The Usenet Marketplace FAQ

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Other Frequently Asked Questions


Glossary of common Usenet terms

Given that a large number of Usenet Marketplace readers are on the newsgroups for the first time, here is a short list of terms appropriate for the misc.forsale.* and biz.marketplace.* newsgroups. Some terms link to other sites devoted to their subjects.

Biznet
The Biznet is the collection of official biz.* newsgroups, as listed in Ed Hew's FAQ about the Biznet, including the biz.marketplace groups. This hierarchy was created as an offshoot of the Usenet to provide a forum for constructive commercial discussions.
CD-ROM Compact Disc Read Only Memory
This digital storage method uses the same plastic discs as audio CDs, but instead of music, the discs can contain up to 640 megabytes of data and/or software. Most CD-ROM drives have headphone jacks for playing audio CDs.
Chain Letter
A pyramid scheme in which you send money to a person at the top of a list, add your name to the bottom, then send that list to acquaintances and convince them to do likewise. A common, now infamous, one on the Usenet was started by Dave Rhodes. Chain letters, even those which purport to 'sell' mailing lists, are prohibited at over 90% of Internet sites, and if propagated by e-mail or news will likely cause you to lose your account.
COD Collect On Delivery
In COD transactions, the deliveryperson collects money from the recipient as the package is delivered.
CU-SeeMe
A low-bandwidth live audio and video teleconferencing Internet protocol which can operate over a connection as slow as a 14400 baud modem, whose hardware is inexpensive for the end-users.
DOA Dead On Arrival
An item was broken when received. Often used to express warranties with electronics; "Warranted against DOA." See WOA
E-mail
Short for "electronic mail", a means of sending typed letters to other named individuals over a computer network.
EIDE Enhanced IDE
EIDE is the successor to the IDE hard drive interface, allowing for CD-ROM drives and hard drives larger than 512MB.
ESDI Enhanced Small Device Interface
ESDI is a high-performance hard drive interface for PCs that was popular a few years ago, but is quickly disappearing.
FAQ Frequently Asked Question (pronounced "fack")
An FAQ is an article on a newsgroup which answers many questions often asked by new readers in that newsgroup. FAQ also refers to each of the questions individually.
Flames
These articles or e-mail messages ridicule another or another's ideas, often in a stinging, blunt manner. Flames are a tradition on the Internet, and something to expect if you make a netiquette blunder. Do not necessarily take them literally, but look for the suggestions presented. The tone is generally very negative, but the point is usually clear.
FD Floppy Drive
This computer storage device which reads 3.5", 5.25" or 8" floppy disks.
Firewall
A security measure that involves putting another computer between your network and another network, like the Internet. This computer is programmed to limit what information and services can be passed from one network to the other.
FOB Free On Board
A business term which means that shipping is the responsibility of the buyer. The seller will place the goods on his dock; the buyer must arrange for a pickup.
FS For Sale
Something is being offered in exchange for money.
FTP File Transfer Protocol
An Internet protocol for transferring files and programs between computers on a network, regardless of the operating systems used.
Gopher
An older, text-based hyperlink mechanism that has since been superseded by the graphical World-Wide-Web.
Guru
An experienced computer intellectual who knows all the ins and outs of a particular computer system. This does not mean knowing how to use Microsoft Windows; it means knowing how to decompile Microsoft Windows '95 and rewrite the assembly language code to enable it to run Macintosh programs. Usually, a guru will be employed in a computer-based position full time.
HD Hard Drive
Hard disk drives act as permanent storage devices for computers, and commonly come in sizes from 10 megabytes for older computers to 10 or more gigabytes for some business and research uses. Note that physical capacity and usable capacity may be different for a given drive.
HTML HyperText Markup Language
The language of the World-Wide-Web. HTML uses tags on both sides of the text you are reading to do special things, like tell the browser to go to someplace else if you click here.
IDE Integrated Drive Electronics
The standard hard drive interface for PCs sold today, IDE incorporates most of the electronics on the hard drive package, rather than on any interface cards.
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force
Several groups of dedicated Internet supporters who together define the technical standards for transmission over the Internet.
IMHO In My Humble Opinion
An American expression followed by an opinion about a current issue.
Internet
The Internet acts as the carrier of billions of electronic messages, articles, and pieces of digital information annually. This decentralized, worldwide computer network was initially developed in the U.S. by the military for its operations and by the National Science Foundation to promote communication in federal and scholastic research.
IRC Internet Radio Chat
A text-based live conferencing protocol over the Internet.
ISP Internet Service Provider
A company whose business is to provide access to the Internet for other companies and individuals.
Mailbomb
The act of sending dozens of identical e-mails to the same person, often as an act of aggression. The intent can be to cost that person some time to clean out his mailbox, or to crash his system.
MB Motherboard
The motherboard is the backbone of most computers, containing the CPU, memory, and other support.
xxxMB Megabytes
The megabyte, or 1 million bytes, is a unit of computer memory and storage consisting of 8 million 1's and 0's which have meaning to a computer. This abbreviation is often used to mention the storage capacity or online memory of a computer system, as in a 500MB hard drive or 4MB RAM.
MCA Micro-Channel Architecture
MCA is a motherboard communication interface used by IBM in some IBM PS/2 computers. It is technically superior to the standard ISA architecture for most uses, but it was poorly marketed, and is quickly disappearing.
Meg Megabytes
See megabytes.
MFM Modified Frequency Modulation
MFM is a physical method of storing data on a hard drive. This interface was the original IBM PC standard, but is not compatible with most systems manufactured more recently.
MIME Multiple Internet Mail Extensions
MIME is an extension to existing Internet text-transmission standards which allows the transmission of binary files, particularly over news and e-mail. This format is popular among MS-Windows users and many of the larger personal Internet services. Much of the Internet, however, runs on the UNIX operating system and others, thus MIME is not universally supported. See also UUEncoding.
MLM Multi-Level Marketing
A legitimate means of merchandise or service distribution where members can actively engage in sales or in sales force recruitment. For every sale made by a salesperson you recruited or anyone under him, you receive a portion of the commissions. Because of improprieties in the past, the US Government tightly regulates the ways in which MLM operators can present their business. Multi-level marketing opportunities are considered jobs on the newsgroups, and should be reflected as such when posting.
MO Drive Magneto-Optical Drive
This hard storage device is similar to a rewritable CD-ROM.
Netiquette
A contraction of "network" and "etiquette", this term represents proper conduct interacting with others on the Internet.
Newsgroup
A form of bulletin board which was developed for the Internet. Readers "post" messages for others to view; messages which are stored on an extremely large, decentralized, and rather inefficient network of news servers.
OBO Or Best Offer
This means that the stated price is negotiable.
OEM Original Equipment Manufacture
OEM equipment or software is intended to be used to make original equipment rather than to be used for spare parts or as an after-market add-on. It is often used with both computer hardware and software to describe items intended to ship only with complete computer systems.
Pyramid Scheme or Ponzi Scheme
A money-making opportunity popularized by Ponzi and illegal in the United States in most forms. This scheme involves an individual convincing others to pay him for the right to solicit others for payment in turn. By recruiting more people than the number of people you pay for this right, you supposedly make money. In reality, the people at the bottom of the pyramid never get paid by anyone and lose. Such schemes are strictly forbidden at most Internet sites, and will cause you and your system administrator great grief if you try to propagate such a scheme by e-mail or over the newsgroups. Occasionally, merchandise sales are involved (see MLM for a similar legitimate opportunity).
RAM Random Access Memory
RAM is the main operating memory for most computers. It is erased when the computer is turned off.
RFC Request for Comments
A rather strange name for the written Internet standards developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, IETF. These standards include service protocols like news and e-mail, as well as network protocols like SLIP and PPP.
RLL Run Length Limited
This method of encoding data on hard drives is often used to describe the successor to MFM, although it uses very similar hardware. It exists only on old PC systems.
SCSI Small Computer Standard Interface
This is a modern device interface, faster than IDE, which supports hard drives, CD-ROM drives, floppy drives, and other media storage. Most of the electronics for this interface are contained on the interface card.
SIMM Single In-line Memory Module
This is a way of packaging RAM for easy installation. SIMMs come in 72 and 30 pin varieties for different computers, and have been the standard for most computers manufactured in the last several years.
SIPP Single In-line Pinned Package
SIPPs are a type of RAM which come in 30 pin varieties, but are rarer than SIMMs. SIPPs can be converted to SIMMs with the appropriate adapters.
Snail-mail
The conventional post office, as opposed to the speed of electronic transmissions.
Spam
Posting an advertisement or advertisements to a large number of inappropriate newsgroups, often including groups which don't allow ads. Contrary to popular belief, the name spam did not descend from the canned product nor from a Monty Python sketch.
Sysadmin System Administrator
The person on the other end of your modem who makes sure that your Internet connection goes down when you need it most ;-).
Talk
A protocol for conducting a person-to-person textual conversation over the Internet.
Telnet
A protocol for remotely logging in to a computer which allows the user to execute programs and see textual results.
Usenet
The collection of official newsgroups in the "Big 7" hierarchies: misc, news, soc, rec, comp, sci, talk. These groups are propagated primarily, but not exclusively, over the Internet.
UUEncoded
A form of encryption that converts a binary file into standard text characters. Many e-mail and news systems still do not support transmission of binary files, thus the need for this binary-to-text conversion utility. UUEncoding is currently the unofficial standard on the newsgroups.
Velveeta
Posting several times to one newsgroup, particularly if it would have been reasonable to combine all of the content in fewer posts. Also, articles which are reposted too frequently.
WAIS Wide Area Information Server
A method of putting a searchable user interface on a tremendous amount of information. This was developed back in the days of a textual internet, and has since been replaced by the World-Wide-Web and a standard database interface called SQL.
WOA Working On Arrival
The item works when it is tried for the first time after delivery. A guarantee that an item will be WOA is typical in the Usenet Marketplace. If the item breaks later, the seller is not responsible.
WORM Write Once Read Many
This method of hard storage can only be written to once, but can be accessed often. The hardware to write to a WORM disk is much less expensive than hardware for CD-ROM.
WTB Wanted To Buy
This abbreviation is used when the poster is looking for a particular item.
WWW World Wide Web
Also know as W3, or just the "Web", the World Wide Web is a computer communications medium that allows transmission and easy-to-read formatting of text, graphics, sound, and video.
;-) The Universal Internet Smiley
To appreciate it, look at this symbol with your head turned sideways. It is used to indicate a joke, sarcasm, or any instance where the writer doesn't mean what he is saying.
Thank you for reading, and we hope you find these suggestions are useful. We encourage your comments, good and bad, to help us improve the effectiveness of this article. Please send comments to the FAQ team, FAQ@fmn.net.

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