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Definition: What's in this encyclopedia

Containing definitions for a wide variety of technical topics, this encyclopedia includes entries for concepts as well as the most popular applications and devices. There are more than 37,000 entries, 60,000 cross references and 6,000 images that include historical photographs, products, flowcharts and diagrams. See About this encyclopedia.

A Solid Foundation
Because this is written by an educator who taught computer literacy to thousands of people before publishing "The Computer Glossary" more than 40 years ago, every definition is based on sound data processing principles. There is one consistent writing style throughout every definition, and this is the only tech reference continuously updated for clarity, not just technical changes. It is also the largest and longest-running encyclopedia ever written by one person.

The Right Lingo
This is the only tech reference that highlights the correct way to speak computer lingo, and every definition is designed to teach, not just explain. It also provides synonyms for many terms as well as common slang. For example, see naming fiascos, adaptive cruise control, data, chatbot, algorithmic, AI robot, baud rate, custom ASIC, protocol, high-speed broadband, digispeak and never say.

Basic Computer Literacy
Every essential industry term such as computer, operating system, storage, memory and so on are entries, along with thousands more. There are unique explanations that help non-technical people understand basic concepts; for example, see 3 C's and computers are copy machines. For other examples, see computer, PC, binary, operating system, cache, application and storage vs. memory.

Important Products
The applications that people use every day are entries, such as Microsoft Office, Chrome, Safari and KeyNote (see application suite and Web browser). The top hardware environments are also included (see x86, ARM, Apple M1 and IBM Z). In 1981, this was the first tech reference to include software applications and hardware models rather than only computer science definitions.

Technical Concepts
The high-tech industry is made up entirely of hardware and software designs and concepts. Every important subject in this field is included. For examples, see chip, graphics pipeline, LCD, OLED, SSD, software stack, byte addressable and object-oriented programming.

Hot Topics
AI, Bitcoin and metaverse are hot buzzwords today. A summary of major industry topics is included (see hot topics and trends), and there are more than 700 crypto terms in this encyclopedia (see crypto glossary basics). See buzzword, AI and metaverse.

Summaries of Popular Devices
Summaries of models and versions of major products such as iPhones, iPads, Macs, Samsung smartphones and Surface tablets are covered. For examples, see iPhone versions, iPad, Mac models, Galaxy S and 802.11 versions.

In the past 75 years, the world has undergone cataclysmic changes due to computer technology. Everything today stems from past inventions. For examples, see early calculators, early computers, early memory and early direct access devices.

Programming is the heart and soul of the computer industry. All major languages are included along with common programming concepts and terminology. For examples, see source code, programming concepts, programming language, if-then-else and program logic.

Networks are the circulatory system of the high-tech world, and every important networking term is included in this encyclopedia. For examples, see WAN, LAN, Ethernet, switch, wireless router and access point.

Stuff You Wouldn't Think to Look Up
See never say, good user interface, naming fiascos, ASCII chart and chip manufacturing.

Some Humor
Face it. The technical world is often pretty dry and tedious. A little fun never hurts. See how to spoof your techie friends, buffer flush and Stringy Floppy.