If I had thought for one moment that my smart assed joke was going to be your only answer, I wouldn’t have made it. Sorry.
In computer systems, some things are very fast, and some things are blindingly fast, and some other things are unbelievably fast. When you have the situation that an unbelievably fast thing has to wait until a very fast thing happens, then engineers usually build a thing called a cashe.
The cashe is a storage for data which is provided by the very fast thing, and is, itself an unbelievably fast thing, that way the other unbelievably fast thing only has to wait once for the very fast thing. After that, it uses the data stored in the cash, instead of accessing the very fast thing. It works really well when the data is the same every time, and is merely being read, and not written to.
Here is an example. AOL has millions of requests for data every second, all day long. The have huge memory structures built to hold web pages which they have just downloaded from the WWW. If a second request for that URL comes in during a relatively short time period, the data from the first request is still in RAM (or on the AOL server’s hard drive.) Getting it from RAM is a whole lot faster than retransmitting it from Chicago, to Reston, and then to you. If you were just looking at nekkid girls, you would be pleased not to have to wait. If you are keeping up with a fast moving message board, you are pissed, because the cached copy is not current, even by human time standards.
If you press the “refresh” button on your IE5 tool bar, at the top of your screen, IE5 will specifically request that the information be updated from the original source, rather than a cache on your computer, or on AOL.
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