Common Terms and Acronyms

Last update: October 25, 2021 19:00 UTC (7400ede24)

anal-retentive programmer
Probably the opposite of the famous “real programmer”, used by Professor David L. Mills.
AM
Amplitude Modulation. Information is encoded in the strength of the signal.
APM
Automatic Power Management, a feature found in modern PCs to reduce power consumption if the system is idle. APM consists of hardware and software.
DES
Data Encryption Standard, defined in Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 46 dated 1977 January 15. DES is an algorithm to encrypt a 64 bit value using a 56 bit key, giving 64 bit. Once developed and published to make secure communication possible, not allowed to be exported from USA (except in books about computer science), finally obsoleted by newer algorithms using a longer key. DES is not considered secure any more, and there were rumours about some back-door in the algorithm, but that’s another story.
ESD
Electrostatic Discharge.
FM
Frequency Modulation. Information is encoded in the frequency of the signal.
IETF
Internet Engineering Task Force, people that try to establish acceptable standards for the Internet community.
IRIG
Inter-Range Instrumentation Group, an early attempt to synchronize time for instruments.
LAN
Local Area Network. Generally a high speed Ethernet network.
MD5
MD5 is an acronym for Message Digest #5, a strong one-way hash function designed by Ronald L. Rivest and described in RFC 1321. The result is 128 bits wide.
NTP
Network Time Protocol, a protocol to exchange and synchronize time on computer networks.
PPM
Part Per Million, a measure for tiny quantities, usually used instead of percent.
PPS
Pulse Per Second is a method to fine-tune frequency and offset errors using NTP.
Real Programmer
Real Programmers writing self-modifying FORTRAN code to save a clock cycle or two in a loop no longer exist.
RFC
Request For Comments, a document describing an informal Internet standard. Numbers for RFCs are assigned by the IETF.
SA
Selective Availability, sometimes also called dither, the fact that the GPS information available to the public is made inexact by some non-obvious method. See also Section 9.2.