PCs Glossary: P

palmtop: A small hand-held, battery-operated computer.

paper feed: The portion of a computer printer in which you store the paper that the printer eventually prints on; also called a feeder tray.

paper output tray: The location on a computer printer where the printer paper comes out and is stacked.

parallel port: A computer connection that used to be the primary means of connecting a printer to your computer; still used with some printers and peripherals.

PC Card: Frequently found on laptops, this credit-card-size card contains a hard drive that you can insert into a PC slot to grab data you want to transport.

PCI: Peripheral Component Interconnect; the most common form of internal expansion for a PC.

PCI Express: The next generation of PCI PC expansion that communicates with the motherboard quickly and efficiently.

PDA: Personal digital assistant; a handheld computerized device.

peer-to-peer network: A type of network, often found in small and home offices, in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities.

pen scanner: A hand-held, pen-shaped scanner with which you can re-create drawings or text as image files.

peripheral: A device, such as a CD-ROM drive or printer, that is not part of the console. Peripheral devices can be external — such as a mouse, keyboard, printer, monitor, or scanner — or internal, such as a CD-ROM drive, CD-R drive, or internal modem.

photo printer: A computer printer specifically designed to create photographs that rival traditional 35mm prints.

plenum cable: A type of network cable that’s designed to withstand high temperatures, such as inside a heating duct.

port: A place on a computer where you can attach a device to send and/or receive information.

port card: An adapter card that you can insert into your PC to add computer ports.

power strip: A device that provides approximately six electrical outlets into which you can plug your console and peripherals. The power strip also usually provides protection against power spikes and surges.

printer: Where you get the computer’s printed output, also called hard copy.

process: The action that a computer takes on input to produce a different output.

processor: The component of a computer that handles the processing work the computer does; also called a CPU and a microprocessor.

program: A type of software that may or may not be used for productivity or to produce output, such as a computer game or a video editing program.

PS/2 (port): A type of connection dedicated to the kind of keyboard and mouse that feature this connector.

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