TIME OUT. While the Sesame Street crowd may identify this as the punishment you get for throwing oatmeal at a playmate, a time out in the computer world occurs when a special signal interrupts a program after it has been idle for a certain amount of time. For example, if you’re called away from your computer while you’re working online, an interrupt occurs automatically and you’ll have to log on again. That’s actually a good thing because it keeps the information from remaining accessible for an extended time. The same is true for other functions that automatically shut off if not in use.
TERMINATOR. If you picture Arnold Schwarzenegger here, reboot your mental image. Actually, this is a component of the last device in a network that signals it is the final link in the chain. In doing this, a terminator keeps signals from reflecting back down the line. You can find terminators on Ethernet networks as well as SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) chains. Terminators come in both external and internal varieties.
THIN CLIENT. This might be a dream come true if you’re an agent for supermodels, but the term really has more meat to it in the computer world. Here it refers to a computer that functions as a terminal where tasks, such as word processing, can be performed through connection to a central server. The server is actually where the appropriate software is stored and the necessary computing functions take place.
TOGGLE. Okay class, this word can be either a verb or a noun. Please use it in a sentence and identify the appropriate parts of speech. As a noun, the word refers to a switch that can be turned on and off. Originally referring to a mechanical switch, it can now also be a virtual button on a computer screen. As a verb, toggle means changing from one setting to another.
THUMBNAIL. No, this isn’t just something to chew on when you’re nervous. Rather, it’s a very small version of a photo or other graphic, or of a document page, that appears on your computer screen. Because it occupies much less space than a full-size image, you can glance at 20 thumbnails of different designs for wedding invitations, select one you like, and then click on it to call up a larger version. This lets your future mother-in-law change her mind six or seven times before you download the final choice. Or you can do the same with document pages to avoid reviewing the entire document.
TOWER. If you’ve bought a new PC recently, chances are it’s a tower model. Featuring a vertical orientation, it offers room to add internal components if you choose to upgrade. The space-saving design also allows heat produced by the computer to escape more readily as it rises. If you ever work so hard your computer catches fire, that’s a towering inferno!
T1. Although it may sound like an army tank, a T1 is really a high-capacity data connection. A T1 line is typically used to connect computer networks. It can carry more data than an ordinary phone line, with a capacity of 1.544 megabits per second. This means, among other things, it can support transmission of video images although not the full-motion variety. For that, much higher capacity T3 lines are needed.
THRASHING. Yes, a good thrashing is just what you deserve if you’ve been using your computer to do the wrong things. But we really don’t want to go there. Instead, the normal reference to thrashing is when your computer keeps sending data back and forth between the hard drive and memory. This usually means your computer’s memory is being strained by having, too many programs running at the same time. A simple fix is just to close some of the programs. If this happens frequently, you might want to add more memory.