The Lite Side

The ABC's of Apple

- 2001.09.17

A is for Apple, our favorite computer company. And A is also for Aqua, the new look of the interface under OS X.

B is for BeOS, which could have been the core of the next generation MacOS but instead faded into history and was eventually absorbed by Palm. And B is for Byte, the essential unit of computer information, one of a set of 256 possible codes representing instructions, letters, numbers, addresses, and so on.

C is for Carbon, the set of API's supported by both OS 9.x and OS X in emulation (Classic Mode). And C is for Centris, a type of 68040 (pre-Power Mac) computer from the early '90s.

D is for Darwin, the free core of OS X.

E is for Extended Keyboard, with excellent tactile response and the "innovative" cut, paste, and copy keys. Many of us still use our old ADB Extended Keyboards because nothing since has had quite the right "feel" to it.

F is for FireWire, otherwise known as IEEE 1394 or iLink, a high speed, hot-swappable peripheral connection standard particularly noted for being used in digital cameras and external hard drives.

G is for G3 or G4, the CPU of modern iMacs, iBooks, Power Mac G4s, and PowerBook G4s. And G is also for gigabyte, or 1024 megabytes.

H is for HyperCard, the application that had hyperlinks before there was an Internet. We miss you.

I is for "i", the consumer-level tag on Apple's products such as iBook, iMac, iTools, etc.

J is for Jobs, Steve, leader of Our Favorite Computer Company. In case you hadn't heard it lately through all the noise of computer users telling you what to do, we really appreciate your hard work and vision, Mr. Jobs. Other CEOs should be blessed with a clientele that so desperately wants you to succeed.

K is for kilobyte, a term not heard much anymore. It stands for 1024 bytes of information, roughly a single typed page. One floppy disk holds roughly 1400 kilobytes of data.

L is for Low End Mac, the site for not-quite-new Macs and the people who love them. And L is also for Lisa, the computer that was Mac before there was Mac.

M is for Macintosh, the computer that changed the world. And M is also for megabyte, or 1024 kilobytes.

N is for NeXT, Mr. Job's company that was ahead of its time. Eventually purchased by Apple, bringing its CEO with it, the NeXT operating system contributed to the development of OS X. And N is also for NuBus, an obsolete expansion slot used in older pre-Power Macs (and some early Power Macs).

O is for OrangePC, a venerable company noted for its PC-on-a-card solution for cross-platform users.

P is for PCI, the internal expansion card protocol used by PCs and Macs. And P is also for PowerBook, the first truly useful portable computer and still the lightest, coolest, and longest-lasting yet full-featured portable computer anywhere.

Q is for Quadra, the last of the pre-Power Mac series of computers using Motorola's 68040 chip.

R is for RAM, or Random Access Memory. This is the part of the computer that forgets what it was doing when you kill the power.

S is for System, the term for the Mac OS before the term Mac OS was used. Still used in OS 9 as in "check your System Folder."

T is for Titanium, the trendsetting new laptop from Apple for pro users.

U is for Understanding, which is easier to do with a Mac, because it is so user friendly.

V is for VRAM, or Video RAM, memory used to keep a "virtual copy" of your screen and from where the images of the screen are uploaded to the monitor for display.

W is for Windows, that "other" operating system.

X is for OS X, Apple's next-generation operating system currently in release.

Y is for YOU, the Mac users who kept Apple alive through the Hard Times and read the Mac Web every day just because you can't get enough Mac info.

Z is for ZTerm, a terminal program used to access dialup services which do not use the Web, such as Bulletin Board Systems.

Now I've done Mac ABC's.
Next time don't you buy PCs!

Jeff Adkins is a science teacher who isn't afraid to state his preferences in computing platforms. In his classroom he has everything from a Quadra 700 to a 500 MHz CD/R-CD/RW iMac, and they all work together nicely. He also writes Mac Lab Report for Low End Mac. and maintains a site for astronomy teachers at

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