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Glossary F...


FAST FILE SYSTEM (acronym "FFS") An enhanced disk formatting facility introduced with Workbench 2 to speed up the access, and the usable space on the disk. However, if you take a formatted FFS disk to a WorkBench 1.3 machine it will not be readable and will show something like DF0:DOS*.
FAST RAM A term given to the RAM which is not accessible to the Amiga's custom chips, and is generally used for application programs and associated data. In reality it is no faster than Chip RAM, but because it does not need to be locked before it can be changed and because it is not shared with any other process, access is quicker.
FATAL Describes an error condition that stops the current process.
FDDI (pronounced "F-D-D-I") Acronym for Fibre Data Distributed Interface.
FEMALE CONNECTOR Any connector which contains sockets, or holes, rather than the pins, and must therefore connect to a male connector.
FFS (pronounced "F-F-S") Acronym for Fast File System.
FIBRE DATA DISTRIBUTED INTERFACE (acronym "FDDI") An emerging standard for the transmission of electronic information along a fibre-optic cable.
FIBRE-OPTIC CABLE Network cabling that employs one or more optical fibres, and carries data using light instead of electricity.
FIDONET A system that allows many Bulletin Board Systems to be connected together so that messages can be transferred between them.
FILE A file refers to any collection of data with its own name. So, in effect, a file is any document that you type with your WordProcessor, a graphics image that you draw with you paint program, a song you compose with your music program, or any program that allows you to create these things.
FILE CREATOR A term used for the unique four character identifier contained within a file in the Macintosh filing system that identifies the program on which the file was prepared.
FILE REQUESTER A way of accessing both files and directories from a menu on the screen.
FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL
(acronym "FTP")
A program used to upload and download files using TCP/IP as occurs on the Internet. However it is often used as a verb as in "FTP a particular file" which means to down load a file from an FTP site, the latter being a node which permits down loads. It should be noted that not all networks connected to the Internet are open to just anyone - many are commercial concerns which require you to be a subscriber before you can access them. However, there are a great many FTP sites which allow access only to specific file areas, using a method called anonymous FTP.
FILE TYPE A term used for the four character designator contained within a file in the Macintosh filing system that identifies what kind of file it is, and helps the Finder decide how to use it.
FILENAME A Filename is any legal name you give to a file. In the CLI for example, it can consist of up to thirty characters except slash (/) and colon (:), both of which mean special things to AmigaDOS. To keep life simple, it's a good idea to avoid imbedded spaces in filenames, (though it can be done by enclosing the full pathname/filename in double-quotes), and you should try to make filenames sufficiently informative, so that you can recognise what they mean at a later time. Filename extensions or suffixes, such as ".ltr" (for a letter), or ".hr" (for a DPaint hi-res image), are useful, while in certain programs they are essential such as .doc (for a document in Scribble). You can put as many full stops as you like in a filename. However, be warned that if you want to output a file which you later want to read on an MS-DOS machine, the filename must be less than 8 characters unless you include separators (`.'), e.g. example.doc.
FINDER The program that creates the Macintosh desktop, equivalent to the Amiga's Workbench. The Finder program has many versions, and should always be run in conjunction with the correct version of the System file.
FISH DISKS See Fred Fish.
FLAG A status indicator in a program.
• Amiga: With AmigaDOS, a "condition flag" is a variable that contains a value set by the system, to indicate the success or failure of command executions.
FLICKER The effect caused by the perceptible fading of video screen phosphors on alternating lines of an interlaced frame. The flicker can be remedied by using a faster vertical scan rate as provided by multi-scan monitors, or by using a long-persistence monitor, where the phosphor dots do not fade as rapidly. For 1084 and 1084S users, flicker can be reduced by changing the colours on the screen, so there is less contrast and less luminence.
FLICKER FIXER See Video Display Enhancer.
FLOATING POINT A notation system in which the decimal point is not fixed, hence very big or very small numbers can be easily handled, albeit with a slight loss in accuracy. When the computer represents these numbers, the symbol consists of two parts. One part contains the fractional component of the number, while the other part is expressed as a power of the base or radix of the number. For example, a number in standard notation, e.g. 0.0000256 would have a floating point representation of .256E-04 using a base of 10.
FLOATING POINT UNIT (acronym "FPU")

The Floating Point Unit (or FPU) is a dedicated execution unit designed for performing math functions on floating point numbers. A floating point number is any number other than an integer; any number with a decimal point required to represent it is a floating point number. Integers (and data stored as integers) are processed using the processor's integer execution unit(s).
• Amiga:
The floating point unit ???????????
• MS-DOS: The floating point unit is integrated into all processors from the 486DX on (this does not include the 486SX). Earlier computers had to use the integer unit of the processor to perform floating point operations (which is very slow) unless they also had a second chip dedicated to performing floating point calculations, called a math coprocessor. The coprocessor would work with the regular processor to improve performance for math-intensive applications (spreadsheets, scientific applications, etc.) A separate math coprocessor is better than none at all, but is not nearly as efficient as having the floating point unit integrated into the main CPU. All new CPUs do this now.

FLOPPY DISK A removable storage medium where a flexible disk coated in magnetic oxide is housed in a rigid or semi-rigid container. The original floppy disks were contained in a square cardboard container about 8 inches across, and these were followed by a similar design but 5.25 inch disks across. Today most floppy disks use a 3.5inch almost square plastic cartridge, that use a small metal slide to cover the exposed disk, although the original DSSD disks have been superceded by DSDD and DSHD disks which store more data.
FLOW CONTROL A technique used for data transmission that lets your computer rate (i.e. the transfer rate between the computer and a modem) be different from the connection rate (i.e. the line speed). Flow control is useful with data compression because if the throughput is higher than the connection rate, the throughput will vary depending on the compressibility of the data. It lets your modem and computer tell each other when they're ready to accept more data for transmission and when to wait. This "handshaking" prevents data from being lost because the computer or modem was busy, and comes in two forms, hardware mode (known as RTS/CTS), and software mode (known as XON/XOFF) flow control.
FLUSH JUSTIFIED TEXT A body of text where the letters are flushed to both left and right hand margins, as in this document.
FMV (pronounced "F-M-V") Acronym for Full Motion Video.
FONT All of the characters in a particular typeface, which can come in a wide variety of Point Sizes. The default system font of the Amiga is Topaz 8, but this can be changed by running the program SetFont.
FORK The name given to the two logical segments which constitute a file in the Macintosh filing system. See also Data Fork and Resource Fork.
FORMATTING Preparing a new disk, or re-initialising a existing disk, for use by the Amiga by writing control information and control blocks ready to receive data. Formatting a disk erases all previously stored data.
FSP (pronounced "F-P-S") Acronym for Frames Per Second.
FPU (pronounced "F-P-U") Acronym for Floating Point Unit.
FRACTAL Short for Fractional Dimension. See also Mandelbrot.
FRACTIONAL DIMENSION A rather complex mathematical concept based on a principle that a fractal recognises not just one, two or three dimensions, but an infinite variety. Scenery generators such as Vista use fractals to draw landscapes. See also Mandelbrot.
FRAME The printed border and/or fill associated with a box of text or graphics.
FRAME GRABBER A device for grabbing images from video and TV as they are played so that the digitised image they create can be used on a computer. Unlike a video digitiser, it does not require a still video signal, although one can be used if desired.
FRED FISH Probably one of the best known people in the worldwide Amiga community as a result of his Public Domain Library (AmigaLib) disks. Fred now lives in Arizona and since 1986 has compiled over 1000 disks of software, although early in 1994 he switched to CD's instead of floppy disks, and increased the amount of software published on a regular basis from contributors all over the world.
FREEWARE Public Domain software that can be freely distributed, copied and used by anyone, although some authors place restrictions such as copyright on the source code, or not allowing PD libraries to charge more than a certain amount for the disk containing it.
FREQUENCY SHIFT KEYING The technique used by the CCITT V.12 and Bell 103 communication protocols where `0' and `1' bits are assigned to a specific frequencies in transmit and receive directions. Signalling rate equals bit rate.
FRICTION FEED The technique used by many printers where the paper is pulled through the the printer using a number of rubber rollers that grip the paper.
FRINGING One of the drawbacks of using HAM or HAM-8 modes, where it can take three pixels to completely change colour, i.e. from black to white. Each pixel can change only one of the 3 primary colours, and creates an effect known as fringing. You must also take care if you change the colour of a pixel, in that the colour of the following pixel may also change.
FSK (pronounced "F-S-K") Acronym for Frequency Shift Keying.
FTP (pronounced "F-T-P") Acronym for File Transfer Protocol.
FULL MOTION VIDEO
(acronym "FMV")
The ability to display full screen video images at normal broadcast frame rates (i.e. 25 frames per second) from digitised information. Computers have for some time been able to display video images in small windows and in some cases up to one quarter of the screen, but with FMV it is almost impossible to differentiate from a normal video image produced by a video recorder.
FUNCTION KEYS The darker coloured keys along the top of your keyboard, labelled F1 thru F10, that can be programmed to perform specific tasks.

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Revised: September 19, 2005.