name
To give a name to something.

DOS:
Do use no more than eight characters followed by a period and an extension that is usually one to three characters long. Don't use spaces. Do use underscore (_) instead. Don't use these characters: ' " / \ | < > + = : ; . , ^

Windows: Do use up to 255 characters. Do use spaces and/or more than one period. Do use any of the ASCII characters. Note that Windows uses the following algorithm to convert long file names to the DOS format:
  1. Special characters such as \ : * " < > | and spaces are removed. 
  2. The first six characters are taken, a tilde ( ~ ) is added, and a number (1-9) is added. If all of those combinations are taken, then the first five characters are taken, a tilde ( ~ ) is added, and a number (10-99) is added. 
  3. The extension is the first three characters after the last period.
Macintosh: Do use up to 31 characters. Do use any character, including spaces, but not the colon (:).

UNIX:
Do use up to 14 characters on older systems and up to 256+ characters on newer systems. Don't use invisible characters, eg ^G, or spaces.
Named Pipes
Aka LIFO (last-in, first-out). An IPC protocol supported by different NOSes including LAN Manager and Netware. The data in the pipe (ie the message parking place) can be read by any authorized process as long as it knows the pipe name.
namespace
A set of objects where objects on the same level cannot have the same name. EG: for a given namespace, two tables cannot have the same name, but differently named tables can have columns with the same name.
nanotechnology
Technology dealing with items in the scale of nanometers, i.e. one billionth of a meter or 10E-9 m. The concept is to eventually manipulate molecules as easily as computers manipulate 1s and 0s. See also MEMS.
NAP
Network Access Point. A major access point for the Internet. As of 1998, there are 11 U.S. NAPs: San Francisco NAP, Chicago NAP, New York-Pennsauken NAP, MAE-East NAP in Washington D.C., MAE-West in San Jose, CA, MAE-LA, MAE-Chicago, CIX in Santa Clara, CA, FIX-East in College Park, MD, and FIX-West in Mountain View, CA.
National Computer Security Center
See NCSC.
National Television Systems Committee
See NTSC.
nawk
See awk.
NC
Network Computer. A thin client, i.e. a computer with user interface capabilities, but no processing power or data, since the latter are on servers in the NCA. Microsoft/Intel has NetPC, Sun has Java Station, and IBM has Network Station.
NCA
Network Computer Architecture. N-tier model. The third kind of computer network in which the users or clients have user interface capabilities, application servers have the applications, and data servers have the data. A NCA combines the transaction capabilities of client-server architecture with the ease of the Internet with the extensibility of distributed objects. An example would be a Sun browser machine attached to a network and using their applications, databases, and hard drives for storage. See also mainframe architecture and client-server architecture.
NCR
Numeric Character Reference. NCRs specify the code position of a character in the document character set. EG: For the character a with a grave accent (à), the NCR is either &#224; or &#xE0;, while the CER is &agrave;. See also CER.
NCSA
National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC. In 1993 a NCSA team of programmers led by Marc Andreesen produced the first web/HTML browser.
NCSC
National Computer Security Center. An organization formed to help businesses and home users protect proprietary and personal data. One of the things it does is evaluate the security of software. This rating is from "A" to "D" where "A" is most secure. EG: Windows NT has received a rating of "C2".
NDIS
Network Driver Interface Standard. A standard developed by Microsoft and IBM that says how NIC drivers (also called MAC (Media Access Control)) communicate with the protocol stack in the Data Link Layer of the OSI 's reference model. It allows multiple NICs to bind with a protocol stack, a NIC to bind with multiple protocol stacks, or multiple NICs to bind with multiple protocol stacks. See also ODI and my article on OSI.
NetBEUI
NetBIOS Extended User Interface. An enhanced version of the NetBIOS protocol for network operating systems such as LAN Manager, LAN Server, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95 and Windows NT. NetBEUI was created by IBM for LAN Manager but expanded by Microsoft and Novell. See also network communications software and my article on Identifying Network Computers.
NetBIOS
Network Basic Input Output System. An API (Application Programming Interface) that extends the DOS BIOS by making it work with LANs (Local Area Networks). Most LANs are based on NetBIOS. There are extensions on NetBIOS itself, such as NetBEUI. NetBIOS is based on a message format called SMB (Server Message Block). NetBIOS names are up to 15 characters long. See also DNS and my article on Identifying Network Computers.
NetBIOS Extended User Interface
See NetBEUI.
netizen
A contributing, ethical, and active users of the internet who supports the free flow of ideas, data, shareware, and platform-free concepts. Netizens use their real names on the internet and take responsibility for their data.
NetWare
An OS for networks by Novell.
network
At least two computers with communication links that share resources. A network can be two computers linked together, or a specific group of computers linked to make an intranet, or all the computers globally linked to form the Internet. In addition to computers, a network also includes miscellaneous peripherals such as printers. Each device or node on the network should have its own address. See also LAN.
Network Access Point
See NAP.
network cabling
See media.
network communications software
Software that ensures that the system conforms to protocols for addressing, delivery, and accuracy. Common packages are Apple's AFP, Microsoft's NETBEUI, and Novell's SPX and IPX.
Network Computer
See NC.
Network Computer Architecture
See NCA.
network database
A hierarchal relationship but one in which the child record may have more than one parent record. EG: Animals: Mammals: Canines: Dogs and Dogs: Companions: Function.
Network Driver Interface Standard
See NDIS.
networked peripherals
Peripherals that have built in networking connections and processors. EG: Some printers and modems can be attached to a network but not necessarily directly to a computer on the network.
Network File Systems
See NFS.
Network Information Center
See NIC.
network interface card
See NIC.
Network Operations Center
See NOC.
network management
Tracking and ensuring the flow of data in a network, just as one would track and ensure the flow of materials in a factory, warehouse, or delivery system. See also SNMP.
Network News Transfer Protocol
See NNTP.
Network Operating System
See NOS.
neural network
A computer architecture in which processors are interconnected in a fashion similar to the connections of the neurons in a human brain; this is in contrast with the prevalent traditional linear logical architecture. A neural net is able to learn by a process of trial and error and is especially big in the development of artificial intelligence.
network topology
The way the physical connections of a computer network are arranged.
newsgroup
See message board.
NFS
Network File Systems. Protocol that allows a user to connect to another computer and access its files.
NG
See Usenet.
nibble
Half of a byte or 4 bits. See also binary and b.
NIC
(1) Network Information Center. Any organization that provides users with information about services on that network.
 
(2) Network Interface Card. Aka network adapter. The physical interface between a computer and the network cabling. It moves parallel data to and from the computer's RAM as well as moving serial data to and from the network cabling system. It makes sure the information is properly translated since the computer and the network cabling operate with different standards and speeds. To do all this it usually has its own processor and RAM.
 
A NIC usually fits into an expansion slot such as a PCI slot. The connector(s) on the card may have one or more of the following connectors: AUI (for thick coaxial cable), BNC (for thin coaxial cable), and RJ-45 (for UTP).
niladic
Aka nullary. A function or operator that has no arguments. See also unary, binary, and ternary.
NNTP
Network News Transfer Protocol. Protocol used by Usenet servers in transferring the Usenet e-mails.
NOC
Network Operations Center. The place that monitors a network and communicates with other networks and the Internet to improve services and solve problems.
node
An end, corner, hub, or cross way. EG: On networks the nodes are workstations, servers, printers, and routers.
Non-Return to Zero Inverted
See NRZI.
normalization
Rules for designing database table so they approach a relational nom (standard). These rules make the tables more efficient, less redundant, and less prone to error and confusion. Normalization is usually a process of breaking up large tables into smaller tables with clear relationships. See also my article on Database Structure.
Northwind
A sample database provided by Microsoft. See also pubs.
NOS
Network Operating System. An operating system that can handle a network of connected computers. Examples include Microsoft's Windows NT, Artisoft's LANtastic, Novell's Netware, IBM's OS/2 and UNIX. Prior to NOSs, network communication had to be added onto an existing OS, Microsoft LAN Manager was an add-on to DOS, Windows 3.X, OS/2, and UNIX.
NOT
A boolean operator that performs a logical conjunction on one expression. The result of the operation is the opposite of the expression. Here is the truth table of the NOT operator:
NOT  B  =  Result
     0     1
     1     0
Notes
Lotus Notes. A groupware application suite made by Lotus Corporation, a subsidiary of IBM. All the documents and data are stored on Lotus Dominos Servers, which provide the database engine and components for Notes. The difference between Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes is that Notes has more application development facilities whereas Exchange is meant to be used more for its built in groupware apps like email, calendaring, and such.
NRZI
Non-Return to Zero Inverted. A method for transmitting data that keeps the sending and receiving clocks synchronized. As data is transmitted, bits of data are added to the stream to conform with different communications protocols. These bits can add up and if they do not change for a series (i.e. don't return to zero), the signal will lag at the receiving end. NRZI fixes this by ensuring that the data change is noticed (i.e. return to zero) and thus the clocks stay synchronized.
NT File System
See NTFS.
NTFS
NT File System. An improved file system supported by Windows NT. It supports greater reliability by supporting things such as transaction logs that can help in disk failure recovery. It supports greater security by allowing permissions to be set for directories and individual files. It supports more data by being able to span volumes and reach data across different physical disks. NTFS has 64 b cluster addressing and has a theoretical maximum file and volume size of 2^64 B (18 EB). Note that OSs such as DOS and 95/98 cannot access NTFS partitions. See also my article on Hard Drives.
NTSC
National Television Systems Committee. A composite video signal popular in the US, Japan, the Americas and Asia. It has a rate of 30 frames per second, with 525 lines per frame and a power frequency of 60 Hz. NTSC uses RCA or Phono plugs. See also PAL and TV.
null
(1) Null value. In databases, a non-entry, no entry, or unknown value. A null is different from either an entry of zero or an entry of a blank space.

(2) Null pointer. Aka null reference. A special pointer value that signifies that the pointer intentionally does point (refer) to an object. EG: In c, this would initialize the variable MyVariable to to NULL: int *MyVariable = NULL;. Pascal uses nil and VB uses Nothing. A null pointer is not the same as an uninitialized pointer.
(3) Null character. In character set, the character or control encoded as 0. In the c-based languages, this is represented as \0. In Pascal, this is chr(0) or #0.
nullary
Aka niladic. A function or operator that has no arguments. See also unary, binary, and ternary.
null modem cable
A cable for directly connecting Macs and PCs. It has a Mac serial port connector (round with eight pins) for the modem or printer port at one end and a PC serial port connector (trapezoidal with nine pins) for the COM1 at the other end.

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