Take Control Sharon Zardetto and Andy Baird

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Take Control
The Mac OS X Lexicon
Sharon Zardetto and Andy Baird
Table of Contents (1.5)
Read Me First........................................ 2
Introduction.......................................... 6
| Punctuation | Numbers |
|A|B|C |D|E|F|
|G|H|I|J|K |L|
About This Book .................................205
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
Welcome to Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon, version 1.5
This book explains a little bit of everything; in fact, it’s The Mac OS X
(and then some) Lexicon because it’s never just you and your Mac. It’s
you and your Mac and the Web, and your email, and that article you
just read that threw 17 new acronyms at you or assumed that you
knew all sorts of networking terms. Or it’s you and your Mac and
Finder features you’ve never touched, such as burn folders, smart
folders, or proxy icons, and that mysterious Services submenu.
This book was written by Andy Baird and Sharon Zardetto, edited by
Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
Copyright © 2007, Andy Baird and Sharon Zardetto. All rights
The price of this ebook is $15. If you want to share it with a friend,
please do so as you would a physical book: “lend” it for a quick
perusal or review, but someone who wants to keep it around to read
the whole thing should get his or her own copy. Click here to give your
friend a discount coupon. Discounted classroom and library copies
are also available.
What’s New in This Version
Most of the changes in this version were made to keep pace with
Leopard: we’ve added about 30 new entries, and changed about
40 existing entries because Leopard’s little cat feet (apologies to Carl
Sandburg) left paw prints in areas big and small. Leopard-inspired
changes are marked with a Leopard spot in the margin. When the
entry title is marked, it’s a Leopard-specific entry; when the text is
marked, as with this entry, there’s Leopard-related info in it.
Because we added so much new material about Leopard, along with
updating the ebook to cover other changes since it was released in
July 2007—changes like Apple adding Numbers to iWork and “brick”
picking up a whole new meaning—we didn’t change the version
number from 1.0 to just 1.1; we upped it to version 1.5.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
This book uses the standard Take Control approaches for referring to
file locations, menu commands, and System Preferences:
• Path syntax: The route to a folder or file on your hard disk is the
file’s path, or pathname. The syntax for paths conforms to Unix
standards, because that’s what underlies Mac  OS  X. The path starts
with the top level of your disk and lists all the intervening folders,
separated by slashes:/Users/Vanessa/Documents/AnnoyABC.
• Menus: We refer to menu commands like this: File > Close All.
Commands in submenus have longer references: TextEdit >
Services > Translator > Into Pig Latin.
• System Preferences: When we refer to a “preference pane,”
such as the Appearance preference pane, we’re talking about panes
in System Preferences, which you access by choosing  > System
Preferences and then clicking on an icon in the System Preferences
window to get to the specific pane.
Links and Navigation Controls
All Take Control ebooks provide blue-colored internal links so
you can easily jump to someplace else in the book—that’s one of the
advantages of ebooks. But this Lexicon has more options than the
other books, and a few are less obvious than they may seem at first:
• If you are reading this book on paper, obviously the links won’t work.
However, you can request a free copy of the ebook by sending a
message to [email protected]
• There’s a roundup at the beginning of each section of all the terms in
that section. You can use it to browse the section, and to jump to any
term by clicking on it.
• To jump to a section for a specific letter, use the bookmarks we’ve
• Many entries have references to other entries, but we haven’t marked
all the possible cross-references, or we’d have sentences that look
like this: “In Mac OS X, programs often store plists in a preference
folder inside a Library folder; try trashing them when the application
crashes.” We marked just the ones we think you might want to look
up in context of the current entry.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
• Some cross-reference links aren’t to entry titles, but to something in
the text of another entry. If you run across “daughterboard” and click
on it, for instance, you’ll be taken to the entry for “logic board,”
because that’s where daughterboard is explained.
• You’ll probably be jumping around a lot as you use this ebook, what
with all the links. Don’t forget about the Back button in your PDF
reader—you can click your way back through one or more links, the
same way you retrace your steps in your Web browser.
Margin Icons
We’ve provided four special types of links to the outside world—the
world outside of this book, that is—by way of special margin icons:
• The blue “weblink” icon takes you someplace on the Web that
provides further information on the topic at hand. This might be indepth information from the Unicode consortium, an Apple support
page, or a Wikipedia entry; in some cases, it’s just an interesting side
trip on the current or a tangential topic.
• The green “weblink” icon brings you to a Web site for a product or
company mentioned in an entry.
• The “booklink” icon sends you to the Web page for the Take Control
book that covers the current entry.
• The TidBITS icon links you to a TidBITS article related to the entry
• If you are reading this book on paper and don’t have the ebook
version, you can request a free copy of the ebook by sending a
message to [email protected]
There’s also a non-clickable margin icon—the Leopard spot—
described in What’s New in this Version.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
We provide pronunciations for three types of entries: unusual words,
words that are commonly mispronounced, and acronyms that are said
as words rather than as separate letters. (So, if there’s no pronunciation
for an acronym, such as LZW or GID, you know they’re said as letters.)
Where we do show how to pronounce a word,
we don’t use fancy pronunciation guides such
as in the picture here (for the word “Jabber”);
we use simple, (American) English-based
syllables with capitals to show where the stress
falls: EULA = YOO·la.
Sure, you have the A–Z part down pat, but we want to note these nonletter alphabetization issues:
• Items in the Punctuation and Symbols section are grouped logically,
not by any specific sorting order.
• Items in the Numbers section are sorted alphabetically: the leftmost
characters are more important, so 400K comes before 64-bit.
• Items that begin with a period (mostly extensions, such as .jpg and
.bmp) are alphabetized as if they had no leading punctuation.
He Said, She Said
Sometimes we write in the plural, and sometimes in the singular.
There’s no easy way around it: “The first time I ran across this
feature…”. It’s unlikely that both of us had the same experience, and it
hardly matters which one of us is speaking at the time. But as we read
and edited each other’s work, many times our comments were along
the lines of “Yes, I agree—that interface change was a great improvement (or not)—so say ‘we’ here.” Occasionally—very occasionally—we
disagree, in which case we tell you who thinks what about the issue.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
Are you tired of seeing references to Carbon and Cocoa and not
knowing what they are or remembering which is which? What exactly
is iLife? Is that Bonjour choice in iChat’s menu for when you’re typing
en français? Do you have hot-swappable devices—and would you
know if you did? Is a dual-layer DVD the same as a double-sided one,
and is either one a Blu-ray? Do you want to know the basic definitions
and concepts for things like: permissions, metadata, hypertext, base
station, partition, phishing, public-key encryption, and that mysterious Services submenu? Do you need hip boots to wade through the
alphabet soup of SDRAM, RSS, RTF, IMAP, EULA, OEM? We could
go on… and we do!
But wait! If you already feel familiar enough with all the terms you
run across when you’re working (or playing) with your Mac, and you
don’t feel the need to look up anything, it may come as a surprise
when we say we wrote this book for you, too. Because this is not a
book for just looking up things; in fact, that’s probably its secondary
use. We wrote this book so you could enjoy reading it—and learn
along the way.
Discover interface features that you may have ignored until now, such
as proxy icons, burn folders, and clippings. Learn about hard spaces
and soft hyphens, and which “dash” you should use for a minus sign.
Find out where the term spam came from, what relationship a flog
has to a blog, and what an 8x CD speed is 8 times faster than. Add a
few new words to your vocabulary: anacronym, netizen, Ogg Vorbis,
favicon, pharming.
The catalyst for this project was, in fact, the Carbon vs. Cocoa
conundrum. Sharon ran across the phrase “Carbon application,”
for the umpteenth time, in a respected Mac magazine, where there
wasn’t even a quick parenthetical clue as to what that meant, and for
the umpteenth time thought, “Carbon, Cocoa… why did they both
have to start with C?!”
A survey of the general Mac press and book offerings, and an
inspection of Mac menus, dialogs, and the Help system showed
an incredible amount of jargon and some surprising assumptions
as to how many terms every user is presumed to know in all sorts
of categories: Mac hardware and software; general computing and
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
basic networking; email and the Web; and items that interface with
our Macs, such as the iPod and the Apple TV.
So, Sharon tracked down her old friend Andy Baird—which might
have been difficult since he’s a fulltime RVer who lives and travels
in his motor home, but, in fact, was a cinch because he has a satellite
Internet dish. She suggested he take a vacation from retirement to
reinvent a project they worked on together a decade and a half ago,
The Macintosh Dictionary. The lure of doing a just-click-a-link-andgo version of a lexicon was obviously strong, because here we are.
We were quite amused, though hardly surprised, that in the interval
since that last joint project (eons in computer years), not only has
the technology advanced, but users’ views and interests have changed
so much that many of the non-tech entries of that volume are not
even on today’s radar screen: Steve Jobs’s reality distortion field,
for instance, probably still exists but users don’t care as much as
they used to about the personality quirks of their products’ CEOs.
But we did bring one Dictionary entry forward to this Lexicon
verbatim: check out Internet.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
unctuation and Symbols
Sure, it’s a period for the end of sentences, but it’s also a divider in
URLs such as http://www.tidbits.com/ and in email addresses such as
[email protected], where it’s pronounced dot. A dot also
appears in IP addresses such as where it’s also
pronounced dot except when the cognoscenti use just a brief pause (the
way you don’t say the separators in (973) 555-1234, but speak in the
rhythm of a phone number).
The period used in software version numbers is pronounced point: Mac
OS  X 10.5 is “ten point five” and 10.5.1 is “ten point five point one.”
But this period can also be silent: “ten-five” and “ten-five-one.”
The period also has a special use in filenames in Unix, the Mac’s
underlying framework: when it’s the first character in the name, the file
becomes invisible.
A forward slash; on the U.S. keyboard, it’s on the same key as the
question mark. It’s also a plain ol’ slash, so “http://” is said “http
colon slash slash.” Please see backslash, immediately below—
because a forward slash is not a backslash!
The slash is also used to separate folders in a pathname such as
/System/Library/Fonts. A slash at the beginning of a path, as in that
example, refers to the root level of your boot disk.
A backslash; on the U.S. keyboard, it’s on the same key as the
vertical line (sometimes called a pipe). When someone says
“slash,” this is not the character they’re referring to—or, at least, it
shouldn’t be, and you can tell them so!
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
10Base-T, 100Base-T, 1000Base-T • 2-up, 4-up… • 2x, 4x, 8x… • 400K
• 404 • 501, 502… • 64-bit processing • 720p, 1080i • 802.11a/b/g/n
10Base-T, 100Base-T, 1000Base-T ⇢
2-up, 4-up…
Multiple images on a page, although the exact meaning depends on
what you’re doing. When it comes to labels, 3-up is simply 3 columns of
labels; they could all have the same thing printed on them (“SALE!!”)
or each have something different. If you’re a graphics professional and
you’re setting something 4-up for a printer, you’re putting four copies
of the same item on a single page because the paper is going to be cut
in production.
Or, you could be printing two different 5x7 photos on one sheet
of letter or A4 paper, or two side-by-side pages on a single sheet
because you’re going to fold it into a booklet. This form of 2-up
(or 4-up, or more) printing is easy to set up, in any of several
different layout designs, in the Print dialog: choose Standard from
the Presets pop-up menu, and Layout from the pop-up menu beneath
it. Luckily, the Print dialog includes visual feedback as you choose your
options; the one here is for 4 pages per sheet, with left-right/top-down
layout direction, single hairline border, and long-edged binding.
2x, 4x, 8x…
The first CD-ROM and CD-RW drives read and wrote data at the same
speed as the audio CDs from which the CD-ROM standard was derived:
150 kilobits per second (kbps). Later drives sped things up in order to
get at the data faster, so 2x models worked at 300 kbps, 4x models at
600 kbps, and so on. Likewise, early DVD drives worked at 1.32
megabits per second (Mbps)—the same data rate as a digital video
disc—but soon were replaced by 2x and faster versions.
Most optical drives can read faster than they can write, and the speed
at which a drive can reliably write data is limited by the quality of the
recordable media used; so, a drive rated at 16x may be able to record
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) • AAT (Apple Advanced Typography) •
account •
Action menu •
Activity Monitor • ADC (Apple Display
Connector) • administrator, administrative account • ADSL (asymmetric
DSL) • .ai • AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) • AIM (AOL Instant
Messenger) • AirPort • alert • algorithm • alias • aliasing, anti-aliasing
• alphanumeric • anacronym • analog • anonymous FTP • AOL (America
Online) • .app • Apple key • Apple menu • Apple partition map • Apple TV •
AppleCare • AppleScript • applet • AppleWorks • application • application
binding • Aqua • archive • Archive & Install • ascender • ASCII (American
Standard Code for Information Interchange) • ASP (Apple System Profiler) •
ATA, SATA (Serial | Advanced Technology Attachment) • Atom • ATS (Apple
Type Services) • authenticate • automagically • automatic font activation •
Automator • avatar • AVC (Advanced Video Coding) • AVI (Audio Video
AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)
An audio compression method that’s part of the MPEG standard. AAC is
said to yield better quality at low bit rates than does MP3. All the audio
files offered by the iTunes Store are in AAC format, but it is not, as
some people assume, a format proprietary to Apple.
AAT (Apple Advanced Typography)
The technology, developed from the now obsolete QuickDraw GX, that
supports certain typographic capabilities, such as kerning and tracking
and on-the-fly ligatures; it’s used in Mac TrueType fonts. Windows
TrueType and Adobe OpenType fonts use OpenType technology for
similar typographic feats; since AAT is not a cross-platform technology,
it’s unlikely to last.
In the multi-user environment of Mac OS  X, each user has an account,
with her own home folder, user settings, preferences—everything that
makes a Mac a personal computer. The kind of account a user has also
defines some of the things she’s allowed to do, such as install
programs. If you’re the sole user, you still have an account. This is all
managed in the Accounts preference pane.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
Back to My Mac • backdrops • background • backup, back up •
.backupdb • bandwidth • base font • Base Station • baseline • bcc
• benchmark • beta test • Bézier curve • billion • binary numbers • bit •
bit rate • bitmapped font • bitmapped graphic • BitTorrent • blog,
blogger, blogosphere • Bluetooth • Blu-ray • .bmp • Bonjour • bookmark
• boolean • boot, reboot • bootable disk, boot disk, startup disk • Boot
Camp • bot • bounce • breadcrumbs • brick • brick-and-mortar • broadband
• buffer • bug • burn • burn folder • bus, bus speed • byte
Back to My Mac, BtMM
The way to, well... get back to your Mac when you’re away from it. With
two Macs running Leopard, you can use its screen sharing feature to
remotely control your Mac, doing whatever’s necessary—which will
often involve transferring files you forgot about. This particular miracle
is somewhat narrow in scope, since not only do you need a .Mac
account, but both Macs involved must be configured to use the
account—and, oh... did you leave that other Mac turned on? Still, if
you’re the recipient of a narrowly focussed miracle, are you going to
⇢ iChat
1. A process running behind the scenes, invisible to the user.
2. Something “visible” going on while you’re working on something
else: printing, downloading, and file copying are among the many
activities that can happen “in the background.”
3. The picture that appears underneath your Desktop icons, managed
from the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane.
backup, back up
A copy of files made for safekeeping in case of fire, theft, or (more
likely) hard drive failure. Okay, also in case of stupidity or wanton
carelessness, because we all have our days. Consider the adage, “There
are only two kinds of computer users: those who have lost files and
those who will.” Leopard’s Time Machine should make backups a normal
way of life for Mac users, so perhaps the definition of “two kinds of
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
C • cable modem • cache, cache file • calibration • Caps Lock •
Carbon • CardBus • Cascading Style Sheets • cc, bcc (carbon copy,
blind carbon copy) • CD (compact disc) • certificate • Character
Palette • character set • chip • CID (character ID) • CJK, CJKV
Clipboard • clipping • clock speed, clock rate • clone • CMAP
(character map) • CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) • Cocoa • code •
codec • collapse, expand • collection • Combo Drive • Combo updater,
Delta updater • Command key • component video • composite video •
Compress • compression • concatenation • contextual menu • Control key
• cookie • Core Animation • Core Duo, Core 2 Duo • Cover Flow view • CPU
(central processing unit) • crash • creator code • creeping featuritis • CRT
(cathode ray tube) • CSS • CSV (comma separated values) • ctrl • curly
quotes • cursor
So you thought your Mac used the latest breakthroughs in computer
science? Not exactly. Most of the programs you use were written in
some flavor of C, a computer language developed more than 30 years
ago. C and its descendants (C++, Objective-C, Java, JavaScript and
others) dominate today’s software scene. If you think 30 years sounds
like old technology, think about this: the Mac’s operating system is
based on UNIX, which was developed 40 years ago!
cable modem
A box that lets you connect your computer to a cable TV network, and
thus obtain a high-speed link to the Internet. Of course, the network
must be set up to offer this service, and you’ll have to pay for it. Since
cable TV companies have broadband cable going into almost every
community in America, piggybacking broadband Internet access on
their networks was a natural way to add a needed, profitable service.
Also see modem.
cache, cache file
cash · Storage of recently used information for speedy retrieval, on the
assumption that if you just did or used something, you’re likely to do it
or need it again soon. Cache usually refers to something in memory,
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
daemon • daisy chain • Dashboard • data detector • data fork •
database • daughterboard • dead key • debug • decompress • default
• defrag, defragment • degauss • delimiter • Delta updater • deprecate
• descender • Deselect All • Desk Accessory • Desktop • dfont, .dfont •
DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) • dialog • dial-up •
differential backup • digital, analog • digital certificate • digital divide
• digital watermark • digitize • dingbat • directory • disabled • disclosure
triangle • discretionary hyphen • discussion group, discussion board • disk
image • Disk Utility • disk vs. disc • dismount • dither • DivX • DL (dual
layer) • .dmg • DNS (domain name system) • .doc, .docx • Dock •
documentation • dogcow • domain, domain name • dongle • .dot • double
layer • dpi (dots per inch) • DRAM (dynamic random access memory) •
drawer • driver • DRM (Digital Rights Management) • Drop Box • droplet •
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) • dual core • dual layer • dual processor • DVD
(digital versatile disc) • DVI (digital visual interface) • Dvorak keyboard
DEE·mahn · In Unix systems, a program that runs in the background
(such as a print server) rather than under direct control of a user; the
word is an archaic spelling of “demon.” But note that the word itself is
so archaic that its meaning is akin to “spirit,” with no evil connotation.
daisy chain
To connect together one after another; as for
example, connecting a camera to a FireWire drive, to
another FireWire drive, which is in turn connected
to the Mac.
A “layer” in which small programs called widgets live; it opens
when you press F12 if you haven’t changed any of the default
keyboard shortcuts in the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane, and
stays on top of all your other open applications until you close it by
pressing F12 again.
To say neither of us loves Dashboard would be putting it mildly. Andy
considers it an alternate universe where normal Mac user interface
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
Easter egg • eject button • em dash • emoticon • en dash • enclosing
folder • encryption • endless loop • episode • EPS (encapsulated
PostScript) • ergonomic • Esc key • Ethernet • EULA (End User License
Agreement) • exabyte • expand • ExpressCard • Exposé • extension,
filename extension
Easter egg
A surprise built into software, usually found when you hold down
certain keys while clicking something, or by performing certain
procedures in a specific order. Easter eggs used to be endemic
in the computer world, and in the Mac world in particular, but
everyone seems so grown up and business-like these days.
However, here’s a nifty Mac OS  X Easter egg. Turn on Speakable Items
in the Speech Recognition screen of the Speech preference pane. With
everything working (you can test it by asking your Mac, “What time is
it?”), speak thusly: “Tell me a joke.” And then again. And again. Hope
you like fifth-grade-level knock-knock jokes!
But the drop in computer-software Easter eggs is somewhat made up
for in the larger computer world, as in movies released on DVD, and
even in Google maps, where, for a while at least, you could ask for
driving directions from New York, NY to Paris, France, and get
swimming instructions at step 23. Once word got around about this,
there must’ve been way too much traffic (so to speak), because
between the time we wrote this entry and laid it out, the egg
eject button
hot swappable
em dash
A dash as long as an em space. Wasn’t that helpful? An em, in
typography, is a unit of measure the height and width of the point size
being used. It’s called an em because in traditional typesetting the
letter m was on a slug (a little lead block) the size of the font: in a 16point font, for instance, the m slug was 16 points wide. Now an em
dash is just a long dash—like this—that’s not necessarily connected to
the point size of the type—especially in height—look, two more! You
can type an em dash with Option-Shift-hyphen. Also see en dash.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
face • FairPlay • fan • family • FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) • Fast
User Switching • favicon • favorites • FFIL • field • file extension • file
sharing • file type, filetype • FileVault • Finder • Firefox • firewall •
FireWire • firmware • first-line indent • F-key • flame • Flash • flash
drive • flash memory, flash RAM • flog • floppy disk • fn key • folder
actions • font • Font Book • font collection • font metrics • Font panel •
font smoothing • force quit • fork • format • forum • forward delete •
.fp7 • fragmentation • freeware • freeze • Front Row • FTP (file transfer
protocol) • function • function keys
face ⇢
A digital rights management (DRM) technology applied to most files in
Apple’s iTunes Store to ensure that purchases won’t be freely copied.
FairPlay sets fairly liberal limits on what you can do with the items you
buy: you may copy them to any number of iPods, burn them to as
many CDs as you want, and play them on up to five computers, which
must be authorized via the iTunes Store.
As we wrote this entry, Apple introduced its new DRM-free option for
some music files, wherein you pay a little more ($1.29 instead of .99)
for non-protected files. For the extra 30 cents, you also get twice the
data rate, or bit rate: AAC files encoded at 256 kbps instead of the 128
kbps standard for the rest of the iTunes library. You probably can’t hear
the difference on your iPod—without much better headphones—but
what with the bigger picture of electronic integration (AirPort Express
connecting iTunes to your stereo setup), higher-quality digital
downloads are becoming more important.
A set of typefaces that share a common base design; for instance, Gill
Sans Bold, Gill Sans Italic, Gill Sans Condensed, and Gill Sans Narrow
are all in the Gill Sans family.
fan ⇢ stacks
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!
G5, G4, G3 • GarageBand • GB, Gb • GHz • GID (glyph ID) • GIF
(Graphics Interchange Format) • gigabit Ethernet • gigabyte, gig •
gigahertz • glyph • googol, googolplex • Grab • graphics card • graphics
tablet • grid • Guest account • GUI (graphical user interface) • GUID
G5, G4, G3
PowerPC Macs
Apple’s program for musicians and would-be musicians (which is all
of us, right?) makes it remarkably easy to put together a
professional-sounding tune, and serves as a podcast studio.
GarageBand can work with music loops, MIDI instruments, or live
recordings, blending them together with a timeline-based user
GB, Gb
An important distinction: GB is gigabyte, a common measure for hard
disk capacity, and Gb is gigabit, a common unit in measuring network
speed (Gb/sec or gbps, gigabits per second).
You Always Hertz the One You Love
GID (glyph ID)
Identifying numbers assigned to characters in a font, especially
necessary for characters outside the Unicode encoding scheme—as
when a font supplies several alternate capital letters (Unicode has a
single ID for, say, uppercase A). Also see glyph.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
jif · A type of compressed bitmapped graphic often used in
Web pages. GIFs can have a maximum of only 256 colors,
so the format is unsuitable for photos, which are better
saved as JPEGs. But the GIF format works well with line
drawings, logos, and similar graphics (like this map), and
can also be used for simple (generally annoying) animations. Lots of
people pronounce GIF with a hard G—probably because it stands for
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
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H.264 • halftone • handles • hang • hard hyphen • hard link • hard
space • HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) • HDTV (highdefinition TV) • help tag • hertz • hexadecimal numbers • HFS Plus
(hierarchical file system) • home folder • home page • hot swappable •
.html, .htm • HTML (hypertext markup language) • HTTP (hypertext
transfer protocol) • hub • hypertext • hyphen • Hz
A video codec that’s becoming increasingly popular for downloadable
video. H.264, also known as AVC or MPEG-4 Part 10, is the basis of
Apple’s television and movie offerings in the iTunes Store, for example,
as well as iChat AV’s high-quality videoconferencing.
A way of simulating grays on paper when you only have
black ink. Similar to dithering, halftoning uses clusters of tiny
black dots to give the illusion (at a normal viewing distance)
of grays. When halftoning is used to simulate a full range of
photographic colors with only four inks, the result is called
process color.
Small squares displayed at the corners of an onscreen object, used
for resizing or otherwise manipulating it.
hard hyphen
non-breaking hyphen
hard link
A special structure in Unix (and therefore in Mac OS X) that allows any
reference to a file or folder appear to be that file for folder. Yes, that’s
very Zen-like—and it’s not necessarily a satisfactory explanation to the
more technically inclined. But we don’t have to worry about the
underpinnings, when all you need to know is the result: Time Machine
uses hard links in its storage scheme, so when it does an incremental
backup and you’ve changed only a 500K file, the next hourly backup
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i.Link • I-beam • iCal • iChat • icon preview • iDisk • IEEE 1394 • iLife •
IM (Instant Message) • IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) •
iMovie •
incremental backup • .indd • index sheet • index.html,
index.htm • infinite loop • Info window • Input menu • insertion point •
Inspector, inspector palette • installer • Intel Core Duo • interlaced,
progressive • Internet • intranet • IP address (Internet protocol) •
iPhoto • iPod • IRC (Internet Relay Chat) • iSight • ISO-8859-1, ISO Latin-1
• ISP (Internet Service Provider) • iSync • iTunes • iTunes Store • iWeb •
The mouse cursor used for text editing, so named because… well,
because that’s what it looks like.
Apple’s entry into the diet-drink market.
Or, its calendar program that, while easy to use, lacks a businessworthy (or even busy-person-worthy) integration with Mail, could
use a better approach to a To-Do list, and absolutely needs more
options when it comes to font sizes on calendar appointments. After all,
it’s the users who can no longer read 8-point type who are also the
ones more likely to need to write down all their appointments.
Apple’s instant messaging (IM) software—or at least that’s what it
pretends to be. In reality, it’s much more. In fact, I rarely use it for
IMing, since most of my electronic conversations are necessarily
asynchronous—my friends and I are rarely free to chat at the same
time, so email works much better for us. But when a colleague or friend
and I need to transfer a humongous file that oversteps the bounds of
one or the other of our email attachment limits, we switch to iChat and
drag the file in question into the iChat window. And did I mention you
can chat—with your voice? (As long as you have a microphone on your
Mac.) And if you have a compatible camera such as Apple’s iSight, you
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• jaggies • Java • JavaScript • Journaled • JPEG (Joint
Photographic Experts Group) • .jpg
A protocol for instant messaging (IM), Jabber’s open standards lets
anyone with the know-how (and a domain name, the hardware, the
software, and the Internet connection) set up a Jabber server and
contact Jabber users on other servers. You can be a jaberrer in iChat by
choosing Window > Jabber, which opens a window just like your Buddy
List or for Bonjour.
A C-derived language that was originally developed for intelligent
toasters and the like, but became a fad in the ’90s, based on its
slogan “Write once, run anywhere.” Java applets (small
applications) can indeed run on many kinds of computers,
although Microsoft muddied the waters by coming up with its
own, incompatible, version. Java has almost no relationship to
JavaScript, despite the similarity of names.
A scripting language with a C flavor, often used for simple programs
embedded in Web pages. Despite the name, JavaScript has little in
common with Java. In fact, the language was originally called “Mocha,”
but Java was trendy back in the mid-90s, so some marketing genius at
Netscape decided to cash in by renaming it JavaScript.
Beginning in Jaguar (Mac OS  X 10.2), when you erase a Mac hard drive,
the default volume format is “Mac OS Extended (Journaled).” That
means the operating system keeps a continuous record—a journal—of
the changes made to the disk. If something goes wrong (such as a
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K, KB, Kb • kbps (kilobits per second) • kernel, kernel panic • kerning
and tracking • .key • key repeat rate • keyboard layout • keyboard
shortcut • Keyboard Viewer • Keychain • Keynote • kilobyte, kilobit •
kiosk mode
K, KB, Kb
K and KB are abbreviations for kilobyte; Kb is the abbreviation for
kbps (kilobits per second)
1. A measure of network speed. For example, a typical dial-up
connection to the Internet can move data at a maximum rate of 53
kbps. Since there are 8 bits in each byte, 53 kbps is only 6 kilobytes
per second (kBps)—at that speed, it would take you almost 10
minutes just to download a song from the iTunes Store.
2. Speaking of songs, kbps is a measure of the amount of data in each
second of audio in an audio file, and therefore describes its quality;
see bit rate.
kernel, kernel panic
The kernel is the core of the Mac operating system, alternatively called
the kernel environment.
The panic sets in when the operating system doesn’t know what to do
with an instruction it’s received: you get a black box on your screen
with white text that usually says, “You need to restart your computer.”
(No kidding!) One possible cause of a kernel panic is a damaged (or
moved-out-of-the-right-place) system file or folder; another is an
application or system utility utterly misbehaving. A simple restart
almost always fixes the problem; if it doesn’t, you should consider
reinstalling your system, using the Archive & Install option.
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LAN (local area network) • landscape • Latin-1 • launch • leading •
Leopard • library • Library folders • ligature • line break • Linux •
LISTSERV • local folder • log in, log out • logic board • login item •
lossless, lossy • lpi (lines per inch) • LWFN • LZW
LAN (local area network)
A group of computers and peripherals (such as printers and scanners)
connected by a common network—usually Ethernet and/or Wi-Fi. As the
word “local” implies, this is usually in a small area, such as a single
building, although some corporate LANs span continents.
A sideways (wider than it is tall) orientation for printing, as opposed to
the standard, upright portrait view.
ISO Latin-1
To open, or run, an  application.
Leopard’s Spotlight provides a special launching option: trigger
Spotlight with with the default Command-Space, and type the name of
the application—or as many letters as you need to identify it. Spotlight
puts the application at the top of its “I found it!” list, already selected
as the Top Hit, so all you have to do is hit Return to launch the
The Cat’s Meow
1. In Font Book, a user-defined group of fonts the Mac can access no
matter where they’re stored on your disk—they don’t have to be in a
Fonts folder.
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Mac • MAC (Media Access Control) • .Mac • macro • MacRoman,
Mac OS Roman • MagSafe • Mail • mailing list • malware • markup
language • MB, Mb • Mbps (megabits per second) • media •
megabyte, meg • megahertz • megapixel • memory • menu
symbols • meta tag • metadata • MFS • MHz • Mighty Mouse •
Migration Assistant • MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) •
MIME (multipurpose Internet mail extensions) • mirror site • modem •
modifier key • monofont, monospaced font • motherboard • .mov • MP3,
.mp3 • MPEG-4 (Motion Picture Experts Group) • .mpkg • MTBF (mean time
between failures) • MUG (Macintosh User Group) • multi-core processor •
Multiple Master • multitasking
Macintosh · That’s right, it’s not an acronym, so if anybody writes
“MAC” when describing your computer, you can look down your nose at
them. And it’s not an apple (although it is an Apple), so folks who write
about “McIntosh computers” are picking their fruit from the wrong tree.
MAC (Media Access Control)
This one is an acronym. It’s the unique hardware address built into
every network adapter on your computer, and every networkable
device—including Palm PDAs, VoIP over Wi-Fi phones, and printers with
Ethernet. No two devices in the world have the same MAC address,
allowing devices on a local network to easily differentiate themselves.
MAC addresses are used only on local networks, not routed to wider
networks or the Internet, so this is not the address the outside world
sees—that’s your IP address.
The MAC address for a Mac’s built-in Ethernet or AirPort adapter is
sometimes accessed when you register or “activate” software so the
software will be associated with that specific machine and not work if
you copy it to another machine. You can find MAC numbers in the
Network preference pane: choose the adapter from the Show menu,
and then look for the AirPort
ID or the Ethernet ID (for the
Ethernet ID, click the Ethernet
button, as shown here).
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nano • narrowband • NetBoot • netiquette • netizen • netroots •
network • newbie • non-breaking hyphen • non-breaking space • NTSC
(National Television Standards Committee) •
NVRAM (non-volatile
random access memory)
A billionth part; a nanosecond (ns) is a billionth of a second. Here’s how
short that is: light travels only twelve inches in a nanosecond. Also
used colloquially to mean very, very small: “Nanotechnology will
provide nanobots to scavenge through your bloodstream.”
As a verb, without any fancy caps, netboot means to start up your
computer using an operating system that resides on a network server,
rather than on a local disk drive.
With the fancy spelling, NetBoot is Mac OS  X Server’s way of allowing a
networked computer to start up from a special disk image that resides
on the server. Aside from being a useful troubleshooting tool, using a
NetBoot disk image as a startup disk is a way to ensure that every Mac
in a specific environment—a classroom, say—presents exactly the same
“experience” to every user at every startup.
internet + etiquette · Generally accepted polite behavior in email,
discussion forums, and other online activities. For example, typing in
ALL CAPS is considered poor netiquette, unless you really mean to
shout (which is, of course, still poor netiquette).
internet + citizen · Someone who is active and very involved in one or
more online communities.
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manufacturer) • Ogg Vorbis, .ogg • old style numbers • open source •
OpenType • operating system • optical drive • optimization • Option key
• optional hyphen • OS (operating system) • OS X • otf • outline font •
owner, Ownership & Permissions
OCR (optical character recognition)
A software feature that analyzes an image of a page of text (typically
one that’s been created by a scanner), and, by recognizing the images
of individual characters, produce a digital text file.
OEM (original equipment manufacturer)
Yep, that’s what it means: the company you buy something from isn’t
necessarily the company that made the device—or, at least, the whole
device. You can, for instance, buy an Apple computer with a hard drive
made by one manufacturer, the memory by another, and the processor
by yet another. That’s a pretty confusing example, of course, even
though it’s accurate. You’ll more often run into the term for something
more simple, such as a hard drive whose mechanism is made by an
OEM and placed into a housing, packed with a power cord, and sold by
another company. This might matter quite a bit when the company that
sold it to you provides only a year’s guarantee but it turns out the that
OEM provides a two-year guarantee on the mechanism that failed.
Ogg Vorbis, .ogg
A type of audio compression sometimes used as an alternative to MP3.
iTunes and iPods can’t play .ogg files, but audio programs such as
Amadeus can read them and convert them to MP3 format.
The name, in case you’re wondering—and how could you not be?—
comes from Exquisitor Vorbis, a character in Terry Pratchett’s science
fiction novel Small Gods, plus the slang term “ogging,” meaning a
kamikaze-style attack, that was used in the online game Netrek. What
did any of this have to do with audio? Search us!
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P2P (peer to peer) • package • packet • .pages • Pages • PAL (phase
alternating line) • palette • panic • Panther • Pantone • Parallels •
parent folder • Parental Controls • partition • partition map scheme •
pasteboard • path bar • path menu • pathname, path • PCMCIA • PDF
(Portable Document Format), .pdf
• peripheral • permissions •
petabyte • phishing, pharming • Photo Booth • pica • PiFont • ping •
pixel • .pkg, .mpkg • plist • plug-in, plugin • PMS (Pantone Matching System)
• PMU, SMU (Power Management Unit, System Management Unit) • PNG
(portable network graphics), .png • podcast • point • pointer • POP (post
office protocol) or (point of presence) • port • portrait • PostScript language
• PostScript Type 1 • power button • PowerPC Macs • ppi (pixels per inch) •
.ppt • PRAM (Parameter RAM) • preference • preference pane • Preview •
printer font • Printer Setup Utility • privileges • process color • processes
• processor speed • program • proportional font • protocol • proxy icon •
proxy server • .psd • Public folder • public-key encryption • Puma
P2P (peer to peer)
A type of network in which computers communicate with each other as
equals, as opposed to a client-server network, where multiple
computers (clients) obtain services from a central server. When you use
the Create Network command in the AirPort menu, you’re creating a
P2P network between two Macs; in contrast, when you use a browser to
load a Web page, you’re in client-server mode.
A folder that looks like a file, in order to hide
different data types within a single file icon.
For example, a typical program needs code,
help text, buttons, menus, windows, dialogs,
and many other resources. The code could
reside in the program’s file, and the other
stuff in separate folders, but then it would
be easy for the items to be accidentally separated. Putting it all in a
package keeps everything together. Before Mac OS  X, the Mac used a
file’s resource and data forks to keep disparate data in one place, but in
Unix-based Mac OS  X that approach has been largely replaced by
packages—also known as bundles—that hold the necessary pieces of a
file, program, or installer.
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quad core • quarter • Quartz, Quartz Extreme • Quick Look • QuickTime
• QuickTime Player, QuickTime Pro • quincunx • quits unexpectedly •
QWERTY • .qxd
quad core ⇢
multi-core processor
Joking jargon for two bits of information. In the 18th century, Spanish
gold coins were sometimes cut into 8 pieces, referred to as bits (which
is where the phrase “pieces of eight” comes from); since the Spanish
coin was about equal in value to the American dollar, two bits equaled a
quarter. Also see Shave and a Haircut, next page.
Quartz, Quartz Extreme
When you click a window’s Minimize button (that’s the yellow one) and
watch the window shrink into the Dock like a genie returning to his
bottle, you’re seeing Apple’s Quartz graphics software in action. Quartz
puts everything, from scrolling text to eye-catching tricks like the genie
effect, on the screen. In fact, “Quartz” is an umbrella term used to
describe all the parts of the Mac OS  X display software, including Core
Image, Core Graphics, and Core Video. Quartz Extreme is the latest
version, faster and better than ever. Whether you use the Genie or
Scale minimize effect (set it in the Dock preference pane), try this: hold
Shift when you click the Minimize button for a slooow motion effect.
Quick Look
This is Sharon’s favorite new Leopard feature. With Quick Look, you
look at nearly any file without opening its application—which means you
don’t need its application. Quick Look can display many types of files:
TextEdit, Word, Excel, PDF, and many graphics file types. You can even
flip through multi-page Word, TextEdit, and PDF documents.
Trigger Quick Look for a selected document with File > Quick Look
(Command-Y) or with the Quick Look button on a Finder window’s
toolbar; in the Quick Look window, you can use the up and down arrow
keys to move to the previous and next files in the Finder window.
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RAM (random access memory) • .ram • raster graphic • rasterize • RCA
connector • read-only • RealPlayer • reboot • receipt • Recent Items •
refurbished • repair permissions • repertoire • resetting NVRAM •
resetting PRAM • resolution • resource fork • restart • RGB (red, green,
blue) • rich text • rip • ROM (read only memory) • Roman • root, root
user • root level, root directory • Rosetta • router, wireless router • RSS
(really simple syndication) • RTF (rich text format) • RTFD (rich text
format directory), .rtfd • RTFM • RTL (right-to-left)
RAM (random access memory)
ram · Computer memory that needs electric power in order to retain its
contents. RAM can be written to and read from much faster than to and
from a hard disk, so it’s used for most of what your computer does.
When you launch a program, much of it is loaded into RAM; when you
work on a document, its contents are stored there until you save it to
the disk. When you restart or turn off the computer, everything in RAM
is forgotten.
The first Mac had 128K of memory; the next, nicknamed the “Fat
Mac,” had 512K. Most Macs come with 2 gigs of RAM as standard
now: at 2,097,152K they must be morbidly obese. (Sharon’s first
computer, a membrane-keyboard Timex-Sinclair, had 2K of memory,
and she was thrilled when a 16K RAM pack became available. Andy’s
first, a Poly-88, came with 16K of RAM, but he was able to upgrade it to
.ram · RealPlayer file extension
raster graphic ⇢
bitmapped graphic
To convert a graphic or text from vector to bitmapped (or raster) form.
For example, if you have editable text in Photoshop and want to apply a
filter to it, you must first rasterize it, because Photoshop filters work
only on bitmaps. In fact, any text—even a business letter—is rasterized
before printing, because all printers are raster devices: they put drops
of ink, or dots of toner, on paper. That vector-to-raster conversion can
take place in your computer, in the printer, or in a high-speed “rip”
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Sad Mac • safe boot • safe login • Safe Mode, safe boot • sans serif •
SATA • .scpt, .scptd • screen saver • screen sharing • screenshot,
screen capture • Script Editor • script, scripting • scriptable • scroller
• SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) • SDRAM • .sea • search
engine • Search For • SECAM (Système Electronique pour Couleur
Avec Mémoire) • secondary click, secondary button • semiconductor •
serif, sans serif • server • Services submenu • Sharing & Permissions •
Shared folder • shareware • sheet • Sherlock • Shift key • short name
• shortcut • sidebar • Simple Finder • .sit, .sitx • skin • Skype • SLA
(Software License Agreement) • Slideshow command • slot-loading drive •
Slow Keys • small caps • smart folder • smart quotes • smiley • SMS (short
message service) • SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) • SMU • SnapBack •
soft hyphen • soft return • Software Update • source code • Spaces • spam •
spider • spot color • Spotlight • spring-loaded folders • SRAM (Static Random
Access Memory) • stack • startup disk • startup item • static IP address •
stationery • Sticky Keys • storage card • straight quotes • streaming
• strikethrough • string, text string • StuffIt • style • subscribe, subscription
• suitcase • SuperDrive • S-Video • symbols in menus • sync, syncing •
system fonts • System Preferences • System Profiler
Sad Mac
The now-retired symbol of a Mac in trouble at startup, the Sad
Mac used to show up on the screen, accompanied by a cryptic
error code and the Chimes of Doom, when something Really
Wrong occurred—such as a bad memory chip. His (her?)
counterpart, the startup Happy Mac, has also been retired. We
now have bad news accompanied by the international “no”
symbol (the red, slashed circle), and a normal startup graced by
a dull gray apple.
The Sad Mac’s descendent—perhaps the child of Happy and Sad—lives
on as Sad iPod, displayed on an iPod screen when it fails to start up.
safe boot
Safe Mode
safe login
Logging in to an account in Safe Mode (next entry) when the computer
is already on, by holding Shift immediately after clicking the Log In
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(Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) • terabyte • Terminal
• text box, text field • text encoding • text file, plain text file • text
smoothing • TextEdit • theme • third-party • thumb drive • thumbnail •
.tif • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) • Tiger • Time Machine • To Do •
tool palette • toolbar • Trash • Trojan horse • TrueType • TSV • .ttc •
.ttf • .txt • Type 1 • typeface
1. What you shouldn’t use to indent the beginning of a paragraph (see
first-line indent).
2. In preference panes and dialogs, tab refers to a screen of information
available through a button (“use the General tab in Safari
preferences”) because this interface feature used to look like tabs on
stacked folders.
3. An ultra-convenient browser feature that lets you keep multiple Web
pages in a single window: Command-clicking on a link creates a tab
in the current window instead of opening a separate window. Prior to
the 3.0 version of Safari that comes with Leopard (and was also
released separately—it’s compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.9 and later,
so it works with later versions of Tiger), this feature was easily
overlooked, since you had to opt in by turning it on in Safari’s
preferences; now it comes on by default. As befits such a handy
feature, the new Safari provides even more in the way of tab
options, such as “Turn all my tabs into separate windows,” “Turn all
my windows into tabs in one window,” and the long-overdue
confirmation warning if you close a window with multiple tabs in it.
· tab-separated text file extension
tags, tagged text
1. Tags are special “codes” used in text files to specify things such as
character formatting and special instructions. HTML tags for Web
pages—which are interpreted by browsers—look like this:
<title>Chris’s Web Page</title>.
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U+ • UID (User ID) • UFS (Unix File System) • unexpectedly quits •
Unicode • Unicode font • uninstall • Unix • unmount • unzip • update •
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) • USB (Universal Serial Bus) • UTF-8
(UCS Transformation Format, 8-bit) • UWB (ultrawideband)
The prefix for a Unicode ID number: U+0041 is uppercase A, for
instance. It should also remind you that the number is in hex, not
decimal. You’ll see these IDs in Character Palette’s pop-up help tags,
and you can also type them (without the U+ prefix) in its Search field
to find a specific Unicode character. Also see Hexadecimal: Sweet 16.
UID (User ID)
UFS (Unix File System)
A data storage format used in some Unix systems, UFS is an option for
some drives when you erase them under Mac OS  X with Disk Utility.
You shouldn’t use this format unless you have good reason to—and if
you don’t know what those reasons are, you shouldn’t be using it!
(How’s that for beating around the bush?)
unexpectedly quits
Sometimes an application just ups and disappears—one second it’s
there, and in the next instant it’s vanished, like a guest abruptly gone
without so much as a by-your-leave. Then you get a “The application
‘Rude Company’ has unexpectedly quit” dialog—as if you hadn’t
Use the Reopen button in the Unexpectedly Quit dialog the first time
this happens for an application; if it happens again almost immediately,
use the Try Again button instead, since this sets the application to open
with many of its settings temporarily back to their defaults instead of
your (possibly corrupted) user-defined ones.
A text encoding standard that assigns a number (and name) to each
character in every written language. As you might imagine, that’s quite
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vector graphic • VGA (video graphics array) • virtual Desktops •
virtual memory • virus • vodcast • VoiceOver • VoIP (voice over IP) •
vector graphic
An image made of lines and shapes rather than from
individual dots or pixels. Vector graphics have a big
advantage over bitmapped graphics: they can be enlarged
or reduced without ever suffering the jaggies. This format
isn’t suitable for the tonal subtleties of a photograph, but
when it comes to logotypes, charts, or other “drawn” art, like this truck,
vector graphics excel. By far the most popular type of vector art is the
PostScript format, as embodied in PDF, EPS, and Adobe Illustrator files.
VGA (video graphics array)
An early-’80s standard for analog video; it has a resolution of 640x480
pixels and uses a 15-pin D-subminiature connector. The term is often
used as shorthand for 640x480 video of any kind. A proliferation of
variants came later, including QVGA (320x240), SVGA (800x600),
XVGA (1024x768), and extending all the way up to WQUXGA
(3840x2400). There are dozens more, but rather than continue listing
names, we’ve provided a weblink to a handy chart.
virtual Desktops
What you don’t get in Leopard with Spaces. Despite some overactive
hype and misguided enthusiasm, it’s just not true: you have the same
Desktop background, and the same Desktop icons are always there no
matter which space you use. Spaces is so terrific it needs only accurate
virtual memory
“Fake” memory, in that it’s treated as if it were RAM, but the
nformation actually resides on a disk. This lets your Mac do more than
it could if it had to stick to only the actual RAM installed, letting it run,
say, 17 programs at once and handle very large documents in each.
Virtual memory (also known as VM) is slower than genuine RAM, but
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WAN (wide area network) • watermark • WAV (waveform audio
format), .wav • Web 2.0 • Web Clip • web crawler • webmail •
WebDAV (Web-based distributed authoring and versioning) •
Web-safe colors • widgets • Wi-Fi • wiki • WMV (Windows Media
Video), .wmv • workflow • worm • write • write-only • WWW
(World Wide Web) • WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)
WAN (wide area network)
A single network that covers a large geographical area; as opposed to a
LAN, which typically exists only in a single building, or the Internet,
which is a network of LANs and WANs.
digital watermark
WAV (waveform audio format), .wav
Microsoft’s earliest file format for digital audio. Simple and not very
efficient, it has been eclipsed by the compressed MP3 format, but there
are still a lot of WAV files out there, and the best of them can equal
audio CD quality. Fortunately, QuickTime can play .wav files.
Web 2.0
No, it’s not the Next Big Thing, full of fascinating new technologies,
super-fast networks, and beefed up security. It’s a Concept already
here, and, like most concepts with a capital C, it’s nebulous because the
definition keeps changing. (Also because it’s not an upgrade to the
Web, or its technologies, so the name’s a little bogus.) Coined by Tim
O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, it has all sorts of buzz phrases attached to it
but might best be described (since that is, after all, why we’re here) by
a comparison. Web 1.0: top-down, relatively static, fed-to-you
information. Web 2.0: user-as-participant, wiki-based, blog-filled. This
can go either way: there’s democracy, for instance, and then there’s
American Idol.
Web Clip
A Dashboard widget you create from a piece of a Web page—a special
Leopard Safari feature. When you see a part of a Web page you’d like
to have as a widget—an hourly weather report, say—you click the Open
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Xeon • Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) • x-height • XHTML
(extensible hypertext markup language) • .xls • XML (extensible
markup language)
An Intel chip used in multiple-socket computers such as the Mac Pro.
Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center)
An inspirational Mecca, the originator of ideas such as the mouse, the
graphical user interface (GUI), WYSIWIG text editing, Ethernet, the
laser printer, and a resolution-independent page-description language
(InterPress) that was the precursor to PostScript. To name just a few
you’d recognize right away.
Because the mouse and the graphical user interface were conceived
and incubated at Xerox PARC, and it was no secret that Steve Jobs and
his posse had an official tour and demo of their computer developments
(and that Apple hired some PARC researchers), it’s often claimed that
the Mac, and its earlier GUI-based incarnation, the Apple Lisa, were
merely rip-offs of the Xerox PARC creations. Not so! Read about it in
the words of two people who were there, Bruce Horn and Jef Raskin;
the three weblinks here are Bruce’s statement in
regard to the Mac’s early development, Jef’s
corrections on some details, and Bruce’s reply to
those! And be thankful that the mouse developed
beyond the first working model, shown here (and
described in the patent application as an “X-Y
position indicator for a display system”).
The height of the lowercase letters in a font, not counting
those with ascenders like d and b.
XHTML (extensible hypertext markup language)
Most Web pages use HTML, a “markup language” that tells your Web
browser how text and pictures should look on the screen. XHTML is the
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Y2K • YMMV, your mileage may vary • yottabyte • YouTube
from Year 2000 · An expected disaster that didn’t happen. Early
computer programs assumed the 20th century would last forever and
stored years as 2-digit numbers. Why that would keep elevators from
working, and how stocking up on canned goods would help, is beyond
us, but the “crisis” came and went with only minor glitches. (There
were adumbrations: one of Sharon’s credit cards was turned down in
1999 because its 2001 expiration date was interpreted as 1901, and
was thus nearly a hundred years out of date.)
YMMV, your mileage may vary
A disclaimer in a reported benchmark or description that tells the
reader she shouldn’t necessarily expect the same results: “I got rid of
all the icons on my Desktop, and my overall Finder speed increased by
almost ten percent. Your mileage may vary.”
Approximately one septillion bytes. Also see When Is a Thousand Not?
From an idea about people uploading and sharing their vacation videos
with family and friends to Time’s 2006 Invention of the Year, YouTube
is, well… YouTube, MeTube, and EverybodyTube.
It’s been interesting to watch (pun intended) how television has been
hammering out its relationship with YouTube. When they first found
their shows on YouTube, broadcasters threatened litigation based on
copyright infringement; later they woke up to that fact it was free
advertising. For an amusing look at copyright versus fair use issues,
using material (in a fair use way) from one of my favorite companies,
known for its resolute defense of its copyrights—no, not Apple—click
the weblink. The video, of course, is on YouTube.
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zapping PRAM • zettabyte • zip, .zip • Zune
zapping PRAM
A general troubleshooting procedure that may solve several types of
problems, such as when your computer turns on (you get the startup
chime and hear the drive spinning) but the screen remains blank. To
zap the PRAM: Start with the computer off; turn on the computer,
immediately hold down Command-Option-P-R; keep all four keys
pressed until you hear the startup chime twice, then release the keys.
Approximately one sextillion bytes. Also see When Is a Thousand Not?
zip, .zip
1. To compress a file into a “zip” format, which then gets the .zip
extension. In Mac OS  X, the File > Compress command (“Make
Archive” previous to Leopard) zips a file. There’s no Unarchive
command; double-clicking a zipped file unzips it. Take Control
ebooks are in zip format so that when you download one from the
Web site, it arrives as a file on your disk; otherwise, some Web
browsers would just open the PDF file in the browser window.
2. The late, sometimes great—and sometimes not so much—storage
solution, Zip drives and Zip disks, introduced in 1994, provided
removable 100 MB disks for a $200 drive, a price and capacity
extremely worthwhile at the time. The drop in price of CDs and the
introduction of writeable DVDs and flash drives a few years later
(and their continued price drops) eroded the Zip market.
Microsoft’s iPod-killer; apparently a very subtle assassin.
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Thank you for purchasing this Take Control book. We hope you find
it  both useful and enjoyable to read. We welcome your comments at
[email protected]
About the Authors
Sharon Zardetto: Sharon (formerly Zardetto Aker, but in real life
sometimes Zardetto Wolfson... oh, never mind, that’s why she’s gone
back to the original!) has been writing about the Mac ever since she
had one, when it debuted in 1984. Her best-known efforts of more
than 20 print books include the third edition of the Macintosh Bible
as a sole effort (and involvement in many subsequent editions) and
the Mac Almanac. She wrote for both Macworld and MacUser
magazines from their earliest issues until the latter’s demise;
documentation projects included the venerable, ground-breaking
SuperPaint and the subtle hit—who could forget?—Machine
Language Subroutines in Microsoft QuickBASIC.
She’s also covered Mac OS X Tiger in Take Control of Fonts in Mac
OS X and Take Control of Font Problems in Mac OS X, also available
in a combined print version from Peachpit press as Real World Mac
OS X Fonts. More recently, she’s authored Take Control of Fonts in
Leopard. Oh, she also has a life beyond the Mac, too, in northern New
Jersey with her husband, two grown sons who keep coming back to
the nest, and twice as many Macs in the house as people.
Andy Baird: Andy has loved computers ever since he saw his first
one (the Lincoln Labs TX-O, complete with graphic display and light
pen) in 1957. A Macophile since 1984, he’s taught about Macs, written
about them (including The Macintosh Dictionary), written software
for them, and generally spent way too much of his adult life sitting
in front of them. Andy lives and travels in his motorhome, “Skylark,”
keeping in touch via satellite Internet. Most of his contributions to
this book were written from various remote locations in the mountains of New Mexico. Like Sharon, Andy has exactly twice as many
Macs as people in his home.
Email us: Sharon | Andy | Sharon, cc Andy | Andy, cc Sharon
(Aren’t hyperlinks fun?)
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Shameless Plug
Sharon has more Mac information than she
knows what to do with, and much of it doesn’t fit
our Take Control line. Check out the beginnings
of her own line of ebooks, 33 Things, at
Thank You to…
We’d both like to thank Tonya and Adam for taking on this slightly0ff-the-beaten-Take-Control path project, and Tonya for her editing
efforts. The Control Freaks and the Irregulars put a lot of time in
reviewing the 1.0 manuscript, many going way beyond the call of
whatever duty is incumbent upon such folks, and we’re grateful for
their time and talents, even though we didn’t put in all the extrageeky Unix/Terminal stuff they suggested.
Sharon would also like to thank Jerry Szubin (his picture is in Photo
Booth) for help with setting the 1,456,432 links (or so it seemed) in
the 1.0 version of this ebook, her son Nat for checking them after they
were set, and Andy for foolishly agreeing to come out of retirement
for this project.
About the Publisher
Publishers Adam and Tonya Engst have been
publishing Mac-related content since they created
the online newsletter, TidBITS, in 1990
(http://www.tidbits.com/). Adam and Tonya are
known in the Mac world as writers, editors, and
speakers. They are also parents to Tristan, who
thinks ebooks about clipper ships and castles would
be cool.
Production Credits
Layout: Sharon Zardetto
Link-making AppleScript: Matt Neuburg
List macros: Sharon Zardetto
Take Control logo: Jeff Tolbert
Editor in Chief: Tonya Engst
Publisher: Adam Engst
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Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon
ISBN: 1-933671-30-0
December 2007, Version 1.5
Copyright © 2007, Sharon Zardetto and Andy Baird. All rights reserved.
TidBITS Publishing Inc.
50 Hickory Road
Ithaca, NY 14850 USA
TAKE CONTROL electronic books help readers regain a measure of control in an
oftentimes out-of-control universe. Take Control ebooks also streamline the publication
process so that information about quickly changing technical topics can be published
while it’s still relevant and accurate.
This electronic book does not use copy protection because copy protection makes life
harder for everyone. So we ask a favor of our readers. If you want to share your copy of
this ebook with a friend, please do so as you would a physical book, meaning that if your
friend uses it regularly, he or she should buy a copy. Your support makes it possible for
future Take Control ebooks to hit the Internet long before you’d find the same
information in a printed book. Plus, if you buy the ebook, you’re entitled to any free
updates that become available.
Although the author and TidBITS Publishing Inc. have made a reasonable effort to
ensure the accuracy of the information herein, they assume no responsibility for errors
or omissions. The information in this ebook is distributed “As Is,” without warranty of
any kind. Neither TidBITS Publishing Inc. nor the author shall be liable to any person or
entity for any special, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages, including without
limitation lost revenues or lost profits, that may result (or that are alleged to result)
from the use of these materials. In other words, use this information at your own risk.
Many of the designations used to distinguish products and services are claimed
as trademarks or service marks. Any trademarks, service marks, product names,
or named features that appear in this title are assumed to be the property of their
respective owners. All product names and services are used in an editorial fashion only,
with no intention of infringement of the trademark. No such use, or the use of any trade
name, is meant to convey endorsement or other affiliation with this title.
This title is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or
otherwise approved by Apple Inc. Because of the nature of this title, it uses terms that
are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Inc.; to view a complete list of
trademarks and registered trademarks of Apple Inc., visit http://www.apple.com/legal/
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Now that you’ve seen this book, you know that Take Control books have a great layout
and real-world info that puts you in control. Click any book image below or visit our
Web catalog to add to your book collection!
Take Control
of Maintaining
Your Mac
Take Control
of Troubleshooting
Your Mac
Take Control
of Fonts
in Leopard
by Joe Kissell
by Joe Kissell
by Sharon Zardetto
Keep your Macintosh
running smoothly with
Joe’s easy-to-follow,
maintenance program!
Whether your Mac won’t
turn on, kernel panics,
or is too slow, you can
troubleshoot the problem
with Joe’s expert advice.
Install, organize, and use
your fonts with ease in
Leopard with Sharon’s
detailed advice and
humorous touch.
Take Control
of Customizing
Take Control
of Users & Accounts
in Leopard
by Matt Neuburg
by Kirk McElhearn
More Titles!
Delve into even
more topics, including:
• Leopard! Time Machine,
sharing files, upgrading to
Leopard, and more!
• Buying gear: Macs,
cameras, and digital TVs.
Find real-world advice in
this road map to customizing Leopard, including
new features, such as
Time Machine and Spaces.
Get the most out of
Leopard with real-world
strategies for creating
and managing user
• And… Lots more topics,
including backups, iPod,
iPhone, podcasting, .Mac,
Wi-Fi, iWeb, domain names,
and how to run Windows on
a Mac.
This is a free sample of “Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon.”
Click here to buy the full 209-page ebook for only $15!

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