Helpful Dictionary of Common Technical Terms

ISP - stands for Internet Service Provider. It's a company which offers their customers access to the Internet. A ISP is the company you pay for your internet access. Internet access is commonly provided via cable modems, DSL, T1 lines, or dial-up service.

Browser - a web browser is a software application that allows users to view and interact with web pages on the World Wide Web. The most common browsers on the PC platform are Internet Explorer and Firefox. The most common browsers on a Mac are Firefox and Safari.  

JPG - is the file extension for JPEG files. It is the most common file format for photographic images saved and viewed via the web. Most digital cameras save images in this format. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that created the standard. JPEG files are photographic files which have some level of compression. There is a tradeoff between file size, image quality, and amount of compression used. Smaller file sizes allow an image or web page of images to load faster. A highly compressed image will be smaller in size but the quality maybe reduced somewhat. As a practical matter, an image may generally be saved in Photoshop at 40 to 50% quality levels with very little noticeable reduction in quality. JPG images are generally optimal for photographs, but they are less well suited for logos or vector based images because of jaggies or distortions that maybe introduced with JPEG compression. Logos generally look better as GIF files. JPEG file format does not allow for transparencies or animations.

GIF - stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It is probably the second most used image file format used on the World Wide Web. GIFs are suitable for sharp-edged line art (such as logos) with a limited number of colors. A GIF file may have a maximum of 256 colors -- this is one reason this format is not optimal for photographic images. The GIF file format does allow for animation and limited transparencies.

PNG - stands for Portable Network Graphic. It is a file format for images that employs lossless data compression, and it was created to improve on and replace the GIF image file format. PNG files have certain advantages over GIF files -- they support more than 256 colors and support alpha channel transparencies. However, PNG files do not support animation. And JPG files are still a better choice for most photographic images. A primary disadvantage of using PNG files was lack of support in Internet Explorer 6 and earlier. These problems were generally fixed in Internet Explorer 7, but there is still a large user base of Internet Explorer 6 users.
 
FTP - File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a network protocol used to transfer data from one computer. It is a common way to transfer files between a client's computer and a server. FTP is especially useful when transferring numerous or large files. A FTP client program is generally needed to upload and download files via FTP.

A good freeware FTP client for PC users is Filezilla:

http://filezilla-project.org/download.php

A good freeware FTP client for Mac users is CyberDuck:

http://cyberduck.ch/

Pixel - is the smallest piece of information in an image. Think of it as a colored dot, with numerous dots making up an entire image. Computer monitor settings are often measured in pixels as well. Common monitor settings include: 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×1024, and 1600×1200 pixels. If a monitor is set at a higher pixel resolution - content viewed on that monitor will appear smaller than it would appear on a monitor set to a lower resolution. On a monitor set to 800×600 pixels a web page might take up the whole width of the page and require lots of scrolling up and down, whereas the same webpage viewed on a monitor set at 1600×1200 pixels might be completely visible to a user and require no scrolling. It should be noted that megapixel cameras usually take large images that must be downsized to be viewed easily within a webpage.

Upload Bandwidth - generally speaking it is the amount of data that can be transferred from an end user's computer out to the internet over a certain period of time. Most ISPs provide much lower upload speeds than download speeds -- that is why it can take longer to upload a file than to download the file.
 
Download Bandwidth - this is generally the data transfer rate that an ISP allows its users to download data at.

A good tool to check your ISP's data transfer speeds can be found here:

http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/