Glossary of Terms

bit - A single unit of computer memory, an on/off switch. 

byte - The most commonly referred to unit of computer memory, consisting of 8 bits.  A standard memory size because one byte is required to save the binary notation for a single alphabetic character.

COBOL - COmmon Business Oriented Language - A programming language used primarily in mainframe computers, but which can also be used to program mini- and microcomputers.  COBOL is designed to handle large files of data, so it is perfect for banking, government databases and other applications that keep track of enormous amounts of data.  COBOL was considered a dying language until the current crisis.  Now I understand that they are training prisoners in Great Britain to program in COBOL to meet the need of Y2K conversion

Gbyte - Gigabyte, also G (as in 4.3G hard drive) - 230 bytes, or 1,073,741,824 bytes, usually estimated as one billion bytes.

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Kbyte - Kilobyte, also K (as in...uh...what is actually measured in kilobytes these days?) - 210 bytes, or 1,024 bytes, usually estimated as one thousand bytes.

LDS - Latter Day Saint - A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also called Mormons.

Mbyte - Megabyte, also M (as in 64M RAM) - 220 bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes, usually estimated as one million bytes.

RAM - Random Access Memory - The memory in which the computer loads applications for processing.  RAM is temporary memory, unlike a hard drive.  When you turn off the computer, whatever is in RAM disappears.

Y2K - Year 2000 - Shorthand for the year 2000 computer crisis, from "K," a standard abbreviation for 1000, or in computers 210 or 1024.

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Lauren Eve Pomerantz
August 1998
last updated 15 August 2007