Tech Terms: Do You Know What They Mean?

by Annie Yu

Some of the technical terms we use in our daily work were mentioned in our last issue. This issue, we shall continue to provide definitions of the ones that were often raised at the CSC Help Desk.


SYSNET, the Systems and Network Technical Group, was established in December 1999 primarily for sharing of network and system administration experience and increasing cooperation with departments to tackle the technical problems.

Since many departmental facilities are managed and supported by departments' technical staff, close cooperation between technical staff of departments and of the CSC are therefore essential in order to achieve a reliable and seamless integration while maintaining effective distributed management. Moreover, standards, compatibility and consistency in setup, good practices in operations, etc. across the entire campus network will also have to be agreed and adopted.

Members of the group are nominated by departments who are responsible for managing the departmental facility. The objectives of the group are as follows:

  • Exchange information on access to departmental and central computer facilities with aims to improving existing facilities and to establishing new ones.
  • Exchange ideas on resource planning, management, and monitoring as well as on policy formulation for central and departmental facilities.
  • Issue and receive timely alerts on service interruption, virus, security, and performance.
  • Discuss technical issues such as: standards, common practices, configurations, settings, compatibility, etc and their subsequent adoption and implementation.
  • Discuss and resolve problems encountered in relation to systems and networks.
  • Assist in deploying and in evaluating pilot tests on new departmental and central services.

It is expected that the members are the administrators of systems/networks or the technical staff in the departments who are willing to contribute his expertise, time and effort to serve the University community.



Through e-Portal, users can select to view a total of 16 channels of in-house TV broadcast and commercial TV programmes. Simply click the "Campus Life" tab under e-Portal and you will find "CityTV on the left of the page OR if you prefer, you could access the page directly at


Disk Quota

A disk quota is the amount of space assigned to each user for file storage on a given computer.

On shared systems, every user has a maximum disk quota. This prevents any individual from using more than his or her fair share of disk space. In order to keep from exceeding quota, you must be sure to periodically remove old, unused, and unneeded files. To check disk quota, for example, the email quota usage, you may access "Quota & Account Profile" at For enquiries on disk quota of other accounts such as the departmental Web accounts, simply contact the CSC Help Desk.



FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. As the name implies, it allows a user on one host to access, and transfer files to and from, another host over a computer network. You can use FTP to exchange files between computer accounts, to transfer files between an account and a desktop computer, or to access software archives on the Internet. Using graphical FTP clients simplifies file transfers by allowing you to transmit files by dragging and dropping icons between windows. When you open the program, you will have to enter the name of the machine (e.g. and your username and password.

To select the FTP client program, simply choose "File Transfer Using WS_FTP LE Setup" under "Software for Windows 2000/XP" on the "Work Desk" page.


IP Number/Address

Your IP address is your computer's unique address on the Internet. It is different from the MAC address (see of your Ethernet card. Your IP address has four numeric segments separated by periods, e.g., 999.999.999.999. At City University, most IP addresses begin with 144.214.



PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. PCMCIA is a non-profit trade association and standards body consisting of some 500 companies. PCMCIA has developed a standard for small, credit card-sized devices, called PC cards that are often used in notebook computers. (Adapters are available that allow PC cards to be used in desktop computer systems.) You can visit the PCMCIA Web site at

In the past, the cards were known as PCMCIA cards, but they are now referred to as PC cards, PC card hosts, and PC card software. PCMCIA refers to the association and standards body.

A PC card slot is an expansion slot often found in notebook computers that allows for the easy and quick addition of a host of different devices. PC cards are plug-and-play devices that allows you to change cards on the fly under Windows 95 and above except Windows NT. The following is a list of common PC card devices:

  • CD-ROM interface
  • Cellular phone interface
  • Docking station interface
  • 10Mbps Ethernet LAN adapters
  • 100Mbps Ethernet adapters
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) cards
  • Hard drives
  • Infrared wireless LAN adapters
  • ISDN cards
  • Joystick interface cards
  • Memory cards
  • Modem and Ethernet combination cards
  • Parallel port interface
  • SCSI adapters
  • Serial port interface
  • Sound cards, input and output
  • Video capture/frame grabber cards
  • Video teleconferencing card



WinZip is a Windows-based program that allows you to compress files and open previously compressed files in the zip format.

Apart from zip files, WinZip also has built-in support for most popular file compression and archive formats, including tar, UUencode, MIME, BinHex (.hqx), cabinet (.cab) and gzip. You do not need to worry if the file being received is UUencoded, XXencoded, BinHex, or a MIME file (base64, plain/text, and quoted-printable). WinZip will detect the method being used and automatically decode it.


Burn disk

It is a slang term meaning to write data to a CD-ROM disk.