Glossary of Internet Terms

©2007 by Walt Howe

Select the first character of the term you want to look up or use the Search link below.

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Letter V

vector graphics
In mathematics and physics, a vector is a line which has a defined starting point, a designated direction and a specified distance. Vector graphics are line-based graphics. In vector graphics, vectors determine how straight and curved lines (Beziers or splines) are shaped between specific points. The lines and the colors of areas enclosed by the lines make up the picture. Microsoft SYLK is an example of a pure vector format. More commonly used are bitmap files and hybrids of vector and bitmap known as metafiles.
The gopher-based search engine that worked with an index of gopher menus around the world. The last VERONICA search engine on the nets is probably gone for good, but before the web’s spectacular growth, it was a real workhorse for searchers . It supposedly is an acronym for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives, but since the archie FTP search preceded it in time, the name pretty obviously came before the acronym. See archie and JUGhead.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A private network within a public network, usually on the Internet. Privacy for the virtual network is achieved through encryption and provides a less expensive option than using dedicated lines. See PPTP.

virtual reality
A computer simulation of a real 3-dimensional world, often supplemented by sound effects. One early example allowed you to drive through a city, turn at any street intersection, and see what you would see out of a car window. Another let you learn a ship’s layout by moving throughout all of its decks. Modern games let you fly an airplane or spaceship in combat or explore a dungeon and kill its monsters. Educational applications let you learn through experience for many types of simulated tasks or interact with professors and class members at a distance. See VRML.

A destructive program that has the ability to reproduce itself and infect other programs or disks. Typically a virus will not show itself immediately, but will add itself to programs and disks to spread itself widely on many computers before it is triggered into its destructive phase. The best defense is to run anti-virus software and use it on all new software and disks introduced to your system. Anti-virus software should be updated monthly. For a good source of current information on viruses, visit the Symantec Anti-Virus Research Center.

There are many hoaxes about viruses making the rounds. If you see warnings about any of these, they are all hoaxes: TIME BOMB, JOIN THE CREW, UNABLE TO DELIVER, OCTOBER 1, WIN 95, PENPAL GREETINGS, DEEYENDA, AOL 4.0 COOKIE, or FREE MONEY. AOL4FREE is also not a virus, although there is a Trojan Horse program by that name. For more complete information on virus hoaxes, see Symantec’s Hoax Page.

A vertical portal. A specialized portal that serves a particular organization or interest group, rather than trying to be all things to all people.

Virtual Reality Modelling Language. A graphical system that creates views of 3-dimensional images that change as the viewer’s angle and position changes and light sources change. It can be used to create an environment or world that appears realistic as you “move” through it. It is widely used for games and for educational applications. The technology is very young and growing fast. It requires a fast computer and fast video support with lots of memory to be effective. For a good starting point to learn about VRML, try Wikipedia’s VRML Page.

(last updated 22 October 2012)