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Definitions full of ® fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit!
Active Application

On the Mac you (usually) only have access to one application and one menu bar at a time. The one you currently have access to is at the "top" - that is, its windows and menu bar are visible. This currently available application is called the "Active Application".

Other applications (including the Finder) and their windows may or may not be visible, peeking out from "behind" the edges of the windows of the Active Application. You can switch the active application in a WHOLE BUNCH of ways. KNOWING HOW TO IDENTIFY THE ACTIVE APPLICATION AND CHANGE IT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS TO LEARN IF YOU ARE NEW TO THE MAC. One way to change it is by clicking on one of those pieces of other windows. This will make that 'piece' and all other windows associated with that application rise to the top. The icon of the currently Active Application appears on the far right of the menu bar. This is the "Application Menu".

AFAIK As far as I know
AOL America OnLine! Formerly a 'member/content provider' Online Service, now also an ISP. Having an email account on AOL is like wearing a red 'bullseye' target on your shirt for hackers and spammers. (see MSN)
Apple // One of Apple computer's predecessors to the wildly successful Macintosh line. Many of us believe that the Apple // really was the first Personal Computer. Apple marketing didn't catch onto that idea until the Apple //e, when they labeled the boxes, "THE Personal Computer". The //e was a slightly more enhanced model than the //, usually sold with a super-serial card (to connect to a printer), and which came with an 80 column display. (The "80 column card" was used to provide 80 columns to pre-//e models.) Boy, and I hope I got that all right, because it's been about 20 years since I put one together!!
Applescript Apple's REALLY COOL built-in programming language that can automate activities in the Finder, applications, and across the LAN on somebody else's Mac. Worth learning about.

One of the things that helps keep the Mac dominant in several forms of media. You can have scripts that will size your JPEGs, drop them in a layout program such as Quark, suck the captions out of your AppleWorks word processing, and print out the whole thing as a magazine. To even come close to doing this in Windows, you'd have to buy a thousand dollar's worth of Microsoft development tools and hire a Visual Basic programmer to try to come up with a way to do it. With Voice Recognition, you can have scripts that tell your X-10® Home Automation system to turn on the lights in your Kitchen when you say, "Macintosh. Kitchen Lights On!" This deserves a whole separate OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED article, which may appear UNPREDICTABLY in a future issue.
Application Menu The menu available on the far right of the menu bar. Displays the Active Application icon (and if you pull the little vertical "grabber" bar far enough to the left, the application name.) Click on the menu to show a list of applications that are currently loaded IN MEMORY. Yes, you probably have lots of other applications on your hard drive, but these are the ones that are READY TO ROLL. You've either loaded them at startup or launched them directly by clicking on their application icon or a document icon that they have opened for you. When you launch another application it will be listed there. When you quit one, it will disappear from the list. Applications listed there are eating up your available MEMORY. Switch to one of the available applications by selecting it from the Application Menu. See? Now *its* icon and name appear on the menu bar!
BDC Big Dumb Corporation. You know if you work for one.
BLOG Many of us fantasize that our lives, or our writing, would be of interest to someone else. Is it? I don't know, but a blog let's you put it out there for all the world. Once you've read a few, you might think it stands for "blather log", but I think the word really derives from "Web Log". Blogs have been around for a long time, but somehow they've reached that critical mass where if you don't know what one is, you're just not COOL. And we wouldn't want that, would we? Think of it as an online diary, or journal, situated in a personal web site, a location on AOL, or even a site that just specializes in blogs.
BTW Abbreviation for BY THE WAY. The use of which shows EVERYONE ELSE that you are Internet Savvy, hip, part of the IN crowd. Maybe even a fellow GEEK. But IMHO this could be trouble because AFAIK you'd better be prepared to be challenged, and if you fail, FLAMED.
Burner Cool word, huh? People "burn" CDs on their CD Burners. Why burn? Because the technology used to make CDs is LASER, and CD Burners (and CDs) actually get pretty warm when they're making a CD. If you say "cutting" a CD, young people will think you are CLUELESS, and older people who are HIP will think, "It's about time you gave up this thing with ANTIQUE ANALOG VINYL TECHNOLOGY, DUDE."
Clean Install At some point in its past Apple incorporated a 'Clean Install' option in System Installers. Any system, especially Mac Systems owned by Mac Geeks (MGs), get mucked up with Preferences, extensions, and all kinds of feature customizing add-ins, temporary files, and so on, that contribute in varying degrees to instability in the Mac system. By default, a System Installer of a new update puts the new system into the 'old' System Folder, mixing the new stuff with all the old junk.
Hoping that this default install will "fix all Apple's bugs'", the classic MG, soon discovers his System still crashes or hangs. In the next step, the MG intiates a 'Clean Install'. This option inserts a brand spanking new version of the System Folder on the same drive (but not the same folder) as the old one. It even politely labels the old System, 'Previous System Folder'. Mr. MG, restarts, finds his Mac works great. And he should probably stop there. But, he's a geek. He picks through the extraneous junk in the Previous System Folder, moving it to the clean new folder. He Restarts. Get the picture? The closer to a 'Clean Install' the more likely the System will be stable.
Command Line Interface How people controlled computers PM (Prior to Mac). THERE WAS NO MOUSE. A "prompt" - that is, a colon, or carat, or some other obscure character from your keyboard - appeared on the screen. This was equivalent to your dog looking up at you with THAT LOOK. If you knew the commands, you could TYPE one in and probably press [Return] or [Enter], and the computer would DO something. For example, in MS-DOS, if you typed in DIR (which stands for "directory"), you would get a list of FILES, with names like: CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, WORD.EXE, AND HELPME.TXT. Whoopee. Believe it or not, a lot of people STILL enjoy this kind of interaction with a machine.
Connectix One of the most respected Mac Software companies. These guys came out with some impressive smaller utilities first. You may have heard of RAM Doubler. They went on to write Virtual PC, a great (though not the first) PC emulator on the Mac.
Control Panel This is fairly self-evident isn't it? On the Mac, available from the Apple Menu. The many devices that allow you to change and adjust all kinds of settings on your Mac. Superceded by 'System Preferences' in OSX.
Dark Rider One of the nine Nazgul - wringwraiths - demons in service to the Dark Lord. Nasty types who want to harm those charming little hobbits.(Visually, "Darth Vader" comes to mind. But technically, Vader is the apprentice to the Sith Master, the Emperor. Darth Maul, with his cool aboriginal face paint, preceded him, until he went to pieces in the 'First' Star Wars movie.)
Desktop The main GUI 'metaphor' of the Macintosh and to a lesser and disabled extent, its dominant rival, Windows. The area of your screen presented when the Finder is the active application. Volume icons, the Trash Can, Folders, File, and Applications can all be 'on' the Desktop. So can Printer icons if you use "Desktop Printing" (you probably do).
Disk Image A *file* that when double-clicked "launches" and appears as a Volume in your Finder. A Disk Image can actually consist of multiple files, that when launched, combine to appear as a single large volume. You've seen this neat trick if you downloaded the 15 4Mb Image files of the OS 9.1 update.
early adopter A term that technology analysts like. Early Adopters are the people who go for new technology before it becomes widespread and/or inexpensive. Apple was an early adopter of the concept of the palm device (Newton), which they abandoned to the consternation and dismay of at least one UNPREDICTABLE reader. Many Mac users were early adopters of the Internet. Early adopters usually gain the advantages and suffer the pain of new technology.
EUNUCH Another name for a Unix geek. Unpredictable refers OCCASIONALLY to 'the EUNUCH faction at Apple'. In case you think I'm bashing the EUNUCH faction at Apple too much, make no mistake. Apple is going full- bore to assimilate the UNIX world. Hired into Apple to make OSX, many of these folks are command-line fanatics with little comprehension of the interface ease and simplicity the average Mac user expects. Please Apple! Indoctrinate them for three months with an early iMac running OS9, and then make them take at least one semester of English as a Second Language (ESL) before they are even allowed to suggest an 'enhancement' to TEN.
Extension Manager (Control Panel) (9) Use with Caution!! Allows you to create 'sets' of Extensions, those little snippets of code that load during startup. This way you can NOT LOAD the Extensions that you don't use or need, or BE SURE TO LOAD the ones you do. The commercial (and superior) counterpart to this is CONFLICT CATCHER. Extension Manager is FREE, OVERLOOKED, & UNDERUSED.
Finder The "main" application on your Mac, which generates the Desktop, keeps track of and allows you to name and move your files, and so on. Technically, probably not considered part of the OS, but as far as most of us are concerned, it IS the OS.
Flame As a verb, to put someone else down, usually in some public (Internet) forum. "Man, I really got flamed!" In the old days (more than a year or two ago), it was usually NEWBIES who got flamed for not showing the proper REVERENCE and RESPECT to the regular members of Lists and Newsgroups. As Internet commoners have flooded the system, the elite have become more tolerant. Newbies still might get flamed for making a dumb mistake like sending mail by accident to everyone on a LIST. Generally it's best to LURK without posting until you have a feel for the names and personalities and etiquette of a list or Newsgroup. Then when you post, GROVEL appropriately. It's always good to start out a question with, "Oh great and powerful all-knowing gurus of..."
Frodo A hobbit. Chosen heir of Bilbo. The ringbearer charged with returning the One Ring of Power to the place it was forged and thus bringing an end to the Power of the Dark Lord, Sauron.
Gig In the days of stone knives and bearskins, media was measured in 'bytes'. Nobody knows or cares what the heck a BYTE is anymore, do they? It's SMALL. For example, a Megabyte is a MILLION BYTES. There are One Thousand Mb (megabytes) in a Gig (gigabyte). A Gig is what magnetic media is measured in THESE DAYS. If it's less than a Gig man, what good is it? Well, we like CDs, but of course CDs are only 600Mb or so. Why do people use them? You can't beat the 'per-megabyte' price. If you shop and buy in quantity, you can get CD-Rs for around 25 cents apiece or less. In a year or two we'll all be burning DVDs, which START at 5 Gig. And if I got this all correct, as my prize, send me a couple of tickets to the next Neil Young concert in the New Jersey area, okay?
GUI Pronounced, "Gooey", like the worm that was. Geek Speak for "Graphical User Interface". Everyone knows this by now, don't they? Can you remember when a User Interface wasn't Graphical? Some of us can...
Guide Could be Strider, also known as Aragorn of Arathorn. Helps the Ringbearer avoid hazards and pursuit by the Dark Riders. On OS 9 on the Mac, a subset of the Help system that LEADS you through setting things up, or using features. (Gonzo from TEN).
haxsie Generic term (at this point almost exclusively used by Unsanity Software) to describe a "hack" to Oh Ess Ten . "There are some great Haxsies out there, but my system is more stable without them."
IBM 1) "I'll Buy a Mac" 2) Less commonly, International Business Machines, the BIG LOSER of the PC Platform wars: Licensed PC-DOS from Microsoft and for BDCs, legitimized the idea of the personal computer with the "IBM PC" (old timers will remember the quaint Charlie Chaplin commercials). They squandered their lead in PC architecture when their BIOS was reverse-engineered by Phoenix, Compaq, and others. They tried to re-gain control of the market by introducing proprietary PS 2 and "micro-channel" PC architecture which was spurned by the industry. They codeveloped OS2 with "partner" (Ha, Ha) Microsoft, partnership with MS dissolved when "Pinky" Gates decided he could market the nearly finished operating system as Windows NT. Then infighting with IBM's hardware division prevented IBM from even selling OS2 on their OWN hardware (Windows was the default OS). Although miserable failures in the desktop arena, IBM still maintains large accounts with lots of BDCs who continue to use their larger mainframe and mini systems, and they have even made some inroads in the LAN Server world by supporting Linux and other open-source software.
iBook Formerly the flattened iMac, clamshell, color, 'consumer' laptop counterpart to the PowerBook. A laptop for college students and other creative types who presumably don't have to deal with BIG DUMB CORPORATIONS and CONSERVATIVE BEEHIVE I.T. DRONES who want every laptop to look and act like an IBM ThinkPad or DELL Latitude. Now, the sleek, awesome, translucent white baby sister of the Titanium G4 PowerBook, the new iBook is sometimes called the "Icebook". Aggressively priced, available with an optional INTERNAL CD-RW/DVD. Beautiful enough for artists and academics, and square enough for BIG DUMB CORPORATIONS. This looks like a winner folks!! Get your Apple stock now, while you still can!!
IE To most people, the abbreviation I.E. stands for Internet Explorer, Microsoft's 'free' web browser. TRUE GEEKS call it IE. They don't waste syllables when they can use TWO LETTERS! To me, IE stands for an 'Internet Edition' of CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE NEWSLETTER. BTW, there are TONS of Microsoft-specific, Internet related abbreviations. But if they don't have anything to do with the MAC, I'M NOT GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THEM!
IMHO In my humble opinion
in Undoubtedly originating in that similar sixties phraseology, as in, 'I'm not into that bag!' Using, immersed in, currently using, i.e. 'I was in the Finder, but as I write this, I'm in Emailer'
Instability Euphemism for the likelihood that a system or application will crash or hang, i.e. "Windows is inherently unstable." In other words, a 'stable system', doesn't crash or hang...much.
Interactive I don't really have to explain this do I?
ISP Internet Service Provider. The company that provides you access to the Internet. Used to be America Online or Compuserve weren't really considered ISPs because they gave you access to their own content and membership. But like everything else, that has changed.
iTunes You must know what this is by now, right? Software. Apple's bid to make the Mac even more Internet Savvy than it already is, by giving Mac users a COOL and FREE MP3 player that includes the ability to burn CDs.
Lists THE INTERNET WAY TO GET TONS OF EMAIL AND FEEL POPULAR IF YOU'RE LONELY. Members send mail 'to' the List, and the List distributes the mail to all the members. Most lists let you receive the list as a 'digest' which summarizes all the individual mails into a single daily mail. There are lists on all kinds of topics. Find a list and join it! You might find yourself communicating with the people who write your software, or authors of books you've read, old friends, or someone with a common interest who lives on the other side of the planet!

Location Manager (Control Panel) Covered in the article on Updating Quicktime in UNPREDICTABLE #8. Allows you to create 'sets' consisting of ALL KINDS of different settings (including Extension Manager or Conflict Catcher settings) and switch back and forth between them easily. Not for the timid, but definitely worth the learning curve. Another FREE, OVERLOOKED, & UNDERUSED feature that you already have! And for Laptop users (that's the focus of this issue after all) an ESSENTIAL!!
LOL Laughing Out Loud -- DON'T EVER USE THIS!!! IMHO the most overused abbreviation. Let me give you an example. LOL. Was that really funny? Maybe not, but I thought so. LOL. Blech. It's much "cooler" to use smileys. And we want to be cool, right? ;-)
Lurk Lurk: Hang out and 'listen' without actually posting. BTW, it's considered UNCOOL to respond to the individual email address of someone on a list or newsgroup without also sending your mail TO the list or newsgroup. (Unless of course you're discussing something 'Off Topic', or if by consensus members have agreed to 'take the topic offline'.) The idea is PARTICIPATION. Conversely, it's also good etiquette to copy your email message to the person who you are responding to, in addition to posting, just in case they miss seeing your post.
Mac OS OS stands for "Operating System".

In the ol'timey days Apple didn't want to call it an "operating system" because that was TOO MUCH like DOS, the "Disk Operating System" of the OBVIOUSLY INFERIOR command line interface from IBM/Microsoft. The Mac OS wasn't called "Mac OS" - in fact, it wasn't really called anything! Versions were identified as "System this" and "System that".

A couple years AM (After Mac), Microsoft started migrating EVERYONE ON THE PLANET who ever used DOS, and even a few new recruits, to the OBVIOUSLY INFERIOR Windows. From the beginning, Mac users had a little smiling Mac, and a monochrome "Welcome to Macintosh" startup screen - which Mac users immediately figured out how to HACK so they could have a startup screen that declared, "Bob's Righteous Mac", and things like that. (No offense, Bob.) As a consolation for being forcibly migrated from DOS to Windows, Windows users got this cool COLOR Microsoft flag that popped up on their screen every time they RESTARTED their computers, WHICH WAS A LOT.

It took YEARS for someone in Apple Marketing to figure out that "IT'S NOT DOS", and later, "IT'S NOT WINDOWS" were concepts that did NOT sell loads of Macs. (They're STILL working on this.) What they did do, was notice that Microsoft's Lawyer Division had managed to COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK the word 'Windows'. (I'm not kidding on this one, folks.) So they decided they'd better do the same with what ALL THEIR USERS were calling the "Mac OS", before Microsoft also owned the two letters 'OS'. The result was the cute little MacOS logo, with the smiling face(s) that appears at startup and is labeled on Mac products, and the fact that they now sell the OS as "MacOS".
Menu Bar Most people just call this a "menu", but it used to be called a "Menu Bar" (because it's the little bar across the top of the screen that has all the "menus" on it.) I still call it a Menu Bar, sometimes. In Windows, each application window has it's own Menu Bar because in Windows "more" is always the same as "better".
Menu Items (X) In Apple's case these are icons that don't need millions of colors, don't need thousands of colors, don't even need 16 colors. These icons, brought to us no doubt by the (NOT) super-creative, (NOT) user-oriented, EUNUCH faction at APPLE, sit on the Menu bar with about as much depth and graphic intensity as the icons on a cell phone. You've seen them. These are the Sound Volume, Modem Status, AirPort, and Script Menu icons. (You can add or remove these from your menu in the corresponding System Preference--"Sound" for 'Sound Volume', and so on.) Third parties have created a number of other Menu Item icons, either as replacements for Apple's lame ones, or for their own use. See 'Know the Difference' (below) for more on Menu Items in X and Jag.
MP3 MP3 is a popular high-compression technology for recording and playing digital music. It's the file format that iTunes uses, and the important point here is file size. A "regular" CD music file takes up 10 times more space. Which means you could "Rip" roughly ten Audio CDs worth of music and burn all of them onto ONE data cd (now called by many, an 'MP3 CD'). No, the sound quality is not identical. The "perceptual" compression scheme in MP3s loses quality, but if you RIP (record) at the iTunes "high" quality level, it'll be hard to tell the difference. Try it!
MSN Microsoft Network. Same as AOL. The hacker spammer part too.
Newbie Novice. Someone who is new to the Internet, new to a topic, new to a newsgroup, etc.
Newsgroups Similar to Lists, but in more of a 'bulletin board' format. I've never been big on Newsgroups, so I can't tell you much about them. Why don't one of YOU send a Geek Speak definition to ME??
OE Outlook Express. Microsoft's 'free' Internet mail client. Comes, along with IE, by default, with the Mac OS ever since Steve publicly made peace with Bill. Some GEEKS call it 'OE' and some call it 'Express', and SOME would rather PAY for an email client. There is no OE for X and we don't care!
Organizer Hardware: Daytimer, DayRunner, Franklin, and so on, are original analog organizers made using antique plant and animal byproduct technology. They require the use of a pen or pencil and no batteries or electricity! Older folks, less adept at adapting to the rapid changes of a digital culture (including Chris) still use them. Software: "Organizer" programs mimic the functions of an analog organizer. They are sometime referred to as "PIM"s (below).
OS9 An extremely advanced operating system that worked great most of the time, had a beautiful interface refined over 15 years of use by a receptive Apple, including sharp text on screen, and an EXTREMELY EASY TO USE printer environment. OS9 served as the model for all one hundred and twenty-seven recent versions of the Windows operating system. It is only with great reluctance and under extreme pressure that the Apple EUNUCH faction has finally implemented in X, some features and functionality that were taken for granted in 9.
PDA Hardware: "Personal Digital Assistant". In fact, they should have called PDA's PDO's, but some marketing genius decided "Assistant" was more cool than "Organizer". These devices are also sometimes called 'handheld', 'pocket', or 'palm' computers. The terms describe wallet- sized computers which often have some handwriting recognition capability. Apple's "Newton" pioneered the genre, but Steve said it had to go, so it did. They're handy for calendars, tracking contacts, and all sorts of other things, and can 'synch' with the calendar or contact manager program on your desktop or laptop computer so all your information is current. Nowadays to most people 'PDA' means a Palm or a Handspring. To corporate sheep, more and more, it means yet another variant of the so- called Windows standard, formerly known as "Windows CE", most recently renamed "Microsoft Pocket".



Software: "Personal Information Manager". PIMs are programs--more commonly called 'Organizers' these days--that mimic the functions of a traditional paper Organizer. They keep your schedule of appointments and recurring events such as birthdays and holidays, and often include or are linked in some manner to what used to be called 'Contact Managers', i.e. Address books that are oriented around human beings, their names, locations, websites, email address and so on. And more and more (it only makes sense after all), the Contact piece is linked to an email client. iCal and Now Up-to-Date, both with updates noted in this issue, fit in this category. Other Mac PIMs of note are Palm Desktop, and Microsoft Entourage.
Quicktime You've gotta know what this is, right? Apple's multi-platform media creation/playing technology. Started out as a digital movie technology way back in 1986 (or thereabouts) and continues to engulf any media that stands in its path. Quicktime can play MP3s, and Flash animations, and movies in PC formats, and Quicktime VRs.
RIP I suppose this originates from the term "rip-off". It means to RECORD or CONVERT regular CD-Audio, or Analog Vinyl, or Analog Tape, to MP3 format. It's kind of a rough term, which is why teenagers like it and why it scares some adults and terrifies the big Music Monopolies. You have a legal right to make a single "backup" copy for your own personal use (just as you do with software), at least until the DCMA and other Monopoly-sponsored legislation and technology changes all that. [See U&O #54 for details.] I won't get into the legal, ethical, or moral arguments and rationalizations about "ripping" CDs from other people, your local library, or via downloads from the Internet. You decide.
Smiley 'Faces' made of typographical characters. Generally they are more succinct and visual than an abbreviation. Watch the AOL commercial. They think they're smart because it only took them SIX VERSIONS to figure out how to put smileys on a MENU!! I usually only use the wink ;-) or the plain smile :-) . Sometimes I send someone a kiss, :-x . If you use really obscure smileys you might impress someone, but chances are they'll think your keyboard is going bad. %-(
Software Update (Control Panel) Covered as an O&U Item in UNPREDICTABLE #3. The Control Panel that updates your Mac software via the Internet.
SPAM Specifically - Electronic junk mail from 'mass mailer/marketers'. Generically - Any electronic junk mail (even from a friend or associate).
SuperDrive  THESE DAYS, meaning in the 21st century, a 'Superdrive', or 'SuperDrive' - whatever - is what Apple calls a CD/DVD drive that will read and WRITE both CDs and DVDs. This drive is available in Macintosh computers, and was probably available in them (as usual) first. Definitely a great thing to have, especially if you have a digital video camera and you like to make movies. The SuperDrive can also be used to store around 5 Gigabytes of DATA, although I believe you might have to buy some third-party utility (such as Toast) to make that work. Back in the previous century, a 'SuperDrive' was what Apple called a 3.5 " floppy disk drive that would read and write 800k, and 1.2 Mb "floppy" disks, not only in the Macintosh native format, and in the Apple // "ProDos" format, but also in the IBM MS-DOS format. SuperDrives were available for both Macintosh and Apple // computers, allowing the two different Apple computers to migrate data back and forth fairly easily. This was a pretty nifty accomplishment, apocryphally attributed to the programming prowess of Apple co-founder Steve "Woz" Wozniak.
System Folder The big folder on your Startup Volume that contains all the guts of your Mac's operating system and A WHOLE LOT MORE. Lots of things to change, lots of things to mess up. Best left to people who have read at least one book about their Mac or who happily pay a competent consultant (that would be me) to muck around in there - or not.
TAFNF That's All For Now Folks.
TFSB Thanks for stopping by!
TIA Thanks in advance
TiMac Powerbook G4 laptop, also called "Titanium", or "Titanium G4". Why Apple would go from the 'high touch' curvy, tactile 'feel' of the 'old' PowerBooks to a completely linear, hard, metallic design, I don't know. I SUSPECT that they're 'Thinking Different', that they have to 'raise the bar' now that all the PC companies have once again copied their innovations, or maybe there's just a new guy in the design group who had to PROVE himself by TRASHING WHAT CAME BEFORE. Whatever, they proved that even this metal, linear THING is a THING OF BEAUTY!
TROJAN HORSE I can remember the Latin (Whatever happened to ASU's inspiring Dr. Lydia Haberman?), but not quite the spelling: "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes". Of course this means, 'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,' a statement derived from Homer's 'The Illiad' which still has significance in our DIGITAL AGE. It's amazing, isn't it? Or maybe we think things have changed in a few thousand years, and THEY REALLY HAVEN'T. A 'Trojan Horse' is a program disguised as something benign like a screen saver or a JPEG of an attractive female tennis star, but which in fact is a construction of EVIL INTENT. In reality it might contain a virus or a password capture program.
ug or UG User Group! Usually preceded by some other letters as in PMUG - Princeton Macintosh User's Group, or NJMUG - New Jersey Macintosh User's Group. Back in the Jurmassic Era, I was a member of AHUG (Apple Hypercard User's Group). MUGs are Macintosh User's Groups, and you should be a member of AT LEAST ONE.
URL What the h*** is a "URL"?: Stands for: Universal Resource Locator (and other similar definitions). Most people pronounce this "You - Are - EL", but some people pronounce it, "Yerl". Internet commoners believe that URLs only begin with "http:\www". But actually URLs can be of many types - "http" - which probably stands for "hypertext transport protocol" is just one. True Internet snobs can tell you about all the other URLs, which include FTP, and email addresses.


Brackets surrounding the URL <> are the generally accepted manner of setting a URL off from the text around it, also making it possible for programs to recognize the URL as a link which (if the program or OS is smart enough) can become 'live'. That means you can click on the URL (even in your word processor or email program) and your web browser should open the page to which it refers. Be sure to read the O&U article below for more on this EXCITING topic.
USB, USB HUB, POWERED USB HUB Universal Serial Bus. At its most basic, a jack on your Mac and a special cable that attaches to another jack on another device, such as a keyboard, mouse, scanner, digital camera, joystick, etc.

USB had A LOT OF PROBLEMS when it first came out a couple years ago on the original iMacs. But most of the hardware and software drivers lately seem to have cleaned that up. Downloading the latest USB drivers from Apple, or direct from your peripheral vendor, might fix flakey problems with USB. It oughta work the way it is supposed to. That is, hot-swappable - you should be able to plug devices in and unplug them without having to restart your Mac. Daisy chainable - plug one device into another device, into another device, into your Mac. You shouldn't have to plug every device into one of the USB ports on your Mac. Sometimes you need a USB HUB, which adds additional ports. It's a good idea to get a POWERED HUB, which provides additional power to the USB devices, instead of trying to suck it all out of your Mac. The original iMacs and some of the G4 Macs were rumored to have notoriously WIMPY USB power.
Virtual PC The safest, most stable way to run Microsoft Windows. 

May the TAO give you all it's blessings if you have never had to deal with Mac/PC compatibility issues. Many of us (especially if we work in BIG DUMB CORPORATIONS) need to PROVE our Macs can DO ANYTHING and FIT IN ANYWHERE no matter what absurd obstacles the Dark Riders put in our paths. One tool for doing this is Virtual PC, which actually puts a Windows (or Linux if you prefer) PC on your Macintosh in Emulation. That is, it is a software Program (from a company called Connectix), that runs just like an Intel PC, in a Window on your Mac. Can't get your accountant to use M.Y.O.B.? He insists on QuickBooks under Windows?? If you must, you can get Virtual PC and run Quickbooks on your Mac. Current versions of Virtual PC are Applescriptable to the keystroke level, so you can actually automate Windows programs that are too dumb to do it themselves. (I know, I know, I'm pretty snippy on this topic. I'm trying to lighten up, but that's me. Get over it.)
Volume A word we use to describe an icon on your desktop where a bunch of files are kept on a storage device such as a floppy disk or CD-Rom. Why don't we just call it a "disk" or a "disk volume"? Because a volume can be a RAM DISK (which is really only present in RAM), or a DISK IMAGE and because some media, such as hard drives and CD-ROMs can have MULTIPLE volumes. If you've ever put an "enhanced CD" in your Mac, you'll see this. The CD contains regular CD-Audio data which comes up as one icon. The Multi-media content comes up as another Volume. [Let me take this opportunity to recommend "The Ultimate Blue Train" enhanced CD, by John Coltrane on Blue Note.] It can get confusing. Don't worry about it. Just think of a Volume as an icon on the desktop that can have stuff like folders and files inside it.
VPC "Virtual PC" Any Mac user who has had to contend with inflexible IT people at BIG DUMB CORPORATIONs knows that in addition to OS9 and OSX, Macs can become "compatible" by running all sorts of versions of Windows (even MS-DOS or Linux) using "Virtual PC". Virtual PC is software, a program that actually emulates the Intel architecture on the Macintosh, allowing you to run Windows in a window (or full-screen if you prefer) on your Mac. Even if you don't need a Windows app but must access a stingy Windows-only server, VPC works so well you can use it to do all kinds of Windows networking. You can have a network "share" volume appear on your Windows VPC machine and drag'n'drop files to and from a Mac Finder window. You can also "share" a volume or folder that can be accessed by your VPC/Windows apps AND your Mac OS apps. This can be pretty handy if you want to check out the appearance of your web page or other application on multiple platforms, multiple browsers, etc.
MG Mac Geek, the best kind of Geek there is. Sometimes referred to as a 'Mac Whacker' or 'Mac Head'. Unix and Linux geeks are okay too. PC Geeks don't qualify as 'geeks'. They're properly called: "PC Weenies", and per Scott Kelby, get roasted in all good Mac publications.
PC Weenie Technically, PC users don't quality as geeks, but this is the DOS-based equivalent. PC Geek, verbal member of the unthinking masses, supporter of the Monopolistic Forces of Darkness. Mac Basher. Owner of the thought, "Why can't you be a good sheep?"
Wizard Members of the Wise, usually GOOD, like Gandalf, but sometimes as in the case of Sarumon, seduced by the Powers of Darkness. Sometimes bumbling or arrogant as in the case of many Wizards used in ANOTHER operating system.

I know this needs to be updated. That's the nature of language!
By Christopher Plummer



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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
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