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A/V ("A-V") Acronym for Audio/Visual.
A1("A-one") • Amiga: Abbreviation for AmigaOne.
A1boot loader • Amiga: See Second Level Booter
A1000 ("A-one-thousand") • Amiga: The original 16-bit Amiga released in 1984, which came with 0.5Mb of RAM and one internal floppy drive, with a freestanding keyboard.
A1200 ("A-twelve-hundred") • Amiga: The current starter machine in the 32-bit Amiga range, which contained the AGA chipset, and came with 2Mb of memory and integrated 96 key keyboard. An internal IDE type hard drive was optional.
A1500 ("A-fifteen-hundred") • Amiga: Basically a budget model B2000 with two floppy drives but no hard drive.
A2000("A-two-thousand") • Amiga: The original A2000 was an upgraded version of the A1000, in the same case, but was released only in Germany. This model was not officially released by Commodore, and they all but deny it exists despite the number still in use around the world. Hence when they refer to the A2000 they really mean B2000 as it is generally known to many Amiga enthusiasts. Confused? So was Commodore.
A2500 ("A-two-thousand-five-hundred") • Amiga: A variation of the B2000 that was released in some parts of the world. It contained an accelerator card with additional memory and a flicker fixer.
A3000 ("A-three-thousand") • Amiga: The first of the power machines, sporting the ECS chipset and full 32-bit operation. The motherboard could accommodate up to 18Mb of RAM and came in two versions - 68030 at 16MHZ and 68030 at 25MHz. The internal hard drive was a SCSI unit with an external socket for SCSI expansion.
A3000T ("A-three-thousand-T") • Amiga: A version of the A3000 that was supplied in an upright case (or Tower box) that was basically an A3000, but had a more powerful power-supply, extra expansion ports and space for many more drives and devices.
A4000 ("A-four-thousand") • Amiga: The flagship of the Amiga 32-bit range, and contained the AGA chip set, a 68040 processor running at 25MHz, (although there was also a 680EC30 version running at 25MHz), 4Mb of RAM, 4 Zorro III slots, and 3 PC slots, as well as internal IDE Hard disk but lacked SCSI support. Like the A3000, the motherboard could accommodate up to 18Mb of RAM but it had high density floppy drives as standard.
A4000T ("A-four-thousand-T") • Amiga: A version of the A4000 supplied in an upright case (or Tower box) that was basically an A4000, but had a more powerful power-supply, extra expansion ports and space for many more drives and devices.
A500 ("A-five-hundred") • Amiga: The first of the 16-bit Amigas integrated with the keyboard, and sporting a PSU. It underwent numerous internal changes over the years, so not all A500 computers were the same, with numerous motherboard revisions and component changes.
A500+ ("A-five-hundred-plus") • Amiga: Basically an A500 inside but upgraded to Workbench 2 with the ECS chipset allowing up to 1 Meg of Chip RAM.
A600 ("A-six-hundred") • Amiga: Basically an A500+ inside but using a smaller redesigned case without the numeric keypad. However, provision was made for an internal 3.5" IDE hard disk (optionally supplied) and a PCMCIA slot was also fitted.
AA ("A-A") Acronym for Auto Answer.
AA CHIPSET ("double-A chipset") • Amiga: The name given to the Amiga's custom graphics chips, consisting of Alice, Lisa and Paula as found in the A1200 and A4000.
AAA CHIPSET ("triple-A chipset") • Amiga: The name given to the Amiga's custom graphics chips consisting of Andrea, Monica, Mary and Linda.
ACBM ("A-C-B-M") • Amiga: Acronym for Amiga Compressed Bit Map, more properly written as IFF-ACBM.
ACCELERATOR Refers to a method of speeding up a computer, by the addition of a faster CPU chip, but generally as part of an expansion card, as many accelerators also required addition memory to function properly.
ACCELERATOR CARD A type of expansion card that could be fitted to most Classic Amigas that contains a faster processor or CPU chip, and additional memory designed to obtain the maximum speed from the processor. Some accelerator cards even provided a hard disk controller on board to maximum the benefits from the card.
ACCELERATION • Amiga: An option on the Amiga Preferences screen that let you increase the speed of the mouse when you are creating complex graphics etc.
ACPI Acronym for "Advanced Configuration and Power Interface".
ACRONYM A word formed by combining the initial letters, or syllables and letters, of a series of words or a compound term. For example, one of my favourites is "TLA", which is an acronym for "Three Letter Acronyms". Computer people love acronyms, as you are probably already aware.
ACTION GADGETS • Amiga: Boxes on the Amiga Workbench screen, that let you issue commands for operations within the window. For example, there are gadgets to save, close etc.
ACTIVE BOX The current box to which all box operations are performed.
ACTIVE SERVER PAGE Microsoft's technology to enables HTML pages to be dynamic and interactive by embedding scripts, i.e. either VBScript or JScript, Microsoft's alternative of JavaScript. Since the scripts in ASP pages (suffix .asp) are processed by the server, any browser can work with ASP pages regardless of its support for the scripting language used therein.
ADAPTOR BOX A small box with a different socket or plug on each side that looks a lot like a gender bender, which it definitely isn't. They can be used to convert a cable or connection with one connector type to a different type of connector, often with a different number of pins. They are often found with a DB25 connection on one side and a DB9 connection on the other side but there are many others also available. Great care should be taken when purchasing any form of adaptor box, as the pin in and pin out connections may not necessarily match your requirements, and if used can cause damage to your system. For example, there are at least six DB25 to DB9 adaptor boxes on sale, probably more, that all have different internal wiring. If you require an adaptor you must check that the pin in and pin out signals match the specified requirements for your application. Most applications are for MS-DOS usage, for example allowing the mouse to be connected to a serial or parallel port, or whatever. At this time, there is no standard adaptor box available in NZ (it is available in the US) for an Amiga that connects the G-Lock DB9 plug to the parallel port, but some adaptor boxes which use internal wiring can be modified to do the job. If you must use an adaptor box, ensure that it is the correct one BEFORE you connect it.
ADC ("A-D-C") Acronym for Analog to Digital Converter.
ADD-ON A printer, game controller, modem or any other external component you use with a computer. In general, their addition requires no expertise, apart from understanding how to install the appropriate driver software.
ADDRESS Every byte of memory in your computer has a unique number as its name and this name is called its address.
ADOBE FONTS Also known as Adobe Postscript fonts, or simply Postscript Fonts.
ADSL ("A-D-S-L")  Acronym for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.
ADVANCED CONFIGURATION AND POWER INTERFACE (abbreviation"ACPI") A feature on PC's which gives Windows™ more control over switching power on and off. With an ACPI-compatible system, Windows can switch to a hibernation mode which saves the current settings to disk, then powers down the monitor and hard drives. Next time the computer is switched on, it starts up a lot more quickly.
ADVANCED GRAPHICS ARCHITECTURE (abbreviation "AGA") The name given to the Amiga's custom graphics chips, consisting of Alice, Lisa and Paula chips as found in the A1200, A4000 and CD-32, which provide enhanced performance over the ECS chipset. With a maximum of 256 colours from a palette of 16.7 million in all modes, and up to 262,144 colours in HAM8 mode, the output approached 24 bit quality but using only 8 bits.
ADVENTURE GAMES A style of game in which you control or play a character, and move around in imaginary locations, solving puzzles and tricky situations, ultimately trying to solve the entire game by deduction and logical thought. There are three types of adventure games - Arcade, Graphic and Text, as well as a similar, but significantly different, style called Role-Playing games.
AFM ("A-F-M") Acronymn for Audio Frequency Modulation.
AGA (pronounced "A-G-A") Acronym for Advanced Graphics Architecture.
AGA CHIPSET (pronounced "A-G-A chipset") Also known as the "AA" or "double A" chipset, it is the name given to the Amiga's custom chips found in the A1200 and A4000.
AGNUS CHIP A "custom chip" used to control and move data to be displayed on the VDU. It is also responsible for timing the machine and even directs animation. Agnus has been upgraded a number of times, and the capabilites of the one installed in your machine dictates just what characteristics your machine has. On the A1200 and A4000 machines this chip has been superceded by the Alice chip which performs the same functions and more, but if you have an older machine it will likely contain one of the following:
  • Agnus (8361) .5Mb Chip RAM, 5 bit colour
  • Fat Agnus (8370) .5Mb Chip RAM, Extra Halfbright (6 bit colour)
  • Fat Agnus (8371) .5Mb Chip RAM
  • Fatter Agnus (8372A) 1Mb Chip RAM, PAL/NTSC modes
  • Super Fat Agnus (8372B) 2Mb Chip RAM, Productivity & super hires modes
  • Obese Agnus (8373) 2Mb Chip RAM
AI (pronounced "A-I") Acronym for Artificial Intelligence.
AKCUG Acronym for Auckland Commodore Users Group
AKIKO A "custom chip" used in the CD-32, and CD-ROM add-ons to the A1200 & A4000 to control the CD drive and handle the chunky to planar pixel conversion.
ALERT An error message that is displayed when there is a serious problem on the Amiga or a program that is running.
ALIAS • Amiga:  Used to refer to an alternate name for an AmigaDOS command, or can be a whole expression, for example: ALIAS d1 GLOBAL DIR DF1: would enable "d1" to be used instead of typing "DIR DF1:".
Mac: Used to describe a Macintosh and SGI graphics format devised by Alias Research Inc for their animation and visualisation software.
ALIASING A sampling term, meaning the audible interference between the sample rate frequency and the high frequencies in the sound source.
ALICE CHIP A "custom chip" used to control and move data to be displayed on the screen. It is also responsible for timing the machine and even directs animation. On the A1200 and A4000 machines, this chip has superceded the Agnus chip,which performs similar functions, but Alice is more powerful.
ALPHANUMERIC Used to describe a collection of the letters of the alphabet and numbers.
ALT KEYS Either of the two keys at each end of the bottom row of keys on an Amiga or PC keyboard, labelled "Alt" which are used in conjunction with other keys to generate an alternate character or result.
AMAX A Macintosh emulator for the Amiga developed here in NZ by Simon Douglas, but now manufactured and marketed ReadySoft in Canada. It is available as an internal card for box-type Amigas or as an external cartridge for keyboard only Amigas. The latest incarnation, A-Max IV, also provides colour support and the ability to switch back to the Amiga without rebooting.
AMBER The name given to the Video Display Enhancer chip found in A3000s, etc.
AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE (acronym "ANSI") The standards authority, based in the USA, which has issued standards for many aspects of modern computing, ranging from the C programming language (most C compilers now comply with ANSI), printer control characters, and display control characters as used by a BBS to display colour output that is compatible with an ANSI compliant display device.
AMIGA Originally conceived as a games machine back in the early 80's, the Amiga has never really lost that label, despite being able to perform virtually any type of processing, including emulating its rivals, sometimes faster than the original machines. The brainchild of a small group of ex-Atari engineers that included Jay Miner (often referred to as the father of the Amiga), RJ Mical and Dave Morse, it was to be the ultimate games machine. After serious financial problems and attempts to raise money, the company was finally purchased by Commodore who recognised its potential. During its prototype stages it was known as Zorro, before finally being released as the Amiga, a name loosely based on the Spanish word for "Girl-Friend". Since its original launch in 1985 when it was preented by Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry (Blondie for those who remember her), it has passed through 15 different guises and evolved into one of the most versatile, yet still relatively undiscovered, personal computers available. There is no truth in the rumour that Commodore are still trying to keep it secret. Its just that they don't understand the philosophy of sales and marketing.
AMIGA AUCKLAND A user group of Amiga enthusiasts who regularly meet in the Auckland area for the purpose of getting more from their Amigas. The objectives of the society are the promotion of the Amiga, and assistance for all members in all areas in which the Amiga can be used.
 (acronym  "ACBM")
Shortened  form  of Interchange File Format - Amiga Compressed Bit Map, more properly written as IFF-ACBM.
AMIGA KEYS The two keys on either side of the space bar on the bottom row of keys on the Amiga keyboard. The Left Amiga key depicts a black letter "A", while the Right Amiga key is an outline letter "A". Many programs will simply show a black or white letter "A" for hot key commands and these relate to the left and right Amiga keys respectively. See also CTRL-A-A.
AMIGA NEW ZEALAND The name under which Amiga Auckland was originally formed.
AMIGADOS The Amiga's Disk Operating System, or simply called the operating system. An umbrella term covering all the routines/programs which allow the Amiga to function, including the CLI and Workbench user interfaces. Handles all the hardware devices, such as the screen and the drives as well. It was originally derived from TRIPOS at Cambridge University and TERPIS from Dr Tim King from Bristol.
AMIGAGUIDE A standard document format developed by Commodore which provides a method of displaying on-line help information to the user. It uses an Intuition window that contains a scroll bar, buttons and pull down menus to display plain ASCII text files or AmigaGuide databases, the latter being sets of related documents contained in one file. Each document may contain references to other documents, using what is called a link. Each document may contain any number of links, pointing to any number of other documents. When the user selects a link, the document that the link points to, will be displayed. The user then uses the links to read through the database, following whatever path they may choose. The technical term for this type of facility is "HyperText", and using the AmigaGuide system, any software publishers can provide applications help screens that pop up at the press of a button, while Shareware and PD developers can build stand-alone help systems without the need for programming, and even end-users can easily create their own HyperText journals, cross-referenced note files, or even family trees. To utilise AmigaGuide, documents must conform to a special format, and full details on it are provided on Fred Fish disk 920, which contains the freely distributable archive released by Commodore.
AMIGAONE (abbreviation "A1") The name for the PPC based full-size motherboard machines marketed by EyeTech.
AMIGAONE Lite The concept name for the PPC based ITX-sized motherboard machines marketed by EyeTech which was subsequently changed to Micro AmigaOne.
AMOS (pronounced "A-moss") A programming language similar to Basic, but offering far greater control and flexibility.
AMSMAG (pronounced "amms mag") A magazine disk published monthly (except January) by Amiga Auckland, and posted to all financial members at the beginning of each month. It lists all upcoming user group activities, and well as the latest news, letters from members, hints, tips, tutorials, games reviews, art gallery and much more. Contributions from members are always welcome at any time, and can either be posted to the editor or simply uploaded to the appropriate area on the BBS. Has the reputation of being one of the world's best.
ANALOG Refers to an infinitely variable signal or wave form such as sound, heat, light etc. This is the sort of signal still used by telephone systems and radio stations, although digital systems are becoming available.
ANALOG TO DIGITAL CONVERTER An electronic chip that is made up of a large number of comparators which compare an incoming analog signal to a number of set values, and when the correct comparison is made, the result is encoded in binary form and sent out the output line. The quality of the output sample is affected by the sample speed and the sample depth. Music CD's are sampled at 24KHz using 16 bits. The highest frequency that will be registered by a sample, is a frequency of half the sampling rate, and is known as the Shannon Hartley sampling principle. See also Sampler.
ANDREA CHIP A "custom chip" used to control and move data to be displayed on the VDU. It is also responsible for timing the machine and even directs animation. This chip has superceded the Agnus and Alice chips on previous Amigas and performs similar functions, but is more powerful. It supports the old 16-bit registers, new 32-bit registers, enhanced Blitter and Copper, Burst mode to Chip RAM, and display rates up to 110MHz. Part of the AAA chipset.
ANIM An IFF graphics format originally devised by Electronic Arts, for storing animation files, and has since evolved into a number of different formats such as ANIM5, ANIM7, ANIM8 and ANIM24.
ANIM5 More correctly referred to as "ANIM Op5", it is an Amiga animation file format created by Dan Silva of Electronic Arts, which is now used by many programs, such as Deluxe Paint, P-Animate, Videoscape etc.
ANIM7 More correctly referred to as "ANIM Op7", it is an Amiga animation file format created by Wolfgang Hofer which allows for word and long word compression, in addition to the byte compression method used in ANIM5. This makes de-compression much faster, and subsequently animation playback is also considerably faster.
ANIM8 More correctly referred to as "ANIM Op8", it is an Amiga animation file format created by Joe Porkka of ASDG which is similar to ANIM7, but is considered to be slightly slower, hence it is often suggested to convert back to ANIM7 instead. However, more and more programs now use ANIM8.
ANIM24 At this point in time there is is no such standard for 24 bit animations, although you will find this format alluded to from time to time. There is a high probability one will be established, but it doesn't exist yet.
ANSI Acronym for American National Standards Institute.
ANTI-ALIASING A technique where graduated colours are used to reduce the jaggedness of otherwise contrasting adjacent pixels.
API (pronounced "A-P-I") Acronym for Application Program Interface.
APPLETALK Apple's local area networking system software.
APPLICATION PROGRAM A series of instructions that tells the computer to perform specific tasks, such as those required for word processing, graphics, games etc.
APPLICATION PROGRAM INTERFACE A set of system calls which allow programs to work consistently regardless of the underlying software or hardware.
ARC One of the commonly used compression utilities designed to reduce transmission time for large files. See also Archive, LhA, LhArc, and Zoo.
ARCADE ADVENTURE GAMES A game where you control a character that you can see on the screen, involving a combination of action and logic to reach a destination or achieve a goal. Unlike some of the other adventure games, this type have a high physical component in addition to the puzzles. Top games in this category include First Samurai, RoboCop 3, D/Generation, Hunter, Another World, Heimdall, and many others such as the Dragon's Lair series.
ARCADE GAMES A style of game that could be anything not included under any other heading, but tend to be colourful, cutesy and fun, involving plenty of action with a bit of puzzle thrown in for good measure, although a number of somewhat violent fighting games have become very popular over the last few years.
ARCHIE A clever database found on the Internet which can be used to locate files stored in public access sites on the net, that gets it name from the word "archive". The Archie database contains information on over 1,000 public access sites, or 1.5 million files with more then 1000 gigabytes of data. You can query Archie with all or part of a filename, and it will return a list of sites where you can FTP the file from. See also WAIS.
ARCHIVE A backup copy of files, or it can be used just to refer to the process of copying files to disk or tape. More commonly, it is used to describe the collection of files (and directories) all held in a single file for easy transfer between systems or uploading/downloading using a BBS, or FTP using the Internet. Archives are usually compressed by special techniques, so the whole is often less than the sum of the parts, hence its use with BBS's.
AREXX (pronounced "A-rex") A version of the Rexx programming language developed especially for Amiga users, that is particularly well suited for use as a command or scripting language. Originally developed by IBM for communication between computers the Amiga implementation is commonly used to communicate between tasks in the Amiga Operating System. In this way, a DTP program can, for example, invoke the services of any drawing program, rather than having to provide specific facilities itself.
AREXX PORT For ARexx to be capable of communicating with an application it must have a feature known as an ARexx "port". The is essentially an ARexx identity by which ARexx, and all other programs wishing to communicate via ARexx, know a particular program (something akin to a telephone number). Active ports can be displayed in many ways, but one common technique is to use a program called SysInfo from Nic Wilson by clicking on the System Software Installed gadget until "Ports" appears and then scroll down the display.
ARGUMENT Items or variables that provide additional information for commands used by AmigaDOS or application programs. For example COPY DF0:FRED DF1: shows DF0:FRED and DF1: as arguments for the copy command.
ARPANET An evolution of the original DARPANET which by 1972 had grown to 37 nodes and no longer restricted itself to exchanging military research data. The users exchanged all kinds of data, and many setup private e-mail accounts for passing personal and/or private information. The network continued to grow and as it did so it became less controllable so in 1983 the military formed their own network called MILNET. Then in 1984 the NSF hoped to use ARPANET for their plans, but restricted by red tape, they decided to form their own network called NSFNET.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE A term used to describe a form of Artificial Intelligence where a program attempts to imitate human intelligence & decision making characteristics. This term is widely mis-used, to describe any program that is not totally stupid, but is rarely used correctly. Unlike Expert Systems, where most of the rules are clearly defined, AI programs can learn from experience, and continue to evolve new rules dynamically.
ASCENDER The top part of a character that rises above the body of the letter.
ASCII (pronounced "asskee") "American Standard Code for Information Interchange", which is the standard that facilitates transfer of data between computers. It is simply a code which designates a numeric binary number in the range 000 to 127 for every letter of the alphabet, numerals and the various special characters that you see on your keyboard, for example "A" has a value of 65, "Z" has a value of 90, "a" has a value of 97, while "5" has a value of 53. A full list of codes is normally contained in an Appendix of one of the manuals.
ASES Acronym for Auto Synchro Editing System.
ASP (pronounced "A-S-P") Acronym for Active Server Page
ASPECT RATIO A ratio between the width and the height of an object or screen. With the normal computer screen the aspect ratio is 4:3, which means if the screen is say 24 cms wide, the screen will be 18 cm high. Television screens are also 4:3 but an emerging new standard is 16:9 which gives a wider display (using the same height screen as above, the width would be 32 cms).
ASSEMBLER This term refers both to a programming language and the program that does the interpretation of that language into machine code. Assembler language is in effect machine code but in a mnemonic format that is easier to read and work with, and you still need to have a detailed understanding of the operation of the computer to work with it.
ASYMMETRIC DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (acronym ADSL) A method for moving data at high speed over regular phone lines. An ADSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection, and the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same (copper) wires used for regular phone service. An ADSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line. Asymmetric means that the upload speeds (between 256 kilobits per second and 2 Megabits per second depending on the plan) are different to the upload speed (between 128 and 192 kilobits per second depending on the plan).  In theory ADSL allows download speeds of up to 9 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second. ADSL is often discussed as an alternative to ISDN, allowing higher speeds in cases where the connection is always to the same place. It requires a special modem and filters that change the audible frequency for telephones, such that both data and voice can function at the same time over the single line. This is one of the facilities available for Broadband communication.
ASYNCHRONOUS A situation where data can be set and received by a computer or device at the same time, without having to wait for the control to be passed from another device.
AT (pronounced "A-T") A term used to refer to MS-DOS machines running the Intel 80286 processor although it has been suggested it is an acronym for "Advanced Technology".
AT COMMANDS (pronounced "A-T commands") A set of commands all prefixed by the letters AT which can be issued to send control and setup commands to modems. Many of these AT commands are common to most modems, but there are also commands which are unique to a particular modem or brand of modems. For example, the 'AT&V' command is used by virtually all modems to display the active configuration profile.
AT&T (pronounced "A-T-and-T") Acronym for American Telephone and Telegraph.
ATA (pronounced "A-T-A") Acronym for AT Attachment and is basically the same as IDE.
ATM (pronounced "A-T-M") Often used as an acronym for "Automated Teller Machine", ATM is also the AT command to silence a modem, and more recently has been used as an acronym for "Asychronous Transfer Mode".
AUDIO FREQUENCY MODULATION (abbreviation "AFM") Refers to the type of audio recording wherein audio information is laid onto magnetic tape by rotating heads as used in VHS Hi-fi, S-VHS and Video8 video formats.
AUDIO/VISUAL(acronym "A/V") A term used to describe events designed to be seen and heard, but is more often used when referring to the electronic equipment used for sound and video recording and/or reproduction.
AUTO ANSWER (acronym "AA") A term used with modems to indicate when a modem is set to automatically answer the telephone when it rings and in most cases can be set to answer between 1 and 255 rings using 'S Register' 0. For example, if S0=4, this will instruct the modem to wait four rings before answering. S0=0 is used to turn off auto answer.
AUTO SYNCHRO EDITING SYSTEM A function available on some stereo systems that lets you reorganise the tracks on a CD to get the best fit when recording onto a cassette.
AUTOCONFIG The ability of a system to automatically recognise external devices, such as hard disks and RAM expansion units. The Amiga has always had this ability but for PC users it began when Windows 95 was released and is still being refined.
AUTODOCS For application developers the AutoDocs describe the operation of each of the Amiga operating system's individual functions. You can buy books with this lot in, and they are also available on disk with Commodore's Native Developer's Toolkit.

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Revised: September 19, 2005.