Law Technology Glossary
Last Updated: 01/12/2013
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802.11 is the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard for wireless local area networks.
Flavors of 802.11
- 801.11a - One of the earlier flavors of wireless networking. There are almost no new deployments of 802.11a now, but there are a few legacy deployments.
- 802.11b - One of the most common flavors. It supports up to 11Mbps and is widely deployed. Not very many new 802.11b deployments are done.
- 802.11g - This is currently the most common variety. It supports 54Mbps connectivity. Almost all new wireless LANs are 802.11g. 802.11g is usually backwards compatible to 802.11b. Almost all 802.11g devices will also connect to 802.11b.
- 802.11n - The newest standard. Faster and more secure than 802.11g.
The Blackberry is a portable device manufactured by Research in Motion (RIM). It is widely known for its ability to send/receive e-mail messages though recent iterations have also included a telephone.
The CPU or Central Processing Unit is the brains of the computer where instructions are executed. There are two primary manufacturers of CPUs for PCs - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel.
The process of transforming information using a mathematical algorithm to make it unreadable to anyone except those who have the key that "decrypts" it. That key can be a passphrase, a swipe card, a biometric feature (like retina scan or finger print) or a number of other things. In many cases decrypting the information requires a combination of keys.
Excel is Microsoft's spreadsheet application.
A social networking site where people (and businesses) can create profiles and pages to interact with and share with other people (and businesses). Facebook is free for it's users as it is ad-supported. At last report more than 750 million people around the world use Facebook. If Facebook were a country it would be the world's 3rd largest (by population).
A firewall is a device or application that blocks unauthorized access. Typically it is placed between a private network and the Internet, though they can also be used within a private network to create security segments.
1,024 Kilobytes or 1,048,576 bytes. A byte is roughly equivalent to a single character.
A clever collaboration tool that lets distributed parties work together on projects and documents.
Hard Drive (or Hard Disk)
The computer's "file cabinet" it is long term storage. Typical hard drive sizes these days are at least 40GB in size and may range to Terabytes in size.
Instant Messenger (IM)
An Internet application that allows two, or more, people to have a typed "conversation" in real time. Popular IM applications (called "clients") are Microsoft Instant Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Each of the major IM clients has its own network.
An established law firm time and billing application. Recently purchased by LexisNexis
An open source operating system. There are many different "distributions" or "branches" of Linux.
Software used for burning CDs or DVDs.
A network is a collection of devices that are connected so that they can communicate and share resources.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
A software toolset that looks at scanned images and attempts to recognize text within those images.
Among the most popular packages are:
Put simply, it is a model of software development in which the source code (the basic language that defines the program) is available to be reviewed and even modified by others. It's comparable to sharing recipes for dishes - anybody can look at what makes up the dish, make their own modifications if desired and try to update or improve upon the original.
Notable examples of open source software include:
- Linux - an open source operating system
- Google Chrome - an open source browser
- OpenOffice - an open source suite of office productivity tools
"PowerPoint" is a term that is oft-misused in law offices. While really it means Microsoft PowerPoint it is often used generically to refer to PowerPoint slide decks and even projectors. As in "Can you set up the PowerPoint in the conference room for the meeting?" Microsoft PowerPoint is a software tool for building slide shows used in presentations and training.
ProLaw is a case management application currently owned by West (yes, the Westlaw people).
Quality of Service (QOS)
QOS is a networking tool used to prioritize network traffic. One common application is Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) - a network switch is programmed to look at each packet that passes through and give priority to VOIP traffic in order to reduce latency and delay and ensure a higher quality of service for that application. It is based upon the principle that some services (like VOIP) are more sensitive to delay than others (like e-mail).
A server is any device on the network with resources you want to share. It might share files, a printer, an Internet connection, e-mail mailboxes, databases or other things.
The "Name" of a wireless network.
USB (Universal Serial Bus)
A high-speed replacement for the old Serial connector. Now adays everything from the iPod to speakers to mice and more can connect to your computer via USB connectors. Most new Dell workstations only come with USB-connected keyboards and mice, in fact.
A Virus is a computer program whose primary purpose is to replicate itself. Typically a virus infects other files and travels within those files. A virus typically carries a "payload" of some kind which may be malicious, destructive or maybe just annoying. A virus is a type of malware.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. What makes it unique is that ANYBODY can add to or edit the documents. With more than 2 million articles (in English, and many more in other languages) it is one of, if not the, largest collection of public knowledge. The site's greatest strength, that anybody can edit it, is also it's greatest weakness. Because information can be added by anybody it's hard to know how accurate it is. Also it is subject to vandalism or edits by users with agendas.
An Outlook addin that indexes your e-mail and offers you information about the people sending you messages as well as some alternative search tools - such as quickly find all of the attachments that a certain sender has sent you. The basic version is free, the "Plus" version is $29.95.
An Internet website that allows ordinary individuals to upload their own movies so that others can view them.
A ZIP file is a compressed file which contains other files. Although recent versions of Microsoft Windows can open most ZIP files itself, the traditional utility for creating ZIP files (and uncompressing them) is PKZIP or WinZIP.