were migrating the servers”.  What is means is moving, copying or even changing the format of data from one device to another.  Frequently, this term is used to denote upgrading to a new or additional server or program.

MIME:  See ASCII.  Short for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force), this is a messaging standard that allows internet users to exchange e-mail messages enhanced with graphics, video and voice.  Early e-mail programs did not allow for this.  A newer version, called S/MIME, supports encrypted (protected) messages.  Some computers may require a “MIME Decoder” to read the messages.

Mimo logoMIMO:  Multiple-In, Multiple-Out.  (Pronounced <mee-mow>).  A “smart antenna” technology used in some (but not all) of the N Series wireless routers that takes advantage of multiplexing in order to increase wireless bandwidth and range.  The MiMo (“multiple input, multiple output”) algorithms send information out over two or more antennas and receive it over multiple antennas as well.  This, in turn, eliminates the Cliff Effect, caused when the late arrival of part of a broadcast signal causes fading or cut-out of the signal, and also “picket fencing” or intermittent reception.  See also, MISO (“multiple input, single output”) and SIMO (“single input, multiple output”) which are also smart antenna technologies.

MINITEL:  France’s precursor to the Internet.  Introduced July 1, 1982 (and discontinued exactly 30 years later), a combination of a telephone and a computer monitor, the Minitel allowed the French to shop and travel online, check bank balances, read certain newspapers, order tickets and look up telephone numbers, a true telecom revolution at the time.  And it was free, distributed by then state-owned France Telecom (or its predecessor, the PTT).  At its peak, there were 9 mimINITELllion Minitel sets installed in French households offering 26,000 services to 25 million users (when it was folded, some 600,000 remained in use).  Later, the business model morphed to a monthly fee charge for extra services (the Minitel Rose’s most popular service was sexy chat lines cMinitel 2atering to men), but it’s state-owned model also proved its downfall, as France Telecom didn’t often grant permission to expand its services and showed little interest in innovation after the 1980s.  As a result, during the 1980s the Internet encroached and rendered the Minitel obsolete. 

MIPS:  Million Instructions Per Second (a measure of processor speed).

MIRROR (SITE):  A replica of an existing website.  Generally, mirrors are used for multiple simultaneous downloads, made necessary when the original download server experiences an overload of traffic, requiring the downloads to be spread over multiple mirror sites.  Also, mirror sites can be hosted on computers that are geographically closer to a user, speeding the download.

MLS:  Multi-Level Security.  The application of a computer system to process data having different sensitivities, so that users can be prevented access to information for which they lack authorization, and allowing simultaneous access to users with differing security clearances and levels of clearance.  There are a number of “models” of MLS, including Biba, Take-Grant, Clark-Wilson and Graham-Denning modelsIn addition to MLS, there are other more complex and less common security access control models, such as Role Based Access Control (“RBAC”), Mandatory Access Control (“MAC”) and Discretionary Access Control (“DAC”).

MMC:  See MultiMediaCard, below.

MMR:  Meet Me Room. Telecom connection areas common in colocation centers, designed to provide tenant security,  See POP Rooms.

MMOG:  Massively Multi-player Online Game.  On line RPGs, usually with hundreds, if not thousands, of players, such as World of Warcraft or Everquest.

MMS:  Multimedia Message Service.  A method of transmitting graphics, video clips, audio files and short text messages over wireless networks, commonly between cellular phones.  Unline e-mail, which supports attachments, MMS codes all content into the message itself.

MMX:  Multimedia ExtensionsAn enhancement in computer microprocessors that processes multiple data elements in parallel, speeding up 3D graphics, speech recognition, motion video and the like.

MNEMONIC:  A memory aid, such as an abbreviation, rhyme or mental image that helps you remember something.  Acronyms (e.g. RADCAB) can use mnemonics.

MobileMe:    This is presently Apple’s subscription-based (paid) collection of online services and software. It was originally launched on 1/5/2000 as a free service named iTools, which included services including an e-mail account, a simple web site building tool (“HomePage”) and a virtual on-line hard drive (“iDisk”).  It will close forever on June 30, 2012.  In between, Apple has tinkered with the name, the features and the pricing of this service.  In 2002, iTools became .Mac. In 2008, .Mac became MobileMe.  And in June, 2011 it became iCloud.  It is now a paid online service for synchronizing personal information, such as your calendars, address books, e-mail and photos across multiple devices such as iPads, iPhones, iMacs, etc.  These services, particularly MobileMe, were not widely accepted, primarily due to product flaws and limited functionality. As iCloud, it appears to be gaining more acceptability.  So what replaces the MobileMe apps?  First, iCloud will continue seamless synchronization and updating of your address book, calendars, e-mails, notes, Web bookmarks and other information across all devices (Macs, Windows Cs and iPhones, iPads and iPods).  No longer available will be the iDisk, iWeb Publishing (one-click web site building) and Gallery (online photo and video galleries).  Gallery may be replaced with SmugMug.com, but you won’t be able to view your galleries on Apple TV any longer, iDisk could always be replaced by Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync or Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) or any of the other popular services.  iWeb Publishing could also be replaced by any of a number of popular web publishing services; you can still use iWeb to design sites, but you’ll have to find a new company to host them - see Apple for instructions.  Jimdo offers a MobileMe transition guide.  See Website ToolTester.com for reviews of on-line site development apps.  See also CLOUD. Think Apple has multiple name change problems?  Microsoft isn’t immune either - click HERE for the Windows Live names.

MOBILE DEVICES:  Devices that are portable, like a cell phone or tablet, and can be taken with you, as opposed to those devices that must be connected to a desk or home.

MOBILE WALLET/MOBILE PAYMENTS:  A mobile wallet is an online payment system that allows transactions to be initiated by mobile phones. It uses NFC (“near field communications”) on Android cell phones, a radio system that enables communication between two or more devices so that they can send and receive data at a very close range.  There are other devices which are currently being developed to transmit payments over mobile phones:  Target, WalMart and other retailers are developing their own systems, Square is using an app named “Card Case,” as is a company called “Tabbed-out”.  Not all smart phones run all mobile payment apps or support all credit cards, and some demand specialized POS hardware at retailers’ locations, so it will remain to see which major providers survive the competition.  On the other hand, many of the providers (e.g. Starbucks) use the method to communicate with loyalty programs, to the customer’s advantage.

MOBO:  Abbreviation for “motherboard,” the main computer circuit board.

Mobile World Congress logoMOBILE WORLD CONGRESS:  The world’s largest annual gathering for the mobile industry, organized by the GSMA (see Associations) and held in Barcelona, the Mobile World Capital.  It is here that the cell phone manufacturers introduce their new phone models.

MoCA:  A type of coaxial cable technology developed in 2004 and promoted by MoCA, see Associations) which uses existing coaxial cabling to connect most consumer electronics and home networking devices at high speed.

MODDER:  Kind of like a hacker, but with hardware.  Modding refers to modifying hardware, usually to perform some function not originally conceived by its developer.  People that develop uses for microprocessors like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are modders.  Click HERE to see what each is best at.

MODEL:  See methodology, above. A system of creating a procedure or process using a consistent methodology which can then be applied in future instances.

MOD 10:  See Luhn.

MODEM:  Stands for MODulator-DEModulator.  This is a device that converts (“modulates”) the digital signal on the sending computer into an analog signal to transmit over the telephone and then, at the receiving end, converts (“demodulates”) the signal back into digital format so it can be viewed by the receiving computer. Modems can be used for telephone, cable, fibre optic or satellite transmissions.  The earliest modems were used over telephone lines, the most common design of which was the U.S. Robotics modem, which used the popular Hayes Smartmodem AT Command Set with S registers.  They transmitted at a crippling rate of only 110 bits per second or 0.1 kilobits, vice todays 56Kbps for dial-up. Click HERE for the AT commands, and HERE for the S-Register summary.  Now that more people use broadband modems, the telephone modem command strings are pretty much relegated to history.

MODCHIP :  Short for “modification chip”.  An electronic device (hardware), usually a printed circuit board, which is attached to another device’s main circuitry, for the purpose of altering or disabling restrictions programmed into that device.  Commonly found on videogame consoles and DVD/Blu-ray players, installed for the purpose of circumventing restrictions on regional coding (DVDs) or to allow use of media from another source to be played on a video game console.  But it can also be used for malicious purposes, such as allowing remote control of a device without the user’s consent.

MODULATION :  The process of adding information to an electronic or optical carrier signal to facilitate its transmission.  Whereas a standard carrier signal has a constant waveform, it can be adjusted in either analog or digital form in order to facilitate the signal transmission.  For example, a telephone modem modulates the signal at the transmitting end and demodulates it at the receiving end, hence “modem”.  Similarly, a cable modem uses network data to similarly modulate the cable service’s carrier signal. This can be done in several ways:  

  • Amplitude modulation (“AM”), in which the height (i.e., the strength or intensity) of the signal carrier is varied;
  • Frequency modulation (“FM”), in which the frequency of the carrier waveform is varied;
  • Phase modulation (PM), in which the frequency of the carrier waveform is varied to reflect changes in the frequency of the data (similar but not the same as FM).
  • Polarization modulation, in which the angle of rotation of an optical carrier signal is varied to reflect transmitted data.
  • Pulse code modulation, in which an analog signal is sampled to derive a data stream that is used to modulate a digital carrier signal, frequency, phase and polarization and even spin (at the quantum level).
  • More complex forms of modulation include phase-shift keying (”PSK”) and Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (”QAM”). See television for more. Radio and television broadcasts and satellite radio typically use AM or FM. Most two-way radios use FM, although some employ a mode known as single sideband (SSB).
  • Finally, a carrier signal can carry more than one modulating information stream. A process called time-division multiplexing (“TDM”) which cn combine the data streams onto a single carrier for transmission.

Credit: http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/modulation,  Click address for full article and graphics.

MOLEX:  Refers to the 4-Pin connectors used to attach DC power to the drives inside a PC chassis (case); named after the original large manufacturer of electronics plugs and sockets, dating back to the 1940s.  Click HERE for a photo.

MONITOR:  The video display used by a desktop computer. See Screen.

MONSTER CABLE:  Refers to the leading manufacturer of HDMI cables for home theatre and high performance audio and video. 

MOOC:  Massive Open Online Course. Education over the internet, via computer, pad, phone, etc. characterized by unlimited participation and open access via the web.   Can be free or paid.  Some use it as a substitute for traditional college education (e.g. Courses from Phoenix College, Khan Academy) for those with limited resources but interest (see UnCollege.org).

MOORE’S LAW:  A statement made by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a Gordon Moore photo1965 paper - that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit is increasing exponentially, doubling every 2 years.  The law has subsequently been applied to virtually every progression in technology.  Think the move from 78rpm records to LPs, then to 8 track tapes, to cassette tapes, iPods, then CDs, DVDs, hi-density DVDs, Blu-Ray and, soon, holographic disks.  It’s a standard progression, albeit 10 years in between.  But the point is the increase in the speed of the technology, not just the product:  About 10 years ago, AOL was king, dial-up at 56K was the standard internet connection.  If you double connection speeds every 18 mos - 2 yrs. or so, you get to a connection speed of 14Mbps, which is right about where cable and DSL are at now.  Looking ahead another 10 years, to 2021, the typical American home should have gigabit connectivity.  And we’re right on track:  Google is already rolling out that speed with their Google Access project, starting in Kansas.    Memristors may be the next example of the march in technology, making it possible to build super dense computing memories which will be able to make use of the increasing data and devices coming to market.  First, in 1975, Steve Jobs came upon the idea to use a microprocessor chip to build computers; then in the 1980s, Xerox scientists came up with the idea of “ubiquitous computing,” bringing computers to the desktop and making mainframes obsolete. Now comes the memristor, a switch which will hold so much information that it will increase computing by an order of magnitude once again, and continue to allow us to embed computers into virtually every device we will be able to think of, off of the desktop and into our phones, toasters, books and the like, the IoT. [See also Douglas Englebart, with whom Moore  allegedly developed this theory and who also invented the mouse, described below.  Click HERE for a graphic representation of the law.]

Mopria logoMOPRIA:  A print service (and standard) that is installed or available to be installed by some printer manufacturers that allow users to print web pages, documents, e-mails, photos and the like from apps that support Android printing.  It is found on the app manager of the mobile device.  See Associations

MORPHEUS:  A popular music file sharing software, discontinued 4/22/08.

Mosaic logoMOSAIC:  The first popular GUI web browser (the actual first was Cello, written by Thomas R. Bruce for Unix), certainly the browser that Jim Clark photoMarc Andreesen photopopularized the World Wide Web.  Developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (“NCSA”), more particularly by Marc Andresson (who later co-founded Netscape with Jim Clark, originally of Silicon Graphics, Inc.) and introduced in 1993, its ease of use, Windows SGI logocompatibility and the ability to implement images embedded in the text window, as opposed to displayed in a separate window, combined the developing technologies of the time (including FTP, http, URL, HTML, Gopher, IP, etc.) into a GUI and interaction experience that became the standard for web browsers.  Although Mosaic was officially discontinued on 1/7/97, Netscape and later Firefox were directly descended from the Mosaic code and concept.

MOS SCORE: Mean 0ption Score.  An admittedly subjective score given by human users of VoiP to evaluate the quality of voice transmission.  A MOS score of 4.0 or higher is acceptable.

MOTHER BOARD [slang = “mobo”]: See MAIN BOARD, above.

Motorola logoMOTOROLA: A U.S. electronics company that manufactured TVs, cell phones and devices. It split in 2011 into Motorola Solutions (telecom) and Motorola Mobility, which was bought in 2012 by Google then flippe to Lenovo in 2014, which ditched the Motorola brand in favor of Moto.

MOUNT:  This is a verb, as in “mountinga drive.  Mounting applies to both hardware and software.  It means to make a device physically accessible to user(s) (e.g. attaching a backup tape drive), or to make a group of files accessible to the user(s).  So, when you “mount” a drive, it shows up in your directory listing (In Windows: Windows Explorer, My Computer) and is recognized by the system.  In a Mac, mounting refers to merely inserting a disk into the computer. Mounts can be either local or remote.  In Windows, files or hardware are recognized by their name (e.g. C://), and Unix/Linux recognizes the mounts as subdirectories of the host computer file system, naming the location where the device or file is attached as a “mount point”.

MOUSE:  A handheld device with one or more buttons and/or wheels, used to perform various operating system dependent operations (e.g. selecting, highlighting, cutting & pasting) using a graphic user interface (“GUI”).   Contrary to popular belief, the mouse was not invented by Steve Jobs, Apple or Bill Gates, but instead was invented by and attributed to Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute (“SRI”) in 1963, after extensive prototypes and usability testing.  [Actually, there were other mouse-like input devices developed earlier, but they were for classified military projects, used rubberized track balls, and weren’t revealed to the general public:  But mouse-like input devices were developed at least twice in earlier years: First, by Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff, who worked for Canada's Ferranti-Packard in 1952, and  later by Ralph Benjamin, working for the U.K. Navy in the early 1960s.] [Click HERE for info about who has the most inventions, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison.  Nope, none of these guys.]  His ideas were revolutionary, coming in an era when computers filled floors of buildings and data entry was via stacks of computer punch cards. The mouse was first demonstrated by him on December 9, 1968 at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, CA but took another 16 years before it was commercially introduced with the Macintosh computer in 1984.  (For all the billions of dollars in mouse revenue, Engelbart collected just the $10,000 patent payment; the patent ran out in 1987, well before the device was widely used.) Interestingly, Engelbart himself didn’t name the device a “mouse,” he said - someone remarked that the device looked like a “mouse” and the name stuck, but it wasn’t him. But Englebart’s vision went far beyond the mouse itself - not only did he combine both commands and display on a single computer screen, he initiated interactivity, making the computer truly “personal”.  He also invented the concept of the “hyperlink” which, when selected, would connect a user to another page or site having additional information about the word or phrase which was highlighted, now universally employed, as well as series of “windows” showing simultaneous views of various type of information on the same screen.  He also held the first videoconference when he presented the mouse, causing his legendary presentation to become known as “the mother of all demos”.  Englebart’s mouse ran on wheels, was made of wood and had a single button (like the Apple) - Later, in 1972, Bill English of Xerox PARC improved on the mouse, inventing one that ran on a “ball” (with two or three buttons).  In 1984, Logitech, in partnership with Agilent, further improved the mouse when it introduced the optical laser (scroll) mouse, which is now standard on most computers.  The first Apple mouse and the second version of the Microsoft mouse were both designed by IDEO.  See also, mickey, above, touchscreen, Leap.

Engelbart’s Original Mouse and Patent

Click HERE for more information and a ViDEO (which became known as “the mother of all demos”) of the first mouse in San Francsco, 1968!

wedge kb and mouse

2012 Microsoft “Wedge” Keyboard & Mouse

Standard Mouse

touch mouse
cordless mouse Logitech

Cordless Mouse (Logitech)

Microsoft Touch Mouse (you move your finger across the surface to control the screen). Perhaps a stopgap on the way to touchscreens - Interestingly,  Engelbart invented a disk-shaped version of this type of mouse back in the ‘60s as well!

Touchpad

Touchpad - Like Logitech T650 or Dell Wireless - More Suitable for Windows 8 Gestures - See also LEAP

trackball

Trackball mouse - you move the ball, not the mouse

The future of mice?  Eye-tracking.  Through the use of eyeglasses equipped with lasers aimed at eyeballs which track eye movements showing which icons the user is looking at, then telegraphing  the info to the VT’s Graphics Processing Unit.  SMI, Percept, Eyematic, Fove and Eyefluence have already developed prototypes for this type of interaction.  [Photo by Eyefluence.]

eyefluence

MOUSE WITHOUT BORDERS:  Not exactly a type of mouse.  Rather, a free software solution from Microsoft Garage which works with most Windows systems so that a single mouse (and keyboard) can operate across several computers (up to 4), like it does with a KVM switch.  But they have to be adjacent to each other, not remote (you could use remote desktop or other programs for that, see FAQ#49).

MOV:  See, Surge Suppressors.

MOZILLA:  Mozilla Foundation, developer of the Firefox browser and other open-source software. In March, 2013, Mozilla also introduced its own operating system.  Firefox was derived from Mosaic and Netscape Navigator (see both). But what, if anything, does Mozilla stand for?  It’s told that the name Mozilla was alreMozilla lizardady in use as the code name for Netscape Navigator 1.0, and that the term came from a combination of “Mosaic Killer” and Godzilla,” because Netscape was trying to displace Mosaic as the world’s number one web browser at that time.  The logo was originally a green and purple cartoon lizard designed by Dave Titus in 1994.  The name came from programmer Jamie Zawinski. It’s gone through several incarnations, but you can still see the lizard wrapping itself around the earth in the latest logo (above, left).  Maybe using an alternate browser like Mozilla can help you out of a legal jam: The 2011 trial of Casey Anthony, resulting in her acquittal, was based in part on a lack of evidence about poisoning and suffocation that was not found on her computer’s Internet Explorer search browser.  Had they looked on Firefox, which was her preferred browser, they would have found an entirely different search history, her attorney later revealed. In 2016, Mozilla announced that it was developing Servo, a new experimental rendering engine to build Firefox from the ground up, using the Rust programming language.

MPLS:  Multi-Protocol Label Switching. It is a data transmission optimization protocol that fits between Layers 2 (ethernet, carrying IP packets over simple LANS and point-to-point WANS) and Layer 3 (internet wide addressing and routing using IP protocols) of the OSI Model.  Instead of routing data where a router performs an IP lookup, forwarding packets to the “next-hop” based on a routing table, MPLS uses “label-switching” instead, where the router does its first “lookup,” but instead finds the final destination for the packet and then finds a pre-determined path to that destination, applying a “label” or “shim” containing that information.  In some instances, software-defined WANS (SD-WANs) and ASICs can serve the same purpose.  A great detailed explanation about how this works can be found HERE.

MPOE:  See, DMARC.

MPP:  See, Parallel Computing.

MP3:  Stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3, which is a standard technology and format for compressing sound sequences into very small files (perhaps one-twelfth of the original), while preserving the original level of sound quality.  MPEG is a working group of the ISO (the ”International Organization for Standardization”), designated the Moving Picture Experts Group, which created the format. MP3  refers to the file extension of the music files when they are created or downloaded.  Commonly used in mobile music players such as the IPOD from Apple.

MRU:  Stands for Most Recently Used.  Usually a list.  Kind of like a “history” list for a program.  Take Word for example:  The list of recent documents at the end of the <File> menu is an MRU list.  Some people mistakenly think it’s some sort of spyware - nope, it’s just a list.  See also, NKU (autocomplete) file.

MS:  A common contraction for Microsoft, above, as in “MS is bringing out updates.

MSCONFIG:  A/K/A “System Configuration Tool”.  This tool is used to show each of the programs that start when your computer boots, then determine if it is necessary that it always be running and, if so, how much it consumes in the way of computer resources.  You can then decide whether to start it each time you boot.  For example, you should always require your anti-virus to boot, but maybe not your PDF reader, which you don’t often use. 

Msconfig is a command line tool (go to run>msconfig) that will allow you to edit, among other things, the startup files on your Windows computer, usually to troubleshoot programs that are causing boot problems or draining RAM.  This isn’t always intended to be a permanent fix, however; the culprit must be repaired and written to the registry to become permanent, because quite often installation of a new program will restore all start-up entries.  The pre-Win8 window looks about like this (unchecking the box will remove it from the startup list):

msconfig-startup

If you’re used to seeing the usual msconfig window for the past several versions of Windows, you’re in for a surprise starting with Windows 8.  You can still use the Win 8 System Configuration tool as a launchpad to some 18 different Windows Management tools, but you can’t manage the startups like you used to with msconfig.  In Win 8, you manage the startup programs with the new, improved Task Manager.  To get there, you can right-click on the task bar, then select the Task manager from the pop-up window. Or search for it on the Start screen by simply typing it in the desktop Search box.  Or move your mouse to the left corner of the screen until the Start button displays, then left-click to access the Power User menu (or press Win + X), then select the Task Manager. 

Once you select the Task Manager, it will open only in “compact” mode, displaying only the running programs.  But when you select “more details” at the lower left corner of the window, you can navigate to the Task Manager and select the Startup Tab, where you can right-click on any programs to manage them.  The window will look like this:

Win8 Task Manager

MSDOS:  See DOS, Operating System.  MS-DOS is the Disk Operating MS-DOS logoSystem pioneered by Microsoft, as opposed to the DOS  (“PC-DOS”) sold by IBM, also developed by Bill Gates.

MSE:  Microsoft Security Essentials. (Formerly Microsoft OneCare.) This is Microsoft’s anti-virus and anti-malware protection application.  It’s free.  Combined with the Windows Firewall, it provides very good protection against threats.  MSE protects against the threats that used to be covered by Microsoft Windows Defender, but more, since Defender didn’t specifically target viruses, and MSE does.  Early reports show quite a successful record (except for zero-day exploits).  You should allow a fair amount of time for the initial full disk scan, depending on the size of your hard drive.  Click HERE for more.

MSFT:  Short and stock name for Microsoft, the software corporation initially co-founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen back in 1978.

.MSI:  See Windows Installer to see what this file is for.

msn logoMSN:  The MicroSoft Network, Microsoft’s initial attempt to provide on-line services to browse the Internet, receive e-mail and more.  Established in 1995 to coincide with the release of the Windows 95 O/S, it evolved into an Internet portal providing numerous web-based services, until it became largely superseded by Windows Live in 2005.   For more, see Windows Live.

MSN2:  See, WebTV.  The name given by Microsoft to the second generation of WebTV boxes, using the Microsoft Network (“MSN”) to browse the Internet.

MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission): See NFC.

MTA:  See, E-MTA. Also, sometimes, Mail Transfer Agent, a solution that catches and checks incoming mail for threats before transferring it to your internal e-mail platform.

MTBF:  Mean Time Between Failures.  A measure used by engineers to determine how reliable hardware (or software) is.  [See, e.g. hard drives.]  The period of time between each and every failure that takes the system off line.  Corollary: MTTR: Mean Time To Repair. (Don’t confuse “mean” with “average”; the mean is the most common or frequent figure to the time to repair, not a divided average).  Also, AFR (“Annual Failure Rate”) as a measure.

M2M:  Machine to machine technologies, sometimes known as the “Internet of Things” [IoT].  The idea of devices talking to each other without human intervention exists in smart homes (centralized controls over home security, environment and media), GPS, healthcare monitoring and smart phones.

MTU:  Maximum Transmission Unit.  The largest packet (in a packet-based network) or frame (in a frame-based network, such as the Internet) that can be sent.  The MTU, which is expressed in octets, is specified by the computer O/S or the network router, to control network loss. Normally, the minimum MTU is 68, while Windows systems sense whether the connection should be 576 or even 1500.

MULTIFACTOR AUTHENTICATION (“MFA”):  An encryption technology that provides security by requiring more than one form (“factor”) of authentication to access a computer or program by combining two independent credentials - what the user knows (their password) with what the user has (a “security token,” fingerprint, retina, etc.).  This is not the same thing as Two Stage Authentication, as that usually involves a second dependent “stage” or “step” of the same type of verification (e.g. typing a text “security question” after typing a text password).  Two of the most popular MFA programs are Authy and Google Authenticate, both of which can operate on desktop computers as well as smartphones.  So, for example, if you want to sign in to Coinbase for access your bitcoin wallet, the program will first ask you for your ID and password, then a unique number generated by your MFA app.  See also, passwords, encryption, Spyware.

MULTIMEDIA:  Combining static media (text, pictures) with dynamic media (sound, video, animation).

MULTIMEDIA CARD (“MMC”):  A memory card standard which is used for storage on various mobile devices.  Introduced in 1997 and developed by SanDisk and Siemens, it is based on TMMC formsoshiba’s NAND-based flash memory. These have been pretty much superceded by the more secure SD Cards, although the MMCs, which are available in smaller capacities (up to 128Gb) can be used in SD slots, although not the reverse.  As with SD cards, MMC cards come in various forms (MMC, RS-MMC, MMCPLUS and MMCMOBILE, clockwise from left in photo).

MULTIMODE:  Another word, coined by Lenovo (formerly IBM) in 2014, for “hybriddevices.  That is, devices that use a combination of hardware and software to create different modes like presentation mode, media watching mode, standard productivity mode and the like for pads, phones, etc.

MULTIPLEXING:  Sending multiple signals or data streams on a carrier at the same time in the form of a single, complex signal and then recovering them at the receiving end.  Signals are commonly multiplexed using time-division multiplexing (“TDM”), in which the multiple signals are carried over the same channel in alternating time slots; also through dense wavelength division multiplexing (“DWDM”), used in some optical fiber networks, where the multiple signals are carried together as separate wavelengths of light.

MULTITASKING:  Refers to the abilimultitaskingty of an individual or a machine to perform  multiple tasks at the same time.  The term became popular in the late 1990s with the increasing move in the workforce to a 24x7x365 work culture. Did you know that studies show that the number of discreet thoughts that most human brains can entertain at once is only four? See Data.  Also, despite what teens may think or tell their parents, multitasking adolescents score more poorly on academic tests, also on tests of working memory (a type of short term memory that allows people to store information in their minds and work with it), as well as making them more impulsive and distractible and causing “mind wandering”, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.  Related: Dunbar No.

MULTITOUCH:  An enhanced type of touch screen monitor that allows you additional features, allowing you to move and resize screen objects with your fingers.  The Apple iPhone has begun this process, using the pinch-and-stretch to resize windows, and things have evolved from there.  Take DoubleTake’s FlickIT technology, which you see in use in CSI and Hawaii-Five-O, which lets a user “flick” data or content from one touch screen to another, as from a pad or desktop screen to a wall mounted monitor.  This will most likely be the next big advancement in monitors and operating systems to excite the public, since the invention of GUI and the mouse back in the 1970s.

MULTI-TENANT:  A type of computer architecture utilized in cloud computing where a single instance of a software application serves multiple customers.  Each customer is called a “tenant,” and each has the ability to customize at least some parts of the app, like the skin or interface, but not any code.  The advent of cloud computing has broadened this definition by taking advantage of virtualization and remote access, allowing a service provider to run a single instance of an application while providing web access to multiple customers while isolating each tenant’s data, making it invisible to the other tenants.  Conversely, with single tenancy architecture a provider has to multiple instances of various apps in order to make updates and provide other common services.

MULTOS:  See Smart Card.

MUNGING:  The deliberate alteration of an e-mail address on a web page so that it’s hidden from the spambot programs that scour the Internet for e-mail addresses.  While munged addresses may violate the Terms of Service (“TOS”) of an ISP, they are used in chat rooms, postings, blogs and web sites to protect senders from spam.  Some think that the term is derived from the acronym “mash until no good” and others believe it’s derived from the hacker’s slang term meaning “to alter information so it is no longer accurate”.  An example of a munged e-mail address:  “joe at computercoach dot com”. The recipient of such an address will know to convert it to “joe@computercoach.com”.

MURPHY’S LAWS:  As a comic aside to these rather technical pages, I’ve inserted some of the Murphy’s laws I’ve found relating to computers.  But who is “Murphy” and where did his “laws” come from?  Apparently, the original law “If anything can go wrong, it will” was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949.  It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, which was testing a design to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.  One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible, saying “If there’s anyMurphy's law way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.”  The project manager kept a list of “laws” and added this one, which he called “Murphy’s law.”  This explanation, which probably is but may not be true, came from this LINK, which has more explanation, more laws, a book and the attached photo of the test.

MUSHROOM:  A nickname for a popular cable guide used on commercial telephone and computer cabling backboards, because of its shapeSee also, D Ring.

Elon MuskMUSK, ELON:  [6/28/71 -     ) Famous for his role as co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors and founder of SpaceX, as well as for his proposed 700mph hyperloop transportation of the future.  Musk was born in South Africa, and became an American entrepreneur, famous mostly for his out-of-the-box futuristic thinking. 

MXC:  Intel’s cable and component system, announced in 2014, which uses its Silicon Photonics technology, combining optical networking and silicon components to shuttle data between systems in a data center.  The technology, which can transmit at a rate of 1.6Tbps in each direction, uses optical rather than copper cable.

MX RECORD:  Mail Exchanger record. A type of resource record used in e-mail systems.  This type of record is part of the zone file that is used to designate which mail server should process email for that specific DNS domain, and to prioritize it to that server if multiple mail servers are available.

myspace logoMYSPACE:  See, social networking.  Co-founded by Chris DeWolfe  (right below) and Tom Anderson (left) in 2003.  For a while, it was the king of social media sites in the 00’s, when it was purchased by News Corp. for a half billion dollars.  But the ColdFusion code base became overloaded, it had too many tacky ads because it had to turn a profit and it suffered from a baseChris DeWolfeless Tom Andersonpanic about sexual preditors, all of which sent its users over to FaceBook.  It became worth so little that in June 2011, Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for only $35 million.   Even that didn’t help, it was sold in February, 2016, to Time, Inc., ranking 1,711 in popularity at the time. Actually, Time purchased it’s parent company Viant (formerly Media Holdings, formerly Specific Media).  By June, 2016, it had been hacked to the tune of 300 million users’ account information.  It is trying to become a music sharing service, but competition in that area may be too fierce.

MURPHY’S LAWS OF COMPUTING #2:  Any given program will eventually expand to consume all available memory on your computer.

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