following definitions are intended to help the reader through
this book and are not intended to be a comprehensive definition
of the terms. While all but four of the following definitions
are mine, many of them were based on definitions found in
the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing, or FOLDOC, which
may be found at http:// wombat.doc.ic._ac.uk/foldoc/index.
html. I thank all of the 1,100+ contributors to that project
for their helpful site and for the four definitions of theirs
that I used intact.
aesthetic fitness score
A number assigned to the image produced by an electronically
evolved organism that determines the organism's likelihood
to breed and have offspring (see aesthetic selection).
Natural selection is the built-in process by which Nature
chooses survivors and hence the shape of future generations;
aesthetic selection is the external process by which an artist
steers the course of image evolution and development.
Computer-generated artwork that derives from mathematical
functions or programs, as opposed to being drawn or painted
by hand or by scanning in photographs. In "true"
algorithmic art, the artist does not retouch the image in
any way, e.g. by using software tools to add or remove features
from the image. The majority of the work is in setting up
the process that produces the image.
n dynamical systems theory, the term "attractor"
refers to the tendency of a system to return to a specific
pattern of activity.
An image representing the user in a virtual space.
The top level in a hierarchical network.
The range of frequencies in a data transmission channel that
determines how much data per second can be transmitted.
A division into two branches; or, the point at which such
a division takes place. In dynamical systems terms, a bifurcation
occurs when a system moves from one attractor to another.
The smallest unit of information used by a computer and represented
by one of two values, generally 0 and 1. Also used to denote
the smallest unit of computer storage.
Generic term used to describe complex technology whose exact
nature is only understood by those who built it.
A region where matter collapses to infinite density, and where,
as a result, the curvature of space-time is extreme.
A fictional race of beings who are cybernetically enhanced
humanoids. Seen on the television program Star Trek.
A device that forwards data network traffic from one part
(segment) of a single network to another part of the same
An area in a computer's memory used to store messages.
To temporarily store computer files somewhere other than on
the computer of their origination.
A form of online communication in which users exchange typed
messages in "real-time."
A virtual space in which electronic conversations are held.
The action of pressing one of the buttons on a computer pointing
device called a mouse.
A computer program or system that requests a service from
another program or system.
A consensus reality in which it is agreed that time travel
and faster than light travel is not possible.
command line interface
A means of communication between a computer program and its
user, based solely on textual input and output. Commands are
input with the help of a keyboard or similar device and are
interpreted and executed by the program. Results are output
as text or graphics to the terminal. Command line interfaces
usually provide greater flexibility than graphical user interfaces,
at the cost of being harder for the novice to use.
A program; software.
An electronic file sent from a web server to your PC and saved
there for future reference by other web servers. Cookies often
contain information about your behavior at the web site that
sent the cookie. By reading someone's cookie files, it is
possible to build a partial portrait of a person's most private
thoughts. (See the "Help" file that comes with your
Internet browser for instructions on how to block web sites
from sending cookies to your computer. Additional information
about Internet privacy may be found at the Matrix Masters
web site, www.matrixmasters.com.)
The central processing unit of a computer.
The mental realm in deep cyberspace that coincides with deep
psychedelic space and which provides a portal for entry into
The limitless place one's mind finds itself in when using
technology to communicate with others.
A living organism that is part animal and part machine.
Person whose view of life on Earth is ecocentric rather than
To retrieve a file from another computer.
Messages, or letters, in electronic format.
A computer dedicated to the sending and receiving of electronic
A combination of standard typing symbols used to indicate
an emotional state; e.g. smiley face :-) , frown :-( , wink
;-). (Hint: Tilt your head to the left if you are having trouble
A substance which, when ingested by humans, facilitates the
realization that the divine infuses all of creation.
The realm of divine mind. Entheo-"space" is actually
the "sense of place" one has at times when an exploration
of one's inner landscape leads to the realization that this
is much more than just a fascinating landscape, it is the
entire universe. At moments when this realization is so deeply
interiorized as to be an essential part of one's being, one
is said to be in entheospace. When the focus of one's consciousness
is on entheospace, one experiences a deeply seated sense of
being infused with, and a part of, divine mind.
A hypothesized meta-consciousness, which is responsible for
the regulation of all planetary systems.
A device used to convert the protocol used by one type of
computer network to that of a different type of network.
(Or "turbo nerd," "turbo geek.") One who
eats (computer) bugs for a living. One who fulfils the dreariest
of negative stereotypes about hackers: an asocial, malodorous,
pasty-faced monomaniac with all the personality of a cheese
grater. The term cannot be used by outsiders without implied
insult to all hackers. A computer geek may be either a fundamentally
clueless individual or a proto-hacker in larval stage.
Robert A. Heinlein coined the word "grok" in his
1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Essentially, "to
grok something" means to understand it so intimately
that it becomes a part of oneself.
graphical user interface
Contrasted to the "command line interface" defined
above, a graphical user interface uses pictures and text instead
of only text to mediate between a user and a computer. First
developed in the 1970s at the Xerox PARC research facility,
graphical user interfaces, or GUIs (pronounced "gooies"),
make computers significantly more easy to use.
See "graphical user interface."
To break into a computer system without the owner's permission;
or, to have produced a high quality piece of work, often a
A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable
systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed
to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary
to operate the device. In recent usage, the term has also
come to describe someone who breaks into computer systems
without the owners' permission.
A request to a web server from a web browser or other client;
or, slang for a link found by a search engine.
A symbiotic being, part human and part machine.
Latin, "man the maker."
A computer connected to a network.
A term coined by Theodor H. Nelson during the 1960s that in
Internet usage has come to indicate information that branches
in multiple directions allowing the reader a choice of following
different paths to related information in a potentially unending
series of documents all of which are related to their nearest
branching points. Essentially, hypertext permits the creation
of non-sequential writing that allows readers to choose a
line of thought they find most interesting.
Think of a web page as if it were a page in a book. Remember
those school books that had footnotes at the bottom of the
page? Well, you can think of those footnotes as a "link."
Thus, if you are looking at a web page that is discussing
ceramics and see a link (pseudo-footnote) that reads "Suzie's
ceramic tips" you can click on that link/footnote and
have Suzie's web page come up on your screen. In its most
basic form, that is what a hypertext link is.
A small electronic device. A "chip."
(Note: not capitalized.) Any set of networks interconnected
with routers. The Internet (capitalized) is the biggest example
of an internet.
(Note: capital "I.") The Internet is the largest
internet in the world. It is a three level hierarchy composed
of backbone networks (e.g. ARPAnet, NSFNet, MILNET), mid-level
networks, and sub networks. These include commercial (.com
or .co), university (.ac or .edu), other research networks
(.org, .net), and military (.mil) or government (.gov) networks
that span many different physical networks around the world
with various protocols including the Internet Protocol.
Internet Service Provider
Organization providing access to the Internet.
See Internet Service Provider.
A computer programming language that is designed to enable
a programmer to write an application that will run on a wide
variety of computers with only slight modifications made to
the original code.
A computer program generally agreed to be so important that
it overshadows all other applications in its field.
See Local Area Network
Networking protocols may be thought of as working in layers,
with each layer providing services to the layer above it.
This methodology makes it easier to change a part of a protocol
without having to re-engineer the entire protocol suite.
Slang for "hypertext link."
Local Area Network
A data communications network that is geographically restricted,
often to a single building.
Someone who reads newsgroups or is on a mailing list but does
not post messages of their own for others to read.
A router capable of processing several billion bits per second.
Media, often in electronic format, which contains two or more
elements such as text, graphics, sound, and video in a single
Etiquette as it applies to communications and interactions
on the Internet.
A person who considers herself or himself a citizen of the
An online bulletin board dedicated to a specific topic.
As hypothesized: an organized web of thought surrounding the
Earth's biosphere; a sphere of mind encircling the planet;
the collective consciousness of the human species.
Accessible through the use of a networked computer; or, a
person actively using a computer that is connected to a network.
A consensus reality in which it is agreed that time travel
and faster than light travel is possible.
A generic term used to describe a unit of data.
Slang term often used in technical documentation to describe
the process of breaking messages into parts and putting them
Any part of a computer other than its central processing unit
or working memory.
An individual tiny dot of color in an image or on the computer
screen; a good computer screen may have a million pixels,
while a high resolution image reproduced on film or other
medium may have several hundred million pixels; in some forms
of Evolutionary Art a pixel is analogous to a single cell
in biological organisms.
precession of the equinoxes
The apparent motion of the equinoxes along the great circle
in the celestial sphere that lies in the plane of the Earth's
A device used to make a paper copy of text and images from
an electronic file.
Formal rules specifying how to transmit data across computer
Mind manifesting, or mind expanding.
A person who deeply explores her or his own inner landscape.
Slang for computer processes that take place almost immediately,
as opposed to processes that are scheduled to be run at a
A device that forwards packets between computer networks.
Processes used by network routers to move packets of information.
A matrix that gives a hierarchy of routers and which is used
in determining and prescribing the best path from a given
router to a remote router on the network.
Software that uses keywords to find specific information on
the Web. Most popular search engines are provided free of
charge at the web sites of their creators.
The "button" on an e-mail application that activates
the commands necessary to forward an electronic message from
one computer to another.
A computer that provides a service, such as delivering the
content of a web page, to other computers connected to it
via a network.
Software for which the author requests a voluntary payment.
Often such payment may buy additional support, documentation,
or other service.
A computer program.
A data structure in which new information may be thought of
as being placed on the "top" or on the "bottom"
of other information.
A single theory that, in principle, is capable of describing
all physical phenomena.
surf the Web
Navigate from one web site to another.
See Transmission Control Protocol / Internet
Term used to describe the flow of information over a computer
Transmission Control Protocol /
The suite of network protocols, or instructions, governing
the technical details of transmitting information over the
The encapsulation of a protocol within another protocol. Often
used to encapsulate encrypted data for transmission over the
Uniform Resource Locator. The Internet address of a specific
A group of people with a set of common interests whose organization
has no geographical boundaries.
A simulation of a computer that is running as a program on
a physical computer.
Virtual Private Network
An effectively private data network created by using encryption
techniques to transport information over an otherwise public
Virtual Reality Modeling Language
A computer language used by some of the artist-philosopher-programmers
who build virtual worlds in cyberspace.
See Virtual Private Network.
See Virtual Reality Modeling Language.
The Internet location of a collection of information.
World Wide Web
A portion of the Internet consisting of hypertext servers
(HTTP servers), which are the computers that allow text, graphics,
sound files, etc. to be mixed and linked together.
See World Wide Web.