A to Z Internet glossary
Let me start by saying, the internet is a giant coconut. No, not really, not in a Matrix-esque, reality distorting, whitewash kind of way. But? It’s an analogy damn it! Just listen! The internet is awash with delicious bounty waiting to be scooped out and devoured by hungry web surfers, yet it’s not instantly accessible because of its protective hard shell.
To break it open and make the most of what it has to offer you need the right tools for the job. While a cleaver may be of use to you in cracking open a coconut, the key to tapping into internet resources is first and foremost knowledge… and that, fledgling surfers, is what I intend to provide in the pages that follow; an eclectic mix of information (with extra helpings of waffle) pertaining to computers and the internet in particular.
It’s all out there, clipart, music, fonts, software, you name it. What’s more, it’s all free and it can all be yours on the proviso that you are prepared to venture into the unknown, and most importantly of all, to read, read and then read some more. Don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand every step of the way.
The truth is out there? Where’s the url?
The Internet is a constantly evolving beast, web sites close, new ones open and existing ones move house so to keep these pages up to date I’m going to need your help. What can you do? Well if you come across any dead links whilst browsing through the links pages below, or any part of the site for that matter, it would be a huge help if you would use the form located at the foot of each page to let me know about the problems you’re experiencing. Also, if a site has changed its address and you know the new one please inform me so I can update it. Thanks to everyone who has already been doing this, your help is greatly appreciated.
Don’t worry about losing your place as all links will open in a new window. Seek and you shall find. Happy hunting!
An A-Z of computer and internet terminology:
Have I missed anything out? Have I got something completely wrong? If so, please let me know so I can add it to the list or make the necessary alterations.
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0-Day – A term used with reference to the latest warez software releases. If we’re to split hairs, 0-day software should only be referred to as 0-day if it is made available to the public on the same day as it is released, but this isn’t very practical in most cases.
0-Sec – While it is clearly physically impossible to make warez releases available to the masses the second they are cracked, pre-ers would have access to them within such a short time frame. Once distributed beyond topsites releases are no longer 0-sec so don’t believe the attention grabbing hype.
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Ace File – A compressed archive created with Winace. These can be comprised of either single standalone .ace files or a series of files referred to as a spanned or multi-volume archive. The latter variety is used to transport large archives using limited capacity media or to transfer large chunks of data a bit at a time using a slow internet connection.
Active List – Similar to a mailing list, but uses ICQ to send instant messages to subscribers.
ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, in other words high speed internet access. Can achieve download speeds that are up to ten times faster than that of a 56k modem.
Alpha – Software receives this label when it is in the very early stages of development. Usually full of bugs, so don’t touch it with a barge pole!
Anti-Leech – A system that uses web scripts to redirect users to downloadable content without revealing the true location of the files stored on a given server. The goal is to deter people from directly linking to downloads from an external web site to prevent them from harvesting files without visiting the host site. In other words, anti-leech systems are brought into play to stifle the large scale theft of web site content.
Appz – Short for applications. For example, Microsoft Office XP, Photoshop etc. The z differentiates official, legitimate releases from illegal ones.
ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange: a character set that emerged out of the necessity to convey digital information via computers prior to the existence of images and more sophisticated text formats. To view an example refer to any nfo file past or present – the structure remains identical as much to honour a tradition as to communicate information in the most simplistic way possible.
ASF File – An acronym for Advanced Systems Format; Microsoft’s proprietry video/audio wrapper, specifically designed for the purpose of streaming digital content over the internet. As speed of transfer is the top priority, quality is usually inferior to that of non-streamable media.
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Backup – In theory, the word backup refers to a replica of an original CD created for the purpose of preservation and made available by a supposedly reputable supplier. More likely, however, the term is used in a feeble attempt to make illegal software look more legitimate to avoid the watchful gaze of the authorities. Personal backups can also be made on an individual basis using CD/DVD cloning software such as Alcohol 120% and CD/DVD Clone. The authors of these tools are able to remain operational because they work on the premise that their software should only be brought into play to allow people to make duplicates of discs they legally own.
Banner Site – Password and username restricted FTP site. To aquire the correct login details you must click on several banners and search for designated keywords within the web pages which follow. Sometimes you are required to register an account at various subscription based sites because these keywords are otherwise inaccessible. The owner of the FTP site procures payment from these affiliates on a per click or per registration basis.
Beta – Refers to an unpolished, incomplete piece of software that is released to the public for bug testing as a quality control measure.
Bin File – An image of a CD contained within a single, uncompressed archive file. As these comprise the entire contents of a given CD, they tend to be CD sized i.e. roughly 700mb. Often they occupy more space than would the contents of the CD alone if simply copied and pasted to the hard drive. This is because it is necessary to store extra information relating to the data structure of a CD alongside its actual content so it can be referenced during the burning process. Bin files can be extracted or burnt, with or without an accompanying ‘cue’ file (see corresponding glossary entry for a definition) using a variety of image manipulation tools such as CD-R Win, ISO Buster, Ultra ISO, Nero and so on.
BSA – An acronym for Business Software Alliance, an organisation who are responsible for enforcing anti-piracy litigation. Similar groups in charge of controlling software theft include SIIA, SPA and ELSPA.
BSOD – Many people read about BSODs on forums and assume that they’re being insulted. Fear not, there is no need to get paranoid. It is actually an acronym for ‘Blue Screen Of Death’, a serious Windows error message which is reported in white text on a blue background. These can occur for a multitude of reasons (old Bill likes to keep us guessing!) and are the bane of PC user’s lives.
Bulletin Board – A virtual meeting place on the web similar to a chat room except that it isn’t in real time. One person leaves a message, then others come along, read it and add a reply. Each new discussion is called a ‘new thread’ and has its own link and web page associated with it for organisational purposes. Whenever a new topic is created, the older topics are pushed one place downwards in the list. Whenever someone replies to an older topic it is brought back to the top of the list to make it easy to see at a glance which ones are ‘active’. See the bulletin board tutorial for more detailed information. Some of the gambling sites, such as LVBet Casino are also having chat rooms with messages.
Burn-proof – CD/DVD writer technology designed and owned solely by Sanyo, which helps to avoid buffer underrun errors. The technique involves suspending the burning process whenever the CD/DVD writer’s buffers are empty and resuming the transfer only when the buffers once again contain data which is available to be written. For further information refer to the official Burn-proof homepage.
BW Clone – An nfo site label which refers to software releases made using the CD/DVD duplication tool Blind Write.
C File – An extension that indicates a file is a constituent of a compressed and spanned ACE archive.
Carding – Using illegally acquired credit cards to purchase goods or withdraw money.
CD Key – Performs exactly the same function as a serial number (see below), but is specifically used when referring to the installation of ISO releases of games. Without a valid, unique CD key you will not be able to play certain games, or at the very least you will not be able to play these games online.
CDM – An acronym for ‘CD maxi-single’, a term used in reference to the MP3 release scene. Designates an extended length CD single, usually containing between two and five tracks.
CD-R – A compact disc which can be used to store a limited amount of computer or audio data providing you have a CD writer at your disposal in which to burn the media. The ‘R’ stands for recordable for obvious reasons.
CDS – An acronym for ‘CD single’, a term used in reference to the MP3 release scene. CD singles are recordings consisting of one or two tracks.
CD-RW – A writable CD that can be formatted and re-used many times.
CGI Scripts – An ellipsis for ‘common gateway interface’, a scripting language, which is mainly used to create online dynamic web content such as bulletin boards (UBB for example), guest books, and free for all links pages. Other less useful (annoying even) purposes CGI scripts perform include making affiliate programs and voting ‘click-throughs’ possible. When you click on a link with a ‘?cgi’ reference you are either directed to a sponsor’s website, a voting gateway or an anti-leech protected file.
CLSC – A scene release tag used to indicate that a movie is a ‘classic’ rather than a ‘coming to a cinema near you, soon’ title.
Coaster – If you’re not careful when burning CDs or DVDs it’s very easy to make mistakes that will render them useless. If a writable CD or DVD has been corrupted, the damage is irreversible and all it is fit for is a drinks mat, hence the name coaster.
Codec – A piece of software that tells your computer how to display or present an audio or video file as intended by the author. Different file formats utilise different codecs and some produce better results than others in terms of file size, media quality etc.
Cookie – A tiny text file (usually less than 1kb), which is written to your hard drive when you visit certain web sites. These are used to store your identity so that you can access members-only areas of the site without having to type in a password each time, or to retain your personalised settings so that they are available right away the next time you visit.
Courier – Someone who is involved in the logistics of transfering new releases directly from release group headquarters (AKA topsites) to affiliate topsites, or dump sites from which FXP groups further distribute the software. Couriers are allotted varying degrees of access to releases dependent on their reliability, efficiency, social connections etc. – some are granted permission to enter the ‘pre’ directories of topsites to allow them to relay releases to affiliate topsites, while others can only enter dump sites situated lower down the distribution network. Those with access to pre directories are known as ‘pre-ers’ rather than couriers though you will often hear the terms used interchangeably.
Crack – A tiny executable file that is used to transform a program’s status from shareware to full version software. Also used with reference to replacement main executable files that serve to bypass software copyright protection mechanisms.
Cracked – A seemingly odd nfo site label (you would expect any software appearing on an nfo site to be cracked). Releases are tagged in this way to indicate that a previous release of the same software had a defective crack. The current release is presumed to be a corrective measure.
CRC Error – These can occur when you try to decompress a file that has become corrupt during the transfer process, usually as a result of too much resuming (see the FAQ for solutions and advice relating to CRC errors).
Credits – A figure which represents the amount of data you are permitted to download from a ratio FTP site. The more credits you have the more software you are allowed to download. The number of credits awarded is dependent on the quantity of data uploaded.
Cue File – Tiny plain text file used by CD/DVD writing software to determine how the data contained within a bin image file should be processed and burnt in order to produce a working replica of the original media it was extracted from.
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DAP – A quick way of referring to ‘Download Accelerator Plus’, a free download manager that claims to speed up file transfers by up to three hundred per cent. This is made possible by making multiple connections to the same file and locating the most responsive servers from which to download. DAP is paid for by revolving advertising banners, and most noteworthy, like Gozilla, Flashget and Getright, it supports the resume function.
DAT File – File format used for encoding VCD movies, identical in quality and size to MPG. Not always recognised by Media Player without first setting your file associations.
DC – The lazy way of referring to the Dreamcast, Sega’s latest (and now discontinued) console incarnation.
DC – An acronym used in reference to movie releases. Stands for ‘director’s cut’.
Decompression – Unpacking/extracting files that have been stored in a compressed archive. Unpacked files inevitably occupy more hard drive space than the original archive. Compression allows you to conveniently group together many files and reduce their size making them easier to distribute and store.
Deleter – Someone who wipes out the files stored on public, anonymous FTP sites (known as pubs) for a variety of reasons – see the FTP/FXP section of the FAQ page.
DoS Attack – Denial of Service attacks are malicious attempts to block legitimate access to web services by flooding them with useless data packets.
Dox – A condensed form of the word ‘documents’. The ‘cs’ of ‘docs’ is replaced with an ‘x’ in accordance with the warez tradition of butchering the English language.
Distro – A concise means of referring to a distribution FTP site. These are huge storage areas that act as a springboard for the transfer of new releases. Their whereabouts are never publicly disclosed to aid their survival rate. You can think of them as one of the major sources from which software emanates – not the top of the distribution hierarchy, but essential nevertheless.
Direct Downloads – Links to actual files rather than web site pages that contain software downloads. These are usually gathered together from many different sites and are listed on one page for your convenience.
DivX – The name of the encoding process used to convert video streams into a very high quality AVI video format. The resulting files are much more manageable in terms of file size facilitating the transfer of movie releases over the net.
DIZ File – An ellipsis for description. A very brief text file found inside the compressed archives used to distribute software. They state the title of the software, the number of files that makes up the set and the group/publisher who released it. Much like a miniature nfo file which can be scanned and manipulated by FTP server software.
Dongle – A hardware copyright protection device which must be plugged into the computer on which the protected software is installed before it will run. Used very little nowadays as they are costly to develop and mostly just as easy to bypass by crackers.
Download (or DL) – Copying files from a web server or FTP site to your computer via the internet.
Dump site – The second link in the software release scene distribution chain. Like topsites, dumpsites are fast, private, FXP-enabled FTP sites. Releases are transferred from topsites to dump sites and then onto public, anonymous FTP sites.
Dupe – When the release groups get their mitts on the latest piece of software their aim is to be the first group to crack it. Obviously they can’t all be the first so inevitably we are left with lots of different versions of the same game or application. The version that hits the distribution chain first takes all the glory and is known as the ‘proper’ release. Whatever remains are termed dupes, short for duplicates.
DVD – Shorthand for Digital Versatile Disc. DVDs are visually indistinguishable from CDs, but use higher density storage protocols to dramatically increase their potential capacity. A typical DVD can hold between 4.7 and 17 gigabytes of data.
DVD-R – Writable DVD media. Can be read using a DVD-ROM drive, but only written to using a DVD writer.
DVD-RW – DVD media that can be formatted and written to approximately 1000 times prior to replacement. Limited to a capacity of 4.7 GB.
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Easter Egg – A game, message or presentation hidden in a piece of software that can only be activated using a specific key configuration sequence. What more can I say? Programming can be a tedious job.
Emulator – An application that simulates another computer system or console using a PC. Consoles/computer systems which have long been discontinued can be ‘recreated’ without the need to buy the, often difficult to acquire and expensive, original hardware.
EP – An ellipsis for ‘extended play’, a term used in reference to the MP3 release scene. An EP is defined as any recording longer than a single, yet shorter than a full album, usually containing four to six tracks.
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FAQ – Stands for Frequently Asked Questions, an inventory of questions with subsequent answers to common quandaries.
FAW – Abbreviation for ‘Files Anywhere’, a popular (no longer free) web storage service.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – The method used to transfer files from one computer to another via the internet.
Final – An nfo site label indicating that a release is not a beta version. Often used if the same group releases a beta as well as the finished game or application.
Fix – Not all releases work the first time you run them, after all pobody’s nerfect! Whereas the original developers of a game would call something that corrects their initial mistakes, a ‘patch’, the release groups are much more honest about it. In contrast, they would refer to it as a ‘fix’. However, the differences between the two usually are quite significant – if a ripped game needs a fix, it usually won’t run at all without it. If a particular game refuses to play ball, you might want to check in at your favourite nfo site to see if a fix has been released.
Flaming – A general net term for ‘verbally’ attacking someone. This can be done via email, bulletin board, chat room or any medium that facilitates electronic communication.
Freedrive – Virtual hard drive storage area on the web, which was once relied upon very heavily by the http file swapping community. Subscription to the service now requires a monthly fee, hence the dramatic exodus of uploaders. Providing you’re willing to pay for the privilege, anything and everything can be uploaded, downloaded and shared.
Freeware – Unrestricted software that is downloaded from the net and is completely free to use. Often paid for using advertising or spyware unfortunately.
FTP Client/Browser – A program used to access, upload and download data from FTP sites.
FXP – The art of transferring data from one FTP site to another using the connection speed of the slower of the two computers – see the FXP tutorial.
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Gamez – Pretty self-explanatory this one. The z differentiates official, legitimate releases from illegal ones.
Getright – One of the best and longest established download managers available.
GI File – GI stands for Global Image; yet another proprietary archive format used to store the contents of audio and data discs (as if we needed any more!). GI image files can be burnt directly using either Sonic Record Now or Primo DVD. Alternatively it is possible to convert them to the more flexible ISO format using Magic ISO Maker, Ultra ISO or ISO Buster and then burn the output to disc via your favourite CD writing software as usual.
Gold – A piece of software is said to have ‘gone gold’ when the final version is complete and it is ready to ship to the public. If you want to keep an eye on the latest game releases visit www.gonegold.com.
Gozilla – Another excellent download manager, one of the top three in fact.
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Hacking – Gaining access to a remote computer without the authorisation to do so. Usually for the purposes of stealing confidential information or the malicious destruction of data. An older definition of the word designates the modification of software.
Hacks – This term falsely gives the impression that something destructive or malicious is involved. This isn’t the case; a hack is a customised piece of programming code designed to improve the functionality or appearance of a piece of software or a script. In the context of bulletin board software, for instance, the ‘quick reply’ hack (one of the most popular ever created) appends a text box and submit button to the foot of forum threads to allow members to reply to them without having to visit a separate reply page.
Hammering – Repeatedly trying to access an FTP site using an FTP client or download manager.
HTTP – Stands for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’. The method you use to view a web page. Always comes before the address of a website in your URL bar.
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ICQ – Derives from the term ‘I Seek You’. A program which is used for real time chat, instant messaging and transferring files over the internet.
Internal release – A release (usually a movie) that is designed to be kept within the confines of the group who released it. Because these releases do not conform to scene specifications they are not given a mention on scene news sites or traded for credits.
IP Address – A series of numbers separated by dots used to identify computers on the Internet.
IRC – Stands for ‘Internet Relay Chat’. Used for real time chat and transferring files over the Internet. One of the earliest forms of instant messaging. See the IRC tutorial for more information.
ISO – A single file image containing the entire contents of a CD or DVD. ISO is a generic warez term used to indicate that all the multimedia components and other extras of a game or application are uncut, thereby distinguishing them from rips. Not to be confused with .iso images since warez ISO releases generally make use of the BIN/CUE format. See the ISO tutorial for more information.
IVTC – Condensed shorthand for ‘inverse telecine’, the art of reducing the frame rate of movies from 30 to 24 frames per second. The goal is twofold – to reduce the file size of the movie making it less cumbersome and to ensure that it conforms to scene movie ripping standards.
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Java – A programing language used to create applications known as applets, which can either be used offline (or at least independently of your web browser) or be embedded into web pages for online use. Examples include chat applets, virtual hard drive interfaces and file sharing clients.
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Key Generator – A tiny executable program that is capable of creating a valid serial number from a specified username. These are specific to particular applications or utilities, so a serial number created with one key generator will only work with the program for which it was developed.
Kiddie – An nfo site label that refers to children’s software releases i.e. educational titles or games designed specifically for under sevens (or thereabouts).
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Lamer – An annoying and hackneyed general derogatory term used within warez communities to insult people.
Leeching – Downloading files without giving anything back in return, or copying other people’s links.
Leet/l33t/1337 speak – Take one perfectly intelligent, legible English sentence, lightly sprinkle with an assortment of numbers which vaguely resemble letters and you have the makings of an elite or ‘leet’ sentence. To complete the ensemble, splurge your creation out into the electronic medium of your choice and leave to boil. Soon enough other cerebrally limited creatures of your ilk will gather round to pat you on the back for being devilishly cunning. Some may even contribute their own witticisms if they are feeling particularly creative.
It is thought that leet-speak emerged as a way of bypassing the text censors of IRC or bulletin board systems, or as a means of facilitating communication between close-knit, secretive groups. Initially leet-speak would have baffled outsiders so would have provided a useful mode of conveying a message intending for a limited audience.
Limited – A term used in reference to movie releases. ‘Limited’ movies are ones that are shown in five hundred or fewer cinemas.
Lost Race – See ‘won race’.
LP – An acronym for ‘long play’, a term used in reference to the MP3 release scene, designating a recording of full length i.e. a full album CD.
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MD – Shorthand for ‘mini disk’, a term used in reference to the MP3 release scene.
MDF – File extension sported by Alcohol 120% CD/DVD image files. Also a kind of particle board used to make cheap furniture. Downloads of the latter are harder to come by – Ikea or MFI would be a safer bet if you’re in the market for a new cabinet.
MDS – A kind of initiation file used by cloning tool, Alcohol 120%, to determine how to process and burn a proprietary MDF image file. Akin to bin’s little brother, cue.
Mirror – An exact copy of a web site stored on a different server. Using multiple locations for web sites allows the site to be accessed using a different address if the main site is deleted, hacked or becomes unavailable due to technical difficulties. Limited bandwidth FTP sites are often mirrored to aid the distribution of ISO images i.e. Linux distros.
Modchip – Very common web site sponsor found on sites of dubious legality. They are especially nonchalant where the site contents of their affiliates is concerned seeing as they are hardly lilly-white themselves – their products represent one of the ‘grey areas’ of the law. Modchips are small pieces of electronic circuitry that allow copied games to be played on games consoles. If a console has been fitted with a Modchip it is said to have been ‘chipped’.
MP3 File – The most popular, near CD quality, compressed music file format. Average track size is between 3 and 4 megabytes compared with the 40-ish megabytes an uncompressed wave format (.wav) track would occupy.
MPG – An abbreviation used to group together a set of standards for encoding digital audio-visual streams in a compressed format. The protocol for structuring such files was developed by a group of 350-ish people collectively known as the Moving Picture Experts Group.
Multi Web Space Faker – A tool used to create lots of free web space accounts simultaneously (see the FAQ section for a more detailed explanation).
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Name Zero – An organisation that at one time offered free web site domain names. The main drawbacks were that you had to put up with a very bulky banner residing at the bottom of your pages and the fact that you never actually owned your chosen address. Name Zero counted on you becoming so attached to your loaned URL that you would be willing to pay over the odds to have ownership transferred to yourself once the trial period had expired. These days domain names are so cheap to register that free ones aren’t such a catch unless you’re a real miser.
Newsgroups – Virtual meeting places assembled for the purpose of discussing particular topics. More than likely there exists at least one newsgroup devoted to any hobby or interest you could name. The exchange of messages takes place via the Network News Transfer Protocol, and conversations can be tracked using an email client, dedicated news reader application or even via the web. Refer to the newsgroup tutorial for further information.
NFO File – Short for info or information; a basic text file containing all the pertinent details relating to a particular release, such as number of files, release date, copy protection system employed, installation instructions etc. There exists a time-honoured tradition of decorating nfo files using ASCII art – this allows release groups to stamp their personal identity onto their work and make it stand out from the crowd.
NFO Fix – If inaccurate information is provided in an nfo file sometimes a group will release a new one to set the record straight.
Nuked – A release is said to have been nuked if either it is completely unplayable or it contravenes the rules and regulations laid down by the relevant governing consortium. Usually when this happens another group re-releases the software or movie, preferably within 48 hours of the original. Providing these replacements abide by the release rules, and function as intended, they are known as ‘proper’ releases, although this isn’t always necessary as fixes do sometimes follow on to rescue the release from the trash can.
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OEM – An acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM software titles are repackaged versions of the full retail product. They are often re-branded to suit the needs of the particular vender and are much more reasonably priced because they lack excessive packaging and a hard copy of the manual.
OST – A tag you are mostly likely to stumble across while searching for MP3 music. It stands for original soundtrack (movie music).
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Patch – We all know games and applications aren’t perfect. When they are released we would hope that they have been thoroughly tested for bugs and incompatibility problems, but you can guarantee that many of these will still slip through the quality control net. Once the program is released to the general public, the bug reports start to flood in. A patch is a downloadable executive file which takes these reports into account and attempts to incorporate all the fixes for these known problems. A patch can resolve incompatibility problems, prevent crashes or improve the performance of a piece of software.
Phreaking – Using a computer to discover the inner, secret workings of telephone systems in order to exploit them i.e. to make free calls or have calls charged to someone else’s account.
Piracy – The replication and distribution of movies or computer software. Goods are exchanged via physical means e.g. on CD, DVD or video cassette rather than digitally over the internet and money inevitably changes hands. Piracy is a serious criminal offense punishable by a fine or even imprisonment.
PM – Stands for private message. Much like email except they are passed back and forth behind the scenes of bulletin boards. Unlike public posts they are only intended to be viewed by pre-selected recipients.
Pop-ups – Irritating browser windows that open automatically when you visit badly designed, amateur web sites. Often contain voting portals or porn sites.
Port – A term which is often, but by no means exclusively, used in reference to FTP sites. Port numbers are an essential extension of the addresses used to access remote servers to facilitate the routing of data through various protocols. If, for example, the port number of an FTP site isn’t specified, the default value of 21 will automatically be used. Each remotely accessible aspect of your computer is assigned with a port number. Your email POP and SMTP servers have port numbers, your ICQ interface uses another port number, as do any file sharing clients you may have installed and so on and so forth.
Pre – Short for pre-release: the name given to a warez title which has been packed and tested, but not yet distributed beyond topsites.
Pron – A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away someone posted a request for porn on a bulletin board, only because of a typing error, what he ended up asking for was ‘pron’. Since then this has become a bit of a running joke and so it is now deliberately misspelt. Browse through enough bulletin boards and you will also see it spelt like so: pr0n, with a zero instead of an ‘oh’. Another typo I expect; zero and ‘oh’ are very close together on QWERTY keyboards afterall.
Alternative etymology: the word porn was deliberately mangled to evade IRC-based text censors, or as a way of clearly labeling x-rated content without it being identified as such by network-scanning bots or human administrators.
Proper – If a release is deemed to be unplayable or it breaks the rules of conduct it is abandoned (or ‘nuked’). If another group re-releases the software, thereby ironing out all the problems, their replacement release is said to be the ‘proper’ version. This tag will appear alongside the title of the game on nfo sites to make it clear who gained the credits for releasing a particular title.
Proxy – A third party server that acts as an anonymous go between whenever you request a web page or contact a remote server. The message from your computer is first passed through the proxy server before being relayed to the final destination. This makes it appear as though the request emanated from the IP address of the proxy server rather than yourself. Proxies can be employed for the purpose of maintaining your online privacy or to bypass IP address based restrictions that prevent you from accessing particular sites. Much more detailed information on this subject is available in the anonymity tutorial.
PSX – A quick way of referring to the Sony Playstation. PSX2 obviously refers to the second generation Playstation system.
Pub – A free for all FTP site where anonymous access is permitted. Refer to the FTP/FXP section of the FAQ or the FXP tutorial for further information.
Pub Scanner – Someone who scours the net for anonymous access FTP sites, which permit the creation and deletion of files. Once found, these are exploited by uploading software for others to share.
Pub Stealer – Someone who posts the IP address of a public FTP site which they themselves did not build. Some pub stealers justify this by claiming that the elitism of private FXP groups discriminates against those people who do not have access, yet others simply post other people’s work to try to claim the credit for themselves. Either way, pub stealers are despised by the FXP groups and praised by those who would otherwise not have access to them.
Pubstro – A hacker comes along and illegally gains entry to a computer connected to the internet (after all that is the definition of hacking, lol). He or she then sets it up as an FTP server, creates a username and password for themselves and proceeds to upload data to it. The resulting ‘hacked pub’ is known as a pubstro. These are kept totally hush-hush because they are like gold dust in that they only present themselves once in a blue moon. Software is transferred from pubstros to non-FXP-able pubs, which are subsequently advertised. It’s all about protecting the source and spreading the wealth. Large oaks from little acorns grow and all that malarkey. Nevertheless, creating pubstros is extremely controversial as it involves hacking, rather than relatively harmless squatting (as is the case with pubs). For this reason posting pubstros is forbidden on many forums.
Pub Tagging – When a public FTP site is discovered by an FXP group they name a directory after themselves, which serves as a calling card to let other groups know that the hard drive space has already been claimed and will soon be filled. This avoids duplicate uploads and disputes over the ‘ownership’ of a pub.
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Quarantine – Viruses are often moved to a quarantined or protected area of a hard drive before it is decided how they will be dealt with. While they reside in this isolated area of a drive they pose no risk to your data.
QuickTime – Apple’s own proprietary movie format which comprises text, animation, video and sound. The file extensions .qt, .mov and .moov indicate that a file has been created using the QuickTime format. Such files can either be viewed using the official Apple player or the much sleeker alternative, classic media player derivative.
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Rar File – Either a self-contained, single compressed archive or the first file in a series of compressed archives (the one you double click to decompress all the files at once). Usually decompressed using a program called Winrar (although Winace can also handle the task remarkably well).
Ratio – Two numbers separated by a semi-colon. Indicates how much data you must upload to an FTP site before you are permitted to download anything.
Ratio Buster – An old DOS program that allows you to specify the size of an empty file. These pseudo-files can then be uploaded to ratio sites to gain credit at a much faster rate than usual.
RCNT – A scene release tag used to indicate that a movie is a ‘recent’ as opposed to a classic title.
Real Proper – A rare nfo site label used to indicate that a release intended to correct the previous mistakes of the same or another group did nothing of the sort, and so had to be replaced with a proper proper release. See ‘proper’ for more information.
Reget – Yet another free download manager. The only obvious advantage this one has over Getright and Gozilla is that in a few mouse clicks you can add all the linked files on a selected web page to the download queue in one go, which is a huge time saver. Also the interface has been translated into many different languages. Therefore if English is not your first language this may be a better option for you.
Reg File – Tiny file that adds essential configuration details into the registry of Windows operating systems.
Release Group – A collaborative crew of talented programmers who are involved in cracking and/or ripping software. The incentives for doing so are numerous, though the principal ones include inter-group competition, the pride garnered from successfully bypassing a complicated copyright protection mechanism, social interaction with like-minded individuals and so on.
Request – A plea for help in finding a piece of software, a movie, an MP3 file or whatever. Usually posted on bulletin boards, newsgroups, e-groups etc. Not a welcome sight within most communities as fulfilling requests constitutes aiding and abetting piracy and is liable to lead to legal repercussions, or at the very least, the closure of the communication outlet involved. The suppression of requests is not considered a major inconvenience now that peer to peer software, by and large, makes them redundant.
Resume – The ability to stop and start downloading/uploading a file whenever you choose without having to start again from the beginning.
Rip – Software that has had all the non-essential gubbins removed to reduce its size making it less cumbersome to transfer via the internet. Movies, music and speech are typical casualties, though these can be re-applied much like patches if the user so wishes.
Raped – A release is branded with this term if it has been damaged beyond repair during the ripping process. Used interchangeably with ‘nuked’.
RM File – Shorthand for Real Media, a file format used to encode video sequences, which can be played back using either the spamfest that is the official Real Player or the more minimalist alternative media player derivative. Video clips produced using this format are not of the highest quality, but do have the advantage of a relatively small file size and the ability to be streamed over the net.
ROM – Games which are designed for other platforms, but are played on the PC using an emulator.
RSS – Acronym for RDF (resource description framework) Site Summary; a means of syndicating web site content so it can be viewed beyond the confines of the author’s site e.g. from within news clients or via feeds into similarly themed sites.
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Screener – A movie release boasting very high quality video and sound, usually ripped from promotional videos.
SE – Acronym used in reference to DVD movie rips. Stands for ‘special edition’.
Serial – A valid username and code number combination (or just the code on its own), which is saved as a basic text file and used to register a shareware program, or activate a retail product, thereby removing all the restrictions.
SFV File – See the ISO section of the FAQ.
Shareware – Try-before-you-buy software downloaded from the net.
Shovelware – Extra junk that is bundled with retail software to fill the CD/DVD capacity, making it appear that you’re getting more for your money.
Slashdot Effect – Slashdot is an immensely popular technology discussion and information web site. Whenever a site is referenced in a Slashdot article, it is rapidly inundated with visitors. Often this results in the site becoming inaccessible as it can not cope with the enormous surge in traffic – when this happens, the site in question is said to have been Slashdotted or /.ed for short.
Spam – Unsolicited junk e-mail. Supposedly stands for ‘Stupid Person’s Annoying Message’. How appropriate!
Sponsor – To make some money, webmasters can place adverts on their sites. Each time you click on these adverts or banners they receive a few cents for ushering in potential customers to the sponsor’s web site.
Spyware – Any software that is installed on your system without your consent and is capable of transmitting information regarding your browsing habits to market research companies. Spyware files are usually installed along with seemingly harmless shareware or freeware applications and operate in the background while you surf the net. These uninvited gremlins can be eliminated using spyware removal programs such as Ad Aware, available from Lavasoft.
STV – An acronym used in reference to movie releases. Stands for ‘straight to video’.
Superbit – A perfectly legitimate DVD variant endorsed by Sony Pictures. All the extra features are cut to optimize the available storage space on the disc. This allows the video and sound to be encoded at a higher bit rate, resulting in the production of superior quality movies.
SuprNova – Was once the largest BitTorrent, verified file listing and community web site around. Shutdown kind of voluntarily in December 2004 because the gaffer, Sloncek, could hear the rapidly approaching footsteps of the MPAA, who, during this month, mounted a major crackdown on sites facilitating the distribution of pre-release movies via the BitTorrent protocol.
Surfer Friendly (SF) – Surfer friendly sites supposedly have no blind links, pop-ups or porn banners. Don’t be fooled by this label though as some sites will tell you fibs to get you to visit them.
Sys Op – The person who has the responsibility for running the computer from which an FTP site has been established. When data is uploaded to public FTP sites and then suddenly goes ‘Missing In Action’ you can often lay the blame at the door of the Sys Op who has an obligation to make sure his/her server stays within the boundaries of the law. Sys Ops regulate access to the server, manage its contents and maintain its online status.
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Tagging – A term used in reference to the claim of ownership of a public FTP site by an FXP group. When a ‘pub’ is located, the group who discovered it name a directory after themselves so that other groups know not to use the space for their own uploads. This is really just common courtesy – a good example of FXP etiquette.
The Faction – A now defunct organisation composed of three of the largest release groups (Razor 1911, Class and Paradigm). They originally joined forces in 1998 in order to produce a 10 point document detailing the rules and regulations that release groups were expected to follow when ripping a game. This document has now been superseded by a revised version devised by Myth, Divine, Vace, and Instinct known as the Standard Rip Rules.
Top List – A chart which lists in rank order the best sites in a particular category, worked out on the basis of votes.
Topsite – The pinnacle of the warez distribution hierarchy. Topsites are extremely fast, private FTP sites, which contain freshly cracked software. Initially they are used to receive pre-release software supplied by computer industry insiders. When this software has been cracked, packed and tested, it is placed in a ‘pre’ directory where it is pounced on by ‘pre-ers’ who then race the booty to affiliate topsites. Subsequent to the awarding of credits, couriers distribute the software to dump sites and so on.
Trading – Swapping data, file for file via FTP, IRC, ICQ etc. Not generally approved of by new age, enlightened web users who believe that software should be freely distributed.
Trainer – A small, executable program which sits in your taskbar while you play a game. Hotkeys are associated with cheat commands which, when activated, provide you with extra ammo, weapons, lives or the ability to toggle between invincible/mortal modes etc.
Trojans – Nasty virus like attachments that can be merged with executable files. These are tiny so are unlikely to arouse suspicion and set alarm bells ringing. When executed they allow hackers to access the infected computers of unsuspecting web surfers and wreak havoc. Very often found in files shared using peer to peer software, yet they can be guarded against proactively using an up to date virus checker or a trojan remover such as The Cleaner.
Trolling – Posting controversial messages to web forums, newsgroups, mailing lists etc. with the intention of inciting smouldering arguments.
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UBB – Shorthand for Ultimate Bulletin Board, the second most popular internet forum script available. See the bulletin board tutorial.
Undeletable Pub – An anonymous access, public FTP site where the permission attributes are set to allow uploads and downloads, but do not permit deletion.
Unzipping – Unpacking or decompressing files that have been stored in a compressed archive. Originally only used when referring to zip files, however, it is now perfectly acceptable to make reference to unzipping ace or rar files too.
Upload – Copying files from your computer to a web server or FTP site via the internet.
URL – Stands for ‘Uniform Resource Locator’. The web site address you type into the address bar of your browser.
Usenet – The global or collective term for the many thousands of newsgroups hosted on servers dispersed throughout the world (refer to the entry for newsgroups for further information).
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VA – An acronym for ‘various artists’, a term used in reference to the MP3 release scene.
Vapourware – Conceptual software that is unlikely to ever see the light of day, or over hyped, long awaited software that doesn’t live up to expectation.
vBulletin – A professional, PHP/MySQL message board script which has rapidly overtaken UBB in the popularity stakes – see the bulletin board tutorial. For a live demonstration visit the ASB forum.
VCD – Stands for Video Compact Disc. Essentially these are MPG movie files distributed on CD media. VCDs can be played back in compatible DVD players or using a number of software based movie players.
VLS – An acronym used in reference to the MP3 release scene. Stands for ‘vinyl single’, a recording consisting of just one or two tracks.
Voting – Warez site webmasters are very keen to reach the number one slot of top lists such as Sub List, Top 100 etc. and will therefore do whatever it takes to coerce you into voting. The more votes a site receives, the higher it is able to climb up the top list. An elevated, prominent position results in more visitors, and in theory, more sponsor clicks which equates to extra financial reward for their efforts. At least this used to be the case before web warez became extinct owing and the peer to peer revolution commenced.
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Warez – Illegal, full version software that is uploaded to the internet and distributed freely.
Warez Board – An online, virtual meeting place used to share links and discuss anything and everything related to warez.
White Label – Independently issued music / promotional discs distributed by unsigned bands to gain exposure. Such media can be identified by referring to the text scrawled on their plain, white labels using a marker pen, hence the term ‘white label’. Printer ink costs money, don’t ya know.
Winace – The original ACE format archive decompression tool. Now handles all the most common archive files, though is eclipsed by Winrar as it cannot be used to manipulate ISO images.
Wingate – A system through which a number of computers are permitted to access the internet via a single computer connection providing they are all networked together. The computer that acts as the go-between routes all the incoming data and so functions as a proxy server as well as a firewall.
Winrar – The number one utility used for decompressing RAR, ACE and ZIP files (amongst other lesser known formats) and extracting the contents of ISO images. Also very useful for decompressing many archive files simultaneously – a wonderful time/RSI saver!
Winzip – The original archive compression/decompression tool. Whilst Winzip was once considered an essential component of any PC user’s toolkit, today it is largely outflanked by the multi-talented Winrar.
Won Race – References to won and lost races can often be seen adjacent to the releases listed on scene news sites. If two groups release the same game, movie or whatever, the one that is able to transfer it to their affiliate’s topsites first wins the race. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the winning group managed to crack or rip the release ahead of the losing group. It could simply be a reflection of their superior distribution network.
Workprint – A very early rendering of a movie leaked by the production crew. Often they contain extra scenes, which will later be cut out of the final release due to time restraints or simply because the director thought they were inappropriate etc etc. Other defining attributes include the presence of markers, which are used to jump back and forth between scenes, counters, studio logos, date stamps and post codes. If you compare the workprint release of a movie with the final version you may also notice changes in the soundtrack and a whole host of other more subtle modifications. While these early incarnations are highly sought after by movie enthusiasts as they offer a glimpse into the movie that could have been, they do not hold much sway on scene release sites unfortunately.
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Zip File – One of the most commonly used data compression formats. Archives compressed using the zip format are assigned the extension ‘.zip’ and can be opened using a multitude of freeware and shareware decompression tools.