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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #5, 2/5/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

GEEK SPEAK ISSUE

FROM THE EDITOR:
This is an easy issue - a Geek Speak Review on some of the Geek Speak
Alert items we've encountered in previous UNPREDICTABLE issues. You can
scan right down. If you KNOW all these terms and don't want to read my
insightful comments, OCCASIONALLY sprinkled with fascinating Mac trivia
and personal commentary of questionable merit, then you're done! You can
skip tonite's homework assignment! Otherwise, PRINT this out. KEEP it
next to your Mac. KNOW these words. LIVE them! But before you go, please
write down and email me any GEEK SPEAK you would like me to review before
the next exam. I find that one geek speak term usually has to be defined
with others, which in turn demand definition, ad infinitum, like the
hinged mirrors on your bathroom medicine cabinet. So rather than write
ANOTHER BOOK, GSRs will UNPREDICTABLY appear as an OCCASIONAL feature.


GEEK SPEAK REVIEW #1:

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...

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.

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. (Are more Menu
Bars better?) On the Mac, we have one that changes with the Active
Application.

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".

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!

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).

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.

TAFNF:
That's All For Now Folks.

Next time we do a GSR - Volume, Disk Image, "What the h*** is a 'URL'?",
System Folder, Applescript, USB, Firewire, OS/X, smiley :-), BTW, TIA,
IMHO, AFAIK, LOL. PLUS whatever you send me, if I can figure it out.

Gotta go! See you next time!

______________________________________________________________________
** Chris's Unpredictable and Occasional Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published whenever I get around to it - about
whatever pops into my head!

If you have friends or associates who would like to receive this
newsletter, have them send me an email with "Start Unpredictable" in
the Subject line. If you'd prefer NOT to receive this newsletter,
send me an email with the message "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject
line (no hard feelings, honest!)
______________________________________________________________________


 

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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.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)