“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.


T-9:  The software, invented by Dr. Cliff Kushler, which converted the typing of text into a phone from taps on number keys (e.g. “hello” - 44-33-555-555-666) to text translation and a guess as the number being typed (i.e. a “predictive dictionary” of previous items). The software was sold in 1999 to AOL (for $350 million), now it is owned by speech-recognition company Nuance.  The same inventor introduced SWYPE in 2010, software which allows users to run their finger over the keyboard to input a word or number without any tapping at all.

TABLET:  1) A type of laptop PC where the monitor can be rotated flat, and written on with a stylus, much like a paper tablet.  [Interestingly, at least to me, is the fact that the first tablet computer (the Gridpad) was invented by Jeff Hawkins, the same inventor that invented the first (successful) handheld computer (the Palm Pilot) and the first (successful) smartphone (the Treo). [Business Week, 1/12/09, p. 33].  2) A device which is a complete computer contained entirely in a slim, flat touch-screen, not requiring the use of a full external keyboard or mouse in order to input data.  The Apple iPad, Dell Streak & Entourage and RIM Playbook are examples of tablets.  They are generally offered in WiFi and 3G models, depending on the type of Internet connectivity desired. See Laptop for a comparison of portable devices, and Tablet for more information about types and capabilities of tablets. 3) See Stylus and Wacom for an example of an external tablet input device used with computers for photo editing and sketching, or even just for signing your credit card receipt at the department store.

Tablet Computer

Apple iPad small

Apple iPad Tablet

Wacom signature tablet

Signature Tablet

TAG:  Tags can be a number of things:  For example, [1] A term or keyword assigned describe an item of information by a web site creator or site viewer which allows it to be found again by browsing or searching.  Social networking sites such as Flickr, YouTube and Delicious use the addition of such metadata tags to items such as pictures, bookmarks and videos for later location.  If you’re “tagged” on Facebook or similar sites, it usually means that your information (and photo, see Facial Recognition, Social Networking), is shared across the Internet.  On a website in which many users tag many items, this collection of tags becomes what is called a folksonomy. [2] In Twitter, you follow a line of tweets using a “hash tag” which appends the pound (“#”) sign before the tweet (e.g. #Angelina Jolie).  [3] Also, this term is a shorthand for “mobile tags,” which are QR codes which can be scanned by mobile phones, revealing links to web sites. [4] In website design, HTML tags are elements enclosed in angle brackets (like <html>) which allow images and objects to be embedded for viewing on the web page.  They are known as start or opening and end or closing tags.

TAP:  [noun] A device for splitting an incoming trunk cable.  Click HERE for more. [verb] Touching a key or screen on a cell phone to type or select a letter or icon.

TAPE:  A type of magnetic tape primarily used in computer backup storage, either reel-to-reel or inside a storage cassette.  (See MEDIA for photos of examples.)  Tape drives provide sequential, as opposed to disk drive storage, which is random access, which makes them somewhat slower.  However, tape drives have the advantage of streaming much faster than disk drives.   See also, shoe shining, sparse database and native capacity.

TAR/TARBALL:  A jargon term for a TAR archive, which is a group of files collected together and compressed as one (as opposed to zip, which compresses the files individually).  Used quite often in Linux, to download programs in .tar format for installation.  When in compressed format, the .tar designation includes an additional extension (e.g. “.tar.gz” (“gzip”)) which indicates one of the several compression programs used to perform that task.  Derived from the term “tape archive” because it was originally created for Unix in order to write files for tape backup

TARINGA!:  A virtual community from Argentina created in 2004 in which users can share various topics through posts, many of which contain download links.

TARPIT:  (1) [a/k/a sometimes Teergrube, in German] A service on a server computer which purposely delays incoming connections in order to deter viruses. Analogous to the tar pit or swamp where animals became bogged down and lost. (2) The Turing Tar-Pit, where machines and languages exist where “anything is possible, but nothing of interest is practical”.  See also, bondage-and-discipline language.

TASK BAR:  The horizontal bar across the lower part of the Windows desktop which contains the Start and Menu button on the left, the icons or tiles denoting startup items and the time and sometimes date on the right, and any open programs in between.

TASK MANAGER (Windows):  A feature in everyTask Manager Window version of Windows that displays the running applications, processes and services currently running on a computer. It is designed to monitor your computer’s performance and close a program that is not running.  It can be accessed by using the “three finger salute” (CTRL + Alt + Del) then selecting Task Manager, or with one hand only by CTRL + SHIFT = ESC.  A sample screen shot of the pre-Win 8 Task manager is shown on the right:

The Win 8 Task Manager is larger, more colorful and has more features, and looks about like this:

Win 8 Task Manager

TAXONOMY:  The practice and science of classification (from the Greek “taxis” [order] and “nomos” [science”]), generally referring to a heirarchal arrangement.  Consider, for example, the structure of most web sites into so-called “parent-childdirectories, in order to make it easier for users tnote cardso search for and find the desired content:  In this site, the home page (“parent”), leads to the Glossary, then perhaps the “D”, then the “DOS” (“child”) pages of the site. The deeper you go in the outline, the more specific the topic.  Remember when you were taught in school to use those 3 x 5 “note cards” to create an “outline” when writing something?  Each card stated just one thought, and they were arranged in decreasing order of importance, from introduction to conclusion?  If you do, that’s taxonomy.  See also, Ontology, Linear and Radiant thinking, chaos and string theory.

TCP/IP:  The most common protocol (“language”) used for communication over the Internet.  It makes sure that both sides of an internet communication are ready and waiting, then checks to make sure that each packet is transferred correctly and entirely and, if a packet is corrupted during the transfer, it will ask for it again. 

Originally conceptually developed by Vint Cerf while at U.C.L.A. and Robert Kahn at Bolt, Beranck & Newman for ARPANET (“DARPA”) , TCP/IP provides the basic linking structure for the Internet, i.e., specifying the locations, known as “ports,” where files are sent and picked up on computers comprising the Internet.  See Internet for more.

They are transmitted using TCP (“Transmission Control Protocol”), which sends the data by directly connecting to the recipient computer.  [Another protocol, UDP (User Datagram Protocol) exists but, because it isn’t a direct connection and instead relies on devices between the sender and recipient computers, is far less reliable and is therefore infrequently used.]  When data is sent over the Internet, it first must know the unique IP address for your individual computer. (For more about how this works, click HERE.]  Then, when it reaches your computer, it must “bind” itself to a specific port out of the 65,535 possible TCP ports on every computer.  Binding means that a computer will use that particular port to “listen” for and accept connections from another computer to transmit data between the two.  A port is comparable to a channel on your TV box.  Your IP address is like the serial number for your cable cable company’s box.  When the signal reaches the box, it’s broken down into various receiving channels.  And, just like a TV box, each computer will normally use the same port number every time (you’ll always find ABC on Channel 13).  Furthermore,  many applications have specifically defined ports that are reserved solely for them [e.g. Port 80 for the web or ports 20/21 for FTP].  If they don’t request a port, the receiving computer assigns a so-called ephemeral (temporary) one.  These ports are assigned by an organization known as the IANA, which maintains a “registry”or list for this purpose. If you are using a router, you must make sure that the specific port you are expecting to use for an application is “open” (i.e. not blocked) for security purposes, or the signal won’t get through.  This is done through the configuration settings for that router.

Standard settings for the TCP/IP “stack” (collection or layers of software) for residential computer modems and routers are the following:  An IP address of 192.168.1.xx indicating a Class C category of address (“192.168” for consumer, office or retail establishments) with a host of “1.1” or “1.10” for the device *router) itself.  A standard subnet Mask of  Set to retrieve IP and DNS automatically.  And a default gateway which usually is the same as that for the router.

For a list of common TCP/IP socket numbers and troubleshooting utilities, click HERE.  And HERE for an explanation of the public vs. private side of IP addresses.  For more about the various network and Internet transmission protocols, click HERE.  See also subnet, subnet mask, gateway, host.

TCO:  Total Cost of OwnershipA term referring to the total of all direct and indirect costs necessitated by the purchase of computer software, as opposed to solely the cost for the software itself.  It includes additional items as training, technical support, installation, vendor service, and necessary upgrades to other equipment or software, as well as any other items of price or money (financing, interest on capital, opportunity cost), time and other resources which contribute to a total sum more accurately reflecting ownership of the program.  See ICO.

TDD:  (1) Telecomunication Device for the DeafA device much like a teletype that is used for the hearing impaired for typed communications over ordinary telephone lines. (2) Time Division Duplex (see WiMax).

TED logoTED:  A non-profit organization dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” promoted to short (18 minute) videos by famous people about current & interesting topics.  It started as a global set of conferences started by the Sapling Foundation in 1984 and was conceived by graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman to further the Richard Saul Wurmanconvergence of the fields of technology, entertainment and design (“TED”).  (Now it’s run by Chris Anderson.) Attendees are known as “TEDsters”.  The organization has grown into a global force and has expended into disciplines such as religion, music, science and philanthropy.  Speakers have been as diverse as President Clinton and Bono.  The TED Prize, introduced in 2005, grants three individuals annually $100,000 each and a “wish to change the world” which they unveil at each year’s annual conference.

TEC:  Short for  Thermoelectric Cooling.  See Peltier, Seebeck, who discovered that when two different metals were subjected to a small electrical charge, a convection current was created which could be used to cool computers.  See heat sink, cooling.

TECHNET:  A paid Microsoft subscription service for IT professionals through they could access almost all Microsoft programs, updates, libraries and technical resources.  Started in 1998, Microsoft will retire it on 8/1/13.

TELCO:  A portmanteau for “telephone company”.  “Ma Bell” (Bell Telephone Company) was the original telco.  See DEMARC.

TELE-:  When appended to a word, means it is done with telecommunications, as in telemedicine or teleradiology.

TELECOM:  Short for “telecommunications” - see below.

TELECOMMUNICATION(S):  The exchange of information over significant distances by electronic means.  The information may be voice, data or other electronic signal.  The electronics may be telephone, computer or the like.  And the transmission may be wired or wireless or both.  A device which embodies both a transmitter and a receiver is known as a transceiver.

TelepresenceTELECONFERENCING/TELEPRESENCE:  Teleconferencing initially involved holding a meeting between more than one person via telephone or Internet.  Like Skype, for example. Telepresence (at right) goes one step further:  It involves long distance interaction over broadband using custom-built conference rooms with banks of high definition cameras and screens, or even robots.

TELEMATICS:  Information about a device’s location and status.  For example, computerized services such as GM’s OnStar and OnStar logoFord’s SYNC, which provide navigation and emergency assistance to motorists who drive cars equipped with these services.

TELEMEDICINE:  The use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide health care from a distatelemedicine2nce.  A 20th Century development for improving access to medical services in distant rural communities, critical care and emergency situations. Telemedicine uses health informatics such as iPads, the Internet and other devices (to check blood pressure, heart beat, etc.) to provide diagnosis and treatment. Smart phones can hear heartbeats, take photos of the back of your throat and the like in order for your doctor to remotely diagnose and refer you to a specialist, for example.  As of 2013, 19 states have telemedicine laws. It’s now reaching the masses:  Here in Tampa, FL, in 2016 you may have noticed the TV commercials showing a mom driving in her minivan when her child coughs, then calling Tampa General Hospital, showing the kid’s throat via the smartphone camera and getting a diagnosis and perscription right away from her doctor, without any office visit at all.

Telephone symbolTELEPHONE:  Click HERE to go to the phone page of this site.


Teletype logoTELETYPE:  A/K/A TELEPRINTER, TTY OR TELETYPEWRITER.  An electromechanical (“i.e. “electric”) typewriter that is used to send aTTYnd receive bi-directional typed messages between various devices (other TTYs, computer terminals).  Some TTYs created a saved record of the transmission on a punched tape created by the machine.  They were very common in the days before computers, where they were replaced by computer terminals.

TELEVISION:  See TV, below.

TELNET:  A user command and TCP/IP protocol for accessing remote computers, usually on a Unix computer via a text-based interface.  With Telnet, you are actually logged on to the remote computer, as opposed to remote web protocols like HTTP and FTP, where you may request certain files without actually being logged on to the remote computer.

TELSET:  Also “telephone test set”.  A device carried by telephone line persons to test land line telephone systems.  See butt set for more.

TEMPORAL LOGIC:  A technique for verifying the reliability of computers, developed by an Israeli named Amir Pneuli in 1977, based upon the work of 1960s philosopher Arthur Prior, who created the concept of “tense logic” to evaluate statements whose truthfulness changes over time (i.e. “temporal”).  Just as the concept of truth or tiredness or hunger can be qualified over time, depending on the circumstances, computers which juggle multiple tasks and changing and complex data can also alter such concepts.  Therefore, a system of rules and symbolism reasoning about propositions qualified in terms of time are necessary to verify, for example, that the millions of transistors in a computer chip are calculating as designed, and that bugs in computer software are minimized.

TEMPEST:  Refers to External electroMagnetic Radiation (so-called “EMR”) signals emanating from from most data processing equipment and the security measures taken to prevent them from escaping and being picked up by unauthorized listeners.  A computer communicates with its monitor by transmitting signals over the cable connecting the two.  The signals have frequency, which can be captured by a properly tuned receiver.  The practice of monitoring, capturing and deciphering such emanated data is known as VanEck phreaking, named after the Dutch author of a paper on the subject.  To counteract such eavesdropping, Tempest software generates sufficient electronic noise to mask meaningful radio-frequency emissions so that, for example, government computers cannot be tapped by foreign spy planes flying above a military installation.  Military computers are protected using this technology so that spy satellites cannot eavesdrop on sensitive data.   It is said that TEMPEST was a code name for U.S. military operations throughout the 1960s which was later turned into an acronym: Telecommunications electronics Material Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions or Transient ElectroMagnetic Pulse Emanation Standard.  See also, Faraday Cage.

TEN-HIGH-DAY BUSY PERIOD:  A way of measuring network traffic using the average amount of traffic during the busiest hour of the ten days during the year when the overall traffic is heaviest.  Also see ABBH.

TEN BASE:  An older type of ethernet cable, originally designated by the IEEE 802.3 standards, now only used in legacy systems due to its slower speeds.  The type of cable is expressed as “10base5, 10base2 or 10baseT.  The 10 means that the cable operates at 10Mbps.  Pretty slow in this age of gigabit networks.  Base means that the cable is used for baseband (vs. broadband) networks.  And the 5 and 2 refers to the maximum allowable length of a cable segment in meters (i.e. 5 meters, 2 meters).  The “T” in 10baseT stands for “twisted” as the previous two designations refer to a coax type of cable.  See Cable.

TERA: A connector style for twisted-pair copper TERA female connectorTERA male connectornetwork cabling, defined by IEC 60603-7-7, manufactured by Siemons for a faster alternative to the commonly used RJ ethernet connectors.  See, Cat, Ethernet.

TEREDO: An IPv4 to IPv6 transition technology (commonly found in the device manager for Windows computers) which provides full IPv6 connectivity for those IPv6 capable hosts that are still on an IPv4 network but have no native connection to an IPv6 network. See the IPv definition for more about the transition.  It is a tunnel, where Teredo clients are assigned an IPv6 address that starts with the Teledo prefix (2001:::/32). Teredo listens on UDP port 3544 and was developed by Christian Huitema at Microsoft, IETF standard RFC 4380 (see Associations). Tunneling software is decreasingly used as IPv6 is now firmly entrenched and found on most newer computers and routers.

TERMINAL:  Originally a term referring to early computer systems which consisted of only a keyboard and monitor, and sent commands to other computers rather than actually processing information.  With modern computers, this usually refers to “terminal emulators,” which provide a text-based interface for typing commands, sometimes referred to as “command line” interface or TTY.  See, e.g. Linux.

TENSORFLOW:  Google’s open source (since 2015) machine learning and neural network library that powers its Translate, Maps, Search and Now services.  It’s a developer app, not particularly easy to use if you don’t have a background in Python, calculus, statistics and the like.  It is usually used via a Google Cloud Platform with Cloud Machine Learning or via a Deep Learning AMI on Amazon Linux, which already incorporates a Tensorflow and four other deep learning libraries alread.

Tesla photoTESLA COIL: Named after Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943; “The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century” and sometimes “The Man Who Lit the World”) who, in 1891, invented coils of varying configurations which, among other things, boosted wireless signal transmissions.  A simple example of the Tesla Effect would be the resulting increase in cell phone signal “bars” achieved by adding an external antenna which is wrapped in a “coil” to increase the range of the signal.  (See TELEPHONES).  Tesla, the man, was truly a (scientific) renaissance man:  Tesla built the first induction motor in 1882, ushering in the industrial revolution. He worked with Thomas Edison, but split when he disagreed with Edison’s belief that direct, and not alternating, current was the best way to transmit electricity over long distances.  But his subsequent collaboration with George Westinghouse confirmed his theory and is common today. His relationship with Edison was so contentious that upon Edison’s death, he delivered a scathing critique of Edison’s lifelong efforts and failures.  In 1895 he designed the world’s first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls, NY.  He invented the basic system of radio in 1900, far ahead of Marconi.  He discovered fluorescent bulbs, laser beams, remote controls, wireless communications and wireless transmission of electricity.  He took the first X-Rays of the human body, ahead of Roentgen.  He was close friends with Mark Twain and Albert Einstein.  He was truly, as Life Magazine (1997) said, one of the “100 most famous and world-changing people of the past thousand years”.  He was also a little strange, probably suffering, like most geniuses, from extreme OCD:  He claimed to have a very special bond with a certain white, female pigeon, stating that he loved her “as a man loves a woman” and that it was the “joy of his life”.   The bird flew into his wipigeon, whitendow one evening, he claimed, and let him know that it was ill, then died in his arms. at which point, he insisted, his life was complete. Interestingly, he was a believer in eugenics, that some people weren’t fit to produce offspring.   He was also obsessed with the number three (washing his hands three times, walking around a building three times before entering and the like), detested pearls or earrings (he wouldn’t speak to a woman wearing them) was celibate, or at least sexually disinterested.  He lived in Room 3327 in a two room suite on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker (perhaps that’s were he met his wife-pigeon).  He also claimed to have invented a death ray, which would send concentrated beams of particles with such tremendous energy that it could bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles. 

TEST BED: An environment created for testing, either software and/or hardware.

TESTING: The process of using various methods to assess the usefulness and accuracy of hardware or software.  Relating to software, there can be several common types of testing:  Unit testing analyzes individual components before they’re integrated into larger systems.  System and integration testing checks that modules work well together.  Regression testing verifies that everything still works after a change is made to code.  Security testing checks that the data is protected.  Pen testing tests intrusion security.  And fuzz testing attacks software with random data in search of weaknesses and unexpected responses.  Also, A/B testing (a/k/a “split testing”) is used to simultaneously compare two versions of something, perhaps a web page, to see which one performs better.  This differs from so-called multivariate testing, which tests several versions simultaneously.

TETHERING: The process of using one device through another.  For example, when you connect your smartphone to your laptop (with a cable or via Bluetooth (see Tip #36)) in order to give your computer Internet access through a 3/4G network.    Carriers are now cracking down on this unauthorized access to unlimited data usage.  See PHONES for a detailed discussion.  Similarly, with a router, you can tether two devices to create a portable hotspot.

TI logoTEXAS INSTRUMENTS: A Dallas, Texas based company, founded in 1951 (following a reorganization of Geophysical Service), that is the third largest manufacturer of semiconductors in the world.  TI designed and manufactured the first transistor radio in 1954, the first hand held calculator in 1967 and also invented the first integrated circuit in 1958 for the U.S. Air Force.  It became well known for its consumer electronics and had an active defense business until that division was sold to Raytheon 1997.  After its acquisition of National Semiconductor in 2011, it has concentrated mostly on the design and manufacture of semiconductors.

TEXTINGTEXTING: The means of sending a short written message (no more than 190 bytes/160 characters) from one phone directly to another (vs. e-mail, which is between computers).  Considered to be one of the most frequently used computer mediated communications (“CMC”) methods.  Also sometimes called SMS (for “Short Message Service”). The very first text message was sent on December 3, 1992 by 22 year old software engineer Neil Papworth to Vodaphone director Richard Jarvis, who received the message (“Merry Christmas”) on his Orbitel 901 cell phone.  The maximum character length was derived by designer Friedhelm Hildebrand, Chairman of GSM, and was based upon a review of postcard messages and use of an existing radio channel used to alert cell phones about reception strength. After all, he said, who needs more than 160 characters to say “If you’re not home in 20 minutes, your dinner’s in sextingthe dog”.  Text messaging differs from Internet Relay Chat (“IRC”) in that the text remains on the phone or computer when texting, where it disappears once the IRC window is closed.  See also, blogging for more definitions. One step further is the  “sexting” of nude or suggestive pictures and/or text, possibly illegally.  [See LAWS for states that have laws prohibiting sexting.  See also DATA.]  According to news studies, 39% of Florida teenagers and 24% of all 14 to 17 year olds, engage in sexting.  In the U.S. 75% of teenagers text about 60 texts each every day.  Finally, there’s “power texting” for sending 10 or more texts at the press of a single button, as in an e-mail type blast. In the U.S. alone, according to Forrester Research, 6 billion messages are sent every day, 2.2 trillion a year or 8.6 trillion a year globally. 

Etiquette:  Presently the subject of some debate, as in those who so incessantly text that they cannot help themselves as they interrupt their face-to-face communications, group meetings and even legislative sessions, and also those who text while driving (now illegal in over a dozen states and D.C.; see the Laws section of this site), and operating subway trains and trollies, causing accidents that harm others.  Somewhat less interest is focused on those individuals who text and hurt only themselves (falling into manholes in the street, for example).  But there is a much more basic conflict between pre- and post-techno generations about the general politeness of texting in many situations, not just about the perceived banality of most of the content, but also over the effect that the constant interruption of thought has on the texter (lack of linear concentration or even faked attention; Do you really want your surgeon texting while operating on you?) as well as those around them (increased annoyance and anxiety) in virtually every setting (theaters, restaurants, schools, hospitals to name a few).  Put another way:  Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should or must do sexting warningsomething, including texting.  You may know how to pick your nose, but it just isn’t acceptable to do it at the dinner table.  You may know how to operate a chain saw, but it’s not acceptable to play with it in your office.  This shouldn’t be all that difficult: A little self-control, common sense and respect should be the norm, that’s all.  It’s sad that we may have to legislate this but evidently we must, because texting is no longer the province of unruly adolescents, and it’s now permanently in the mainstream. And texting all in caps is verbotin, as it’s considered yelling.  Also, studies (Computers in Human Behavior journal) have shown that ending a text with a period is not grammatically correct, either.  See also Twitter and Social Networking; Privacy.  Also, Snapchat, Blinx, Poke for self-destructing texts and photos, if you must sext or transmit sensitive information, but don’t want it to stay around forever.  Basic no-nos:  Never write  ALL IN CAPS (indicates anger), or use periods after each sentence (a simple return ends each line)  or even exclamation points (again, anger or discourtesy).

data miningTEXT ANALYTICS:  a/k/a Text (or Data) MiningSoftware from companies like Attensity and Clarabridge that use software to analyze mountains of text, not just for counting words or numbers, but which “mine” for concepts.  Using this type of business intelligence (“BI”) model, for example, JetBlue airlines was able to mine its thousands of e-mails following an ice-storm disruption in February 2007 and pairing it with other analytics (arrivals, runway wait times, fares, crews, etc.) to determine whether customers concerns centered around arrival times, discomforts, security, fares or the like, and when and why such concerns increased or decreased, in order to change its business practices. See Big Data, Quants.

TFT: Thin Film Transistor.  The term typically refers to active matrix screens on laptop computers.  Active matrix LCD is considered to provide a sharper screen display and broader viewing angle than does passive matrix.

TFTP:  Trivial File Transfer Protocol.  See, UDP.

THD:  Total Harmonic Distortion.  As we know from the Phase definition, electricity travels in waves.  THD results from surges and transients (see Dirt) and causes a serious distortion of the clean sine wave pattern.  THDs are most often caused by such common devices as printers, computers and copiers which operate on DC current.  The internal or external AC to DC converters tend to cause THD, as are VFDs (variable frequency drivers).  Not only can the electrical grid be sensitive to THDs, but also motors, transformers and other devices.

“THE ANSWER IS 42”:  A phrase often heard at gHitchhikers Guideeek gatherings, it is a quote taken from the book (later a movie), “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams (1979), as the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything,” indicating a universal answer to a difficult technical problem.  Click HERE for the clip.


“THE GREAT SEMICOLON DEBATE”: This is derived from a bug report filed on April 13, 2012 with GitHub, asking for a single semi-colon to be inserted in some JavaScript code. By the time it was over in March, 2014, it had set a record:  291 comments, multiple blog posts, thousands of comments by JavaScript developers, amounting to stacks of paper.  All about a semicolon.

Peter TheilTHEIL, PETER: (10/11/67 -     ): A German-born American entrepreneur and hedge fund manager, famous for his co-founding of Paypal and Palintir and also as the first outside investor in Facebook and also one of the founding investors in Skype.  He’s also weighed in about The Singularity.  And got some notoriety in 2016 when it became known that he backed The Hulk in his lawsuit against Gawker, resulting in a $55 million verdict, in retribution for being outed by that website as allegedly being gay.

THERMAL GREASE:  Also, Thermal Compound or Paste.  A special high temperature substance which is sandwiched between a computer processor and it’s heat sink, ensuring heat conduction between the two surfacesThere are two types: Non-conductive (silicone, zinc) and Conductive (silver, copper & aluminum; slightly better but more expensive) based.

Thermistor symbol1THERMISTOR:  Thermal ResistorA tythermistorpe of resistor where the resistance varies depending on temperature.

THIN CLIENT:  A low-cost, centrally managed computer, also known as a “Lean” client.  It is called a client because these computers are generally used as clients to a server.  Thin clients can encompass a variety of designs, but generally have a limited or no local processor or storage capability and a high-speed network connection to a central server for the application processing.  Because of this variety, thin clients can range from diskless “dumb [or “X”] terminals”  to “zero clients” (which have no CPU and serve only as a local display and peripheral controllers for a virtualized desktop), to “hybrids” (which are essentially complete PCs without local storage that rely upon a network server to boot, load applications, and store data). The capabilities of thin clients are also usually limited as to software, and are used mostly as workstations, often using SaaS software. Thin Clients are different from Blade PCs in that Blade PCs are actually full computers, just packaged in a thin blade profile so they can be stacked horizontally to save space.  Still, Thin Clients tend to save server room space, use less power, are less expensive to purchase and are not as vulnerable to malware attacks than traditional full service computers.  Opposite of a Fat Client   The newest addition to thin clients is a type of hybrid wireless device that looks like a notebook computer but is designed to connect with a smartphone and share its operating system and software applications.   See, Laptops.

THICKNET/THINNET:  Refers to ethernet cable connectors.  The older thicknet cable uses a 15-pin connector to connect the NIC to the cable, while thinnet connects directly.  See connectors for photos, AUI for more.

THREAD:  Regarding internet communications, a series of messages that have been posted in a string of replies to each other, showing how that discussion has evolved.  See Chat Room for more.

THREE FINGER SALUTE:  Shorthand for the simultaneous pressing of the CTRL + ALT +DEL keys to log on to a PC or, when running, open the Windows Task Manager in order to force an uncooperative program to close down. See graphic below, credit to Wikipedia. Interestingly, in an interview at a Harvard fundraising campaign in September 2013, Bill Gates admitted that forcing Three-finger_salute.svgusers to press the 3-key combination was a mistake.  It was, he said, designed to prevent other apps from faking the login prompt and stealing a password.  He said that Microsoft wanted to have a single button for the login, but that the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t want to give them a single button for that purpose.  It was invented by David Bradley, an engineer who worked on the original IBM PC and the key combination still exists to this day, in all versions of Windows.

3COM:  An electronics manufacturing company founded by Bob Metcalf, who invented ethernet.

3-D:  Stands for ”Three Dimensions.”  Usually only a simulation of the three dimensions, achieved through special viewing apparatus (e.g. glasses).

THROUGHPUT:  The amount of work (often measured in batch jobs) a computer can perform within a given time period. For example, how fast an Excel file can be processed, or a drive can seek an item of data.  Sometimes  it’s measured against a benchmark for consistency.  Interestingly, while a measure like C/MIPS (cost per million instructions per second) is a measure of the cost of raw computing over time, throughput is a better number because it should reveal how much useful work the MIPS are producing.

THUMBS FILE:  Actually, the “thumbs.db” file.  Windows creates a file of this name for every folder that contains pictures.  It’s purpose is to cache a thumbnail version of the pictures in the folder so that the images can be viewed faster each time the folder is opened.   You don’t always see this file.  Only when the Tools>Folder Options>Show Hidden Files is selected.  You can remove the thumbs file, but it will be recreated each time the folder is reopened.

THUMBNAIL:  A miniature version of a picture, photo or slide.  Often, you can click on the thumbnail to display the larger version.

THUNDERBIRD:  The Mozilla e-mail program, quite similar to Microsoft Outlook Express.  By the end of 2012 (version 14), it was essentially discontinued, with the exception of security updates.  Many people use Thunderbird in cases where their computer can’t load Outlook Express for some reason; also because Thunderbird has the ability to combine e-mail with an NTTP news client and makes it easy to view the header.  Mozilla blames the discontinuation on the rising use of webmail like g-mail and Hotmail.

Thunderbolt logoTHUNDERBOLT:  A data transfer protocol originally co-developed by Intel and Apple, then solely by Intel and introduced by Intel in 2011.  It was originally named “Light Peak” because it was first designed for high speed fibre optic connections, but was renamed when it evolved to include copper cable connections.  About its speed:  Thunderbolt 1.0 operates equivalent to an HDMI (1.3 HDTV) connection.  Thunderbolt 2 operates at about the same speed as an HDMI 2 4K connection and the Ultra HDTVs.  Therefore, when available, Thunderbolt is one of the fastest connections, the closest to it being the still rare USB 3.1/3.1-C or the PCI Express.  Background and specs are to be found on Intel’s site, and Wikipedia has useful pages about compatible Thunderbolt peripherals and device bit rates.  For more discussion click HERE.

TI:  Texas Instruments.  See above.

TIA:  Telecommunications Industry Association - Along with EIA, provides best practice guidelines for cabling infrastructure, among other things.  See Associations.

TILDE: A character (“~”) usually on the upper left of most computer keyboards. Originally, this was a language character (a small letter n) that served as a form of contraction for an n or m following a vowel, such that the n or m following the vowel was omitted and, instead, the tilde was placed over the vowel.  The name of the character comes from Spanish, in turn derived from the Latin word titulus, meaning title or superscription.  Aside from its language usage, in English, the tilde before a number means approximately (“~100”); when used instead of a hyphen between two numbers, it is used to indicate a range (“101~200”); in electronics (~ 120 v), it means the sine wave signal (indicating alternating current); in logic, it represents negation.  Although it was not included in the original 1963 ASCII set, it was added shortly in the 1965 revision (along with the underscore (“_”), circumflex (“^”) and “@” characters).  IBM first used the character to contract the names in the Microsoft FAT file system, which limits file names to eight characters plus a three character extension (the so-called 8.3” format), using the tilde after the first six characters followed by a single digit (e.g. “MICROS~1.TXT”).  The tilde has also been used to indicate a user’s home directory (or sometimes current directory) in Unix-like operating systems, as “regular expressions” in Perl and other programming languages, and (although not recommended) in URLs (web addresses).

TIM BERNERS-LEE:  Creator of the WWW.  See, Berners-Lee, Internet.

TIME:  Whether it a point or a span, there have been hundreds of books written on this subject.  But I put this in because of a great quote I once read:  “A long time from now will be now really soon”.  How true.

TIME CAPSULE:  Apple’s  wireless network-attached sTime capsuletorage device.  An external drive with a backup program.

TIME MACHINE:  A feature of Apple’s OS X (starting with Leopard) which creates backups of files and drives that can be restored at a later date.  It can work with external drives such as Apple’s Time Capsule wireless network-attached storage device.

Tinder logoTINDER:  An online dating site (owned by, which also owns OkCupid) which links members (“Tinderonis,” sometimes negatively “Tinderellas”) by locating their proximity via GPS.  The Millennials’ new way of dating, using geo-location (like Grindr and Bumble).  They often date on what’s become known in the restaurant business as “Tinder Tuesdays,” because daters fill the seats on the slowest and cheapest night of the week). Sometimes called the “McDonalds for sex” (i.e., Nah, she’s not my girlfriend, she’s just a Tinder”).  Reportedly used a lot by athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics, making it more famous. Starting in late June, 2016, Tinder announced that it will ban all users under the age of 18, estimated to effect less than 3% of it’s 11 billion user connections.

TINY.URL:  Like BIT.URL, these are free programs that reduce the size of a lengthy URL, so that it can easily fit into a webphone browser.

TIOBE INDEX:  A graphic index which tracks the popularity of various development programming languages, usually monthly.  For example, it might show that, in the June, 2014 Tiobe index, C placed first among programming languages, grabbing a 16.19 percent share, ahead of Java, which placed second at a 10.93 percent share, etc. 

TIP AND RING:  Stands for the transmit (“TIP”) and receive (“RING”) wires on a standard telephone.  These terms were derived in the early days of telephone when operators manually plugged the line into a cord board (manual switchboard).  In the days before flashing line buttons, in order to see if a particular extension was already in use, the operator touched the tip of the plug to the outer ring of the extension socket on the board.  Known as “tipping,” if static was heard, the line was busy.

Telephone switchboard

Tivo logoTIVO:  Introduced in 1999, it was the first digital video recorder (“DVR”) introduced in the U.S. and later other countries.  It also has enhancements for film and TV viewing, photo sharing, music and online scheduling.  It is paid content, as opposed to online video.  The name and logo were developed by Michael Cronan, a San Francisco graphic designer, in 1997, who said he wanted it to be as recognizable as Mickey Mouse.  He also developed the Kindle name.

TizenTIZEN: An open source operating system for smart phones, tablets, smart TVs and other appliances, including automobile devices, and increasingly used over the Internet of Things (“IoT”).  It’s popular now (circa 2014), but it’s really a reincarnation of other previous open source operating systems:  The original O/Ss Maemo and Moblin combined to form MeeGo when Nokia and Intel joined together in the smart phone market to promote Nokia’s own Symbian cell phone operating system.  But after Nokia defected to Windows Phone in 2013, Intel looked for a new partner and developed Tizen with Samsung.  The Tizen project is hosted by the Linux Foundation (see Associations), with Samsung doing the development, and Intel using its AppUp program and a developer program based on HTML5 and WAC standards.

TLD:  Stands for Top Level Domain, which is the most general part of the domain name in an internet address, such as .com, .net, etc.  See Domain.  As the original seven TLDs have become filled, ICANN has issued new TLDs (sometimes called nTLDs) by specific industries (e.g. .parts, .tools, .bio, .catering).  Most have been suggested by host providers, then ICANN approved. See also root directory.

TLS:  Stands for Transport Layer Security, which guarantees privacy over Internet communications, using a two layer protocol:  TLS Record Protocol (encryption and encapsulation) and TLS Handshake Protocol (authentication and encryption).  It’s pretty much superceded SSL.See, SIP, IPSec, SSL, SSH.

TNC: (Transportation Network Companies).  Phone apps which use private users to substitute for cab and limo rides, at reduced.  The largest is Uber and there is also Sidecar (in Seattle, WA), and Lyft.  See Transportation Network, below, for more.

TOAD: (Tools for Oracle Application Development).  If you use Oracle programs, this set of tools helps developers to create user interfaces, define business logic, create applications as web services, etc.

TOASTER: A type of program or app menu which “pops up” when a mouse is scrolled over it.  Also sometimes used to refer to a type of external drive enclosure that looks like a toaster, where the drive is inserted into top slots.

TOKEN RING NETWORK:   An older methodology of computer networking (it used speeds of only 4 or 10 Mbps) that purported to be more accurate than ethernet transmissions, because each computer on the network could only transmit when it possessed a special packet called a “token,” which is constantly passed around the network, therefore avoiding signal collisions.

TOKENS & TOKENIZATION:  A type of encryption, used most often in credit card processing (PCI) that uses a service where a system inputs a sensitive piece of information (such as a credit card number) and receives a one-time token, such as a 64-digit number.  When this number is then substituted in applications where one would have used the actual credit card number, it is useless to a hacker, who cannot reverse the 64 digit number back to the credit card number. Tokens are often embedded into hardware devices (which are more secure than computers) known as Cryptographic Hardware Modules, such as smart cards, USB tokens & hardware security modules (“HSMs”).  See also, Keberos tokens or tickets, hash.

Tomlinson photoTOMLINSON, RAY:  An ARPA programmer who implemented the original e-mail system in 1971, also the use of the @ symbol to separate the user or recipient from the machine or post office, a format which has been used ever since. For more, click HERE.

TONER:  (1) An item of equipment commonly carried by telephone and data technicians.  It’s extremely useful in testing polarity, continuity and other tests in telephone toner and probelines.  Technically, the toner is composed of a set which contains a unit which emits a warbling “tone” (left) and a wand (right) which detects the tone along the cable or wire to be traced (particularly through floors and walls) to its termination.  (2) Also, the black powdery substance that, when heated by a fuser, adheres to paper to create the images on a laser printer.  The substance is composed mainly of carbon powder, polymer, iron oxide and sugar.

TopcoderTOPCODER:  A company which administers competition “sport programming”) contests among coders (computer programmers), using an algorithm-based on rating, volatility and number of previous ratings, to determine how good they are.  Competitions can be SRMs (“single round matches”) or weekly or other scheduled competitions.  Prizes from sponsor companies, which view the contestants as possible hires, are sometimes given.  Topcoder was started in 2001 by Jack Hughes of San Francisco and acquired by Appirio in 2014.  The rating system is in levels: 0 -899 (grey); 900 - 1199 (green); 1200 - 1499 (blue); 1500 - 2199 (yellow) and 2200+ (red).  As a coder, it’s good to have an excellent rating on your resume. Topcoder and Codeforces are the two leading websites that organize their own code competitions online.

TOPOLOGY:  The physical layout of a network, described by such geometric terms as star, ring, tree, bus, mesh (full & partial) etc. (see diagrams below).  This includes both the nodes (computers) as well as the connecting lines (cables or wireless signal) between them.  Network topology can be described in both a physical as well as a logical (the path of the actual signal) manner; e.g. you can have a star network that works like a bus network.

bus topology
Flat Network diagram


Top Secret Rosies“TOP SECRET ROSIES”:  An adaptation of the WWII “Rosie the Riveter” moniker to those women (including the original six programmers for the ENIAC) who worked as programmers in secret for the Government.  They did ballistic calculations and the like; their first job was said to program the trigger for the atomic bomb.

TORRENT:  A file downloaded or shared via the BitTorrent protocol (P2P program). Also, sometimes, a reference to the small software file that, when used with a BitTorent client, contains the metadata that tells the client how to find the shared files and download the software.  It does not, however contain the content, only the information about names, sizes, file structure and cryptographic hash values.  The extension is “xxxxx.torrent”.  Torrents are popularly used for the downloading of large video and audio (read: movies and music, usually illegally) in a way that results in faster downloads and lower bandwidth usage. 

This is done by downloading different parts of the file from several different server computers which are members of a group, called a swarm. This, as opposed to downloading a single large file from a user, which requires high bandwidth and particularly time.  Imagine that 50 people want to read a 100 page book.  Rather than the holder of the complete book (known as the “seeder”) taking the time to make 50 complete copies so that all can read it in its entirety, each of the 50 people who want it (called “leechers”) tear out a page and copy it, making it available to the other 49 when requested.  Breaking up the book saves copying costs and allows quick sharing.  Similarly, when a torrent download is requested, the BitTorrent system locates multiple member computers with the file and then downloads different parts of the file from each computer.  Likewise, a member computer can send a file to multiple computers before it reaches the ultimate recipient.  When the recipient possesses the entire file, it becomes a seeder.  The entire point of this process is speed.

In August 2016, Torrentz, one of the world’s largest torrent sites (founded in 2003), shut down permanently. It was different from many of the other torrent sites because (unlike Pirate Bay, for example) it didn’t host any torrent files itself, but instead acted as a “meta-search-engine” which searched other search engines for its users.  Many torrent sites still exist.

TOR logoTOR/TORPARK PROJECT:  “The Onion Router,” get it?  Free open-source software and an open network, originally started for use by the U.S. Navy Research Labs and still partially Federally funded, which is used for anonymous browsing and secure Internet communication. Hosted by Freedom Hosting.  For more generally, see onion router. The Tor Project is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the research, development, and education of online anonymity and privacy. For more about the Tor Project, click HERE

Tor includes the Tor Browser (which uses the DuckDuckGo search engine), Tails USB distribution for mobility, Orbot for Android, Obfsproxy for circumventing censorship, the Tor Cloud and the Vidalia (see below) graphic interface and TorMail anonymous e-mail. BUT REMEMBER:  Tor anonomizes the origin of your traffic and encrypts everything inside the Tor network, but IT DOES NOT encrypt the traffic between the end of the Tor network and the final destination, so if you are concerned about the security of the message itself, you should seVidalia Control Panelnd it with complete “end-to-end” encryption.  Tor is popular for people who don’t want government or other oversight of their browsing, journalists and human rights groups, as well as those who live under repressive regimes and don’t want their comments to be traced back to them.  BUT READ ON BEFORE YOU GET THAT WARM AND FUZZY FEELING...

And then there is a dark side:  Some criminals can use the network to evade hacking and malicious software distribution as well as child pornographers and drug dealers.  In 2013, the FBI acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting, which hosts TorMail, in July, 2012, just days before its servers were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors, so nothing’s perfect.  The FBI seized the entire TorMail e-mail database from Freedom Hosting that it is now using in unrelated investigations.  It was used in the indictment of a Florida man in 2013 for allegedly selling counterfeit credit cards online.  The FBI executed a search warrant on a Gmail account where they found a link to a TorMail account, where they had already extracted the entire TorMail database from a previous year’s child porn case. As of 2014, law enforcement and the NSA routinely cracked Tor and other anonymous browsers for law enforcement purposes, so it’s not really all that “anonymous” any more.  Look at the Silk Road I & II prosecutions.  In 2016, in a new twist that didn’t require obtaining a warrant, the FBI used a malware plant on computers that accessed a special FBI-created child porn site, Playpen, to get around the Tor software.   And on Christmas 2014, Lizard Squad hacked the Sony and Microsoft gaming networks, then announced that they would then go after the Tor network.  See also, I2P for another anonymity network.

Tor also warns that users must use the Tor’s defauilt browser window size and screen resolution, otherwise they may be tracked.  How is this possible?  Evidently, your browser software from Panopticlick can generate a unique “fingerprint” which may identify users (see discussion at the browserspy and go to Panopticlick to see if you are vulnerable). Client-side code like JavaScript on a web site you visit has access to screen resolution and other browser settings, so it’s a good idea not to go to sites using JavaScript if you have non-default settings in Tor. While many believe that it is unlikely that the fingerprint would actually be useful for individual identification, the point is that you don’t want to distinguish yourself from the majority of Tor users and you will therefore have more protection.

TORX:  A special screw which uses a star-shaped driver, used in many computers (also cars).  Compare to Apple’s pentalobe, a variation on Torx.

ToS:  Stands for Terms of Service, the fine print that you agree to when signing up for a social networking site or web portal (like Yahoo).

TOSLINK:  Standard optical fibre cable and connection system.  See, photos of connectors.  Commonly uses the rectangular EIAJ/JEITA RC-5720 connector.  Generally carries an audio stream between such devices as CD players and DAT recorders.

TOUCHSCREEN:  A type of computer monitor where, instead of using a mouse or keyboard to enter a command, you touch the screen with your finger on the appropriate icon.  Common in dedicated systems like restaurants, where a server selects and enters orders from a fixed set of choices on the screen.  These monitors require special software drivers.  Starting with Windows 8 and RT, Windows now works with touch screens as well.

These screens come in two types: The newer Acoustic Pulse Recognition (“APR”), which works primarily by recognizing the sound created when the glass is touched at a given position, and the older Projected Capacitive Technology (“PCT”), which detects the presence and location of a touch within the display area.    PCT is used more often by PDAs, cellphones and SATNAVs, APR more often in restaurant touch screens (manufactured by Elo, for example).  See also “touch mouse,” in Mouse.

TOWER:  See, CASE.  Generally, refers to the case that holds a desktop computer.

TRACEROUTE:  A utility that traces a packet from your computer to an Internet host, showing how many “hops” the packet requires to reach that host.  Used to find the path of an internet connection, sometimes to reduce delays due to the length of the route.  Windows traceroute utility is named “tracert” and is accessed from the run line. Tracert works by sending packets with low time-to-live (“TTL”) fields.  Each time the packet is sent, it specifies a limit on the number of hops the packet is allowed before it is returned with an identification.  By sending a series of packets with incrementally greater TTL values, tracert can identify all of the intermediary hosts to the connection.

TRAILBLAZER:  A NSA software program circa 2001 used to intercept communications over various systems including the Internet, revealed to exist by William Binney, a former NSA analyst.

TRACKBALL:  A type of mouse where the user moves the ball with their thumb and finger, rather than moving the entire mouse itself and having the ball on its bottom move over a surface.

TRAILING SLASH:  A forward slash sometimes placed at the end of a line of code or command, which often adds necessary meaning.  For example, may be valid for some purposes, but for others one might have to type .  The “/” addition is the “trailing slash”.

TRANSCEIVER:  A device which embodies both a transmitter and a receiver.

TRANSCLUSIONED:  Refers to posted images displayed on one web site that originated with or have been copied from another, possibly violating or infringing on the proprietary rights of the original creator (see scraping).

TRANSFORMER SYMBOLTRANSFORMER:  An electrical device which reduces or increases transformer plugthe voltage from incoming alternating current to a suitable voltage for equipment.  These are the barrels you see mounted on power poles (see left).  In computing, it is found oPower pole transformern printers, modems, switches and many other peripheral devices, including the computer itself (see Power Supply).  It can be internal to the device (see lower right) or external (often the little blacTransformer4k box on the end of a power cord, see upper right).  Essentially, it changes the voltage to a different voltage; for example, taking the incoming 120 volt household current to power a printer which needs only 18 volts. If you plug 120 volts into a printer, it’ll blow it up!

You can stop here unless you really want to know how a transformer actually does this: Generally, a transformer works by running the incoming AC  current through two copper coils of wire wound around a magnetic iron core.  Because the current is “alternating” (hence the “AC’ designation), the first (“primary”) core produces a constantly varying Transformer2magnetic field around the coil.  This field, in turn, produces an alternating current in the second (“secondary”) coil, which has wires which connect to a separate (outgoing) circuit with the “stepped down” (or “-up”) voltage. Whether the voltage is stepped-up or -down is determined by the “turns ratio” in the separate coils - For a single primary turn vs. 10 turns in the secondary, the secondary voltage will be ten times greater.  For the converse (usually the case), i.e. 10:1 ratio, the voltage will be one-tenth.  [There are other attributes of transformers (e.g. impedance) and different types (e.g. autotransformers), so click HERE for additional explanation.]

transistor symbolTRANSISTOR:  A device commonly found on integrated circuit boards (i.e. chip), composed of semiconducting material such as silicon or germanium, having three terminals.   Its purpose is to vary the conductivity of a piece of semiconductor; the transistor can switch electrical current on and off, or even amplify, the current.  It was invented at Bell Labs by three colleagues - Walter Brattain (an experimentalist), John Bardeen (a quantum theorist) and William Shockley (a solid-state physics expert) on December 16, 1947. See also, memristors.  See also, history of chips.

TRANSLATION APPS:  There are many popular apps for language translation, including Google Translate, Bing Translator and SayHi. (For a discussion of software translation capabilities, go to Babel Fish.) In December, 2016, Microsoft made an announcement raising the bar:  Using AI and neural network technology, a new tool, Microsoft Translator, will be able to translate conversations with up to 100 speakers into some 60 different languages (even Klingon!).  The app is downloaded for Windows, Android, iOS or Amazon Fire (initially it is limited to Windows Phone) or the user can join a conversation sharing the URL ( and, as a user speaks during the conversation, the app translates the words and displays them as text on the other speakers’ devices.  A conversation code allows speakers to interconnect.  The app will be particularly useful for business travelers with foreign business and migrants and refugees or tourists in foreign countries.  And see the other nifty apps at the travel app link on this site.

TRANSPARENCY:  When used in a business or computer context, the term refers to “openness,” the idea that actions, decisions and their processes can be viewed by others outside of it.  In computers, this would refer to open source software as well as laws regarding net neutrality.

TRANSPORTATION NETWORK (“TN”):  An organization devised by ride-sharing and transportation services like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft to distinguish themselves from taxicabs and dispatched car services, which have vehemently (sometimes successfully) protested these startups which use individual drivers using their own cars, paired with customers through a cell phone app and don’t accept tips.  Predictably, some of the protest is because the TN drivers don’t have to pay for the business costs that taxis do, but others claim that they have no liability for injuries and that the costs aren’t regulated, so that the even the savings aren’t as great as expected.  Some jurisdictions (like CA, NY and DC) have recognized TNs, others (like VA) have banned them.  The biggest problem for Uber and Lyft is probably drive recruitment - it’s reported that Uber reps dubbed “recruitment ambassadors” grab rides in traditional cabs and try to sign the drivers.  Follow the section "Regulatory Opposition and Approval” in Wikipedia for more current information.  Another type of TN, like BlaBlaCar, which operates in some 19 countries, matches drivers who have empty seats for long distance drives with passengers wwho wish to travel the same direction.  They then get together to work out how the fuel, tolls and the like will be divided, to reach a price which is limited by BlaBlaCar.  This is essentially a “carpool” service; BlaBlaCar makes its money from a ten percent service fee on the passengers, and required both the drivers and the passengers to be registered on the app.  Because it doesn’t have the control issues of Uber, it doesn’t worry about whether its drivers are truly independent contractors.  It’s not popular in the U.S., although both Uber (through it’s Pool service) and Lyft (through it’s Line service) have offered some sort of carpool arrangements, piloting short term multiple-pickup service.

TRANSPOSITION:  Generally relates to data transposition, particularly in spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel. This is the process whereby rows and columns in the spreadsheet are reversed.  For example -


TRAP DOOR (VIRUS):  See Back Door.

TRENDING:  Slang for “currently popular,” usually on the Internet (Tweets, Blogs, searches). As in “Brittney Spears crashing is trending on blogs right now”.  For example, Twitter has a (collapsable) list pane on the right side of the home page designated ”Trending Topics” which shows the current most popular topics on the site, ranked in real time.

TRILATERIZATION:  The use of supercomputing technology like IBM’s Watson to sift through a mass of Internet communications data to find patterns of suspicious or useful behavior by law enforcement or others.  Trilaterization allows the tracking of an individual’s location, moment by moment, including a person’s altitude, down to a specific floor in a building, even predicting a person’s most likely route to or from a location.


Traveladvisor logoTRIPADVISOR:  A Needham, Mass based travel website founded in February, 2000 by Steven Kaufer, which has grown into one of the largest community websites, providing first-hand user generated reviews as well as interactive travel forums.  Yelp is a second popular website in this genre.

3DES or TRIPLE DES:  This is a highly secure encryption system that encrypts data 3 times, using 3 64-bit data keys, for an overall encryption key length of 192 bits.  If you’ve ever wondered what the 3DES stands for when your scrolling through the advanced settings in Outlook Express, now you know.

TROJAN HORSE:  See, Spyware.

TROLL:  Internet Troll.  Someone who posts negative or inflammatory comments, complaints or disparaging remarks on internet sites in order to provoke other users.  Some are just plain inflammatory, others may be legitimate complaints. Originally a term derived from Scandinavian folklore in about 1600, an ugly creature bent on sowing mischief and wickedness. More modern English usage describes the fishing technique of slowly dragging a lure, baited hook or net to catch fish.  Either way, the term describes those who publicly post malicious messages on the Internet in order to further their own negative discourse.  See Trolling, below. See also Patent Trolls in Laws.

TROLLING:  The act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, usually with the goal of provoking an emotional response from others.  Lots of these usually anonymous trolls appear in public blogs and in response to various articles (e.g.“How many times do we have to listen to this crap!  There was no Holocost!”).  They can also be Don't feed the trollsquite malicious, such as the posting of crime scene photos (Nicole Catsouras, the 18 year old who died in a gruesome car crash in California in 2006, whose parents were shocked to find them on the Internet) or links to fake web sites (fake tribute pages with posts like “Hey Daddy, I’m still alive”).  The popular advice:  “Don’t feed the trolls” [i.e. don’t encourage them by responding to their messages]. See also, Patent Trolls.

TROMBONING: A term referring to Internet traffic, one in which traffic between two cities in one country will flow through other nations.  This is done to assure the continuance of traffic even if a local connection is disturbed or immobilized.  (NYT 8/30/08, Business, “Internet Traffic Begins to Bypass U.S.”)

TROPE: A ”figure of speech” which is a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will instantly recognize and understand which is different than the literal meaning of the words.  It is used in books, television, gaming and other media and can be not only a linguistic shortcut, but also a common plot trick (e.g. in horror movies “don’t go into the graveyard”), character type (sleezy car salesman), narrative structure or the like.  Tropes vary in type, but are recognizable if you’re looking for them:  Phrases like “Bill has tons of money”, “I’m not a happy camper”, “This office is  zoo”,”Man of the cloth”, “Hard as a rock” are all tropes.  Bill doesn’t really have a ”ton” of money, just a lot (we’re not weighing it).  Not only represented by figurative language,Lra Croft tropes have also been expanded to include images, as in video gaming, as a universal shortcut, damsel in distress 2representing recurring types of characters such as wizards or women (“damsel in distress”, “manic pixie dream girl” and “Smurfette”) in video games. You say “wood nymph” and an image instantly pops into your mind (if you’re a gamer).  Or Tomb Raider and you envision busty Lara Croft (or Angelina Jolie).  Incidentally, the word “trope” itself has been around a long time, derived from the Greek word to “turn, direct, alter, change”, having been used in classical times, but enjoying a resurgence in the modern computer era.

In 2009, feminist  Anita Sarkeesian (photo at right) created the Feminist Frequency blog criticizing female gender Sarkeesiantropes in video games and other pop culture narratives (like TV).  Apparently, she and others believe that the portrayal of women in games is demeaning to women (they can’t possibly look and act like their cartoon counterparts or are mere “backgrounds”) and even bad for men (who in real life might find it acceptable to treat women as sex objects).   See also manic pixie dream girl, a film trope.  And meme.


An “avatar” is a graphic identity adopted or created for the purpose of identifying someone in a game, chat room or the like.  Just like the characters in the movie, they didn’t look like the human and they had different capabilities.
A “
meme” is a concept or idea (sometimes a character) that is propagated over the Internet’s World Wide Web.  Like the Slenderman meme, a story with an associated character.
A “
trope,” on the other hand, is more of a character, a shorthand for a type of person, like the “manic pixie dream girl,” which can be portrayed by any number of actresses in any number of different movies. 
Each of these concepts is related but not exactly the same.

TrueCrypt logoTrueCrypt: One of the first and widely used encryption programs, released in 2004 by a Czech team, it used their E4M (“encryption for the masses”) software, which was updated until 2012, and then seemed to disappear.  Win8 probably wasn’t compatible anyway.  Most uses migrated to Bitlocker.

TrueType: See FONTS.

TRUNK (LINE OR CABLE): The “main” line into a home or office from which other smaller lines “branchThe thick trunk line is designed to handle multiple signals simultaneously, so that it can connect switches or nodes in a communications system, then branch out to smaller and smaller lines, much like a tree trunk and its branches of decreasing size. Why is it called a “trunk”?  Interesting story.  I always thought that it was because the lines were run like a tree.  But no.  Actually, when telephones first became popular, most of the cables were installed by the railroad companies, and therefore they were buried alongside railroad tracks.  They were named after the tracks along which they ran parallel.  Since the tracks that ran between towns were called “trunk lines” because they carried the baggage, usually old sea trunks, they became known as telephone “trunk lines” as well.  Similarly, the phrase “spur line” was used to refer to a switch in the tracks that led to a dead end, like a home, office or factory building.  Later, these phrases were shortened to simply “trunk” and “line”.  These definitions generally refer to analog telephone systems.  Digital systems like PBX have their own terminology, as does VoIP.

TRUSTED COMPUTING: A technology used by enterprises for security purposes, with the expectation that a computer will behave consistently in expected ways and, if not, will be blocked from interaction.  The technology, called the Trusted Platform Module “TPM”), was supported by the Trusted Computing Group, an initiative started by AMD, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and others and relies heavily on encryption and features built directly into both hardware and software.  There is also a Trusted Network Connect (“TNC”) technology, which is an open architecture for network access control.

TSA:  No, not that (the airport) TSA.  Rather, Tiered Storage Architecture . This storage approach revolves around getting the right people to the right level of data when needed without sacrificing performance or cost.  This is done by, for example, migrating critical and frequently accessed data to the top tier (more expensive, higher quality storage), while migrating older or non-critical data to storage on lower tiers (slower, lower quality, less expensive storage). 

TSOP:  Thin Small-Outline Package.  A type of surface mount package for integrated circuits, often RAM and flash memory chips.  They come in two types, Type 1 having the pins on the shorter side, Type 2 on the longer side. However, they have been increasingly replaced by ball grid array packages which can achieve even higher densities. See also, BGA, RAM


TSR:  Terminate and Stay Resident.  A computer system call in DOS that refers to a program that remains in memory when the user exits it in order that it may remain available at the press of a hotkey (such as a calendar or calculator).  With the advent of Windowsmulti-tasking,” TSR now effectively works with every Windows program automatically.

TTY:  See, Teletype.

TU:  Time Unit.  A measurement used in networking in which 1 time unit equals 1024 microseconds. 

Tumblr logoTUMBLR: Tumblr is a miniblog (see Blog),David Karp Photo the creation of Davidville, the software consulting company named for founder David Karp (right), launched on 2/19/07.  It’s an easy way to create six types of posts, text, photos, quotes, links, conversations and videos. The name was derived, says Karp, because he wanted the site to be the first and best platform for “tumblelogs,” a variation on blogs that are shorter stream-of-consciousness posts, often with mixed media.  It is reported to host over 108 million blogs as of 2013.  In May 2013 it was  acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion, Karp taking home about $275 million.

TUNNELING:  The transmitting of data structured in one protocol within the format of another.  I realize that’s not real helpful...Remember the old Hogan’s Heros sitcom?  Hogan was constantly trying to escape from the POW camp by digging tunnels or disguising the Americans as Germans.  The principle was that, while they couldn’t dress as prisoners or pass through the front gate, they could either disguise themselves as German soldiers or create a distinct but parallel route underground to get past the guards.  Similarly, think of  a car (data) passing through a tunnel in a mountain (the Internet), entering at one end and exiting at the other.  The tunnel doesn’t really care what type of vehicle is passing through.  But sometimes it does care:  No sports cars are permitted, they’re too dangerous.  They’ll be blocked at the entrance.  So what to do?  No problem if the sports car is transported inside a tractor-trailor, say a UPS truck.  The truck picks it up at the entrance of the tunnel (“encapsulates” it), transports it through the tunnel, then off-loads it at the other side of the tunnel, where it reassumes its true identity as a sports car, which is completely acceptable at that point on the highway.  That’s tunneling.  It’s lots easier than disassembling or modifying the sports car at one end, then attempting to properly reassemble it at the other end, or building a separate tunnel for sports cars only. [Hogan would have disguised the car as a German tank or dug a parallel tunnel with a fork.]  Let’s all say it together: “Don’t re-create, encapsulate!”  Now apply this to a real data example:  When the IPv4 internet addressing protocol evolves into IPv6, the two protocols are, by nature, going to be completely incompatible.  One of the choices for users who require the use of both v4 and v6 protocols will be for the users of the v6 protocol to “tunnel” through the v4 format (perhaps using Teredo, above), encapsulating the v6 packet in a v4 format to then be transmitted over the old v4 connection (in effect, “dressing up” the prisoners as German soldiers).  The old v4 transmission is the tunnel; the v6 is encapsulated to travel through the v4 tunnel, where it would not otherwise be allowed, assuming its true v6 identity once through the tunnel.  See also, VPN Tunneling. And click HERE for more.

TUPLE: In mathematics set theory and computer science, an ordered list of elements, preceded by an integer (whole number) indicating the number of sequences in the list.  For example, in TCP/IP, above, each connection is a “4-tuple,” consisting of “serverIP/server port/clientIP/client port”. See, numbers.

Turing, AlanTuring, Alan:  (1912-1954)  Often referred to as “the father of computer science”.  A British mathematician who was highly influential in the development of the field of computer science through the “Turing Machine,” an experimental device that simulated the logic of a computer algorithm by manipulating symbols on a tape according to a table or series of rules.  The idea (it was never actually built by him) was that the machine could hypothetically come up with a solution for any problem that could be computable.  The concept of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to a human was introduced in Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), Turing’s seminal paper on the subject of Artificial Intelligence.  But Turing’s true contribution was the software, which transformed previous mechanical computing devices into machines which could decide what to do on their own. Actually, today’s keyboards, programs and computers are basically a modern incarnation of the Turing Machine, advanced by others like John von Neumann (see also the computer definition). Later, he also led a team of cryptologists and others which developed a code-breaking machine at Bletchley Park, England called The Bombe that deciphered the Enigma coding machine used by the Germans in WWII, shortening the war by at least two years.  See encryption, and links to Bletchley Park.

A homosexual, he committed suicide at age 41 two years after being convicted in Britain of homosexual activity and subjected to chemical castration in 1952.  He did so by eating an apple laced with cyanide, a minority explanation for the use of the apple with the missing bite in the Apple computer name (click for link).  His conviction for homosexuality was pardoned posthumously some sixty years later, effective December 31,  2013.  See also, CAPTCHA.  The A.M. Turing award (so-called “Nobel Prize of Computing”) was named after him.

For the Turing Test, see Captcha.  Generally, a Turing test is a test of a computer’s ability to be equal to or indistinguishable from that of a human.  A Reverse Turing Test is the reverse of a standard Turing Test.  In the standard test a human judge attempts to verify a computer subject which attempts to appear human.  In the reverse, a computer judges how well humans perform computer functions.

TuxTUX:  See, Linux. The name of the Linux penguin mascot.

TV graphicTV (“TELEVISION”):  A medium for transmitting and receiving moving images.  Derived from Latin/Greek tele (“far sight”) and visio (“to see”).  TV has been around since the 1930s, and has many different technical hardware standards, such as analog, digital and high-definition (HD) digital, closed-circuit, etc.  Signals can be delivered via antenna, satellite, cable, telephone lines or a combination thereof, and the hardware for each of these systems can be somewhat different.  But the TV box itself is the end point for the display of the signals.  This is big business:  Neilson tells us that the average American watches TV 12 minutes of every hour of every day, or 2 months, 12 days, 15 hours and 29 minutes each year.  That’s a lot.

NTSC (stands for National Television System Committee) sets TV and video standards in the U.S.  The standard for television defines a composite video signal with a refresh rate of 60 half-frames (interlaced) per second. Each frame contains 525 lines and can contain 16 million different colors.   It is  not compatible with computer monitors, which which generally use RGB video signals. However, you can insert a special video adapter card into your computer that convert NTSC signals into computer video signals and vice versa.   In Europe and most of the rest of the world, the dominant television standards are PAL (“Phase Alternating Line,” which utilizes a wider channel bandwidth than NTSC which allows for better picture quality, running on 625 lines/frame) and SECAM (“Sequential Color With Memory,” used in France, and which uses the same bandwidth as PAL but transmits the color information sequentially, running on 625 lines/frame). 

Digital TV, in turn, can be ATSC (“Advanced Television Systems Committee”) over-the-air (can be received free with an antenna); clear QAM (are broadcasted on a free-to-view unencrypted digital cable network); or dedicated/encrypted digital or high-def providers.  In addition to the different types of screens (CRT, plasma, LCD, LED, OLED, etc.), the newer versions of TVs can play 3D (with or without special eyeglasses, depending on the model).   About the glasses - As yet there’s no standard yet for how the glasses interpret the signals that work the control “shutters” in the glasses, so each pair is only suitable for the particular brand of the TV. Doesn’t seem to be catching on.

The resolution, as well, can be somewhat confusing:  the HD (“high definition”) broadcast signal is generally rated as either 1080p, 720p or 1080i.  There is no such thing as 1080dpi or 1080i native resolution HD TV.  The number (1080, 720, 480) stands for the number of horizontal lines of vertical pixel resolution on the screen.  It is measured in sizes like 1280x720 widescreen (16x9) format. The ‘i’ stands for interlaced (where the screen refreshes the alternating odd-numbered pixel lines every 1/30 of a second, then the even ones 1/30 second); the “p” for progressive scan (refreshed every 1/60 of a second), which is the best possible HD resolution (except for Ultra HD, which is measured differently). 1080i is a TV broadcast standard, which is as high as most TV standards go.  If you get a 1080p, it will up-convert the 1080i to 1080p.  If you get a 720p, it will down-convert a 1080i signal to 720p. But 720p is about the equivalent of 1080i.   1080p is the best HD resolution.   This is because HD TVs can display only at their native resolution.  So, if a TV says it 1080i, all it really means is that it is capable of receiving a 1080i signal, but it’s normally a 720p TV and that’s all you’ll ever see in the display.  It’s a sales trick.

Closely related to the technical discussion about resolution above is the refresh rate, the number of times an image refreshes each second.  The higher the rate, the smoother the image, particularly useful in sports viewing or gaming.  The two most common rates are 60Hz or 120Hz. 240Hz is on the horizon.  120Hz is, of course, better. In 2017, CNET made the following recommendations: Best picture quality for the money = Vizio M Series (but LG B6P OLED if money is no object); TVs with both 4K and HDR are worth getting as they have four times the pixels as 1080p; 40 in. and up for bedroom and at least 50 in for living rooms; OLED is better than LED/LCD, and prices are coming down.  Curved TVs are a gimmick, like 3D TVs, which never caught on. Click HERE for the full review.

So the shorthand is:  If you get a TV with 4k and HD, OLED if you want to spend a little more (as it will be the future), you’ve got pretty much the best standard viewing. Add a smart-type TV feature, and you’re all set.  Nothing more to think about.

Starting in 2013-14 Amazon has introduced Fire TV and Google has introduced Google TV, both of which take the device a step further by embedding internet search connectivity with voice commands.  And as technology becomes smarter, the line between antenna, cable and satellite input becomes blurred by Smart TVs and internet connected TVs (for more, see below), as customers attempt to “cut the wire” (see FAQ #46) to avoid high connectivity charges from the big providers.

As technology marches on, we’re now on to the next level of TV, for you Sharper Image types who absolutely must have the latest and greatest:  The new 4K “Ultra HD” TVs like the Sony Magnolia line quadruple  the detail over standard HD.  Of course, you’re not truly comparing “apples to apples” when comparing  4K resolution to HD.  The moving target for resolution refers to 4K at about 4,000 pixel horizontal lines of resolution, while older TVs measure resolution in vertical lines of resolution. Not sure which measure is really better, just watch the TV and see for yourself, ignoring the salesman’s pitch. [For more information about video resolution, refresh rate and dpi, see Screens.]  And the technology just keeps moving on:  In early 2015, Samsung introduced the 4K Ultra HD TV (or “SUHD” TV) with 8.3 million pixels, four times the resolution of standard (now considered “old” resolution) 1080p TV!  The Samsung TV has revolutionary nano-crystal technology and a curved screen for allegedly even better “immersive” viewing.  All, of course, for a price.  In 2016, TV manufacturers came up with a slew of terms to say how much better their resolution is, like High Dynamic Range (“HDR”), Dolby Vision, quantum dots and nits, percentage of DCI coverage, local dimming zones and the like.  Hard to say if this makes any discernable difference, especially depending on the lower end TVs or poorer reception areas.  If Sony and others drop the prices on OLED TVs, they may be the best bet.

See also  IPTV.

To learn more about so-called Wireless TV (a/k/a “Smart TV”), as well as Internet TV, click HERE.  [Basically, Smart TVs, which are becoming the standard, along with Ultra HD, eliminate the need to purchase a device like a Roku or other “box” (see below) to stream TV from the Internet, as the Smart TVs automatically connect to the Internet directly via a built-in router.]  For more discussion, see also Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV.

MUCH MORE IMPORTANT FOR MOST OF US: On a nightly basis, at least.  The TV remote.  It was invented by Eugene Polley (who died on 5/20/12), whose Zenith Flash-Matic wireless remote control was introduced in 1955 and was the first TV remote.  Polley actually won an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his creation, which was the precursor to interactive TV.  Thanks for starting a generation of couch potatoes and larger bellies, Eugene!

TV BOXES:  A general term for the external set-top boxes used to receive digital signals and streaming video (e.g. movies).  Depending on your preference and cost range, there are already dozens of these devices for downloading, recording and streaming TV shows and movies.  A few:  Roku, Sezmi, Slingbox, TiVo, XBOX 360, Apple TV, Amazon, Boxee, Hulu, Netflix, PS3.  [Of course, if you already have a smart TV, you may not require the box, only the subscription.]

TWAIN:  TWAIN is a standard, first released in 1992, primarily used as an interface between image processing software and scanners and digital cameras.  Supposedly, the word came from Kipling’s “The Ballad of East and West” where he wrote “...and never the twain shall meet”.  The term was adopted to reflect of the early difficulties experienced by users attempting to connect scanners and personal computers.  Interestingly (at least to me) a contest to define TWAIN as an acronym led to the (allegedly) winning definition of “technology without an interesting name,” which continues to appear to this day.

Twitch logoTWITCH:  An internet site boasting over 55 million users each month where members can play and watch other gamers play video games.  Watching world class pros improves gamers’ skills and on-line videos are available as well.  It began in 2007 as, a 24x7 video stream of co-founder Justin Kan’s life, later reduced to just gaming and renamed as “Twitch Interactive”.  In August, 2014, Amazon purchased it for $970 million.  Click HERE for more.

TWO STAGE AUTHENTICATION (“TSA”), sometimes TWO FACTOR VERIFICATION (“TFV”):  See, authentication.   When you attempt to access a device (like a computer) or a web page (like a banking account) and you type your password, but then are asked to correctly answer a “security” question (e.g. what is your favorite drink? first pet?), the security question is the second stage authorization, confirming your identity and protecting your data or device from undesired hacking.    This is NOT the same as two or multi-factor authentication (see that definition), because factors and stages aren’t exactly the same thing.  See also, passwords, encryption, Spyware.

TWOS COMPLEMENT:  A mathematical operation on binary numbers, making it an important example of a radix complement (which is the technique used to subtract one number from another using only the addition of positive numbers).  The process by which a digital computer converts a positive to a negative number.  See How Computers Compute.


TWITTER:  A free social networking site started in 2006, allowing users to communicate in “tweets” of 140 characters or less over computers and cell phones.  Click HERE for a complete explanation of Twitter, including the name of the Twitter bird.

twitter bird

TyoewriterTYPEWRITER:  This brief summary is provided as (1) a stroll down memory lane for us dinosaurs who actually remember the pre-computer word processors and (2) for those of us who are not old enough to remember that computers were not the original word processors.  And forget those “stone tablets” jokes, o.k.?

typewriter keysA mechanical (later an electromechanical, i.e. “electric”) device that uses a manually operated Typewriter barskeyboard to produce characters on paper that resemble the pages printed by a commercial printer.  It does this by using a series of type “bars” (see right>>) with raised letters which, when striking paper through an inked ribbon, produce the printed page.  Later typewriters updated the printing process by using rotating balls with raised type (e.g. IBM “SelectricSelectric balltypewriters, 1961-1991, photo at left).  Introduced in 1969, IBM introduced its first “Mag Card” version of its Selectric typewriter (photo at right), which was the first typewritemag-cardselectricr to act as a word processor.  That is, it permitted storage (on magnetic cards that looked like black keypunch machine cards) and retrieval for further editing of typed documents and proportional fonts.  The final step was the evolution into the predecessor of today’s computers by using video screens and having internal storage on chips or disks (e.g. Vydek word processing typewriters).  Finally, all of these were replaced by those computers with word processing software like Wordstar, Word Perfect and Word and lots of internal memory and storage which we see everywhere today.  In the 2000s, the new trend has been to use cloud storage to archive those documents outside of the office and accessible over the Internet, so that they will be available to everyone on all their devices, even simultaneously.  An excellent and exhaustive history of the typewriter can be found at this LINK from the IBM archives.

TYPING isn’t in any way a lost art.  Even with touch screens and voice dictation programs, it’s still the predominant way to communicate with desktop, laptop and tablet computers.  While a mouse might make it easier to navigate menus or edit graphics, keyboards still allow us to process work much faster.  Transcriptionists, for example, use only the keyboard for speed, and use the function keys for basic editing instead of the mouse menus, so they don’t have to take their hands off the keyboard to perform editing functions.  (See FAQ #20 and Chart.)  Smart phones use various predictive typing techniques like SWYPE to make the job easier.

TYPOSQUATTING:  The practice of registering purposely misspelled domain names in order to direct traffic to the illegitimate website (e.g. McDonalds, MacDonalds, MacDonald’s), where e-mails could be opened containing personal information, proprietary data, passwords, corporate info, etc. Also could be used for Man in the Middle malware attacks, known more as MITMB (man in the mailbox), where the redirected mail is returned to the original sender with a malicious or virus payload so that it infects other computers.  The practice is obviously named because the site or mail is intercepted by someone in the middle, before the request or message reaches its destination, and is then maliciously redirected for nefarious purposes.  See SPYWARE for more.





























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