Text that is not straight or that has an uneven edge.


Stands for Random Access Memory. This memory allows access to any location in any order, without having to access the rest first. The memory chips in your PC are RAM, since any location can be accessed by specifying its address. A magnetic tape is not random access, since you must read through all locations before you reach the one you want.

Real time

Processing time which is of the same order of magnitude as the problem to be solved. This means the PC can solve a problem in a certain time and its result can influence the source of the data. Air-traffic control computers have to analyse the position of aircraft within a second so that they do not collide. If the computer was not working in real time, it would spend ten minutes calculating the action.

Real-time animation

PC animation in which objects appear to move just as they would in real life.


The equivalent of switching your PC off then on. You can reboot using the Ctrl-Alt-Del key combination or by choosing the Start/Shutdown/Reboot in Windows 95.


A set of data (facts and figures) relating to a specific thing (e.g. person, car, etc.). The data are identified by field names.

Recycle Bin

An icon that's displayed on Windows 95 Desktop that looks like a wastepaper bin. If you want to delete a file or folder, drag it on to the Recycle Bin or press the delete key. The Recycle Bin stores the file or folder for a certain number of days or until you purge the Bin of its contents. The contents of the Bin have not actually been deleted from the disk until you purge it.


1) High-definition monitor system that uses three separate input signals controlling red, green and blue colour picture beam.

2) The three-colour picture beams used in a colour TV. In a colour TV there three colours guns producing red, green and blue beams acting on groups of three phosphor dots in each pixel.


The process of regularly updating the images on a screen by scanning each pixel with a picture beam to make sure the image is still visible. The image on the screen is visible because tiny dots of phosphor shine. The glow from the phosphor only a few tenths of a second, so the dots have to be hit by an electron picture beam to get them to glow again. This process is repeated 60 to 70 times per second.


A database that forms the basis of Windows 95 and contains information about every program stored on the disk and the users, networks and preferences. You'll never see the registry, but it's worth knowing it's there in case you see a error message such as 'Object not found in Registry'. This means some program has not been correctly installed.


To change the name of a file or a folder. In Windows 95, click once on the file or folder that you want to rename and keep the pointer over the icon. After a couple of seconds the description will be surrounded by a box and you can now edit the name. In DOS use the REN command, and in Windows 3.1x use the File Manager utility .


To play back data or a signal from a recording .


1) Number of pixels that a screen or printer can display per unit area.

2) Difference between two levels that can be differentiated in a digitised signal.

3) Degree of accuracy with which something can be measured or timed .


An on-line information set or an on-line interactive option. An on-line library catalog or the local school lunch menu are examples of information sets. On-line menus or graphical user interfaces, Internet e-mail, on-line conferences, telnet, FTP, and Gopher are examples of interactive options.


A message placed in a conference as a follow-up to a topic or to another response; or, a reply to an e-mail message.

Rich text format (RTF)

A way of storing a document that includes all the commands that describe the page, type, font and formatting. The RTF format allows formatted pages to be exchanged between different word processors.


Read-only memory. Information is stored once, usually by the manufacturer, that cannot be changed. Most compact discs are ROM.

Root directory

The topmost directory from which all other directories branch. In the DOS and OS/2 and Unix operating system, this is represented as a single backslash charater. For example, if you want to move to the root directory, you would issue the CD \command in DOS. Confusingly, the root directory actually represents the top of the tree structure, mixing parts of the same metaphor. As you move from the root directory to the sub-directories, you are moving into branches.


A device for linking an ISDN line to a LAN so that the digital signals can be sent to the appropriate computer on the LAN.

Run command

In Windows this command lets you type in the name of a program that you want to run or a DOS command you want to execute. To enter a command, select the File/Run menu command from the Program Manager of Windows 3.1x or the Start/Run menu option from Windows 95.