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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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VALUE:  In math and computing, a quantitative number or textual description which can be absolute (from 1 to 100, or distance from point zero, for example) or relative (e.g. 10 vs. 100) measure assigned to an object or parameter for purposes of determining its worth for a specific purpose (possibly alone or as part of a formula, equation or algorithm).

VAMPIRE POWER:  See, Standby Power.

VAMPIRE TAP:  A legacy connector used with coaxial cable which requires drilling a hole through the outer shield of the cable so that a clamp can reach the inner copper connector.  It was used with Thicknet coax cable to connect devices in the bus topology of a 10Base-T LAN.  Hardly even seen today.

VAN ECK PHREAKING:  See, Tempest computers.

V CARD:  A file format standard for electronic business cards, usually attached to e-mail messages, on web sites or between Bluetooth smart phones.  Originally developed in 1995 by Versit Corp.(Apple, AT&T, IBM & Siemens), later transferred to the Internet Mail Consortium.

V CHIP:  A computer chip installed in a television allowing the user to control the display of certain programs, preventing the viewing of certain violent or sexual programs, particularly by children.  Through the Telecommunications Act  of 1996 (see LAWS), the U.S. Government (through the FTC) mandated that,  effective January 1, 2000, all TVs 13” and larger contain the chip.  The FTC established a policy known as the Family Viewing Hour (8 to 9 pm ET) during which the television networks were supposed to show only “family-friendly” programming.  The chip monitors, through broadcast signal codes, the ratings category of the programs, so that parents can manage their children’s viewing.  Unfortunately, surveys show that almost no one really uses the chip.

VAR: Stands for Value Added Retailer (as opposed to the end-user purchaser of a computer from the manufacturer).  These are sources which purchase computers from the manufacturer and then add customization such as set-up, networking, software, custom programs, etc. to the basic computer for sale to end-user customers.

VBR:  Volume Boot Record, the boot record for non-partitioned disks.  See, MBR for more information.

VDI: Stands for “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure”.  In this type of virtual server configuration, the server memory is divvied up among individual virtual desktop machines, bringing significant management and security benefits.

VECTOR GRAPHIC:  A vector graphic is a graphic that is created and saved as a sequence of vector statements, as opposed to actual bits of graphics. A vector is a (geometric) representation of both a quantity and a direction at the same time.  So, instead of a graphic file containing a bit in the file for each bit of a line drawing, a vector graphic describes a series of points to be connected.  This results in a smaller file than a bit file.  At some point, however, the vector graphic is usually converted into a raster graphic (a/k/a bitmap) file, so that it can be transferred between systems.  Animated images, such as those created with Shockwave Flash, are also usually created as vector files, which are then “rasterized” on the fly as they display.

Venmo logoVENMO:  A popular cellphone app among millennials for transferring money between friends via a digital wallet (like ApplePay or Google Wallet) which is funded by a bank account or credit card.  Started in New York in 2009 by friends Iqram Magdon-Ismail and Andrew Kortina, and now owned by PayPal through its purchase of Braintree, the name is a portmanteau of “ven” from “vendere,” the Latin word “to sell” and “mo” for “mobile”.  The service, as well, is a mashup of  both personal finance and social media.  It’s popular with Millennials not only because of its “share all” mentality, but also because it makes it much easier to process such every day debt transactions between friends like splitting a restaurant or bar tab, gas station charges, gifts, loans and other situations that the perennially social twenty-somethings continuously share.  Venmo makes it money by charging merchants for the transactions.  For Millennials, it’s the new Pay Pal.

VERBOSE MODE:  This is a method of logging on to a computer which records more information than the usual logging mode, “verbose” meaning “using more words than necessary”.  Must be manually enabled for troubleshooting due to the large size of the log files it creates. See, e.g. Apple Keyboard Commands.

VERONICA:  Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives.  Developed at the University of Nevada, this is a constantly updated database of the names of almost every menu item on thousands of gopher servers.

VERSE:  An IBM app for smart phones that lets users connect and scan to a special Verse cloud or desktop account in order to notes, sync e-mail, calendar and contacts to have that data available everywhere.

VESA:  Video Electronics Standards Association, an association that establishes standards for video color, among other things.

VGA: Video Graphics Array (aka PC-RGB, D-sub 15): Currently the minimum acceptable standard for PC monitors.  Introduced in 1987 by IBM, as the successor to it’s introduction, in 1981 of CGA (“Color Graphics Adapter”; 4 colors @ 320 x 200 pixel resolution) and, in 1984, EGA (“Enhanced Graphics Resolution”; 16 colors @ 640 x 350 resolution). VGA supports 256 colors @ 320 x 200 resolution.  After VGA, in 1990, IBM introduced XGA (“Extended Graphics Array”; 65,536 colors @ 1024 x 768) and later XGA-2 a/k/a the VESA BIOS Extension (up to 16 million colors). Recent new specifications include SXGA (“Super Extended Graphics Array”; 1280 x 1024 resolution) and UXGA (“Ultra Extended Graphics Array”; 1600 x 1200 resolution), both at up to 16 million colors (assuming the amount of video memory will permit that many colors). See also, COLORS.  It’s pretty much old technology, superseded by HDMI and DisplayPort (see Video).

VHD:  Virtual Hard Disk.  A disk image file (sometimes called a “virtual machine”) used to store the entire contents of a hard drive.  Can be either fixed size or dynamically expanding.

Viber logoVIBER:  See Messaging Services.

VIDALIA:  The graphic interface for the TOR anonymous browser.  See TOR for more.

VIDCON:  An annual conference, usually held in California for online gamers. 

VIDEO:  Moving images, however transmitted or received.

video cardVIDEO CARD:  The printed circuit board which inserts into a slot on a computer’s motherboard (or is built into the motherboard circuitry itself) which control’s the video output to the computer monitor.  (You can stop reading here if you’re not interested in the technical aspects of video cards.

Depending on the type of computer and manufacturer of the video card, it has various attributes:  Older video cards use AGP slots on the motherboard, but nowadays most use the (faster) PCI express slots.  The higher the core speed, the faster the card.  Some cards have a boost speed, which can temporarily increase the card’s frequency under some conditions.  Stream processors (a/k/a “cores”) contribute to the overall power of the card, the more the better.  Then there’s the memory and, again, the more memory the faster the performance.  Same for the memory bus width and bandwidth.  Depending on the type of outgoing port(s) on the card itself, it’s performance may vary as well. VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort (see, video connections, Connectors) all have their own physical connections, resolutions, refresh rates and maximum color depths. What you see will, of course, also be dependent on the viewing capabilities of your monitor (see Screens).  Unless you’re building a very high end gaming computer, though, you really don’t need to know all this.  Whether your video is built “on-board” the motherboard or via a riser card, there are usually only a few common brands and types of card for each generation of computers.

video consoleVIDEO GAMING CONSOLE: A device that puts out a video signal in order to play a game.  The device may be a consumer device like X-Box or Wii, or a handheld device or even a dedicated single game console, but the purpose is the same.  Invented in 1966 by Ralph Baer, an engineer with a defense contractor, it was first available in the Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercially sold home gaming system, released in 1972, which ran a tennis game which predated even Atari’s Pong.

VINE: A mobile service from Twitter that lets users share short looping videos of 6 seconds or less.  For more information, click HERE. While it was acquired in late 2012, as a result of strong competition from Google, Instagram, Snapchat and other apps, Vine was shut down on 1/17/17, to be somewhat replaced by Vine Camera (however long that lasts), which will let users create Vine videos, but only for sharing outside of Vine, which doesn’t exist any more.

VINT CERF: Considered one of the fathers of the InterVint Cerfnet.  See Internet.

VIRAL:  A type of internet marketing technique which induces web users to pass on a marketing message to other users or sites, thereby creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.  In short:  Viral marketing is where the customer is doing the company’s marketing!  Examples:  YouTube postings, Hotmail.  So when someone says that the marketing’s “gone viral,” they mean that it has passed that threshold where it is constantly being recommended by so many web users that it’s hit rate is increasing exponentially. Rule of thumb: At least a million, probably 5 million, in a 3 - 7 day period and escalating.  But it’s more than just the number of hits that make a video or site viral, it also includes the degree of discussion online and offline in other media, and the type of site (video, music, discussion) which prompts the site to be forwarded, shared and passed along such that it “spreads” like a “virus”.  See also, organic.

VIRGULE: Another name for the forward slash (“/”) on the keyboard.

VIRTU-: A prefix meaning Virtual”.

VIRTUALIZATION: Conceptually, this means making something look like what it isn’t.  It’s not a “real” computer, it’s a “virtual” one.  It looks and acts like the real thing, but it isn’t.  Because it’s actually something or somewhere else. [Remember “virtual reality”?  You put on a helmet and gloves and worked your way through a virtual (not a real) world? It’s like that.]  Virtual computers started as basically a corporate phenomenon.  A “virtual” computer on a corporate network is a workstation that looks and acts like a stand-alone PC so far as the user is concerned, but is actually running from a secure server somewhere else.   The advantages of this for the organization are both security (everything remains on one server) and conservation of system resources (there don’t have to be redundant programs and files on each and every computer on the network).  Backup is easier as well.

One of the main uses of virtualization is to run multiple operating systems on a single machine.  This is one way to use legacy software that cannot be run on newer O/Ss or reinstalled on a newer, faster machine.  The hard drive from the old computer will be transported, old dissimilar O/S included, and will run from the new computer as if it were loaded directly onto the newer operating system and hardware.  This is also an excellent way to restore computers where the hardware has failed and the programs cannot be reloaded using software like VMware vCenter Converter (See Backup).

There are many types of virtualization - - hardware, operating systems, applications, desktops, presentation -- all with the same goal of masking the physical aspects of technological resources from the end user.   VM has its own acronyms and definitions: Desktop Virtualization emulates a desktop PC experience for end users; Hypervisor is a software-based system that serves as a go-between for virtual machines and the physical hardware, and can be native (running directly on host hardware) or hosted (running from within an operating system); the Virtualization Layer is installed on hardware and works to isolate operations conducted by virtualization applications and then sends them to virtualized areas; and a Virtual Machine is a virtual environment that emulates an actual machine, complete with a physical processor, memory and other components.  Windows 7 and 8  actually include a feature called “XP Mode,”  which is actually virtualization.  XP Mode is a Windows XP virtual machine running on the Windows 7/8 client.

Still confused? Click HERE for more definitions.  See also, containers.

VIRTUAL CURRENCY:  See, Bitcoins.

VIRTUAL HARD DISK (“VHD”) :  A file that is created on a hard disk drive that is just another file until you double-click on it, causing it to mount in File or Windows Explorer, where it appears exactly like a hard disk with its own drive letter.  You can then create subfolders, add and remove files, even encrypt the drive.  When set up, you can use it to store any type of files, even move the entire drive to another computer.  No cables necessary.  To do this, open the disk management console (Diskmgmt.msc), open the Action menu, Create VHD, select a fixed or dynamic file size, then initialize it and assign a drive letter.

VIRTUAL MEMORY:  A software device whereby the computer uses part of the hard drive memory as RAM memory.  The amount of virtual memory can be set to a specific limit, or may be determined by the Windows system (as is the default in Vista and later).  Also sometimes called the “page file” in Windows.

VIRTUAL MACHINE:  See, VHD, above.

VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK:  See, VPN, below.

VIRTUAL REALITY (a/k/a IMMERSIVE MULTIMEDIA):  An artificial environment that is created withvirtual reality computer software and viewed by the user (often through special goggles, helmets and/or gloves and other haptic devices) as if it were, in fact, reality, using the senses of sight, sound and touch.  The computer-simulated environments may be simulated real environments (simulation for pilot training) or imagined environments (games).  This was popular in the 1980s in movies and was even expected to evolve into full environments, housed in tractor-trailer sized units, at Disney and elsewhere.  But it never happened, due to cost and other considerations.  However, in the 2000s, VR has undergone a renaissance and is moving toward consumer adoption as the cost has gone down and the space requirements are no longer much of an issue.  All that is required is a sufficiently powerful computer or phablet and VR helmets and/or gloves.  Since the high-end Oculus Rift was purchased in 2015 by FaceBook (for $1 billion!!), it has undergone significant creative innovations, primarily by using it to create a social platform to connect to friends and family, drawing and playing with creations, allowing users to create digital versions of themselves with emotional facial expressions (with Oculus Avatar, using the Oculus Touch controller), “Parties” and “Rooms” which let people come together in a VR “lounge” where they can watch videos, listen to music and otherwise hang out, play VR chess or fence, even change backgrounds to live locations, like home to check on your dog.  The Oculus software can now also be paired with the Samsung Gear VR phablet’s screen.  Sony has the Project Morpheus headset that works with it’s PlayStation 4Microsoft Fove is in the financing stage, its headset endowed with eye-tracking technology.  And the Google I/O Cardboard is the specs for a do-it-yourself cardboard headset with an opening into which an Android or iPhone smart phone can be inserted (or the soon-to-come “Daydream” which will actually be enbedded into manufactured smart phones), which will play VR games which Google hopes will be independently developed.  See also augmented reality, HUD, Oculus Rift, Google Glass, Google VR.  Also AltspaceVR, a startup which creates virtual environments where people can interact, make VR calls and watch performances, via their own avatar, kind of like Second Life (which is developing its own version).  And Outside Interactive, just one app which let’s users of treadmill devices select high definition video routes, speeds and features.  The technology is now being adapted into the marketplace, as stores use it to drive sales to brick-and-mortar stores from on-line sales.  For example, Lowes home improvement stores are testing virtual reality headsets to help shoppers envision home improvement projects, Macy’s has tested an IBM Watson artificial intelligence tool that answers shoppers’ questions, Kohls has experimented with holographic displays called “digital hangers” that use water vapor so that, say, when a blouse is removed from a hanger, it will trigger a nearby screen showing suggested coordinating items, and many stores like Macys and Kohls are using digital beacons to send shoppers targeted coupons when their cell phones indicated that they are nearby sale or other items.

VIRUS:  See, Spyware.

VisiCalc_LogoVisiCalc:  Historically important because it was the first spreadsheet program available for personal computers.  (Shortly thereafter, SuperCalc was introduced, for use with the then popular CP/M operating system.)  It was released in 1979 running on an Apple II computer, later on PCs.  Created by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston while MBA students at Harvard, their program was later sold by their company Software Arts, Inc.  to Lotus, where Lotus founder Mitch Kapor developed it into the popular Lotus 1-2-3 software, which was later acquired by IBM.  It was never patented, because such protection was not made eligible by the U.S. Supreme Court until 1981.  In 1987, Excel and Quottro Pro spreadsheets were introduced by competitors, providing a more graphic user interface for easier use.

VISUAL BASIC:  An “event driven” programming language developed by Microsoft in 1990 and continually updated since.  It is based on the BASIC language, but adds a graphical interface to it so it acts more like an object oriented programming (“OOP”) language (hence “visual” BASIC).  Users can add code by dropping and dragging controls like buttons and dialog boxes rather than concerning themselves with syntax-related issues like they would with original BASIC.

Viv logoVIV:  A digital assistant developed by the co-founder of Siri, DaDag Kittlausg Kittlaus (right).  He claims it will be a personalized assistant on any device an powered by any service.  It will surpass Siri, Alexa, Cortana and the others by using what he calls “converational commerce”.  Instead of asking “what is the weather today,” you’ll be able to ask “will it be warmer in downtown Sarasota at 9:00am in two days than it is right now?” or “Find me a first class Italian restaurant in Naples, FL at 8:00pm Saturday”.  Viv (short for Vivian) does this with superior AI software, learning from past queries and other information about the user.  It may be ready for roll-out by 2016.

VLC:  Visible Light Communications.  See Li-Fi.

VONAGE:  See, VoIP.  A publicly held commercial Voice Over IP and SIP network that provides telephone service via broadband access.  At one time the largest broadband telephone provider, it has now been overtaken by Comcast and Verizon.  When it started in 1999, it was called Min-X.com, but was changed around December 2000 to Vonage, combining the “VON” acronym (“Voice On the Net”) with “age” (heralding the start of a new era for phone service).

VOD:  Video On Demand.  Obtaining video like movies or TV shows over the Internet when you want to watch it, rather than at a scheduled time.

VOE:  Video Over Ethernet.  Delivery of video and audio over ethernet cables, as opposed to separate coaxial cables or other connections.  It has the advantage of working off of a single CAT 5 cable and connection.  See also, PoE.

VoIP:  This translates to “voice over internet protocol”.  It means what it sounds like:  Sending voice over the internet.  VoIP is a protocol (basically, a program) that makes it possible to send voice (i.e. telephone) over the Internet.  Companies like Vonage and Skype specialize in this type of transmission.  Why use VoIP?  No long distance charges and a set rate (say $24.95, Vonage) for unlimited minutes of use or per-minute charges for local calls (Skype), unlike standard POTS (another acronym, which stands for “Plain Old Telephone Service”) land lines.  See SIP for more technical information.  Also, Phone.

VON NEUMANN ARCHITECTURE: John von neumann photo  Also known as “Stored Program architecture” and sometimes as the Princeton architecture (to distinguish it from the earlier Harvard architecture which it improved upon)A design model for a computer that uses a single CPU and a single storage structure to hold both the instructions and created data.  Designed by John von Neumann (1903 -1957) a Hungarian mathematician who held one of the first appointments to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University (he wasn’t actually a professor), most of today’s computers use this paradigm.  He developed his thoughts on computing after Alan Turing wrote his seminal paper “On Computable Numbers” in 1950.  Turing came up with the idea of computing using software instructions; von Neumann added the idea of storing the software and data internally.  He shared space with Turing and Albert Einstein at the Institute.  The Von Neumann model is a computer which has a CPU with one or more registers that hold data that is being operated on, which can interpret (“fetch”) the contents of memory as either instructions or data.   It includes certain components used by almost all computers today:  (1) A CPU processor consisting of logic units and registers (2) RAM and (3) a hard drive, which allows the computer to store instructions as binary values (hence the “stored program” moniker) and execute instructions sequentially.  The idea of a computer having all of its instructions and data in easily accessible RAM was a major advance over the “program controlled” computers (like the Turing designed machines which required patch cables and dip switches to route data and instructions) of the 1940s (e.g. Eniac and Colossus) and led the way for todays PCs, servers and mainframes.  Von Neumann machines are serial and sequential, the opposite of parallel computers, which are sometimes referred to as “non-Von Neumann architectures”.  This leads to the only drawback of this architecture - the so-called “Von Neumann bottleneck”  [a/k/a the “imperative vs. functional programming” debate] which slows down the computer’s operation because the same bus is used to fetch both instructions as well as data, so both cannot be done simultaneously, but rather sequentially.  For all but supercomputers, the slower throughput is inconsequential.  For the next possible paradigm for computing, see IBM’s Corolet neural computing software, which is designed to mimic how the human brain functions.

VOOK:  A digital book that includes some video in its text.

VPC:  A virtual PC.  That is, a PC which operates by running a second operating system within the current O/S, allowing access to both simultaneously (as opposed to a dual boot O/S).  For example, Windows 7 & 8  “XP Mode” does this, as do several other programs, see this LINK.  This is not the same as dual booting a system to either one or the other O/S.  In a VPC, both systems are running simultaneously, so you can run a full XP system inside a Win 8 system.

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks):  Click HERE for more.

VPN TUNNELING:  See TunnelingA network technology that encapsulates packets at the same level or below, pushing multiple protocols that support encryption and authentication through the same VPN.

VRML:  Virtual Reality Modeling Language.  A 3D graphics language launched in a web browser page, primarily used in RPGs.  VRML pages can be viewed, rotated and otherwise manipulated, so that simulated rooms and other environments can be “walked into”.  Popular VMRL viewers for PC are currently SGI (the original developer), Cosmo Player, WorldView and Cortona and SimVRML and Virtus Voyager for Macs.

VULNERABILITY:  An opening in the code of an operating system, utility or program which can be exploited by malware or viruses which can corupt a computer.

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